Thursday, May 29, 2008

Awesome. Not Awesome

So Mona stole this idea from a radio show called Too Beautiful to Live and I'm stealing it from her. Apparently, they do a regular feature called "Awesome! Not Awesome!" in which they proclaim new and other tidbits awesome or not awesome. Actually, this reminds me of something my high school newspaper used to do. Our mascot was the Wildcat, so they did a regular feature called Cat Pats and Kitty Litter. Cat Pats were given for good stuff, Kitty Litters for bad. So here are my Cat Pats and Kitty Litters for today:

Cat Pat to the fact that I'm not pregnant. Feeling nauseous sucks.
Kitty Litter to the fact that I'm not pregnant. I was kind of looking forward to another screaming little munchkin.

Cat Pat to the Intern at work for doing some projects for me yesterday. She rocked the house and got a ton of shit done that I haven't been able to get to for months!
Kitty Litter to me for being an unproductive sack of shit yesterday. I even forgot to attend a meeting.

Cat Pat to Rock for taking Wildman to his checkup today!
Kitty Litter to me (again!) for scheduling the appointment on Memorial Day week and not being able to take time off to go. This is the first checkup I've missed.

Cat Pat to Wildman, who is in the 40th percentile for height! Whoohoo!
Kitty Litter to premature birth, which has caused him to have to play catch-up.

Cat Pat to Memorial Day weekend, which was awesome even though we didn't do much except grill out on Sunday. I picked up some pre-made kebabs at the grocery, Rock's mother made macaroni salad and a pumpkin pie. Yum!
Kitty Litter to pumpkin pie for being so damn fattening. You taste so good, why must you be so bad?!

Cat Pat to the judge who sentenced Nick Hogan to jail time (hope it's lots!).
Kitty Litter to the Hogans, for being such insensitive douchebags. "John was a really negative person." What a pack of assholes!

Tell me - what is awesome and not awesome in your life right now?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So! *claps hands* Last week was kinda interesting. For most of the week, I was convinced that I was pregnant. My period was about a week late, my hair had lightened up considerably (does anyone else consider that a fairly reliable sign of pregnancy? My husband swears by it.) , and some foods didn't sit well. I actually felt like I was having my food choices evaluated and sometimes rejected, just like when I was pregnant. I felt nauseous almost constantly, but if Rock laid his hand on my stomach, I felt better. I was all set to do a post and be like, "Dude, where's my period?". I stopped taking the medicines I'm supposed to stop a month before getting pregnant (whoops!). I went from mostly ambivalent, not really wanting to be pregnant, to happy and excited. BUT! I took three pregnancy tests and they were all negative. So I didn't tell anyone, and that turned out to be a good thing, because on Friday, my period started. Immediately, all the things making me think I was pregnant went away. (Except the hair - it's still lighter.) And I felt some abdominal pains and just generally run down and awful Friday and Saturday. Sunday, all that cleared up and I've felt fine ever since. But I'm a little sad, a little disappointed. So I guess we'll try again next month. I think I'm coming around to the idea of having another child. Even though they're loud little beasties, they are awfully cute and snuggleable. Just think boy thoughts for me, because I think another "high maintenance drama queen" (tm Shelly Overlook) daughter will kill me. I do have to say, though, that my body seems to have taken the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility a little too seriously. I mean, I had never even heard of ovulation spotting, much less had any. Now I have it more months than not. And this month was the first time in about 4 months of charting that my temperature followed the pattern it was supposed to. I wonder if I was pregnant and had a really early miscarriage. I think my cycle ended up being about 38 days, which is way long for me. Anyone have any experience with that? Or am I just crazy? That's always a distinct possibility with me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Driving Sideways

