HAPPY 2008!!!!
Thank you to all my friends,
to everyone who has been patient with me this year,
to everyone who reads this...
and most of all, the wonderful boy who married me this year.
I hope everyone has a GREAT 2008!!!


Same old song

I’m sure you’ve heard a song called "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat:

It starts in my toes
and I crinkle my nose
whereever it goes
I always know

Well, if you are going to splash into public view with a signature song, would you really want it to be a song whose main melody sounds very similar to a song that was out only six years ago?

I’m talking about “Superman” by Five for Fighting.

I’m only a maaaaan
In a silly red sheet
Digging for Kryptonite
On this one-way street

See if you hear a similarity in the melody:

It starts in my toes/
And I crinkle my nose

I’m only a man/
In a silly red sheet

It’s the same darn thing!

Does this make my a hypocrite? After all, rappers use melodies and samples from other songs all the time, and I don't complain about those. Yes, but they don’t try to hide it. In the album, they credit whoever they sampled from (at least, usually).

Now, it’s possible any two people can have similar ideas quite by accident. Even similar sentences. But melodies are familiar enough, especially to people in the music biz, that sometimes it just seems odd when parts of songs (even small parts) are so close together. Maybe I’m just annoyed because every time I hear

It starts in my toes/
And I crinkle my nose

I then want to hear

“It ain’t eeeasy..to be…meeeee…”

On another matter, VH-1 recently released its list of the top songs of the ‘90s. By “top” they may have meant “most corny,” since Rico Suave is at #100 and “I’m too Sexy” is in there, too.

They did a countdown of all the songs on TV last week, and the Hubby and I watched it.

During the countdown, they mentioned “Jump! Jump!” and implied that no one knows what the two boys from “Kris Kross” are doing today. As if they’d be really hard to find. Their names are both Chris. Their last names are on the internet. They’d be about 27 now. How hard can that be?

Well, that’s enough ranting for today. I hope you all have a lovely new year.



No blogging today so that instead you can read this, and if you haven't grasped the importance, note what's in bold:

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack at a campaign rally that also killed at least 20 others, aides said.
....The death of the charismatic 54-year-old former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and created fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism [some aren't as sure about that latter part now...]


'Free rice' is real

A few people have e-mailed me a link to a site that donates rice to poor folks, if you answer vocabulary questions. I started to get a little suspicious, but according to Snopes.com, the urban legends page (which you should always check when you get an email about some promotion or other suspicious story), it's REAL.

So go to freerice.com and play!

I think I will finally post about that song I don't like tomorrow, as long as I have time. I know you just can't wait. Can ya?

This just in: The hubby recommends using http://m-w.com/ to look up definitions so you can score better on the site, thus giving more rice to people who need it. Brush up your vocab - some of those words are hard! Good suggestion, buttercup!!


Merry Xmas to all!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday.

Yesterday the Hubby and I went into the city to do a little shopping, see some freight train displays, and see the Rockefeller Xmas tree. This year, the tree came from beautiful Connecticut. Many good things have come out of Connecticut. Many good, sweet things.

The best train display was at Citicorp at 53rd and Lexington. There's something wonderful about freight trains. Maybe because even in this modern era of planes and iPods, you can still spot a vintage boxcar tottering along, stamped with some foreign town you haven't been to (Burlington, Santa Fe, etc.) and an old-fashioned pro-business slogan ("Southern Serves the South!") With model trains, you get to see these boxcars rolling through towns decked out to look just as quaint as the trains, with model Esso gas stations, theaters, ice rinks, post offices...it's really quaint. There was a small line to see the Citicorp display, which is inside.

At night, we ate at the renowned Jackson Hole Burgers, which has several locations. I do not recommend getting a veggie burger. I know, I know, "Why in the world would you go to Jackson Hole to eat a veggie burger?" Well, I did it because they're healthy, duh. But their veggie burgers are thin, too soft, and green. There were actual whole peas in them. I like peas, but really....I have had better veggie burgers that were frozen in a box. They were a little more meatlike in consistency. Next time I am there, I'll probably get a turkey burger as an alternative to beef. The Husband seemed to like his burger.

Today was a football day. The Giants are in the playoffs. Do you care? Well, they are. So there.

Have a nice Xmas!


Is this any way to treat a baseball?

The Hubby, who is a newshound (ha ha, get it? hound? well, you only will if you follow the link), sent me this delightful news story:


It leaves out an important question: Did the dog get indigestion?

While I'm here, I'll note that soon I will get to two short posts I've been meaning to get to:

1) Explaining why I don't like that "It starts in your nose and goes to your toes" song, and

2) Noting that after I wrote my post about "Lazy Literature" last week, two friends followed up by mentioning in their e-mails to me that they loved "Catcher in the Rye," and one said he couldn't STAND it.

Just goes to show, everyone has a different reaction to a book. (Which is slightly comforting every time one of mine gets rejected!)


What? Ever?

For some reason, in the past few weeks, I've sent e-mails to people and AOL added question marks after every sentence. I don't know why.

But if you get an e-mail from me that has a lot of question-marks in inappropriate places, or seems to be asking a lot of questions that wouldn't ordinarly be questions...like? this?....then it's not me. I apologize.

A few weeks ago, an intern asked if the story she submitted to me was good, and I wrote back saying it was, and AOL added question marks to all my sentences. She wrote back and said, "Are you sure it was OK? I get nervous when I see that many questions."

Anyway...I apologize in advance and I don't know why? it? happened?


How true, how true

Conversation from tonight:

ME: Petsmart is a good name for a store. Because it can mean Pet...Smart, or it can mean Pets...Mart.

HUBBY: I can see that Penn education at work.

I got a press release today that noted, "the longest night of the year falls at around 1 AM on Saturday, December 22." Well, a night can't fall at a particular hour, but it's still interesting: Shortest day of the year means longest night.

On another note, I need to write a post soon about why that song "It starts in your nose and goes to your toes" really annoys me and seems to rip off another song from a few years ago. But not today. I know you just can't wait.

