Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Here's hoping that your in-laws are on their best behavior and that if they're not, they're not at your house, you get no fruitcakes, the turkey doesn't burn, and you get everything you want (and receipts for return for everything you didn't).

Happy Holidays/Christmas/New Year/Haunaka/Festivus/Kwanza and Just Plain Happy to You and Yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Have a Holly, Jolly Slot Machine

So, sadly, I didn't hit it big in Vegas this past weekend. As usual, I lost all my gambling money the first night and then spent the rest of the trip trying to make it back. Only Vegas can make you feel like losing $100 instead of $500 is a victory. Take that Las Vegas!

But fortunately, there were plenty of "only in Vegas moments" (OIVM), which made everything worth it.

OIVM #1: Holly, Jolly Christmas playing at Caesar's Palace while actors dressed up as Caesar and Cleopatra walked through the casino to cheers of "Hail, Caesar" from all the dealers.

OIVM #2: My friend Bethie (new to the world of Craps) rolled so well her first time at the table, she got a nickname ("Thundercat").

OIVM #3: Guy in front of us in the brunch line faints, but mumbles "I'm fine, let's keep going" despite not being able to stand up.

OIVM #4: Fat Elvis wearing a Santa cap.

OIVM #5: Topless review where women in thongs sing Christmas carols, giving the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" an entirely new meaning.

Ah, yes, got to love Vegas at Christmas time. But, despite my losses at Craps, I'll probably be up for going again next year. In the meantime, I'm going to the mall where at least I know that I will get something for my money, even if it's an electronic golf scorer for Dad.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Vegas, Baby!

Today, my hubby and a couple of friends are off to Vegas for the weekend. I realize this is not the season to go, but I can't think of a better way to spread holiday cheer than spending a weekend in sin city (isn't this what Jesus intended?). Okay, so probably not, but then again, there's nothing quite like the sound of jingle bells - on slot machines.

It's a celebration of sorts. I've turned in "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)" which will be coming to a book store near you at the end of April. Look for it there and online! Buy it early and often!

So my apologies, because you probably won't be hearing from me for awhile, and if I win big - at all, ever! Okay, just kidding. I wouldn't just abandon you like that. I promise. This is because a) I like you; b) I'm under contractual obligation to Simon and Schuster to finish out my teen lit books; and c) I almost never win at slots.

Anyway, if you happen to actually live in Vegas, I'll be the girl at the craps table shouting "Mama needs a new pair of Jimmy Choos!" I'll have that wild look in my eye reserved for alcoholics and people with gambing problems.

I'll be back next week, unless I bet my laptop on black (Did I mention that Mama needs a new pair of Jimmy Choos!?).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I'd Rather Be Naughty Than Nice

Okay, so I'm in the bah humbug mood that always hits me after I spend hours addressing those darn holiday cards. Oh yeah, I'm filled with holiday spirit. It's called a serious hand cramp.

Seriously, I think I'm mailing a Christmas card to everyone in the known universe. If you haven't gotten one from me yet, don't worry - it's on the way.

Don't you ever wish you could be totally honest in those Holiday cards? Like: "Dear Aunt Edna, I haven't seen you since I was six years old. I don't know why I'm still sending you Christmas cards, since you keep confusing me with my cousin who went to drug rehab, but Happy Holidays!" or "Hey, cousin Todd! Why don't you get a job and quit sponging off Uncle Ty? He's got four other kids to support. Merry Xmas!" or "Dear in-laws, can't wait for the passive aggressive remarks over the Christmas ham. Season's Greetings!"

Maybe I ought to write a blanket newsletter like some of my other relatives do. I love these, by the way. "Tommy scored three goals at soccer this year! And Bob is now head of the church choir!!"

These letters are always mind-numbingly boring. Why? Because you KNOW they're lying. They're leaving out all the really good stuff - all the bad news. (And people, you aren't fooling anyone by throwing in a bunch of exclamation marks. We know it's still boring, even if there are "!!!!" at the end of every sentence. It's just screams false enthusiasm.)

I want to write one that's totally honest. Like, "Dear Friends and Family, this year was an exciting year for my husband and me - we spent it drinking! Heavily! It's quite possible we're alcoholics, but we don't care. We're drunk!"

Okay, so I clearly have an attitude problem. It's probably all the Christmas music at the mall. I guess I'm just not a Bing Crosby fan. It's all his fault. Dreaming of a white Christmas? Ha! I'm dreaming of a Christmas with self-sealing holiday cards that address their darn selves. Here's wishing you all a very short Christmas card list this year.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nyquil - Shaken, Not Stirred

So, I've completely fallen off the blog wagon. I told you this would happen. I'm terrible at regular diary entries (see the dozens of half-started journals in my closet) and now here it has happened again. Sorry, dear blog readers!

Thankfully, I've got a legitimate excuse. I have a headcold, and so when I'm not downing Nyquil shots, I've been watching some really bad TV (including a Jackie Chan movie involving vampires and Kung Fu - I swear it's a real movie, and not just a fever-induced hallucination). That I actually watched said movie from start to finish tells you the state of mind I'm in. The idea of getting up and fetching the remote from my husband's chair was just too much effort.

I think I've shopped myself sick. You know, it's that time of year when I spent hours at the mall trying to figure what the heck my Dad and/or brother could possibly want.

I don't know about you, but I'm already sick of holiday shopping. Seriously. I've gotten myself FAR too much already. Ha. Ha. Kidding. Sort of. I've got that whole "one for you, two for me" problem. You see, when I'm out shopping, I can never find a gift for my Dad, but I find tons for me! Is that wrong? I suppose it's not quite in keeping with the season.

Lucky for me, being sick doesn't stop me from shopping online. Thank you Ebay! Kidding. Sort of.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tryptophan Trippin'

Ah, all I can say in the post-Thanksgiving binge, is thank god for sweatpants. Seriously. Cotton + elastic = my new soulmate. Then again, I swear sweatpants pretty much all the time since I work from home, so it's nothing new to have give in my work uniform. These days, if I put on a pair of jeans, my husband says, "Wow! Why are you so dressed up?" Sad, but true.

So, one of the best things about Thanksgiving, you know, aside from eating yourself into a food coma and/or fighting with your siblings (my annual fight each year involves me, my brother and the topic of Bill O'Reilly), is that I buy trashy magazines for the plane ride and feel no guilt at all in reading them. A returning favorite is Cosmo. I love Cosmo because they treat sex like a complex and mysterious study worthy of PhD candidates and nuclear physicists. Make Your Man Hot! and The Sex Positions You Didn't Know!! scream out from the cover.

This is fantastic if you think about it, because the guys I've known have pretty much been happy just to see a pair of naked boobs, much less a yoga position involving the splits. I admit that I do like to read the stories (the same ones in every monthly issue) because I've been married awhile, and I do wonder if maybe sex has changed. It really hasn't.

This brings me to the next guilty pleasure: Us Weekly magazine. It's barely a step above Star, which has recently gone glossy. My favorite section of Us Weekly is "the stars are just like us." I swear to you, they had a "stars are just like us - they hold things under their arms" caption over some poor TV star putting a newspaper under her arm while talking on the phone. Fantastic. Yes, I realize that I'm funding the evil paparazzi who stalk stars and make their lives miserable, but how else am I supposed to know that Kate Hudson drinks lattes from Starbucks? Or that Jennifer Aniston shops at a grocery store? I mean, really, this is important information. Also, it makes me feel better about not wearing makeup and/or wearing shoes (Britney, I'm talking to you).

Ah, trashy magazines. You can't beat 'em.

Go Find The Balance

Sad news. Pat Morita, the actor who played Mr. Miyagi, died last week of natural causes at the age of 73. His most famous role, as Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movies, earned him an academy award nomination.

Mr. Miyagi was a big part of "Dixieland Sushi." In fact, every chapter had quotes from him, so I was very sorry to hear about his passing. My sympathies go out to his family.

For those interested in reading more about him, check out these links:

Pat Morita on CNN

Pat Morita on USA Today

Monday, November 21, 2005

Happy Turkey Week!

Get out your stretchy pants, it's turkey time! So, we're nearly in the middle of the Big Three - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - the trinity that made elastic-waist pants a necessity. I don't know about you, but between that damn trick or treat candy and Mom's pumpkin pie, I am not going to be getting into my skinny jeans for a long, long while.

And Happy Birthday to Kate Miller and Stacey Cohen - the Thanksgiving week birthday girls!

I'm headed home to Big D (that's Dallas for you non-Texans) to visit my family for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Poor, neglected blog readers

Okay, so I'm a bit busy right now. There's a short story I have to write (which I sort of forgot about) and it's now due in a week! And then there's that other pesky book I have to finish (Bard Academy, anyone?) and naturally, this means that I have to squeeze my notorious slacking into a shorter period than I'd like, frankly.

Take today for instance. I only watched an hour of bad television! Normally, I watch about eight.

So, what does this mean? It means, I'm sorry - but the blog is taking a back seat! My apologies for my neglect, but fear not. I'm sure I'll want to procrastinate soon and will be blogging away to avoid actual work.

