Friday, November 27, 2009


I ran into some computer problems earlier this week, so I took my laptop into the paper to have the tech guys take a look. Here's the part I loved. The guy who was helping me had a big sign on his desk that said MOST PEOPLE ARE A WASTE OF TIME.

Is this not the perfect, absolutely perfect telling detail?

I want to turn my tech guy into a character and put him in a story.

Naomi Shihab Nye has a wonderful bit about finding poems in the strangest places. I feel the same way about characters.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

But may I hasten to add

That when certain men get going on living rooms, they and their woodworking skills are without peer . . .

The real difference between men and women, #23,777

Here's what women do when they decide to have Thanksgiving at their house. They buy a turkey.

Here's what men do when their wives decide to have Thanksgiving at their house. They tear up living rooms and stain wood.

I think we'll have it all put back together by tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's wrong with my brain?

Yes. I know. I promised I would only post about writing (and eating) matters. But, seriously, I'm sitting here wondering what is wrong with me BECAUSE of what I said to the lovely young woman (son's new girlfriend) who will be spending Thanksgiving weekend with us. "Don't worry!" I told her on the telephone. "I'll clean the bathroom for you!"

Okay. It strikes me in retrospect that this was possibly a stupid thing to say. She doesn't really know us, so what is she to presume? That we never clean bathrooms unless guests come? (Sort of true, actually.) That we think offering a clean bathroom is the height of hospitality at this house? That I have underdeveloped social skills? Also bathroom cleaning skills?

And here's the worst part. I almost called her just now to tell her I also washed the sheets in the guest room . . .

(Meanwhile, Jo is visiting from Idaho. We went to Martine's and had sandwiches and salmon. Delightful.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Thursday already?

Oh gosh. And I haven't posted all week. I did eat an excellent red velvet chocolate cupcake, however, courtesy of my friend Rick Horne. THANKS, RICK!

Anyhoo. Had this experience walking home from grocery shopping today. Passed a group of jr. high girls hanging out in front of the Sev, when suddenly a Slurpee fight broke out. They started pouring their Slurpees all over each other, filling the air all around with screams and Slurpee-type scents like watermelon and blueberry.

I managed not to get hit with free-flying flavored ice. But the thought did cross my mind, "Seriously? I'm writing for this age group?"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Violating another one of my own rules

LIFE RULE # 1225: Do not listen to Christmas music before December lst.

Except yesterday I did. And I liked it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On your mark!

So it arrived today! The ARC for my book THE CHIHUAHUA CHASE, a middle-grade reader about a girl, a boy, and a lot of AWOL dogs. Like the flap copy says, "the race is on for Addie May to find a missing pooch!" I'm especially pleased with the illustrations by the Lovely and Talented Julie Olson (who, as it turns out, lives and works in Spanish Fork).

I would dearly love to have a Chihuahua of my own to take to signings in the spring when the book comes out. Dude! I would look just like Elle and that would BE SO COOL! But, as indulgent as he is, I think if I brought a Chihuahua home, Bob the Woodworker would have the divorce papers in the mail the very next day . . .

(For the record, my vet says of all the dogs he would never own, a Chihuahua would be at the top of his list.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not writing much . . .

, , , but still spinning scenarios. Does that count?

Like, last night, for instance. My youngest son was in the kitchen, listening to "Ramble On." So I told him that things went down like this before IT WAS HIS TURN ON EARTH!

DECIDING COMMITTEE: You've been such a valiant spirit. As a reward, we're gonna let you choose your mom.

MY SON: Whatever. I'm not picky. Just as long as she loves Led Zeppelin, I'm fine.

And so the Deciding Committee sent my boy to moi, the biggest Led Zeppelin fan on the face of the planet. Lucky him. Lucky me. We can sit in the kitchen together and listen to "Dazed and Confused" to our hearts content.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How do you . . .

. . . keep writing sometimes?

We've had Big Stuff--some of it good, some of it not so good--going on here lately, and it's all had the effect of making me too tired, too distracted, too uninterested to write. I'm sure you've all been there.

The problem is that I'm trying to treat writing like it's my job. And if I had a traditional job, I couldn't allow myself the luxury of calling in sick day after day. And also after day. I'm pretty sure I would be losing that traditional job in a big old fat hurry if I acted the way I'm acting now.

Gotta get myself in hand. Gotta kick my own butt. Gotta STOP BEING ME.

(Any suggestions? I'm serious.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What madness possibly looks like

So I worked the Pioneer Woman event at the bookstore last night.

As you probably already know, Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman) is an incredibly well-known, likable blogger who has just written a lovely cookbook that is also a glimpse into her life on an Oklahoma ranch. Anyway, she's on a limited tour and TKE was lucky enough to host her here in Salt Lake City.

Well. People started lining up at 4:00 for an event that started at 7:00. AND they came from all over--some had even driven in from Oregon and LA. Everyone was friendly and funny and great, and the staff had worked hard to make sure we were organized and fair. But finally we had to cap the event because there. were. just. so. many. women.

Okay. I completely SUCK anyway at delivering news no one wants to hear. So for me to tell a crowd of fans that they couldn't get in to hear Ree AND that they might not even be able to get their books signed was daunting. Everyone was understandably disappointed. I would have been, too. And given the circumstances, they were gracious. But a few were completely enraged. They didn't just want to burn me in effigy. Dude. They wanted to burn me in person.

When Ree arrived, people screamed and clapped and pretty much threw their room keys at her. It was like watching the Beatles on the old Ed Sullivan show.

Okay. It's totally fun to be a fan. If Derek Jeter walked past me I would scream so hard I would probably slip a disk BECAUSE I'M OLD AND HAVE BACK TROUBLE. But wow. After witnessing what happened last night I wondered how it would feel to be the object of that kind of interest. Seriously, I cannot imagine it. At all.

Anyway. Ree was fabulous. And so were the customers and staff. And I hope that for the most part people walked away satisfied. It was an evening NOT to be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guilty pleasures question

Is there a chain restaurant that you secretly like? Please advise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Basic black

Here's one thing you learn how to do when you live in New York: wear black. It's like you're only PERMITTED to wear black, especially in the fall and winter months.

Anyway. I totally took to it the year we lived there and for years and decades after I kept wearing it. Why? Because it's easy. And dramatic. And people confuse me with Angelina Jolie. Yes! They do!

But as of late I've given up on it. I want color. Especially if it's purple or orange.

So I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to make this about writing. Can I turn my shift into some larger metaphor about how sometimes you write one thing for a long, long time . . . only to realize (eventually) your tastes have changed? And that you ought to take the risk and follow where your new writing interests take you?

The answer is "no." This is just a post to say that I'm sick of wearing black. And also that I feel like eating everything in sight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Breaking another one of my own rules

LIFE RULE #457: Do not put clothes on your dog for Halloween.

But okay we dressed up our newfie, Zora, as a cowboy with a plaid shirt and hat. The plaid shirt was unbuttoned at the neck, which meant that a lot of chestal hair came billowing out. Zora looked weirdly human--like a big hairy tranny.

Anyway. Boy Numero Quatro took Zora trick-or-treating, but instead of getting candy he got chewed out by a real Avenues sort for demeaning a dog. Here's the best part. The lady who chewed him out was carrying her Chihuahua in a snuggly. Seriously. I do love love love my wacky neighborhood.

Ate Milky Ways bars until I went into a coma. A very, very happy type coma.