Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Wizard of Woz

I'm not much of a fan of Dancing with the Stars...as I said in one of my Facebook posts, it's pretty much The Love Boat with more feathers and less water. BUT THEN I saw The Woz, and everything changed.

Two weeks ago, I was channel surfing and saw Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder (and contestant who looks most like an apple), dance like nothing I'd ever seen before. Because of him, this show is must-see-TV for me. He's simply fabulous. (They even showed him in rehearsal, asking for "a five minute thinking break." That's priceless!)

If you're having a rough day, bookmark this video. It's guaranteed to make you giggle:

Go Woz!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009


We were hanging out with friends this weekend. After dinner, they pulled out the board game Balderdash, where you try to make up crazy (but convincing) definitions to all sorts of words most of us have never heard of. It was SO fun.

It reminded me of how much I love these sorts of games, the ones that let you use your grown-up brain in a little-kid sort of way. Pictionary, Cranium--anything that forces you to be creative. Plus, they make you laugh really, really hard, which I count as aerobic exercise.

So...I am timidly contemplating giving up TV for a few months. Not forever, but just for a little while to see what happens in life when I don't have that to lean on. I will probably make an exception for the next season of So You Think You Can Dance, and Red Sox games on Sunday afternoons. But there will be rainy Saturdays, and random Thursday nights with nothing much to do--the perfect chance to increase my board game skill. But which games?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tips for Unitasking?

I must stop multitasking. I've spent all of 2009 so far in a frenzied blur of good intentions and half finished projects, darting from one thing to the next like a spastic chameleon who can't decide what color she wants to be on any given day (or any given five minutes, for that matter).

Think I'm exaggerating? In the past ten minutes, I went from reading an Anna Quindlen article about how to write both fiction and non-fiction (an article I clearly need to read, given than today I haven't written much of either) to suddenly remembering that my hair needs gel so it doesn't frizz up, to pouring cold water on the eggs I just boiled, to thinking, "I have to focus...but first, this might make a good blog post..." And so goes my day.

I think things got truly out of hand when we put the condo on the market. There's ALWAYS something when you're in the middle of that--every mark has to be scoured off the counter now, every shed bit of fur from THAT DOG swept immediately. Not to mention the mind games of what your possessions might say to people who come through ("Omigosh I have to hide that copy of The Purpose Driven Life or people will think my life has no purpose!") (And yes, I'm aware that there's some potent metaphor in there about our hidden lives and how we all need to pursue inner and outer synchronicity, blah blah blah, but I'll save that for another day). But even now that we have a great buyer (who may or may not care in any way about my book collection or what drives me) I can't seem to shake the frantic distractedness.

Help! How do you NOT multitask? How do you complete one thing (reading an article, making lunch) without getting distracted and sucked into twelve others?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The World Awaits

I got a fun package in the mail the other day. It was from my friends Ryan and Cameron, guys I met probably 4 or 5 years ago. Our meeting is funny for me to remember, actually, because when I asked them what they did for a living and they said, "We're musicians," I'm quite sure I gave them that barely-concealed, oh-isn't-that-nice-that-you're-manifesting-your-destiny eye roll reaction (the same one people give me when I say, "I'm a writer.") I figured they were your typical wannabes--nice, fabulous, awesome guys--but wannabes nonetheless. You know, like Landry on Friday Night Lights, practicing with his terrible band in his parents' garage.

So you can imagine how shocked I was when I went to hear them play, and they let fly with this:

Amazing, right?

That's when I learned that they have four (now five) CDs out, tour all over North America, the whole deal. Um, not exactly Landry in his parents' garage!

Their band is Ryanhood. The package they sent was their latest CD, The World Awaits. It's amazing. Check out Back Into Blue (my current favorite) and the title track. Goosebumps. It's like they GET the full range of emotions that goes through most of us in any given day, and they've somehow captured it in these songs.

If you're a writer, this is music to write to.

It's reminding me of that quote by a famous dancer (whose name I can't remember right now) about how we're each here to create something, and unless we do the work to create it, the world will be less than what it should be. Good (and hard, but hard in a good way) to remember.

"Go! The world awaits you..."

Thanks guys!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Flash

So I'm walking into the Mall the other day to buy an assortment of unfun but necessary things, and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. You see, I've been trying to be more careful with what I eat, and it seemed to be paying off--I could feel my jeans hanging low on my hips, fitting in an entirely different way than they did the last time I'd worn them. As I got close to the door, it actually felt like my pants might fall off, which seemed bizarre--I mean, how much weight could I have lost in one week? Still though, there was a bit of a happy saunter to my step.

Then I saw my reflection in the door. My pants felt like they were practically falling off because they were COMPLETELY UNDONE. The hook & eye thing at my waist had unhooked, the zipper was down, and the only thing that kept the whole world from knowing what came between me and my Calvins is the fact that I had my t-shirt tucked in under my sweater.