Last week, Jess Riley asked for people to help her pimp her new book, which comes out tomorrow! I immediately commented and said that I would love to read and pimp her book! I emailed her, she wrote back, we worked out logistics, and she offered to send me a signed copy of her book! And then, Nervous Tummy(tm Tessie) descended. Oh my God, what had I agreed to do? What if I got her book and didn't like it? (I've had that happen before. A friend of mine sent me her second book in a group email to solicit feedback, I printed it off....and it was awful. I couldn't get through it. Not that I don't love this girl to death, and she's wonderful and brilliant and has a Ph.D in Chemistry, but this book was simply unreadable. So I just emailed her a friendly email back and never mentioned her book again.) But, I love Jess' blog, her book has been endorsed by Jen Lancaster and Marian Keyes, so there was a good chance I'd like it. Then, on Friday, the book had not arrived when I got home from work and a new worry formed - what if I didn't get it in time to read it? But it all came together. The book arrived on Saturday, just as I was finishing Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster (Loved it!), and I dove right in. And I am delighted to report that Driving Sideways, by Jess Riley, is fabulous! Here is the excerpt from the back cover:

Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry's kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas - and a memorable visit to thank Larry's family for this second chance.

Yet Leigh's itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up seventeen-year-old hitchhiker Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add to the mix a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates's Greatest Hits, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope and discovery.

The characters are vibrant, the story has rocking momentum, and Jess has a terrifically irreverent voice. The story is true to life, by which I mean it's not always sunshine and roses. But Leigh is a resilient character and she grows and changes throughout the novel. And she learns so much about herself and her friends. By the end, I was totally ready to move to Wisconsin and become Leigh's new best friend. This book is the definition of being heartwarming without being saccharine or cloying. Hopeful without being corny. Realistic without being maudlin.

And today, I asked Jess to take a few minutes to answer a few short questions for me, just because I thought it would be so cool to have her on my blog! So here is my mini-interview with Jess Riley, author of Driving Sideways.

1. Your main character has polycystic kidney disease. Has PKD touched your life in some way? How did you decide to write about a character with PKD?
I actually arrived at PKD in a backwards kind of way: I started with the idea of a girl who convinces herself she's channeling the traits of her organ donor (only to find out nothing is what it seems)...I then needed a reason for the transplant, and after a ton of online research, stumbled across PKD--I was SHOCKED that it's more common than muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia COMBINED. I'd heard of all of the other diseases, but I'd never heard of PKD. It's actually the most common life-threatening genetic disease in the world, and there is no cure. In my own small way, I wanted to help put it on the map for others like me who hadn't heard of it ... later I learned that my editor lost her grandmother to the disease, and one of my good friends has a sister with PKD. Two young PKD patients read early drafts, and I'm very proud to consider them friends now as well.

2. The photos in the book are awesome! I noticed that all but two are by you. What kind of camera do you use? Do you do any professional photography?
Thanks! No, I'm definitely not a professional photographer. I took those shots with my husband's camera, a Canon S1IS, the last time I took the "Driving Sideways Road Trip." I think I drove my best friend crazy, because I kept telling her to pull over so I could take pictures. Sidenote: You'll notice there isn't an author photo in the book...this was a printer goof. So there are lots of photos by me, but none OF me.

3. On page 66, Leigh says that her cousin saw Kenny Rogers perform live and that "he was a crotchety old bastard [and] yelled at the crowd for not singing along enthusiastically enough and said he was too old to hobble back out for an encore". Is this true? I can't decide if that makes me want to see him in concert or not want to see him in concert. It's hilarious either way.
That's a TRUE STORY!! In the original draft, I actually called him a 'crotchety old fucker' but then I felt bad and changed it to bastard. Anyway, it happened to my husband's aunt, and I laughed so hard when she told me about Kenny's bad attitude that I knew I had to put it in the book.

I could not recommend this book more highly. I loved it! You can easily order it here:

Scenes From a Marriage

Setting: Driving down the street in our town, we see two people walking down the sidewalk to our right.

