Thursday, May 31, 2007

A literary lunch!

Well, a book sandwich at least. Here's what I've been reading while waiting for the next episode of So You Think You Can Dance? (And just to warn you, I'm adopting the sandwich approach to these reviews because two of them are wonderful, and one of them has had me upset for three days now because it was so...well, you'll see).

Great Book #1: The Department of Lost and Found by Allison Winn Scotch.
You all know how I like to keep things happy, happy, happy in my entertainment, so I was a tad skittish as I waded into this story of a young woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer and then gets dumped by her boyfriend. I'm just not a very brave girl. But kudos to Allison for using such a light touch with the squeamish stuff (and such a perfect touch with the humor) that I found myself buzzing through the book in hot pursuit of a happy ending. On a technical level, I have to say that she writes about the way we look back on failed relationships as well as anyone I've read. Two thumbs up (or, as Sarakastic might say, FOUR POP TARTS!)

Sucker Punched Me In The Gut book #2: Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.
I'm not even sure what to write here. I was breezing along happily through a typical collection of Anne's thoughts about loving her chunky thighs and raising a teenage son when I ran headlong into her essay about how she killed someone. Now I don't want to get into the debate about assisting people with an early exit from life (I'm not using the word to avoid weird google hits) but I was left with a really grim feeling from her treatment of this subject...I'm blown away that her decision on this warranted less reflection, worry, and/or remorse than either her thighs or how she yelled at a shady carpet salesman a few chapters later when he swindled her out of fifty bucks. She brought the rug guy flowers to apologize, but seemed utterly free of any sort of doubt about helping someone end their life. I blew my mind, leaving me a bit to numb for pop tarts.

(Here is where the sandwich approach is so great, because after that grim review, don't we all need something happy???)

Fabulous Book #3 (That Made Me Giggle Just This Morning): Tramps Like Us: A Suburban Confession by Kristen Buckley.
Kristen didn't have an easy childhood in suburban New Jersey, but she does an astonishing job of turning those grim scenes into a hysterically funny narrative without resorting to slapstick anecdotes. She's a great writer, and as I read this book, I feel like I'm standing with her in the middle of her knee-high front lawn after her father abandoned them, listening to her penniless (and lawn mower-less) mother explain that mowed lawns are really just a recent social construct that can easily be ignored. This is a fabulous, funny, book that everyone should take with them to the beach this summer (especially if you live anywhere near the Jersey shore). This one gets two thumbs, a freshly painted big toe, and a box full of Pop Tarts :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I think he can dance, part 2

Here is the clip of Jamal. (You might want to put your drink down before watching...)

Friday, May 25, 2007

I think he can dance

Did anyone else see So You Think You Can Dance last night? And the hip-hop dude Jamal from Boston who looked like his mama feeds him a bit to well to really dance? Who Nigel challenged to come back with a swing dance routine? Now my boy Jamal looked like he hadn't the faintest idea what swing dancing might be, but never one to shy away from a dance opportunity, he said, "Sure - I'll be back."

And back he was. Big Jamal grabbed his smaller pal Ernest (aka "E-Wok") and they made up a dance, right there in the hall. Now, I was certain the Boston boys were going to get thumped by Nigel and Mary for not taking this seriously, and honestly the first thirty seconds of that piece had me laughing so hard I was gasping for air (Jamal stood in one place and snapped his fingers. When Nigel broke in and said, "Jamal - that's not dancing," Jamal looked genuinely baffled when he replied, "I know it's not - I'm waiting for the part where the trumpet goes, da na na na!" Hysterical.) But let me tell you, when the trumpet finally went da na na na! the boys jumped into a routine that was so fabulous, so full-out I'm gonna make this work and you're all gonna love it, that I was on my feet in the living room, cheering him on. There's a blurry pic of my new favorite dance moment here. Please, someone, get this routine up on Youtube!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a verrrrry special day!!!

