Thursday, February 28, 2008

Field Trip!

I'm guest blogging over at the Urban Muse today! If you've ever wondered what happened during the month last spring when I dropped off the face of the blogsphere (I think there were 17 consecutive posts that said, "Still wearing the same sweatpants...still editing...") here's the scoop. It's not scandalous or jaw-dropping, but it's the closest thing I've got to accumulated wisdom about writing :)

And while you're there, be sure to leave a comment and tell the fabulous Susan that her vacation tan looks great!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CSI Cambridge

I pulled into the parking lot at my gym the other day and noticed that the window of the car next to me had been smashed in. I'd seen two guys walking away from this general area as I approached, but given the nature and demographics of my gym, I thought nothing of it. Until, that is, I noticed the sedan with the new air conditioning.

Now, given my background as a lawyer, and the years I spent studying various aspects of criminal justice, do you think my first reaction was:
a.) to reach for my cell phone and dial 911?
b.) to pull out of my parking space with screeching tires and chase down the bad guys?
c.) to lean over to check the ambient temperature gauge in my car, while wondering, "Is it really warm enough to go drive to the gym with no car window?"

Yep, that's me: razor sharp. A crime took place right in front of me, but my happy little brain couldn't even process that something like that could happen. Instead, I honestly thought that someone had had their car broken into somewhere else, and they decided to get a workout in before having it fixed. Unbelievable. As I described this to Steve when I got home, he said, "Wow Honey...we may have to move you back to Maine for your own safety..."

On the upside: if there's some unpleasant aspect of life you'd like to overlook completely, let me know...perhaps my skills are transferable?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday confession

I have no idea what other writers do to get up and running on the New Yorker, perhaps; after which they spend fourteen or fifteen hours crafting thoughtful prose on things like transforming culture, the importance of aligning our emotional energy, or how if more people were on The Zone diet, we'd be one step closer to world peace.

Me? I just ate lunch in front of the TV, and now I'm captivated by the latest season of the Real World/Road Rules challenge. They just sent veterans Coral and Beth to the gauntlet!!! If the publishing world sponsored a match like this, it would be Jane Austen v. Virginia Woolf. Or perhaps Edith Warton v. Sylvia Path.

What famous person would you take to the gauntlet to take their position on the bookshelf/iTunes Store/movie theater?

I'd take on Jennifer Garner. I don't need her movie career, but I'd wrestle her to the ground in a heartbeat for the seats she and Ben have right next to the the Red Sox dugout :)

Friday, February 22, 2008


When my book comes out this spring, I'll be going on tour! (It will be just like Janet Jackson or Madonna, I'm quite certain...except without a bus, entourage, light show, or roadies. I'm still negotiating with my publisher about backup dancers; we're not sure group choreography will work in some of the smaller bookstores...)

Yesterday, I received an cool email from a blog friend asking what it might take for me to end up in her part of the country in my travels. My answer? "I'm as good as there!" We're not sure if we can make it happen, but we're working on a plan. Totally fun.

It made me wonder: might there be a way to meet more of our group while I'm out on the road? The blogsphere has been such a great place to ponder questions about about the important things in life (men, relationships, marriage, spirituality, favorite books, the best places to find cute shoes) it would be fun to take those chats live over coffee, wine, and chocolate martinis. We could call it the "No More Frogs" tour, or something...

So here's my thought: As it stands right now, I'll be doing events in Portland, Boston, NYC, (possibly Philadelphia), Washington DC, Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Dallas. If you live in one of these areas and have a group of women (book club, small group, girls night out crew, etc.) that might like to get together while I'm in town, drop me a line at Trishryanonline AT gmail DOT com. I have no idea if this is at all feasible, but it might be!

Addendum: I should have mentioned this before: the reason I'm not currently scheduled for other cities is because we're not that my traveling show (with or without dancers) would generate an audience there. BUT... if you are an audience-generating kind of person and know some readers in your town who would like to have the type of gathering I described above, let me know and I'll bring it up with the powers that be!

Okay, enough about me...What do you have going on this week that's really cool? Did you log 13,000 receipts for your tax docs? Conquer the flu? Prepare a meatloaf for a family of four in a toaster oven? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In case George Michael was right...

Over the past week, two different people sent me the same article from the the latest issue of The Atlantic. It's a gut-wrenching piece by Lori Gottlieb, who makes the provocative assertion that at a certain point, it's better for women to settle for a man who isn't quite right than to end up alone forever waiting for true love.