In the meantime, my friend Stina passed along this link. I like that they commit to the act. That and their dance moves, totally make it:

Monday, November 07, 2005

Not Until the Fat Tyra Sings

Okay, so I can't help it. I got sucked into daytime television yesterday and happened to catch the Tyra show. For those of you who don't know about this daytime gem, it's the show where Tyra tries to convince us that she's just like us, by pinching her nonexistent love handles (only visible when she sits down and scrunches over) or by having a sonogram on national television to prove that her boobs are real. Because, apparently, some of us had been wondering?

Now, she's taken "just being like us" to an extrodinarily new level on Monday by disguising herself in a 350-pound suit just like Gwenyth Paltrow in "Shallow Hal."

See a clip of the show.

Oprah is catching pedophiles and Tyra is busy walking around in 40 pounds of latex to discover what we already pretty much know - it sucks to be overweight. Guys on blind dates treat you badly and you can't find your size in regular stores.

I don't know about you, but I think it would be far more interesting to see Tyra try to go undercover as a doctor, lawyer or physics professor. Now that would be interesting. Next Tyra: We unveil the shocking truth about surgeons: operating on people is really hard!

I realize I can change the channel at any time, but who would want to? It's television so bad it's good.

The Short Answer

If I seem a little groggy today it's because I'm recovering from a seriously social (read: alcohol laden) weekend. Friday, I saw an old friend from Austin and we drank our weight in wine and then pretty much bought one of everything on Michigan Avenue. I suspect I'll need a glass of wine in my hand when I open my next Mastercard bill. But isn't that the fun of credit cards? Buy now, worry later!

Saturday, I celebrated Miss Jane Ricordati's birthday in grand style - we all went out to eat and then went bowling. I was the only one of the group who perfected the "fall on your ass" technique for rolling a spare. Yes, I really did fall on my butt. My ball was too heavy for me, and apparently I wasn't clear on the "let the ball go" concept, and it sort of took me a few steps into the lane, where it's pretty damn slick, and I just - BOOM! - fell. This is what happens when you BUI (Bowl Under the Influence).

Hmmmm. I've mentioned alcohol now three times. Maybe I do have a problem?

Ahem. Moving on. It's time for the fan mail! My favorite part of blogging.

So Shannon from Mass. wrote, "I loved your short story from 'In One Year and Out the Other', can we expect to see some of the work that has been keeping you so busy in a collection like that again! As you can tell I am desperately awaiting some new reading material from you!"

First, God bless you, Shannon, for writing. Like all insecure writers, my fragile ego depends on praise. So thank you! Second, yes, you can expect some more short stories - tons, in fact!

I'll be in a few anthologies over the next couple of years. I've finished a nonfiction essay for "It's a Wonderful Lie: The Truth About Being In Your Twenties" which will hopefully be out later this year. My essay is about credit card debt - which (see above) I'm still struggling with obviously.

And, there's going to be a fiction anthology out next year called "This IS Chick Lit," which will be a soft rebuttal to the anthology "This Is Not Chick Lit" whose authors don't like the "chick lit" label. Personally, I don't care what anybody calls my work, as long as they buy it and enjoy it! And let's be honest, any time women like a book, it seems like we always find a way to degrade it somehow. We call it silly, or vapid, or lacking in substance. This has been going on since Jane Austen's time and before. I say, read what you like, and who cares what the New York Times says about it?

There are a couple of other possible anthologies in the works, and I'll let you know about those as I know about them. And I'll definitely let you know publication dates , which even I don't know yet!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Day-After-Halloween

Hope you all had a marvelous Halloween! I'm going to shock you all by actually talking about writing today! Amazing - call CNN. This could be breaking news.

Sara writes and asks:

"How long does it usually take you to finish your first draft and have it ready to be sent in to an editor?"

This is a very good question. I think I could probably work on a draft forever, but the fact that I have deadlines means that I have to give it up sometime, ready or not, to my editor's red pen.

I think on average, it probably takes me about eight months to write a book, but I've written some in four months before. It's amazing what the fear of God, a deadline and the prospect of returning an advance will do for motivation.

It doesn't help that I'm a bit of a pantzer, which means that I procrastinate and I make up a lot of my books on the fly. I'm guessing this probably shows.

And Shannon from Massachusetts wanted to know whether or not there will be more short story anthologies like "In One Year and Out the Other" and the answer is YES! Absolutely! Actually, this coming year there will be so many anthologies (fiction and nonfiction) that trust me, you'll always have something to read! So far, I've finished two short stories, and have committed to do two more for other anthologies. Stay tuned. I'll give you more information on them as soon as I can.

Okay, back to revisions - I'll post more in a bit!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Working is for suckers

I'm sure you're wondering what happened to me this week, and I wish I could say it was a candy-induced sugar coma (don't those little fun-size candy bars mean that you can eat ten of them guilt-free?), but the sad truth is I've been working.

My editor got back to me with her requested changes for "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now" and I've been furiously working on those while also finishing up a couple of short stories, doing some freelance work, and oh yes, writing that pesky Bard Academy. I think, given all my free time, I might just also try curing cancer and maybe balancing our federal budget. Better yet, since Harriet Miers stepped down, perhaps I could be nominated to sit on the Supreme Court. I do have pretty strong opinions, and I probably could get some really smart Harvard law students to do all the real work for me. That's it - Cara Lockwood for Supreme Court Justice. My tagline could be "I have at least as much experience as Harriet Miers. I was never a judge either!"

Seriously, I have hardly had any time to do anything fun, even watch the finale of Taradise. (oh, Tara, we'll miss your drunken escapades - especially those of us, like me, who use you as an excuse for why we don't actually have drinking problems). What can I say? I'm all work and no play.

On that note - happy halloween, everybody! Eat lots of chocolate and do something fun that doesn't involve a) criminal activity or b) losing any self-respect. This includes dressing up for 'ho'lloween, wearing a latex nurse's outfit and dancing to "Funky Cold Medina" on the bar in stripper platforms. Trust me, anything that seems like a good idea after a few shots, is not a good idea.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy 'Ho-lloween?

Halloween season is upon us, and this means only one thing: how skimpy an outfit are you going to buy this year? Is it just me, or has Halloween become the night we all try to out skank each other?

Should we blame Elvira? Or is it just because secretly we all want to wear fishnet stockings and stripper's clear platform heels?

My second (related) problem with Halloween is - why is it so expensive? Since when does a skirt that barely covers your butt and fishnet stockings run you $50? It's getting to be a little ridiculous.

But then again, maybe I'm just jealous because my Halloweens are usually so lame. On your typical Halloween, "dressing up" for me involves a pair of cat ears and a black velour jogging suit (the elastic waistband comes in very handy for all those mini-candy bars I'm going to eat). It also involves me watching a scary movie on television and devouring an entire bowl of trick or treat candy.

On a good night, I get maybe one trick or treater, but I always feel like I should be prepared with at least two pounds of candy just in case. I guess I live in mortal fear that a busload of trick or treaters will show up on my doorstep (a condo building filled with retirees) and I'll not have any candy and have to do something lame like give them boxes of high-fiber, low-sugar cereal.

By the way, for a laugh, my friend sent me a link to this costume. Yes, there really is a place that sells a space vampire costume. Don't ask me what it is. I have no idea. But it's funny. Definitely funny.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Next Judy Blume?

So, I've started my next novel (already) because I've signed my soul away to Simon Schuster. Kidding! I'm kidding. The next novel is a slight departure from my previous books, in that it's a) aimed at teens and b) has a supernatural element. I know what you're thinking - have I gone insane? And, like my husband says, "What do you know about being a teenager?!"

Well, it goes without saying that I'm a very immature 32-year-old, but does this alone qualify me to write a book for teens? I don't know, but I am having fun. I can tell you that it's a lot more fun to write about the teen years than live them, that's for sure. The story is about a boarding school for troubled teens called Bard Academy, where things aren't as they should be. (Cue dramatic, slightly creepy music). Fear not, I'm still keeping plenty of humor - because, come on, I can't take things too seriously.

And don't worry - if you like my old books, I'm hoping you will like this one, too. It's still a lot of fun, even if the protagonist is 15. Come on, every one of us has an inner-15-year-old. She's the one who always wants to go to the mall and not do chores. Have we really come that far?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Taradise Lost

Okay, so I'm a total slacker. I haven't posted since Thursday! And yes, this has everything to do with the fact that I went out after the signing Thursday and had some wine and didn't feel like doing much Friday morning except popping Advil and moving very, very slowly.

Anyhow, thanks to all the cool chicks who came out Thursday. We had a great time. Clearly, I had too much of a good a time, but that goes without saying.

Speaking of drunken escapades, one of many celebs that helps me feel like I don't have a drinking problem, Tara Reid, got bad news last week. Her travel show, Taradise, has been cancelled. How tragic! I had only just begun to make fun of poor (misunderstood) party girl Tara Reid, and now she's leaving us. Apparently, she's complaining that producers of Taradise didn't accurately portray her in the show, choosing edits that fed the stereotypes of her as a party girl. Her words? They portrayed her as a "total party-girl drug retard."

