Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not today, apparently

My wonderful husband put out the recycling last night. He was SUCH a trooper, hauling it down three flights of stairs. There was lots of it, because we'd emptied out our fridge last week before traveling, opened a few presents, etc. Plus, I'm trying to be less of a pack rat, so I decided I could probably part with a few of the 14 early drafts I still had lying around of book #1. I hemmed and hawed about recycling these because--as any writer knows--you don't really want people seeing your first attempts at something; they're usually pretty embarrassing. BUT I'm also trying to care more about the environment (which sort of goes against the whole "be less of a pack rat" goal in ways I've yet to reconcile), so I couldn't throw 42 trees worth of paper into the trash (and yes, before you ask: I had printed on both sides). I reassured myself that no one would ever see them because they'd go straight into the truck the next day before dawn, and stuffed pages upon pages into that blue container.

I just got home from running errands. When I pulled onto my street, I made a grim discovery: today is NOT recycling day. What today is, on the other hand, is windy. Very, very windy--like a tornado in Chicago. Because of this, our stuff--including every page of those 14 early drafts--is now strewn out across our sidewalk, down the street, and into the lawns of all our neighbors. Given our peculiar location, it's entirely possible that our abandoned paper now covers three different cities in the greater Boston region.

It's going to be a longish afternoon.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Put a laptop in this bear's paws (and a giant mug of coffee by his side) and this is me for the next month. I keep telling myself that a publishing deadline is a gift, not a chore, and it's the truth. I LOVE having this opportunity, even though it feels risky and impossible right now. Like almost anything I've ever done that mattered, the work standing between me and my goal seems insurmountable. I've been here before--final exams in college, studying for the bar exam the summer after law school, trying to plan a wedding in two months. It's usually the most important things that seem completely unattainable. But here's what else I know: in the words of my friend Jon from law school (who used to nap while watching televised golf while the rest of us studied frantically), Things tend to get done.

I may have blogged about this before (probably around the time of my last impending deadline), but I'm happy to report that this maxim has never failed me. I'm leaning on it now. And in the moments I start to doubt, I remind myself of another bit of smart advice I heard from a guy I know: What is impossible with people is possible with God.

(When I woke up this morning, I told God that if he wants to stop by the cave sometime soon, I'm happy to squish over and make some room...)

With 2009 on the horizon, what are your impossible possibilities?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good News, Great Advice

I found this yesterday, and it's kept me singing ever since:

Seriously, how fun is this song? I loved this movie when I was a little girl (although I can't help but wonder about how differently things might have gone for me had Kris Kringle mentioned--even in passing--that the direction we walk in makes a HUGE difference?) and it's interesting to see it through new eyes now that I am officially a grown-up. I think I'll make it my theme song for 2009.

Feel free to sing along :)

The second most exciting news I've received this week.

Have you seen this? THE BEDAZZLER IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!

When I was growing up, the Bedazzler was the one gift I longed for more than any other. It was a Christmas-only offering, part of a line of products by a company called Ronco. With Ronco, anything was possible: you could make elegant glassware from old soda bottles, scramble an egg inside its own shell, fashion potholders from worn-out sweaters...every craft dream you never had was within reach at Christmas, for just $19.95 + shipping and handling. But the best of all was this plastic gadget that allowed you to let your sparkly self shine through as you added rhinestones and sequins to your very own jeans, sweaters and jackets. I wanted one in the worst way.

Year after year, though, my parents told Santa to ignore this item on my wish list. We lived in Maine, and I was plenty bedazzled for those parts as it was. Mom and Dad saw how I'd be ostracized if I added sequins and rhindstones to my Fair Isle sweaters and plaid flannel shirts, and tried to head me off at the pass.

Ultimately, though, sparkle prevailed. My teen years were the late 1980s, which were the height of bedazzling, and once I was old enough to earn my own money, there were many catalogs willing to send me clothing that was pre-bedazzled. (Once in high school English class, my friend Matt put down my name as the definition for one of our vocabulary words. The word? Festooned.)

I'm heading back to Maine for Christmas, and the only sparkle will be in my eye. But who knows...maybe THIS year, Santa will bring me the Bedazzler? And in these economically challenging times, shouldn't we all ask ourselves: "Why buy new clothes when you can Bedazzle the ones you have?"

Here's to sparkle power...have a Merry Christmas :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Playing Tag While I Ideate

My fabulous Jersey girl Jen tagged me. So here, for your reading enjoyment, are seven things you might not know about me. I'm a little baffled about what to write, given that I share almost everything here--once you've admitted to pulling your favorite hair clip out of the toilet, really, how much more is left to tell? But I'll give it a try.

