1. How is it already Friday? I swear, I am so out of it. Maybe because yesterday I FINALLY used the gift certificate to this totally great spa that my husband gave me for my birthday. Oh, my God. I had a massage, a facial and a pedicure AND lunch and then—instead of going home to take a huge nap like I should have—I went to Target, where I wandered in a total daze and bought nothing I needed. Is there such a thing as being too relaxed? If so, I think I was there. And it was NICE, especially considering my normal hyper-anxious state. Ahhh.
2. I know I am so late to this, but I finally finished watched the 16 and Pregnant reunion show, and can I just say that Catelynn and Tyler seriously had me in tears? I mean, all of those kids are walking a rough road, but those two, with adoption and giving up the baby and being able to be so selfless and think of her, and only her….whew. I was kind of blown away, to be honest. I did notice, though, how Dr. Drew kept coming back to the birth control issue, repeatedly, and I wonder if it’s because the show’s been criticized a bit by people who think they are glamorizing teen pregnancy. I don’t know about that. Some of the footage I watched showed how hard taking care of a newborn can be, even if you aren’t a kid yourself. It isn’t that glamorous, to say the least. Whoa.
3. Okay, so somehow, it’s August tomorrow. August! The dog days of summer, officially, although I am clinging to every day, as even in my dazed state at Target I could not miss all the notebooks and pens front and center, with sunscreen already relegated to clearance. No! Please, no. I leave for the beach tomorrow, as I mentioned earlier this week, and it’s the first time I’ve gone to the NC Coast during the actual beach season in ages. I always wait until September, or even October, because I’m cheap and I hate crowds. But this year, in order to really make my August last, I’m braving the cost and traffic and going for it. I’m bringing my baby, a babysitter (!) and a stack of books I may actually get to read. It’s still summer! It is!
4. Our garden is still going great guns, and you know what that means: tomatoes. LOTS of tomatoes. They are all over our counter, crowding the windowsills, romas and big boys and grape and sungolds. I’ve already made three batches of sauce, and now I’m wondering what else I can do them. Laurie Halse Anderson told me that one year she sliced her tomatoes, froze them on a flat tray, then put them in vacuum packed bags for use all winter long. Which means buying a vacuum sealer, but I have a feeling I would TOTALLY love to have one because I am that much of a dork. In the meantime, though, I need some more tomato recipes. Someone already sent me a great one for tomato-basil-mozzarella salad, and we do bruschetta, but that still leaves, like, hundreds of tomatoes. Salsa, maybe? Lots of salsa….
5. As I said, I’ll be on vacation next week, so blogging may be sporadic or maybe even nonexistent. These last couple of weeks have been so nuts, with the surgery and hospital stay and everything else. But one thing I did realize is that when I was stuck in that hospital, and couldn’t check my phone or internet or voice mail that I …survived. I could be disconnected and sometimes even like it, which is kind of revolutionary because honestly, I’m kind of addicted to technology. But also in the hospital, without my phone or email, I had a lot of time to think about things. Like how hard I’d been working, and not necessarily enjoying my life as much as I should, always thinking ahead, ahead, to the next thing, unable to just be kind of present and happy there. Sound like anyone else you know who went to the beach and kind of changed for the better? Yeah, I noticed that too. I don’t know if I’ll meet a haunted boy on a BMX bike, and I certainly won’t be staying up all night. But I do plan to make up for some lost, frivolous time. Might even have a food fight. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
On Saturday, our stove igniter pooped out. No lasagna for us, apparently. Repairman came yesterday, will order part, hope to have it fixed by end of this week or early next. Great, right? I mean, it’s summer. I can eat cold food for awhile. I’m like all laid back, oh, roll with it, look at me being so adaptable! Until this morning, when my shower never really got warm. Turns out hot water heater is now also not working right. I can handle a cold dinner. But a cold shower? Lots of cold showers? Yikes. Repairman is coming this am. Please, please, let him not need to order a part.
In other news, I am not spontaneous. Like, ever. I know, this isn’t exactly news, really. But last night, on a total whim, I booked us a beach house for next week. A beach house! In the season! (We always go off season.) At the last minute! (I always plan our vacations, like, weeks or months out.) I didn’t even check the weather first! (Which might be a big mistake, but oh, well.) Maybe it’s all this medical stuff but I might ACTUALLY be loosening up a bit. Of course, now I have to fight the urge, long ingrained, to start making multiple lists and overplan everything. Can you go to the beach with a toddler with only a couple of day’s notice and no list, though? Guess I will find out.