Happy Birthday to MEG!
Happy Birthday to MEG!
Happy Birthday to my little sister who grew taller than me when I was ten and has a body like a Victoria's Secret model even after having two kids but really I'm over it....
Happy Birthday to MEG!!!!!

Hey everyone, please join me in wishing a spectacular birthday to my sister Meg, one of my favorite people on the planet. Meg's fine talents include the ability to splay her toes out to almost mythical proportions (honestly, I think one of them might even be opposable), build all manner of handy kitchen accessories from abandoned wine corks, and answer trivia questions about any TV show ever produced from 1964-the present. Meg is also raising two of the cutest children on the planet, running a business empire from the laptop on her kitchen counter (a laptop fashioned almost entirely from wine corks, I might add), and - just this morning - convinced her three year old daughter in very reasonable, calm words not to squish a wayward toad. She's brilliant, she's fabulous, and we're all better off because Meg was born :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Q & A

Heidikins, just back from the world's longest roadtrip through Wyoming, sent me some fun questions - sort of an evolving meme where you answer someone's and then send new ones to other folks who want to play. And it doesn't require me to admit that I've read almost no classic literature and don't watch Grey's Anatomy, so I'm in :)

Here you go - the dish about Trish:

1. What inspires you to write? Either in the blog-world or in "real life"?
I think I write because I read so much. Reading has always been a big part of how I figure out life - everything from how to survive a heartbreak to how to cope when I don't like the decisions our country's leaders are making. I like the space reading gives me to process - it works better than a conversation sometimes, because I don't have to accept someone's whole perspective or make an immediate choice. No author has ever called me to say, "Hey - are you applying my suggestions???" So, to whatever extent my life experiences might be helpful to someone else, I suspect it will only happen if people have the space to take what they like and leave the rest. Writing and blogging gives you that kind of space.

2. What is your favorite thing about living in New England?
Right now, I love that the Boston Red Sox are winning, because that still feels like a miracle! I also love the people here. New Englanders are famous for being cold to outsiders, and in a lot of places that reputation is well-earned. But there is a lot of love under those gruff exteriors, and I think knowing how to recognize the signs of that caring is one of the skills you pick up here.

3. When you've had a rough day, what do you to do unwind and relax?
First, I close the cover on my laptop! Honestly, my worst days usually involve a jam up between the (seemingly) great ideas in my head and the nothingness showing up on my computer screen, so to unwind, I need to prove to us both that I'm bigger than my computer, and that I call the shots :) I'm learning that a couple miles on the treadmill gets my frustration out, as does talking with a friend who can make me laugh. After that, I love a glass of Cabernet and a romantic comedy on DVD - I'm a sucker for happy endings. If you've read this blog before, you've heard me wax poetic about my love for How to Lose A Guy In Ten Dates, Must Love Dogs, Hope Floats, Little Miss Sunshine...the list goes on and on.

4. What is your definition of a perfect day?
I have a friend who defines happiness as "When life exceeds your expectations." To have that happen all day long would be pretty cool. Here's my best guess at what that might look like for me:
It would start with me sipping morning coffee while the sun streamed in over my down comforter and THAT DOG dozed at the end of the bed.
I'd open my Bible to some random page that would happen to be one of those great passages about how God loves me, he has a great plan for my life, and I don't have to worry about the 17 little things niggling at the edges of my brain.
I'd write brilliant prose for the next two hours, then practice the things I'll say during my upcoming appearance on Oprah to celebrate the success of my know, like how much I love the solitary days as a writer, but I also enjoy going out on tour, meeting my adoring fans...
Lunch would be my favorite sandwich since fourth grade: Baloney, cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, and cucumber on whole wheat bread. Big pile of Lay's potato chips on the side.
After lunch I'd surf through my favorite blogs and web sites, which would make me laugh so hard a little bit of water would come out of my nose.
Then I'd crawl into bed with a book, reading some other writer's brilliant work until I dozed off for a nap. (I'd wake with a start at some point to realize that still hadn't walked THAT DOG, but then I'd realize my wonderful husband had taken care of that).
Dinner would be sushi with a chocolate martini, after which hubby and I would cuddle on the couch and watch the Red Sox pummel the Yankees. (We'd celebrate afterwards, but I'll keep that part private).
I think that about sums it up :)