Where did we ever get that idea? Maybe it was the pictures (see above) of her grinding on the dance floor. I don't know. I'm just guessing.

Look, I sympathize. Who among us wants a camera following us around after we swig a few drinks and spend an hour on the dance floor? I don't know any mascara that can hold up to that.

But, honestly, I want to know what's going to happen to her shoes. Since she signed on with Taradise, they've had their very own hotel suite, and now they're going to be homeless. I wonder if she'll offer some of them up for adoption. I would offer to become a parent to a pair of her stilettos, but I only have one guest room, not a hotel suite.

Think of the shoes! It's very sad, indeed.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Girls' Night Out

Okay, somebody call CNN. I know that Anderson Cooper will want this scoop. I have a reason to get out of my pajamas and actually get dressed in something that doesn't have an elastic waistband. Hooray!

Tonight, I'll be making an appearance tonight at Borders Books on Clark (and Diversey) at 7:30 p.m. with a few other fabulous local authors including Laura Caldwell (Burning the Map), Stacey Ballis (Inappropriate Men) and Jennifer O'Connell (Bachelorette #1).


2817 North Clark St.
Chicago, Illinois
Thursday, October 13, 7:30 p.m.

And if that's not enough of a draw for you, I heard a rumor they're going to be passing out coupons for free steaks at Mon Ami Gabi. Chicks 'n Steak. What else do you need for a good time? On second thought, don't answer that.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We Are Family

Sorry for the delay about new posts! I've been in Dallas for a mini-Tanamachi reunion (see the women of my Dad's side of the family here). The one thing everyone should notice is that yes, I'm short - but guess what! It's genetic! Amazing.

Anyhow, my cousin is far left, then grandmother, then me, then my aunt, great aunts, aunt and stepmother. By the way, doesn't my 82-year-old grandmother look fantastic? Here's hoping I have her genes for the long haul.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

First Glimpse of "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)"

Here's your first glimpse at the cover of the new book "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)," the spin-off to "I Do (But I Don't)." It's a wink at the first book (that had the wedding dresses). Of course, "I Did" follows Lauren's quirky younger sister, Lily. Look for the book this spring (probably May 2006)!

By the way, thanks to everyone who came to the chat online Monday. I had great fun! I always love to pretend I actually know what I'm talking about! If you'd like a summary of the chat, you can go to my agent's blog,

Monday, October 03, 2005

Live Chat Tonight!

Have you got questions for me? Things you're dying to know (that are PG-rated)? Well, I'm going to be having a live chat tonight. My agent, Deidre Knight, has live chats with her clients every Monday. Tonight I'm featured. For more information, check out her blog I'll be on at 9 p.m. EDT, 8 p.m. Eastern.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Done and Done-r

So, after a mammoth cram-fest I have finally finished the draft my new book, I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)."

This means I don't have to run off to Argentina with my book advance, as I had so feared. It's a good thing, too, because I don't speak Spanish.

More importantly, this also means that I *might* once again have a life that doesn't involve being attached to my laptop 24/7. I'll be sending the draft to my editor (the divine Lauren McKenna) tomorrow, and I'll wait patiently for her comments (read: slack mercilessly and catch up on all that good Vh-1 programming I've been missing).

And of course, I'll be starting my next book. It's a slight deviation from past works. It's a teen book (or YA if you're into that hip publishing lingo). It doesn't "officially" have a title yet, but it's about a bunch of misfits who are sent away to a boarding school for trouble teens called Bard Academy. But before I do, I'll be letting my muscles atrophy on the couch for the next ten hours. I plan not to get up except to get snacks.

By the way, congratulations to Carrie, Shannon, Janice, and Sara. Their generous Red Cross donations have won them signed copies of "I Do (But I Wouldn't Now)." Instant karma! Thanks for donating guys. You're the best.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Win a Signed Book!

Okay, so it's a book signed by me, but still.

I'm running this contest. If you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross or to the Bush Clinton Katrina fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)."

Now, someone asked me if there's a good chance of winning. The answer is DEFINITELY YES. Actually, at the moment, only four people have entered, so if you've got a receipt somewhere, and you email me in the next couple of days, you definitely have a good chance of winning. In fact, the next six people who enter will win automatically!

So what are you waiting for? Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Squirrel Saga, Cont

"Funny. Ha. Ha. Really, I'm laughing. On the inside."

This is what my husband said about my (he claims "vicious") ridicule of him and his run-in with Mr. Squirrel. He's getting a bit annoyed with the teasing. Even my mom sent him a package of cocktail napkins with squirrels on them. You can see where I get my sense of humor.

"I'd like to see you do better," he said. "Just wait until the squirrel comes back. You'll see. Mark my words!"

Well, until the squirrel breaks in again, I have some squirrel fun as passed on by my pal Christina. She recently held a fantastic party/benefit for PAWS, the no-kill shelter. It's a cause my husband could get behind because the shelter does not help squirrels.

Squirrels Are Dangerous

Fight the Squirrel!

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross or to the Bush Clinton Katrina fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Squirrel Wants His MTV

Earlier this summer, my husband did battle with a squirrel who managed to push its way into our home through a screened window. My husband would've left it alone, except that said squirrel made itself comfortable on HIS chair, the one with the best and most direct view of our TV, which, in my husband's mind, is the same thing as declaring war.

After chasing the squirrel out (read: closing the door, opening the window, and waiting patiently for the squirrel to find its own way out), the squirrel has once again proven that he can outsmart my husband. It has staked a claim on our balcony outside in a flower pot, which just so happens gives him an unfettered view of the TV when our curtains are open.

I assume it's the same squirrel, only because it shows the same indifference and lack of fear of my husband as the "wild animal" (Husband's words) did who strolled into our condo a few weeks ago and made itself comfortable on my husband's prized chair. The squirrel isn't shy. He doesn't mind posing for photographs (see picture, above).

I'd like to point out that while my husband called the Squirrel Intruder "giant," "really big, I mean really big," and "ferocious," you can see by the picture above, that he's, well, cute and furry and fits in a (medium-sized) flower pot. "Don't be fooled, he's scary and shows no fear," my husband says.

Squirrel: 2
Squirrelly Husband: 1

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Forget about 'the meaning of life,' I want to know: Are they real?

In the middle of a Dayquil bender yesterday, I happened to catch Tyra Banks' new daytime show.

For those of you who haven't seen it, here's what you missed: Tyra asking dumb questions of celebrities, Tyra showing her catwalk strut, and Tyra revealing she has a single wrinkle of fat. (She once bent over her jeans to reveal a tiny almost invisible bit of flesh that hangs over the waistband of her size zero jeans. Now, here's the thing: it's not fat if you have to sit and scrunch forward to display it. It's fat - if and only if - you're standing up and sucking in your stomach and you STILL spill over the top of your jeans. That's fat.)

But yesterday Tyra outdid herself. Apparently, tired of all the rumors she's had breast implants, she had a live sonogram on her show by a renowned plastic surgery to prove to her audience that she's 100 percent Tyra.

I just don't know where to start, really. I mean, what next? Will Ashlee Simpson get an x-ray to prove she has vocal cords? Will Lindsay Lohan take a picture of herself at Old Country Buffet to prove that she does, indeed, eat?

I don't know about you, but the question of Tyra's authenticity has been weighing on my mind pretty heavily for months. Thank goodness that's settled. Now I can focus on more important things like curing world poverty.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross or to the Bush Clinton Katrina fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Nyquil Shots On Me

I don't know if my body is still in shock from its recent foray into the alien world of The Gym, or if I just didn't use enough Purell after touching the germ colonies that are the handle bars of the eliptical machine, but I've got a nice head cold.

Ah, exercise. You suck.

I thought exercise was supposed to boost your immune system, but apparently if you don't do it on a regular basis (and by regular I mean more than once every decade), it can be a bit of a shock to your system.

I've been sucking down Halls throat drops all day, but all I've got to show for it is a really red tongue and sore throat that won't be deterred by a nice candy coating.

I admit that I am a total wimp when it comes to being sick. If I have a fever of above 100 degrees, I'm convinced I'm dying.

The only good thing about being sick is Nyquil. I don't know what people did before Nyquil. I personally like to shotgun it with a lime chaser. Kidding. I'm kidding, sort of. If you guys don't hear from me it means I'm on a Nyquil bender and I'm sleeping off a Cherry flavor hangover. Wish me luck!

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross or to the Bush Clinton Katrina fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Working Out is for Suckers

As many of you know, I am, by nature, a slacker. This means that I am lazy and that my idea of a workout is watching a marathon of the Amazing Race. I believe in the power of vicarious exercise. While I don't normally raise my heart rate higher than 60, which is the minimum rate necessary to keep my body alive, I decided this weekend to go to the gym.

The reason for this was simple. I tried on my favorite pair of jeans from last fall, and discovered that the only way to wear them is to hold my breath. This would naturally make going out in them difficult, because I'd keel over before I even got into my car.