Have a good weekend, all!


Mitten in the ice storm



Weather forecasters are predicting storms for the next few days, especially here on the East Coast for Saturday night into Sunday. This could all turn to nothing, but one Accuweather blogger seems into it:

Dr. Joe Sobel wrote yesterday: "....But all of this is just the preliminaries setting us up for the main event this weekend. Finally, it looks like a strong jet stream disturbance from the southwest will run eastward and interact with our stalled frontal system in the middle of the country. As a result we will finally see an intensifying storm come out of the southern Plains, toward the central Appalachians, up the East Coast and finally off the New England coast later Sunday. Such a storm should bring some helpful rains to the drought areas in the Southeast, and potentially a blizzard to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England. The devil of course is in the details, and since the details aren't yet clear on flat wave number two, they certainly aren't clear on the big weekend storm."

Potentially a blizzard?? Is that a bit exaggerated? Well, you never know, I guess. I haven't seen a blizzard in December since...I don't know, definitely not in the last 20 years.


Offers I can refuse

Two fabulous offers in my mailbox on the same day!


I am miss Vannessa M---, by name and i am 30 years of age from South Africa. I am lady with a pure heart and i am also born again christian. I want you to send an email to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am, then i hope you will like what you see and write me to my e.mail ?
My aim here is to meet a man that will love me and be my husband then i will do the same thing to him and i will love him with all my heart . I am not here for any game and i am not looking for a player either so please if you are player dont bother to write me back but if you are seriously looking for a serious relationship like i do then lets make it happen.
Write me to my email and i will write you back with my beautiful picture attach to it. Remeber the distance or colour does not matter but love matters alot in life. Waiting for your email.
Yours Love Vannessa M---.


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Lazy readers' book club

A friend of mine posted an entry the other day about how she tries to read almost every book to the end before she can fully judge it. While I admire that, I'd think a few chapters would be sufficient. After that, you might be torturing yourself. There are a lot of books out there; why push yourself through 300 pages of a book whose author has not done a passable job of making it swift and interesting and well-written enough? Are there so few good books out there these days?

Actually, it's possible. It's certainly true of movies! The husband and I have had trouble finding decent flicks to rent.

I admit that I'm a lazy reader. I pushed myself through so many books as an English major in college, both books I loved and books I hated, that I don't do it so much anymore. Some books are hard to read but still worth it, of course, for what they teach you. And sometimes they're only hard to read because they're written in Olde English.

But if a book is modern, its author should try not to pile on excess verbiage just to make himself look clever. It's his job not to overwrite.

A great nonfiction book came out a few years ago called A Readers' Manifesto, tearing apart pompous passages in modern award-winning fiction. While I didn't agree with all of his criticism (some of it nitpicked), it was certainly fun and refreshing to read.

I have taken books out of the library recently that I put down after one chapter, because they just were trite, boring, or some other nonsense - and they were bestsellers that won awards. Then again, I'm a jealous writer, so I get picky and impatient.

Of course, no two people will agree on what is and isn't fun to read. Maybe everyone reads and approaches books differently. I got a memoir called Goat a few months ago, a young guy's memoir of brutality and fraternity hazing, and I absolutely loved the taut but evocative writing style. I thought everyone would agree, but I read several reviews on Amazon from people who didn't like the style or called it a "faux hipster" style, which I disagree with. Still, I think it's a breezily-written book and have mentioned it to The Hubby a few times as something he might enjoy.

I have thought that someone should write a book called "Lazy Literature" (if you use that title, pay me) that details good books that are still a pleasure to read. It doesn't have to be difficult or obscure to be classic, does it?

Some classics I absolutely loved in high school and college that were easy to read:

Catcher in the Rye
Lord of the Flies
Of Mice and Men
Goodbye, Columbus

Most of you probably read those in school already, but if you missed 'em, go for it. I would recommend any of those to fellow lovers of lazy literature. But as I said, one person's lazy is another person's tough.

Finally, friends, here are some modern classics:

Drown by Junot Diaz (okay, it's short stories, how lazy am I?)
Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler (yes, also short stories, but read it - he's an amazing writer)

If you are interested in any of these titles, just click on www.amazon.com or www.bn.com, and type them in. Let me know what you think!


Happy Hannukah!

Tonight is the first of those "eight crazy nights." Enjoy!

Yes, the blogging has been light lately. Things are good. We've been busy. Maybe more blogging next year. MAYbe.

It snowed Sunday night. First snow of the year. Yay!

Oops, time to go home.


"Wanna put your ballot in my slot...."

Who says today's young people are apathetic about politics?

This song parody was on Mad TV on Saturday night.




Got two responses to recent entries.

J. writes, in response to the "helmet" question:

I have to think this is a phonetic spelling of “ailment”, especially if the writer might be used to hearing someone speaking English with some sort of other accent, like British or French. That’s funny stuff. I’ve gotten a few of those Nigerian scam emails lately, after I went a LONG time without getting one.

Lori writes:

Hey C, how are you? I was just catching up on your blog and I had to write you this second and tell you that I too wore sneakers under my wedding dress. The entire time. Not just after the ceremony. Every second of my wedding, I had on my lug-sole white canvas platform Sketchers (it was 2000, and that's what all the kids were wearing.) I still had to go to the podiatrist the next morning though, because by then I was wearing orthotic inserts for the heel spurs I had developed, and they wouldn't fit into those sneakers, so I went without. When I couldn't walk the next morning, I had to get a cortisone shot in my heel so that I could leave for my honeymoon the next day. Ah, good times, good times.
I'm enjoying the Hawaii pics very much!

Thanks for writing, Lori and J!

Wow, three entries three days in a row, that might do it for this week. ;)



I think today's scam letter was written by a romance novelist. Can anyone out there tell me what a "helmet" is as it relates to illness? Have the Nigerian translators been hit on their "helmets" too often?

Dear Beloved, Calvary greetings to you, I am Mr. Anderson. M. Tubman, from London born on the 12th of May 1943, i am not married and had no children I have been bedridden for two years, and there has been no medical improvement on my health

I have been suffering from a wicked helmet, called Cancer of the Lungs for over five years now, visited all medical homes, herbal, and churches all to no avail.