Have you seen it? It's a stunner of an essay, most notably because of the author's unquestionable credibility: she's a forty-something single mom (she had IVF a year or so back), staring down the barrel of a long life without a husband to help out with, well, anything. Suddenly, the guy she ditched because he wasn't much of a reader seems like a gem (she has no time to read now, anyway) and all the little things that made her dismiss various Mr. Maybe's over the years seem foolish and inconsequential as she faces the enormity of a life spent alone. She's amazingly candid about her realization that she's no longer in a decision making place, even in terms of settling. Instead, she's someone who (hopefully) some nice guy might someday settle for. Her words dented my heart in more ways than I can describe.

Then I heard Sheryl Crow's new CD, Detours, which was like deja vu all over again. It made me wonder if these two women synchronized their release dates, because as I hear Sheryl sing, "I could wait my whole life for this moment to come/With a long list of beautiful chances I’ve blown," it feels like the anthem to Gottlieb's essay (and, to be honest, my life up until a few years ago). Pain like this obviously makes for great writing and music, but it seems like a kind of awful thing to live with day-to-day.

I talked about this with my friend Grace, who offered an interesting perspective. She's been married for fifteen years now, but freely admits that God gets the credit for getting her through the dating maze. She described how God nudged her to end a relationship with a guy who wasn't right for her (saying something to the effect of, He's not headed to where you want to end up in life), and later urged her to stay in a relationship with Dave, the man who ultimately became her husband. She often tells the story of their tumultuous first year of dating: how Dave triggered every one of Grace's issues, how they fought, how she told him one afternoon, "If you think I'm going to fall in love with you, you've got another thing coming!" But as each of them talked to God about their tumult, they heard similar things: Hang in there. Give it a little more time. Don't give up on this. So that's what they did. Now, all these years later, they're one of the couples that inspire me to believe that marriage can still be sexy and fun as the years go by. They defy the odds.

Thinking about all of this (and my own recent experiment with trusting God with my love life, and George Michael singing cause you've got to have faith in the pilot episode of Eli Stone) gave me an idea. You can read about it here, at a new blog I set up yesterday. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in trying, drop me a line and I'll let you know when we start.

If you're curious (and brave!) you can find the Lori Gottlieb's article here.

Here's to no more kissing frogs, no more detours, and no more settling :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thoughts from the next generation

We babysat this weekend for the Niece and the Nephew. Our conversations were, to put it mildly, challenging.

The Nephew (age 7) over dinner: "Aunt Trish...are you and Uncle Steve ever going to have babies? I mean, you have a four door car!" (Practical boy, the Nephew).

My nuanced, sophisticated response? "Hey! Look at your clean plate! Would you like some cookies?" There was no way I was getting into the whole conversation about trying with him, even though he's made it perfectly clear over the past year or so that he's rather disappointed Steve and I haven't made the time to go to the baby store, pick out a cousin for him, and put it in my tummy for nine months to bake.

Then there was the Niece (age 4) at bedtime, right after I said, "Goodnight sweetie...sweet dreams...bless you!":

"Aunt Trish, what's bless you?

Me (again, revealing a deep sensitivity and attention to her spiritual development): "Um...Bless you is like saying God bless you. Okay? Great! Goodnight!"

She sat up in her bed. "But what does God bless you mean?"

"Well, it means, I hope God brings you blessings. You know, like the blessings you have: your family, your house, your dog Otis..."

"Then you have blessings, too Aunt Trish," she observed wisely. "You have THAT DOG!" She paused for a moment, gazing around at her piles of stuffed puppies. "I sure hope God brings me more blessings!" she finally said. Suddenly, I realized the deep theology lesson I'd imparted: Blessings = Dogs.

It's not entirely wrong...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A different kind of Valentine

I know I'm not the only one out there who finds today's holiday less than enchanting. I'm no Valentine's grinch, but suffice to say that I've never understood how this random day could make a difference: If you're in love, it doesn't make you feel more loved, and if you're not in love, it drills another big hole in your heart (right over the one that was finally healing from New Year's Eve).

But this morning, I found an answer I'd never considered as to how this day could truly be a day of MORE love than we had or felt yesterday: David Kuo is running an amazing challenge on his blog, and I'm thinking and praying about taking it. I don't want to jump into this lightly--I've felt surges of altruism before that faded as quickly as they came (let's all say a collective prayer of thanks that the city of Philadelphia never let me become a Big Sister back in the day--who knows where that poor girl would be?) But I wonder if entering into this type of commitment--investing in someone's life in a tangible way--might not be the key to the love I woke up looking for this morning? Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

questions + cute hiking boots = adventure

My cousin Katie came over for dinner last night. She's been living a life of adventure for the past few months, touring the country to interview fellow Notre Dame alums about the interesting things they've done since graduation (I think she also spent some time consoling them about this year's football team, but that's just a guess...) She told great stories from her travels, and even shared a vital tip about shopping for hiking boots in the boys department at Target (Size 7.5 womens=5.5 boys, in case you're wondering). I laughed for four hours.