When I fastened my jeans (which is REALLY hard to do subtly in a mall parking lot in front of the door) they fit exactly the way they did before.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Secrets to Happiness

I am thrilled and slightly depressed...it's only March, but I think I've already found my favorite book of the year.

I've been waiting for Sarah Dunn's follow-up to The Big Love for what feels like forever, so the odds of it disappointing me were high. It soooooo didn't! Secrets to Happiness is one of those amazing, subtle, deep, real stories that pulled me in and wouldn't let me go. I didn't want it to. I felt like I knew these characters. Their reactions and choices made sense even when I knew, as the reader who can see into everyone's minds at once, that they were heading for disaster. Two days later, I still feel this bizarre longing to hop on a train to NYC and visit my new friends, just to see how everyone is doing.

One random thing that shouldn't be important but (if Amazon reviews mean anything) is: The dog on the cover is not part of the story. There are two dogs, but not this dog. If it helps you to know this, then I'm all for helping to set expectations accordingly.

Hope this helps make your March weekend a little bit happier :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thanks for the offer, but no.

Monday, I got an official-looking letter in the mail. It was from a collections agency that said they'd been assigned my outstanding debt to Verizon Wireless and were authorized to offer me a negotiated settlement. The terms they laid out were that they'd cut my debt of $198.07 by 50%. To accept this offer, I was to send them a check or my credit card number, and the matter would be taken care of promptly.

Quite a deal, right? EXCEPT that I don't have an outstanding debt (of any amount) to Verizon Wireless. I've never even had a Verizon Wireless account. And what's truly pitiful about this was that I didn't even realize that I don't have a Verizon Wireless account until Steve came home and pointed it out. The letter had me so freaked out, I assumed I must have missed a bill somewhere along the line. Thank God for his level headed reminder, "Um, Trish--we're with AT &T..."

Is this the new scam in these dire economic times? Are evil people sending out fraudulent collections letters, figuring that some folks have so many of these coming in that any deal offering a 50% discount sounds like a bargain (especially if it's in a small amount, say under $100) so they'll blindly send checks and okay credit card payments? That's just evil.

Fortunately, we're in the middle of mortgage stuff for our move, so I have a recent copy of my credit report handy. I looked it over to make sure no one was doing anything funky with my identity. After that was all clear, I started fuming.

Here's my question, in case any of you know: am I supposed to do anything with this letter, or report it some how? Or can I just deep-six it and move on with life?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Check out this fun interview with me and the lovely Susan (wait, should it be the lovely Susan and I??? Oh well, whatever...) about the paperback release of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not in this month's edition of Wow--Women On Writing. Thankfully, she didn't ask me about grammar, but she did have some fun questions about motivation, writing about people you know, and other memoir-y topics. Yay!

(That has to be my record for the most links in one sentence. Not sure why that feels like such an accomplishment, but hey--any excuse to celebrate!)

Speaking of which...Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am an Irish girl, and named after the great man Patrick himself, so this might be a great day of revelry and merriment for me...if not for the fact that after a long New England winter, the color green makes me look rather purple. So I'll be lifting up a mojito in July :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

No need for therapy

Here's my new discovery: The answer to the March blahs is...


These are not the actual puppies who effectuated my psychic rescue yesterday, just the closest approximation I could find online. But still, you get the idea, right? It is absolutely impossible to feel blah when you see creatures like this wrestling each other so enthusiastically that they don't notice the big hole THAT DOG dug, fall right in, and keep wrestling. Sigh :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Simple or Complex?

I'm thinking about simplicity today. Not in the usual way--truth be told, the whole "live simply" thing drives me a bit bananas. I've spent most of my adult life looking for excitement. Exciting things are rarely simple, and I don't buy for a second the idea that organized closets really make us all that happy. Sure, we can find things easily when they're folded and labeled (we're selling our condo right now and have unexpected showings all the time, so I'm test-driving a pared-down and organized world that would make Julie Morgenstern proud) but how much does that really matter if we don't have interesting, captivating things to do, work on, fret or dream about? I think deep down, I like things complex.

And yet in small doses, I get the simple pleasure idea. I think yesterday's Barry Manilow post was part of that. But it can't be the whole thing--I mean, Mr. Manilow probably has a complex and interesting life, he doesn't just sit by the window all day singing "Mandy" or "Two Ships that Passed in the Night," right?

Not sure what my point is here, but that's today's deep thought of eternal significance :)

Maybe someday if I start a magazine, I'll call it Real Complex. (Although now that I see it in writing, that looks like something for people recovering from their inner child wounds. Never mind...)

Are you simple or complex? Do you like it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

At the Copa...

