Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! I have been meaning to blog for a while now. I keep writing blogs in my head in the middle of the night while feeding Romy, but I’m too tired to actually type it up. Then I forget everything I wanted to write about the next day. I remember thinking one was particularly funny about daytime TV, since I am watching so much of it while I’m home on maternity leave. I wanted to write about how bland and annoying Drew Carey is on Price is Right. There was this clip on TMZ about how a man recently guessed EXACTLY the price of the item that got him up on stage. And then he guessed EXACTLY the right price for his showcase. It was amazing! And all Drew did was blandly stare at the camera. What’s up with him? And he’s oddly obsessed with the military people who come on the show. I don’t like him. I would have screamed my head off if that win happened! I love that kind of stuff. I have a DVD version of the game that I brought to work last year, and I played it with my students. They totally found my excitement contagious. And that’s Drew’s problem. He’s bringing the whole show down.

In other news, I have more cavities. You may remember that I had two while I was pregnant. This actually has something to do with pregnancy, like with the hormones and the calcium and stuff. I hadn’t had a cavity since I was little, so it was quite shocking. Those cavities were discovered at a routine dental appointment, but now I have one that HURTS. And I’m all scared that I’m going to have a root canal. We’ll see. Of course it’s Christmas, so I can’t get into a dentist at least today or tomorrow. Maybe longer. And I’m eating Jelly Bellies to help seal the deal. But like I said, it’s because of the baby. Not my fault. 

In book news, I’m on the final leg of my new novel, officially titles, “Into the Wild Nerd Yonder.” I have to write the acknowledgments and dedication, read through it and see if I want to change anything else. I kind of hate that option. Cause really, I could probably change A LOT, since what I wrote originally was done a long time ago. But you can only go changing things for so long. I’m super stoked to see what Rich Deas, the awesome designer, will come up with for the cover. And I am working on a tagline that goes something like this, “A book about friendship, betrayal, and going over to the dorkside.” Or something like that. What would the correct phrase be, instead of “going over?” Maybe I’ll have some more candy to fire up my brain.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friends

You have to say this blog title like the mom in "Better Off Dead" says it to the French exchange student. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, nevermind.

So being home with the baby is great, but sometimes I get a little obsessive about checking my Facebook. I randomly decided I wanted to set up a seventeen year high school reunion, because we didn't have a fifteen and I was, ahem, the head of my ten year reunion committee. This would strike anyone strange who ever knew me because I was sort of a nobody in high school. I had my small group of close friends, some outer circle artsy friends, got along nicely with the smart kids in my classes, and remained pretty much anonymous with anyone else. But for some reason I like seeing what everyone is up to. And Facebook has been really fun for that. The funny thing is, as I typed up a database of everyone in my class (yes, I AM a librarian), names kept popping up where I was like, "Oh, that person. I forgot about them. Ug." My class had over 400 people in it, so there are plenty of people to like. But it's funny how, until I saw their names, I forgot about all of those people I didn't like. Oh well. It's not like they'll even remember who I am.

In other friends news, I have this great Facebook friendship with a girl I went to high school with named Joyce, who I wasn't even friends with in high school. We weren't enemies; we just weren't really on each other's radars at all. We write to each other every day, though, and she is helping me plan the reunion. I will plug her awesome ETSY site again here.

And she pointed out the hilarity of this picture of Romy and Tobin and how it looks like a piece from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. See if you can figure it out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blugskjsadkfjha


Holy pooballs I'm tired. So tired, I don't know what to say really. Romy is home (has been for almost a week) and it's tough. It's tough timing everything-- waking, feeding, pumping, sleeping, eating. Today we took her to the doctor for what I thought was just a weight check (she is doing awesome, btw, in every respect) and we ended up being there for almost two hours, having to have her stomach x-rayed *just in case* (nothing there but gas!). I was not happy. Must make sure to eat more. Time to go pump. TMZ is on. I don't think there's a baby out there who watches as much TMZ as Romy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Burping Romy

Here's a video of the back of Romy's head as Matt tries to burp her. Cuuuuute!


And check out my friend Joyce's new Etsy page:
http://joycebuckley.etsy.com
She's super crafty and makes amazing purses and things!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Romy


Well, um, I had my baby six weeks early, and now life is a whirlwind. Her name is Romy Bess, and she was born on November 1 at 3:55 a.m. after 25 hours of labor. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Since she was born at 33 weeks, she is still at the hospital in the Infant Special Care Unit. She is around five pounds and sooooo cute. Her hair seems to be blonde, and it would be amazing if she stayed a blonde, since I am so dark in every way. She was breathing on her own almost immediately, the biggest concern for preemies, so now we're just working on her eating and jaundice. But she is doing SO well, they think she may be home next week! I can't wait. Just know my blogs will be either a) just as sporadic as they were during my pregnancy or b) all about Romy. Gush.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Antiques Roadshow Part 275

Well, since I am home sick from work today, naturally I am wasting the day on the internet (when I am not sleeping). I found this whole page from the episode of Antiques Roadshow I was on two years ago. You can actually watch the clip, which is hilarious because I hear both my elfish sounding voice (which totally does not sound like that in my head) and my grandma comments (That's wonderful!). Check it out if you haven't already:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200604A33.html

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eating, Driving, and Cathair Purses

I just ate so much food. I don’t get why delis have to give so much food. Really? I need a twenty-foot high sandwich and two thousand French fries and coleslaw. It’s kind of gross, but it’s so tasty that I am compelled to eat until I can’t stand it anymore. And I really can’t stand it anymore.

But what I CAN stand is Bravo’s hilarious new show, the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Why do they call it the “Real Housewives?” I have always wondered that. I love Nene and her sass. I am not as fond of the blonde lady and her nasty boobs that are always hanging out of her shirt. What’s up with that?

In other randomness (that’s all I have in me these days), my commute has been getting longer and crazier. I don’t know why the roads are so backed up. Is it because gas is cheaper, and all of a sudden people are like, “Yay! I can drive and sit in my car for a really long, pointless amount of time?” My new thing is getting so disgusted by the backup that I try and find an alternate route and it ends up taking me way longer and is usually so stressful because I get lost. Today was the last straw (actually, yesterday was the straw, since it took me TWO HOURS to get home), when I got onto my normal route and it was the most backed up I have ever seen. So I turned around, tried another route, drove around for a half hour, and then just went home. I then left an hour and a half after I usually leave, and it took me a pleasant 35 minutes to get to work. Grumble grumble. The nicest thing was yesterday when I was going crazy on the road, I talked to Matt and asked if he would put up the Halloween decorations so that when I arrived home they would make me smile. And there they were, and yes I did! Speaking of Matt, you all must check out his blog for a hilarious story about his Southern stepmom and her cathair purse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cake Love

First thing’s first: check out this fancy interview with my insanely talented husband, Matthew Cordell, at jamespreller.com (Matt just finished illustrating Preller’s new picture book, Mighty Casey, out in March!). I like to read the answers he gives. Usually he doesn’t surprise me, but I was very surprised that he said his favorite dessert was cake. Because that’s my favorite dessert, and I’m much more of a dessert person that he. However, his fave cake is chocolate, whereas I prefer a yellow with buttercream frosting (or whip cream). Mmmmm. Cake. Strange that today my assistant went to a little bakery that we like to buy a piece of my favorite local cake, and they were out of it! The funny thing is that the cake in question was, gasp, County Fair Chocolate Cake! Yes, a chocolate cake. Which I would never just order, except in this instance because it’s SOOOOOO good. I can’t believe they were out of it. What if I really needed it? What if I was having a horrid day, and the only thing that would make me feel better is a piece of that delightful cake and they failed me?! FAILED me. I’m getting all worked up. If only I had a piece of cake to calm me down.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Really?