On the 13 of August 2006, my medical report was that I will not survive the helmet and my doctor advice me to put my home in order and be in expectant of death at any time, I resolved inside of me to sell all my companies, properties and inheritance and deposit it in a Security Company here in London, on the 24th of August 2006 I contacted my lawyer to sell all the inheritance, properties and companies and deposit the fund which is FORTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS ($45M DOLLARS) ...I have this last wish from God to help me sow this money as a seed into the lives of the needy and helpless, motherless, fatherless, widows and widowers...Beloved, all I require from you is your personal information which includes as below:



Good afternoon, all!

I had another wonderful weekend with the hubby, as usual. I am thankful for every great thing that happened to me this year, especially marrying him.

For all you people of the Jewish persuasion, or those buying gifts for them, Hannukah is early this year: it begins at sundown on Dec. 4. Surprise! I guess the good news is, I have done most of my shopping already.

On another important note, "Rudolph" is on Dec. 3 on ABC Family. Hey, that matters to some people.


Thoughts on writing and revising

I'm in a writing group that meets once a month. We sit around, read about 1-8 pages of our works-in-progress, and critique each other.

Last Friday, this dude in the group who has been revising his novel told us, "I have a friend who says you should get rid of all adverbs from your writing."

Most of us responded that that sounded like a bunch of hooey served up for consumption in a tired old college writing workshop (or words to that effect).

He agreed, but noted that in one of his sentences, "He scared her and she shook apprehensively," he really didn't need the word "apprehensively." "How else would she have shaken?" he asked.

We also agreed.

Anyway, the point is that there are exceptions to every writing rule, and you can't sit around revising yourself to death. Maybe in that case, that one worked, but not always.

Which leads me to...

On the cover of this week's Newsweek is a story about the new handheld systems that let you download books, and you read them on the screen. They ask if this will be the end of books as we know them. Well, I'd say, probably not...but I have no problem with these devices. You still have to pay $9.99 per book, so it will still benefit writers and publishers. You usually will get the first chapter of any book free, which is interesting. I prefer to browse before I buy, so as a consumer, I like the idea. I also think it will lead to writers revising their beginnings a lot more, which they should. Heck, you know I do!

I won't be purchasing one of these devices, because I think they're of most value to people who commute or take planes for business travel a lot. Having to schlep 2-3 new books onto a plane each time would be daunting. But for me, when it comes to reading a book, I'd still rather sit down with a real book rather than with a device. And it needs no batteries.

Newsweek also notes that this innovation means that someday, writers will be able to continually upgrade their books. Ay carumba! Some of us will never finish! I have a few nips and tucks I'd like to go back and make to my book... ;)

Anyway, that's my thoughts on writing for today. HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING!!!

Love (and thanks for reading), me


Personal ad jerk

The Hubby e-mailed me a link to this newscast about a guy who sent a jerky response to an internet dater. After she rejected him (following one e-mail exchange), he told her she was out of shape, and reminded her that he was a successful Ivy grad with a car, bla bla.


You know, I have thought about posting some thoughts on dating here, but there are so many exceptions to every rule, piece of advice, or experience I can think of. Still, I think people should always follow one rule when dating: DO NOT BE MEAN.

If someone is putting him or herself out there, they are automatically vulnerable. Rejections should be done nicely, and with consideration for the other person's feelings. If you don't like someone, then fine, but don't insult them.

I remember that one time a guy kept e-mailing me with really short emails that said nothing at all about himself. His profile said very little, too. I responded once, asking him some questions, and he didn't answer any of them. So I basically knew nothing about him except for a few words and his constant, continual requests for my phone number. He kept asking for my phone number, both by IM'ing me constantly and emailing for it. I was already corresponding with some other people, and didn't want to give out my number to someone who didn't tell me anything about himself. Finally, I wrote back and said I'd gotten busy, but wished him good luck. He responded, "Fine, I really do not think we'd be a match. I really do not like your new photo at all!" I guess he did that to save face. Ah well. I am so glad to be out of that mess. It's not easy, it really isn't.
Literary thought for the day

Inside every fat manuscript, there is a thin manuscript waiting to get out.


Wicked wintry wet weather

I took this photo on Thursday, actually, but it's just as
wet and yucky today! Except, most of those leaves are gone.


Same song

One of the harder things about writing a novel, especially starting a new one, is trying to write it while avoiding cliches or things that have been done before.

Of course, nothing ever seems completely original -- it's been said that every story uses a plot that has either been in Shakespeare or the Bible already.

Still, I am always surprised when something sells that has a very similar plot to what's already been done. Yet, it's a vague enough plot that if the writing is great, it can still come out as original and new.

So I assume this will be a pretty good novel, even though there are a few chick-lit novels that had similar plots, especially one of my favorite - L.A. Woman by Cathy Yardley, which I read a few years ago.

This is what just sold:

Deirdre Shaw's DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, about a 29-year-old woman who follows her boyfriend from New York to L.A., to find that her life there is nothing like what she envisioned, leaving her to redefine love, career, and family, to Laura Ford at Random House, by Katharine Cluverius at ICM.

Random House and ICM! Two pretty big entities. OK, I'll give it a shot whenever it comes out.

Anyway, have a great weekend, all!


Tooth or consequences

If I get a postcard from the dentist that says, "It's time for your regular dental check-up. Please call our office today to schedule an appointment," and someone took a ballpoint pen and specifically underlined "Please," should I be worried?


Almost paradiiiiiiise

Here are some photos from Hawaii.

By the way, I am now down to approximately 25 individual readers per day. Ah well - I never claimed to want to be popular!


Monday musings

(I'll get some Hawaii photos up Tue or Wed.)

Writing update

It's been a long time since I've started anything from scratch, writing-wise. The last few years, since my two Red Dress Ink novels came out, I've been revising my teen book.

