Happy new year!!!!

Hope you have a great new year's eve. I know mine will be wonderful.

And a great 2009!!



"The Sound of Music" is on Sunday night at 7 on ABC.  Thought you should know!

In unrelated news...

There was a pile of dog poo on the way to do laundry today.  I kept saying "Hi, Mr. Hankie" when I passed it, because I knew it was really Mr. Hankie, the Christmas Poo.  Hubby just thinks I'm weird.  But you and I know the truth.


Attention unpublished writers

Especially if you're starting late.  Here is a contest that might help you.  


Free offer

Do you have extra cash lying around your house?  Coins you never use?

Let me take it off your hands!

I am willing to pick up

-Small bills
-Large bills
-Husband's wallets
-Annoying quarters
-Unused gift cards
-Those winning lottery tickets you just don't feel like redeeming
-And more!

Just give me a call.  Satisfaction guaranteed!  This is NOT a scam!!!!!!!!!!



Well, luckily he wasn't all wet.  To quote Wayne and Garth, when they were discussing Clinton's jogging shorts, "We don't need to see SO much of the president."



If a bulldog goes to sleep, it becomes a bulldozer.

Did you see that news story about the kid named Adolph Hitler Campbell?  (The one ShopRite wouldn't make a cake for?)  Someone commented that because of his last name, he is actually a soup Nazi!

That's all I have to pass along today.  I'm supposed to root against the Patriots in football today, according to Hub, so please do the same to help us all out.  Thanks!



Okay, haven't written much lately. Waaay too busy at work. Also hanging out with the hubby, fuming over Spencer on "The Hills," etc., etc.....

I'm noticing that blogging is on the decline in general. People are doing their Facebook status updates and such. Ned wrote something poignant, though. He refers to it as "whiny and self involved."

On another note, here's what some Jewish folks do on Xmas Eve. I won't confirm that I've ever been to one.

Have wonderful holidays, everyone!



The Hubby and I were in the Port Authority last week and spied this woman walking a dog that had a puffy winter coat that matched hers.  The dog's coat even had a hood!  It said "Rock" on it with a star in the "O."

UPDATE:  I found it on-line.  It's only $45.  It's the one on the left.


Amazing!  (and about 5 seconds long)

Watch this video.  Yes, it's office safe.

Quote of the evening

"That's your problem; you move at the speed of girl.  [Pause.]  Blog THAT!" - The Hubby
Combonym of the day

Pukeumber - n. - What you get if you eat cucumber and it makes you nauseous.

So that you're in the know

"Sexting" is the new catch-phrase.  From AOL news:

Apparently teens taking risqué photos of themselves is turning into a full-on epidemic. Researchers from Teenage Research Unlimited have finally put some hard numbers to the anecdotes about teens getting themselves in trouble with revealing photos. 

According to the study, commissioned by the 
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, 22-percent of teenage girls and 18-percent of boys have taken nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and sent them to someone or posted them online. And a third of young adults (20-26 years old) have done the same.  Young adults and teens view sending these photos and suggestive text messages as simple digital flirting. 39-percent of teens and 59-precent of those young adults say they've sent naughty texts a means of flirting.


The sky

Saw this linked to on another blog, and had to link too



We're officially in a recession. In case you couldn't tell.

Dialogue of the day

(in the supermarket)

CASHIER: That's $6.03.
(I start looking through my pocketbook.)
HUBBY: Do you have it?
ME: I do. I just need to find three cents.
HUBBY: I can find it.
ME: Well, I probably have more cents.
HUBBY: You have more sense?
ME: Yes, I probably have more sense.
CASHIER: (Laughing)
ME: Thank you. We'll be here all week.


This makes me angry

VALLEY STREAM -- A Wal-Mart employee died and four others were hurt in the Black Friday rush to get into the Valley Stream store this morning.
The injuries occurred as the shoppers crammed into the Wal-Mart when the doors opened at 5 a.m. Some 2,000 shoppers were waiting to get inside the store for Black Friday sales.
Police said the shoppers knocked the man to the ground at 5:03 a.m., three minutes after the store opened.
A 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee suffered an apparent heart attack and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The poor guy was probably working to make money for his family this holiday season. It was bad enough he was stuck working at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

If stores want to open early and make money, they need to have better security.



Apparently, Black Friday doesn't only mean deals at stores. Apparently, Amazon will be having deals too, and not just on books. Here's a link.

I think their sales are good a few days before and after the day -- and yes, I get a little money if you buy through my link.

Here it is again.



if you're not wearing underwear

This just in

Police perplexed by soda can in woods

Was it a joke, an accident, or something more?
Police in Nicotown, Mass. are perplexed by a crushed Coke can found at the beginning of a trail in some local woods by a hiker this past Friday. They say that the can looks like someone drank out of it, but simply left it on the ground without using it to construct a model airplane.
Police also say that even more mysteriously, a cigarette butt and a mitten were found within 300 yards of the can.
"It's the darndest thing," said Det. Sgt. Marshall Warren Kopp. "It looks like the mitten may have been on someone's hand. In addition, we strongly suspect the Coke can used to have soda in it!"
The cigarette butt looks as if someone smoked it, but may have had at least 25 cents worth of nicotine left, Kopp added.
CNN is investigating reports that a crumbled newspaper page was found nearby.
"In all my years on the force, I've never seen anything like this," said Lieutennant Lou Tennant. "Except the time we found a ladybug and couldn't find its owner."
Tennant said that his department spent months putting the ladybug's picture on milk boxes to see if anyone would claim the missing pet, but it was in vain.
Kopp and Tennant said the case is unconnected to the suspicious empty water bottle found in Yellowstone Park last week.
Wait, there's more!