5. Do you collect anything? What? How did you get started? What do you love about it?
I mostly just collect books. I LOVE new books - it's a bit of an addiction. But because I've moved so much since I graduated from school, the urge to collect other things hasn't really hit me yet. I'm way too aware that anything I acquire I have to love enough to haul up and down stairs the next time I relocate. I think I could collect rooster figurines - they crack me up (as some of you may recall from this post - where can I get that cookie jar???) But hubby HATES them, so I guess my "Celebrate Poultry!" decorating scheme will remain a pipe dream...

So there you have it...five questions, five answers. I should probably lay in a stash of baloney in case tomorrow turns out to be my perfect day! Now, if any of you would like 5 questions of your own (personally selected by me, just for you) email me at trishstevekylie AT yahoo DOT com and resist the urge to comment on how lame it is that I have my dog's name in my email address (there are other Trish Ryan's out there, AND other TrishandSteve's...what else could I do?)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Love of Dog

Hubbie was away this weekend, off on a retreat of burly men who all pretended it was GREAT FUN to live in cabins in the woods while the temperatures are in the low 40s. "Do they have indoor plumbing?" I asked when he called. "They do," he said, "...but it's in another building." For the fourteen-millionth time in my life, I'm glad I'm not a boy :)

In Steve's absence, THAT DOG stepped up to the responsibility plate. Both nights Steve was gone, Kylie got up off of the couch at precisely 10pm, walked over to the door leading to the bedroom, and glared at me as if to say, "Someone has to be in charge here, and we both know it can't be you." Then she herded me from one room to the other until I went to bed, ensuring I didn't dawdle. This is the most well-rested I've been in months.

Last night I watched the replay of the final episode of the Gilmore Girls. Rory said goodbye to Lane, and I cried. Rory and Loralei had a touching moment, and I cried. Luke and Loralei finally kissed, and I cried. By the end of the show, I wasn't cold anymore. I was puffy, but not cold. I went to bed feeling like I did on my last night at college, knowing that in some way, things would never be the same.

Thank God for whoever invented Kleenex.

Friday, May 18, 2007

THAT DOG needs a blanket

You guys are the best. A HUGE thank you for your thoughtful responses to my questions on the mating habits of whippoorwills and penguins :)

In other news, it's May 18th here in greater Boston (and possibly elsewhere, too, but really who can think of that now?) and it's 43 degrees outside. It's only 51 degrees here in the living room. I am cold, cold, shivery cold, but I can't bring myself to turn on the heat. It's MAY! I've planted flowers and painted my toenails, which are my official signals to God that a long string of 70 degree days is entirely appropriate from this point on. (Honestly - sometimes it feels like He's ignoring me altogether, as if He's got some greater plan or something???)

Speaking of which...I'm pulling together the proposal for book two this weekend, here in the Arctic tundra. All prayers for Holy inspiration (and for this metallic keyboard to warm up) gladly received :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Welcome to Metaphoria

You guys have been fabulous with your input and encouragement as I wander around the the meaning of wife for book #2, so naturally, I want to ask you more. There are practical considerations, however, when discussing certain issues in the blogsphere, as any of you with tracking software that shows what people google to get to you can attest. Make no mistake, questions today are about birds being birds and bees being bees. But if we're all discreet about it, perhaps no midnight googlers will end up here looking for excitement, only to find a never-ending line of entries about what book I'm reading and THAT DOG.