Funny story. So you know I’m pregnant. 30 weeks pregnant, actually. See picture below to get the full effect (and love my fab maternity shirt). Another teacher at my school is now 4 months pregnant. She just told her students yesterday that she's pregnant, and they, in turn, asked her (in whispered voices, she tells me), “Is Ms. Halpern pregnant?” Um, really? Do they just not notice me, or are they just being cautious? And when she said yes, another student asked, “Is she married?” A student I know rather well, btw. These are 8th graders. 13 and 14 year-olds. Still so darn cute! But kind of oblivious.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Name my book. Please!

So I still have to name my next novel (out fall 2009). You may recall (or not) that I wanted to name it "Roll for Initiative," but people have not been jiving with that. I figure when I get the book back from the copywriter (righter? Why don't I know which is correct?) I will read it again and hopefully get inspired. But if not, I could use your help. So here is a list of things in my novel. Maybe someone out there can come up with a good title. I do not want a list title, however, like, "Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging" because that is one of my faves, and I feel like ever since it came out there are too many book titles like that. Here we go:

-teenage girl
-sews skirts out of funny fabrics (one for each day of the school year)
-plays the drums
-has two best friends who are kind of annoying and end up sort of betraying her
-likes audiobooks
-is very smart
-befriends weird nerd girl
-doesn't want to become a nerd necessarily herself
-learns how to play Dungeons and Dragons

OK. Go to it. Ask me questions if you have any. Thank you in advance for your help (if you are, in fact, in the helping mood).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekly Summary

Since I am the queen of blog slack, I will just summarize the highlights of my week today:

-I went to the dentist for two fillings and didn't use any novocaine! This was after being inspired by a woman I work with who told me she doesn't even get pain reliever when she gets root canals! Don't think I'm too brave though; it didn't hurt at all. I guess it doesn't when the cavity isn't too deep. Plus, my deathly fear of needles sort of balances out the bravery aspect of the whole thing.

-I attended the first meeting of my middle school's Metal Club (the one I work in, not the one I actually went to. That would be weird). I can't decide if the other two members thought I was a total tool for being there, or if they enjoyed my insight and wisdom on the subject of heavy metal. I really hope it's the latter.

-I helped run the Dance Off booth at our school carnival. But we only got two entries, and one of the them happened to the members of the Metal Club who asked if they could put on Metallica. So that would suggest that they do enjoy my participation in their club, since why would they come to my booth and want to play music if they didn't think I'd like to hear it? Or maybe they don't even think of me at all considering I am their 33 year-old pregnant librarian? I just don't want to annoy them and overstep my boundaries. But, really, I do love talking about metal!

-Um, I can't remember anything else that happened. Matt and I are going to register for some baby stuff today, which I'm excited about because it's like shopping without buying anything! That was my favorite part about getting married: registering. Not being married, of course. No, that is a joy all in its own (no sarcasm! I swear! We've been married five years!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paul Feig Pics

See previous two posts to get the story...
Matt (who thought the picture was already taken), Paul Feig, and me!


Paul signing our book!

Extra! Extra! Julie Meets Paul Feig! Part Two!

See previous post for the beginning of this story.
When Paul finished speaking, I wanted to be the first one up there for autographs (mostly because I should have been, since I was sitting there for over an hour before everyone else, but also because the sooner we went, the sooner we could start the long drive home). The Borders crew seemed a little clueless, and they were like, “OK, we’ll go row by row,” and I swear they were going to start from the back row. As if! So Matt and I were up first. I was very sincere (as I usually am. One of my best and worst traits, I think), and told Paul how far we drove to see him, and how we loved the show, and, basically, everything I wrote in the previous blog post. He was genuinely touched that we came that far for him. It was awesome! It’s just how I would have wanted it to go! And almost right away, Matt pulls out a copy of Get Well Soon, which I brought to maybe give Paul. The thinking was that if I give it to him, then maybe he’ll want to get in touch with me again someday. I don’t know. I had some other thinking, too, but it feels cheesy and embarrassing to mention. In any case, he took the book and told me to sign it! So cool! So I wrote, “To Paul, My Hero!”, and then he signed our two books in the nicest way. One he signed to my students, and wrote, “Keep up the great work! You have an amazing librarian!!!” an in our book he wrote, “Matt and Julie, You guys are the best. I can’t thank you enough for being so cool and driving so far to see me. It really really means a lot!” See. Genuinely touched, right? I wish there were a million hours to chat about funny things and what Salem the cat was like (when he worked on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”) and how tall Stephen Merchant really is. Ah well. At least I got to meet him, and it was a fantastic experience. Now I made the mistake of making him a Facebook friend (for which I am usually very picky. Ex-students often try to friend me, and I usually say no because I don’t think I want to see what they’re up to. I try to use MySpace for the masses, and just use Facebook for the close ones. So if some day you try to friend me and nothing happens, please don’t take offense. I like to keep it neat. I’m weird that way. I’ll shut up now). That shouldn’t be a mistake, but there will always be a part of me that when I log on and see the little number next to my inbox messages, I’ll hope it’s from him. Why must the internet make everyone so accessible? It’s nothing like the days of sending fan letters and just assuming that you’ll never hear back (but checking the mailbox every day just in case. Wait. I guess it is kind of like those days, then). I will stop writing about this to the point of over-analysis. Stay tuned for some pictures from the momentous event!

Extra! Extra! Julie Meets Paul Feig!

I had an amazing night last night [Um, I started writing this post on Friday, and now it’s Sunday. So pretend you are reading this post on Friday.]. But first, I will just tell you that I passed my glucose test (by only one point!), which means I don’t have gestational diabetes and I don’t have to worry about having any more blood tests. Joy! I did, however, get so hopped up from the combination of the glucose drink and my fear of blood-taking that I spent $466 on maternity clothes when I really only meant to treat myself to one Juicy hoodie. This weekend, I’m going back to the sister store at a different mall so that I may return the items. I hope it’s not one of those things where you can only get store credit. I feel like such a sucker. They got me in my vulnerable, sugary state.

