Monday, December 31, 2007

Flowing Boogs

I tried a Neti Pot today. It was kind of scary. I have a cold (thanks to someone I shan't name from our family vacation who cooked a lot of food for us while she was sick. Grrr...), and every time I get a cold nowadays I get a sinus infection. I thought I'd try the pot to see if it will help prevent it. i hope it works.

So no exciting plans for New Year's, especially because I'm sick (but also because I'm kind of a lame homebody these days and I hate to drive on new year's because I'm afraid of drunk people). We're trying to decide what to have for dinner, and I know we'll buy some cupcakes or something. Festive!

UPS update: My packages arrived in Chicago on 12/29, but of course they are taking their sweet time to deliver them to us. We probably won't get it until the estimated date of 1/2, even though they're just an hour away! So sad.

Sorry I'm boring. The cold is making me logy. Happy new year, everyone!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007


I can't believe what an idiot I am. Every year for the past several years, Matt and I have given my in-laws our Amazon wishlists. This year was no exception, and I received many fun things off my Amazon list. And starting last year Matt and I started shipping our gifts home before we leave South Carolina so that we don't have to worry about carrying them. This year I was all in a panic while we were boxing things up to ship(something about not being able to check in online), and I forgot to look through my gifts to see if there was anything I would need right when I got home. Well, duh! My new Sims Teen Stuff and the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix computer game (not to mention two Harry Potter DVDs of which I would have time to watch all of the fancy extras) were shipped home instead of carried with me on the plane! And now I only have one week left of vacation (plus this weekend), and I don't have my new toys to play with! What was I thinking?! So now I keep checking the UPS tracking. The boxes are making great progress toward my house, and I'm hoping they'll make it here by tomorrow instead of the crappy January 2 estimated date. But what are the odds? They'll probably get held up in Springfield or something. I wanted to spend my vacation wasting time doing useless things! Cross your fingers for me, would ya?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Milwaukee Rocks

Home from the in-law romp. Now the relaxing part of vacation begins. Not that I don't love visiting Matt's family, but it's never the most relaxing trip (as trips never are)-- trying to see as many relatives in as short amount of time as possible. I am a crazy person who likes things just so, and it's very hard for me to have other people schedule my days. I do love them, though, and always feel sad to leave. Matt's dad told a HILARIOUS story about an outhouse, but I have a feeling that Matt is going to blog and/or draw a comic about it and he will do a much better job with it.

We got out of Milwaukee perfectly the day after our flight was canceled-- I couldn't believe it, considering the freakishly high winds. I think if our flight were later in the day and out of O'Hare, we would have had another canceled flight (according to my mom). Driving to Milwaukee in the dark at 4:45 am with snow blowing and 40 miles per hour winds was so scary, and I was afraid the plane was going to fling away during our take-off. The only glitch we actually had was that the thing they use to connect the airport to the plane got frozen to our plane, so it took them a little while to unfreeze it. From now on, I am going to try and fly out of Milwaukee whenever possible, even if it costs a little more. The only thing I will miss about O'Hare is the awesome automatic toilet seat covers that you just wave your hand in front of a thing and they vroooom until a new one covers the toilet. And those will be missed. But not enough for the rest of the hassle.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Flight Cancelled

I was up at 4:45 today (although I didn't really need to get up until 6:00. I just couldn't sleep) to fly out of Milwaukee to go to Atlanta. The Chicago area has been covered in fog, if you didn't know, and this morning it was still thick as cream of tomato soup (so much tastier than pea). About twenty minutes into our drive to the airport (about a 50 minute drive from our house), I got a call from Delta on my cell phone (I don't remember giving them that number, but whatev) that the flight was delayed. No big deal, since I brought with mega supplies and sustenance just in case. When we got to the airport, I marveled non-stop at the ease and joy of the Milwaukee Airport (actually called General Mitchell, I believe). Parking was instant, under a cover, and literally led right into the airport. No miles away parking and dragging my suitcase though the crappy weather. Magical. The walk to our gate, even though it was the farthest gate, was still not super far (all of these comparisons are to O'Hare, btw, which I have never really had a problem with. I just can't stand the busyness and the extra, wasted time it takes to park, walk to gates, etc.). The terminal was nice and open, and it felt pleasant. And then our flight was canceled. I had heard that if your flight is canceled, instead of waiting in line, you should just call the airline directly from your cell phone (while Matt waited in line just in case). So I did that and at first was told by a not that nice woman (not that mean, either, but not up to my niceness standards) that they had already re-booked us onto a flight with TWO STOPS. Hell to the no! One stop is even too much for my uptight butt. I pride myself on my travel plans that make me as comfortable as I need to be. So I told her that wouldn't work for me (we might as well drive, if that were the case. I actually brought that up to Matt. He said no. Secretly I was kind of gearing up for an impromptu roadtrip). She connected me to a much nicer woman, and Matt and I decided to take a flight first thing tomorrow morning instead. Good thing, because the first leg of the many stop tour that that wanted to put us on was supposed to leave at noon (it's 12:45 now), and it's still way fogged out. Sad about the missed day of our trip, but I was happy to get such a nice, competent worker, as well as a flight where we have seats. AND! Then we had to get our suitcase back, and it only took them ten minutes!!! Can you imagine if we had to get it back at O'Hare? Again, nothing against my beloved O'Hare, but Gen. Mitchell was way better for my fragile travel needs.

Happy Winter Break!

Friday, December 21, 2007

What Happened to My Piece of the Cake?

Today is wackadoo. The kids are so cranked up on sugar and crap. I love the library before vacations. Kids are always in here being funny. Today we have been doing Madlibs, and we had one that made me cry with laughter. Here is the sentence: Ms. Halpern asked if I wanted to sleep over and I said, “To the Love Sacs!” For those who don’t know, Love Sacs are super expensive, but life-long warranteed bean bags that we have in our library. It was funnier at the time…

The next funny thing that happened is that one of my assistants, a man who has very long hair, normally pony-tailed, took his hair down for the kids. They started freaking out about it, and one of them said, “You look like a monster!” So I said, “Do you really think that’s an OK thing to say to someone?” And then my assistant said back to the student (an eighth grader), “Should I have put a bowl around my head and cut it like you did?” I can’t stop laughing.

For the last laughy school story, I was playing Scattergories [where you have a list of things, like “occupation” or “something in the sea” and you roll a die with letters of the alphabet. A letter is chosen, and you have X amount of time to think of things that begin with those letters] with my students (for those of you who ask if I would leave my job as a librarian if I ever made enough money from books, you can see the reasons I wouldn’t want to) after school. The letter: C. The word choice: body part. The student’s answer: cock. He did warn me by saying that his answer was too inappropriate, but I had to ask him to read it anyway.

Bonus funny story:
A few years ago, I was playing Scattergories with my family. The letter: N. The word choice: Halloween costume. This just shows how bizarrely connected my sister and I are. Our answer [and when you have the same answer as someone else, you don’t get a point]: Nell Carter. We both put Nell Carter! Five years ago! Not even in her Gimme a Break prime! How is that possible? I still laugh when I think about it.

I don’t know how much I’ll be writing in the next week because of the holidays (and I don’t know how much you’ll be reading anyway), so Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snowflake Revealed!

Well, my Secret Snowflake guessed me, but only because she received something in the mail saying that she received a gift subscription to Budget Travel Magazine. She actually just thought that maybe I sent it out to all of the English teachers because I got it free or something, so I kind of ruined it by freaking out that she guessed I was her Secret Snowflake (which she didn’t). At least it just happened one day early. She seemed excited about the gift, so that made me happy. I exchanged presents with my two assistants this morning with a group of students surrounding us as we opened them. It was super fun. I think it’s really nice for the kids to see us liking each other, seeing teacher be nice to each other, etc. Not that they see us not being nice, but maybe they don’t get to see teachers interacting very often. Maybe I just think that because I’m in the library all day. Anyway, the gifts were well-received by both receivers and watching students. It was very fun. Making me excited for the many gift-giving and getting situations I’ll be in next week. It’s fun being a Jew at Christmastime married to a non-Jew. I like being involved in the all of the eating and gifting hoopla. Most of the time.

