Archive for October, 2010

… and that blog features grammar mistakes!

Sign on the window of a Savannah house

Thanks, Rachael, for the contribution!

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My time in California was all about observations.

I observed nature at its best.

I observed punctuation at its worst.

And I observed the habitats of the best and worst celebrities — at a safe distance.

Steve Carell's house

George Lopez's house decked out for Halloween

Miley Cyrus' gate

Yes, let’s call it “observation” and not that unpleasant other term: stalking.

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One of the greatest parts of my job — and there are many great parts — is that I get to travel to different high schools to give workshops about writing. Today, I was at Idyllwild Arts Academy to talk about writing for the Web and new media.

The school reminds me of the Camp Fire Girl camp I used to attend: Camp Toccoa. They are both all woodsy and have log cabins and wooden signs. Idyllwild is sleepaway high school, otherwise known as boarding school.

Here’s a view toward the library where I gave my presentation.

I’ll bet you couldn’t tell that Idyllwild is in Southern California. It’s in the San Jacinto Mountains between Palm Springs and Los Angeles. That scenery is VERY different from the landscape I drove through to get there. What follows is my interior monologue as I made my way from I-10 to California 243:

Scrubby scrub tumbleweed dust dirt this place is so dry tumbleweed loofah scrubby scrub scrub hey now here are some boulders wow there are lots of boulders is that a joshua tree this is getting kind of high this road is curving what is the speed limit great now my radio station is gone but I’m not going to stop to fix it let’s shut it off who is texting me right now must focus on this expletive road and holy cow this road is steep and expletive there are no expletive guard rails why wouldn’t they put in guard rails oh my God it’s raining now too and this road goes on forever and I’m afraid I’m going to drive off the side there’s expletive fog expletive now fantastic where is this expletive place I don’t want to die holy expletive elevation 6,000!

There are no guard rails in places I think there should be guard rails:

And this part of the trek reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, and the road to El Yunque in Puerto Rico:

It was a harrowing journey in the fog in a rental car. Clearly I made it alive, and the students in the workshop were worth the trek.

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Rejecting the rejector

My fat took the letter well, and seems to be going away quietly. At least according to the YMCA scale, which reveals that there’s five pounds less of me.


The miracle of eating heathfully and exercising more. What a novel concept!

Since I began my exercise class extravaganza, I’ve also invested in more appropriate outfits to replace my T-shirts and sweats.

My taste runs more along the lines of this:

Rebecca Romijn, appropriately clothed

rather than this:

Kim Kardashian. Oh HELL no.

And you will NEVER catch me dressed like this, even if I manage to lose every single ounce of fat:

Jamie Lee Curtis in "Perfect," wearing an outfit looking not-so-perfect in the glow of 2010

Struggling through the torture of “Awesome Abs” today also helped tamp down a minor disappointment: McSweeney’s* did not like my open letter as much as my friends did.


Oh well. Rejection is nothing new for a writer.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
~Samuel Beckett
Or, alternatively,
I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’ ~Saul Bellow


* A friend suggested I submit it for their “Open letters to people or entities who are unlikely to respond” section.

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Error extravaganza

My friends have been blowing up my inbox with examples of errors in the wild. My favorite is this one from Cheryl and Steph:

They’ll eat anything in Hartsville, S.C., apparently.

Heidi, Elizabeth and Rachel sent this one:

It is a cornucopia of apostrophe and quotation mark misuse.

Finally, Charlotte (an always-reliable source of fodder for this blog) sent this image. “This on our ‘heterosexual’ luggage tags,” she wrote.

The company is more progressive than most of the country. I should celebrate all progress, I guess.

Thank you all, and keep ’em coming!


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An open letter to my fat

Dear Body Fat:

We’ve been inseparable for years, ever since we started hanging out while I was pregnant with my first child. I must admit that I did not like you at first, but you grew on me. Soon we started doing everything together: clothes shopping, sitting on the couch watching TV, and eating. It seems our relationship really revolves around meals, doesn’t it? Meals, and the Beer of the Month Club membership, of course.

I know you may not want to hear this, but it is time for me to move on. I think you began to suspect as much when I started writing down the substance of the meals we shared. I know you had hope for our relationship during Trish’s birthday weekend. I’m sorry if the beer, butterbeer, margaritas and mixed drinks gave you the wrong impression. It was my way of celebrating the choice to say goodbye to you.

You may have thought Zumba was a passing phase. And why wouldn’t you? You know me so well, and know that I loathe group exercise situations. But that should really prove to you that I am done with you for good. If Zumba didn’t raise a red flag, then I know the MVE Pilates class did. I felt you quaking during that class, and I’m sure it was from fear.

I’m sorry, but our relationship really is over. I’m ready to meet up again with dress sizes I haven’t seen in years. I’m ready to feel happy about photo opportunities. I’m ready to breathe evenly after climbing a flight of stairs.

I wish you all the best, and I’m sure you will find someone new who will love you more that I ever did.


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Parenting 101

Perhaps I’m too strict. Or perhaps I had kids late enough in life that I remember that people without kids don’t usually like to be bothered by kids. And sometimes even people with kids don’t like to be bothered by kids.

Eddie and I do not let our children run amok in restaurants. We refuse to be that family with the ring of detritus around the dinner table. I don’t need extra napkins because my children WILL NOT make a mess.

Yes, maybe I’m too strict. Or maybe I’m considerate.

I certainly would not allow Dominic and Gideon to amuse themselves by turning deck lights at Tubby’s Tank House off and on, off and on, etc. The mother of young Artemis and Arcadian (yes, those were their unfortunate names) had no such qualms.

My friend Pam and I were trying to have a nice quiet evening. Thank you, idiot mother, for ruining that plan. It will not scar your children for life for you to tell them to “cut that out right now.” You can correct them. That’s your job. Artemis and Arcadian will have plenty of friends in their lives (well, maybe). They only have one mother. Show them how to act!

And if you are unable to make them behave in public, stay home.

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