So last night Matt and I drove all the way to La Grange, Illinois (minimum of an hour and a half drive from my house) to see Paul Feig speak at a Borders. For those who don’t know, Paul Feig is the creator of the fantastically wondrous TV show, Freaks and Geeks (Judd Apatow gets way too much credit for this show, since Feig is the heart behind it and wrote all of the best episodes). He also directs episodes of The Office, 30 Rock, and Mad Men. He has two humorous memoirs out, and now he has a new YA novel out called Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut!, which is why he was at the bookstore in the first place.

I am such a huge fan of Freaks and Geeks. I watched it the first time around when it was actually on TV, and since I have watched it twice all the way through on DVD. I watched it again this summer and thought to myself, I would really like to meet Paul Feig. We have so much in common. I mean, he writes Dungeons and Dragons plotlines, and I run the D&D club at my school, not to mention that my new novel (coming next fall!) has a D&D plot. And I thought we had other things in common, too. Or just that we’d get along really well. Anyway, when I saw he was going to be at this bookstore, I had to go, which is weird for me because I am usually not up for going anywhere on a school night, let alone some place that is insanely far away from my house.

Matt and I arrived way early, and were the only people there for at least an hour. To pass the time we grossed each other out with the latest edition of Guinness World’s Records (Matt couldn’t believe they didn’t include Kenny G.’s amazing record of holding the same musical note for the longest amount of time using circular breathing). The reading started at 7:30, and people started arriving at 7:15. I would guess there were about 30 people there, but since we were in the front row, I didn’t really get a good estimate. Paul came out (“out” being a relative word, seeing as he spoke next to the cafĂ© and the CD section [and some total freak had the nerve to walk over right next to him and use a listening station while he was speaking. Who does that?]) in a nice suit and wowed the crowd with a reading from his new book and stories about his life in the biz. He answered questions about the writing process, working in comedy, and a bunch of Office and Freaks and Geeks questions. Then it was time for us to get autographs! Stay tuned for the next post (in about five minutes…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sheesh

I know I haven't been blogging. School has been crazy and being pregnant has been crazy, and I'm just trying to balance everything. I used to be better at balancing. And today I have a blood test, where they are testing for gestational diabetes, and I have to drink this crazy sugar juice and then wait and hour and then have my blood taken. Nightmare! I can't wait until it's over, but it won't be over for a while because I have to let my special protein breakfast digest and then I can drink the evil concoction and then wait. Ig. People who say that blood taking will get easier the more I do it are full of crap. You all have your phobias, and this one is mine. And it sucks. And it doesn't go away, no matter what I do (um, tried hypnosis, thank you very much), so it's more just finding ways to cope. I found a great blood taker who is so nice to me, and she'll be there today. I called to make sure.

In less bloody news, the audiobook of Get Well Soon is available for download at iTunes! That's pretty cool. I wonder when the actual hard copy of it will come out. I'm on my last revision of my next novel, btw. I just have to make some small changes, and then it goes to the copywriter! I think I will read it again, though, when I get that revision back. I just never know if my brain was a little off this summer due to the pregnancy. Can't hurt to comb it over. Am I even making any sense? I don't feel like it. Oh, glucose test, why must you torture me so?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hallo-wha?

I'm trying to figure out what to be for Halloween. I'm pretty sure I will be a giant pumpkin, because my preggo belly will fit into the poofy costume. I found this awesome wig in the Oriental Trading catalog, but I read a review somewhere that said when they received it in the mail it didn't look anything like the picture. I can imagine. Oriental Trading has some crazy stuff! I was thinking of getting these for the windows of my library, but I think they may be a bit much (and I'm not talking cost). I showed them to Matt, and he thought they were waytoo much. I most definitely have to get this, though. How creepy and gross! It better live up to the promise of the picture. Now if only I could find a funny pumpkin costume that doesn't require me to just wear tights underneath.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rock Me Sexy Jesus!

Matt and I saw Hamlet 2 yesterday. There was only one other couple in the whole big theater! Actually, there was one other guy, but he left early on. That's OK. I wouldn't want any haters ruining the thing. I thought the movie was cute and funny. There was a part of me that kept looking at the other couple to see if they, too, were enjoying it. I hoped they did. The grand finale of the musical was just great. I think this movie would make a nice pairing with Be Kind, Rewind, in a cute, funny, and quirky but not pretentious film festival. Enjoy this sing-along of the hit tune "Rock Me Sexy Jesus":

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dreamy Shopper

I have been having weird dreams lately. I think it's because I'm pregnant (six months pregnant, actually. I haven't blogged about it until today, though). I am also having increasingly more trouble sleeping every night. Cramps in my legs. Hips hurting. I guess that's normal. Plus, with school starting and dealing with my newly renovated library, I'm a bit stressed. But not in such a bad way. I also can't stop shopping for maternity clothes (I say "whatever" to the people who are like, "why buy cute clothes because you'll only be wearing them for nine months." First of all, it's more like ten months, and secondly, I don't want to look like a dork. I already feel like a whale, totally out of shape and zitty. But the baby's healthy, so I can't complain. Although I still do.). I just bought a little outfit online before leaving for work. It was on sale! The annoying thing is that most of the cheap brands don't seem to fit me very well. I have ordered about twenty times from the Gap and Old Navy online (free shipping there and back) and have had to return almost everything. Juicy Couture Maternity, however, is working nicely. Oh well. I think it's good for me and the baby's morale. And as long as I don't go overboard (which, as anyone who knows me, knows I am incapable of doing), I might as well enjoy myself. But I should probably stop. Soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Boring Work Tales

I really want to blog about something because I feel bad that I'm not blogging, but I don't have much interesting to blog about. I am back at work this week, since my library was gutted and redone (beautiful new carpeting, shelves, desks and lights!). The movers put all of the books back, but, alas, these were not library movers, as much as they pretended to be. So now my assistant and I (plus my super-kind friend, Katie) are trying to put the books back in order. It is pretty boring. The place is a mess, but the library office and storage room are not finished, so we can't put anything away. I am trying to be mellow, except for the other day when I cried in front of everyone. Ah well. I saw one of my coworkers today, who looked about to lose it over her new stuff, so I'm not alone. Tomorrow is Friday, and then I have two b-day parties to go to this weekend. Got to think of some gift ideas...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Veiny

This morning when I was fixing my hair, I looked in the mirror and I swear that the veins in my forearm were so blue that I looked like that scene in X-Men when Rogue sucks the life out of Wolverine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Light Update

Sorry to be gone a while, but I was at Disney World with my family. I will have more posty posts coming up (although I had so many good posts running through my head on my trip which have now escaped), but I just have to say:
-How could they have moved the Harry Potter movie release date? That is SO disrespectful to fans and is all about MONEY and it SUCKS.
-I love that so many people are writing to me about Chandler's student planners closing their business.
-I like watching the Olympics, but I don't like cocky American male athletes.
-I am sad about the death of Bernie Mac.
-I never tire of Disney World.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Text Madness

I just received five text messages from some dude I don't even know inviting me to his birthday party tomorrow. I don't think he actually meant to invite me, but why did he send five of the same text messages in a row? How weird. And why did it creep me out?