In other news, like the rest of the country, I am feeling like a massive pig for eating all of the crap that is everywhere. I just had one thin, small peppermint stick covered in chocolate (we’re talking three inches long, as thin as a piece of yarn), and now I feel like crap. Absurd, I know. Last night was our Dungeons and Dragons Club party, and I ate SO MUCH. I messed up and didn’t take a picture, but some of the kids brought in fabulous cakes shaped like castles! So I ate that. And a brownie. And a bunch of pizza. And something else, I’m sure. Maybe it wasn’t that much. Maybe just seeing all of the junk everywhere is making it seem like a lot. I am feeling the need to detox a bit, but I better prepare for the Southern chow waiting at the in-laws’ homes.

Something cool I found: Gabrielle Zevin talks about her visit to my school on her website!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What the Butt?

Why is Project Runway not new tonight? How can they do this to us? And Matt and I will be in SC next Wednesday, so maybe we won't get to see the new one. IF it's new. Sheesh. I guess we'll just have to go watch an episode of 90210.

In other news, Get Well Soon has been included in YALSA's MySpace page's Favorite Things of 2007 (Wait for the page to load fully and then watch the Favorite Things slideshow)! Way cooler than Oprah, don't ya think? (Maybe not financially, but YALSA are my peeps.)

I wonder what Brenda is up to...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A quick Secret Snowflake update: My secret snowflake failed to give me a clue yesterday, and today she (I already know who it is) came to the library when I was in a classroom and typed a cryptic clue on my computer to me. Meanwhile, my assistant is getting clues and candy every day. I wish!

Matt and I went to Kohl's today to take advantage of the 30% off coupon I got in the mail (I actually screamed when I got it. I never get the 30%). We probably wouldn't have gone to Kohl's at all without the coupon, but it was kind of like we were paying for the joy of the coupon, with some stuff to take home to boot. We didn't get anything extraordinary, although I did get a great deal on Harry Potter 2 Scene It. The best part was when we went up to pay, and the guy told us our total, and I said, "With this?" and showed him my 30% off card. Then he said, "Good job!" Even though I had absolutely nothing to do with how I got 30%, I still felt really happy. I love to be good at things.

I thought I would now share some of the funnier ornaments we have on our Christmas tree. Yes, I'm Jewish, but Matt's not, and our tree has only cartoon/weird ornaments on it so it's OK. A sampling(click on images for larger view):

We have a complete set of really nice Rudolph ornaments that Matt and I collected from the Aldi near our apartment when we lived in the city.

Fancy ornaments from the German Christmas Market.
Cowboy head, Pinocchio, and The Maestro!

Matt and Julie ornaments!

Xander and Giles!

The Abominable Snowman, King Kong style

Monday, December 17, 2007

Secret Snowflaker

At work these days we’re doing the whole secret Santa thing (although at my work we call it “secret snowflake,” which I appreciate. I kind of love it, kind of hate it. I like giving gifts, although I hate the pressure of being creative, thoughtful, and going a gift that someone actually likes. I also like but hate getting the gifts, because usually it’s just crap anyway. Not in a bad way, but is it really supposed to be something awesome? For between $10 and $20? We had to give “likes” to our secret snowflake organizer, and my three likes were: funny pads of paper, funny socks, and Sees candy. I don’t even love Sees candy, nor do I need any more food crap this time of year, but I really couldn’t think of anything. It will be interesting to see what I get on Friday. This is only a one day gift thing. I wish it were several gifts over several days. I did give my secret snowflake a small gift, a smencil, and a clue: I am a fan of Planet of the Apes. This was a good clue because there are two male teachers in the school who are into Apes, and I had my male assistant write out the clue. Sneaky. My final gift to my secret snowflake (who said her “likes” were several sports teams [no thank you], travel, and running) is a subscription to Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine. I get this magazine and love it, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I made up a little sheet to give her that tells her the gift. Is this a lame secret snowflake gift or a good one? What would you want from your secret snowflake?

Friday, December 14, 2007

So Long, Stephanie Nancy

So this morning I looked at the grocery store tags for the gifts Matt and I bought, and I realized that we were supposed to bring in the toys yesterday (!). Thankfully when Matt brought them in, it wasn’t too late, so a couple of kids will get some cool toys from us this year. Sadly, though, I forgot to say goodbye to Stephanie Nancy in my haste leaving for work. Goodbye, Stephanie Nancy! Wherever you are! I hope your new mommy loves you as much as I did!

In other, more real worldly news, I have two exciting Get Well Soon things to report:

1. Get Well Soon has been nominated for a Cybils Award! Finalists are announced on January 1! What if?!

2. Get Well Soon was included in Kirkus Reviews special edition Best Young Adult Books of 2007! (sorry it’s a PDF download) W00t as they say!

Have a glorious, hopefully good-weathered weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Barf and Run

This morning I woke up at 5 to do the treadmill, and while I did I watched Air Guitar Nation (read my feelings about the awesomeness here). I don't know if it was the early time (although I do the treadmill in the morning semi frequently), that I'm completely out of shape (but, again, I exercise a few days a week at least), or the rockingness of the movie (the heavy metal gets me all pumped. Shut up.), but I got off the mill and had the barfs for almost a half hour. This was not a normal, flu-like barf, but the exact same barf stomach I used to get when I'd be forced to run in junior high and high school gym! I was definitely out of shape then, and running caused this severe stomach-ache that lasted about twenty minutes and kept me on and next to the toilet (TMI, I know). That's why I always hated running. But it hasn't happened in FOREVER, so why today? And why at all, in fact? What is the reason behind the severe pain and cramping? It was traumatic for sure. But then I was fine and went to work.

In other news, there are two new reviews of Get Well Soon up on MySpace. First one is from Book Chic, and the second from Book Slinger. Cool!

In final news, Project Runway is new tonight, and something dramatic is promised to happen. I hope no one dies, like on Workout. That was very sad. We can discuss tomorrow. Stephanie Nancy says goodnight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Panic! At the Ice Storm

I don't know why I'm such a weather wuss, but the news had me all in a panic that there was going to be an ice storm this morning and I would lose control of my car and get all mangled. So I waited and waited for the snow day phone call from work, but it never came. So I panicked and showered fast and got ready for work. The roads were not too bad, and it rained all day. I left work early in case it iced up (Yeah, wussy, I know, but I live many miles directly north of where I work, therefore closer to scarier winter weather). I just wanted to get home before it turned dark so I could see where I was driving and such. I really get myself all crazed. Now I wonder what's going to happen tonight. Will it all freeze? Will I see what an ice storm looks like? Will I get a snow day? I kind of want to see an ice storm, although I hear it is very dangerous and disastrous. I did see the movie The Ice Storm, when I lived in Australia, actually. That movie was so sickeningly depressing. I left the theater bawling my eyes out. I think part of it had to do with being in Australia in the middle of a Chicago winter but having it be 100 degrees (different hemisphere, and all). I missed the snow. But it was also just a horridly depressing movie. I don't like to think about it.

In far awesomer news, Season 3 of Beverly Hills 90210 is out this week. Sweeeet.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hideous Hair Gallery

I think this is pretty funny:
Worst Hairstyles in Movies

Although most of them are meant to be funny, and some, like Princess Leia, aren't hideous at all. And poor Justin Guarini. That guy never gets a break. I was on an airplane once where they had screens on the back of every seat and a small selection of movies, and when they were announcing the movies over the airplane PA, From Justin to Kelly was announced, me AND one other person on the plane yelled, "Woo!" So not everyone thinks he's a tool. Did that story even make sense?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Stephanie Nancy

I have a new love in my life. Her name is Stephanie Nancy, and she's a Cabbage Patch Kid. It's weird because even though I had CPKs as a kid, I was never a crazy doll person. I think I just wanted them because everyone else wanted them. But now I have a new fascination. I love how they really are all different when you look at them on store shelves. I love their funny hairdos and silly facial expressions. Every year Matt and I go to our local grocery store where they have a gift tree, covered in tags with children's names and gifts they would like but cannot afford. So Matt and I pick a boy and a girl and buy them one toy and one practical gift each(like a blanket or hats and gloves). This year I scoured the tree for someone who wanted the gift that I really wanted to buy: a Cabbage Patch Kid. And there was one! I plucked the tag, and last night Matt and I went to Target and I bought the cutest damn kid, Stephanie Nancy. I even made up a song with her name (well, the song is actually me just singing "Stephanie Nancy," but it's a nice little tune). I wish we got to see the kids opening up their gifts. I hope my girl loves Stephanie Nancy (um, isn't the name just a little hilarious?) as much as I do.

