I am on the road. My lappytop or doteasy or SOMEONE has borked my e-mail.
IF YOU NEED TO REACH ME, try this address...
my first name spelled correctly, then an at symbol, then gmail, then a period, closing with the the word com.
Let the spambots figger out THAT one, eh?
Anyway, if you need me, that is the only place I can get mail, and if you e-mailed me in the last 20 hours, I did not get it.
The v v v good was that yesterday, every STINKING time I tried to sink into bleak depression over turning 40---and Oh Beloveds, I DID give it MANY righteous tries!---I would come back to Kudzu and find more REALLY kind-hearted and funny comments (THANK YOU!!!!), or the phone would ring and some relative or friend would SING the Traditional Many Happy Returns of the Day song, OR the doorbell would ring, and a delivery man would hand me a package full of prizes---I got books and books and more books and a DVR recorder --- and four times a man came bearing glass bowls or baskets filled with beautiful cat salads:
Those cat salad chefs are true artisans! They are SO dedicated to presenting a LOVELY plate that it is almost as if they think LOOKING at the things was as important as EATING them! Can you guess what my favorite flower is? Hint: Slightly Nibbled Gerber Daisies. I sure hope they are not poisonous. My whole downstairs smells like a meadow. Itâ€™s AWESOME.
I also got about 50 billion funny e-cards and e-mails and NOT ONE OF THEM contained a sour joke about being old that wasnâ€™t funny in 1000 B.C. when it was first grunted and clicked by cavemen and is still not funny now. NOT ONE! I have classy friends! AND then came a HEART LIFTING present from Seattle Mystery Bookshop, as they prepped for my tour stop WAY beyond the call of duty. PEEP THIS DISPLAY:
Hee. Not only is it awesome, butâ€¦Did you notice I am sitting by Laura Lippman? I SURE DID. HEART! SPARKLE! DIAMOND!
Turning 40 was, to sum up, ALMOST bearable, and I thought I would get through the dire day with marching delight and parade-level triumph, and I felt that way all day, right up until the police came.
Yes. The police.
No. I am not kidding.
The cop was holding a pile of spooky and official looking papers.
To understand how truly NERVEWRACKING this was, and for those of you joining us LATE, you need to know I was Wrongfully Arrested by the Austell police department and perp walked in cuffs down the busiest street in MY VERY SMALL TOWN, all due to the Patriot Act combining with a FILING error on the part of the Social Security office and the DMV and LAST WEEK my GLORIOUS LAWYER finished the process that got my record expunged and cleared my name.
SO. I have been a non criminal for only a very short time when this cop shows up. I go to the door and peep out. I am wearing my work out clothes and I smell like a mule, as I just got off the elliptical. Super!
Cop: Good afternoon, Maâ€™am. Are you Joshilyn Jackson?
Me: *hesitant* Umâ€¦yes?
Cop: I'm Officer K. Johnson with the Austell Police Department.
Thatâ€™s the department who arrested me. I am thinking to myself, OH NO! THERE IS A PROBLEM, AND THEY WILL TAKE MY DRIVERS LISENCE AGAIN AND I WONâ€™T BE ABLE TO FLY WITHOUT IT AND I WILL MISS MY FIRST TOUR STOP AND WITH SCOTT IN L.A. and KAREN IN NYC, WHO! WILL! BAIL! ME! OUT!
Cop: We recently received a court order to expunge your record, but unfortunately there still seems to be some sort of discrepency. May I come in?
Me: Letâ€™s juuuust talk here on the porch.
I am trying to remember if I have my lawyer;â€™s phone programmed into my cell, which is in my hand, so it can go BACK TO JAIL WITH ME if I am going BACK TO JAIL. I am thinking â€œYOU WILL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE COPPER!!!!â€
Cop: Of course. On behalf of the Patriot Act, and under the authority of the Office of Homeland Security and the nodding Encephalopod, I regret to inform you thatâ€¦you look at least TEN YEARS YOUNGER THAN 40. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM Karen Abbott, Sara Gruen and
Then he reaches sideways, grabs a FRICKETTY BOOM BOX, strikes up the Sexyback, RIPS his cop shirt off and starts humping around on my porch in a skin-tight wifebeater and pants that I NOW see have Velcro seams.
I basically turned beet red and fell down on the ground on DIED. Then I bounced up JUST in time to STOP HIM FROM TAKING HIS PANTS OFF. Because, BELOVEDS, 1) it was THIRTY-ONE DEGREES OUT THERE, and 2) I REALLY did not want him to take his pants off. REALLY. Not that he was not a comely fake cop. He was, ackshully, quite comely and he looked as if he spent non-naked-cop hours mostly in the gym, but, as a GENERAL RULE, I TRULY prefer for the men on my porch to have pants. Just saying. And I take back what I said earlier about having classy friends. *grin*
SO that was forty, and if the cats do not stop eating my flowers I am going to DISMEMBER them and mail the legs to Karen and Sara and Renee as a thank you. Whew. If this is what happens when I turn 40, I find I may actually be looking forward to 50.
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is beginning to show up in stores, and today, I turn 40. Time to check ye old MENTAL ILLNESS NUMBER with the help of a YES NO format I am rampantly and shamelessly stealing from Mirâ€™s blog. Yesterday, Mir stole HER format from Choose Your Own Adventure Books, so I feel justified in thieving from her. I loved those booksâ€¦
Letâ€™s begin with a mental illness of number of 20. I feel like 20 is my baseline, and 100 is barking mad. By baseline, I mean 20 is nuts enough to have a good time, but not so nuts that you need restraints.