My agent finally sent out my teen book to a bunch of editors two weeks ago. Yay! I spent a lot of tender loving care on it over the years, shaded in the characters and the story, and pruned the things that slowed the story down - even if there was some cutesy writing in there. Now it moves quickly.

And now I just wait to see if it sells. No more asking for it back to do just a few more revisions. Of course, editors may give it back and ask us for some changes, but I really think it's in good shape - I just have to see if people "get" it.

So that leaves me possibly starting something new some day. I have two ideas for adult novels (I mean, as opposed to kids' novels, not as in "porn" or something) and one pre-teen novel I wrote years ago that I'd like to revise and make much better.

I'm mostly resting now, just waiting to see if anything happens with my current teen novel. It could take months to hear back. I'm glad I have some new novel ideas, but nothing at all that I need to rush on. It's really a rest period, and I've got a new marriage to focus on.

Still, there are always a few projects in mind, and it's important for me to think of a lot of different aspects of them so that when I start writing them, there are some rich plot and character details already to work with.

I am hopeful that the teen book that's being sent out will sell, becase I think people will like it and it'll make them think.

Fight the power

Starbucks has a lot of holiday coffee and cappuccino flavors. But why don't they ever do something more healthy, like Split Pea Cappuccino or Ham & Cheese Mocha Dream? Maybe I'll suggest that. Who's with me?

Wow, the silence is deafening.


I just cleaned out my closets. One of the frustrating things about seasons that go back and forth, temperature-wise, is that it's hard to put away things if you think you'll need them again soon. But I just packed my summer clothes away. Whew.


Someone e-mailed me to point out that wearing sneakers would not work with every wedding dress. Just to clarify: You couldn't actually SEE my shoes under my dress, so it really didn't matter what I wore under it, even though some people get really uptight about that sort of thing. If you want more height, I guess you have to wear high heels. But you'll be doing a lot of running around, so if you want to be comfortable, and no one's gonna see your shoes anyway, consider sneakers!


My computer is an 8-year-old Dell, so me and the hubby may be investing in a new computer soon. If anyone has any Mac-vs.-PC feelings and wants to e-mail me their thoughts and suggestions, feel free. We mostly use our 'puter to surf the internet, check e-mail, write, and I may do some updating on my writing website someday.

Speaking of writing, my good friend Jon has written a book, and you should read it next month when it comes out. More to come.


Holy cow!

Brilliant young writer Ned Vizzini is engaged!

Congrats, Ned and Sarah! Remember, do YOUR wedding YOUR way. Avoid the pressure.

Wear sneakers under your dress if you want to!!

(ignore the date in the photo - it's wrong)

To others: Read Ned's books. They read like buttah. (And buy them, 'cause hell, he'll need the money soon. ;)

Oh, the photo below is supposed to be funny; I'll publish some nicer Hawaii photos next week. And not of McDonald's and Quizno's. (Although they were both there).

For those who wanted to see photos from Hawaii, here's one!

Don't worry, there are plenty more like this.



The hubby and I have returned from our honeymoon. It was beautiful, walking along the beach and swimming in the pool every day. Now we are back to the cold weather.

As many of you know, "honeymoon" is a term derived from the ancient practice of mooning your honey. During our honeymoon, we ate lots of pupu and were lucky to get lei'd.




Scared ya, didn't I? Okay, maybe not.

There is always something pleasurable about getting something for free. Maybe it's the fact that you know you don't have to stop enjoying it because of the price - especially if that free thing is food.

Halloween was something I looked forward to during all of October as a kid. Many of you did, too. It's so odd that this strange holiday, which has us literally asking strangers for candy, has lasted into modern times - but hey, it did.

There were some wonderful aspects beyond the candy, as well. I always enjoyed catching that glimpse into the foyer of a house where you didn't know the neighbor, but you saw the house all the time - and now you got to see how they lived for a moment. You also got to see what they chose to give out. If they gave out any kind of chocolate bar, they got points in my book. Those annoying Bit-O-Honeys and Mary Janes, which broke your braces, had to go. And what were those B-B-Bats (banana taffy on a stick?!) and Sugar Daddys (caramel on a stick?) What out-of-touch person was giving those out?? They would sit in my trick-or-treat bag for a year, along with the red and white swirly mints.

Sucking candy was bottom of the barrel, but if it was a Charms or Life Savers lollypop, at least it was big and had character. I liked those. Dum-Dums pops were just weak.

Although apples and pennies weren't my favorites, I still appreciated them.

My brother and I would ride our bikes around our development of contempra homes weeks before Halloween, mapping out our route. Then, we would forage into the night, trying to collect the most treats before the sun went down. (How did we do all this adventuring without cell phones? Egad!) We always gave up when it started getting chilly and we started getting tired. We came home, spread our loot on the rug, and traded. And we always said the same thing: "We shoulda got more treats!"

One year, brother and I went out as a two-headed monster. We both fit inside one of our dad's white t-shirts and wrote on it, "The two-headed, four-footed monster." We kept our own pants on.

Unfortunately, two older kids from the neighborhood came up and asked to look in our bag, then took some of our stuff. They grinned and walked away. My brother and I wanted to run from them, but it is very hard to run as a two-headed monster.

When we got home, I told my mom about it, and she told me to call one of the kids' mothers, who lived up the block. So I did. She promptly sent the kid over to give us some of HIS candy.

"Don't blame me if there's poison in it," he said ruefully.

Anyway, those were some impromptu Halloween memories. What are yours?

Finally, happy November! I won't be posting for the rest of the week because I'll be in sugar shock, so enjoy yours!


V-J Day

Yesterday, the New York Times had an article on the origins of the term "va-jay-jay." I had actually been wondering about that. They quoted linguistics professors, etc. Aren't you dying to know?



Here are some photos sitting on various parts of my computer, related to brief things I haven't had much chance to mention - and some that are totally random.

Photo of me in camp when I was maybe 8.

Only someone who really knew me and loved me would surprise me by getting me this. And he did! ;)

It's been determined that all members of my household are fans of these annual Entenmann's treats.