Do I have any readers who are fans of So You Think You Can Dance? Any of those living in Chicago? Freakin' Bears' preseason game aired OVER the SYTYCD finale on the Chicagoland Fox channel. How rude is that? We watch all season, we vote 170 times for Joshua (yeah. I really did.), and then we can't even watch it live! They didn't even air the finale until after 11 at night, and anyone who knows me knows that I will not stay up for that. So I read about it online, and then watched the show the next day. NOT THE SAME THING. I feel like I should write an angry letter to Fox about this, but what's the point? I should probably save my letter-writing campaigns for something actually important. Like that time I wrote a letter to Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine telling them to stop putting sluttily dressed women on the cover because its readers weren't looking for that. They were looking for travel news. Yeah, I'm quite the activist.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Get Well Soon Audiobook!

I keep searching online for the Get Well Soon audiobook, which was supposed to come out in late spring but I haven't heard any news. Today I found this link to Borders, and while I don't think the audio is available yet, there is a clip! So if you'd like to hear it, click on the "Listen to Excerpt" button on the right side of the screen. Wee!

Brats and Driveways

That "brats" in the subject is the brat in bratwurst, not the brat as in a snotty-poo kid, although it could mean both. Today I'm going to meet my old college roommate at one of my favorite restaurants, The Brat Stop, in Kenosha. Why would you love the Brat Stop so much if you are mainly a vegetarian (to explain my picky eating stylings would be a bit boring)? Because it's in Wisconsin and Wisconsin has the good cheese! I hate those commercials with cows talking, and they're all "Happy cows come from California," or some crap like that. Whatever?! Cheese=Wisconsin. End of story. California has enough stuff to brag about, and now they are trying to take cheese away from Wisconsin? Well I'm not having it. But I am having a fantabulous grilled cheese. Mmmmmmmmm.

In driveway news, we had a new driveway put in today. It's so perfect, but I am worried that the neighbor boy (who always seems like he has nothing to do but ride his bike on our grass and driveway) will drive over it while it's soft. So I made Matt put up blocking ropes on all portions of the driveway. I still keep having visions of this kid riding onto our grass, and then riding between the ropes. Or limboing underneath the ropes. [The rest of the content of this post has been edited because Matt thinks I was being too mean.] Must think of cheese...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hilarious Spam Email Subject!

"School Board Adopts Gay-Ass Uniform Policy"

What does that even mean? I think I'd like to see those uniforms.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Suck It, Chandler's

I have found my Chandler's replacement (although, admittedly, I would still be happy with a Chandler's if they decided to come back. Hmmm, but maybe I would be cold to them for a while for ditching me so brutally). After visiting Walgreen's, Target, Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max, I chose to purchase a Trapper brand student planner [sadly, there are no pictures online, and I am too lazy to take and upload one]. It's definitely not as classy as a Chandler's, but it does have a see-through, pocket cover, for both storage capability and allowing you to design and change your own covers. The pages are blue, without annoying "1:00, 2:00,..." that they have in a lot of books these days. I really don't plan my days that closely, or if I do, I like to write in the times myself. The address area was weak, of course, but what I did was (don't laugh) took scrapbook letters and added several address pages on the pages designated for "notes;" at the top of each page, I put the 3-4 letters that would be represented on each page (just like in the Chandler's address book). The best parts of this book are the pages in the back that show you how to create a secret code, chat lingo and emoticon dictionaries, and sign language, Braille and Morse Code keys! And-- each page has a fun 80s factoid at the bottom. I guess because Trapper Keepers were only cool in the 80s? I still think Chandler's had the design down. They were smart enough to have their cover extend past the pages so that the pages did not get destroyed. Alas, my Trapper does not. I guess this is a test year. Sigh. I bet you all are thinking that I am over-thinking this, but obviously whoever made those Chandler's knew what they were doing and really were able to perfect things over time.

80s Factoid of the week: The Tom Cruise movie Top Gun was linked to a 40% sales increase of Ray Ban "Aviator" sunglasses in 1986. [Product placement?]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Clean

I don't want to clean the house! I always have tons of enthusiasm for it in the morning, but then the afternoon rolls around and I just want to sleep. I am about half way done with my share (Matt and I split the duties), so I should finish. Sometime.

Yersterday we went to the county fair. I had this grandios image of Charlotte's Web, but when did everything get so freakin' expensive? The fair iteslef cost $8.00 per person! Then there was an actual bathroom (in addition to outhouses), and there was this crazy lady bitching outside the door about how she keeps the bathroom clean and people better tip her. Scazry! It cost $4.00 for a slice of pizza, and $3.00 if I wanted to play a game of Wack-a-mole! Shouldn't a game at a carnival cost $.50, $1.00 max? Or am I dillisioanl, stuck in some previouis fair era. The animals, however, were very cute (and huge! Pigs and cows can be huge!), but I couldn't help wondering if they were going to turn into food. Sad. All in all, it was kind of a disppointing experience.

In other news, Matt has been going crazy looking at all of the San Diego Comic-Con news that's on the web. As you may recall, Matt and I went to the Comic-Con on our honeymoon five years ago, and also went last year. Click here for my awesome photo album (sorry for the slow load). I think we may end up going again next year. But guess who was there this year-- James Franco! Weird. Not like I would have waited in line to see him. I mean, what do you do when you see an actor you like? "Um, hi, I liked you on this show." "Wow, gee, thanks. Do you want an autograph?" "What am I going to do with an autograph? Put it in my scrapbook?" "No need to be rude. What do you want?" "Um, never mind." And scene.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer Rut

I don't know why I can't just be happy to be on vacation, but I always get in a weird state at this time of summer. I'm not happy to be doing nothing, and I'm stressed about going back to work. I keep having work anxiety dreams, which makes sleeping unpleasant, as well. I should remember that this really does happen every summer, but that doesn't seem to make things much better. And I am beating myself up, arguing in my brain about going to the gym. What else is new. I could leave in twenty minutes to go to water walking class. It has been pretty fun, but the last time it was too crowded and the people were talking the whole time. But if I don't go, I may end up stuck in the house all day. Why am I completely incapable of relaxing? How does that happen?

I am starting to obsessively use the internet with nothing to search for. Today I did a Julie Halpern "Get Well Soon" search, which I haven't done in a long time. I found this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pvldteens/2658908109/
which is a picture from the American Library Association conference in July at the Best Books for Young Adults discussion. That means that teens were discussing my book because it was nominated, but I won't know if it makes the list until the Midwinter conference in January. I love the picture, but I wish it was a video! I want to know what she's saying. Maybe one of you can write me a fake dialog for it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Strange Days with No Address Pages

The last two days have been strange and though-provoking. Yesterday I attended the funeral of the 95 year-old mother of my uncle (married to my mom's sister), Pearl. Pearl was a wonderfully smart and clever woman. She attended one of my readings for Get Well Soon in the fall, and was very open-minded. I never knew her that well, but I loved hearing the stories people told about her. After the funeral and the burial, we went back to her house for Shiva, where you visit with the mourners to keep them company, nosh, and reminisce about the deceased. There I got to hang with a bunch of cousins I haven't seen in ages. It was really wonderful. I do love being around family.