The sad fact is that after a summer of wearing elastic waistbands in those gypsy skirts, squeezing my flabby self back into pants with zippers was quite the production. I realized all those margaritas I've had (740 calories each) did not, as I hoped, pass on through. The calories have moved in and built their own fat colonies, pretty much around my waist and hips.

The gym is a foreign place to me, sort of like the Men's department at Nordstroms. I jogged for awhile, and then stopped when I felt I was going to have a heart attack. I did a few rounds on the gravitron (my sister-in-law's favorite workout machine). This is the contraption where you do pull-ups, but there's a counter weight that helps lift your feet.

So instead of having to lift your entire body weight, you can only lift, say, twenty pounds. The nice thing, though, is that you feel like you're accomplishing something, and doing real chin-ups, when in actuality, you're only really lifting a couple of handweights. It's the kind of exercise I like: Little effort, lots of reward.

Unfortunately, the next day, after just an hour at the gym, my whole body felt like I'd gone running with the bulls at Pamplona, and the bulls had run straight over me. This was my body's revenge for separating it from the couch. Am I too young for Ben Gay?

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross or to the Bush Clinton Katrina fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Aging Gracefully

I got some good news yesterday. My editor, who is wonderful, glorious and a girl genius, gave me two extra weeks to work on my manuscript. To celebrate, I went out with some friends and drank one too many glasses of red wine.

This morning, I'm a tad hungover, which is why I've been staring at the same blinking cursor for the last fifteen minutes wondering if it's blinking a message to me in Morse Code. I didn't have that much wine, but the older I get, the harder it is for my body to process alcohol. This is also true of McDonald's french fries and anything chocolate.

I think when you get older, you just can't eat or drink as much as you used to. I think this would explain why at age 19, I could drink myself into a frat keg stupor, stay up all night and then go to the gym in the morning. It's also why at age 32, I have one glass of wine, and I just want to go to bed and sleep til 10.

My mom likes to tell me about the various stages of age-related decline. Her urgent missive to me is: Enjoy your twenties and your thirities, because it's all downhill from there. She's warned me that when I hit forty, I can expect four decades of gravity to take effect overnight. She says she went to sleep a pert 39-year-old and woke up a saggy, lumpy, wrinkled 40-year-old. "And just wait until you turn fifty," she likes to say (cue ominous music).

This is a tradition on my mom's side of the family. Her father likes to tell her what ages 60, 70 and 75 are like. "You don't know anything about sagging. Just wait until you turn 70 and you can't see the TV anymore because your eyelids are drooping," he'd say.

On a positive note, sociologists took a poll recently asking people (excluding my family members) what their favorite age is. The good news is that most people said close to whatever age they were. The favorite among women actually was 41, because most of the women polled were around that age. I take this as heartening news. It means that even though we had less cellulite, that most of us wouldn't want to go back to being 18.

I know I wouldn't. I wouldn't trade my slower metabolism for the hard-won lessons of the last fifteen years. To name a few:

1. Never drink on an empty stomach.
2. Always check your pockets before putting your jeans in the wash.
3. Frat parties are no place to meet boyfriends.
4. Never stare at yourself for longer than 15 seconds in a changing room mirror, especially if you're in your underwear or a swimsuit.
5. Jobs that suck away your will to live are not worth it. No matter how much they pay.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

In Her Shoes

So there's nothing better to distract me from writer's panic than some really good celebrity gossip.

I don't know if many of you have followed the exploits of Tara Reid, but she's almost as fun as Britney Spears. Case in point: her new show "Taradise," gives you all the pointers you need to embarrass yourself in countries around the globe. Don't know how to get sloppy drunk on a small, quaint Greek Isle? Want to find the best way to offend the locals? Tara is there to show you how.

The latest news from her show is that she's demanding a separate hotel room for her shoes. Now, I am very fond of my shoes, too, but I don't think they necessarily merit their own hotel suite.

I realize that I'm just jealous. I wonder if she's looking for a shoe caretaker. I'd be happy to clean off the frat house beer sludge from her Jimmy Choos for a free night's stay in a posh hotel on the Mediterranean. But then again, I'm easily bought.

I admit that I'm also feeling a little guilty about the treatment of my own shoes. They don't even really get their own room at my house. My closet is the size of the trunk of a Volkswagon Golf, and the shoes get about a quarter of that space. If my shoes read about Tara Reid's shoes, they probably wouldn't speak to me for a week. They'd file with Shoe Protective Services for neglect and abuse.

But most importantly, I think this demonstrates that I simply don't have enough money to waste. If I had that kind of money (or that kind of sponsorship from E!), I could waste money in really creative ways, too.

Maybe I'd make restaurant reservations for my jeans. Or charter a plane for my favorite purse. I could send my sunglasses on their own cruise.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Writer's Panic

So, as many of you know, I'm working hard to finish up I Did (But I Wouldn't Now) the spin-off book to my first novel, I Do (But I Don't).

I'm in the final stages of revising my first draft, and this is normally when the panic starts to set in. Now, with writing, there are various stages of panic. There's Stage One ("Oh my god, I have to start writing" panic). Then, Stage Two ("Why did I ever agree to write this novel? I can't even spell my own name without spell check" panic). Stage Three ("I've finished a rough draft and it's as bad as I thought! All my friends and family are going to disown me"). Then there's Stage Four (Resignation: "I've only been pretending I can write. I'm going to take my advance and run off to Guatemala").

I'm currently in Stage Three. What makes this phase so terrifying is that I'm nearing the point when I'm going to actually have to let other people read the manuscript.

So far, the only eyes on the manuscript have been mine, and let's face it, I tend to have a close relationship with denial. Not to mention, after a few margaritas, everyone thinks they write like Hemmingway.

It's sort of like when you try to exercise at home. I used to try to do those Tae Bo DVDs, but the thing of it is, if you're alone in your living room you really don't have to try that hard. Billy Blanks won't know if I do 50 roundhouse kicks or just five.

That's how writing is. You do it alone for a long while, slacking off here and there, and then you realize you're about to release your work into the public domain. It's like going from DVD Tae Bo to teaching an aerobics class on live television in front of a million people. Then, you really start to regret reading People magazine while you should've been doing the stomach crunches.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


My husband does not dance. He says this is for the good of mankind, because he has such an extreme case of white-man-itis, that if he did dance, those in the near vicinity would go blind.

My husband's dance-handicap makes it difficult to attend weddings in particular. We went to a great one this weekend (Congratulations Sam and Martha!) where everything was perfect and they had a so-fun-can't-stand-it Mariachi band. Now, my husband does not do white man's dancing (the one-two sway move) so he definitely doesn't do salsa. This left me, alone, on the dance floor (again), with a lot of other wives/girlfriends whose boyfriends suffer from white-man-itis.

I realize that there are many other conditions in the world worth curing (like cancer, for instance), but I think we ought to look into the white-man-itis phenomenon. I don't quite understand it, because, come on - who looks cool dancing to "YMCA" or "I Will Survive"?

You'd think my husband thought there was an Olympic Judging Panel beside the dance floor that was busy rating his particular rendition of the Funky Chicken.

Olympic Announcer #1: "Oh, that botched footwork on the triple-axel chicken wing is going to cost him, John. At this level, you've got to stick the landings if you want to take home a medal."

Olympic Announcer #2: "It's heartbreaking to train for a whole wedding season, and to see all that hard work come down to a single footing mistake. And look! He's spilled his drink. That's going to cost even more points. He's clearly out of medal contention."

My husband says he's doing the world a favor by staying off the dance floor, but I'm not so sure. Maybe he stays away because it reminds him of his now-dead dreams of becoming an Olympic Ice Dancer. Or, he's simply afraid of showing everyone else up with his mad dancing skills.

Daren to world: You've been served.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Friday, September 09, 2005

One Name in Paris

Okay, I do love celebrity gossip, mostly because it shows me how sane I am. In baby-naming news, it looks like we've got another refreshing show of common sense and humility.

The rumor is that when Paris Latsis and Paris Hilton have a child, they plan to name him or her - surprise, surprise - Paris.

This would be a mistake. For one thing, think of all the unfortunate mix-ups with their monogrammed towels.

By the way, as a side note, how do I find a Greek Shipping Tycoon? They're all the rage. Paris has one. Mary Kate Olsen has one. Where's my billionaire? I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind if I ran off with someone who could pay off my credit card debt. He'd be relieved, rather than jealous, I'm sure.

In terms of baby names, I think we should all be able to change ours if we want to, because let's face facts, our parents are nuts. And the pregnancy hormones didn't do our mother any favors either. I went to school with a guy, I kid you not, named Christian Blood. I think when he was born, his parents wanted to make sure he never got laid.

But I sympathize with difficult names. My maiden name is Tanamachi, and I got plenty of ridicule on the playground for that alone. In elementary school, monchhichis (see right) were all the rage. I don't know if they were monkeys or aliens, but they sucked their thumbs and had that annoying theme song (Monchhichi, Monchhichi, oh so soft and cuddly). Yep, you guessed it, I was "Tanamachi-chi-chi, oh so soft and cuddly). It's not so bad, until the millionth time you hear it, and then it gets pretty damn annoying.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

London Calling

Given all the very serious news of late - New Orleans being underwater, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court dying, etc, etc, you may have missed the most important news of the week:

Britney Spears has decided on baby names.