Pen Found on Ground

Police in Ball Pointe, Mich. said last week that they found a pen on the ground.
More information as this story develops.



Would you really call 911 if you found this?  I think some kid hid it there to get out of lessons, which I wish I'd done.



The bulldog conspiracy has snared a victim.  Last night, the hubby was innocently watching stuff on YouTube - guy stuff, I assure you - and it recommended that he watch a bulldog video, because I'm on the computer so much looking at bulldog videos.  Way to go, YouTube!  If you are interested, it was a bulldog eating a watermelon.

They didn't show all the poo afterward.

I think hubby would have preferred something more like Uga, the U. Georgia football team's bulldog mascot.


Combonym of the week

Barma - n. - karma related to bar situations.  As in, "He walked right in, and the girls were all over him.  He had good barma that night."

Do you think this term could become as popular as c-ckblock?  (I hate that term.)

We had a fun weekend.  Hope you did.  A few quick notes before sleep:

1.  Sarah e-mailed me a link of English bulldog puppies, and how could I keep such a thing from my 4-5 readers?

2.  Photos from this weekend...

Close to home

Walter's famous hot dog stand (as mentioned last week)

Cupcakes at Crumbs NYC


Laugh of the day

There is actually a Facebook group called "Stop Playing Toyota's 'Saved By Zero' Commercial"



Scenes from last week

Here are some photos taken in the last week in NY and NJ.
By the way, it was 38 degrees this morning!  (That's Fahrenheit, for all you Canadians).

New graffiti on under an old sign on a brick wall in New York. I love old signs that haven't completely faded.  It seems like this one has to do with flushing the crankcase in your vehicle.  They have a system!

Here's an old sign & clock in a town in North Jersey.

Foliage in our hometown.

Rain on Ninth Street in New York's West Village.



Three topics today:

1.  Is there a Halloween version of the Grinch?  I may be married to one.  He said there should be a week and three day grace period for people to remove pumpkins on the stoops, in windows, etc.  After that, pumpkins should not be out anymore.  I tried to make the case that gourds can sorta relate to Thanksgiving, but he wasn't having it.

I asked him if there's a Halloween grinch.

Me:  What do you call someone who demands that pumpkins be removed?
Him:  Honest!!

Hmmm.  Wait 'til he gets a load of people's Xmas trees being thrown out in April!

2.  Interesting numbers:

CNN says, "Poll finds public deeply pessimistic."

3.  Lately people have been asking me about books and agents a lot.  Is it the economy or something?  Is everyone suddenly working on their book?  Actually, the people who asked me all have jobs, but it's still strange that in the last few weeks, three people have asked me about how to submit proposals, look for an agent, etc.  Well, I'm always happy to help!

4.  Some day I have to write about the influence of typing on my life, if I already haven't.



1. I had my first Walter's wiener today. It will likely be my last for a while, as hot dogs are not on my 'healthy' list, but they always smelled so good when the hubby had them. The accompanying "sweet spuds" were yummy, too.

If we go again, I will post photos. Not to leave you in suspense or anything.

2. A rant:

A few weeks ago, a girl in my writing group was saying that she almost bought a sandwich for a local homeless person once, but then she noticed the person was smoking a cigarette (so??) I guess her implication is that if she could afford cigarettes, she could afford food. Now, that is just stupid and a lazy excuse not to help someone who clearly has a crappy life. Maybe the cigarette is the only bright spot in an otherwise miserable day - how many of us need 100 of those bright spots to keep us going all day (internet breaks at work, drinks after work, a hug from someone we love, or whatever?) Secondly, maybe someone gave her the cigarette.

Thirdly, no one in their right mind would choose to be on the streets with barely anything - it's not an easy life. Someone who stays there has problems most of us can't imagine. Certainly it's not as easy as sitting in front of a computer being paid, as many of us likely are right now.

Think about it - you are being paid right now to read my blog!!!!

So if the dollar here or there won't set you back, give it to someone else who may need it, and don't trouble yourself about whether it goes to the right place or not. It might give someone a pickup for a second. If you give to three people and one of them is helped, it's better than giving to zero.

3. I forgot it.



Down came the rain, and....

Here are some images from yesterday's rains, which facilitated the falling of the leaves.

No, I don't know who the boy is.  He just appeared when I was photographing this block, and hey, it fits.  I don't know what he was doing here at like 9:30 a.m. anyway; what happened to school?



I only paid $1.50 for each of them this morning.

Maybe the rest of the country has no place to get them. OK, OK, I'll sell ya mine for $100 each.
Reason why hubby is great

He sent me this article about the upcoming First Pooch. I'm glad some people are trying to steer them toward a needy shelter dog so they can set an example. But I also understand those who say he should get his daughters the dog they want. They are kids, after all.

Still, he's prez now! He should encourage people to adopt.
Historic night

This is a historic night.  A night in which a president has promised, in his speech...a puppy!

However, in order to make sure he can come through on this promise, he failed to be specific, as politicians tend to do.  What breed will the First Canine be?  More importantly, will it be adopted from a shelter??