I am not trying to get to zero. Zero is an unattainable goal. Zero is where you sit barefoot and infested with pure zen on the side of a mountain thinking about eternal Oms and the spiritual whatnot of the harmonic universe, and you drip well-being, and people hack their way up to the snowy peak to ask you for wisdom and you say something astoundingly simple yet slightly cryptic, and it is probably about butterflies, and the people go away both frostbitten and profoundly changed for the better. Zero is so mentally well that the SNOW on the mountaintop canâ€™t even MAKE YOUR DIRTY BARE MYSTICAL FEET COLD.
I canâ€™t get there from here. Heck, I canâ€™t get there from ANYWHERE. So I have a baseline of 20, and I will look at the proofs and add and subtract as necessary.
YES, Yesterday I did end every phone conversation that I had with ANY PERSON even 1 year younger than me by saying, â€œOKAY WELL, GOODBYE FOREVER. Next time we speak I will be 40 and not nearly My Spacey enough to hang out with you kids, and I will have automatically lost the tiny shred of cool I managed to save secretively in the bottom of my shoe.â€ +15
Aside: When I was 39, I actually had TWO scraps of cool saved in my shoe, but then a couple of weeks ago I was in a crowded elevator and a Muzak Version of Tâ€™PAUâ€™s Heart and Soul was on and I was so distracted I did not realize I was singing the lyrics out loud. Not the CHORUS even. VERSE lyrics. So. Oh! Actually that Aside has some evidence of Crazy in it. +10
YES, I actually used the above to end a conversation with a friend who is seven years and change older than me. She was notably unsympathetic. +20
No, I donâ€™t really think EVERYONE automatically loses their last scrap of cool at 40. Just ME. -25
YES - I really believe I will. I truly feel I am 19 hours away from running out the front door in a muumuu, brandishing a rake and shrieking, â€œYou kids get off my lawn!â€ +50
NO I am not checking my notoriously unstable and uninidicative Amazon pre-sale numbers and use them to predict how my beloved book is going to do! - 1,000, yes, you heard me, MINUS ONE THOUSAND, and I am NOW going to go to hit ebay to find me a dirty loincloth and a stick-on beardâ€”SNOWY MOUNTAIN TOP, HERE I COME, BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY CHOCK FULL Oâ€™ THE ZENS!!
YES! All of the above is a blatant, blackhearted lie. + 1,000 and +20 more punitive points for perpetrating untruthiness.
NO I have not called Scott and wailed about being 40 OR about my Impending Book Launch nerves while he is in the middle of his meetings in California. â€“ 50
YES. THE ABOVE IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE SO THERE! -10
YES: I did call my editor from a LEDGE and ask her to talk me in because I watched C span on the elliptical and became absolutely convinced that NO ONE was going to buy my new book because they are all too distracted by the primaries. I called her up gibbering as if it were a proven fact that people only go to EITHER a bookstore OR a voting booth in any given month. Never to BOTH. +70
NO I did not then decide to forget it ever happened. I CALLED my friend Karen Abbott up instead.
Me: DO you remember when Sin in the Second City was about to launch and you called me up weeping that no one was going to buy it because Harry Potter had just come out a coupla weeks before?
Me: And I laughed at you and told you that you were a sillyhead and was not at ALL sympathetic?
Her: Yes. I remember this clearly.
Me: I heartily apologize.
WHICH, that was a VERY sane and reasonable thing to do! So. â€“ 15.
NO, I donâ€™t; do math, but just GLANCING at the numbers it seems like I do not need to start drinking yet, here at 5 am. Perhaps, at 40 and on book 3, I am finallyâ€¦DO NOT SAY â€œgrowing as a person.â€ Donâ€™t even think it. We do not do that here. Perhaps I amâ€¦calming down? Or sinking into apathy? Or Scott is secretly hiding anti-anxiety meds in my chicken, the way I do for the cats when I need to cap their nails? I donâ€™t; know.
I do know this. Today I turn forty, and my third book goes officially in the world in less than a week, and I am partially mostly pretty much probably okay with it.
Want to Win a Free Copy of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming?
Heads Up! Deeâ€™s Book Dish has the goods, with not ONE but TWO ways to win a signed copy, one for my fellow bloggers, and one that ANYONE can enter. YAY! GO DEE. And also, GO Other Dee, because there are two of them running Deeâ€™s Dish. It almost should be Deesâ€™s Book Dish but thatâ€™s hard to read and say. So.
You have until THURSDAY to enter to win your own free personalized and signed copy of TGWSS. And I tell ya what Iâ€™m going to do, to make this feel more like an infomercial. I am going to throw in another prize for each contest. I will give Dee (and Dee) two copies of TGWSS on AUDIO. Enter her contest, and you are eligible to win those prizes as well. AND IF YOU ENTER IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES, WEâ€™LL THROW IN SOME C!AL!S AND A FREE CUTTING BOARD!!!1!!11oneoneeleventy < --- Not true.
I LOVE the contest for bloggers, by the way. Itâ€™s SO brilliant because itâ€™s like a blog tour, only with prizes. Iâ€™ve got a nice blogsize cover shot hosted here if you canâ€™t host images and need to borrow my bandwidth to enter:
NOW, re: Bakingâ€¦ you may remember I gave up Desserts and Wine for Lent. And I am capitalizing Desserts and Wine because they are my go-to comfort foods. My third book is about to launch, I am NERVOUS and HOPEFUL and CRAZED, and I miss Desserts and Wine, I miss them maybe so much I should call them DEEEZZZZERRRTZ and WHIIIIIINE. If it wasnâ€™t for faith and coffee, I would have snapped four days ago and cannibalized a neighbor. Just saying, this is a challenging Lenten season, and while I am trying to use the deprivations properly, as a launch pad for meditation, I am beginning to use them wrongfully, as a launch pad for crabbiness and general malaise.