Today I drove an hour and a half to meet up with a person with whom I went to high school, Wendy. The interesting thing is that while Wendy and I were friendly in high school, I don't know if you'd consider us friends. We never hung out outside of school or anything. The crazy thing is that Wendy inspired one of the characters in my new novel, a sort of quirky, nerdy character named Dottie. The REALLY crazy thing is that the day I finished writing my novel, Wendy contacted me out of the blue to say hello. Again, we hadn't really been in touch since high school. We had a great time today, chatting and eating at Applebee's in Beloit, WI (although my meal was kind of gross. They didn't have a lot of options for my picky taste buds). One of our stops after lunch was Staples, where I tried to find a suitable replacement for my Chandler's. I looked through every assignment notebook they had, but none of them had a satisfactory address section. Am I the only idiot who likes to rewrite my address book at the end of each summer into a new Chandler's? Surely not!

Exciting news: I think my celebrity crush has moved on from Ron Weasley/Rupert Grint (although I still love the guy) to Daniel Desario (played by James Franco) on Freaks and Geeks. Not that I have any interest in finding out anything about the actor. The characters are always more interesting anyway. Real people always end up driving Hummers and dating super models. (Although I have heard that Rupert Grint owns an ice cream truck. Food for thought.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chandler Plan

No, I am not writing about Friends. Truthfully, I was never a huge Friends fan, although toward the end I watched it every week. It really bothered me that there was no genuine emotion on the show-- everything was solved too quickly, and no one on the show could actually cry. They would just whine and pretend to cry. Unlike my favorite recent sitcom, Girlfriends, which always took comedy and emotion to a new level. What the hell am I talking about?

The point of this post was to see if anyone out there knows of a suitable replacement for my beloved Chandler's assignment notebook. The qualities I am looking for:

-Same portable size as Chandler
-Sturdy-ish cover, but nothing too thick or heavy
-Weekly layout, with little monthly calendars on the top of each week
-A decent-sized address book in the back (I really use this feature)

I think that's it. I found a kind of good one called Snapperz (I couldn't find a link for it, but I will try to get one later), which may have to do, at Walgreen's. The address section was small, but not as small as the Mead Five Star.

All help is appreciated.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why must life be so difficult?

I don't know what to do. So You Think You Can Dance is on from 7-9 tonight, but Project Runway premieres at 8:00, followed by a new episode of Sheer Genius. I have to watch Dance in a timely fashion so that I may vote Joshua and Katee are my faves), but I don't want to have to wait until 10:00 to watch Runway. Oh, tough call! And no, I don't have Tivo. Wednesday night done right! I have so been sucked into summer crap TV...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cue Rocky Theme (not Eye of the Tiger)

I finished my revision! I finished my revision! I told my editor I would be done by July 15th, and I did it! I actually worked on over one hundred pages yesterday (typing the changes into my computer, not actually revising), which was more than half way, so it would make things easier today. And it did! The second half had way fewer changes to make, so it went twice as fast! Now I have to wait to hear back from my editor. I think I should hear within the next month. I wonder what she'll say. I hope she likes it and thinks it's way better than the last version. I hope my readers like it, too!

Now what to do? I have some thank you notes and letters to write, and I'm trying to catch up on some long, lost email friends. I am also going to meet up with some old friends, and hopefully put my photos from last summer's vacations into photo albums. But I really do have to find something more to focus on, or I will go insane (as I do every summer). For today, though, I am going to cut myself some slack and watch crappy TV (i.e. Full House). Let the wild rumpus begin!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kokomo!


My mom just called me from Ravinia, a local outdoor music venue, where she's seeing the Beach Boys. She said that John Stamos is on stage playing the drums with them! Is that hilarious or what?! Matt and I always joke about how he plays with them on Full House and how he was in their godawful video for the godawful song, Kokomo. And there he is! I asked my mom to take a pic with her cell phone, but we'll see how that turns out. I wish I was there! Just to laugh at it at least.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Noooooo!!!!!!

Can you believe this:

CLICK HERE FOR UNBELIEVABLE NEWS

I can't believe it! Mine is almost out, and I want to start writing my August plans. What will I do now? What will I do, I ask you?!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lame Julie Updates

Yeah, I am a slack blogger. Do I need to start every blog post that way, though? Things are going on right now, some of which you know about and some of which you don't, that are making my mind mush. I am almost finished with my revision of my second novel (although I will then have to type in the changes, which as I have said before, takes me forever and is my least favorite part). But then I will have some lazy summer days! What to do with myself? Oh, I know, I will eat a bunch of crap, watch bad TV, and hate myself for it. Sounds fun, ay? Matt and I are pricing new sliding glass doors (get excited, people!). I joined a new gym and have been taking water classes, which are super fun but always make me need to pee really badly. I wonder if anyone pees during the class? Eeeewww. Matt and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary this past weekend, and we celebrated by buying me an awesome Goblet of Fire movie promo poster with Ron Weasley front and center. We also went to a fun flea market and to a nice dinner and watched our wedding DVD for the first time in a long time (it is so weird to watch myself dance). Yes, this is unfocused, but I am saving my focus for my novel. When I'm done with that, I will focus all my focus on the crappy TV I'm watching so I can give you the latest reports on who fell off the giant balls on Wipeout. Does any of this make sense? Time to make dinner!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Spam Hilarity

While being a slacker and not working on my book when I'm supposed to (I make myself schedules and promptly disregard them), I have been fooling around online. I am still enjoying the random spam emails I get (not that I open them, but their subjects and senders are funny enough). Matt has noticed lately that he gets these really nasty subjects that have his name in them and basically insult him. I hadn't been getting those (although I get "Update your penis" about three times a day. And that subject makes me laugh every time. What does that even mean?), but today I finally got, "Julie is an idiot." It made me laugh. And then wonder if I'm an idiot for laughing. Maybe the subject was right!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pandas!

You may recall many months ago that I had a small obsession with baby pandas. Well have you heard the news that they inseminated 38 pandas, and are now having a large crop of adorable, rolling babies? I'm sure there are more pictures out there (and you better believe I will seek them out), but here is a link to what I believe is someone else's blog posting of the photos. I love the ones of the baby in a plastic tub! Why is he in a plastic tub?! So cute I can't stand it! And I'm really not one of those people who is overly obsessed with cute stuff.

Today has been a good day. I went to the gym this morning and took my Zumba class, and then I worked in my writer's nook and got through twenty pages of my new novel revisions. My goal is to get through twenty pages per day over the next two weeks, and then I will be finished! With at least a month of summer to slack around! Huzzah! What shall I do with my time? Maybe I will start writing another book. Or maybe I will play the Sims. Or maybe I will look at baby pandas all day because, really, who wouldn't be happy doing that?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Order now!