In other news, I would like to do a podcast of me reading from Get Well Soon. Any suggestions on the best way to do that?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Interview- I'm hilarious!

There's a new interview with me (actually, it's one of the first interviews anyone has done with me by an awesome teen named Christian, who also acts as my MySpace guru, but they're just getting around to posting it) at I like how one of the words I use to describe myself is "hilarious." Well, I make myself laugh anyway.

Matt and I are a watching an old episode of Rick Steve's on our second local PBS channel (Chicago has two). It's so old that it's of filmstrip quality. So I said to Matt, "Soon there'll be some filmstrip diarrhea," but Matt didn't know what I meant. It's not like we're of different age groups, so I wonder why he didn't know what I meant. Do you know what I mean?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!!!

I just wanted to add a Happy Hanukkah shoutout to my tribe members reading the blog. As much as I love Rudolph, I'm kind of pissed that it's on tonight, the first night of Hanukkah. I wish they'd at least give us a little something. It eats away at me just a little every year. I think I'll go listen to that Adam Sandler Hanukkah song. As dorky as it is, it always makes me smile.

Mouse in Da House

Thank you to all of you pollers out there. Fun! Although, did most of you answer positively so you wouldn't have to post a comment, as I said you did? I'll just pretend you love the title.

So we think there's a mouse in our house. We had one the first year we moved in, three years ago, which was a shock after coming from an apartment in the city that was infested with mice. The weird thing is, we have these shoe boxes on a high shelf in our front hall closet that we keep extra hats and gloves in. I just straightened them out a couple of weeks ago, and when I went in today to get a hat, all of these little crunchy things fell out. I freaked, thiking they were larvae, but Matt claims they are mouse poos. I thought they'd be rounder. It's so bizarre though because how did the mouse get all the way up there? And why did he have to leave so many poos? I can see why he'd like those boxes: warm and soft and hidey. Well, the traps go down tomorrow, in places Tobin can't get to. I wish they would just stay out of the house. I hate to kill them. But who wants mouse poos in their hats and gloves? Not me, that's who. Hmmm... This reminds me that I have several humorous mouse tales [Mouse Tales! That's my favorite book of all time by Arnold Lobel] that I should really share. I will do a short series of them this week. Let's hope this current story goes no further.

Home Today

I am home sick today. I have been having a terrible time sleeping lately, and that makes my stomach bad. So I am home today. I know I should be working on my novel, doing final edits before I send it off to my editor, and I will. But the little kid in me wants to play the Sims. And I wanted to watch Oprah, but the president's ugly mug was on TV instead. How annoying.

I have been at a loss for things to blog about lately. Sometimes I think of a funny blog in my head, but I'll be driving or somewhere where blogging is inappropriate, and by the time I get home I lose it. But since I know more people read my blog these days than used to, I'm going to do another poll about my new book's title. For those who don't know, there is a part of the book that has some Dungeons and Dragons references in it, so I want to call the book Roll for Initiative. I love how this sounds, and it also has some great metaphorical meaning (and if you don't know what it means before you read the book, you will know afterward, and you will like it!). So here's the poll. And be nice. If you say that you do not like the title, I'd appreciate a comment on my blog about why. I'm sensitive about this for some reason (last time I posted this poll I got two nos and deleted the poll), so knowing why people don't like it (in a kind, constructive way) would be helpful to me.

What do you think of the title "Roll for Initiative" for my new novel?
I love it. Cool D&D reference.
I love it. Even if I don't know what it means.
I like it.
I don't like it (and now I'm going to tell you why in a blog comment).
Free polls from

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The State of Comics

I must confess: growing up I was not a reader. Not a reader in the traditional sense, in that I didn't often choose books to read once I got into junior high. Maybe even before that. Something made me lose interest in books (although I did get into Roald Dahl and Ray Bradbury in high school), but I always religiously read the funnies. And not just on Sundays. I bought the books: Fox Trot, Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side. So even if I didn't read tons of books, I was always reading. I still read the comics on Sundays, but I am a bit confused by some of them. What's the deal with Non Sequitur? Is it supposed to be funny? Artsy? Clever? I don't get it. And they always get rid of classic ones that are still sometimes funny to bring in these new fangled, non funny comics. Is anyone out there a fan of Non Sequitur? Can you please explain why?

Now if you want to know what really makes me laugh, just watch National Lampoon's European Vacation. I have that movie memorized. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. I have loved it since junior high, when I even used one of the movie's scenes-- where the family is arguing on a train car, and Rusty is singing the song "Is it you? Is it you?"- for a skit in Spanish class. The movie was on TV the other night, and it was still just as funny. I love the scene where they're shopping in Rome. "New looks screaming down the street for your attention..." Matt and I watched the movie on an airplane on the way to England, which was hysterical. Um, I swear I already wrote about this in the blog, but I'll pretend it's new info. I'm not all that entertaining on Sunday nights. The back to work blues.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Final Day of This Week's Auction

Ladies and Germs,
It is the final day to bid on the wonderful Robert's Snow auction to benefit cancer research. Again, Matt's snowflake if the fourth one down. Bidding on any snowflake is helping a wonderful cause. Check it out! Get yourself a piece of real, live art! It ends at 5:00! I don't know what time zone!

I was planning on wearing my "You Have Died of Dysentery" t-shirt today, but it's a little too long. I have tried tucking it in with my awesome white leather Golden Girls belt (more on that later, if you're interested), but I look like a goob. I don't know how to tuck a shirt in. I don't know if it's my body shape, but it doesn't look right. Maybe I'm just not used to it.

I wish I had more news, but it is 6:27 am and I'm a little tired. I did the treadmill at 5 am while watching Save the Last Dance. I like the music and dance scenes while I tread. Now I can be a zombie all day and it won't matter because I know I was already a good girl and did my exercise. Hooray for Friday!!!!!!! I think it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Hooray for snow when I don't have to drive to work!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oh Canada

Check this out: On one of my many internet searches for my name (What? You totally do it, too), I found my book listed at the Ottawa Public Library. Nothing too interesting about that, except that ever since the book came out, there have been at least fifteen holds on the book throughout the library system. And right now, it's up to twenty holds! No-wait!- while I was writing this post, it went up to twenty-one! How are the Canadians in Ottawa hearing so much about my book that so many people would put holds on it? I LOVE it. If anyone from Ottawa is reading this, say hello!

In other news, the Chicago Tribune article with me in it has brought me several fun contacts. I heard from my childhood public library and will be doing a presentation there in the Spring. And I heard from a high school friend who just happens to be the inspiration for the main nerd character in my new novel. And the crazy thing is, she emailed me on the exact day that I finished typing my novel with her in it! At least I think it's crazy.

Matt and I are watching a show right now about the foods of Chicago. I always get a little choked up, even when they're talking about nasty meat products, about my beloved Chicago. But I'm glad I don't live in the city anymore. I can't handle the noises and smells and parking. My attached garage is one of the greatest things I'll ever own.

I'm rambling. Tired. Hard to go back to work after a four-day weekend. Hump day tomorrow. And Project Runway! How many more days til winter break?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Robert's Snow Auction is Here!

"Own a piece of art from your favorite children's book illustrator while helping to fight cancer. Participate in Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure, a unique fundraiser for cancer research. Since 2004, this online auction has raised over $200,000 for Dana-Farber, and with your help, we can continue this holiday tradition in 2007."