SO. I accidentally overbought bananas, and my USUAL move would be to take the oldest ones and make â€˜Naner Bread. GREAT IDEA, except banana bread is secretly cake. People CALL it a bread, but COME ON. Secretly? Total cake. And I am not eating cake. I googled Diabetic Banana Bread Recipes, and came up with cake recipes that have Splenda instead of sugar. Cake with Splenda is STILL dessert, in my book.
I plumbed the DEPTHS of google and found a crazy health-nut food whole-wheat-flour nutburger version with NO sugar, and you use Applesauce to replace BOTH the sugar and the butter. SO! Banana bread sweetened only with bananas and no-sugar applesauce is EMPHATICALLY not cake. I thought that must truly be a BREAD, and I can EAT bread.
I corralled my baking posse (aka Sam and Maisy) and we mashed and mixed and filled muffin cups and ect. And I stood beside the oven dancing from one foot to other hopefully awaiting the advent of hot fruity carbs.
I am appalled to report to you that while banana bread with no sugar or butter is definitely not CAKE, it is ALSO not exactly BREAD. I think it is technically a moldy kitchen sponge. Or perhaps a fungus that has been doused in wallpaper paste. No one will eat it except the dog, and it gave the dog such HORRIFIC gas that I had to box him up and ship him to France. This gas was SO virulent it was LEECHING IN from the backyard. I tried to use a Canadian return address. Because France is already TICKED with us and THIS DOG and his EMANATIONS are not going to help the case AGAINST us all being Ugly Americans. Oh well.
Go with God, Bagel! Send postcards!
BUT FIRST â€“ Two announcements.
One, brace yerself Bridgetâ€¦.I AM NO LONGER A CRIMINAL!!!!!
As you may recall, Someone SCREWED UP at the social security office, causing alarms to go off that had been set up by my NEW BEST FRIEND, The Patriot Act, and I ended up being WRONGFULLY ARRESTED. Remember that! Heh. Good times....
Anyway, last night my lawyer told me that a judge had signed off on the papers agreeing the arrest was wrongful, I was a delightful non-criminal sugarpie, and therefore he would TOTALLY expunge the whole mess. YAY!!!! I no longer have an arrest record and if there is a merciful God it ALSO means they have to delete my MUG SHOT, which, letâ€™s just sayâ€¦not the worldâ€™s most flattering picture. I look terrified and hysterical with laughter at the same time, captured mid-rictus-sy looking grin with bugged-out, watery eyes.
I am SO pleased this is OVER and justice prevailed and I donâ€™t have to worry about my ARREST RECORD coming up every time I get pulled over for the sort of LAW BREAKING I am actually guilty of, like the occasional California Stop at deserted stop signs (Every time I say California Stop I hear Alicia Silverstone-as-Cher saying in my head, â€œI totally PAUSED!!!!) and sometimes forgetting what SPEED TRAP FANATICS they are in downtown Powder Springs--- if you go over 30, they ticket you.
Now all I have to do is PAY MY LAWYER for the MAN HOURS he had to put into fixing the federal governmentâ€™s mistake. Heh. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, The Social Security Office has not stepped up and offered to pay for their mistake. Shocking, no? < ------ and here, the sarcasm becomes so heavy that it plummets through the floor and through the concrete house foundation and through the earthâ€™s crust and it is currently bouncing around burning in our planetâ€™s chewy magma center.)
Still, it is both a DREAM COME TRUE and a MasterCard commercial waiting to happenâ€¦
Bail? 1,124 dollars..
Layer fees? 1,500 Dollars.
Therapy needed after contemplating being forced to use a filthy stainless steel jail toilet? 4,000 Dollars.
Not having an arrest record? PRICELESS.
SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT! TGWSS is already showing up in some stores and now only TWO WEEKS and change left to get in on the VIRTUAL SIGNING! With prize drawings and Independent-Bookstore-Supporting and other delights.
And now, to remember what the TITLE of this entry is isâ€¦OH YES! Boys and Girls are DIFFERENT, and here is the proof, in a VISUAL NUTSHELL.
Whenever Scott and I take long trips, we bring home little notions for the kidlets---usually something location appropriate.
On my recent trip to New York, I spent a day in the Met, and I went to the most kid-friendly of the Metâ€™s fine shops to kill two birds with one stone: get EDUCATIONAL souvenirs and support that fine institution.
For Maisy --- Period paper dolls that introduce discussions of gender roles in Victorian times and now, and how the strictures of the clothes match the strictures of female livesâ€¦She was RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT to learn that Hattie and Lucinda were not allowed to wear pantsâ€¦or vote.
For Sam---- An anatomic man puzzle that breaks apart into layers so he can learn hands on how the human body is constructed which will prep him for Harvard medical school and the day he must dissect an actual dead guy.
Meanwhile, Scott just finished his big show down in Orlando. GUESS what he brought the kids back from the Sunshine State?
Yes. That IS packets of Flamingo Poop and Gator Droppings. Which are actually chocolate covered sunflower seeds that let your children call each other POO EATERs all day long, and it NEVER GETS ANY LESS FUNNY. Never.
I rest my case.
Meet Karen Neches, who was was single for over twenty years. She used to tell people she was in the â€œhospice stageâ€ of being single, as she never expected to recover. Then at the age of forty-three she finally met her soul mate. Her novel, Earthly Pleasures, is dedicated to him.
Publisherâ€™s Weekly says, â€œSkye Sebring is a greeter in the Hospitality Department of Heaven who finds herself drawn to the Earthly Pleasures TV channel (reality TV for Heaven dwellers) after she welcomes the handsome, reformed playboy Ryan Bad Boy Blaine to the pearly gates. The lawyer son of a former president, Ryan's stay in heaven is cut short (his death is more of the brush-with-death variety), but he can't forget Skye, who reminds him of someone he knew. The feeling is mutual for Skye, who follows Ryan back to Earth, where it's pretty apparent there's something strange going on with Ryan's wife, Susan, who is planning a huge gala wedding follow-up to their earlier low-key impromptu nuptials. As Skye investigates her connection with Ryan and Ryan looks into what's causing his wife's strange behavior (he also forms a radio call-in show habit), a tangled story of cold ambition and true love unspools. Neches's funny and sweet novel shows that to err is human and angelic as well.
