Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm LOST without you In bigtime withdrawal here. I'd settle for a couple of new episodes of The Office to tide me over. Usually I'm all snooty about reading books and stuff because I love to do that too and most people don't make enough time for it. But I want my television fix. Now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I resolve...

to train my dog. Discipline my dog. Whatever you want to call it. I usually eschew making New Year's resolutions but this year it popped out of my mouth before I could recall it. And my husband heard me and now poor Bella (a little Who dog who is not more than two) is going to have to learn a few manners. Sorry, Pup, it's for the best.

Ooh La La

Next week I'm off with the family to France. The South of France, to be precise. The land of my ancestors where they know how to pronounce my last name (boo-shay: in France it's as common as Smith). I'm going to do research for my next novel which is in the final stages. If I don't have the best job on the planet, I don't know who does. Having said that, I am likely to be cursed with what they call Le Mistral, a wretchedly cold wind that can blow for weeks. If anybody has any suggestions for bistros, sightseeing, and the like, please post-away. And I'll share with you a story from my first trip to France after college. If I tell you that what they call the first floor is what we call the second floor (their bottom floor designated as the ground floor), you'll guess where I'm going with it. To make it short: lots of vin (wine) at a bar, the need to find the W.C. (bathroom), and me barging into somebody's apartment as five residents were sitting on a long couch watching television. No Wendy, the bar's public bathroom is one more floor up. Duh. You should have seen the sharp looks of surprise on those five faces. Pardon moi!

Thinking Pink

As in Mary Kay. Today, I get my "pampering session" with a freshly stamped Mary Kay consultant. She doesn't drive the pink Town Car yet but she's probably on her way if she got somebody like me to agree to a session. I'm useless where make-up is concerned. I usually just go without or slap on some tinted sunscreen and a little mascara. But as I get further into my ... uhm ... creative years, I find myself looking for that little something in a bottle that will hide my wrinkles or even better, prevent new ones. I like the idea of an at-home consultation. No strangers lurking about making odd faces by lifting their eyebrows as the make-up consultant applies ginger colored eye gel to your lids. I'll feel more adventuresome without thousands of shoppers strolling by. Of course I'll spend lots of money, use the new stuff religiously for two days, then go back to my old habits which date to my teens. But it's all fine if it helps my Mary Kay gal get her pink goods. If I can, I'll post a photo of the before and after. Ciao.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy What Were We Thinking Day

1. You can't play Twister by yourself. Girlie drafted me and I thank my lucky stars that nobody but me knows how to operate the digital camera. 2. If your Girlie gets a kit to make gummie bugs, she's going to want to make gummie bugs (and since she's six, she needs help). Then she's going to want to watch you eat a gummie bug. After having seen the chemical piles those bugs started as, I'd almost rather eat a real bug (almost). Ditto the camera comment in 1. 3. Everything, EVERYTHING, is sealed into slice-your-hands-off hard plastic these days. Paper cuts feel like little kisses by comparison. Note to self: buy stock in Energizer or Duracell next year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I have a creche on you

Last night, per family tradition, Hubby, Girlie and I drove around to see Christmas light displays. As we drove past one house, Girlie said: "Hey, I saw some light up Gods!" Me: "Do you think that maybe it was Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus?" Girlie: "Well, it was some Christian thing, that's for sure." Me: "It's called a nativity scene." Hubby: "Sometimes it's also called a creche." Girlie: "No, a creche is when you REALLY like a boy, and he doesn't like you back." Me: laughing, choking on spittle. Hubby: "That's a crush, honey. It's a different word." Girlie: "Oh, okay then."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's the lack of a warrant that gets me

Since 9/11, I too have been anxious for "us" to be able to catch "them." The terrorists, of course. I'm even willing to acknowledge that sometimes it might be a good idea to listen in on some phone conversations. Heck, I was doing internet research about bomb ingredients for a novel I was writing back in 2001 (before 9/11 (since shelved)). If I've never been on some sort of watch list, I'd be very surprised. But I have never signed up for the idea that the President should be able to order that kind of surveillance without any judicial oversight (like warrants). Sure it's cumbersome, but if the framers of our Constitution thought it important enough to have checks and balances, so do I. If W, or any other President for that matter down the line, can just do whatever he or she freakin' wants to do by using national security as the catch-all justification, what makes us different than other countries run by tyrants?