Someone hung this up in my neighborhood recently. Either that, or a witch got stuck.


Fall leaves
I love the change in the weather up here for fall, and the beautiful changing leaves - when they actually change. This year, it's been so hot (except for a few spurts of normalcy) that the leaves haven't changed much. However, the Hubby was kind enough to take me to a cool old NY waterfront town to do some leaf-peeping anyway.

Here are a few photos. As you can see, the leaves are falling, but not completely changing. You know, the leaves have to WANT to change!



Yeah, I have not had much time for blogging. Buuuut I swear that at times, I think of really great ideas for blog entries. Great ones! Not much consolation, is it?

I still want to write my "triage" entry, or series of entries. Triage, as you probably know, is the idea in medicine, particularly during war-time, that if you are dealing with injuries, you have to tend to the most serverely injured first, even if that means neglecting others for a while. I guess it's another way of saying "make priorities," only, it's for really dire situations, and has worse consequences.

What I've thought about is smaller-scale situations in my life. For instance, I work for a relatively small company. There are people whose last names I haven't learned - simply because they are relatively new - but worse, there are also people whose names I don't know at all, just because they are in a different department.

It would be classy and honorable if I actually made an effort one day to know everyone's name (even if some are just there for the short-term). Then again, if I spend the effort on that, it might take away from other more pressing aspects of work. (OKay, it's not a ton of "effort," but it still means making it a priority.)

At a former job of mine, the wealthy owner used to come in and putter around, asking everyone how they were doing, what their problems were, etc. Everyone found that amazing. Yet, I also know that he didn't really need to work, so he had more time to be generous. He also had a huuuuge network of people who loved him and supported him in whatever he did. So he had time to spread that love. But shouldn't I be more like him, palling around with everyone in the office? Would that make me more personable and a better worker, or a phony? It's something that, in a perfect world, I'd do - at least know a little about everyone in my company.

This is at the less significant part of the spectrum of triage. My bigger issue is that I'd like to - cliche on the way - "make the world a better place." But there are so many things that need fixin'...where to start? It's not like I can solve all the problems - best to just pick one small way to help, somewhere. Not at the expense of my loved ones or job, of course. But where to start?

That's an aspect for another post someday....

Disclaimer: I kinda just wrote that, not very well-organized, so judge it that way. Some of this just comes out. Maybe if I revised, it'd be more cohesive. Just my thoughts. Anyway, I wrote it on Saturday but am posting it Sunday. On Monday: Photos of fall leaves, as I went "leaf peeping" with the hubby. Unfortunately, the weather is not so conducive for leaf changes.


Most smartest

Most reality shows annoy me. But I found one that actually made me laugh.

It's called "America's Most Smartest Model" and of course, the purpose is just to make fun of models. I imagine that the models on the show realize that. They still want the publicity anyway.
The show judges models on their looks and moves, but also asks them history and spelling questions.

During the first episode, they had to walk the runway and say a list of things, with the category given by the judges. For instance, they would tell one guy "Kinds of dinosaur" and he had to walk the runway saying "Stegosaurus, brontosaurus..."

So anyway, during the course of this, they asked a French model to name things that smell bad.

He said: "Socks, trash, dirty laundry, dirty penis..."

At the end, Ben Stein said, "Did you say, 'Dirty penis'?"

The model replied, in his French accent, "Well, does it smell bad?"

Next, they asked a ditsy-looking woman to name things that were round. So she came out and walked the runway saying something like, "Grapefruit, balls, cherries, grapefruit, balls, cherries."

At that point, I broke down and started laughing hysterically. The Hubby just stared at me strangely. Thank God I didn't do this before the wedding or there might not have been one.

Anyway, don't forget to watch "America's Most Smartest Model" so that you can get your jollies pretending you are superior to people who look much better than you.

On another night, we are hosting trivia tonight. See ya!



The Hub and I are hosting Tuesday Night Trivia on...well, Tuesday! So come play.

Information and directions here. The press release is a bit old, but the info is the same. Oh, it's in New York City.


Good readin'

My friend Jodi from elementary school only updates her blog occasionally, but when she does, it's REALLY worth reading. She is a stupendous writer, and very funny. If you remember Balki from "Perfect Strangers," read this entry dated Sept. 11. There's a surprise at the end.

Another friend of mine has a touching entry about friends or lovers who may be out of our lives, but left a lasting effect by teaching us something. Read it here.

Finally, a few weeks ago, the New York Times stopped forcing people to pay to read their old articles, so now you can pretty much get anything. Including some of my nutty pieces. Despite the serious headline, this is meant to be funny.

Have a great weekend! It's supposed to be sunny and cool, and I'm hoping the leaves will be purty.

Artistic genius

It's a fun tradition at weddings to leave disposable cameras on the tables so your guests can take their own pictures of each other, then leave the camera for you to develop.

We figured we'd get some good photos, and some awful ones.

But never did we predict the level of genius that we'd see when we retrieved our photos from CVS yesterday!

WOW!!! Clearly, this photo of a young man's shoulder is meant to evoke the burden that all of today's youth must "shoulder" in a changing and sometimes dangerous society.

The question asked by this astoundingly profound shot is quite obvious. Maybe we all have the capacity to hear, but do we really LISTEN?

While some of us are at our best at a wedding, others are just a shadow of themselves. Clearly the photographer here was a brilliant philosopher.

Okay, let's stop sugar-coating it. This person was just holding the camera backwards. DUH!!!



I've been married a week, and so far it's great.

That's really no fun for you to read about, is it? Maybe I should write more about past bad dating experiences...I'll change any names to protect the innocent.

Is it hot enough for you? What are we fall-leaf loves to do? There are still moments of beauty in the trees along the highway -- crimson-studded branches and splashes of Golden Delicious yellow.

Okay, no time to write more. If you had to work today, I feel your pain.


That's just swell

Looks like someone wrote a paper on Carrie Pilby in 2004 and is now selling her paper on-line for $15! At least she got an A minus.

Well, I must go back to cleaning and ironing now.



My dress when I finally got out of it at the end of the day.