1. I used to have nightmares and walk in my sleep. My sister was a trooper about this, always cheerful when I'd wake her at 3am to check my closet for evil intruders. (Once, I even asked her to investigate a giant pile of laundry in the middle of my floor. Because that's what evil intruders do, right? They burrow down in the laundry...) I am happy to report that this doesn't happen anymore--either the sleep walking or letting the laundry pile high enough that someone could hide there.

2. I'm listening to a podcast right now about male/female relationships, and the speaker just said that it's now common for junior high boys to have a picture of their girlfriend, in the natural, on their cell phones. I know this is supposed to upset me. But thinking back to myself in those days--the braces, the home perm, the strange pockets of chub bursting forth all over my body without warning--I can't help but wonder if that particular picture might have curbed teen "exploration" for at least a decade? Just a thought.

3. THAT DOG has acne. Not on her face. On her leg. What creature gets leg acne???

4. Toilet paper must come up over the top of the roll. I'm fairly certain the rotation of our planet depends upon our getting this right.

5. I stopped eating wheat the week before Thanksgiving because I was tired of buying Excedrin in bulk to fend off a never ending sinus headache. It's gone pretty well so far, but WOW, there are some scary websites and blogs out there on this topic. Apparently, wheat particles lurk everywhere--even on doorknobs. I'm not sure what to make of this.

6. A little sticker on our car says we next need to get our oil changed at 59,740 miles. Which is totally amazing, given that the car only has 7,514 miles on it. THAT, my friends, is some serious oil they gave us! (Or alternatively, there's some other Toyota driver cruising around greater Boston wondering how they're 52,000 miles past due...)

7. I took this cool test last night to determine my strengths. If you're looking for a fun change of pace to get you thinking about what's possible in your life, this is well worth the $14. One of my strengths is that I'm an "ideator," which reminds me of the IBM commercial where the executives cleared all the tables out of the conference room and are lying on the floor trying "to ideate." I know the commercial was meant as a slam, but every time I see it, I think, "That would be a GREAT way to work!"

I'm asking Santa to bring me one of those cozy neck pillows for Christmas :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A purely theoretical question

Say you accidentally flushed your favorite hair clip down the toilet...
But, miracle of miracles, the toilet sent it back to you (almost like you were meant to have it!) with the new water. Would you:

a.) Wash the clip in your favorite antibacterial soap and thank God for plastic-resistant plumbing? or
b.) Throw the clip away and lament its loss forever?

(Did I mention that it's your FAVORITE hair clip?)

Monday, December 15, 2008

An Absurd Dilemma

There's a book I want to buy. Through a weird set of circumstances involving bookstore supply and coupon opportunity, I can get this book in either hardcover or paperback for the exact same price.

Here's where it gets embarrassing: Last night when we were out shopping, I was so stumped by this "predicament" (and I know: how big a problem can it be if there's no downside?) that I left the bookstore without buying either copy.

(And admitting this is in keeping with what I told a blogger friend recently about how I come up with something new to post about each day: "I just think of the stupidest thing I've done in the past 24 hours," I told him, "and write about that...." With this system, I never lack material.)

What would you have done?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Philosophical Thursday

Question: If you had these two choices about how your life would go, which would you pick?

Life #1: Leisurely, luxurious & slightly dull

Life #2: Adventurous, fulfilling & filled with people and situations that drive you up a tree

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Now we know

If you're a Facebook friend, you know I had a little culinary learning experience yesterday. One should not, it turns out, mix cottage cheese in with scrambled eggs. There are few things grosser than CURDS (which are rather gross on their own) subjected to high heat.

The results were sufficiently disgusting that I think some sort of legal duty to warn attaches to my actions, so consider yourself informed.

I'm off to make some oatmeal. It might be bland, but at least it's not dangerous.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A rectangular package tucked under the tree = Christmas happiness

If you're looking to give books as gifts this year (and really, why wouldn't you be? A book is simply the best gift EVER) Borders is offering a buy one/get one at half-price deal this week that rather rocks. I suspect that if you Google "Border's Rewards" it will link you to the coupon.

I have big plans for my coupon. On my great-gifts shopping list:

DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME: A NOVEL by Jancee Dunn (for friends who lived through the 1980s with me)

THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: ONE GRUMP'S SEARCH FOR THE HAPPIEST PLACES IN THE WORLD by Eric Weiner (for someone I love who loves to travel and loves to laugh, but doesn't actually get out much)

by Patricia Wood (for everyone who needs hope. This may just be the best story ever written about the unlikely triumph of the good over evil.)