Each minute is an hour...

Poor Girlie -- Every few seconds she asks me what we're going to do today, as if my answer will change. What I think she wants to hear me say is: "Why, we're going to get into a time machine and jump forward to tomorrow morning when you get to see what Santa brought you." Instead she's hearing: "You need to put your clean clothes away and help me clean up the family room before our one-year-old nephew comes over tomorrow. Then we'll go to the grocery store and maybe do some baking." She'll comply, of course, because she's never been quite sure if I was kidding or not about having Santa's cell phone number. This day must seem impossibly long to her.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Girlie says that yesterday's Cirque de Soleil performance was the best event we've ever taken her to, ever. (I might add that this girl has been to LOTS of events and on LOTS of trips so her comment means a lot). But she won't be running away to join Cirque do Soleil any time soon. This is the same girl who dropped out of dance class because of all that, "whine, whine," stretching. She must have been very impressed with the contortionist (the apparently boneless and jointless contortionist -- yikes!).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Florida Suncoast Writers' Conference

One of the top writers' conferences in the USA takes place every year in St. Petersburg. This year, the 34th Annual Suncoast Writers' Conference will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-11 at Sirata Beach Resort. The keynote speaker this year is US Poet Laureate 2001-2003, Billy Collins. The Banquet speaker will be Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors, Dry, Sellavision, etc.) I've gone three prior years and seen Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Frank McCourt. It's a GREAT conference for writers of any type -- fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, journalism. Check out the website if you are interested.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thank you, Senate

They voted to block drilling in the Alaskan refuge. Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Girlie has gone to the dark side

She won a free pink sparkle phone for selling a subscription to Reader's Digest to my husband! How can I live in a house that gets Reader's Digest? And that's not what I set out to write about. With that pink sparkle phone, she has taken to dialing up all of her relatives every day (fine, except that many live in Oregon which is way long distance). Speaking of Oregon, Girlie actually understands the time difference thing but she has decided that Nana Banana and Papa Schmapa can get up at 7:00 am... every day. Still not the problem. The problem is that the phone is in her room and when I came up the stairs, I heard her talking to my husband's mom, Grandma, and what I heard was, "Don't tell my mommy I told you that." YIKES! She told my mother-in-law what? The possibilities were endless and alarming. She's an only kid and it's easy to forget that she's sitting around eavesdropping. Luckily, I'm very crafty and managed to very casually inquire about said comment only to find out that Girlie had had the nerve to tell my mother-in-law that ... I put chocolate soy milk in my coffee. Phew.

Now That's OCD

When you're sitting in a concert hall and they announce that you should make sure your cell phone is off you: check that it's off at least 20 times and then still "obsessed" with the idea that it will spring to life on its own and magically download a loud fart novelty ring tone and go off during some quiet introspective part of the concert, you feel the "compulsion" to dash it to the ground, stomp on the pieces and scatter the remains. Yep, I have OCD. But when friends ask me about my symptoms, it's hard to even remember them sometimes because I invited big pharma into my house and I'm virtually symptom free now. But at my husband's Master Chorale concert last night, I was amused to remember the feeling that makes me leave the cell in the car these days. Of course I have to check several times that it is in fact in the car, but at least I'm not coming close to breaking it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Blowing Up Christmas Cheer

I don't know where the tradition began to decorate your house for Christmas. My guess is that people made decorations and hung them on the door to welcome their neighbors who might be stopping by for a glass of egg nog at any moment. And now? The trend is to put out giant inflatables that have to be staked and weighted and tied to the house so they stand up. In a pinch, you can use that sign telling your neighbors which security company is guarding your house as an additional ground stake. That way, your neighbors need only do a drive-by to see your Christmas cheer. Before you go throwing that bah humbug back in my face, let me say that I adore the holiday season, I put lights up on my house, my daughter believes in Santa, and I've got carpel tunnel syndrome from whipping out my credit cards. I'm as commercial as the next gal. But these giant things make houses look like department store displays. The personal touch is gone and I'm just a little bummed about it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Putting the "Bah" back in "Humbug"

