Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008: Year of the Frog

Does this mean 2009 will be the year of the Prince?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blog from the fog

I'm having one of those "too foggy to blog" days, so I thought I'd just post a basic update, and invite you to do the same. Here are two tidbits about life in Trishville:

I spoke at a meeting of Moms today. It was amazing, and fun, and totally daunting. I mean...I'm not yet a Mom, and I don't play one on TV. I'm an AUNT, which means I know all about creating fun and havoc, then handing children back to the people who made them when diapers need to be changed, but not so much about actual parenting. The good news, though: I made it through the whole session without suggesting: "If crate training works for dogs, should we consider it for children???" I think the Moms appreciated this.

Saturday, we bought a new bed. To replace the trillion-dollar catastrophe we purchased right after our wedding. We've long thought the older one must be defective, given that it has giant craters on either side where we sleep, and a huge lump in the middle. (When THAT DOG jumps up on the bed to hang out with us, she looks like the Queen of Sheba, surveying us from on high...) But when we mentioned this to the not-at-all-helpful guy at the furniture-store-we-don't-ever-want-to-revisit, he said, "Oh! That's burrowing. People LOVE to burrow when they sleep!" I was like, "I'm not a ferret...I don't burrow."

New bed comes Friday. There will be rejoicing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I ordered 20 copies of my book from Amazon yesterday, for an event I'll be speaking at next week. As promised, they shipped them immediately...

One by one.

How is this possible?

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm less of a loser if I help you win big!

So I had planned to blog about how I almost came to blows with the salesman at the mattress store yesterday after he said he wouldn't sell us a mattress without a box spring. (We already have a box spring; a new one can't possibly bring me $600 worth of enjoyment, no matter what he suggests to the contrary while standing on various box springs around the store trying to make some sort of convoluted point...)

But then I saw this post on Allison Winn Scotch's blog and thought, This is far more interesting then my mattress woes...why not love my blog readers enough to send them there?

So there you have it! Head over, enter to win a copy of Allison's new book, Time of My Life, and tell us: what is your "What if?" life moment?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Three hours? No problem!

I had the fun--and slightly terrifying--opportunity to teach a writing class at Grub Street last night. Grub Street is THE writing organization here in Greater Boston, offering classes, writing groups, conferences, galas--it's an amazing organization. So when they asked me to expand the short talk I gave at the Muse and the Marketplace conference in the Spring on Memoir: Behind the Scenes into a three-hour class, of course I said yes.

And then yesterday afternoon around 4pm, I thought, Oh--what have I done?

Three hours is rather a long time. I tried to remember the last time I sat through a three hour class--if ever? All I came up with was the soul-sucking tedium of Bar Review, in that long summer of my life between law school and taking the bar exam, where android lawyers from distant cities lectured us via video hookup on the never-ending intricacies of Civil Procedure. I remember sitting there in that classroom, staring at the video monitor, thinking "I hate you. I simply hate you..." Good times.

Here's what I forgot, though, and was reminded of the minute last night's class began: I hated being a lawyer, even before I was one. But I love being a writer. I think that makes a difference. The class was filled with fun, interesting people. They inspired me, reminding me what a cool thing it is to write, to wrestle our personal experiences into stories that might entertain or inspire others. It was a great experience--almost enough to push that whole "studying for the bar" debacle out of my mind :)

And I had a secret going into the class which gave me an extra shot of courage: our awesome blog friend Stacy (you probably know her as the girl with the minions) sent me a gorgeous necklace the other day. It was a thank-you for an interview we did together for her awesome online magazine, Halfway Down The Stairs. I was surprised, and touched beyond belief. I wore the necklace last night, as a little reminder that this writing life is filled with unexpected benefits (I'm even hokey enough to call them blessings). It connects us to cool people we wouldn't meet any other way. And last night's class continued to prove this true.

If you're a blogger, you're a writer, and therefore part of this. So let me say now: Thank you :)

Pretty cool, huh?