Rock: Hey! That's the guy who tried to panhandle me at the bank that time!
Me: Which one? The guy in the baseball cap, or the other guy?
Rock: Um, Shell, the other one's a woman.
Me: Oooh.

Yeah, she was about a head taller than Panhandler and built like a Mack truck.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mini Whine

Um, what the hell is this upper respiratory death that is going around? We've all had it and the kids and I can't seem to kick it. Wildman's little nose has run like a faucet for about two weeks, I feel like a truck hit me and am single-handedly supporting the Tylenol Sinus industry, and Supergirl didn't even eat dinner last night she was so tired and run down. Then, about 2 am Wildman woke up and cried and had a hard time going back to sleep. I started singing to him, and I was so tired I was screwing up the words to "You Are My Sunshine".

This can end anytime now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Love Leif Enger

Over the weekend I finished So Brave, Young and Handsome, and y'all - Run, do not walk, to your bookstore and get this book. It is just fantastic. The characters are so well-written, from Monte Becket, the struggling novelist at the heart of the novel to the outlaw Glendon Hale, to Charles Siringo, a real-life Pinkerton detective who is tracking Glendon. One of the novel's greatest strengths is it's veracity. The thing that I love most about this novel is the relationships between Monte and his wife and son. Monte's son Redstart is a handful, an imperious, bossy little boy who totally reminds me of my daughter. At one point, Glendon remarks, "Ah, Redstart. I suspect there's only one of him." Yep. That's written by a man who has kids. And the relationship between Monte and his wife is gorgeous. He leaves to go to Mexico with Glendon, and stays gone far longer than originally planned. She sends him a telegram saying, "I miss your face. Come home." It's a wonderful, richly drawn story, with characters who feel like friends by the end. I was very sad to see this book end. I truly hope that it has been submitted for consideration for next year's Pulitzer Prize.

And! After Shauna's comments on my last post, I visited Mr. Enger's website to see if I could find the books he co-wrote with his brother (I could not! Boo!). However, I found out that he is coming to two bookstores near me on his book tour! TWO! I am floored. Several of my favorite authors who live closer to me do not come to NC on their book tours (Jen Lancaster who lives in Chicago is coming to Atlanta, but not NC; Jennifer Weiner who lives in PA never comes to NC), but Leif Enger, who lives in fricking Minnesota is coming to Raleigh and to Pittsboro!!!, NC. Seriously, Pittsboro is like Podunk Luke, NC. I'm not sure who booked this man's book tour, but obviously I owe them some sexual favors. (Sorry, we watched Erin Brockovich last weekend. "634 blowjobs! I'm actually quite tired.") I am so pumped! Now I just have to find those mysteries before his appearances.....

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun Fact Friday

I'm totally stealing from Tessie again.

Side note: How the fuck do my co-workers know when I open my blog to write a post? It never fails that they call me with a question that is more involved than a "yes" or "no" or come into my office to ask me to look up something the second I start typing.

Anyway, on to the fun facts!
  • Friday movie recommendation - Iron Man. It's awesome. Hear me out, Shauna. I know that Gwyneth Paltrow is in it, and I promise that I hate her just as much as you do. Seriously, Gwyneth - Apple and Moses, what were you thinking?! When those children grow up and stab you to death in your sleep, don't be surprised. I sure won't be. If you plan to have more children, get help. Swistle has a baby name blog. But I digress. Back to Iron Man. It has everything. Robert Downey, Jr. who is gorgeous and a terrific actor, and plays Tony Stark as a complete bad boy at the beginning and then shows his change of heart perfectly and wears all of his emotions on his sleeve from there on out. He's absolutely wonderful. And Jeff Bridges is terrific as the bad guy, although he seriously channels my uncle in this role. His voice always sounds like my uncle's, but with his head shaved and that long beard, he really looks like my uncle, so that was a bit creepy. There's even a death scene that made me cry. Fantastic movie, couldn't recommend it more.
  • It's Friday and I'm leaving work early! And I requested my day off to take the kids to the zoo. So I'm putting my new priorities into action.
  • I am reading the best book and I can't wait to tell you guys about it. I'm waiting until I finish it, just in case it has a bad ending, but I really don't expect it to. I've read the only other book the author has written and it was wonderful, so I'm sure this one will be just as good. I will recommend the first one, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I'm about halfway through his new one, So Brave, Young and Handsome. So far, I love it. I'm even making myself read it slowly so that I can savor it. Which is torture.
  • Impromptu movie review - There Will Be Blood - You will be bored. It is SLOW. Which I didn't really mind, except that when they got to the end, it was as if they were bored, too, and needed to wrap things up quickly so they just threw an ending together and called it good. I'll watch a long, slow torturous build-up, but there had better be a good pay-off. That wasn't it.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Life, or Something Like It