Apparently, she told Elle Magazine that if she has a boy, she's going to name him London, after the place where she and hubby Kev first began their "storybook romance."

As if London hasn't been through enough this year. Now it has to suffer the indignity of being attached to America's Most Unabashedly Trashy Power Couple. I'm guessing if asked, London would take a pass.

By the way, what is it with celebrity baby names? Apple? Lourdes? If you're that rich and famous do kids not make fun of you on the playground? Or, is it that celebrity kids' schools names like "Megan" and "Mike" are the outcasts?

Anyway, as you can see, I'm hard at work (i.e. reading celebrity gossip).

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Music to My Ears

For those of you with a husband/boyfriend like mine, who seems to selectively listen (he hears "dinner's ready" with perfect clarity but "please pick up your dirty socks" not so well), apparently, there may be a scientific reason.

University of Sheffield researchers in the U.K. discovered recently that men's brains are not designed to hear women's voices. Apparently, when a guy hears another guy the soundwaves go directly to the speech part of the brain, used to interpret speech. But because women's voices have more soundwaves or something like that, men hear them first as music, not as speech, and have to work harder to figure out what women are saying.

When I told my husband this, he said "Oh yeah, the sound of your voice is music to my ears." I think he might have been being sarcastic there.

But, it makes sense to me. Women have more complicated voices. I think it's because we're just more advanced. It's no wonder our speech patterns are more complex - we have more complex things to say!

Okay, that's the science lesson for today. It just goes to show how I am easily distracted by weird, random news.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina, Birthdays, and Other Natural Disasters

So, it's very hard to be funny when so many people are facing total devestation. My heart goes out to everyone on the gulf coast.

My good friend, Bethie, whom you've heard mention here before for her Martha Stewart-Like Genius at Party-Throwing, was one of the first people I know of who donated to the Red Cross. For once, Instant Karma actually worked - she won Rolling Stones tickets from WXRT, as part of a radio campaign to raise money for the victims of Katrina. This is a good thing on two counts - she's celebrating a birthday she'd rather not today (don't we all feel that way about birthdays past 25?), and she's one of the most deserving folks on the planet.

Happy Birthday, Bethie!

As for everybody else, if you haven't donated to the Red Cross, please do. I don't know if I can guarantee Rolling Stones tickets as Instant Karma, but I will say that for those of you who do donate a minimum of $25, I'll send 5 of you signed copies of "I Do (But I Don't)" and five of you will get signed Galleys (the uncorrected proof that no one has. If I'm ever famous one day, it might be worth something - but I'm still laying bets it won't be as much as grandma's old china).

I realize it's not much, but hey, you were gonna donate, anyway, right? This is just a nice potential perk. So email me your proof of donation at by September 30. I'll throw everybody's name into a hat on October 1 and pick 10 winners (which, by the way, I think is my average traffic on the site this month, so odds are definitely good on winning). What have you got to lose besides some bad karma?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In the Stars

So, I admit it - I read my horoscope every day. I'm a Gemini, which if you are to believe the zodiac powers that be, I'm schizophrenic, creative, flighty and don't know when to shut up.

The funny thing I find about horoscopes is that it always seems like I'm living more of a life of adventure on the astral plane than this one.

Today's forecast says:
Do countries abroad represent real opportunities for you, Gemini? This is a question that you will soon have to answer. Could it be that the dream of working abroad is a convenient explanation for the dissatisfaction that you feel at work? It is important that you solve this riddle, as you will soon be making some key decisions that depend upon your answer.

My horoscope makes it sound like I'm considering moving to Zimbabwe, when the only real trip I'm going to make today is the Starbucks around the corner. I sometimes wish I was the person in my horoscope. Then, I'd always have a new love interest, significant new financial gains and I'd always be jetting off to exotic locales.

I wish the zodiac could give you really useful information that would say, help you avoid food poisoning. "Gemini: You will want to ask for mayo on that sandwich. Don't. They left it out for 9 hours." Or, even better, help you avoid fashion disasters: "Gemini: You will go to Gap and try on some jeans. Don't buy them. They are granny jeans and make your butt look like a billboard for Geritol."

Anyway, here's hoping for useful information. But, you know, I'll keep reading them anyway.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

My Man Vs. Nature

So, this weekend, we had an uninvited guest: a squirrel. He got in by pushing his way in through a loosened screen on an open window, and effectively terrorized my husband for three hours Saturday afternoon.

First of all, let me set the stage for you. I'm out shopping with Mom on Michigan Avenue. We're in Filene's Basement looking at some fantastic bargains, when my mobile rings.

Husband: (sounding panicked): There's a squirrel in the house.
Me: There's a what?
Husband: SQUIRREL! Oh GOD! ACK! He's big. Did I tell you he's big? I mean, he's REALLY BIG.
ME: What's happening?
Husband: He's jumping on our furniture. He's running over everything, and he's totally not scared of me at all. What do I do? Should I call 911? Oh my God! He's coming for me! Agggh!

Now, my husband is 6'1" and weighs 195 pounds. The squirrel was eight inches long and probably weighed four pounds. Now, let me give you a bit of history on my husband. He is a pacifist. He doesn't even like to squish bugs, and when we had a mouse problem some time back, we spent some time arguing about whose job it was to throw away the glue trap that had caught Speedy Gonzales. My husband likes to say, "Why do I have to do it just because I'm a guy? That's reverse sexism."

So standing in Filene's and not wanting to leave the Fendi scarves I've just found on sale for $14, I give my husband a "pep talk" or what he calls my "Be a Man" speech. I tell him he ought to a) close the door to contain the squirrel; b) open our patio door; c) try to shoo it out with a broom.

"Uh, yeah, right," my husband says. "I don't think you realize how big this squirrel is. It's BIG."

I hang up and suddenly start thinking that maybe my husband needs back-up. After all, there was the time he killed a tiny spider in our apartment by emptying an ENTIRE can of Raid on the bug in front of our air conditioner, so our entire apartment smelled like insecticide for a week. I have images of the squirrel wrecking havoc all over my living room and decide to go home to help.

When Mom and I arrive at my place, we find no squirrel, but we do find my husband, dressed in "squirrel fighting gear" which includes his snowboots, his leather jacket, a tennis raquet and a broom. "I've taken care of him," he says, sounding proud.

"What are you wearing?" I ask, wondering if his strategy was to convince the squirrel he was insane by wearing snowboots in August.

"I had on flip flops and shorts," he says. "You couldn't expect me to fight a squirrel wearing flip flops and shorts."

Apparently, my husband spent an hour chasing the squirrel around the house wearing everything but a catcher's mask and hockey pads. According to him, he was throwing up his arms and making all kinds of racket, shouting “Get outta here squirrel! Go away.” The squirrel, however, was entirely unfazed, just like me when he tells me I ought not to spend so much at Nordstrom's. Mr. Squirrel, apparently, literally ran circles around his legs to taunt him.

When my hubby, exhausted from his show of brute force, took a break to go looking for a phone book to call animal control, he looked up to see that the squirrel had - of its own accord - gone back out the open window, and was sitting there on the outer window sill, as he says, "mocking him." In a heroic leap, though, he threw himself into the room and slammed down the window, just as the squirrel was planning on coming "back on the offensive."

Squirrel: 0
Squirrelly Husband: 1

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Calories Schmalories

So, after learning this week margaritas have 740 calories a serving, you would think I would wisely switch to something less fattening, like say, vodka straight from the bottle.

But, what do I do Tuesday night? I go out and have two giant margaritas - basically in punch bowls with stems.

But, come on, let's face facts. I grew up in Texas. I've had a taste for a good margaritas, well, ever since Mom would make us "virgin margaritas" with limeade and Sprite. There's really no turning back at this point. I'm pretty much committed to having them, so I'd better just buy bigger pants.

That said, you can also blame the Punch Bowl Margaritas for the fact that I didn't write on Wednesday. The second one was all tequila with a splash of lime juice, and by splash, I mean a single drop. When I woke up this morning I was pretty sure I'd lost the few remaining brain cells I have that can do math. I know this as a fact because even making coffee was confusing (one tablespoon per one six ounce glass of water - argh! my head!).

But, I am back. Mom is up visiting this weekend, so I may be AWOL for a few days. Mom and I have serious shopping to do. Not for anything in particular, but because we are both marathon shoppers. Mom is up for shopping just about any day except the Friday after Thanksgiving. That's when "the amateurs" go out, she says.

So, this might be a good time to buy stock in Ann Taylor or Pottery Barn, or any outlet mall shop, because we'll probably be single-handedly doubling their quarterly earnings this weekend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's Amazing I Don't Weigh 500 Pounds

Okay, I just got some very disturbing news. No, Tom Cruise didn't announce that he's going to make Scientology membership a requirement for seeing all of his future movies. It's much worse.