I recommend a mixed breed, perhaps part beagle.  Their temperament is astounding.  Plus they are small and will poop less.  There is enough poop in Washington already.

I happened to get a chance to look at the speech Obama would have given if he'd lost, and apparently, he was just going to give the girls some sea monkeys.  Those are two lucky girls!!

So, those are my intellectual thoughts regarding the election.


Veterans Day

...does not have an apostrophe in it.  It's next Tuesday.  

Here's my article on the matter, but I did NOT come up with that headline!!!  I'm not sure which one of the esteemed Black Table editors did.  Let's just say it was Will Leitch.  He may be a polite Midwestern sorta fellow, but let's blame him anyway.  Ha ha ha!

I used to be pretty scared that anyone who went on a date with me would Google me and see that headline and think I'm ONE ANGRY CHICK.  Now I have my cute honey-woney...but I still have to worry that maybe one day his granny or someone will see the F-bomb.  Oh well.

I'm a lover, not a fighter.


The hills are alive

I dressed up like Maria VonTrapp for Halloween yesterday. My hubby called me "Maria VonTramp." Ha ha, very funny.

Quote of the day

"Caren, don't blame iPhone.  It's your fault." - Hubby, after I pressed the wrong button and groaned frustratedly.


Holes in your pop culture knowledge

A friend and former trivia host wrote in her livejournal recently about how she's never seen the Karate Kid.  She asked what movie everyone else "should" have seen but hadn't.  It's an interesting question...but can really be expanded to all pop culture. 

What movie, book, tv show, etc. do you feel that you have to get around to seeing, but haven't?  I'm trying to think of mine.  I probably should have seen "The Producers" at some point, but haven't.  I haven't seen the movie or the play.  But I don't really care.  I guess I've seen a lot of classic films like Casablanca, so no holes there.

There are a lot of books that I tried to read after college because I always thought I should have read them, so I did.  I read War and Peace, Madame Bovary.  Some of them I forced myself through and didn't really enjoy, and it probably was silly because I can't remember a thing about them now.  So it's fairly useless.  I couldn't tell you a single thing about Madame Bovary.  Then again, maybe if I read it today, I'd feel differently.

Then, there's another category...things everyone else hates that you liked, and things everyone else loves that you just don't get.  Sometimes you avoid things out of principle, and miss out on something good.

Anyway, just thought I'd stimulate your brains (at least, the low culture portions) for a bit.

On that note, tomorrow is Halloween and I am going to go into work DRESSED LIKE MARIA FROM THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!!  Sorry, but I am.  My poor hubby probably thinks I'm weird.   I'll try to return to being normal before I get home.  But maybe not!

Cliiiiiiiiiimb evvvvvvvvvvvry mountain!


Where are they now?

Click to enlarge.

Can you find me on the left?  (I'm wearing a white barrette but I guess I accidentally ripped my photo...)
Useful info

For anyone who missed the update and was wondering, that's just the lighting making my eyes look black or tired below. My eyes are perfectly fine.

Now...on to more crucial info from the gov't...

"When does Daylight Saving Time/Standard Time begin?

Daylight Saving Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March. Move clocks ahead one hour at the start of Daylight Saving Time.
Standard Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November. Move your clocks back one hour at the resumption of Standard Time. Daylight Saving time and Time zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, not by NIST.
In 2008, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 9 and ends on Nov.2.
In 2009, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 8 and ends on Nov.1."


Coming this week:

(update: no, I don't have black eyes; it's just the lighting and the iPhoto colorization button I pressed)

Wintry weather!!

(or so I've heard.)
At least I have clothes for it.


Wag the dog

The answer to the financial crisis? You guessed it!!!!

Thanks to Brad for sending this. (Yes, he said I could give him credit for his excellent recommendation.)


The dog with the sweater had it easy...

Click here


Old things

One of the neat things about living in a 98-year-old apartment is that some of the features are still here from years past, even if they would not be built in today's times or don't even seem to have a purpose anymore.  There are fixtures that have been painted over, closed up, or just become obsolete due to changes in codes, family sizes, mores, living arrangements, etc., but they give such a clue to times past.  Some are just a mystery.

There are a few former windows in my apt. that are sealed shut.  Perhaps once there wasn't a building next door, so they were opened and the inhabitants breathed freely.  Or maybe once people just used to them toss out the trash.

We also have a tiny ironing board hidden in a panel in the kitchen.  The board itself is sorta broken and we don't use it; in fact, we have stuff in front of the door.  But it's pretty neat...

Inside the door:  An ironing board that drops down!

I can also look outside past the fire escape and see threads from old clotheslines that extended out to the trees and poles.

There's a tile in the bathroom that has pictures of vegetables painted on it. Kind of strange. Was the bathroom part of the kitchen once?

Anyway, sometimes things break and new things need to be brought in. The apartment is adjusted again for modern times, but it loses a bit of its charm. Then again, signs of what used to be there remain for future dwellers to marvel at.


This is funny

Listen to the narration. Hysterical!


By the way, my poor hubby has been watching me giggle at bulldog videos for a few days. So...no more.

Next, I'm doing weinerdogs!!! HA!


Who reads this?

We're down to 21-30 people per day.  I'm guessing it's:

80 percent friends/people I've met in life
19 percent people who read my book and contacted me
5 percent people who found me from another blogs that linked to me
2 percent family (meaning, the Hubby.  I don't think any others read it, and that's good!)
1 percent former dates who are curious
0 percent co-workers (good!)