So, about the reading...I've been doing some fun research on this wife thing. Not self-help - more biography, sociology, rantings of various sides of the "why isn't this working the way we thought it would?" debate. Wandering through a used bookstore, I picked up a small, out-of-print book which turned out to be quite a find. It's a sociological study; it received no media attention. But it's findings blew away all my prior notions about how we women have approached the letter S followed by the letter E completed by the letter X over the decades, suggesting that our generation may have things upside down and backwards in terms of what we think is essential to relationships and what we believe we can safely let slide.

So I have to ask...Whether you're married yet or not - how important do you think the birds and the bees are in everyday marriage? Where do quality/quantity of marital private time rank on your list of "must haves"? What else is on the list?

Two specific, and be vague....

Specific: Please, please, please don't say "communication is important" without saying what that means for you! Some of us think communication is a long heart-to-heart, others define it as "he knows from the look in my eye when he's in trouble." Everybody is different (speaking of vague) so it's really helpful to go a bit beyond the pat phrases we've been taught to what that means when we try to do it personally.
Vague: feel free to be creative in the use of alternative language to describe IT...remember, this is a family channel :)

Thanks all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Revised Revisions

Stacy adjusted this books meme to make it more user-friendly, but I'm far too embarrassed to put up a list of books I haven't read (or - let's be honest - ever considered reading) while at the same time showing that I don't know how to keep track of all those font color changes. I wasn't an English major (or a computer science major like Lynette) - I'm a poli sci girl. Ask me about Obama, Mitt, or Nancy Pelosi and I'll give you pages of thoughtful opinion that will amount to exactly nothing. What can I say? I used to be a lawyer; these are the skills I have.

Bold means I've read it. Deleted for space means I haven't. Comments will offer any applicable emotions or disclaimers surrounding the experience, and give me a chance to experiment with this button I hadn't noticed before on the tool bar:

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) I tend not to get too fired up about books that everyone says will topple worldwide faith. I've been to New Hampshire where the author lives, and it's just not that kind of vibe.

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) I've even read a bunch of the knock-off books that speculate about what happened after the wedding. Some are very serious, some are funny. Even in great literature, I still like the bad guys to be taken out back and plunged in a deep cold well.

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) I saw these movies - 97 hours of my life that I'll never get back.

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
 I've read the first four - am hoping to get to #5 this summer.

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
 I love anything by Irving that doesn't involve a dancing bear and/or a circus. Check out "The Water Method Man." Hysterical.

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) I've reread this story for inspiration every time I've hit a rough patch in life. Hope is a good thing.

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
 I read her incredibly grim memoir and decided that she and I don't approach writing from quite the same perspective. I'm not brave enough to try another.

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
 Perhaps the strangest book I've ever recommended.

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
 I tried to read this, but just couldn't get into it. If I was inclined to rework a piece of literature by a famous author, I'm not sure I'd pick God.

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
 I LOVED these books in High School. Ayla and Jondalar were like my teen Ken and Barbie.

45. Bible 
It took me five months. Leviticus is tough if you're an animal lover.

48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
 The never-ending battle scenes made me long for the cozy prose of Leviticus...ugh.

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) In two languages, thanks to my HS French teacher.

71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding)
 Obviously, I loved it. We all did :)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) My old book club disliked this book so much that we couldn't even discuss it. We spent the evening talking about cute boys and new restaurants we wanted to check out.

78. The World According To Garp (John Irving) Love, love, love it.

80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
 My Mom read all of White's books to my sister and I. When I moved to Boston and saw the swan boats from "Trumpet of the Swan" I almost cried.

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
 We were forced to read this in sixth grade. I think my teacher got some sort of award for forcing us through it. I was so lost - there were rabbits being blown out of their habitat, and some larger philosophical point I was supposed to absorb about the state of humanity. At twelve, I just wasn't that deep.

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
 My Mom made me read this. Powerful stuff. Not happy, by any means, but powerful.