Margaritas - perhaps one of the best inventions known to mankind next to penicillin - is REALLY FATTENING. I realize, this is probably obvious to most of you. And I know I didn't think drinking 'ritas was like chugging a Slimfast for obvious reasons, but I also didn't realize it had 740 calories.

Forbes ranked it as the second fattest cocktail next to Long Island Iced Teas. This means I'll have to find a new favorite cocktail, I suppose, given that I'm fond of having more than one at a sitting.

By the way, for anyone interested in weight loss in general (not myself, obviously, since I had no idea cocktails could have more calories than Snickers' bars) should read the very candid and very funny memoir "I'm Not the New Me" by Wendy McClure. She's a fellow Chicagoian, but I don't know her, so it's not like she's promised me fat-free margaritas or anything as a bribe.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Paperclip, Why Do You Mock Me?

I know many of you (who are probably much smarter than me) have figured out how to turn off the Word Paperclip - probably by buying software that is newer than the original Windows/Dos version, which is basically the last time I upgraded Windows. My version comes with free Saloon Whiskey and Deadwood-style shoot-outs, so I know it's old.

Today, Word Paperclip was particularly annoying. After typing what I thought was a particularly good passage, I look up and see him snoring. That's right - he's sleeping. Apparently, my prose puts cartoon paperclips to sleep. It felt like the last straw.

This was after I'd tolerated hours of the "blank stare." He's just there, blinking at me. I don't need that kind of pressure. I've got advances and deadlines to meet, so I don't need to be in a staring contest with an animated paperclip on top of everything else, thank you.

I guess the bottom line is that I've spent entirely too much time on my computer today. I guess all work and no play makes Cara.... obsessed with Word Paperclip? Guess it's not quite as creepy as Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Although, I'm pretty sure the Word Paperclip probably had something to do with him turning into an axe-weilding maniac.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You, Me and Everyone I Know

Okay, since P Diddy dropped the "P" in his name, I think it's only fitting that I tell you all that I think the "Lockwood" is getting between me and my "fans" - so you guys can just call me Cara. Or if you are feeling really creative, you can call me C. Liddy or even Liddy, but I'm not guaranteeing that I'll respond to any of those.

It's time for more writing questions! My favorite kind. I get to pretend I actually know something aside from the latest Bradgelina news.

Jessica writes:

How do you come up with the characters in your novels? Are they based on real people?

My characters come from everywhere. From real life and imagination, from friends and friends of friends, basically from everyone.

I don't plunk someone into a book verbatim, though - (except for the fact that I particularly like the name Robert for bad guys since I dated a very bad Robert in high school). Honestly, most people need a little tweaking to be put into a book. Either you're too boring (like me) or you're a little too out there (crazy friends of mine, you know who you are) and you need to be toned down a bit.

That said, I have to say that the danger of writing is that everyone you know assumes you DID put them in the book, even if you weren't thinking of them at all. For instance, after I wrote "I Do" my mom was convinced she was the cold, etiquette-obsessed mom in the book. She wasn't. Not at all.

I've had friends who were completely the opposite of certain characters who thought they might be because of circumstantial evidence (where the characters ate, lived or worked).

And if it's not a friend, then everyone assumes everything that happens in my books happens to me. For the record, this is not true. I live a very, very dull life. There's hardly anything in it worth writing about, which is why I'm writing fiction. Because it's much better to make stuff up. It's far more entertaining, trust me, than writing about how I watched Oprah and then debated about whether I should shower. So no, I was never a wedding planner. I never got fired from my job. I don't have a long-standing crush on a boy from Dixie.

The great thing about writing is that you get to play act. You get to walk around in some stranger's shoes for awhile and say and do things you'd never dream of doing. And, I should mention, it's also pretty darn fun to name evil characters after poorly behaved friends, ex-boyfriends and former bosses. Revenge is a dish best served in print, for sure.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My name is Cara Lockwood, and I am a Slacker

Yes, I admit it. I've been a total slacker. Have I posted anything here the last week? No. Have I done much writing? Um, sort of. Have I had a few Mai Tais, spent last night getting an Origins facial with my best buds, and had a pedicure? Yes, yes, and yes. By the way, thanks Jordan for the Origins facial (Jordan won facials and invited us all along - Bless her).

It's because of weeks like these that my husband is pretty skeptical of all that "pressure" I'm under to write novels and how much "hard work" it is to write. Anyhow, my apologies for slacking and leaving you hanging. I realize the "Mai Tai/facial" excuse is right up there with "let them eat cake." But it falls under the "recharge my creative batteries" clause of being a writer, in which any and all slacking, including lying on the couch and watching a Lifetime Movie marathon, can be essential to the creative process.

Speaking of finding that creative spark, Sam writes:

After buying, reading, and passing around your books, my friends and I have developed a small following for your books. Oi. Ok that sounded better in my head. Long story short, we think you're fab. Moving on...

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to write a really great book. The only problem is, I get really weirded out by people reading what I write. I was curious if that's just some weird quirk I have, or if that's common?

First of - small following! Excellent. I'll take any kind of following, I swear. Small, medium, large - whatever you've got. That is, unless you expect me to actually lead you somewhere, because I've got a lousy sense of direction. True story: when I first learned to drive, Mom asked me to take us to the grocery store, which was literally a half-mile away. I had to ask her which way I was supposed to go. Yeah, cause me so smart.

Second, it is very hard to get used to the idea of having other people read what you write. Even now, if my hubby glances over my shoulder while I'm writing, I'll pretty much freak out on him, shouting, "Don't READ it, you fool! It's not ready!" as if it's a soufflé that might deflate by breathing on it. Then again, maybe my extreme reaction might be related to the fact that he'll sometimes read something I wrote and conclude: "I don't think I'm the target audience" and leave it at that.

That being said, I have come a long way in letting my work go. Part of it came from the fact that I used to be a newspaper writer, and had some pretty brutal editors. When I was an intern, I had an editor who seriously once shouted from his cube, "Who wrote this shit? It's SHIT!" Um, that would be me? Anyhow, this toughened me up a little bit, but frankly, I'm still sensitive. A bad Amazon review makes me want to spend the day in bed.

I wish I had a magic bullet to making the weirdness of having other people read your stuff go away. The only thing I can say is that if you do let someone read it, and they genuinely love it, that's the best high in the world. It's completely worth risking the rejection. If you never take the risk, then you'll never know.

My best advice is work on something for awhile; get it into the shape you like. If you feel confident it's good, chances are it is! Give it to someone you trust to read it, and don’t watch them read it. You don't want to be there if they don't laugh at the right parts, or worse - they laugh at the wrong parts. Trust me on that one. Not to mention, staring at them hopefully will probably make them nervous, unless they’re like my husband and immune to peer pressure.

If for some reason some fool thinks it's anything less than fabulous, then I recommend the company of good friends, some Mai Tais and a facial -- they pretty much cure almost anything that ails you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Creative Writing 101

Okay, so now that I've admitted to actually writing, I've gotten some writing-related questions. This is the thing I'm supposed to know about (even though I think my real expertise is in celebrity gossip, because I have no shame. Did I watch 'the Fabulous Life of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline' last night? Yes, I did. I found out that the difference between their wardrobes and truck drivers' wardrobes, is that theirs cost $7,000).

But, back to writing. A faithful blog reader, Terri B. writes:

"...The aspiring writer in me has questions. And since you are my idol... :o)
Do you become attached to your characters, making it hard to end the story? About how many pages long is your first draft usually?"

First off, I'm not sure how I'm going to handle being someone's idol (it's a lot of pressure), but that being said...flattery, my dear, will get you everywhere, which in this case means being the subject of a blog entry.

Do I get attached to my characters? I do, sometimes. I was very attached to Jane, the main character of "Pink Slip Party". But most of the time, by the time I've spent nearly a year living inside a character's head, I'm usually pretty tired of them. It's like a roommate that simply has no concept of personal boundaries. After awhile, you just want a little quiet time. I'll love them again after a few months' break, but I definitely need the break.

In terms of the length of a draft, it varies quite a bit. I wish I was like J.K. Rowling, who just seems to be able to write longer and longer with little effort. I suspect her next book will be 1500 pages long, but I've found my books getting shorter. My first "I Do" draft came in about 325 pages, and "Pink Slip Party" had about 290, and then "Dixieland Sushi" had about 270. At this rate, "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)" is going to be a short story.

The length of drafts really varies depending on the pace of your story and what you're trying to accomplish. Each story has its own perfect length, it's just finding it that can be difficult. Sometimes this means flushing out the story with more pages, and sometimes it means taking a weed whacker to your prose because it's simply too long.