Yeah, that doesn't add up to 100, but I was not a math major.


What shall I do to celebrate Halloween?  I love the creepiness, the colors, the festivities, the candy (of course).   But I'm a tad too old to trick or treat, and no, I don't want to go into crowded Manhattan for the parade.  Maybe I would drag His Hubbiness to a Halloween party if a friend was having one, but maybe not.  The last one I went to was about four years ago, thrown at the apartment of this fellow author, who was dressed as Batman.

How are you folks celebrating, in your own special way?


Speaking of which, so far I've managed to avoid packing on a few extra pounds, despite the two weeks of traveling and eating out we recently had - including a wedding.  I gained a lot last year in October, so I tried to avoid that this year.  With it staying darker out later in the morning (thus sleeping later), more candy around, and staying indoors more, there is more temptation to nosh.  Well, I'll have to keep being careful.

One more thing about food:  My beloved Hen of the Woods (otherwise known as Maitake) mushrooms are in stores!  They are only around very briefly, though.  Hubby and I had some this evening.  Yummy.

Puppy fun

Yes, I actually do look on Youtube for videos of bulldogs, because they make me laugh.  I'm laughing WITH them, not at them.  Well, except in this case.

Unfortunately, someone took it too seriously and commented:  "Take the fucking sweater off him you bitch, your entertainment shouldn't come at the expense of his distress."


If you were wondering...


From CNN this morning:

"An out-of-work money manager in California loses a fortune and wipes out his family in a murder-suicide.

"A 90-year-old Ohio widow shoots herself in the chest as authorities arrive to evict her from the modest house she called home for 38 years.

"In Massachusetts, a housewife who had hidden her family's mounting financial crisis from her husband sends a note to the mortgage company warning: "By the time you foreclose on my house, I'll be dead." Then Carlene Balderrama shot herself to death, leaving an insurance policy and a suicide note on a table.

"Across the country, authorities are becoming concerned that the nation's financial woes could turn increasingly violent, and they are urging people to get help. In some places, mental-health hot lines are jammed, counseling services are in high demand and domestic-violence shelters are full."

First of all, why are people evicting a 90-year-old woman from her home? Is there no one around who can be notified to find ways to help her pay for a while, or to find a better solution than her losing her home completely? What about the guy who dropped off seven kids at a hospital because he just couldn't take care of them?

This shows not just that the economy is in crisis, but that there aren't enough social workers or mental health workers to help out. Police and other authorities should be able to work with and call upon social workers. Not enough people are pitching in to help those who need the help, but maybe they just don't know where people are who are in crisis.

I don't think churches alone (as some would suggest) can be counted on to provide adequate mental health support or navigation of the social service system, although they sure help. There have to be crisis workers and social workers in a community, too (and they should be better paid and less overworked so more people will go into the profession). And just people paying attention to what their neighbors are doing, and trying to help when they can.



We enjoyed a lovely weekend in Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, the foliage was not at peak, but it was still nice.  It probably will be at peak this weekend, for those heading to Mass or Connecticut.

Anyway, we stayed near Concord & Lexington and visited Minuteman park.  We also went to Boston and shopped at Quincy Market. 

We also saw the original Walden pond (which cost $5 to get in, has a gift shop, and also has a beach.  OK, Thoreau might have been appalled).

Oh, and yes, as a Jersey girl, I will note that we went to a mall.  Yeah, I know.  The Hubby was kind enough to let me go.

Below are some pix, so you can enjoy it too!
Boston, behind Quincy Market

Concord, Mass.

1800s graves in Concord.

Minuteman historic park.
Walden Pond.

Walden Pond, the beach part.  The photo is weird on a number of levels, isn't it?  People swimming among fall leaves?


More TV news I love to hear!

NEW YORK, April 7, 2008 -- Spike TV is updating the long-running "Unsolved Mysteries" franchise by creating a new collection 175 re-edited episodes hosted by acclaimed television and film actor Dennis Farina. The new episodes, focusing on more of the dangerous and action-oriented cases, will also be available on Spike's web site, http://www.spike.com, and mobile outlets.
Spike's TV's "Unsolved Mysteries," featuring real-life cases of unsolved crimes, missing persons and unexplained paranormal phenomena begins its five year run on Spike TV in October, 2008. Each one-hour episode will feature five stories re-enacted by professional actors, plus brand new show wraps and updates on past stories. The series will be stripped weekday afternoons.

I hear it's starting this Monday...but why does it have to be in afternoons!?
Life on Mars

I'd heard about this show, in which a modern cop somehow gets transported back to 1973, an era when they did things a little differently (like working without cell phones...and roughing up criminals.)

The American version of his BBC series premiered on ABC last night. I really enjoyed it. Some things in it were a little silly, but it's a lot of fun to compare the years. And it's got Michael Imperiole (Christopher from "The Sopranos") and Harvey Keitel, for fans of his. And Lisa Bonet. And some actress my hubby knew about. Anyway, read on.

The title comes from a David Bowie song, so I'll have to check that out now.


Money-saving tips

Keep meaning to post some of these...