Long before "putting the Christ back in Christmas" became all the rage this year, another turn of phrase became popular -- "What Would Jesus Do?" Let's ask that now. Would Jesus tell us to boycott businesses that say "Happy Holidays" and instead spend all our money on consumer goods at "Christian" businesses while we celebrate a holiday that began with pagans but became his birthday celebration? Would Jesus like the fact that some of his followers are so incensed about being wished a happy holiday that they feel victimized, when there are plenty of other issues to spend their energy on like say, poverty and world hunger? Would Jesus listen to that song, "Christmas Shoes?" I'm your basic heathen so I am not in any position to answer these questions. But after wishing people a happy holiday after signing copies of my book for them in Sarasota, one lady hanging about was bothered enough to whisper about it to somebody else who remarked loudly enough for me to hear, "That's why I always say 'Merry Christmas' just as often as I can!" Sorry to have stepped on your Christian toes, ladies, but I stand by my decision to use a nice, inclusive greeting for people whose religious beliefs I can't possibly tell by looking at them. And you know what? I don't think Jesus would have minded.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Merry Christmas Sarasota

I am going to be at Borders Sarasota from 2:00 to 4:00 today signing copies of my novel. It's my first out-of-town book signing and I really don't know what to expect. If you're in Sarasota today, come by and say howdy. Cheers!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mother of Pearl, Fire on the Poopdeck!

Here's another reason to add to the list in favor of living in Florida, where we don't have basements.

The Christmas Tree Doctor

He's ready to fix all these messed up trees. I like the droopy one second from the left -- Girlie says it was overwatered and that made it droop.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


"No doe of mine is going to be seen with a red-nosed reindeer!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A life of its own

You know you've really made it as an author when your book appears at Wal

Girls pants have flies too...

Trying to prove that her pants today were actually made for boys (not true but she rarely wears pants with a zipper fly), Girlie unzipped her pants for some boys at school. And then, since she could see her underwear under there, she showed them those too. Why she did it in the classroom where it could get her in trouble, I have no idea.

At the fabulous Lyssa Morgan Gallery...

I was a guest and a vendor tonight at the Lyssa Morgan Gallery. If you haven't been there, go check out her collection. She has lots of work from lots of great artists. She also hosts lots of fun events that are also charity fundraisers. Tonight was ladies night and Toys For Tots was the beneficiary. I signed copies of my book and drooled over purses, accessories and of course, great art.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Girlie, there are better ways to protest...

My daughter goes to a Montessori school where she is in the equivalent of first grade. This week, because of dawdling, she had homework for the first time. She had to practice some spelling. Being good parents faced with a homework situation for the first time, we made her complete her work before she could watch television. That met with a lot of resistance but in the end, she did her work diligently and was done in no time. The next morning, still feeling bruised, she told us that "ever since I had to bring schoolwork home, my life has been ruined." Poor dear. My husband told her that she should remember how she felt and be sure to get all her work done at school. After she was dropped off, she took her final spelling test and then was supposed to collect up all her spelling work to put it in a folder. Instead, she crumpled it all up between her legs and scissor-stepped around the room telling the teacher to check out her new "buttsie pack." Hello Principal's office. Bad Mom confession: when she told me this story after school, I laughed my fool head off. Then of course I had to tell her that even though I was laughing, it was a terrible, rotten thing to have done at school. Yeah, like that lesson's gonna stick. Sorry Dr. Spock. On the same day, she had to apologize to the teacher and principal for perfuming the entire school. I'm not exactly sure what she was supposed to have been doing, but it involved making fragrant water with perfume and I guess she got carried away and triggered a bunch of people's perfume allergies even two doors down. I know she stank like a bomb had gone off at a perfume counter when we picked her up, and that was after she'd washed her arms. Girlie, Girlie, Girlie.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Gina, did you want the Barbie?

re: more me, me, me author stuff I just remembered that I also sent a copy of my book to Gina Vivinetto at TBT (operated by St. Pete Times). I haven't heard from her either but to be fair, that was pretty recent. Gina, if you read this, you should know that in the '80s I went to concerts by: Billy Idol, The Clash, Prince, Warren Zevon (twice), Thomas Dolby, and Neil Young, to name but a few. I'm not as cool as I used to be but it was easier to be cool when you had mile-high mall bangs.

Book Club Barbie Loves Parvenue...