When I was writing "I Do" I would celebrate after writing every chapter, because every time I added a page, it became The Longest Thing I'd Ever Written. My college thesis was about 45 pages, so after I passed that mark, I would stack each new chapter on top of the last on my coffee table and just stare at it. I guess it's sort of like what marathon runners feel like when they keep breaking new distance records, except that I didn't have to sweat or lose control of my bodily functions. It's one of the many reasons I write for a living and don't run.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On Walden Pond

Okay, so I have, at long last, finished a draft of "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)." I am now frantically trying to figure out how to make the book better because I fear it totally stinks in its current form. My husband tells me this is a good sign, because I typically feel terrible about all my drafts, which is what causes me to spend time revising. Revising, by the way, is completely key to any sort of creative writing endeavor. Thank god for the cut/paste functions of Word.

Someone asked me the other day if I would ever want to go to a cabin and write my novel on a typewriter. I guess this is the romantic view of writers, or something, but to me it sounds god awful. First off, I don't do well in cabins. Especially those without indoor plumbing. I am not an outdoors-girl, unless by outdoors you mean an outdoor mall with a Nordstrom's and a Starbucks. First, there are bugs. Second, did I mention the bugs? Third, there's that whole going-without-a-shower-think. Um, no thanks. I'm not European.

And a typewriter - ack. I make enough typos that the drafts would be close to unreadable. Not to mention, the typewriter (unless you do the carbon copy thing) means that you have only one draft of your writing, the project that took you months to create while having only a steady diet of beans and mosquitoes. I have literally four copies of my drafts on three different computers at all times. I'm not going to end up like the professor in Wonder Boys, where my life's work goes flying off into a lake.

Not to mention, I don't know how you do revisions with the typewriter thing. You write them out by hand? You retype the ENTIRE thing? Even thinking about it gives me a headache. I may hate the Word Paperclip Guy, but I'd take him over White Out any day.

So, speaking of revisions, I ought to get back to them. If you have any outlandish requests for an ending for the main character ("Send her to Thailand!" "Make her discover her long dormant magical powers!" "Have her last words after kissing her soulmate to be: 'I'm going to Disneyland!'" I'm open to suggestions at this point. I realize you have no idea what the story is about, or what the characters are like, but you shouldn't let that stop you. Besides, I suspect my editor would probably take out anything too outlandish, she's pretty much a stickler for practicality that way.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Third Acts, and Other Conundrums

I'm sure many of you might be thinking that my kitchen contractor has killed me. Given his shoddy track record with power tools, it really wouldn't be a stretch.

It's been nearly a whole week and I've been atrocious about posting, and I apologize to each and every one of my 10 fans, because the last post frankly wasn't that funny and didn't deserve a whole week of being out there, on the front page, just begging to disappoint you.

I hate to say it too loudly because I don't want to jinx myself, but I've actually been writing. It's a shock, I know. I'll give you a moment or two to let the thought of me actually working sink it. I should also warn you that the fact that I'm actually talking about writing on a blog that supposed to be writing-related instead of blathering on about Tom Cruise, my Russian Kitchen Friend or and my July 4 hangover, might also be one of the seven signs of the Apocolypse. I'm just warning you now in case I get lawsuits after the end of the world.

I'm finishing up the new book, "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)," which is not, as my husband says is what I said after I got food poisoning from The Catfish Shack on one of our drives through Texarcana. It's the spin-off to "I Do (But I Don't)." Think "Joey" but funny.

I'm in the process of writing the ending, and it's tricky. I always find endings the hardest part of a book to write, namely because it means that if the previous 270 pages sucked, it's highly unlikely that the last 25 are going to make up for it. On the other hand, if you've got 270 outstanding pages and you blow everything in the last 25, then your entire book will still suck. No pressure or anything.

Also, I don't like endings because they mean that I'm supposed to know what the hell happens, and typically at this stage, I don't know. Does my main character get married at the end or does she fall off a cliff? Does she find the love of her life or does she end up guest starring on Fear Factor? Who knows? It's a mystery. I guess I'll just have to buy the book to figure out how it all ends.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Extreme Kitchen Makeover

As some of you know, I'm having my kitchen redone. All of my friends know all about The Money Pit, as I've affectionately started to call it. I feel like I've just been pouring money into a hole in the floor where my sink used to be for about three months.

My friends are tired of me ranting about it. There's really only so often you can hear the Board Like Bullet story. They all get that glazed look when I start talking about it, because, let's face it, you can only regale your friends with dicey contractor stories for so long before they start to wonder if maybe they should get you some psychiatric help.

It's my fault, really. It's a bad idea to do major home renovations when you WORK FROM HOME. Somehow, this fact sort of escaped me. I think I've been watching Extreme Home Makeover too much. I mean, they can build an entire house in seven days, but apparently my 9' by 11' kitchen takes 75 days.

I also know why Ty uses that bullhorn to get the workers motivated. I wish I had a bullhorn when I came home Friday and found two tile workers sitting on in my kitchen taking an extended smoking break. Now, in addition to dust being everywhere, my place also smells like Marlboro Reds. I can't imagine why Yankee Candle doesn't package up that scent.

But, on the bright side, I don't have a terminal illness, which I think is a prerequisite to be a contestant on Extreme Home Makeover. Not that I'm knocking it. I cry like a baby every time I watch it, even though my husband says it's just one long commercial for ABC and Sears.

I also know someone who knows Ed Sanders, another great reason to tune into the show. And if you think I'm name-dropping, you are so right. What is the point of knowing celebrities (or people who know them) if you can't brag about it? I mean, really.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Life on the El

First off, thanks to everyone who came to the book signing Wednesday. You guys rock! Second, my apologies for being five minutes late. My in-laws (maternal side) would have drawn and quartered me for arriving five minutes late, as they always arrive everywhere en masse 30 minutes early. Thirty minutes early is "on time." To put this in perspective, my family typically runs about a day late for everything.

Anyway, I digress. I actually have a reason for being late, and not just that I misplaced my keys again. My reason is: the CTA sucks. For those you of you non-Chicagoans, the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) is our public transportation system, including elevated trains, subways and buses.

Let me paint a picture for you of the CTA. For those of you not familiar with public transportation, the "el" (elevated train) is sort of like the monorail at Disney World, if the monorail smelled like stale urine and broke down constantly.

I live in the first suburb north of Chicago, and became very familiar with the el when I was working downtown, using it every day to commute. The CTA is sort of like a craps shoot - you never know if it's going to take you 30 minutes or 30 days to get where you're going. On the train, there are a number of reasons you can be delayed - signal light malfunction, suspicious packages, person having a heart attack on the train in front of you, suicide attempt on the electric tracks, falling debris from old buildings (yes, this did happen to me) or my personal favorite: spontaneous fires breaking out on the train and/or tracks due to the age of both.

Anyway, I decided to take the CTA into Chicago because parking cost $100 an hour, or your firstborn child, whichever you can afford to part with. Needless to say, I allowed for an hour and a half for the trip that should take forty minutes, but I was late because my red line train stopped for no apparent reason on the tracks. I think the driver wanted to take a nap.

As an added bonus, my pal the Fake Blind Panhandler was on board the train. This is the guy who claims to be blind (has a stick) but his guide stick never comes into contact with anything. He also manages to deftly avoid the poles, seats and crowds of commuters without actually touching them, all while shouting "Ladies and Gentleman, I am blind. Imagine if you were blind? Please help me. This is a tough life." I have no doubt it's a tough life. I'd hate to have to work on the CTA train. Not to mention, faking blindness is probably pretty stressful, even faking it badly.

My friend, Beth, says that she wants to open a school for panhandlers. She would tell them all to use the "kill them with kindness" technique. "I would definitely give a dollar if one of them told me these pants make my butt look small," she'd say. "Wouldn't you?" I think I would.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More Shameless Self Promotion

Okay, I realize that by this point, you all are probably sick to death of my shameless self-promotion, but I would be amiss if I didn't mention my book signing today in Chicago. I'll be out at Barabara's Books in the basement of Marshall Field's today at noon doing a straight book signing. Drop by and say hello!

You'll notice a few more guys than usual hanging around the bookstore, and that's because this is the signing where my husband drags all of his coworkers along to buy my book. It's become a rite of passage for his truest friends (or the guys sucking up to him) at work, because they have to buy a girly-looking book and then carry it back with them to work. One of them actually thanked me for having a red cover this time instead of a pink or purple one.

Anyway, come on by and say hello if you're in the neighborhood. There's even a foodcourt nearby - and they have great french fries.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ah, Ego, you're overrated

Hello! I am back from the beach, relatively unscathed. I slathered on sunscreen so I have that pinkish burn instead of the second-degree blisters I usually get after drinking one too many Coronas and falling asleep with my copy of US Weekly strategically placed across my chest for the weirdest possible sun tan.

My husband, however, is in far worse shape. He forgot to put sunscreen on his feet (so he's got a bright red burn in the shape of his flip-flops and he broke a finger playing a friendly game of beach football with his 6'3", 220-lb younger brother). This is sad, yes, but it's even sadder for me. Those of you with whiny husbands know exactly what I'm talking about. He's worse than a toddler when it comes to his pain-threshold. He takes Advil for paper cuts. Now that he actually has a broken finger (hairline fracture which takes a magnifying glass to see) believe me, he's milking it for all it's worth.