Gorgeous flowers I got at work yesterday from my new hubby.

Incidentally, the candy you are looking at on the second shelf is dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, which I had been curious to try. They actually taste very similar to regular peanut M&Ms; the dark chocolate doesn't make much of a difference.


I'm married

As of two days ago.

To the Boy: I'm very lucky to be with you and I love you (I guess I should call you The Hubby now).

I am extremely honored and humbled to have so many good people in my life...I have already received photos from a few of my wonderful friends, and I'm nearly speechless at how wonderful everyone is. Thanks to everyone who attended, to those who sent good wishes, and of course, to anyone reading this.

Don't worry, I won't change...except that I will now mostly write about ironing, vaccuuming, sweeping, and standing by my man.

I of course have much more to say, too much for a blog post. To The Boy, I love you and thanks for marrying me. And for putting up with a blog.

Oh, just a few things:
-I wore sneakers under my wedding dress and no one complained. Our guests did an impromptu hora to "Born to Run" at the end of the night and it was perfect. I got my veil inexpensively at a craft store (a suggestion from the best man's wife), and no one left the wedding saying, "Gee, I enjoyed the music and people and everything was beautiful....but the veil wasn't very good." So, resist the pressure of the wedding industry! It's about you and your spouse and your loved ones. That's all.


Sweatshirt weather at last!

Well, that was a long moment of silence...

Blogging will continue to be brief this month.

The Boy and I visited my alma mater this weekend, and we went to a Mets game. It was fun.

I am really posting this on Sunday but dating it for Monday, just so y'all know. I do that sometimes.

Hope you have a good week.



Blog-moment of silence today.


College life

Students at Harvard used to get a university-issued pillow when they moved into their dorms. But this year, Harvard is discontinuing the practice. They should have gotten rid of it years ago. Aren't Harvard freshmen smart enough to bring their own pillow to school?


Ferry good

Last Saturday, the fiance and I took the free ferry from NYC to Governor's Island, a former military base off the Manhattan coast. It's now full of empty brick buildings while the city decides what to do with it. They give free tours during the summer. The last tours were this past weekend.

A fortress from the War of 1812.

Then, Sunday, he took me to a Staten Island Yankees game. They played the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets affiliate. It was one of the more fun stadiums.

One guy's apparent homer was declared foul.

A foul ball flew over our row.



Apparently, much of the school board in Pleasantville, NJ got arrested this morning for alleged corruption. I don't know where Pleasantville is, but I guess you shouldn't move there for the schools.

More importantly, when I have more time - some photos from a fabulous weekend with the Boy. Including baseball. This was not our seat:



Jon the writer told me he got inspired and wrote a first-day-of-college post of his own. It's very good.

A friend of mine published excerpts from her own elementary school diaries , which are more biting than mine. (Scroll down a post or two.)


Have a great first week of September, everyone!



I really don't sit around all day checking on how my books are selling. But it occurred to me to check this because I haven't done so in a very long time. Is this true? If so, I want my check! Hahaha.

Note: It's still available on Amazon, so it's not really sold out.


Scott Baio's back

The Boy was kind enough to forward me articles about my favorite reality show. Scott Baio will be returning for a second season. I may not watch this one. But anyway, here's the dirt. Warning: Spoilers!!!



During my first few days of freshman year of college, it was sunny, bright, and contradictorily cool. We kept waiting for rain, and there was none, which was good for us suburban kids who weren't used to all that walking around in a city.

Several days were reserved for freshman orientation before classes began, and this orientation included "diversity training" on the grassy college green (where we designed our own skits about racial sensitivity), last-minute dropping and adding of courses, and "campus safety" seminars. There was a tree-lined brick walkway that ran the length of campus, past the Book Store and the main freshman dorm, and along the way, people stalked us trying to invite us to their club, sell us something, offer us membership.

During the first few days of school, everybody wanted us.

If we walked on the brick walkway, we'd get accosted by coupons: The local pizza restaurant, wing joints, bagel shops. Credit card companies set up desks to offer us gifts if we'd use their card, now that we were suddenly independent (probably not such a good idea). Clubs and non-profit volunteer groups begged us to be members.

And there were jobs. "JOBS!" the pink fluorescent flyers screamed, "$12-$15 an hour!" The $15 an hour one involved delivering newspapers on campus from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. before classes, a great way to earn yourself a reputation on your dorm floor while everyone else slept late. There were jobs editing the faculty newsletter, sitting in the dorm computer rooms, and working in the dining hall (which meant a nice discount on meal plan).

One night during orientation, there was an event at the Christian center with free burgers and a showing of a Monty Python movie. Of course, all the non-Christian freshmen came too, because it was yet another free dinner, a way to avoid spending money when people were throwing so many freebies at us.

Everybody wanted us. We were the future.

And we wanted each other, no doubt. Some of us had boy- or girl-friends back home, but not most of us. We were 18, without our parents for the first time, and our hormones were still raging. So there we were, with thousands of people our ages, of similar backgrounds, suddenly sprung from the stuffy halls of high school and shedding the social labels of nerd or geek or jock. Everyone wanted to sell things to us and get to know us.

It really felt like a beginning.

We could do anything from here, and some of us were bound to be successful at it. Those groups, credit card companies, and employers knew it. We were ripe for the picking. Get 'em while they're young. Feed 'em, stuff their mailboxes with offers and event notices, give 'em a plastic blue and red rape whistle if any of their late-night activities go too far.

It was an explosive, exciting time for those of us who'd been mired in the limitations of high school. It was the beginning of independence.

For some students, it was a time when they realized they didn't know how to handle that newfound independence and flunked out. Others started a romance within a few days and never ended it. Some just went through school and had a good time. Some prepared to make a lot of money. Some filled their heads with knowledge and didn't know what to do after graduation.

But no matter what happened, beginnings are nice. We didn't know which path we were about to take, only that it was all ahead of us and not much was behind.

That feeling comes back to me every year around this time, when everyone looked at us as the representatives of the future, and we knew anything could happen in love and life. You don't have to be 18 to believe that, but when you are 18, it sure helps other people feel that way!