Itâ€™s also a Book Sense Notable for February. Whee!
JJ: What do you think of your cover, and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?
KN: I love my cover. If it were a man, Iâ€™d sleep with it, write it sappy love poems, and feed it peeled grapes. EARTHLY PLEASURES is about a greeter in Heaven who falls in love with a mortal on Earth. I imagined a male/female version of God touching Adamâ€™s fingertips in the Sistine Chapel. What I got (initially) was a picture of a record (like an LP, remember those?). Thatâ€™s because my main character, Skye, takes Earth 101 classes, and learns all of lifeâ€™s lessons through five Beatle songs.
Before I could squawk about having a plain, old record on my cover (some people donâ€™t even know what a record is anymore) I got a jpeg of this lovely floating lady, and I was so happy! I could imagine my character Skye in blue outfit (I LOVE the little fur embellishments at the neck and the sleeves), coolly sipping coffee as she awaits the arrival of her next client. Itâ€™s my favorite cover ever, and I get a lot of compliments on it.
JJ: Can you talk a little about the significance of your title and how you came up with it?
KN: EARTHLY PLEASURES is the name of a show that Heaven dwellers watch to spy on people on Earth. They have their favorite Earthlings and avidly follow the drama of their lives (because Heaven, being so perfect, is woefully low on drama.) A few select Earthlings are very big celebs in Heaven and my main character, Skye, falls in love with one of them, Ryan Blaine, after he has a near-death experience.
JJ: Your main character seems to be nothing like you. After all, you are a Mortal and she is a new soul in Heaven. What DO you guys have in common or, if nothing, how'd you manage to inhabit shoes so different from your own?
KN: Skye is a greeter in Heaven, which is actually a low-level bureaucratic job. She gives the newly dead pamphlets on â€œWhat to Expect Now That Youâ€™re Expiredâ€ and if any of her clients get upset she sprays them with TIC. (Tranquility in a Can) Sheâ€™s actually a clock watcher and reminds me of myself in my twenties when I worked at a few dead-end jobs, i.e., receptionist in a blood bank, travel agent(which isnâ€™t as glam as it sounds).
Skye is probably more like me than any of my other main characters in books past. She gorges on chocolate and red wine (no consequences in the hereafter) and engages in occasional retail therapy with her Wishberry.
Sheâ€™s also very practical in many ways and maybe just a wee bit of a pessimist (which I fight against). When sheâ€™s chosen to live her first life on Earth, she doesnâ€™t imagine herself as a future supermodel or celebrity (as most of her classmates do). She figures sheâ€™ll end up as a subsistence farmer in Nigeria or working in a sweatshop in Honduras.
I always want to blog about my brother, but he is very hard to catch in words. Heâ€™s such a unique individual. He is the only person on the planet who is more pragmatic than I am, and he was born with the MAGICAL ability to NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS. In the good way.
He has a sweet little streak of kind empathy running down his middle, so I do not mean he is CALLOUS, I mean, he is immune to peer pressure. He is probably the most genuine personI have ever known. Not only does he not care to keep up with the Joneses, he is utterly uninterested in even KNOWING what the Joneses are wearing/driving/doing this year. He does not follow fads or know fads are happening. He is not interested in impressing anyone, in any way. He likes people---he is sincerely interested in them, and people seem to feel that. He genuinely enjoys the drooly company of babies and old ladies. Almost everyone who meets him is drawn to himâ€”he is very charismatic.
ON THE OTHER HAND. I imagine it must be difficult to be MARRIED to such a pragmatist. HE totally was down for crazy farm plan with me! He would like to grow a ZZ Top style beard so that he wouldnâ€™t have to shave. He would like to let his wayward eyebrow hairs grow and grow and grow and float merrily ahead of him in the breeze as a sign of wisdom. He would be happy to live in fantasy pants and t-shirts and those old black farmhand shoes---clodhoppers. From boyhood on, he claimed that if he should ever own a home, he would concrete over his yard and paint it green, because MANICURED LAWNS had to be MOWN.
Anyway, SOMEHOW even though he is â€¦ refreshingly unique (read: weird) he managed to catch Julie, his wife. I feel the same sort of Divine Intervention took place in the capture of Julie as happened when I somehow managed to snag Scott. Julie is smart and a talented artist and tall and slim and blonde and gorgeous and dryly funny and stylish and SO nice. They are mad about each other, and she is one of the few people on earth whose opinions can sway his. AND she has the moral fortitude to quash my brotherâ€™s earnest pleas to vacate their lovely home in favor of a patch of meadow 50 miles from the closest gas station. A lesser woman would have found herself living in a log house by now with one pair of shoes and no TV.
ANYWAY, I spose she knew Valentineâ€™s day was coming, and I spose she knew that Bobby thinks it is a Hallmark Card Invented Faux Holiday, so she decided to get HINTY with himâ€¦
It began when she sent him an email from work titled:
My office address, in case you want to send flowersâ€¦
The body of the email was her mailing addy at work.
He replied with QUINTESSENTIAL BOBBY-ESQUE silliness, and so she TATTLED on him. She forwarded this mail to me and his parents:
I will be sending you a notice that you can post. It will alert
readers to the fact that, in order to commemorate and honor his
relationship with you, the love of your life has used the money, that
might have otherwise been wasted on decaying plant genitals, to
provide meals for homeless and disabled persons. The notice can be
flower shaped if you prefer.