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

This whole thing kind of makes me wonder if I should send this to my old High School English department - maybe my parents can get a rebate on their tax dollars, as apparently, I left their school with little working knowledge of literature. I'm lucky I even learned to read... :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

On the road to nowhere

It was quite a weekend, here in the Ryan Hood. We went to Maine to see my Mom (who is miraculously ALIVE this Mother's Day...Hooray!!!!) and had brunch with my parents at this gorgeous little restaurant overlooking a golf course. I was suffering from a bout of city-itis, so it was good for my weary soul to see green grass, flowers, and a guy in a pink plaid golf shirt sprawled out near the pond trying to retrieve a lost ball.

Then yesterday, Steve and I decided, "lets take a drive - see the ocean on the north shore, get some fried clams - it will be fun!" You know, the romance of setting out without a destination, sure the road will unveil wonderful adventure and exciting opportunities? Mmm hmm. Right. We hoped on Route 127, because it would take us all up the coast. What it didn't take us by was, 1. a bathroom; or 2. food. We drove for THREE HOURS - nothing. (Funny how much less appealing the vast, wave-filled Atlantic is when your bladder is about to burst from it's own vast wavy-ness.) Finally, we stopped in this creepy little town and burst into a very formal restaurant (it had a swan theme???) horrifying the staff in our flip flops and fleece jackets. I used the ladies room (swan-covered wall paper - towels - fixtures) and then we bolted out the door. I was hungry, but no way did I want a swan burger. Another HOUR later, we turned a little corner and saw what appeared to be a little slice of heaven, right there on the windy road: it was a rustic Clam Shack overlooking the marsh. "Look honey," I said, weary with hunger, "dreams do come true!" We placed our order, then settled in, certain happiness was close at hand. Mmm hmm.

Two HOURS later, we received our plates of clams (by this point I was hallucinating, wondering if I could make a meal out of tarter sauce, ketchup, and discarded straw wrappers)
Sometimes, as the wise Dorothy said after her long trek to Oz, There's no place like home...

In happier news though, THIS movie was on cable last night, reminding us that when all else fails, apply some Windex :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Don't be jealous - she's fat on the inside

In case any of us were feeling good today, we have this disturbing (dare I say deranged?) bit of science to put us back in place. Makes me wonder...will this lead to Oprah and Dr. Phil running full-body scans on guests to identify who the real fatties are before handing them over to trainer Bob?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Love is in the air. Literally.

Angela's post today got me thinking about bugs. Specifically, the giant bumble bees who are doing some sort of creepy bee mating dance outside my kitchen window again this year. (Romantic though I am, I still can't imagine how this sort of act can be anything less than prickly and awful. Perhaps it's all the buzzing, but I wish they'd get a room. )

One day when I was in grad school, I came home to hear THAT DOG barking her little furry head off. I went in to see what the problem was and there, before my barking dog, approximately 1 gazillion lady bugs were SWARMING over my wall. When I'd left that morning, there were no ladybugs. But in two short hours, they'd arrived in record numbers, as if declaring my bedroom headquarters for what appeared to be a nationwide convention. It was like a scene from a horror movie, when some innocent creature I used to think of as cute and lucky reproduced with such mind-blowing fertility as to make make wonder if they might not, in fact, be taking over the world.

Our apartment had never, to that point, been of the buggy variety, so we had nothing in the way of Raid or Off with which to call this party to an end. I tried flailing at the ladies with my biggest clog-like shoe, but to no avail - it was like they magically multiplied faster when I dared disturb their meeting. I'm bigger than those bugs, I told myself. And theoretically, at least, I'm smarter. And that's when the answer came: I grabbed my industrial-size can of Freeze & Shine Superhold Hair Spray, and shellacked those babies to the wall.

Our vacuum cleaner buzzed for two or three days after that, which is why now, I leave those bumble bees alone. I'll let them mate on my porch all afternoon, so long as they go elsewhere to deliver.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Art of Provocation

As I've been thinking about this wife thing, I've been reading this book, which features what may be my favorite piece of cover art of all time. It's creative and provocative, without being walks that fine line with precision. That, I've decided, is my new goal in life.

