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!