1. With lots of people canceling hotel and motel reservations, save money. If you have a room reserved, call a few days beforehand and just ask about the rates. You may surprisingly hear a lower rate mentioned than when you booked months ago! I did this at the beginning of the summer when we went to Vermont, and the rate they told me on the phone was actually $20 a night lower than when we booked months earlier. So I got the new rate! (Be warned, though, some rates require you to pay in advance, which means you get no refund if you have to cancel for an emergency or whatever. I don't ever take the pay-in-advance rates.)

2. If you are buying a Macintosh computer or major peripheral, keep in mind that they may give you a discount if you buy more stuff. So if you are planning to buy more stuff anyway, pretend you aren't. When you go in the store, just act like you only want the iphone or iMac or whatever. They may tell you that if you take 3 years of Applecare, or this or that, they'll knock $100 off the price of the main thing you're buying. Since you wanted the extra stuff anyway, now you've got a little discount.

3. Expired coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond still work (usually). And you can use a whole bunch of them at once. Also, Linens & Things coupons work at BBB.

4. If you go to Customer Relations at the NYC Macy's and say you're an out of town tourist, they can give you an 11 percent off discount card that works for a few days. Unlike almost all their usual discounts, this card applies to every brand - even stuff like Coach. So if you are planning to buy an expensive designer item, get the card. (I am not sure that it would apply to a wedding dress, but it applies to most things!) (Oh, speaking of which, go to David's Bridal for a wedding dress, unless you have like $1,000 to part with or don't care. Thank God that store exists. My dress was....well, I'll just say somewhere under $500. Definitely a deal.)

5. Get AAA, even if you don't have a car. It saves a ton of moola on hotel reservations, and even works for some restaurants, car rentals, other things.

There. Hope that helps.


Eli again

Eli Manning and his wife were shopping for cards & Halloween thingies in Rite Aid earlier this evening. I ended up in front of him on line.  Eek, a little nervewracking making Eli wait for me.

See, he's just like us.  Except he was a Superbowl MVP and you weren't.

Update:  "Stop stalking them." - The Hubby

Hmph, maybe they're stalking ME!


The Cabbie

This was an e-mail forward that the Hubby forwarded on to me. I think it's a sweet story and also reminds us not to take our jobs and our interactions with other people for granted. You never know which little blip in your daily routine will really affect someone's life!!!

Here goes:

I am a cabbie, and one day, I was called to pick up a woman at her apartment. I walked to the door and knocked.

'Just a minute', answered a frail voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened.

A small elderly woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness.
'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.'
'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.'
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.'
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now.'
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said.
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.
Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on.
Thank you, my friend...
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance.



This weekend, we went to the wedding of one of the Hubby's college friends.  It was at the Naval Chapel in Annapolis (no, the friend didn't attend the Naval Academy, nor did my hubby).

It was very pretty inside.

To get from the chapel to the restaurant, the guests took two school buses.  We don't remember this middle kit being on our own buses growing up.  Kids today!!!

What's up with this?!


'Worst book i've ever read. biggest waste of time.'

I recently discovered a goldmine of reviews of my book that I previously didn't realize existed. I mean, I knew about the site and had friends on it, but I didn't realize there were like 26 capsule reviews of my book on there.

OK, maybe authors shouldn't narcissitically look at these -- but it's fun. Most of them are really positive, and then there is the one above, which is fine too.  My book's not to everyone's taste, but I'm glad so many people read it.

Anyway, I can see it being the worst book she ever read...but come on, biggest waste of time?! Has she ever watched The Girls Next Door?

UPDATE:  Two different people e-mailed me to ask why someone would read it or finish it if they thought it was the worst book ever.  Well, maybe she was curious to see what would happen, even if she hated it, or maybe she really didn't finish it and read enough to know it sucked.  I'm really, really, not offended!  Some liked it, some didn't.  If she said she met me personally and thought I was an evil person, THEN I would be offended.

So thanks for the condolences, but it's perfectly fine.  I'm lucky anyone has heard of my book enough to give it a bad review!




I just thought of the dumbest blog post. Then I erased it. You're lucky you were spared.


Today's a beautiful day!



Old people are for mocking...?

I'm a little concerned about how the younger generations will see me when I'm old. No matter what kind of person we are when we're young, we're mocked or condescended to when we're old. Oh, not in an intentionally cruel way, and not to our faces. But there is always a subtle ironic tone with which most grandchildren greet their grandparents, or old people in general. I'm guilty of it in the way I've been posting these quotes from my mom, kind of laughing at her old-fashionedness and eccentricities. Ha ha, look at how my mom talks about dating Princeton boys in the '60s, isn't that quaint?

That's what we do with older people sometimes, I think; we tease about how they don't understand the internet, or are stubborn. Maybe it's gentle and harmless, but I want to be careful with it. When we see a really old person, we say they're "cute." But thinking about it, I'm not sure I'll want to be talked down to by younger kids, or called "cute" when I'm old. I want people to still take me at least a little seriously even if I'm forgetful or old-fashioned. But then again, maybe when I'm old I'll just be glad to have a regular poo once a day.


Newspapers and the internet

I should post this article from a few weeks back, about the dubious future of New Jersey newspapers, so I don't forget where it is.

Since I was a little girl, I've heard in school that in "The Future," people would read newspapers in a device they held in their hand, on the bus on the way to work.