I started giggling, and I decided it was time to enter the fray. Pragmatic I may be, BUT COME FEB 14th. PLS SEND TULIPS. (which Scott did!!!!) SO the next day, a lovely bouquet of Gerber daisies and suchlike blossoms went to Julieâ€™s office. Here is the card:
Julie IMMEDIATELY scanned it and sent it to my mom and dad AND CCâ€™d my brother, with a note that read, in part, â€œBobby! You have been shamed! Bob and Betty, at least you still have Joss to be proud of!â€ An hour or so later, Bobby responded:
Julie duly forwarded, and I shot back a note that said, â€œIf you can get the kid for the same price as the flowers, go for it. He is about the right size for factory work.â€
Lightning may strike me for that oneâ€¦
Thatâ€™s the last I heard, but I wonder if he DID make her that notice for Valentineâ€™s Day. I wouldnâ€™t put it past him. If he did â€“ I bet it is intricate and flower shaped and quite lovely, because 1) he is a professional artist, and 2) silliness aside, he is just plain nuts about her.
I hope you spent this V-day with someone who is nuts about you, and if you did not, then I wish for you to find each other or find your way back to each other before next year.
Made it. Flight delayed. SO tired. BLERG!
My favorite is called MUSE> It is a picture in the met of an EYE BUGGED OUT FREAKY MOUTH INSANE person, and I tried to stand by it and LOOK like it.
PS, YES we do both know that is the CHRYSLER building,. not the Empire State Building. It was a whole big thing...
Celebrity sighting 2 was Stephen Colbert. We sighted him because we went to see his show taped last night. ALAS! We were not allowed to take photos. I can't even tell you how superfun this was.
SO superfun that we were not even SOUR about standing in line in 19 degree weather for an hour before. SO superfun that we were only a LITTLE sour about the fact that we were TOO DUMB to do the math and realize that if we ate salads at noon, and got in line at 4:30, and the taping went until 8:30, long before the show started we would be considering cannibalism as a viable and even enticing dinner plan. We saw SEVERAL people that were a fast food packet of BBQ sauce away from being delicious. We also saw a woman who TRILLED and WARBLED the words "excuse me" in a high pitched Anna Nicole-ish was as she made her way to the ladies room, and while she did not look particularly nourishing, we considered killing and eating her on general principles.
As you MAY recall, Stephen Colbert and I share a publisher, and we became TOTAL BFF last year at the Grand Central Publishing Party. By which I mean, I screamed in his face that I just think he is so talented and my publicist kindly snapped pics of us together. Last night, at the taping, I was not sure if he would remember me. But of COURSE he did.
As he ran out on stage, he made very SIGNIFICANT EYEBROWS in my general direction, and those eyebrows said, "JOSHILYN! MY BFF! HOW FABULOUS OF YOU TO COME AND SUPPORT ME! I AM LONGING TO CATCH UP WITH YOU BUT UNFOTUNATELY I MUST NOW DO A SHOW."
I made significant eyebrows BACK that meant, I UNDERSTAND STEPHEN! I AM SENDING YOU A RING MADE OF MY OWN BRAIDED HAIR!"
And he dipped me a small nod that clearly said, "OK! THAT'S NOT CREEPY!"
We laughed so hard and long at the taping that I am HOARSE this morning. It is particularly amazing when you realize that due to the writer's strike, Colbert has NO help---no prompters, no cards, no staff. He is making it all up and then ad libbing it and improving and whatnot. My bff is a genius.
After the taping, we met up with my friend MATT who is COOL, and who scored us the show tickets (!!!) and our friend Gilbert, who took us on The Westies Tour. This is a tour that Gilbert made up. Essentially, it involves going to a series of pubs and speakeasies where a notorious Irish Gang (The Westies) killed people. They killed a LOT of people in a lot of pubs. A COMPLETE Westies tour would end in alcohol poisoning. We went three places, so we barely saw the tip of the Westies murder iceberg.
Marching to the last spot, we saw a very FITTING Irish Murder Tour thing---the body of a potato. We had no chalk to outline it, and the Westies had clearly removed all identifying things, like his stick-on eye/nose composite chunk and glasses and shoes. We cannot even tell you if this potato was a MR. or a MRS. But we lift an Irish Whiskey and a pint at his/her passing.
Here's Hulk Hogan, stuck in Queens, waiting for his luggage at the carrol next to mine. I was very cool about taking this picture, by which I mean I said, very loudly, "I THINK I'LL TEXT MY FRIEND, KAREN, AND LET HER KNOW MY PLANE HAS LANDED. YES SIREE." Then I navigated to my crappy camera phone and stealthily snapped him.
A lot of people around me, even cool Manhattanites in hipster glasses, stuck waiting for their Louis Vitton bags in Queens, seemed to have urgent phone/texting in-the-general-direction-of-Hulk-Hogan needs...
PS: that is totally REALLY Hulk Hogan, BUT my camera phone is so crappy that I think I am morally obligated to snap grainy distant pictures of anyone who looks vaguely famous and post it here and be all like, "DUDE! That's TOTALLY Conan!"
< ------- HEY! Look what Scott did. TGWSS is up on the sidebar. Huzzah! And speaking of TGWSS, only 3 weeks and change left to get in on the VIRTUAL SIGNING!
Me, I am off to New York this evening. I have some business to do to make it all righteous (and here, we understand, â€œrighteousâ€ means â€œtax deductable,â€): a photo shoot, a lunch with my agent to strategize our latest plan for world domination, etc etc.
BUT! On Tuesday. My best friend and writing partner for a decade and a half Lydia is joining me and karen for a couple of days. She can SEND PICTURES to her blog using her phone and â€¦.elven magic? Bond-like gadgetry she gets for being secretly a super spy? Dunno, but she can, so hopefully we can show you all the parts of New York we have time to go gander at. That will be the AFTER pic. Here is the before, taken maybe 12 years ago?