Here's a link to my interview with Stacy. (That it's in the magazine's "Bon Appetit!" edition strikes me as rather ironic, given my culinary ineptitude, but maybe it's a sign of things to come???)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wanted: Sheep, Numbered 1-1,000

What do you do when you're plenty tired, but your brain is so full you can't sleep?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reading and Writing (Absolutely no Arithmetic)

I read two great books this weekend. (It was raining, and I'm not much for college football.) First, Don't You Forget About Me, a first novel by Jancee Dunn. If any part of your adolescence coincided with the bizarre decade that was the 1980s, you will love this book. My favorite thing about Jancee's writing is that she doesn't just talk about all the funny fashion and music choices we made back then, she captures the feelings in a way that is spot-on. Reading this story was like being transported back to my own high school experience, and then snapping back to the present quickly enough to appreciate that while that was a wild ride, it's not something I'd ever want to go through again!

The second was the final Harry Potter book. This series might be the best take on the supernatural battle between good and evil I've seen in recent fiction, and book #7 is the most intense. I won't give anything away, except to say this: It's possible (even preferable) to get through the entire book without giving a whit about Dumbledore's romantic preferences.

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately, specifically the question of what keeps us motivated. I look at authors with two, three (seven, twelve...) books on the shelf and wonder, what does it take to sustain that kind of inspiration/persperation over the long haul? So I emailed some of them, and I'll be sharing their thoughts here this week.

But I'd love your thoughts, too, because we're all so different.
So if you're inclined, tell me:
What was something you did recently that was really hard that you didn't HAVE to do?
What kept you going?
Was it worth it?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thanks, but no

Has anyone else seen the new body lotion commercial with the tag line, "Shouldn't YOUR skin be soft like yogurt?" Or did I fall asleep on the couch and dream it?

I hope it's the latter. Because really, it's hard for me to imagine what kind of exhausted minds would base a marketing campaign for skin care around a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation? Not to mention that, when I dream of what my skin will feel like at it's optimal best, goopy and runny are not the words that come to mind...

Is it just me?

(Thanks to the fine folks at Wikipedia for helping me get my yogurt facts straight, and providing the lovely picture.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Plans...

We were up laaaaate last night, watching the Red Sox. I won't talk about how the game turned out, because it's too grim to recount. Instead, this will be a rose-colored glasses/lemon from my lemonade kinda post about the rest of the night, where my friend Francesca and I cooked up big plans to save (a teeny, tiny portion of) the world.

It started at 9:49am with an email that said, "Rob and I have extra Red Sox tickets, wanna come to the game tonight?" (For those of you who live outside New England, this is the rough equivalent to asking, "I just found all this extra cash we can't use, wanna go shopping at Mercedes?")

Naturally, I said yes. I had a secret motive, you see.

In this picture, we look all happy and innocent, just two girls enjoying America's favorite pastime with our husbands (wait, that sounds entirely different than what I meant...and REALLY different that what's in the picture...) But the t-shirts and cheering were just a cover for our REAL mission: We're planning to stage a coup (and I'm not too proud to admit that if I hadn't found that word in my Webster's Misspeller's Dictionary, I would have anounced we were staging a coo...taking on the powers that be by attacking them with soft, soothing noises...)

We're not plotting to take over the whole world...just a very small corner of it. Specifically, the corner occupied by members of our college class. You see, the most recent edition of our college alumni magazine just came out. It offers page after page of facinating descriptions of the things members of other classes are doing: feeding the poor, solving illiteracy, discovering a cure for the common cold.... And then there's the news of our class: No one sent anything in, so the poor girl saddled with our class notes had to tell us about how her recently adopted cat got spayed.

The biggest accomplishment of our class is that one of our members is a responsible pet owner???

Pitiful. So much so Fresca and I have decided to TAKE ACTION. Members of our college class: Be ready! (Because seriously, unless you spay your cat yourself, you shouldn't have to put the news in the Quarterly.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Write Now

I'm thinking about writing for a class I'll be teaching next week.

Do you like writing? I mean writing in the general, everyday sense, rather than WRITING (which is what we do when we think people--rather than friends or loved ones--will be reviewing our efforts).

Tell me: What's something you've written in the past day or so: a grocery list, labels for file folders, descriptions for the pics in your online photo album???

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is your brain...described in food

I just read this great post on The Dude Abides. I liked it so much that I even copied Cathleen's illustration, because it's simply too awesome not to have on my blog. (I'm justifying this thievery with the axiom imitation = flattery.) The post describes Cathleen's experience with how our our brains--specifically the differences between the left and right sides--can affect our experience of the world around us. Interesting stuff.