TIME OF MY LIFE: A NOVEL by Allison Winn Scotch (for my friend who thinks Mr. Right got away)

LIFE'S A CAMPAIGN: WHAT POLITICS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT FRIENDSHIP, RIVALRY, REPUTATION AND SUCCESS by Chris Matthews (for an entrepreneur I know who wants to understand people and teamwork better).

DREAMING WITH GOD by Bill Johnson (for a spiritually-inclined friend who needs reassurance that how things are today isn't how they'll always be).

THE MIDDLE PLACE: A MEMOIR by Kelly Corrigan (if the funds allowed, I'd buy this for every Irish person I know. Given that my maiden name is Patricia Clark, though, you can see why I'll need to make some choices).

THE CURE FOR MODERN LIFE: A NOVEL by Lisa Tucker (for my friend who lives in Philly and will recognize all the landmarks, AND be encouraged by a story of how unorthodox choices can lead to good things)

In this spirit of Christmas book glee, I'm wondering if I can't offer something even better than Borders?

The other day I met a woman who said she'd given my book to a friend who had lost her hope of happily ever after. This got me thinking: if you know someone like this (or you ARE someone like this) and would like a copy of HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT for Christmas, email me your address (Trishryanonline AT gmail DOT com). I have a few author copies left, and it would be fun to add them to the Christmas cheer :)

What's on your Christmas book wishlist?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Increasing the cost of air

The good news is that we bought a humidifier this weekend, so when I woke up this morning I did not have to use my fingers to forcibly open my dried-shut eyes.

The bad news is that through some strange twist in the economy of home appliances, humidifiers now cost about the same as what I paid for my first semester of law school.

What's up with that?

There was one choice with a lower price tag: It was a cute pig humidifier, with an .08 gallon tank that shoots steam out the pig's nose. It was only $40, and I'd have named it Baloney, which would have made me giggle on and off for at least three days. But I suspect that refilling Baloney every 45 minutes would have shortened the duration of his charm, and winter is LONG here in Cambridge. So we went with the more expensive model--it has no name, and no nose; it's altogether devoid of comedic value. Today, instead of giggling, I'm breathing deeply of our newly moistened air, seeing dollar signs of how much we paid per breath...

I still might name the thing Baloney. That's the first non-expletive that comes to mind when I consider the new cost of steam.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How not to be annoying

Gretchen Rubin, my favorite happiness expert, has a post on her blog called, "7 Tips to Avoid Annoying Other People." It's priceless, in no small part due to Gretchen's acute recognition that it's tough to be truly happy if everyone who meets you feels the immediate urge to roll their eyes and complain. But the best, best, bestest line in the post--the one that makes me want to claim Gretchen as my new BFF--is this self-aware statement: "As a person who scores low on Agreeableness, I'm not naturally very considerate."

How can you not love someone this forthcoming? I'm afraid to take the test, but I suspect I'm a low-agreeableness girl myself. Gretchen gives me hope.

So lets dish: what's the thing you find annoying...about yourself?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The secret life of girls

I just read this provocative article by social commentator/controversial boat-rocker Caitlin Flanagan. It made me fall in love with being a girl all over again. I haven't read the Twilight series yet, and probably won't get to it for awhile (I'm still recovering from last weekend's Lord of the Rings marathon, and I just spilled oatmeal on my computer. It hardened like a rock and will likely take me the rest of the day to clean off...) But this article makes me see why my friend, Up With People Girl loved these stories. It's not so much that we're curious about vampires; it's that we're curious about love.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I might be Enchanted, but I don't want that ring

We watched the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. It was both spectacular and completely exhausting. (I'll go out on a limb and say that Peter Jackson could have used some editorial assistance on the third installment: four and a half hours is too long for ANY movie...especially when every emotional moment is dragged out in slow motion.)

That said though, the message of the story--the hundreds of little battles between good and evil each of us face as we try to get to our version of "Happiness in The Shire"? Amazing.

As I searched for a picture to illustrate this post, I was surprised to see websites like this one, where you can order a LOTR ring of your very own. Have these people seen the movie??? The whole point is that the ring will destroy you. Why would anyone order their own destruction over the internet?

(Actually, never mind...That's a much bigger question than I'm ready to wrestle with today...)

On a lighter note, on Saturday night, Steve went to the Bruins/Redwings game and I stayed home and broke up all the Hobbit watching with a girly diversion: the movie Enchanted. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Isn't it interesting how the prince isn't always who we think he'll be???