At any rate, thanks to everyone who stopped by for Thursday's book signing. My apologies for the lack of a reading. That particular Barnes and Noble felt it would be better if I just sat at the front of the store with a stack of my books. I spent the hour and a half making awkward eye contact with random patrons coming into the store who couldn't figure out if I was an author or if I was handing out free pizza samples, like those lovely ladies in the frozen aisle section of your local grocery store.

Real sample conversation with one live patron:

Patron: "You're the author?"
Me: "That's right!" (Beaming a smile, giving them a hopeful look as they pick up a copy of Dixieland Sushi)
Patron: "Is this any good?"
Me: "I think it's fantastic, but then I have to say that, I wrote it" (Awkward laugh by me. No laugh at all from humorless patron).
Patron: "Is this book for kids? I've got a niece who's 10. You think she'd like it?"
Me: "It's for adults, actually, but..."
Patron: Hmpf. (Drops book as if it's on fire). Well, do you know where I can find Harry Potter?

What can I say? Maybe Barnes and Noble was short-handed that night. Maybe they have a put-authors-to-work program in which we're supposed to man the customer service table. On the bright side, at least I didn't have to make lattes. I don't think I'm smart enough to work that machine.

On the up side, it was great training for my second career later in life as a Wal-Mart Greeter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I went to the beach and all you got was this dumb post

Okay, folks, I have some bad or good news, depending on how you look at it. I am getting on a plane tomorrow and going to the Massachusetts shore to frolic in the Atlantic Ocean with my husband and his family. In all likelihood, this means I won't be posting for the rest of the week, because I have a lot of drunken sunbathing to catch up on, and I think you haven't lived into you've gotten a skin cancer scare.

But if you get really, really desperate for a Cara Lockwood fix and you live in or near Hingham, Massachusetts, swing by my book signing Thursday. Yes, I'm so committed to shameless self-promotion that I've actually scheduled a book signing on my vacation. Can you say "tax write-off"?

Anyway, if you come, you'll get to meet my hubby and my in-laws. I suspect they'll be the ones with the sunburn and the fruity drinks in their hands, heckling me to hurry up so we can get back to imitating beached whales.

For now, I have to go back to helping my husband pack. Left to his own devices, he's like a toddler. He'll pack his favorite shirt and lots of candy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Beach books that are better than Aloe Vera

Okay, I made a couple of reading suggestions based on the novels of people I know and a couple of you actually took me up on them! I had no idea my powers of persuasion were so great. While I'm in danger of letting this power go to my head and become like that mall security guard who is a little too attached to his flashlight, I'm still going to share some more suggestions.

Below are some of my Favorite Beach Books of All Time. Next to Cosmo and SPF 45, they're my must-haves on the beach.

Romantic Comedies

Watermelon by Marian Keyes. I love Keyes. She's fantastic, but this is one of her most entertaining books (in my mall security guard opinion). If you've ever thought your marriage was in trouble, try having your husband leave you the morning you give birth to your first child! I should warn you, if you pick this one up, be sure you're in a comfortable place because you may not get up again until you finish.

Mr. Maybe by Jane Green. Ever thought you'd rather marry rich? So does Libby Mason in this delicious tale from another master, Jane Green.

Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman Are we all just like cattle? When it comes to breaking up, maybe we are. If you ever wanted to know the science behind breaking up, Laura Zigman will give it to you sraight. This was made into a movie (a bad adaption) with Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd. Skip the movie, but get the book.

Laugh Out Loud Funny

Merrill Markoe's Guide to Love by Merrill Markoe. Markoe used to write for David Letterman. Her humor is not for the weak-hearted. She's caustic and biting but unflinchingly funny. In this book, she has a series of stories about trying to find love in all the wrong places, including the celestial plane.

Anything by Laurie Notaro. She has several short-story collections, including The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club, among many others. Warning: if you read Laurie Notaro in public be sure to wear Depends. You might just laugh that hard.

Those are just some of the books I recommend for summer reading. I've never met any of those authors, so it's not like they're bribing me with margaritas or anything. Happy reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Made For TV

I've gotten a couple of questions about movies, specifically whether Pink Slip Party or Dixieland Sushi will be made into a movie. Of course, "I Do (But I Don't)" was made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Denise Richards and Dean Cain, both of whom are now my best friends and we vacation together in Cannes swapping stories about how people hate us because we're so damn gorgeous, rich and famous (okay, the last part was a total lie, but they did star in the Lifetime movie and I did have conversations with them that lasted about 10 minutes).

Anyway, here's the scoop on Pink Slip Party - my agent pitched it to Lifetime, but they decided they weren't comfortable with some of the criminal acts in the book, including Jane breaking and entering. Apparently, crimes on Lifetime have to involve stalking, a deranged ex-girlfriend with a knife or a husband leading a double life.

And we pitched Dixieland Sushi to a movie agent who didn't like it because it sounded too much, in his opinion, like "The Wedding Date." This is the movie about the woman who pays a guy to be her date to her sister's wedding. I'm not sure about the similarities between Dixieland Sushi (Japanese family in the South, Mr. Miyagi quotes and '80s flashbacks) with The Wedding Date (Mean-spirited family, bad dialogue and improbably sexy gigolo), but maybe this is because I'm not creative enough to work in Hollywood.

So, there you have it. No plans of yet to make any more movies, but not for lack of trying. And believe me, you guys will be the first to know if there is. I'm not one to be shy about self-promotion (see my entire website).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My Tech IQ = 50

I am technology-challenged. I love gadgets, don't get me wrong. I'm just a little slow with using them. Case in point: my husband bought me an Ipod for Christmas last year and it took me two months (yes, two months) to realize that you're supposed to run your finger around in a circle around the little menu pad. I'd been trying to flip through song files by going up and down. That's right, I'm a proud Penn graduate.

Unfortunately, part of my problem is that I adhere to my dad's life philosophy that you never, under any circumstances should read the instructions for anything. This do-it-yourself approach helps only when dealing with Ikea furniture instructions (in Swedish) and pretty much nothng else.

So, recently I went wireless at home. This sounded like a good idea. I am fundamentally lazy, so the idea of not only not changing out of my pajamas to check my email but also not even getting out of bed, well, sign me up. I'm all for it.

Unfortunately, my low tech IQ made the whole wireless thing a bit of a challenge. I couldn't get the damn think to work. I knew I was in trouble when I started feeling like maybe if I just knocked my wireless router with a rock, maybe it would work. I think my low point was when even my computer told me "If you are still having trouble, seek the help of your system administrator."

Since I am my own system administrator, I knew I was in trouble. I never thought I'd miss those IT support guys (and girls) from my old office jobs. The people who didn't make eye contact and talked about Quake a lot. I hated asking for their help because I always feared they would discover that part of my computer problems stemmed from the fact that I had months worth of bagel crumbs in my keyboard.

Anyway, I finally did get the wireless router working. I sacrificed a chicken and did a voodoo dance, and I think that worked. Of course, every other day it decides not to work for some reason, so I only get to email in bed half the week. I suppose that's better than nothing.

Now, if I could only figure out how to get an espresso machine hooked up to my alarm clock, I think I would really be set.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Return of Riley?

Tiffany said...

As a fellow blogger, you'll have to forgive me for this ridiculously "late" comment, but I finished Dixieland last night at around, oh...2 a.m.

*sigh* I loved Riley, and I love your sense of humor! I'll be out looking for your other books tonight. I hope to see those characters in another story in the future.

First off, thanks, Tiffany, for the compliments - and I didn't even have to pay you (yet) - you're swell, and I mean it.

Second, about Riley. I love him, too. I've heard quite a lot of rumblings out there about Riley-crushes, and I have to say, I agree. I'm with you. I'm the president of the Riley fan club.

I'd love to bring him (and Jen) back for a sequel. I haven't yet pitched the idea to my editor, but I would love to have a story about them meeting his parents, because you know if they're half as interesting as he is, it's going to make for a fun story.

Anyway, I'll be sure to keep posted. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I admit it, I watch The Real World

Okay, my husband makes fun of me because I am 32 and I watch MTV. Specifically, I watch The Real World, you know - the original reality TV (before it became sullied with eating bugs or voting people off islands or babbling b-list celebrities).

The Real World is reality TV in its purest, most staged and predictable form, and I can't stop watching it. This year, the Real World is in Austin (which is the excuse I give myself to tune in because I used to live in Austin, and I still miss the BBQ at the Salt Lick).

I realize that Real World is no Being Bobbi Brown (which by the way, I also can't stop watching), but here's a really good reason to tune in: You get to watch a bunch of drinking amateurs.

For one thing, no matter how drunk you get as an adult, you're never this drunk. Not that I haven't tried being slurred, stumbling drunk in my post-25 years, but it's as if my body just got really good at absorbing alcohol. My liver is too big and strong to be felled by a few Jell-O shots.

Anyway, if you miss those young, heady days of virgin binge drinking, or if you'd like to see alcohol effects on a liver without Cirrhosis, tune into Real World. Some highlights: bar brawls over nothing at all, slurred declarations of love, drunken hook-ups, teary, drunk break-ups, and my personal favorite: tequila body shots.