 So I don't think anyone in media is shocked that the internet is helping cause the decline of print media.  But I think a lot of us are irked by the nascent stage of a lot of the online reporting, where anything can be posted without checking out the facts.  A federal law allows people who own websites to not be responsible for libelous content posted on those sites by outsiders.  Newspapers don't have that luxury.  We have to check things out before it goes to print.  And once something IS in print, we can't just tap a few bars and delete or change it.

We (newspapers) are adapting to the presence of the internet -- of COURSE it is a good thing that it exists; anything that makes more people aware of important issues, and facilitates their reading about news, is beneficial to society.  Most of us are adapting.  We are putting our articles on line, allowing people to respond instantly, trying to make our websites user friendly.

Journalism is not dying; it's merely evolving and keeping pace with technology.  However, those who are solely internet journalists, who have never worked in print and now run internet 'news' sites, will have to evolve too.  Some have learned that they have to be pretty careful what they post even if they don't get sued...if they show bias, or post too many incorrect facts, or let their comments sections become cruel flame wars, the site loses credibility and just makes people angry.

Journalism, newspapers, and the internet are all evolving together.  Will print media die completely?  Probably someday.  But right now, reading a newspaper on an electronic device is a big pain in the neck.  It's kind of nice to hold the whole thing in your hands.  Electronic newspapers will have to become more navigable and complete in the future, too.  So the medium will evolve for a long time before it settles down.

And then we'll be reading it in those flying cars they also predicted for "The Future."
Palin comparison

If you still haven't seen the Sarah Palin-Katie Couric exchange over Palin's 'foreign policy experience,' here's the link:

Now compare this with 2:00 to 2:48 of THIS interview in the hilarious movie "Muriel's Wedding."  I see definite similarities!

see 2:00 to 2:48.



It is almost a year that I have been married to my wonderful hubby.  I am a very lucky girl.  It's an amazing leap of faith for someone to pledge to spend the rest of his or her life with you...and I doubt any of us "deserve" it.  I am not a perfect person and have more to learn about being a good wife and better person, and he makes it all worth it.  I have learned a lot from being with him.  I'd say much more, but I'm not into getting all personal on my blog, and I need to go watch Saturday Night Live with him right now.  They're making fun of Ms. Palin, you know.

Anyway, we had some delicious anniversary food tonight here.  Not a place we'd go every day (unless we hit the lottery); just for a special occasion.  The Hen of the woods mushrooms were something I'd never tried before - thick, slightly sweet, rich, filling, and with crisp caps at the end.  I'm going to have to get ahold of some and put them in pasta some day.  My scallops were also delicious.  So I recommend the place if you like seafood and are willing to spend extra.  


Don't you hate it when...

Hypothetically speaking...

Someone comes to your office dressed inappropriately for the weather (like wearing a sweater in summer or a t-shirt in the dead of winter) and then adjusts the thermostat to correct for it, so the rest of you freeze or swelter??


WONT41 KNHC 250837
435 AM EDT THU SEP 25 2008



Attention, 'Sex and the City' fans...

This just sold as a young-adult book:

"Candace Bushnell's THE CARRIE DIARIES, about Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw's high-school years, to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2010, by Heather Schroder at ICM (world)."


This is shocking!

Who's next...Kevin Spacey?

(It's not anyone's business, really, but I'm just saying, he's like the one who has denied it most.  Oh, and Tom Cruise.)


New word

Gourmeur - Someone in a restaurant who looks at what everyone else is eating.

I'm probably not the first person to think there should be a word for that, though.

I combined "gourmet" and "voyeur," but there must be a better way.
Happy autumn!

Fall starts today.  Have some candy corn, or maybe a spiced pumpkin latte.  You have my permission.


Throwing toast

Luckily, the Hubby is willing to come to my alma mater, because this amuses him...



There are some...shall we say...interesting candies available this year for Halloween. Some friends of The Hubby recommended Brach's caramel apple candy corn. I love caramel AND candy corn, but I just didn't like this too much. I could barely taste the apple, and it was kind of bland and waxy. I'll stick with regular.

However, Hershey kisses are also getting interesting. They are offering "candy corn" and "pumpkin spice" flavors this year.

Originally, I thought these were chocolate kisses with these flavorings in the middle. However, I tried the pumpkin spice one today. (Don't worry, Hubby, I only had one.) And it's completely orange, with a white cream middle! It's made with cocoa butter, so I think it's white chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate. It was nice and soft and really tasted like pumpkin spice, although I'd wager that no pumpkins were harmed to make this.

So now you know the perfect thing to give out for Halloween if you want to cheap out and buy a lot of candy at once: Flavored kisses. ;)
Hidden talents

The Hubby often tells people that a few minutes into any "Sex and the City" episode, I know exactly which episode it is, and can tell him the plot.

But he has his own talent -- when he's watching baseball, within literaly a second of the ball being hit, he knows whether it's a home run. Before they even show where it goes.

Which talent do you think is more impressive? (I'm thinking the baseball thing.)
Box office records?!

Roger Ebert REALLY likes Kevin Smith's new movie. Hmmm.