And if you're squeamish (like me), kinda gross.

Here's why: The post includes a video of a winsome neurologist/stroke survivor...holding a human brain. Suffice to say that I may never again able to chop up a head of cauliflower...

(It could be worse, though: I just read an essay by a father who complains that since seeing one of those "This is Your Brain On Drugs" commercials when she was six, his youngest daughter still won't eat eggs.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Follow the leader

I have to admit, it's taking everything I have not to blog about the twists, turns, and dramatic revelations of our ongoing Presidential election. The past month has been like a reality TV show, where each new episode features a character doing something that astonishes and/or horrifies me. But because so many awesome writers are already filling pages with articles, op-ed pieces, and blogs about the bizarre state of our Union, I'll back away from the keyboard...

Except to ask this (because I'm curious how other people sort out all the information coming at us): Do you think it's fair to write someone off because you just don't like them as a person? Or because what you see in their personal lives (rather than their political record) indicates that their priorities are vastly different from yours, and that they seem to lack the character you'd want to be led by?

Here's why I'm asking: I've had some interesting experiences with following different types of leaders (if you've read my book, you know about one bestselling New age author in particular, not to mention a disaster of a first husband) whose personal lives turned out to different than what you'd expect based on their shiny public appearance. Ever since then, I've looked at potential leaders with two very specific questions:

1. Do I want to go where they're going?
2. Do I want to end up where they are?

And when I ask this, it's not based entirely on their position regarding potential amendments to the Constitution, or which decisions are best left to local government, but also their personal life: the interrelationships between the people and situations and circumstances closest to them.

Does this play a role for you as you're picking leaders to follow?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Secret swimmer man

I drove up to Maine today to take my Mom out for a birthday breakfast and my sister out for a "Your cold isn't that bad, is it?" lunch. Fun stuff.

On my way home, I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to the beach to ponder deep things about the meaning of life, etc. That's when I saw this guy down in the water:

I don't know if you can see from this distance (I was trying to be stealth like Swishy with my camera) but he had on swim trunks, goggles, and...a scuba hood?!? He kept staring up at the beach, then diving into the waves over and over again. Clearly, it was a happy moment for him. I felt kind of bad watching, but he was RIGHT in front of where I was sitting; there was only so much staring out over the horizon I could do.

If you have any idea what this might mean about the meaning of life, let me know, cause I'm stumped...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Beleaguered Chef

I'm cooking. A casserole. It calls for a cup of Miracle Whip (don't judge!)
The fancy measuring gadget someone gave us as a gift is reversible--one end measures liquid, the other solid.

Is Miracle Whip a liquid or a solid?
Does it matter?
It doesn't look like it matters.

(This is why I'm not a foodie. I can't handle the technicalities of a 1970s casserole...)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tennis anyone?

I love the U.S. Open.
I love that I used to think John McEnroe was a complete idiot, and now he's one of the best commentators in television.
I love that you can be ranked 132 in the world, have the match of your life, and send the top seed home early.
I love that rowdy fans cheer for their favorite players, creating fan clubs like "The J Block" and "The Fish Tank."
I love Payton and Eli Manning threatening to take out the Williams sisters in that Oreo Cookie commercial.
Really, I love it all.

I went to the U.S. Open once, back when I was a lawyer. Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi, and I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brooke Shields, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Billy Joel in the stands. I felt pretty fancy. I took approximately 1,000 pictures, wanting to remember everything forever. Unfortunately, the film development place did something funky, and superimposed my Christmas pictures from earlier on the roll over the top of my U.S. Open pictures. Which means I now have dozens of shots that look like my 1-year old nephew opening gifts in the middle of Louis Armstrong Stadium....


I dream of being organized enough to go back. It's not difficult, or even all that expensive in the early rounds. But it requires more thinking in advance than I've been able to pull off so far. I think the problem is that the U.S. Open is my gateway into this new season: until I see it on TV, I'm in complete denial that summer is ending. These two weeks of tennis ease my transition, so that by the time the champions are declared next weekend, I'll be ready to move on to the first great activity of autumn: back to school shopping :)

My picks this year? Andy Roddick and Venus Williams.
(If my record with the Olympics offers any indication of my predictive abilities, they'll both be out by the end of the next round...)