In other news, I finally finished watching The Fashion Show, and I have to say while it was good and everything—and I liked the winner best of all the designers—I was kind of left with a feeling of, eh. It still always felt like Project Runway lite: some of the designers even seemed like watered down versions of PR’s greatest hits. But soon, soon, Runway returns. To Lifetime, no less, home of Golden Girls reruns and Women in Peril movies. Will they be able to make it work? I hope so, because I have missed Tim Gunn something fierce.
Okay, I have to go now to wait for the plumber. And NOT start packing in my mind. Spontaneous! I’m spontaneous! (Should I bring a baby gate? What about the stroller?) I’m easy going! I just roll with it! (What if it rains the entire time?) Uh-oh. Wish me luck…
Have a great day, everyone!
Is it too early to be nostalgic for my book tour? Probably. But I had my last local event for a little while this weekend, and it just got me thinking, again, about the whirlwind of the last month and a half or so. Join me, will you, for a trip down short-term memory lane….
All book tours, or my book tours, begin with shoes:
First stop was New York, for BEA and a view of the park:
While at BEA, I met super cool authors and caught up with old friends:
(I know, it looks like we called each other ahead of time and coordinated outfits. We did not. I promise! )
Then it was back home to officially welcome Along for the Ride with an event at the Regulator:
Then I went off to California, where I met so many cool readers, but it was such a whirlwind I got, like, NO pictures at all. Except for this one, of a tattoo honoring the words of Owen Armstrong:
And this one, of a shelf at a bookstore in the VERY end of the San Francisco airport, where I was shocked to find my books and enough of a geek to document it:
Then, I came home for a couple of days. The book hit number on the NYT list (unbelievable, still hasn’t sunk in). I headed off again, to CT and then Florida, where the folks in Vero Beach gave me a cake:
and stayed in a THE most gorgeous hotel:
Of course, I didn’t actually get to swim in that pool. That’s the thing about book tour. You see a lot, but don’t really get to do all that much. Maybe next time, though!
Then, it was back home to get ready for the family vacation. We headed off to Cape Cod, although not in this bus:
Because honestly, that would have been a little narcissistic, don’t you think? Yeah. Me too.
Then, it was BACK home for a couple of days before leaving for Chicago and ALA, where I had another gorgeous view:
Did I get to ride on that Ferris Wheel you see in the distance? Um, no. Maybe next time.
Also in Chicago, I got to hang with the awesome Laurie Halse Anderson:
and met the AMAZING Judy Blume, which I still can’t believe actually happened:
As well as saw some of Chicago, finally:
Did I get to shop on that street? YES! I DID! In fact, my credit card is still smoking. But no matter. Have to take advantage while you can!
After Chicago, it was back home for what was supposed to be a minor little surgery but turned out to be a bit more serious. I do not have pictures of the hospital room view because, honestly, I was so bummed about being there I didn’t want to document it. But then I got to come home, had all your kind wishes, and then, finally, my last reading for awhile, at Fearrington:
Gotta love a hometown crowd. After, I signed books and met Dianna and Ashton, who were total strangers until they met on Sarahland and decided to carpool to the reading. How cool is that? They each had armfuls of books, so they waited until the end of the line, which meant they were there when my daughter showed up and decided to “help me”:
And that last picture, my friends, says it all.
So, yes. A lot of stuff for only 59 days. Now, I’m still resting, catching up, organizing myself and sleeping. There is some talk about adding a couple more bookstore appearances—maybe in the Boston area, or DC, or NYC, or all three—if there is enough interest from booksellers and readers and we have enough time to pull it off. If not, then I’ll just settle in here, and….gosh. I don’t know what. Maybe start thinking about…writing again? I wonder….
Have a great day, everyone!
1. Okay, so I wasn’t sure I’d even get to a Five this week, due to the fact that I had to go to the ER yesterday and it threw me off kilter. I’m fine, just went as a precaution, but still. I was SUPPOSED to be at the spa at that same time, finally cashing in the gift certificate my husband gave me for my birthday for a massage, facial and pedicure. Instead, I’m in the ER, with another IV in. Honestly. I’m fine, though, really. And on the plus side, I brought Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever (now a NUMBER ONE NYT BESTSELLER!) which I hadn’t even started, and got more than halfway through it. Yay for time to read! Even if the circumstances are not exactly ideal.