Those of you following me on Twitter know that I've been in a bit of a musical time warp lately, humming Barry Manilow tunes under my breath and thanking God I work at home where no one else can hear me. Mock all you want, but the guy knows how to pen a catchy tune, and in these gray days of March I'm all about anyone singing about Daybreak and letting the sun shine, shine, shine all around the world.

I received flowers on Saturday night--completely out of the blue--and I'm amazed by how much they've sustained me after spring hinted at it's arrival and then dove back under three days of weather than only the U.S. Postal Service enjoys. I don't know much about flowers; I can't identify many beyond a basic rose or tulip. But I'm really surprised by how happy this bouquet on my desk has made me over the past few days. It's like a visual reminder that this is just a gloomy season--it's not forever, spring ALWAYS comes--and that color like this will soon burst out all over the place. Let's just say that I'm ready for a burst of color.

The flowers are starting to get that musty smell now, so I think today is the last day of their reign in my office. But it's been nice having this pick-me-up to, well, pick me up.

In the midst of this, I'm reading a collection of essays by David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide last September. It reminds me that none of our pick-me-ups last forever, that we all need to find that thing that keeps us going long-term. I wish DFW had stuck around. I would have worked hard to finagle some sort of conversation with him--I mean, he conducted press interviews with big-name publicity outlets at his local KMart after one of his books came out. That's just funny. Instead, I'm reading everything he put to paper, and thinking about how capturing thoughts like this creates a legacy, no matter when or how your life ends. Grim, but strangely encouraging. Especially when I'm humming, Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...

Okay, let's end on a happy note: What's your favorite Barry Manilow tune?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

And she's back

I spent the weekend at a women's conference. It was one of those times I suspect I'll look back on in terms of "before" and "after," as I went there in one of those obnoxious, snotty moods that are almost ubiquitous here in March--frustrated, angry, certain that God had lost my file, wondering what on earth my life was about and quite sure that none of the scheduled speakers had anything at all helpful to say. You might say I was a bit attitudinal on that first night.

Then I spent three days having my attitudinal doors blown off. I'm a happier camper now, thanks to a host of of recalibrating realizations, wise words, and encouraging (and butt-kicking) conversations to get me back on track.

Today, the sun was shining, most of the snow had melted, and I'm looking at flowers some very loving friends surprised me with last night. It's good to be back :)

What do you do to get through the end of winter?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Tax Man Cometh

I'm working on our taxes today. For writers, this is quite a process, especially in a year you have a book come out. The good thing is that there is income to report (YAY!!!) and expenses to deduct. The challenge is wrestling all those little receipts into some sort of order so that I'm not that frazzled woman with an overflowing shoebox full of paper when we head into the accountant's office.

I may download that Beatles tune to keep me company--both for the jaunty, stay-awake rhythm and the reminder that however complicated my taxes might be, Paul McCartney's are worse.

This is the one day a year where I voluntarily do math. Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spelling it right seems like the first step

I'm reading a book called A Resilient Life this morning. It's inspiring--a gentleman in his mid-60s talking about the way good, hard everyday decisions pay off in the long run, giving us the strength, stamina and overall je ne sais quoi that lead to that sense of liking who and what we are as we get older.

He talks about how a family friend once identified a "quitter gene" in his lineage, and how since that day he's spent a fair amount of energy resisting that tendency to give up. What's provocative (to me at least) is that all his hard work has been totally worth it, at least from his perspective. He's achieved many of the goals he set out for his life, enjoys good relationships with family and friends, and has a sense of overall fulfillment that we don't hear much about these days.

He asks this provocative question: What if satisfaction is more important than enjoyment in the long view of life?

The things that lead to satisfaction--discipline, forgiveness (asking for and giving), hard work, doggedness--seldom offer much in the way of immediate enjoyment. But they pay off in the long run with tangible results short term enjoyment can't offer. Books written. Teeth shiny. Body fit. Mind alive. (Okay, I know that's a strange list, but I'm just sort of blabbing this all out before I loose my grip on it and revert to something easy like how THAT DOG seems to be enjoying the new season of The Real Housewives of NYC).

I want those things. But I battle the quitter thing, too. I'm not sure if it's genetics or simple laziness, but I can feel intertia pushing me, suggesting that perhaps tomorrow I might do this or that hard thing, but for today I should just relax...

Here's the question: am I willing to do the the hours of time in front of the computer with just a page and my thoughts (rather than my crew of blogger/facebook/twitter friends) that need to happen to write a third book? The gazillion treadmill sprints necessary for me to get back into my favorite jeans? The endless exfoliating, tweezing, flat-ironing and lip gloss application that keep me from feeling like the "before" footage from some makeover show?

I hope so. Because when I'm in my mid-60s, I want to write a book and say, "All that hard work was worth it. Every bit. Life is good." To do that, though, I need to do some hard work, right?

Today, I'm going to try. I'll let you know how it goes :)