As I recall, we are at a bowling alley for DISCO-BOWL or somesuch nonsense? We went there to meet AN INTERNET BOY that we had been playing online Euchre with.... I was married to Scott, but Lydia was still single and certified dangerous, and I was like the friend who came along to make sure the boy was not A Slavering Fiend or Serial Killer or Both. It was a LONG time ago, and as I remember it, the boy was nice enough, but God love him, he had a MULLET. An ACTUAL real alive mullet and the back part touched his shoulder blades. YIKES.
THIS trip, we plan to go to the top of the empire state building on Valentines Day and hold hands and spin really fast around as if we were playing Ring-Around-The-Rosey, which I think is actually a rhyme about dying of scarlet fever? But still. I am not sure why we always said we would do this â€“ something to do with a Meg Ryan Before She Got Hit By The Bus In That Terrible ANGEL Movie Homage? Maybe?
???????? < ---- spare question marks because I didnâ€™t have ENOUGH in the above paragraph.
We have not seen each other sans kids and husbands inâ€¦ohâ€¦.8 or 9 years now? Perhaps more. SO we are going to celebrate my birthday. Oh. Did I mention I am going to be 40 this month? Did I maybe bring it up casually? In Passing? While hurling myself off a bridge? The comments from the last entry indicate that I MAY have. And PS, those comments caused the MOST calls to Scott to tell him to read the latest comment in Kudzu historyâ€¦.Thank you!
Lyd and I are going to stay with My SUPERFUN doubleplus extra groovy friend Karen who abandoned me to move to NYC all three of us piled up like gerbils in her Swankish Manhattan Apartment. I say swank-ISH because it is the size of a pantry. But a SWANK pantry! *vigorous nodding*
ANYWAY â€“ I will try to update form NYC and AT THE VERY LEAST I shall point you at Lydâ€™s blog if pics go up.
I woke up this morning and went to check if I was still turning 40 later this month. Why yes. Yes I am. I am fussing about it. I am not going gently into that good middle age. I fuss about it to anyone who will listen, and so people who are pushing 60 say to me, â€œJUST YOU WAIT 'ENRY 'IGGINS it will be a) super or b) worse than you ever imagined. â€œ Meanwhile, people under 25 look at me like milk that JUST hit itâ€™s expy date, as if I might need a quick sniff test for decay.
Perspective is everything; to a person over 60, 40 is a kid. But to a person who is 22, 40 looks like the yawping gateway to death itself. But is 40 old to people who are 40? I decided to look for EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE to prove and decide whether I am
a) old or
b) not old.
Proof 1 ---- This morning I yelled to Scott from the bathroom.
Me: ZOMGAH! I am getting OLLLLLD!
Him: The encephalopod nods.
Me: *pokes head out door* Did you just say â€œThe encephalopod nods???â€
Him: *leveling a bland, sarcastic gaze upon me* Suuuure I did, honey. That;s EXACTLY what I said. I said, â€œThe encephalopod nods.â€
Me: The encephalopod thinks I am old?
Him: *dryly* Apparently.
Me: Then tell the encephalopod to suck it.
He spent the rest of the morning doing impressions of a rather smug NODDING encephalopod.
What he ACTUALLY said: â€œExcept you are not.â€ I heard it wrong because I am DEAF. Because my ears are old.
Proof 2: I used the word ENCEPHALOPOD! A CEPHALOPOD is a squid or octopus. Even young people can speak SCIENCE, but an EN-cephalopod is a face sucker from the movie ALIEN. Which released in, ohâ€¦1979. My Freudian MIS-hears are referencing a movie that is old enough to vote, drink, and run for a seat in the House of Representatives.
3) I had a THIRD proof, and ti was FUNNY! So funny I was cackling aloud as I ran to the computer to type this right quick, and DURING the ten minutes in which I typed the other two proofs, I FORGOT what had JUST happened that made me laugh and realize I was old. IT IS GONE! POOF! Because my brains are old.
Old ears, old references, old brains. Hmmm. The magic 8 ball is telling me it is time for flatter shoes.
I am absolutely FREAKINâ€™ DELIGHTED to report that gods in Alabama made the short list for WORLD BOOK DAY. I am in lofty company, and quite flattered to be shortlisted. Also surprised and pleased and delighted and all good things, but most of all, I am hugely grateful to readers and regs who think highly enough of my work to take the time to vote for it. Itâ€™s a lovely, lovely feeling.
They wiped the votes and have started completely OVER to now select one book from the ten as â€œthe book to talk aboutâ€ in 2008. If you liked gods and want to vote, or if you voted for it before and you want your vote to COUNT in the final round, here is the link.
WELCOME TO ASH WEDNESDAY, the gateway into Lent.
Yesterday was FAT TUESDAY, huzzah, and in its honor, I ate so much Pecan Loverâ€™s Poppycock that I feel like total crap. I think I have a genuine candy hangover! I didnâ€™t know those were actual things. I thought that was a joke. But no, today my mouth feels sugar-burned and my eyes are grainy, and I canâ€™t stand the THOUGHT of any sweets. I feel that if I put a teaspoon of that vile white stuff in my coffee I would vomit. Of course, that may just be Maisyâ€™s flu, finally catching up to me.
Today is Ash Wednesday, and the Poppycock Bag, licked clean, has been ejected from the house, as have all opened wine bottles.
Why sweets and wine? Because not a day passes that I donâ€™t want one or both. Not a day passes that I donâ€™t HAVE one or both. I think these are, for me, the best small sacrifices, because they are my comfort foods. I will be looking for comfort elsewhere this season, as I should.
Back when we went to an Episcopal church, I was more serious about following the liturgical calendar. Now that geography and the need for kids programs have converted us into Methodism, thatâ€™s one of the things I miss. See Also: Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, weekly communion, singing the Gloria, saying the Nicene Creed, liberal application of The Book of Common Prayer, and kneelers.
