The Friday Five!

1. Greetings from lovely Pittsburgh, PA!


This the view from my hotel room window. Gorgeous, yes? There’s a football stadium right there! (I don’t know what it’s called. Sorry.) What you CAN’T tell from this picture is how FREAKING COLD IT IS HERE. For a Southern girl like myself, it’s a BIT of a shock, even though it was not warm in NC when I left. How cold does it get here? I was watching the news this morning and they put up the extended forecast. One day next week, the high is going to be 20. The low: 9. Yes, that’s NINE DEGREES. Back in Chapel Hill this would call for a state of emergency. We’d all be freaking out. But here, everyone’s like, oh, yeah, nine degrees. It’s all good! You have to love that kind of attitude. These people are TOUGH.

2. I’ve never been to this city before, and I have to say everyone I’ve met is SO NICE. Plus the food is amazing. Last night we went to a Mexican place on Market Square (I think it’s called Market Square? Can you tell I don’t remember much when I’m traveling?) where I basically ate my weight in queso dip. (Related: I love queso dip. I basically lived on it, as a major food group, back when I worked at a Mexican place in the nineties. I was also a lot bigger then, but that’s another story.) Today went to a place that offered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with BACON, bananas and pickles. I am not making this up. See?


I did not order this sandwich. I think I would have passed out from sugar/pork shock. But just knowing it exists makes me happy. Also, after the meal, they gave us free chocolate chip cookies. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Yum!

3. I’m here because I was invited to speak at the Carnegie Library by Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures. I’m talking at 7 tonight, and I THINK there are still tickets available: info is here. I also did an interview with the Pittsburgh Post and Gazette in which I reveal—and this is breaking news—that high school was NOT, in fact, the best time of my life. Maybe it wasn’t yours either. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. My best friend Bianca always says she doesn’t trust anyone who loved high school, which MAY be a bit extreme. I think it’s more that it can be very disappointing if something’s supposed to be the Best Time Of Your Life and it totally is NOT. Life is long. Let’s hope there are LOTS of great times to balance out the down parts. I’ve had some pretty awesome times so far, and I hope more to come. I’d rather have a handful of greats than only one best. But that might just be me.

4. One of my greats from this week is when a national media figure referred to me as a “literary lion.” Oh, you didn’t hear that? Well, actually, initially, neither did I. But someone on Twitter let me know that on Monday, on GMA Live, the webcast they do online AFTER the show, that Josh Elliott was saying nice things about me. So of course I raced over to the website to find the clip. It’s here, and I’m mentioned at about the 4:23 mark. I squealed it was so nice! Also, I love how on GMA Live, Josh Elliott always looks like he rolled down a flight of stairs in his suit just before they started filming. Not saying he DOES this. Just nice seeing someone loosening up and kicking back. Also, they have a social media guru on GMA Live. Why do I not have this job? Oh, right. Because I already have one. I’m a literary lion! At least as far as Josh is concerned, and honestly, that is all that matters.

5. Finally, on a more bummer of a note, Lance Armstrong finally confessed to doping during his Tour de France wins this week. It just is so depressing to me. Regular readers of this blog know that I have watched the Tour for many years now with my husband and some friends who love cycling. We always rooted for Lance and I just admired him so much, for so many reasons. So knowing it was a big lie….makes me feel kind of sick, actually. I loved Lance so much I gave Owen in JUST LISTEN his last name. And I know Owen Armstrong, of ALL people, hates liars. At least I know that Owen Meany, from A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY (by John Irving, my favorite book of all time), who inspired my Owen’s first name, will never let me down in the same way. There’s comfort in that, even if it’s a small one. I’ll take it.

Gotta bundle up and get ready to speak. Have a good weekend, everyone!