I just found out that Matt's next illustrated book, Mighty Casey, is listed on Amazon. It doesn't come out until March 3, but there it is already! My in laws are in town, so I'll keep this short. Hope everyone is having a good summer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wipeout!

Is anybody watching this crappy show Wipeout? It's hilarious. Sort of. I don't know how many more hours of crappy TV I can take this summer. But why do I enjoy it so much? There's a show I'd like to watch on PBS tonight, although that will probably be eclipsed by the OCD hilarity on Bravo's Flipping Out. I am losing many an IQ point this summer.

So I am diligently working on my revisions of my second novel (with my tentative title, Roll for Initiative. I think my editor still wants me to change the title, but I can't think of a better one. Being in summer vacation mode, it's pretty hard to think of anything these days). Anyway, to help me work, Matt and I set up a little writing nook in our bedroom. My house has many surfaces, but they don't help me focus on writing. Usually I go to the public library to work in this little room with no windows, but I can't fathom sitting in a room with no windows forcing myself to work. The surfaces in my house just don't inspire work, though. Outside on my deck, I'm too distracted by bugs and wind and sunblock smells. At the kitchen table I'm too distracted by the lure of food. And my actually computer desk is, well, covered by a computer. So we bought a tiny desk (not that tiny, like still adult sized) desk at Target, set it up next to a window, and I worked there for the first time today. It was quite nice. I could watch cars drive by, my cat hung by me on the floor, yet I wasn't distracted by other things. I'm quite pleased with my nook. And I can't stop using the word nook. That makes me sound a little classier, right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not so Swell

Tonight I'm going to see The Swell Season, the duo from the beautiful musical movie, Once. I am sort of excited and must remember to bring binoculars to see their faces. But I am also a tad nervous. You see, I had some turkey chickpea chili for lunch, as well as a fruity salad, and I am, shall we say, a tad gurgley. What if the concert is all quiet and... Well, if you have read my novel, you know what I'm getting at. If you haven't read it, or if you just have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm not about to explain it. Oy. And the Costa Rican food we plan on having for dinner at Irazu won't help, will it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not Jonesing

I saw the new Indiana Jones flick this weekend. I was not blown away, but I guess I didn't expect to be. I always liked the movies, Temple of Doom in particular, but I think I've been over them for about twenty years. The movie was fun, although not as fun as the National Treasure movies (not that I use them as a comparison for all movies, but I really did enjoy my movie going experience with the last National Treasure. Plus, they both have that funny/mystery/adventure thing going). My mom agreed. Matt seemed to like the movie and didn't want to say anything bad about it. Sometimes I think he gets mad at me for being critical of movies, even when I'm not being that critical.

I ate some pretzels this morning, and the pretzel bag won't stop making crinkling noises on the counter. It's kind of freaking me out. Like what if a mouse or giant bug crept into the bag and now it's trapped by a Chip Clip? You know what I'm really supposed to be doing right now? Revising my novel. But I'm afraid of it! It's been so long! What if I can't do it? What if I choke, like Brenda did on 90210 last night while auditioning as Maggie the Cat for hotshot director, Roy Robertson? Now how would Brenda deal with this...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Misty Dreams

OMG. I saw the most disturbing movie last night. It was The Mist, based on a Stephen King book. I knew it was somewhat end of the world-ish, and it was about a group of people trapped in a grocery store after a mysterious mist covers the land. But out in the mist-- there are dangerous things. I could have been completely fine with that and the scariness and the goriness if it weren't for the ENDING. I don't want to be a spoiler, but let's just say that it was the most depressing film ending I have ever seen. We watched a truly dorky episode of 90210 afterward just to try and get that yucky feeling out of our heads. But it didn't work because all night I had HORRID dreams. The worst! Every dream! In one dream, I had two cats (they were actually my old cats from childhood) and I gave them these sleeping pill jellybeans so they would die because I planned on killing myself afterward, but then I didn't and I had two, tiny (like really tiny for some reason) dead cats. And there were other bad ones, too, but I am luckily forgetting. I am starting to wonder if there was MSG in my Thai food last night. There better not have been. I tried calling the Thai restaurant this morning, but no answer. I think MSG can contribute to bad dreams. So if you want a good night's sleep, I suggest not eating Thai food before watching The Mist. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Matt's Graphic Novel

I want to direct all of my readers to my husband, Matt's new graphic novel page on his website. Matt has been working really hard on this teen story of skaters and friendships (and I believe there will even be some unrequited love later on). As he completes them, he will post more chapters. Good stuff!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stinky America!

I am so upset! The first book of my fabbity fab favorite book series, Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, is being turned into a movie- "Angus, Things and Perfect Snogging" (book title: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging)-- but not in the United States! Nooooooo!!! It looks so funny!
This better at least come out on DVD here. Man! They get Rupert Grint, their money is worth twice as much as ours, and now this! Georgia, I love you!

You Don't Got It, Dude

Someone said something very weird today at work. As of now, I am in a classroom on the top floor of the school because the library has been closed for construction. The room has turned into a bizarre "The Office" scenario, in my opinion. Today we were looking at a People Magazine with Jodie Sweetin on the cover-- you may recognize her as Stephanie from "Full House." That's all I recognize her from, if I even recognize her at all. Anyway, this guy, he's twenty-two and just working until the end of the school year as a technology associate, says, "What red-blooded American boy didn't have a crush on Stephanie Tanner?" Both me and my assistant gave incredulous "Huh?"s to him because this had to be a joke. Stephanie Tanner, the middle child with the jacked-up teeth? No redeeming or even interesting character qualities? We were shocked. But this guy was not kidding. So, I ask you, America, was he right? Being in a small space with a group of people sure teaches me some weird and frightening things.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

HAGS

Did you know that stands for "Have a great summer?" That's the new yearbook lingo. We had yearbook day at work yesterday. I always love to get autographs and sign student yearbooks. It's usually only the students who care about the library who ask me for autographs, so then I have to write meaningful or funny things in everyones yearbooks. It's somewhat difficult, but I was on a roll. Here are some of the adorable/bizarre/insanely sweet things kids wrote in my yearbook:

"Thanks for being the coolest librarian ever!"

"The RC [Resource Center= The Library]is HEAVEN...but...with more...paper."

"You are a great librarian and person."

"I love books."

"D&D 4ever."

My favorite because it was total crap (he told me he wrote this in everyones yearbook):
"No words can describe our friendship." That from an eighth grade boy. Hilarious!