Scott and I are still pretty Anglican in our hearts, but we started church hunting after Maisy was born. With 2 kids, it became more and more impossible to make it to events and feel truly involved at a church that was 40 minutes away. The only Episcopal Church that is a reasonable distance from our home has a congregation made up almost entirely of soft bosomed widow ladies with lavender rinses.
So we cast around for a new church. LORD! Church hunting is a misery! Itâ€™s a bit like that BAD DATE MONTAGE in Notting Hill, remember that? It culminates with the chick in pigtails who claims to be a â€œFruit-arion,â€ someone who believes plants are living beings with feelings, and so sheâ€™ll only eat things that have already fallen naturally off the vine or bush. â€œSO those carrots...â€ says Hugh Grant in a leading manner. And she says, solemnly, â€œâ€¦were murdered. Yes.â€ Then Hugh Grant says, â€œWellâ€¦poor old carrots.â€ The whole thing makes me long FERVENTLY to be British, which means church hunting is actually NOT much like that, because none of the churches we dated made me long fervently to be whatever they were.
I remember sitting through a Sunday School class at one church we test drove, and the WHOLE HOUR was focused on what we could do, as a congregation, to get those cops on NYPD BLUE to stop showing their butt cheeks on network television. Yes. Really. CABLE Butt cheeks do not offend the Lord, but this particular church had it in their heads that there was an 11th commandment scribbled in at the bottom of Tablet 2: â€œThou Shalt Not Show Cheek on ABC, NBC, Or CBS, though there is NO accounting for Fox.â€
I had to practically DUCT TAPE my mouth shut because my mouth wanted SO BADLY to say, â€œYes! Letâ€™s get the butt cheeks off the show! Unless Jimmy Smits comes back on . Then we will need to swap our stance and become pro butt cheek, becauseâ€¦.Yum.â€
OKAY easy targets, those folks. Low of me. I mock, even though I see the point. I mean, I write books for grown-ups. They are, BETWEEN excepted, R rated, but I keep this blog PG because venue matters, standards matter, and I am all for public executions for parents who allow their teenage daughters to sport whale tails and I do not want DEEP THROAT to be the NBC Sunday Night Movie, etc etc, but cop butt is not really what I want to focus on in a Bible class. And while I do think the Church must address social ills, I cannot rouse the same sort of fervor for an anti-cop butt platform that I can rouse for, say, funding an AIDs hospice or a battered womenâ€™s shelter. It was not a good fit for us, though somewhere, right now, someone is MARRYING that Fruit-arion, so viva la religios freedom, thank you founding fathers.
At any rate, after MANY bad dates, we found a small Methodist congregation made up mostly of refugees. We have former Catholics and former Southern Baptists and former atheists and cradle-Methodists and the main VIBE at that church is tolerance for spectrum. We have a PhD in astronomy who believes the universe is set to turn 14 billion come next birthday, and she is perfectly comfortable breaking bread with our literal translationist choir director, who believes the earth was created in seven days a scant few thousand years ago. They both agree that when they die, they can just ASK GOD how old the dern thing is, and then whoever is right can say IN YER FACE! HA! BOOTY DANCE! I AM FULL OF WIN! Until then, the discussion is tabled, because in terms of how we choose to live and make the earth a better place or a worse one, how OLD the dirt we make these choices on matters not a whit.
I love the spirit of a church where the people can hold such disparate opinions and yet agree on the heart of things, so for now, we are Methodists, and we will remain Methodists until we leave this area. Then weâ€™ll look for the church that fits us, whatever the denomination.
THAT SAID... I miss the way I followed the Liturgical Calender when I was Anglican, and I have been working toward being more in tune with that. SO. I am off desserts and wine. Last year, I just did desserts, but ever since I finished that 40 days, sweets have not been as important to me. I think I broke a pretty serious sugar addiction last year. I still like them, but I do not have them every day. SO I added wine, which I also love and do not have every day. But I have one of them most days. So. Best I can do.
Now letâ€™s be clear. I did not say I am giving up ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES for Lent. I am giving up WINE. I am going to turn 40 â€“ FORTY! â€“ right smack bad in the middle of Lent. Held up against the universe----who looks pretty good for 14 billion, I have to have to say --- forty is not that big a deal. It isnâ€™t. Unless YOU are the one tunring it. Then? LORDY! I cannot imagine facing that day (FORTY!!!!!!!) without a crisp Grey Goose martini, where the vermouth is imaginary and an obscene number of olives have been dropped in to marinate. Grey Goose Martinis are, on the day you turned 40, considered NECESSARY MEDICINE. I think that may well be commandment 12, right after the cop butt mandate.
I am going to remind you every week about the VIRTUAL SIGNING lest the date creep up on you and pass you by. IT IS SOON! We are ALREADY in FEBRUARY, did you notice? Consider yerselfs reminded for this week.
MEANWHILE, I may have mentioned 1 or 2 quadzillion times that I have been ever so slightly under the weather? What with the INFLUENZA and the bad drug reactions and then --- did I tell you â€“ I got a secondary bacterial hateful something and went back to the doc AGAIN for antibiotics, and STILL every morning when I woke up my mouth felt COATED in a thick dried shellac-like slime-patina, the kind you get when you sleep with your mouth wide open because both nostrils are plogged, and doesnâ€™t the coating makes you imagine BUGS with SLIME FEET have been wandering in and out of your mouth all night? No? Bet it will NOW.
This has been going on for almost three weeks. You may be tired of hearing about it, and O! BELOVEDS! I do not blame you, but LORDY I am tired of LIVING IT.