Well, my amazing husband, illustrator Matthew Cordell, has a snowflake in this week's auction. Click here to visit the auction (and if this link doesn't work, please just go to for the correct link, and I'll fix it when I get home from work), and bid on Matt's or any of the beautiful snowflakes. I couldn't be more proud that Matt is participating in such a meaningful auction. The auction begins tomorrow, Monday, November 26 at 9:00 am (not sure which time zone) and ends Friday, November 30 at 5:00 pm. Starting bid for each snowflake is $100. I watched the bids for last week's snowflakes, and they went well into the $300 and $400s! Even if it's too rich for your blood, please have a look at the brilliant snowflakes. Matt's is the fourth down from the top. And let him know what you think at his blog. Gush!!! Here's his snowflake (click image to view larger):

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pic from the Trib

Matt scanned my picture from the Tribune article. Here it is:

Kind of mysterious. I had a sinus infection, which is why I'm not super smiley. In case you were wondering.

Chicago Tribune Article and Review

In today's (Saturday, November 24) Chicago Tribune Books section, there is a review of Get Well Soon and a picture and little article about me. I think it kind of makes me sound like a weirdo, but you be the judge. I can't find the picture of me that was in the actual paper anywhere online, but it's pretty good. If it pops up, I'll try to post it. I can't help but wonder if this will encourage people to read (ie: buy) my book. This is such an interesting business. I was in Barnes and Noble- who never has my book (although I think my mom super-harassed the staff at this one)--and there were two copies of Get Well Soon. I put one in a very visible location. There were a bunch of teenage girls browsing the section, and I wanted to hand them my book. But that would've been psycho, right?

I only have twenty pages left to type in my next book! Soon I will be sending it on to my editor, biting my nails until she tells me what she thinks. I think I will use that short amount of time between sending and receiving the news to play lots of video games. I don't get enough video games in these days. Off to type...


I don't know why I do this to myself, but I knew I was already over the crappy food limit and I still had to have one more piece of pie for breakfast. Oh well. NOW I am officially done. Maybe. I should probably throw the pie out to make it really official.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Matt and I do pretty much nothing to contribute to the meal that my mom and my sister make, except to pick up the pies from Baker's Square. Matt and I had a little bicker at The Square about when, someday in the distant future, we would prepare our own Thanksgiving. I said it'll never happen. I only once prepared a full-on guest meal in the four years I've lived in my house for Rosh Hashanah. It was a lot of work. I hope I'm not the only person on Earth who doesn't like to throw a dinner party. I'd rather go, eat, and leave when I want.

Matt and I braved some of the Black Friday shopping. A lot of the excellent deals were already sold out by the time we got to the mall- 9am Such a scam. But we still got a bunch of gifts, and it was pretty fun. One of our favorite day after Thanksgiving traditions is calling Matt's stepmom in South Caroline on her cell phone all morning, as she makes her way from one sale to another. She actually gets up at 3am to brave the sales. When we called her at 9am (10am her time) she was still going strong. Now that's stamina. I'd probably need an extra piece of pie to make it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Birdie...

I'm watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving Special, and there's a super groovy birdie tune on right now. And it's really loud. Someone needs to turn the TV down. This Special has terrible voices for the Peanuts characters. Poor casting on this one.

So more about my trip to NYC, which now seems like a distant memory after spending a day at work. Before I forget, my hubby posted about the trip on his blog, so please check it.

I will now expose all of my insecurities (well, not all of them. That would take way too long). One of the major ones I had to deal with this weekend is how I don't ever really feel like a grown-up. Like, I think I probably talk too openly about things, which I don't really think is bad, but may freak people out. I really have no examples, and I actually don't have a problem with conversing with people in any way. I just sometimes wonder if they think I'm weird. But the bigger issue is when I have to do something adulty, like introducing people. I already have a fear of getting people's names wrong (which stems from having 475 students and not wanting them to feel bad if I call them the wrong name), so introducing people is an extension of that. Even if I know the people really well, I still think I'm going to do something wrong with an introduction. So if I'm ever introducing you (or not introducing you), now you know why.

The biggest excitement was meeting Susan Beth Pfeffer, who I talked about in a post below, and is an author whose book I love. We have been emailing for a couple of weeks, and she is so funny. I met her at the ALAN cocktail reception, and the only way I actually found her was when they announced all of the authors, her table wooood. [I am now reading the companion to Life as We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone. It if freaking the crap out of me.] The reception was not what I expected. I guess I thought I'd be chatting it up with a lot of authors I didn't know, but I really only talked to a few people I didn't know. I loved meeting my Feiwel and Friends mate, Katherine Applegate. For those who don't know, Katherine wrote the fantastic series, Animorphs. I was a huge fan in my twenties, so much that I reviewed the books in my zine. It was great fun meeting her. She was lovely and fun to talk to, and I am just about finished with her fabulous new book, Home of the Brave. The one person I really wanted to meet was Jaclyn Moriarty, an Australian author whose books are hilarious. I wussed out and waited too long, and by the time Jean Feiwel herself (yeah, my publisher is called Feiwel and Friends) had to take me around the room to find Jaclyn, she had already left. Dang.

I'll write part three now but in a separate post, just in case you like your posts broken into smaller pieces.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm Back (So I smell)

Can anyone name the source of my title quote? Anyway, I'm back from NYC for NCTE. I shall do a series of blog posts about it (Don't I always say that and only end up doing one or two?), the first being about the actual travel experiences. On the way, our flight was delayed for about two hours. It wasn't horrible, and Matt and I ate some funky sandwiches at O'Hare. Our car ride from the airport was pleasant, and our hotel room was nice and in the middle of everything. It seemed great until... The cheerleaders arrived! Freakin' 7 billion cheerleaders, all to appear in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, were staying in our hotel. I don't know if they were all cheerleaders, but I actually called the front desk and asked, "Are there any floors without cheerleaders?" And the woman laughed at me. Because it was funny. And because the answer was no. Now, I do have to say, they weren't that bad. It just happened that Saturday night Matt and I were really tired and just wanted to order room service and watch a movie in our hotel room and really did not want to hear teenagers in our hallway. But they were done by 11:00, and weren't super loud. It just felt weird knowing they were right outside our door.
In other travel news, I am always afraid of people driving me places, so taking a bunch of cabs was going to be stressful, I knew. I was pleasantly surprised that so many cab drivers were nice and drove fine. Until I had a horrible driver coming back from the Jewish Museum (to see the absolutely perfect William Steig exhibit. I cried when I saw the original Sylvester and the Magic Pebble drawings. I'm tearing up now). He had some serious road rage, which seems to me that you would have serious heart issues if you were cab driver and have road rage. You're in your car ALL DAY. And it was sad, because I had a very nice driver on the way to the museum. My mom has sort of instilled this fear in me that I shouldn't talk about being Jewish because you never know who's out there hating you, and I almost just gave the cab driver the address instead of saying "The Jewish Museum." But I did say it, and guess what? My driver then said he was Jewish and he'd never been to that museum. It was a nice conversation.
Our second driver of suck came on our final ride of the trip. The guy who drove us back to the airport was a jammer-- pressing too spazzily on the accelerator AND the brake. And he was all speeding and swervy. I'm not just being some hillbilly about drivers in New York (Hello, I'm from Chicago. And besides, other places have way worse drivers. And even more besides, I actually lived in NYC and drove in NYC, so I can handle the flow). By the time we got to the airport, Matt and I were both really nauseated. I am thinking of saying something to the company. Is that weird? I never know, but I don't think someone should be allowed to drive people around if they're not going to do it well.
Lastly, I wasn't sure if our plane would make it out on time because of rainy weather, but it did-- until we had to pull over and sit IN the plane for an undetermined amount of time. When the captain announced this, everyone groaned, and I panicked. I have heard too many stories of nine hour waits inside an airplane. I was getting claustrophobic and weepy and freaked. Luckily, we only had to sit for an hour and half (which isn't horrid, compared to what it could have been). I always wondered when the on-board wait would happen to me. And there ya go.
Well, I'm stuffed on my Baker's Square meal. I had a half slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup pie, which is weird because I know I'm going to be pie-ing it up come Thanksgiving. But whatever. This is a week of pie-filled debauchery, and I'm starting early.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sir Grumps-alot

Matt and I are getting ready to leave for New York, and we're bickering as usual before we travel. He's a lot more of a procrastinator, and I like to be prepared. There's a lot of last minute crap, and we keep snipping at each other. Annoying.