"I think Kevin Smith has a hit on his hands. The bad boy director is here with "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," which contains no hard-core sex but is wall to wall with hard-core language. Smith begins with your basic four-letter words, and supplements them with an astonishing vocabulary and verbal images. The director of "Clerks" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" once told me he's a mediocre director but a great writer. Wrong. His films are not so much about his visual style as about words; he is a perfectly capable director who, as the author, respects his script.
The words in "Zack and Miri" are potty mouth taken to the buddy-movie version of Shakespeare. The audience was roaring with laughter at its sheer audacity and outrageousness. It's so lively, the movie was initially rated NC-17, but got an R on appeal. Then the plot pulls ahead like two engines on a short train. Seth Rogen, the emerging superstar of raunchy comedy, is Zack, whose best buddy is Miri (Elizabeth Banks). They've known each other since first grade, are roommates, have never had sex, are broke and can't pay the bills.
In desperation, they decide to make a porno film and enlist a mixed bag of cast and crew, including onetime porn star Traci Lords. Zack and Miri are co-producers and co-stars; will they have sex for the first time, out of duty to the movie? The answer to that question somehow creates a poignant love story in the midst of flying words and bodily fluids. Prediction: "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" will set box-office records if the audience is able to fasten its seat belts for the turbulence of the dialogue."


Quotes from the late David Foster Wallace

"But, you know -- wheat germ is better for us than Snickers bars, and I eat Snickers bars all the time, because they're yummy."

"Dogs pretend they're kissing you when they're really mining your mouth for food."

-- both from author David Foster Wallace, who was found hanged today

Besides being a very successful young writer, I think he was a tennis phenom as a youngster (which he later wrote about).

I'm sure the speculation will start that he had too much success too early, or that he was too much of a genius to cope with the mundanities of life. But who really knows?

I'm fairly shocked. I've been dreading for a while the time when I will have to hear frequent news of stars from my generation dying.   I think that age is still several decades off, but it's still shocking and sad when it happens.


That takes care of that!

I appreciated this response very much...

Ms. [Me]:

Thank you for contacting The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). We appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns about HSUS mailings.As the largest animal protection organization in the country, with over 10.5 million members and constituents, the likes and dislikes of our members are quite varied. Many members enjoy receiving the mailings and gifts, citing them as a perk of membership. Other members, like yourself, do not want to receive the gifts, and would prefer fewer mailings per year.

The HSUS tests its mailings on small segments of our constituency before mailing them to our total member population. Mailings are tested for member reaction and program success. This means that if a mailing tests successfully, we expect it to bring in new members, raise funds for animal protection programs, and increase awareness of The HSUS mission. Currently the majority of our members enjoy receiving the gifts, and the additional revenue generates more support for our programs. Since 1954, and as noted above, we have developed a constituency of over 10.5 million, which gives us a loud voice when lobbying for the animals. We will continue to monitor our mailings carefully in an effort to meet the needs of our members and ensure program success.

For your reference, I have listed below The HSUS' total expenses for the year 2007. All mailings and gifts are funded within the Fundraising portion:

Current & Future Programs 84%
Fundraising 12%
Management & General 4%

As you can see, 84 cents of each one dollar donated to our organization goes directly to our animal protection programs. In addition, The HSUS meets all applicable "Standards for Charity Accountability" according to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (give.org), and we are also rated as four stars—the highest rating possible—on Charity Navigator (*deleted because it's too long for the blog - Me)
If you would like additional financial information about our organization, you can view our annual reports and IRS Form 990 by visiting the following link: (*too long for the blog - Me)

According to your e-mail, I have reduced your correspondence to one mailing a year, the Annual Renewal Package sent each January, so that you do not receive so many mailings and gifts. Please allow approximately 8-12 weeks for this change to take effect, as we process our mail in advance.

According to our records, it appears that we only have one record for you under "[Me]." However, it is possible that you may be receiving prospect mail, meaning we received your information from an outside organization (probably with a slight variation to your name or address, in this case your maiden name) and sent you correspondence.

If you still have a mailing from us addressed to "[Me]", (or if not, then the next time that you receive one), please forward me your name and address exactly as they appear on the mailing. In addition please include the series of numbers and/or letters, including spaces, exactly as it appears on the member reply form. Following your response, I will ensure that any duplicate records that we may have for you are removed from our mailing list.

For your information, The HSUS offers two other types of restricted mailing options: Members can choose to receive four mailings per year, or they can choose to correspond with The HSUS through e-mail only. With the e-mail only option you will receive no mailings or gifts at all, but you will continue to receive information and updates about HSUS accomplishments and other important happenings in the animal protection world. Please let me know if either of these choices sounds like the better option for you, and I will make the change as promptly as possible following your response.

Lastly, please know that we take comments from our members very seriously, because feedback from our members is the best way to determine the type and amount of mailings we send in the future. Again, thank you for your comments and suggestions.I hope I have addressed your requests and concerns appropriately. If you need any additional assistance, or if you have additional questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly. Thank you, again, for contacting The HSUS. We appreciate your support of our animal protection programs. Please take a moment to let us know how we are doing by taking our Membership Survey.


Cheryl Rhodes
Representative, Membership & Customer Loyalty

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW Washington, DC 20037

Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty


Mom's thought for the day

"When I started teaching, I was earning $4,500 a year. And my father made me pay rent every month. My aunts were livid. My sister said, 'If he ever makes me pay rent, I'm walking out.' "


More from mom

"In Mexico, we went for a cock fight.  There were two cocks, and they just they stood there looking at each other.  In the U.S., it's illegal for cocks to fight."