HAGS, everyone!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cousins, but No Pancakes

This weekend we celebrated my Grandma Sylvia's 90th birthday. Cousins and aunts and uncles came in from all over the country. I loved seeing everyone, and I particularly love the relationships I have with my many cousins, whom I rarely get to see since we all live so far away from each other. I set up a cousins breakfast for the day after the birthday party, and every one of the cousins made it (except for Daniel and Leslie, who are home pregnant with twins). We went to a tasty breakfast place, but they didn't have pancakes. I really wanted pancakes. I still want pancakes, in fact, and I saw this ad for a place called Apple Holler, where they have all you can eat strawberry pancakes! It's all I can think about! I am trying to convince the family to go with me this weekend. I think it could work because we're also thinking about going to the Kenosha Outta Site Kite Flight- a kite flying extravaganza- nearby to Apple Holler. I'll let you know how it goes, and if I ever manage to get my pancakes. Yes, this is all I can think to write about these days. Wait until two weeks, when school is over, and I have to start revising my novel again. Hopefully, I'll have had my fill of pancakes by then.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Bee

How many of you watched the Spelling Bee finale? I think it's funny that it's on ESPN up until the final night. I think it's great because it probably drives sports fans nuts. Or does it? The weird things about that, though, are that a) it's not a sport and b) it's all children, which isn't normally who competes on ESPN, right? (I am writing all of this as if I have ever seen a moment of ESPN. I have not.). Anywho, I didn't watch all two hours of the finals last night, but I did watch a good chunk of the end. It was fun, although the winner wasn't as charismatic as the second place guy. I have a student who was really into spelling, and I would have loved if she were on the show. I bet it's insanely fun to watch if you know someone on it.

In other news, I believe summer may finally be here. Our backyard is like Wild Kingdom, filled with squirrels and bunnies and birds. Sometimes I want to put my cat, Tobin, out there to see what he'd do, but he's strictly an indoor cat. I just can't risk him getting some outdoor disease or getting run over. I love him too much! My favorite part of the weekend is how Tobin settles next to my head while I sleep in, and we lean against each other. Ooh- that reminds me of some creepy dream I had this morning. I have had several dreams where I have been at some sort of camping or rustic getaway, which is something I am soooo not into. So then the dreams turn into something of a nightmare. The other night, I was battling some sort of weird weasel-type animal, and I was clamping his mouth shut so he couldn't bite me. What the heck does that mean?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday! A Night of Excitement!

Wednesday night has the greatest TV! It's so exciting that I could barely fall asleep. First there was the double shot of my two favorite new shows: So You Think You Can Dance AND Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular! I had to flip at every commercial (I stayed mostly on the dance show, until we got to the Showcase Showdown). This week's SYTYCD wasn't as good as last week's (although there is another ep. on tonight, so I could be surprised), but TPIS was so great! One guy got $1.00 on the big wheel and then another $.15, which is in the green zone, so he won mega money! Truthfully, I can't remember how much. I know they give a lot more money in thbe evening edition (which is why it's so much more entertaining. And why Family Feud is so underwhelmeing: an entire family of five only wins $20,000. What's that after taxes?). Then, in the Showcase Showdown, both showcases had cars (one had TWO cars)! I bid on one of the showcases (in my mind) for $70,000, and then the guy bid the exact same amount. It was a thrill. However, not as thrilling as wehn the other guy guessed within $500 of the retail price of his showcase, so he won his showcase, the other guy's showcase, and ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!! It was so thrilling I jumped up and down in my bed. Did I mention I have also been wtaching American Gladiators? I have recently turned into one classy broad.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love this!!!

I can not get enough of this guy from So You Think You Can Dance (my absolute favorite reality show, I have decided). I watched this guy last week, and then I saw that the rerun was on last night and had to watch it again AND called my mom so she would watch it. If you haven't seen him yet (or heard the crazy prefect music), check this out:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old Skool

This past week I spoke at my old junior high (now a middle school). It was fantastic! I am hesitant to speak about such a personal book (Get Well Soon) to large groups, so the librarian there make it so I would speak to three small groups of about fifteen or so seventh and eighth graders. And to make it even better, every one of them read the book! I don’t know how she got them to do it. It made me feel like a crappy librarian, since I can barely get students to participate in book groups. But these kids were so smart and had tons of great questions. Being at the the school didn’t bring back too many memories, only because there were so many editions and renovations that it didn’t look anything like the old school. The second group of kids took me on a tour, and there I got to see some of the old spaces, like the sewing room and my locker hallway. I realized that this year would be my twentieth reunion from eighth grade graduation! That’s so forever ago! I wonder if the kids thought I was old. I mean, when you look at it that way, twenty years is a long time! Only one of my old teachers still works in the school, but I didn’t want to say hi because I knew she wouldn’t remember me, although she might say she did, and that would be all humiliating.

Sorry again for the lag in posts-- we're packing up my library this week for a big demolition, and I'm really having trouble focusing. I had such dreams last night about packing books. Stressful! Oh- but I did have this really weird dream that played out like a Twilight Zone episode, where I was on a trolley car with a bunch of people. I thought we were on our way to a bat mitzvah, but then it turned out that no one could ever get off the trolley! Then I figured it out that you had to think of your heart's desire to get off, and everyone eventually did get off. It was quite dramatic. I wonder what it means?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hair what?

I could have sworn that David Cook was covering up a major receding hairline with that combover he's had all season, but his hair is up and no bald spot. Last minute hair plugs, perhaps?

Friday, May 16, 2008

So Sorry

Well, I am the suckiest blogger ever. I can't believe I'm so out of habit. And I worry that if I'm out of the habit of blogging, I'm out of the habit of writing. Once the school year ends, I'm supposed to pound right back into revising my second novel. I told my editor I'd have it back to her by July 15, which isn't out of the question at all, but what if I forgot how to write? I really don't think that's going to happen, but what if? So I'm really going to try and be a better blogger because maybe that will lead to better writing. Practice makes perfect, and all. Speaking of, you have to take a look at Matt's adorable new pig skateboard drawings (he was practicing using a certain pen, I believe, hence the practice segue). You can see the pics HERE.

Is anyone else excited about the channels ME and METOO? I couldn't get them for the longest time, but when Matt and I got an HDTV, we also purchased an HD antenna which allows us to get a variety of bizarre local channels. ME and METOO are the coolest! Just check out their schedule:
http://www.metvchicago.com/pdf/Winter-2007-2008-METV556AA.pdf
I'm just dying for a Saturday night with nothing to do so I can watch the amazing lineup! Why would they stick "Saved By The Bell" in there, though? It does not fit with such classics as "Square Pegs" and "Gimme a Break." I showed Matt the schedule, all excited, and he just shrugged. Whatever. He'll see. No one can resist the power of Nell Carter. (BTW- is this just a local thing?)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get Excited. Sheesh.

I am watching the Price is Right Prime Time Million Dollar Spectacular, and there was just this obnoxious blond skank who got to play Plinko-- freakin' Plinko!-- and all she could do was make cool thumbs ups and look at her friends int he audience. What a waste! And it was magical million dollar Plinko, which means you could win $20,000 on every turn. How could she not freak out? How could they choose such a snotty dud? I would have been way more entertaining and hilarious. Sad. But I'm like that. My students and I have been playing the new version of the Life board game, where they have a special credit card machine and some crazy lottery games, and we were SCREAMING today because I won $198,000 in the Life game lottery. To each his own, I suppose.