2. I am so behind on the Tour de France, it’s sick. Between traveling and then all this medical stuff, I’ve barely been able to watch anything, and now I hear that Lance is in third place and may never catch up to Contador. My first thought was, “Of course he will! He’s Lance!” but my second was, well, what’s wrong with third? Pretty good for being out of the game for awhile. And if you give it all you have, your best shot, does it really matter which number you are? (Of course, I’ve been number two on the NYT list for the last few weeks, so maybe I’ve given this a bit of thought already.) Anyway. I will watch, and be proud of Lance, regardless, whether he is three or seventeen.
3. You might have thought I was kidding about my medical cleansing ritual, and maybe I kind of was. But after yesterday, I am seriously going to light my smudge stick (I know, so crunchy, right?) and walk around the house with it. As my former colleague and boss at UNC, Bland Simpson, would say, “Out, demon!” Amen to that. So what if my house smells like a dirty hippie? No matter.
4. Hopefully, I will NOT smell like a dirty hippie when I read at McIntyre’s Fine Books tomorrow, Saturday, at 11am. Also, I hope to not have visible IV marks and be back in my normal form. It’s my last local gig for awhile, and I know it will be a blast. Even if I have to sit down while I read. Anyway, come out if you can. You can hold your nose while I sign your book. I promise I won’t be offended.
5. Finally, folks who follow me on Twitter know that I was really stuck recently because I SO wanted to buy Peter Gabriel’s “Book of Love,” which was in the season finale of Scrubs. I downloaded the episode onto my Ipod Touch, and when I was traveling and homesick, I’d watch it , because it reminded me of my husband and I watching the show together. And this clip…it’s just so, so sweet. Maybe I’m just emotional from all the stuff that’s been going on (entirely possible) but I just needed this song. It was only available on a full album, but I splurged and got it anyway. You, though, can hear it right here. MIght want to keep a kleenex handy:
Slowly but surely, I am feeling better. Every day I am a little less tired, take a bit shorter nap, can stay up a little later. But every time I feel myself tempted to do more, or push harder, I look down at the various IV holes in my hands and sit down, stat. There are a lot of reasons to take care of myself. But NOT going back to the hospital is top among them.
I am wondering, actually, if there’s some kind of hospital-cleansing ritual I can do to make sure that neither I nor anyone in my family is in the hospital anytime soon. Did anyone else ever use a smudge stick in a rental house to burn out bad karma from other tenants? (Okay, Chapel Hill is a little crunchy. But it can’t hurt, right?) I want to find some sort of smudge-stick like thing for my medical stuff. Maybe I’ll just do a ritual burning of my hospital bracelet and discharge papers. Can’t hurt, again. Sometimes if there is no ritual, you have to make one up.
One thing that’s been a great comfort to me during the last few days, totally unexpectedly: Pride and Prejudice. Not the book, but the BBC miniseries, which my mom actually bought for me LAST summer but I never watched. She mentioned it the other day as something that might cheer me up, but of course I was hesitant. Still, I knew I was being close minded, so I popped it in. An hour later, I was TOTALLY hooked. Now, I’ve seen versions of P&P before, most recently the Keira Knightley one. But this one is SO GOOD! It just sucks you in and you can’t stop watching. Although last night, I turned it off to go to bed and the very end of Mamma Mia was on HBO, which meant going from Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy to Colin Firth in a spandex jumpsuit. WHOA. It was like visual whiplash. Elizabeth Bennett would freak seeing him like that. I know I did.
In other news, this week, for the first time, I followed a baby’s birth on Facebook. Something about this makes me think that Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore. One of my cousins was due on Thursday, and after all the chaos of my own hospital drama, I logged in to catch up only to find out she was in labor. Her husband kept giving updates over the next couple of days (she had thirty hours of labor, good grief) telling us about how she was doing, what was happening. Then, when I checked in Saturday morning, the big news, followed by pictures. So exciting! We are in a new world, though, clearly. Will I tell my new cousin Lyra that I followed her birth on a social networking site? Will such things even exist? Probably not. We’ll just have mind melds, or something. Makes you nostalgic for old times, sort of. You know that means: more Pride and Prejudice. Does this mean I will stop watching 16 and Pregnant? And ONLY watch British novels produced by the BBC or PBS? Probably not. But for now, I am enjoying being literary and for once watching something I don’t have to be ashamed of. And lo, it is nice.