Bat dog

The Boy and I went to a Trenton Thunder minor league game on Saturday night. The team had a "bat dog" that actually went out and picked up the bats after the players were done with them in the first inning. It was a Golden Retriever, I think. They also featured a dog later on that was up for adoption. So, definitely my kind of game. Anyway, we left early because it was soupy-hot that night. The Thunder apparently won 7-0. The next night, they played a 14-inning game!

Bloggin' may be light over the next month. But I will write something about the first day of school soon.


Uh oh!

A boy read my diary! It was my fiance! Okay, so it was my diary from when I was 8, but still...no boys allowed.

Now that he knows that I didn't get invited to Johanna's birthday party, or that my brother got better Life Savers flavors than I, I hope he will still be kind enough to marry me.

And I tried so hard to keep those things a secret...


One writer's beginnings

I was looking for something last night and I found my diary from when I was 8.

It is not of high literary quality.



I just made some tea
This could signify the start
Of a new season



Too busy to post today. Just to save time - er, I may be too busy to post tomorrow too.

I should get a post in some time this week. I think.

I love you all and give you all a great big free (((hug))).

(That hug was platonic, but meaningful.)


This just makes no sense

Today I got an e-mail whose subject heading said "Help! My boyfriend's p*nis is too big to fit in my mouth!"

Interesting dilemma! I had never heard of the person who was sending it, but I was quite concerned for her (his?) well-being, so I opened it. It said:

"Dames always shrieked at me and even gentlemans did in the water closet! Well, now I smil at them, because I took Mega-Di*k for 6 months and now my c*ck is dreadfully longer than average."

I don't understand this crazy logic. If it gets bigger, then it will have even less chance of fitting in the mouth. Maybe this person should take Mini-Di*k for 6 months. Hmmm. Count me puzzled.


I am officially even more lame than before

I am afraid to go on rollercoasters. Not just rollercoasters, though. The last time I rode on the Buccanneer in Great Adventure, I was scared and decided I'd never go on that again, either.

Last time I was coaxed onto a Ferris wheel, I also decided I would never go on one again.

Now that I see that people actually died on one, I have more reason - although I know that's incredibly rare. Still, I think I'll skip it if I can.


Talkin' baseball

The Boy and I had a nice weekend. We decided to see a minor league game out of the area. You may have heard of the incident a few years ago when people at a Toronto Blue Jays game witnessed a couple having sex in an attached hotel. Well, the team we saw also had an attached hotel, although we provided no such "free shows."

The minor league team, the Manchester New Hampshire Fisher Cats, were an affiliate of the Blue Jays.

Here is the view from our room:

The night we were there, the local Boy Scouts had a "sleep over" on the field. The Boy and I both agreed that it would have been a cool thing to do when we were growing up. However, by 6:30 the next morning, most of the people were packing up to leave. I could tell the adults had just had enough.

We went to a game the next day and had a lot of fun. There were fireworks after. Unfortunately, the boy caught a free t-shirt and injured his finger in the process.

There was a little non-sporty entertainment, of course. We took a walk downtown by the dozens of former mills, and enjoyed a view of the Merrimack River.

So if you are a big baseball fan or are in love with one, it's a weekend I recommend. We also soaked in the homeplate-shaped hot tub (no photo, sorry).

I might be pretty busy this week and not blog so much, so have a good week!



Have a good weekend, y'all!


Good news

Starting today, Cablevision of New Jersey is getting the 24-hour "Sound of Music" channel! It replaces ESPN!!! I look forward to watching it on Sundays at 10 a.m. instead of "Sports Reporters"...Captain Von Trapp is much more handsome than Mitch Albom.

Anyway, apparently there was a huge storm yesterday morning that wreaked havoc all over the NYC area and even caused a tornado in Brooklyn, and I slept right through it. I've nearly lost the right to call myself a Weather Weenie.

Update: The Boy had this to say in response:

and as for the rest of the cablevision press release..........."not available in all areas, one of them being [our town] and even if it were available in [our county], we would simply move Sports Reporters, along with sports guru/genius Mitch Albom, to ESPN 2." Still not sure what you have against a show you may have spent all of five minutes watching. You are usually doing laundry, bathing or working out when Sports Reporters is on. You probably had to look up the show online to see who the moderators usually are. They tend to vary from week to week, but Albom is usually a constant.

Whatever. The Hillllls are Aliiiiiiiiive....

Anyway, he's wrong...I liked "Sports Reporters" when they were talking about The Sopranos.



I guess I did enough dwelling on myself and my days o' youth on Monday, right?

I'll spare you that today.

What can we do instead?

How about we look at puppies?????


When I was at the crossroads

A friend of mine recently noted that people only blog when they're upset about something. It's often true of writing in one's journal, too. Through the years, I mostly used my journals to help write out my feelings on things, more bad than good. As a result, most of my journals aren't of great literary quality. There are a few writers whose published diaries are so honest and heartfelt that they're fun to read, like Sylvia Plath's. But in reading hers, you can tell she actually tried to make them well-written. (At least, it seems that way.) I never had the patience - I am pretty sure my jottings won't ever be published.

Anyway, I thought it would be funny to take out my old "One-Year Diary" from when I was 8 or 10 (I got diaries for my birthdays those years) and transcribe a bit of it here, because those diaries are NOT angry - I was too young. They were mostly full of "We went to Wildwood today. The beach was butiful [crossed out] beatifull," which is always fun.

However, I couldn't immediately find them, though I know they're here somewhere. I did open a random journal that turned out to be from when I was 22.

Unsurprisingly, the literary quality was not high. But I did get pretty detailed. Detailed about the holding pattern my life was in. After graduating from college, I was broke, isolated, and desperate to find a job I really loved during an unforgiving economic recession. I didn't know what I would do, who I would love, who I would be, and whom to talk to about any of it.