While I was getting ready today I watched a little That 70s Show. What's the deal? Why was that show on the air so long? Why did it have such a following? I'm curious to find those who LOVE the show and to hear why.

I am excited about meeting a bunch of authors whose work I love (Susan Beth Pfeffer, author of Life as We Knew It, in particular), but worried that I will have nothing to say but fan gibberish. It's like meeting movie stars or rock stars. And then I always ending up chatting with authors whose books are pretty popular, but I haven't read them myself, and I feel like I have to make something up. It will be book mayhem this weekend, I tell ya. If you're going to be at NCTE, please see the post below for Julie sightings. Blog ya later!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Who else is stoked for the new season of Project Runway? I just wish Bravo would show their first runs at 8:00, not 9:00 (central time). I can't stay up that late! Not if I want to go to the gym the next day (Who am I kidding? I'm lucky if I can get to the gym once a week). I have been so tired all around lately that I can't even stay awake past about 9:30. Matt and I are watching the final season of Northern Exposure (they sure are weeding out Dr. Joel. He's barely on the show anymore), and I always miss half the episode at least. That's one of my favorite things about summer vacation: being able to sleep when I want, watch what I want. Soon enough I'll have a little of that time- Thanksgiving and then winter break. Yay! Not to mention mucho chow time. Love the holidays that are surrounded by food. And presents, of course. I am going the dork route and asking for a bunch of computer/video games. What a waste, though, because it's not like I'll have time to play them without feeling guilty. So is the life of a full time librarian and author. Speaking of author stuff, I found out my signing times at NCTE this weekend:

Saturday, November 17 10:30-11:30 I'll be signing at the Macmillan Booth #307/309
Sunday, November 18 6:00-7:30 I'll be mingling with other YA authors (who I will be freaking out about as I read their name tags) at the ALAN Cocktail Reception

And don't miss Matt's signing! He's signing copies of his new picture book, THE MOON IS LA LUNA as well as copies of our first picture book together TOBY AND THE SNOWFLAKES!

Sunday, November 18 11-12 at the Houghton Mifflin booth #228-234.

Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've been thinking about my picture posts, and I think that I have definitely done enough of that. First of all, it probably seems a little vain. Second of all, those pictures don't even look like me. I showed my students, and they were scared. So maybe I'm being a little psycho. I'll stop. I've had my fill of look-alikes.

I leave for New York on Friday for the NCTE conference. If you're there, please come by and see me! I will have my final schedule soon, and then I will post exactly when and where.

It's 6:30 in the morning as I write this, so I don't really have any news. I used to watch Buffy every morning, which would make me late for work on days I just had to see the endings, but now freakin' Malcolm in the Middle is on (FX). Yuck! So these days I watch A Different World. It's pretty good. Marissa Tomei sure looks like a goob with her dyed red hair. Speaking of dyed red hair, I stared writing my third novel yesterday (with a character with dyed red hair). I know, I know, I'm supposed to be finishing the typing of my second novel, but I was all excited and just had to get some stuff down. I think it's going to be really good. I just wish I had the time to write more. Sigh. Better go to work.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Celebrity Look-Alike Theory

OK, so ever since the Cuba Gooding/Apollo Ono debacle, I have been feeling ugly and manly. But I have been thinking things through, and I have a theory that the reasons I matched up with a bunch of dudes are a) they smile naturally in photos, as do I, unlike skanky, posing starlets, and b) I don't wear make-up, like (most of) the dudes and unlike the starlets. Plus, the starlets usually have polished, straight hair. SO- I had my hair cut yesterday, and my stylist blew it dry (the only time I have straight hair cause I really like my curly hair). Today I put on a bunch of make-up (although not how I'd wear it if I would actually wear make-up; I just put on random stuff so I'd look made up today). I didn't have any real lipstick, only gloss, so my lips look messier and shiner than I'd hoped. Then I took a bunch of pictures, uploaded all of them to, and here are the striking results! Hold on to your seats, everyone!

Not bad! And a 75%!

Woot! Two Liv Tylers! And two 75%s!

That's a weird picture of me, but at least it's a woman.

This one's really funny. A mug shot! He is making a stupid face (which I was trying to do. That was my attempt at a modeling pose).

I have no idea who this is, but it's definitely complimentary.

Oddly, I had several child actors pop up from this picture. So youthful am I.

This one is so funny because he played a woman in a movie, and my mom was soooo in love with him as a teenager. Just know that my number two person from this picture was Nicole Kidman.

Sweet! Third one! And an 83%! We're practically twins at this point.

She's a hottie, right?

So there you go. I actually do feel a lot better now. Liv Tyler is awesome. I always did like her, and now I know why. I'm practically her doppleganger! (Although I think she's about a foot taller than me). Thank you for indulging me in my little experiment. Now I can wash this crap off my face.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Interview

Check out this new interview with me at the YaYaYas blog. One person has commented so far, and I love how they said I sound so cool. They wouldn't think that if they saw me with the Dungeons and Dragons Club today...


I had planned on blogging about my new sparkly shoes, but I still haven’t taken their picture. Soon. I have been in a generally shoppy mood lately. I ordered some t-shirts online from Busted Tees, a place that was, at the time, the funniest website on Earth to me. I don’t know why I thought it was so funny. I was on the phone with my sister, and we were feeding the shopping frenzy. She bought a shirt and I bought three! The one I bought for myself says, “You Have Died of Dysentery”, an Oregon Trail reference. It is pretty funny. Can I wear that to work? I can’t decide. For a casual Friday? The kids won’t get it. They don’t play that anymore, do they?

So what have you guys been impulsively buying lately?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Conversations Abound

The blog plan was to blog about my excellent day yesterday and the second pair of new shoes I bought, but I am in a different mood now and will save some of that for another post. Now I am working on typing my new novel. For those who don't know, I hand write, so now I am typing the novel I wrote this summer. This is taking forever. But I am reaching a milestone-- I am on page 189 out of 285 pages. My goal is to make it to page 200 tonight. Matt is going to the grocery store so I accomplish this (we usually go together, in case you were wondering). But since I am feeling all antsy, I thought I would blog for a few minutes about yesterday. I was lucky enough to be invited by Listening Library Audiobook God, Tim Ditlow (who thought my Cuba Gooding look-alike was hilarious. I love him for that), to the Chicago Humanities Festival's Conversation with Philip Pullman. Admittedly, I have only read one of the His Dark Materials books. I remember liking it, but finding it a bit too complicated for my taste (I like my books straight forward, and my TV shows crappy). But I thought it would be fun, and there would be a bunch of other audiobook-loving librarians along for the ride. Plus, we were to be taken out to a fabulous lunch at the Russian Tea Room. The "Conversation" was interesting, although I was confused. Not because the conversation itself was confusing (I'm not an idiot), but the two people having the conversation with Pullman were a father and daughter team who I never got the full story on. I want to say it was a college professor who studies Pullman for deep, overly-analytical reasons, and his precocious Pullman-loving daughter, but I'm not really sure. No matter. The best part of the whole conversation was when a member of the audience said that he didn't know what his question for Pullman was, but he would improvise a song and the question would naturally form. I was amazed that Pullman could not only listen to this guy sing with a straight face, but also hear the question enough to answer it.

On to the Russian Tea Room, one of the greatest meals I've ever eaten. It was so good! Perhaps it's my Russian heritage. And such wonderful conversation (I am using that word way too much in this post)! I ended up sitting with fabulous (and funny!) YA librarians, along with two people from Booklinks (Laura) and Booklist (Gillian). Craziest of small worlds: Gillian, who sat across from me, ended up being the person at Booklist who gave Get Well Soon a fabulous review! She thought I was hilarious, and we had so much fun chatting and laughing. I truly enjoyed my end of the table (not that I wouldn't have enjoyed the other end, as well, but we had assigned seats, and I was very happy with my placement. Whoever chose the seating arrangement: bravo!). I felt so happy, making new friends and eating great food. It was a spectacular day.

Enough of the happy stuff. Back to typing. My book. Cause of course I'm already typing.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Life is full of blisters. My new, perfect Descendents shoes gave me a blister on my heel today. Wussup with that? I wish life could just be happy. It rarely is. And then whenever it is, I'm just waiting for the blisters to come. Sigh. I'm getting a haircut tomorrow. I'm gonna get a bunch cut off because I can't stand the way it feels on my neck. It better look good because I'm not at a point where I can handle feeling ugly. Sorry to be such a bummer. It's to be expected sometimes. I did write a book about depression, after all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Shoes!

Does anyone remember that line in The Toy where Fancy said, "New Boobs!" That's how I want you to read the title "New Shoes!" I bought them off of eBay. They are Descendents Vans. The Descendents have been one of my favorite bands since high school. Vans made special edition Descendents shoes, but I didn't buy them when they were in the Vans store because they weren't the slip-on type, and I was being lazy. But lately, I have really been wanting them. Sadly, since they are limited edition, they were nowhere to be found in regular shoe-purchasing arenas. But lo (low?) and behold-- they had a brand new pair on eBay in my size! And they weren't that expensive! And they came so fast! Tobin is sitting next to one of them right now. Here's a picture:
You know that feeling when you get a new pair of shoes that you just love to death? That's how I feel right now. I must remember this feeling. So rare.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I was on Roadshow!!!!!

OMG (as the teens say)-- I was on Roadshow tonight!!! At around the halfway point! You totally have to watch! Aaaaahhhhh! My voice is hideous, btw. But I didn't look like a dork! Hooray!!! Milwaukee Episode 1!!! Go PBS!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Antiques Roadshow is Finally Here!

For those who don't know, I was filmed in Milwaukee the summer of 2006 to be on Antiques Roadshow. I don't know why they waited so long to show the Milwaukee Roadshows, but they are finally starting tomorrow night on PBS. I don't know which night I'll be on (Milwaukee is airing for the next three Mondays) or if I'll definitely be on (not everyone who is filmed gets aired, but I was told that my youth is on my side), but I'm excited to watch! Read about the whole adventure in this very early Blog of Wonder post. I am so nervous about a) looking like an idiot and b) looking like the final dollar amount isn't enough. I hate those people. Just remember that I hadn't eaten all day, and usually I am an all day eater. I was just too nervous!

In other news, my husband, Matthew Cordell, has started a new illustrator blog. Check it out at

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Today was a very cultural day. First my mom, Matt, and I went to see Gary Paulsen receive an award at the Chicago Public Library. He was so fantastic. I could listen to him tell stories for hours. Then we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit called "Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967." It was interesting, although, as I believe I've said before, I am no art critic. I like either what appeals to me visually or something that tells a good story. I'm not so much into the abstract stuff or the concept stuff or the annoyingly pretentious stuff. The best part of the exhibit (excuse me, ) was this room with several screen and an individual avant garde musician on each screen playing a different instrument (it was film, so you could see and hear them). One of the screens had this middle aged guy enthusiastically swinging some bells. My mom could not contain her laughter and was practically crying when a large group came into the room. We must have looked very classy. The other exciting part of the day happened when we were about to leave the parking lot and my mom discovered that she lost her phone. We had already paid for parking, so we had to run to and through the museum before our parking lot grace period ran out (do you guys know what I mean?). My keen eyes spotted the phone underneath the table that we ate lunch at in the museum restaurant. Art and excitement.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scare Me

Today and yesterday (that sounds awkward for some reason) I worked with a couple eighth grade English classes on a seminar about horror stories. It was pretty fun, since I love the scary. I ended today’s class with the teens saying the name of the movie that scares them the most and why. It was a response that went along with some stories we read, a discussion we had on the elements that make a scary story scary, and another discussion about why we like to be scared. My top two movies that scare me the most: 28 Days Later and The Blair Witch Project. Actually, I don’t know if Blair Witch would scare me now as much as it did when I first saw it. I saw it the night it opened, and back then people didn’t know that the people in the movie were actors; it really seemed like they were seeking out a witch legend and found one. I happen to have a fear of camping, so that part of the movie was particularly freaky to me. But it was also the unknown, the lack of control, and being lost. Scary! And while I was watching the movie in the theater, I had to leave to throw up! It turned out I was just sick to my stomach because I had mono (man, did that suck), but still. And then there was this huge fight between this big, fat guy and a woman with a baby in the lobby after the movie. He was yelling at her because she brought her baby to a movie (not Blair Witch) and it was crying the whole time. Ah, the classiness of seeing a movie in the city. How I do NOT miss it.
I believe I have already gone on and on about zombies and 28 Days Later, so no need to say it again. But if you have questions, please ask.

Question O the Day: What movie scares YOU the most and why?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Confusion and Candy

First off, I reread the blog post with five comments (wooo!), and forgot to comment on Amy's comment. I think I was thrown because I kept wondering if it was my sister, Amy, but I don't think it was. I love how people are testing the My Heritage Celebrity Collage. I still feel a little bad. Bad enough that at work today the guy came to do picture retakes, and I had him retake mine. It made me realize I like my hair shorter.

About the candy: Matt and I bought a ton of candy, and today I had one mini Twix. I'm trying to be good, but the candy cabinet it calling...

In other exciting news, I cahnged my cell phone ring from Beverly Hills 90210 to the original Degrassi theme song. It is in my soul, that theme song. Best. Show. Ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One More!

I can't stop! Here's a funny one of me dressed like Napoleon Dynamite:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Call Me Cuba

Well, I must say I am disappointed in you, blog readers. Why is Kaleb the only one who a) answered my questions o the day (which I am not even posting anymore because no one expect Kaleb answered them) and b) commented on my HILARIOUS celebrity look-alike? Did you not find it fall on the floor with laughter hysterical, as I did? Maybe it was funnier because it was me...

I can't believe Halloween is next week! In my hood, the kids have to trick or treat during the day on Sunday, which sucks for them. I haven't even bought any candy yet (except for the Jelly Bellys in tiny packages that I bought at the Jelly Belly Factory outlet for two bucks). Where have I been? Tomorrow Matt and I are going to the grocery store after work to pick up the goods. I love it. I always try to have the maximum amount of crowd-pleasing treats. So- I guess I will have a question o the day for you after all. A two-parter: What is your favorite Halloween candy to give out? What is your favorite Halloween candy to get? My answers: give = Sponge Bob Crabby Patties, get = little bags of peanut m&ms.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now I'm Depressed

At first I was absolutely laughing my ass off about the funny look-alikes, but I keep doing it with different pictures, and every time my number one match is a guy! Do I look manly? I mean, there were Rachel McAdams and Ali Landry included in my matches, but the number ones were always guys. Is it pathetic that I'm letting this upset me?

Even funnier!

Is this some kind of a joke?


He was my number one match!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gym Loons

I was at the gym today, in the locker room, getting dressed for step class, when this woman starts chatting me up. She was very nice, but it went on and on, even while she was changing. She was somewhat discrete, though, unlike other people. Once, this woman was totally naked and standing in front of the mirror, blow-drying her hair. No thank you! And what about those people who spread out a towel on the bench and sit their naked asses down? I think that's crossing the line of acceptable gym behavior.