Whew. Blogger has been being a total bitch this week and shutting down my Internet every time I tried to log in. I seriously just hacked into my own blog. So I am going to post RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND in case I can't get in again! (Actually, now that I've figured it out, I'll probably be fine.) I've had this post percolating in my head since Friday, so I'm glad that I'm finally getting the chance to share it.

As Estaban Vihaio says in Kill Bill Vol.2, "I am very susceptible to flattery." I am also prone to falling into trying to be what someone else thinks I am or should be. And I've been doing that a lot lately. See, about six months ago I had my yearly review at work. My review was very good. My direct supervisor (not Boss - my direct supervisor is not located in my office) praised me greatly and commented that I was promotion material. She made the comment, "I get the feeling that you're not happy where you are." meaning that I would want to move up, should the opportunity arise. And I agreed. Cut to March, when my direct supervisor was promoted. I started learning more about her position, and made it clear that I intended to apply once it was opened. Well, the position still hasn't been opened. And there's some internal politics going on. I think the writing's on the wall about who is going to be chosen. And it's not me. So on Friday, I did some hard thinking about my current position, my supervisor's position, and my life in general. And here's what I came up with. I could handle the supervisor's position. It would be a challenge, and there would be some areas in which I would have to learn a lot. There would be some aspects I would struggle with. There would be some things I would do better than she does them. The interpersonal management aspects, I would do well. The position also requires a lot of travel. As in, about a month out of every quarter. That's a lot of time to be away from small children. Supergirl already gives me grief for working five days a week. (She doesn't really grasp that "work week versus the weekend" thing.) There's also some office political buzz that that position isn't very stable. As for my position, it has its bad days, like every job, but for the most part, I really like it. I know my subject matter. I like my co-workers. I am a respected member of this office and I am treated as such. I have enough work to keep me busy. But I have enough free time that I can tend this corner of the Internet and come visit you all in your corners of the Internets. The position I have now is rock solid. They would have to shut this office down to do without me. And with my performance record, I would just about have to take a shit on Boss' desk to get fired. And my office is in transition, Boss has left and a new Boss is coming in. Not to sound arrogant, but my office needs me right now. They need my knowledge. And they don't need to feel like everyone is jumping ship. Quite frankly, I AM happy where I am. And so, I don't think I'm going to apply for the position if it is ever opened. And I am okay with that decision. I don't have to be the most ambitious. I can stop and smell the roses. And I'm young. There's plenty of time to climb the corporate ladder when my kids are older. They will never be this age again. Right now, I want to change my focus. I had been really focused on work in the last six months (trying to prove myself promotable). I've been working late, working really hard, not taking many days off, etc, etc. That's about to change. It's time to focus on my family. No more staying late (unless I really, really have to), I'm going to take off early on Fridays if I can, I'm going to request a day off to take the kids to the zoo. Not saying I'm going to become a total slacker, I still intend to do a great job, but this is about choosing the life I lead. Right now I am going to choose to put myself and my family first. Maybe another time a promotion will come along that will be the right one for me, but I don't think this one is it.