Re: author stuff In my last post I thanked City Times for including me in their round-up of local authors. It made me reminisce about my early efforts to get a book review in the St. Pete Times. The Book Review Editor is Margo Hammond, a famousy sort of person who is also a "Book Babe" for Good Housekeeping. I sent her a galley, a copy of the finished book, emails, letters and yes, a Barbie doll that was dressed in a suit. I might have called her Smart Barbie. Sadly, I never heard a word back from Ms. Hammond. The Barbie might have put her off. When I was selling my book at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading last October, the organizer came up and said she'd purchased my book at some sort of sale that they'd had at work. I guess I know where Margo's copy of PARVENUE ended up. I just wonder who got the Barbie?

St. Petersburg Times Coverage

Thank you Rick Gershman for the nice write up in today's City Times, the Tampa section of the St. Petersburg Times that comes out on Fridays. It was nice to see some attention given to all the mentioned local authors, not just me. Excerpts from the various books can be viewed online. The excerpt that they used for PARVENUE THROWS A PARTY is from the prologue where the main character is in junior high school. I promise you that the book is actually about grown-ups.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Enough with the lame cat photos

Pictures speak a thousand words so that's what I use when I'm busy putting a thousand words into my next novel. Obviously, I've been busy lately. Today, my buddy Tommy got the recognition he so deserves from the St. Petersburg Times. His Sticks of Fire blog is simply the most worthwhile blog in Tampa. Full disclosure: I contribute weekly to Sticks but his are the posts that make the blog worth reading. Tonight I'm going to hear Lisa Miscione, a great local writer of thrillers. She's well-known and well-published and still very nice to newbies like me. She'll be at the Safety Harbor Public Library at 6:30 this evening, December 8th. And now a question for somebody like Chase Squires of the St. Pete Times. Am I the only person who liked Threshold? Lost is my favorite television show but I always watched Threshold too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Because Mindy did it.

And Mindy did it because two other bloggers did it. I don't know what happened to O. A: Area Code You Are In Right Now: 813 B: Birthday: March the 30th C: Current Crush: Ewan McGregor (whose isn’t?) D: Favorite Drink: Venti Soy Latte and Venti Red Wine E: Eating Currently: Just had Mexican. F: Favorite Food: Peanut Butter G: Who Do You Go To For Advice: Hubby and that British friend of mine H: Happy or Sad: Very happy. Typically happier than most. I: I think: I have the best job in the world. J: Job: You’re looking at it. Plus travel writing and my novel adventures. K: Any Kids: one, age 6 11/12. L: I Love: My fabulous family. M: Favorite Movie: Is Ewan in it? N: Your Phone Number: Unlisted. P: Favorite Perfume or Cologne: Elizabeth Arden Green Tea. Q: A Little Quirk About Yourself: I’m absolutely nuts about my dog. R: Last Road Trip: Last trip was to London but it wasn’t by road. S: Tell Us One Secret: I have obsessive/compulsive disorder. I’m washing my hands right now. T: Favorite TV Show: Lost. U: Color of your Underwear: Multi-stripe. V: Last Time You Were in Vegas: March. And April. W: Wishful Thinking: A big publisher. Hi Random House. X: X-Rays Taken This Year: Sinuses. They found bumps. Y: Your Favorite Year of your Life: The one I’m in. Z: Zodiac Sign: ARIES!

Appearing Today at Waldenbooks International Plaza

Come say "hi." I'll be at Waldenbooks Int'l Plaza from 2:00 to 4:00.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Jambon's connected to the . . .

Funny bone. Sorry, my coffee maker is broken and my venti soy latte is still too hot to drink. This morning Girlie brought in her book about France to discuss our trip in January. She's remarkably excited. She wants to practice ordering a ham sandwich in french (thus the title of the post). Anybody who knows my Girlie knows that new situations are tough on her. But I guess the near constant traveling we've done during her short lifetime has made a trip to France seem exciting rather than dangerous. (If any of you tells her about the rioting I swear I'll punish you.) She won't play sports involving balls (too dangerous), she won't ride a bike (too dangerous), she panics at loud noises, she's already decided that she's going to adopt because childbirth sounds too tricky, and don't even ask her about roller skates. BUT, ask her to spend 12 hours in airports and airplanes flying off to very different time zones where you have to say sok jablkovy (or something close to that in Poland) to order apple juice, and she's as cool as a cucumber. She's unbelievably good on airplanes and at fancy foreign restaurants. She loves art museums and we can spend hours in foreign grocery stores looking at food labels. She's Mini Me!