So, as some of you might have already read, my day outpatient surgery did not go QUITE as planned. I went in thinking I’d be out in forty-five minutes, then sent home. Instead, I woke up to find out they were putting me in an ambulance to take me to the hospital for observation and a blood transfusion. As they don’t like to say in the medical profession: whoops! Apparently I started bleeding during the surgery, although no one is quite able to say why. I can tell you that it was scary and unsettling and not at all how I expected things to go. I was in the hospital Thursday and most of Friday, but thankfully back here at home in my own bed by Friday night. Still, not fun.
Regular readers will know how SICK of the hospital I am, considering that my husband just did a stint there last summer, and I was hoping to steer clear of the place for, oh, I don’t know, the next few years or so. Instead, unexpectedly, I found myself in one of those embarrassing backless gowns, with three IVs sticking out of me, in a room just like the one I was in when I had my daughter. The nurses were nice. The view was nice. But man, I did NOT want to be there. I mean, I had kept saying I needed to sleep, and wanted a chance to just do that and nothing else. But this was not how I wanted that to happen.
Anyway, I’m home now, and have no choice but to rest. Doctor’s orders! Also, I am not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds for two weeks, which, with a clingy toddler, is almost laughable. But I am trying. Thank god for my cousin Barb, who came to our rescue right away, and to all my babysitters, who are filling in to do stuff I can’t. I don’t know what we would have done without them, seriously.
I was so tired in the hospital I honestly did not much but doze (actually sleeping in a hospital is impossible, as they have to come check on you, like, constantly) but occasionally I would turn on the TV and try to focus on it. I guess this was the wrong week to try to give up TV, or reality TV at least, because I managed to get totally sucked into 16 and Pregnant on MTV. Whoa, this show is intense. I only saw two episodes, but I found myself talking back to the TV, like I was at Rocky Horror or something. “Oh, no, that won’t work,” I’d cluck, or “Yeah, RIGHT.” Maybe it was the Percocet, but I was invested in these girls and their lives. Now, of course, I have to watch the reunion show this week, to see how everyone turned out. But without the Percocet it might be less enjoyable. I guess I’ll find out.
There’s something about having surgery, and a transfusion, that makes everything seem sort of….blurry. Like I realized yesterday that a week ago I was still in Chicago at ALA. That seems like MONTHS ago, honestly. In fact, the last month or so of book tour and appearances all seems like kind of a dream. Again, it might be the drugs. But it did happen, right? I met you all in Huntington Beach, and Naperville, and Miami, right? I have the pictures to prove it, fortunately. And I’m sure once I am rested up, and back to myself, it will all seem real again.
Luckily, I still have ONE more book event to do and this one I intend to savor. It’s at McIntyre’s Fine Books and Bookends, in Pittsboro NC, this coming Saturday the 25th at 11am. (Call 919 542-3030 for details.) It’s my last local reading for a little while, and in a GREAT bookstore, so please come out if you can. I promise not to talk about my hospital travails OR 16 and Pregnant. (Okay, maybe I can’t promise. But I will do my best.)
Okay, I have to get off the computer now. One of my pledges to get better is less internet, and more sleep. I have been asleep more than awake since I got discharged, truly. It’s like having mono all over again! Fun, fun, fun……
Okay, so….my little outpatient procedure went a bit awry. I ended up in the hospital, and I’m still here. Hopefully going home later today. I know I don’t need to blog and probably shouldn’t. But I’m fine and sitting here bored and kind of down, so I started flipping channels and…How to Deal is on. That’s a good sign, right? Plus my husband just snuck me some mac and cheese. There are worst ways to spend a Friday. Still, I hope to get out of here soon.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
I’ve been home for two days now, and I am FINALLY beginning to feel like I’m settling in. For the first twenty-four hours, it was all about feeling scattered: clothes everywhere, errands to run, lists of things I’d been ignoring since pub day, and still waking up in the middle of the night thinking I was in a hotel someplace. But now, I’m beginning to feel like I’m here and I’m staying here and it’s all good. But I still need sleep, and lots of it. Zzzzz…..
