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.