I'm so proud of Katie for pulling this trip together--I mean, what's not to love about a gig that lets you meet dozens of new people and evaluate the relative merits of five West Coast cities in the span of a few short weeks? Very cool. Katie is my hero :)

Makes me wonder: If you could travel around the country, asking people questions, who would you talk to? What would you ask?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good Housekeeping

My new standard for when I've gone too long without dusting: We were watching the Celtics game yesterday afternoon and I couldn't tell the difference between the was all just kind of a blur...

My friend Kristina cleans her whole house every Thursday. It's not a big deal for her, it's just something she does each week, like laundry or washing the dishes. I've always wanted to run my life on that (okay, any) sort of schedule. You know, to be the women who does the entire 57-part Clinque skincare system at night before bed, changes nail polish colors on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and is never too rushed to switch to a different handbag to coordinate with her outfit before leaving the house in the morning.

Maybe the problem is that I don't leave the house most mornings, and I'm not quite sure which nail polish/handbag combo goes best with my flannel pajamas. I'm never sure what any given day will hold (today started off with me staring at an unfortunate pile in the corner of our backyard, wondering what on earth THAT DOG could possibly have eaten...) so it's hard to get on a plan. Still though, I'm always looking for ideas.

I'm all set with the dusting (When Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis look like the same guy, it's time to pull out the Pledge) but I'd love to know: how do you decide when to clean?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Can't win if you don't play...

Okay, I can't bore you all with this funky sinus thing anymore, so I've got a better idea: I'm gonna make like Rosie O'Donnell, and give some stuff away!

You can thank Holly and Lynette for this idea. Feel free to stop by their blogs and say (to Holly) "PLEASE send Trish a copy of your compass book--can't you see that girl needs direction?" and (to Lynette) "While it's true you could take Trish in 1-on-1 wrestling, if she whipped out a baton, you'd be meatloaf."

Okay, now that that's settled, here's the contest:

Like Holly, I'm going to give away a copy of HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT every month between now and it's release at the end of April (or until this cold heals, whichever comes first). I'll have shiny, pretty (froggy) copies before you can get them online or in a bookstore, and I will mail them to the winners as soon as they come off the presses, complete with some lovely words of wisdom from THAT DOG, and perhaps a fun surprise.

All you have to do is drop a note in the comments, finishing this statement:

The best thing about me is that I'm _____________________________.

(For example, my answer might read: The best thing about me is that I've stopped blogging about my post nasal drip... Sort of. )

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wise words (not mine)

I'm still foggy, still in the land of the post-nasal drip, still wondering what the heck a histamine is and whether I need to be blocking it. How is it possible that I'm too unsophisticated to understand my own medicine cabinet??? ARGH.

On a brighter note, today is Super Tuesday, with primary voting going on all across the nation. I don't usually blog about politics, because it can lead me into an ugly pit of my own worst temptations: judgment, self-righteousness, delusions of grandeur...all rather inappropriate sentiments for a girl who can't tell the difference between Benadryl and Robitussin.

But I saw this post on David Kuo's blog today, and it made me happy. It's a wise reminder of what this election is...and what it isn't. So whether you're delighted with today's outcome or disappointed, here's some hope. And that, above all, is what I need when I think about what's going on in the world right now. Here's what David had to say:

"[T]he person who wins in November...will be powerless against the great challenges we really face. They cannot touch the emptiness too many Americans feel or the depression. They cannot touch broken marriages and broken people. They cannot stop obesity. They cannot touch loneliness. They cannot really stop abortions or domestic abuse and they cannot make broken people whole. They cannot touch the neighbor across the street who is old and who has no friends. The person who wins will not be America's savior.

This is an important thing to acknowledge for political and for spiritual reasons.

Politically it is important because if our expectations of the next president are too great we will only experience crushing disappointment and that man or woman will only be tossed out of office a failed president. We have to temper our expectations.

Spiritually it is important because we cannot fall into the tempter's trap of believing politics is the answer and that if we simply do politics better or with more passion we can save the world. Politics can't save the world. God can."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lumpy Bumpy

I have a cold. My tonsils look like somebody chewed them. I'm heading back to bed in the hopes that all the grossness will just go away.

I'll be back tomorrow to gush about my new favorite TV show ever. In the meantime, though, check out this amazing NYTimes article by Laura Dave, one of my favorite authors ever.