There’s still stuff to do, but it’s all manageable stuff. Like pick tomatoes and make spaghetti sauce, and somehow purge a bunch of my daughter’s toys and stuffed animals when she’s not paying attention (the clutter is…overwhelming). I want to look through all my ALA pictures so I can try to remember all the cool stuff I did (can you tell it was hectic?) and answer emails I’ve been let pile up for ages. I was in the drugstore yesterday and was shocked to see they already had all their back to school stuff out. WHAT? The summer isn’t over, is it? I haven’t even been here, hardly! As far as I am concerned, I still have a month and a half left of my favorite season. It’s only HALF over, even if the pencils and folders are already emerging. I refuse to believe otherwise.
I mean, how can it be the end of summer when Entourage is only just beginning? This show has been one of my favorites since Sex and the City ended, when I used it to fill the void left when there were no more fresh episodes of Carrie and Co. Plus, there’s Weeds (which has taken kind of a dark turn I am hoping will pass soon) and my current favorite, My Life on the D-List, which is better than ever this season. Only Kathy Griffin can make me actually enjoy watching Paris Hilton. Yes, I said it. Shoot me now. But that episode with her and Paris was really, really good.
Oh, God, I am so shallow. I really feel like I need to cut down on my TV stuff. Laurie Halse Anderson pointed out at one of our readings together that it’s the first advice she gives to people who want to write. Turn off the TV! And I think it is good advice. But I just….I can’t. Not that I’ve tried. But really, no TV? Ever? Not even Yo Gabba Gabba? Or Top Chef Masters? I mean, that show might as well be on PBS, right? I think if I was going to quit TV (and I should, I should) I’d have to do it in serious re-run season, when there was nothing good on. But the thing is, there’s ALWAYS something on I will watch. I mean, Dirty Dancing and Center Stage are on at any given moment, somewhere. It makes it hard to be virtuous. But maybe, when summer’s over, I’ll try. At least I have stopped watching Charm School. That’s a good first step, right?
Before I can REALLY relax into my second half of summer, though, I have one more thing to do. I’m having this little surgery tomorrow, totally outpatient, but it is surgery and it’s been hanging over me for weeks now, so I’m so ready to get it over with. I honestly think it’s the universe’s way of making me finally slow down, so I’m going to take heed and take a little break from the blogging while I recover and rest up. So no Friday Five this week, sorry about that. I plan to be back, all relaxed and rested, on Monday. If you can spare a good thought for me on Thursday, I’d appreciate it. See you next week!
It’s been less than a month since Along for the Ride came out, and yet I feel like I have not stopped moving once. It’s been such a fun, wild time, and ending it this weekend at ALA was great. (I will be doing one more local appearance, at McIntyre’s in Pittsboro on July 25th. And we’re hoping to add a DC date, and maybe one in New York eventually.) But for now, yes, I’m done. Which means I can (maybe) step back from the computer for a couple of days, catch up on my sleep, spend time with my family and all that other good stuff. I promise a better, longer entry later. But for now, I just have to share these few things. And because I AM so tired, I will do it with pictures.
First, the view from my hotel room was freaking awesome:
And this view, at Anderson’s in Naperville on Saturday night, was equally great:
I got to hang a LOT with Laurie Halse Anderson. We signed books for two hours (!) straight at Anderson’s on Saturday, then did a pizza party/talk with very cool teens on Sunday. I love Laurie. She’s, like, totally made of awesome:
But the GREATEST thing about ALA, the thing that I still can’t believe actually happened, is this:
Yes. That is Judy Blume. THE JUDY BLUME. There are better pictures on Penguin’s camera, but I can’t wait for them so I am posting this one even though I look like a total grinning freak. But I mean, hello! Meeting her was a dream of MY LIFE. I was so nervous I don’t even remember what I said. I just hope I didn’t embarrass myself too much.
I have so many more stories to tell you, and things to say, but honestly, I just can’t do it right now. I’m wiped out and my house is a mess and my daughter won’t let me out of her sight for two seconds for fear I’ll leave again. I’m putting away my book tour shoes and getting out my flip flops, trading sandboxes for boarding passes. It’s been a great time. But it’s really nice to be home. When I saw this when I arrived in the terminal late last night, exhausted, depleted, it just made me so happy: