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.