(Warning note: This may be the only post in the universe comparing the Gilmore Girls to Jesus, but sometimes you gotta think waaaay outside the box to figure out how life works...) Last night, I was at a talk where the speaker offered an interesting perspective on Jesus' odd teaching style (and how he seems to be thinking, "Hey, why don't I follow up every clear passage with something utterly confusing, and then say a couple things that will completely piss you off!") She suggested that Jesus' goal wasn't to hand out a divine rulebook and then take off, wishing us all good luck. Rather, she said, maybe he wanted to provoke us, to draw us into an ongoing conversation where we wrestle (rant, argue, disagree) with these things until they make sense to us in a real, personal way.

This got me thinking about what draws me to certain books, music, tv shows, blogs...even friends. As I contemplate the ending of The Gilmore Girls - and the distinct possibility that my favorite show ever won't end in any of the traditional perfect ways - I realize that what lights up my life (to quote Debby Boone) is provocation. The good kind, that is - with analogies drawn between things I wouldn't have thought of, or creative solutions rather than just an endless line of problems. The Gilmore Girls provoked me, and I'm not sure what's gonna fill that gap.

Provocation is an art. I don't want tacky or lewd; I don't want to be horrified. I want to think, and laugh, and wonder, and (yes) wrestle a bit with what an author or show or friend suggests. And I want to be all of those things, because I think it makes life so much more interesting if I can add an unexpected perspective to a conversation in a way that draws people in, rather than sending them running for the hills determined to lose my number.

So there you have it. It's the second week of May, and I'm just figuring out my New Year's resolution: Learn the art of provocation. If I win the t-shirt Swishy is giving away on her website, I'll be that much closer...

Today's question: What is the last thing that bugged you but also changed how you look at life?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Secret of Wife

I was chatting the other day with a friend of mine about her brand-new marriage. She'd just come from a baby shower where the assembly of women (some single, some married, some divorced) shared their hopes and dreams and fears and concerns about this thing we call marriage. Seems like we're all still sorting out how to make it work, wondering how we're doing and how (if?) our efforts will sustain us over the long haul.

Her comments got me thinking. I'm working on the proposal for book #2, which (I think) will have something to do with this topic. I love being married...but there was also a time, when I was married to someone else, where I understood with every fiber of my being what is meant by the phrase "Hell on Earth."

In my happy and my sad, the one thing I've always LONGED to do was to ask questions of the women who seem to get it - the women with sexy, fun marriages to men they really like; women who voluntarily don lingerie ten years after their wedding night and describe their husbands in genuine terms of respect; women who love their lives and aren't too embarrassed to let that happiness leak out a bit around the edges.

I know a few of those women now, and from time to time, I sneak in a question or two about how they do it. But my dream is that Book #2 will give me (on behalf of all of us) a chance to ask more. After all, they won't be MY questions...they will be for THE BOOK.

So whether you're single or married, I need your help:
Think of the future - and the marriage - of your dreams. If you could ask someone three questions about married life, what would they be? "How did you know he was the one?" or perhaps something more practical, like "How did you and hubby stop fighting every night over how much you hate that he watches America's Next Top Model?"

Post questions in the comments, or email me at: trishstevekylie AT yahoo DOT com.
Here's to finding fun solutions from wise women who know how to get to where we (okay, I) want to be. :)

oh happy day...

Weekend with Sister was spectacular - thank you all for your good wishes! There were chocolate martinis, shopping for bargains (Meg is now officially the best-dressed woman in southern Maine for the seventh year running) and, of course, long conversations on How The World Should Run. (We implemented some new policies immediately; world-wide change should be discernible in about a week.)