The other funny thing that happened at the gym was that a few minutes into the class, my least favorite step teacher came in and set up a step right behind me (to take the class. There was a great teacher actually teaching). Most people hate her because she's mean and gets mad at you every time you screw up. So sometimes I screw up on purpose when I'm in her class just to piss her off. But there she was, behind me, being a psycho and doing all her own crazy moves, completely messing me up. It was pretty freakin' annoying. The funny part was when the person teaching the class today told us to get a drink and then started demonstrating a new step. The psycho teacher was bouncing like a madwoman the whole break time, and she even was yelling, "Get your heart rate up!!!" Like SCREAMING it. In somebody else's class! Freak of the week. Did this story make sense? Let me know if I didn't explain it well.

Time to watch The Office.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nose Job for Alex

I don't know how many of my blog readers watch Degrassi: The Next Generation, but I'm still going to talk about it. I watched last week's episode online last night, the one where Paige and Alex break up (Ha! For about the fiftieth time), and there's some lame plot line about Degrassi and Lakehurst integrating. I am so not into that. Maybe it's because I'm in my thirties, but I'm over the Lakehurst crap already. And when will Manny dye her hair back? Anyway, the biggest surprise of the episode was Alex's nose job (not actually part of the episode, but absolutely noticeable). Why did she get a nose job? Her nose had character, and not in a bad, unattractive way. She doesn't' even look like herself. It's almost as freakish as the Jennifer Grey nose job debacle. Sad what Canadian Hollywood forces people to do to themselves. (Is Toronto the Hollywood of Canada?)

I am having some serious high anxiety lately, and all of the candy I ate today can't help. I even changed my MySpace background to all candy. That's just where I am. Good thing Halloween is coming up.

Question O the Day (not like any of you are answering!): Do you watch Degrassi?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Night Done Right

I am quite happy with the state of Monday night TV these days. I don't watch any of the one hour shows (in fact, the only one hour shows I watch are on Bravo. Or sometimes Las Vegas), but I do watch Monday night sitcoms. I like Everybody Hates Chris, and then I turn to this new show that's actually pretty funny called The Big Bang Theory. Then I go back to the CW for Girlfriends and The Game. Girlfriends is, no joke, one of my favorite shows. Don't ask me why. I've been watching it for years. I love the ladies, and the guys are pretty funny, too. Two weeks from now, everyone has to watch PBS and Antiques Roadshow from Milwaukee. I'll be on one of the three episodes! More on that later.

So my question o the day: What do you watch on Monday nights?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Very First Question O' the Day

I have decided that I would like to post a question o' the day every time I blog. Maybe it will make my blog more interactive. My first question o' the day is: What music do you like to listen to when you clean? This can be cleaning your house, your room, the dishes, whatever. My favorite music to listen to while I clean is the fanastic CD, Booty Shakin' Hits, that I ordered off an infomercial. This baby's got it all:

This is How We Do It by Montell Jordan
The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground
Ba' Butt by E.U.
No Diggity by BLACKstreet featuring Dr. Dre
Push It by Salt-N-Pepa
Do Me! by Bell Biv DeVoe
and many more!

Sadly, this does not appear to be available anymore, although you can buy it used on Amazon for 50 cents. It's a shame, because this CD definitely keeps the cleaning party going', if ya know what I'm sayin'! (Sorry. Must be a all the cleaning products going to my brain.)

So, what do you like to listen to when you clean?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm gonna win!

I just did something I have never done before. I entered the New Yorker magazine's cartoon caption contest. It's this thing they do every week, where they have a comic without a caption, and readers have to think of a caption. Not that I'm a reader. The articles in The New Yorker are a tad long for my magazine taste, but Matt likes it for the illustrations. Anyway, there was a picture in this week's issue of two men sitting on lounge chairs in the middle of a circus ring. I'd love to tell you may caption, but Matt seems to think that if I tell, then someone else will steal my idea. I think that's hilarious, but whatever. The contest ends tomorrow night (and in a week I find out if I'm a finalist), so I'll tell you my caption on Monday. If you care. I think it's quite funny, in an absurd way, which may fit with the New Yorker randomness. Click on this link to see the picture. But don't enter. I want to keep my competition to a minimum.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Degrassi High Out on DVD!

FYI: Degrassi High: The Complete Series is now out on DVD!!! I got it in the mail today!!! No one call me this weekend. Unless your name happens to be Clutch.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Zombies Invade My Dreams!

Last night I had terrible dreams about zombies. As you all know (or not), I am absolutely afraid of zombies. Not much scary-type stuff scares me (meaning, more real-type stuff scares me, like needles), except for zombies. I was trying to figure out why I had the dreams (plural, because they went on all night, even when I rolled over!). I’m sure there’s some zombie subconscious thing about why I’m afraid of them in the first place, but I could have had the dreams for three reasons:
1) One of my students did a book talk in the library yesterday on The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
2) I have Walking Dead 2-4 next to my bed (although I didn’t read them)
3) I saw a commercial for 28 Weeks Later

I’m pretty sure the dreams were because of number 3. Those movies scare the crap out of me. Back to the dreams. They were SO SCARY. It was like I knew the zombies were coming, and I had to pack up the car perfectly full of supplies (a la Life As We Knew It, a book that also scared the crap out of me). I kept trying to pack winter clothes and boots and canned goods and anything we may need. Then my dad turned into a zombie and tried to come into the house. I couldn’t close the garage door… I feel panicky just thinking about it!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Book Stall and Degrassi

So—The Book Stall. It was amazing. It was like the craziest, best dinner party ever with the strangest mix of guests. I had lots of my family there and good friends and new students and old students. It was such a love fest. I felt really happy. I started with an explanation of my book, how it’s loosely based on my life, and then went on to do a reading (sans swears—I just couldn’t say them in front of my relatives, my students, AND my students’ parents). We had a really cool discussion afterward. Lots of questions about the writing process, the content, swearing vs. not swearing in books. It was a very multi-generational conversation. Wonderful! And then I signed books. Again, I wish I kept a tally. I think The Book Stall will tell me how many sold because I can’t help but be curious. Was that enough info about the event? Ask me questions if you’d like to know m more.

In Degrassi news, what did people think of the new episodes? I hate that they keep focusing on the two yuckiest turds at Degrassi- Darcy and Peter. Something seriously rotten needs to happen to Peter. With all of the crap he’s done to other people, it’s not fair that he’s still living the good life. I did feel sorry for Darcy. I can’t imagine how awful and disgusting I’d feel if that happened to me (I won’t say what happened, just in case you haven’t’ watched it yet). And don’t get me started on poor Manny’s hair. Such a pretty girl. With such bad hair.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I will post soon about my amazing reading experience at The Book Stall yesterday, but I first have to talk more about C-Diddy, the International Air Guitar Champion (read my blog post about Air Guitar Nation). I cannot get enough of this guy's air guitar genius. Check out this video from his MySpace page. I could watch it over and over again. And I have.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nervy B

My tummy is churning. I am quite nervous about my reading/signing at The Book Stall today. I think it's because a) the unknown-- who will be there? Which students? Which relatives? How many people?, b) The weird combo of relatives vs. students, and c) my reading. I don't know why I'm worried about the reading, considering reading aloud is one of my absolute favorite things to do at work and I am (she says modestly) very good at it. But this is my book with my words, so any reaction- or non-reaction- they may have is what I'm worried about. Ah well. It'll all be over in 6 hours. Then I go on to the Kidlitosphere conference to schmooze with the kidlit bloggers. I will post about all of my adventures this weekend.

I found another great GWS blog review this morning at The Book Heaven. Keep the happy vibes coming!

I did not, btw, watch Degrassi last night, so please don't tell me what happened yet. I'm afraid that one of my students today will give something away. It couldn't possibly be as bad as the "JT is dead" debacle.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blogger Plugin

I was thinking about a ton of hilarious blog posts I could write as I drove home today. Alas, just as it often prevents me from going to the gym, my one hour commute has also prevented me from remembering any of my creative blog posts once I leave the car. I think the ideas are often about the music on my iPod, so perhaps I will pull out my iPod one day and write some blog posts around it. I had an idea about a series of posts about songs I like to listen to in certain situations. For example, I love to listen to the song "Golden Brown" by the Australian band The Stranglers (the video link, btw, appears to be homemade. It looks funny, but it is the right song) when I drive through a carwash. Try it sometime. It's like being transported to a circusy, soapy world.