What we saw tonight
My cute mom

"I used to go out with boys from Princeton. They had fireplaces in their rooms. Have you ever been there? It's beautiful. They got fireplaces in their rooms, and it was so beautiful, and it cost the same as Penn. I used to stay over, and my dad would call at 3 in the morning to make sure I wasn't sleeping with anyone. I wasn't. But it wasn't too great that he called." - My mom, on the phone


Today's photos

Some people will go out on a Saturday night no matter what kind of weather.

This terrier's owner is in the library.  Wuff!

A friend of mine wrote this great headline.


It's official

It's a good weekend for some cuddling.  (Hint, hint.)  (No, I don't mean you, I mean the person I live with.)

UPDATE:  The Hubby says he gets the drift.  Yay!  ;)






When I Spellchecked (TM) something today, I found that I had misspelled surprise as "suprise." I've been doing that since I was in elementary school. I am usually a good speller, so I think that for a short, common word like this, I should have learned by now. But no. Maybe it's because I rarely pronounce the first R.

I bet all of you have your words that for some reason, you just keep messing up.

I used to misspell "weird" a lot. It is confusing because it violates the i-before-e rule. In other words, the word weird is, itself, weird. Besides, "wierd" also looks right sometimes.

I misspelled "knowledge" in my college essays repeatedly, figuring it didn't have a "D."

Well, I won't be entering any spelling bees. (That's entering with one R.)

There is a whole line of storms waiting to come get us.  Mwa ha ha.

Not many people commented on my story excerpt below...for those who have the time (and of course many of you don't), even if you think it sucks, please e-mail me your thoughts!  

By the way, it's a novel for teens.  I didn't say that because I think it should still be enjoyable if you're an adult, and the editors reading it will of course be adults.  So I didn't want to hear "Well, I don't like it, but maybe if I was 17 I would."  If the writing turns you off, it'll turn off editors reading it, too.  But that's why it's about the new school year and all that.


Same song, different year

When a new song sounds too much like an old song, it bothers me.  I had an old "Saturday Night Live" episode on this weekend, and the band Keane was playing.  They were singing their song "Somewhere Only We Know" that has the refrain:

O simple thing
Where have you gone...

It was bothering me because it reminded me of a song I'd already heard enough times.  Eventually I realized it was "Let 'Em In" by Wings.  The part that goes:

Sister Suzie,
Brother John
Martin Luther,
Phil and Don...

Usually I tell people things like this, and they say I'm imagining it.  Well, thanks to the internet, I can find that there are other people noticing such similarities.  Here is a video that mixes the two songs.  Exactly...same thing.

UPDATE:  Oh, here are some lists people made of similar songs, guitar riffs stolen from other songs, etc.  

UPDATE 2:  Read this story!
What are your thoughts?

Here are the first few paragraphs of a novel I'm almost done revising. Please read what's below as you might read the beginning of any novel, and e-mail me if anything good or bad jumps out at you!! Impressions are important. I need to know what a normal person would think if they read this as the first page of a novel. Having lost all objectivity (due to reading this a zillion times), I'd love any feedback.

One request: Please read it once as you would any book you'd open up, rather than going back and looking ten times - what I'm more interested is how it strikes you when you read it. The way you'd read any book.

If something seems off as you're casually reading it, I'd love to know.

I'm grateful for ANY feedback. If you want more specifics, I am interested in things like:

If anything jumps out at you or bothers you (word repetition, error, etc)
What you like/ don't like/ believe about the main character
What makes you interested or not interested...
Any other impressions you'd get if you started off a novel this way.
Thanks in advance!!

E-mail me here when you can. OK, see below (character's name has been changed)

Ian Green had a feeling as soon as his senior year of high school started that something unusual was going to happen that year.
Of course, the first day of school always carried a newness and optimism that didn’t compare with anything else. On those mornings, the September air would crush under his ears like a barely perceptible whisper, the buses would start and stop outside, and the football field at school would smell of damp mud and fresh grass.
But on the first day of Ian’s senior year, something was different the moment the day started.
That morning, he awoke at 5:30 a.m. and couldn’t fall back to sleep. The temperature seemed to have changed from sweltering to cool overnight. The scent of burning leaves swirled in through his second-story window.
This year, he thought, his blood getting riled as he took an icy breath, is going to be different.
He decided to do what he’d debated doing for the last few days of summer vacation.
In the dark, he sat on the edge of his bed and pulled on his socks and sweat clothes. In front of the bright mirror in the bathroom, he put in his contact lenses, over his green eyes. He had inherited those eyes from his father, his mother said – as well as his huge shoulders, his height, and his stocky frame. His father had played high school football and now Ian did too, although it wasn’t how he defined himself.
He crept past his mother’s room and down the stairs. He stepped outside under the purple porchlight, ignoring the freshly delivered Sentinel, which he normally read.
Ian stood for a minute, watching the bands of red and purple light emerge behind the old farmhouse across the county road. His friends constantly said they couldn't wait to leave south Delaware, but he thought there were things to admire if you looked.
Then he was off.
He sprinted to the bank of metal mailboxes on the corner, turned east, and jogged the mile up the county road to Clover Dell High School, two hours before the small brick building was to open. Ahead of him the sky pinkened.
As he ran, his dark hair flopped over his forehead. His shoulders pressed down on his 5-foot-11 frame. He gunned his arms, forced his knees up, filled his lungs with sweet air until they were ready to burst. It felt wonderful to be up before anyone else was, pushing his body like that.

Okay, you've read it...how do you feel? What do you think? E-mail me here. THANKS!