Today, the sun is shining, THAT DOG is nestled adorably at the foot of the bed, and I discovered that the writer of one of my FAVORITE movies, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days - Kristen Buckley - has a memoir out. Reviews indicate that it's: 1.) funny; and 2.) about her childhood, growing up in New Jersey (for those of you who think those two points are redundant, I don't disagree...); it even comes complete with the obligatory Bruce Springsteen-inspired title, "Tramps Like Us." I fell even more in love with Kristen in this great interview (thank you, Gothamist). Honestly, anyone who calls for a city-wide inquiry into why Derek Jeter's hair looks like Kid 'n Play is my kind of girl! (And yes, finding this picture of DJ's work for Avon makes this great morning just that much better :) )

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Back to the Future

My sister is coming to visit tomorrow! She'll be taking the Amtrak "Downeaster," which bridges the gaping chasm between Maine and Massachusetts in something like 247 hours. (For all I know, she's on the train already.) Meg is crossing not one, but TWO state lines, leaving the gorgeous state of Maine for the shopping metropolis that is Greater Boston. When that happens, you know big things are at hand.

We've come to think of this annual spring visit as a summit of sorts, where we convene for the betterment of the world. We shop, we talk, we drink copious amounts of wine (and the occasional chocolate martini). We remember the good old days where kids didn't wear seat belts or bike helmets, and Mom would send us out to play after lunch and not expect to see us again until dinner. We talk about what would make society better, and then agree that if all that is ever going to happen, we probably need new outfits. And then we shop, talk, and drink some extra-strong coffee to keep up our stamina.

Now, it's not that I'm excited about Meg's's just that I can't stop googling "Train songs" and then rewriting the lyrics in anticipation. Monday I massacred the Monkee's "Last Train to Clarksville" (hereinafter known as, "Last Train to Woburn"); yesterday it was a hit from my parents' era, "King of the Road" (in which I made her a queen, then sold off her kids, husband, dog, and the small green turtle pool they keep in the yard so she could hop a boxcar to Belmont and shop with me at Marshalls).

Some might call this procrastination, but I'm thinking, if this book thing doesn't work out, I might have a career in jingles...

Anyway, Meg will be here through Sunday. And just wait - the world will be a better place after our Downeast Sister Summit (please note that we're not yet entirely sure how this world improvement effect translates across timezones; for those of you living west of Red Sox Nation, your patience is appreciated.)

Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


So I was standing in my living room the other day, flipping through a library book to confirm that yes, it was indeed overdue (am I allowed to request that the $2.50 I owe in fines be applied towards specific books for the collection???) and the card you see to the left fell out. It's a bunch of cartoon rock stars, along with John Wayne. "What do all these people have in common?" it asks.

I turned the card over, I found out: They are all dead. As I could be, the card went on to say, any moment now. It even quoted the song, Miss American Pie: This could be the day that you die! Then it transitioned a bit, telling me I was far worse than a bad library patron; that I was, quite probably, a lying, cheating, adulterer at heart who needed to smarten up about Jesus, buy a Bible, and do what it said. Charming, really. As you can imagine, this changed my life.

Or not. It did, however, change my book. I sat my pajama-clad butt down and typed out a BIG disclaimer, explaining that while Jesus has turned out to be rather helpful in my seemingly endless quest to make my love life work, he never ambushed people. He didn't send postcards, or pamphlets, or sneak up on people and say, "Hey - in case you didn't know, you suck." I mean honestly, what was the person who hid this card in there for me to find thinking?

Okay, climbing down off of my soapbox now - thanks for letting me vent :)

On a happier note...thanks for all the kind words about my new picture! Much adulation goes to DEM Photography, my web designer Meg who figured out how to post the pic on Blogger, and the miracle that we got this shot before my allergy-fighting Benedryl wore off and my eyelids turned to mush.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wise words

And today, a ray of happiness: a bit of wise, true, and good dating advice from our beloved fellow blogger, Ellesappelle (elle s'appelle what? you ask, fellow French II graduates... I don't know, perhaps she'll tell us? Or perhaps it's part of her mystery...) Anyway, on to the dating advice:

"Muscles don't last, but tweed blazers and brains do!"

Ain't it the truth??? We need to get her on Oprah!