Two awesome movies are on basic cable tonight: Boomerang, starring Eddie Murphy (one of my FAVES-- "You got to coordinate!") and Desperately Seeking Susan. So I better go enjoy. With only three cable channels, I'll take what I can get. Although, tonight is the season premiere of Degrassi. I wonder if I can watch it on

Saturday at the Book Stall!

For any Chicago locals, please come and see me read and sign at The Book Stall in Winnetka tomorrow (Saturday, October 6) at 2:00.

A great review in K.L. Going's blog written by one of my students:

I'll write more later. Gotta get to work! (It's 6:30 am right now.)
I promise to reply to some of the blog reader comments. I am bad
about that-- sorry!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Get Well Soon Out Today!

The news for today is:

My novel, Get Well Soon, is finally out! Today! Look for it in stores! On Amazon! Time for me to go to bed!

Monday, October 01, 2007


I admit to searching Google about once a day to see if anything new on Get Well Soon pops up. I know I have to prepare myself for the negative someday(I have just the one lame review, as well as some boring butthead on a blog dissing the book. Otherwise, I'm happy to report that people have been extremely positive), but not yet. I found another fun review (more of a booktalk, really) at a public library site. I think it's great, and shall paste it below, along with the link. (I could just paste the link, but I'm afraid that someday the link will die and I'll lose the kind words).

"Depression and panic attacks send Anna to a mental hospital, where she records her twenty-two days there through a series of letters to her best friend. Ending up in the hospital turns out to be the start of a better time in Anna’s life in this deceptively charming coming-of-age tale. Through her relationships with the other patients, especially the enigmatic, attractive Justin, Anna becomes more sure of herself, and gains the confidence to establish her place in the world outside the hospital."

In other news, in my attempt to try and go to the gym more than once a month, I changed into my gym clothes before my after school faculty meeting. Alas, there were some fightin' words (not to me, of course), and the meeting ran long. Will I ever get to Zumba again?

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am in a cruddy mood. Most of it is too personal to blog about, but it sucks. I wish I could just be a happy person. I suppose if I were, I would never have a book coming out about my time spent in a mental hospital, but still. It must be nice to be a happy person.

Yesterday I spent all day in Naperville (an hour away, without traffic) at the Anderson's Bookshop Young Adult Author conference. It was fun being there as an author and a librarian. Copies of Get Well Soon were for sale (even though the official release date is not until Tuesday), and people bought it. I signed quite a few books. I really wanted to keep a running tally sheet, but I thought that might look weird. I wish I did, though, looking back. Do you think it would be absolutely tacky to call/email Anderson's to see how many copies I sold? Do authors do that?

I was also on a panel of newer authors with two other people: Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, author of The Shadow Speaker and James Lecesne, author of the forthcoming Absolute Brightness. They were very nice and fun to be with on a panel. James acted as the moderator, and he was very funny (and had on shiny silver Converse!). I have not yet read their books, but I definitely will. After I finish reading the two books I'm reading now. One of which I have been reading for at least two months. If only I weren't so tired all of the time...

I had two people come up to me for autographs and tell me that they, too, had been hospitalized. It's amazing how many people have. One woman said to me she hopes my book helps remove the stigma of being in a mental hospital. That's a tall order, and I almost feel too goofy of a person to have any real effect like that. I do hope people relate and laugh, but I don't think I could ever go on Oprah as a spokesperson for mental hospital stays. Not like Jenny McCarthy and her autism soapbox. I don't know what to think, O Lady with the Breast Implants. Kind of takes away from the whole authority thing, in my opinion.

Two more days until Get Well Soon is in stores!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Zoo Review

So the blog was not working for days, and now it seems to be working. I know you were all freaking out.

I had a bunch of things I wanted to blog about, but I forget. One of the things was this dream I had. In real life, I will be doing a reading of Get Well Soon at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL on October 6, and I know a bunch of my students will be there. I am worried about reading the swears aloud and am debating censoring the reading. So the dream was that I was on Oprah, holding a copy of Get Well Soon that was filled with crossed out words. I did a terrible reading, stuttering and blurring all of the words. And the worst part is that it was live. It’s such a classic dream situation. No question about what I was dreaming about there.

In other news, I got another great review of Get Well Soon. First I just have to say that I got one lame review in School Library Journal. That makes two for two lames reviews in SLJ (my first book, Toby and the Snowflakes, was reviewed by a college librarian. Hello? Do you even read to little kids? How would you know what they like?). I wasn’t going to blog about it, but now that I am vindicated by three good reviews to one bad one, I feel OK about. I think the reviewer had some serious issues with therapy of her own. She commented on the relationship with the mother in GWS, which was so insignificant (deliberately, by the way, so I wouldn’t upset my mom) and something a teen wouldn’t even notice. And she said something about my swearing, like it was unnatural or gratuitous (I don’t feel obligated to quote the review directly, since the review suggests that perhaps the reviewer didn’t look very closely at my book anyway. Nyah.), and if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s swear. Whatev. Here’s my great Booklist review:

“I am a huge waste of life and space, and I’m tired of being alive and having to deal with it.” After a period of panic attacks, depression, and cutting school, Anna Bloom’s parents send her to Lakeland , a Chicago mental-health facility. In letters addressed to her best friend, Tracy, Anna recounts her three weeks in the adolescent ward. Debut author Halpern drew from her own teen experiences with depression, and Anne’s voice, filled with spot-on musings, sarcasm, slang, and swearing, is uproariously funny and authentic, whether offering vivid accounts of “Lake Shit’s . . . booger green and vomit brown” decor, bewildering therapy sessions, or the shock and pleasure of finding friends, romance, confidence, and belonging: “This place seems to erase all social stereotypes. There [is] absolutely no pressure to be cool or skinny or entertaining.” Many teens will connect with the vague anxiety that lands Anna in treatment as well as her subtle, realistic sense that her life is her own to value and shape.

— Gillian Engberg

My favorite line is “uproariously funny.” Love it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's Almost Here

Well, Ladies and Germs, GET WELL SOON's release date is fast approaching. It sure has been a long wait. And then at the end of October, another long wait will be over-- seeing if my segment made it onto Antiques Roadshow. I will post more about that when the date gets closer.

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, I will be at The Book Stall at 2:00 on Saturday, October 6 signing copies of Get Well Soon. I will also do a little reading, but I can't decide if I should leave in the swears. My fear is that some of my students will be there, and I pride myself in not swearing in front of my kids. But it will be in a different context than school. Hmmm... I can't decide.

In cold update news, I have a sinus infection. I always seem to get sinus infections now. So annoying. I have been quite dizzy for days. The antibiotic hurts my tummy, although I am grateful there hasn't been any barfing. Matt cleaned the toilet for me the night I started the antibiotic. Isn't that sweet?

Excuse the randomness of this post. I think I will make an exciting poll that all two of you reading will answer. I do love making polls.

What would you like to read about in my blog? Check all that apply.
My books and writing
TV shows I am watching
Celebrity gossip
My colds
Britney Spears, all the time
Books I am reading
The Sims 2
Random stuff
Free polls from

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boog Update

My cold is progressing nicely, and I thought it was pretty much over except that now I have a ton of pressure in my ears. I wonder if I have an ear infection. I never have, even when I was younger. The big suck that upsets me is that I will probably have to call my doctor tomorrow and see if I can even get an appointment, and then I have to jiggle my work schedule around, and then I'll have to wait two hours even if I get an appointment. Crap. I hate being sick. I hate going to the doctor. No matter what it's for, I always think it's going to be really bad and scary. I'm such a wuss.

Is anyone watching the new Tim Gunn show? I like it, although I haven't been able to watch any of the episodes more than once; they're a little depressing. The women seem so insecure, it makes me sad. At least they feel better at the end. I wish I felt better. My head feels worse as I type this. Cross your fingers that I can get an early doc appointment tomorrow.

Snotting off.