The thing that saved me was typing skills I had honed since high school, because I knew I needed to get good at typing if I was going to write novels. Even though I couldn't land a publishing job right after college like I wanted, I was pleased that I was accepted for short-term temp jobs based on my typing speed, although they were not very fulfilling.

My only social activity was doing some college-related activities with other recent grads (like attending a Penn/Columbia football game), not because I had had a great time in school, but instead, because I figured maybe the social skills that had eluded me would allow me to enjoy all those college activities now that I was older and wiser. Besides, the only people I knew in the NYC area were two or three people who had graduated with me. There was no internet and not much of a way to make new friends in my new neighborhood.

I was, in other words, at a crossroads, and the journal makes that clear.

Just now, I typed up a few of my sample entries from that journal. These are not indicative of everything that was going on (I'm cutting out some family stuff below), but...a pretty good account of a recently graduated English major in Generation X...

8/26 10:28 AM Natalie [temp woman] gave me a six-day job at $14 an hour! Cool! I gotta learn Lotus tho. Not so cool. But at least I don't gotta get up every day & make phone calls searching for work.

A woman said she's been in word processing for seven years and refused to take a typewriter test. I agreed w/her in principle. But who cares, cuz I'm GONNA MAKE four hundred smackas.

This morning I saw a REALLY old guy reading the personals. It was depressing.

Another free weekend is coming up. I don't want to take my car anywhere far until I get Triple A. [Editor's Note: This was a used car I bought for $800 after graduation, and used it to move all my stuff from Philly up north.]

8/27 10:34 AM What a temp job! $14 an hour for the next 6 days - and it's a nice financial place. I'm up on the 19th floor right now. I'm listening to Howard Stern. This company is one of those that takes care of its employees. Free juices & water...whee! I only hafta answer phones. Barely.

1:28 I just chowed down on free Chinese. Top things to do at a temp job:

1. Make long distance calls
2. Make copies
3. Steal software (duplicate it)
I do not advocate these things, however.

8/28 8:38 Weird dream! Weird dream! Something about making G.F. [someone I had a pretty intense unrequited crush on in college] take a job on a bus or something. It all escapes me now.

8/30 9:07 AM I went past the new CBS David Letterman theater this morning (For those who don't know, he left NBC). Z-100 was broadcasting some contest w/Jason Priestly.

Last night I read that Elton John had a hit with "Your Song" at the age of 23. One year older than I, and I still haven't accomplished anything. I hang on to hope w/the Jason book [a kids' book I was working on at the time]. Without that project, I'd probably feel completely worthless.

8/31 They showed the Letterman scenes on the news. He came outside a few times.

Heard on the street this morning:
DAD - We're having sushi tonight.



Now this is an interesting title for a book....



Alex the Italian Carrie Pilby reader e-mailed me, and I told him I was getting married. He writes:

This is simply great and special!!! I...can't believe to that....oh Caren, l'm so happy for this great thing it is happening to you... .. It is what every man or woman would like to crown as the bigger dream in their life, specially if it is with someone who deserves this reciprocal and big heart and love! It is the best news that you ever could make and give me before!! I love it !! As i have ever loved the friendship who came up one day with you. You have been a so special person for me Caren, and it will be for ever of my life. Alex

He is sweet. I hope he finds someone wonderful too.

I wore a skirt to work today and didn't get harassed.

How many of you actually clicked on the internet to watch the video of the bridge? Sickos.



I am behind on a few e-mails, so I apologize if you sent me a comment and I didn't respond. I got pretty busy.

The Scott Baio show is on again tonight. I may skip it in order to protect my relationship. Anyway, this may be more interesting, but have they gotten to home plate as many times as Scott?

My novel is now in my agent's hands and I think she will send it to editors in September, which is a good time for it. If one of them (or more) wants to buy it, I'm in luck! It's finally in good shape and I'm hopeful.


Damned if you do, damned if you don't

If you wear a skirt or dress to work, you are guaranteed to get sexually harassed on the way to work, or at least, treated differently. Okay, by "you" I mean, "me," because I always pass a few small-time construction operations during my short commute. Usually construction guys working on a street-level restaurant. But it's not really sexual harassment all the time; sometimes it's just a construction guy saying "Hi!" or "Good morning!", but I know the same one ignores me if I am not wearing a skirt.

It's really not a big deal. But anyway, the reason I mention this is that today, I passed two construction guys working on a corner bar, and one of them yelled at me, "Nice dress!"

But I was wearing pants.

I guess he wishes I was wearing a dress so he could be rude. Oh well. I ignored the remark and continued on my merry way.

You just can't win! (And by "you" I mean "me".)


Circling around New York

Even though we live here, it was very worthwhile to take the Circle Line's three-hour tour of NYC, which the Boy and I did this weekend. I saw parts of the city more scenic than I could have imagined, and learned many useful facts.

Did you know that railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt started out when he was 12 by taking his father's boat and ferrying passengers from NYC to Staten Island for money, which was the forerunner of the Staten Island ferry? I did not know that!

Our three-hour tour was conducted by award-winning tour guide Malachy Murray, who is also an author and actor, according to a Google search. He does look like a dark-haired Val Kilmer, doesn't 'e?

Here are some photos. (I'll spare the major touristy things...well, some of them.)

When the immigrants arrived in these waters, they didn't view this string of residential towers by Donald Trump.

Queensboro bridge looks a little rusty.

Riverside church, largest church in the world.

Columbia rowing team painted that. Doesn't even look like it's in NYC, does it?

A former smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island (formerly Welfare Island). If you look closely, the architecture is pretty intricate. But it's going to be torn down soon. Waaa! (Clicking on any of these photos makes them bigger, by the way.)

One of the last area companies to still use the local waters for shipping. But it closed down not long ago.

Can I ass you a question? (These colorful specimens were sitting in front of us.)

Okay, I have to put in one touristy thing, but a very important one. Beautiful, isn't she?? To quote Henry Roth in the great immigration novel Call It Sleep, "I hear you can go up inside her for a quarter." Well, not anymore, but anyway.
So in short, if you are a tourist or a native, I suggest you take the tour. Good suggestion by the Boy!