Saturday morning I woke up, and outside a little bird was peeping in a cheerful manner, and my mouth was shockingly slime free. I sprang from the bed and gamboled hopefully to the mirror. The skin around my eyes has been sunken in and brown and the whites of my eyes have been a muddy yellow. On Saturday---my skin was its usual Irish dead-white. Even the splotchy pink the HIVES had given me on loan was gone. And the whites of my eyes deserved that name. I looked like regular me instead of a monster version. I feltâ€¦SPRINGY and ALIVE.
I ran hopefully to my elliptical to see if my energy levels would match my appearance, and to my delight I roared through a joyful 45 minutes. Then I lifted weights. Then I took the dog for a walk and showered and fixed my hair and pranced around and said to Scott, I HAVE DECIDED TO LIVE! I HAVE DECIDED TO LIVE! And so we bought a HUGE bucket of chicken wings and I made an enormous crudite with everything good on it---raw squash and peppers and mushroom caps and celery and baby carrots and balsamic dip---and we had Karen and Chuck over and we played poker and I made Orange Goose-mos and lost horribly because CHUCK CHEATS and it was all DELIGHTFUL.
About one oâ€™clock, Karen and Chuck left, and Scott and I drifted up to bed.
About three oâ€™clock, I heard Maisy say â€œMommy?....BLARRRRRFFFF.â€
Stomach flu, Madge? Whatâ€™s that?
Why, my dear, you are soaking in it.
HEH. Allow me to say, I have never yet EVER in my life managed to SKIP a stomach flu if one of my kids brought it home. But on the other handâ€¦I still feel chipper. I have WHITE eye whites, I have a good appetite---a little too good, as per usual! I am right now thinking about the shrimps and the hummus with vegetable chips I plan to eat for dinner with a very crisp (and pricey) Pinot Gris, and I am thinking of these things in the hopeful, slavering manner of a person who lives on the other side of the COUNTY from nausea.
If I manage to make it to tomorrow at 9 AM without getting it, I shall pronounce myself safe. Maisy got it from a child who urped up onto the activity table on FRIDAY, and the poor poppet was sick as a dog about 30 hours later, so this thing does not mess around and gestate and pop out at you all sneaky a week later. If it comes, IT COMES. And I have No immune system working just now. HEH.
Still, I have all my crossables crossed. Maisy is back up to Warp 9 this afternoon, so even if I DO get it, it will be a short one. She said hopefully. BUT I AM NOT GOING TO GET IT. She said REALLY hopefully. Because I have plans to, OH I DO NOT KNOW, open Microsoft Word tomorrow? I was thinking I might even TYPE SOME WORDS into the save file I have named â€œ Rose Unraveled, draft one.â€ Yes, WORK! What a crazy idea. After 2.5 weeks of doing nothing but watching Gameshow network and faintly moaning, I am itching to get back in there and see what I have. Been so long since I opened that file, I will bring fresh eyes to it.
Did you see I have a working title for the new book now? Kinda slipped that in. Drove it right past you to test the effect all sly-like and tricksy like hobbitses. I think I like it. Do you think you like it?
But you didnâ€™t notice, did you. You were too busy wondering why I would be opening such a nice bottle of wine on a MONDAY. Because it is Ash Wednesday in two days, thatâ€™s why. And then Lent, so I will be saying goodbye to wine and dessert for 40 days. Weâ€™ll see how THAT goes, too.
GAH Must run pick up the kidlets. I am not done talking about Lent and food ---more tomorrow.
Today I am not blogging here because me and my hives, we are going to a DOCTOR. But.
The above is a group blog were Karin Gillespie has gathered a wealth of crazy-talented southern authors, including Cassandra King, River Jordan, Julianna Baggott, Quinn Dalton and many more. There are lots of these group blogs now, and I want to know what you think about the concept. I am still fence sitting, and I will tell you why laterâ€¦If you havenâ€™t visited a group blog before, here are some more I LIKE, that I think work.
1) Class of 2k8
A host of debut YA and Middle Grade authors. I like how this site looks, and that it offers a lot of static content as well as a blog. I like the fact that they are all debuts, and I wonder if next year it will be all new writers and a class of 2k9? That will be cool. My son is a HUGE reader and I have already found a book he is eager to get his paws on. Wind control IS important!
2) Naked Authors.
This is where one of my favorite writers (and frequent FTK Best Beloved Commenter) Cornelia Read blogs with 5 other crime writers. I like the SMALLNESS of this groupâ€”I donâ€™t get lost and not know who is talking. I like how they use a lot of images. Also, reading that blog has sent me out to get several of their books, and I have not been sorry.
3) I liked Literary Chicks, while it lasted.
I now read Lani Diane Richâ€™s SOLO blog which is HILARIOUS and DARLING, but she does not blog often enough for my tastes. *glares at Lani*
4) The Outfit
I especially have enjoyed following Kevin Guilfoileâ€™s coverage of a BIZARRE crime in the Chicago area.
ANYWAY â€“ I shall probably be blogging over at A GOOD BLOG IS HARD TO FIND at least once a month. What do you think about group blogs? Love? Like? Hate? Why?
LASTLY! I have been sick (I may have mentioned this SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION TIMES) and I missed World Blog day for THE LIARâ€™S DIARY by Patry Francis If you read
Jennifer Weinerâ€™s excellent blog or any of of about 3 MILLION other blogs and websites kept up by agents, authors, publishers, booksellers and readers, then you already know all about this, and you are cooler than me, and here I am late to the party with only hives and virulent self-pity as an excuse. I knew the blog day was January 29th. I just didnâ€™t know when that day CAME. When you never get out of your pajamas, it all begins to run together.
AT ANY RATE, pretend it is January 29th, and go look at Patryâ€™s Website and see if her â€œOutright Chillingâ€ (as The New York Daily Says) debut, pipinâ€™ fresh and hot out in paperback, might be to your liking.