And shall we talk about Idol? I can barely say anything except that everyone sugged big time last night. Horrid. I wish I didn't have to watch. Yeah, I have to. I can't wait until So You Think You Can Dance starts, though. I love watching dancers. Except on that newish Bravo show, Step It Up and Dance. The dancing is quite mediocre. Not that I could do better, but the challenges are nothing compared to the complex and perfected performances of So You Think.

I think I'm all rambly now because I hadn't blogged in so long. And I keep thinking about my awesome dinner tonight-- a homemade baked macaroni and cheese. I'd kind of like some more.

For pictures from the NAMI awards (did I forget to talk about Elizabeth Swados, who presented my award? She was AMAZING. She said such beautiful things about Get Well Soon. Matt videotaped it and wanted to watch it the other day, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Still too traumatized by having to give a speech.

Dang-- the skank made it to the Showcase Showdown. Grrr...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bad Julie

Yes, I am a bad blogger. Ever since that whole mess up with Blogger, I have had trouble getting back into it. I will try to be better.

The first thing I should blog about is the amazing experience I had at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ken Book Awards in New York City. Matt and I had such a lovely time, and everyone was so kind and encouraging. I felt a little out of place- as I always do among grown-ups- and I was particularly worried about my acceptance speech. I rewrote it about a hundred times, and when I finally went up there, I said that I was used to speaking to thirteen and fourteen year-olds, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. People were super receptive and sweet. I was amazed at the company—-a Nobel prize winner was the keynote speaker! (I will admit that I heard very little of what he was saying, due to the fact that I was so nervous I was literally SHAKING. I was freaked!). And I must mention the very tasty dinner we had the night before the awards breakfast at Solera. The generous folks at NAMI entertained us, and the restaurant was so accommodating to Matt and my vegetarian needs—-they made us our own paella!

I am trying to decide now if I should send thank you notes to those in NAMI who gave the award, because it was such a fantastic experience. What is the etiquette on this? I do like writing thank you notes. I think I shall. I hope they don’t think I’m a goober.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tester


I think we are trying to switch the blog back to juliehalpern.com/blog. So this is a test of the Julie blogcasting system. This is only a test.

You're Going Down, Monchichi!

Matt somehow figured out how to fix his blog, but I messed mine up by deleting a bunch of stuff. So for now, the address has changed. I hope that hasn't messed people up and now they can't find my blog. We shall see!

I recently discovered that I distort memories of songs. For example, Matt and I have had this sort of bet going on for YEARS about the lyrics to the old Monchichi doll commercials (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, Monchichi was a monkey-like doll that had a tiny mouth hole that you could put its thumbs into. Why, I don't know.). I always swore that the lyrics were "Yum yum yum! Yum yum yum! It's Monchichi!" Matt claimed they were "Happy happy Monchici!" As you will see from the video below, I was not correct.


The next made-up song lyric came from the freaky old cereal commercial (yes, Matt and I often debate about old commercials. Don't you?) for the cereal Crispy Critters. This cereal is wrong in so many ways (why is it that we wanted to eat a cereal with the name "critters" in its title? And why would we want to eat the cereal after we saw this frightening ad?), but I swore the song went, "The good, nutritious cereal with lots of ca-runch." Matt thought the lyrics went, "The low sugar cereal, with lots of ca-runch." Once again, I am the loser. Be warned: watching this commercial may give you nightmares.

Lastly, when I lived in Australia, I used to watch their daily cheeseball soap, "Neighbours." I LOVED the corny theme song, and sing it to Matt often. However, I learned from watching about twenty different versions of the opening and closing credits (it's insane that people take the time to put this stuff up on Youtube in the first place. Yet I am grateful.), I made part of the song up! I could have sworn that at the end of the show there was a repeat (is that a coda? I can't remember the correct musical term, although if you watch the credits, I don't know if "musical" is the right word) of "Neighbours" where the guy sang, "Oooooh Neighbours." Yet in every example I watched, there was no oooooh! But I swear it was there! I'm chalking this one up to the fact that the ones posted on Youtube are from people in England. Maybe the Brits didn't like the oooooh and took it out. I can't always be wrong, can I?

STOP THE PRESSES! When I was going through the Youtube Neighbours stuff to find you a clip (I swear there are hundreds) I found it! I found the ooh! It really is more of an oooh than an ooooooh (slightly disappointing), but that means I didn't make it up! Take that, Monchichi! Enjoy this clip from the show (with a character named Toadfish-- you heard me right-- followed by the credits). And then try getting the song out of your head.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Julie Gives Back

I have no reason for naming this post what I did, except that I'm watching "Idol Gives Back." I am always amazed at Bono. I was so on love with U2 in junior high and early high school, and I don't really listen to them much anymore, but Bono... sigh. He is a hero. And then there's Fergie... strange looking girl. It totally sucks, though, how everyone kept saying she was pregnant and really it was that she gained some weight. And then she lost it and wore leather pants to show that she lost it (I heard her say that). But now I'm just annoyed with her because Heart is on kicking ASS with "Barracuda," showing everyone how women can rock it out, and Fergie has to come out and skank it all up. Cheap 'ho. Ooh- that hit a nerve, can you tell?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Degrassi Spring Break Movie Recap and Tablecoths

Did you watch the Degrassi Spring Break Movie? While Entertainment Weekly gave the movie only a B-, I thought it was at least a B+, if not A- material. Perhaps it's because the "movie" (hardly a movie if it's only an hour long, which is exactly how long their normal double episodes are) mainly starred my two favorite Degrassi-ites, Jay and Manny. Jay was in top, charming form (and me saying this without him ever getting back to me about my trip to Canada), trying to woo Manny back after making a big mistake. I'm kind of having a hard time believing that they want to actually be engaged now (as opposed to their previous, fake engagement) because how many 18 year-olds want to be engaged? Seems a little silly. But I'll play along. Even the Peter/Darcy plot wasn't painful, and I loathe the two of them. All in all a Degrassi good time.

(as I have to buy plates and napkins and tablecloths for a baby shower we're throwing at work this week. Somehow I'm always on our school's "social committee," I guess because the whole goal of the committee is to make people get along and be happy, which is sort of one of my all-around goals. I have hit a snag, though, in that I was supposed to get purple and turquoise tablecloths (as determined by some members of the committee), and, alas, the place I went to has discontinued their turquoise tablecloths. I'm going to a different party store today, so let's hope I have better luck there. It would just be a horror if I couldn't find the turquoise! And what color should I buy instead? This kind of stuff stresses me out SO much, probably because, as much color as I wear, I'm not exactly one to feel adept at picking colors for other people. I'll let you know what happens. Better get shopping.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Podcast Contest

It's time for a Get Well Soon giveaway contest! I hope all of my blog readers don't already have copies of the book, but here goes. The contest involves you posting a comment about podcasting. I have started to try and listen to two different Harry Potter podcasts: Mugglecast and Pottercast. I'm not sure how I feel yet. I suppose podcasts are like talk radio, which I don't often listen to, and I can't decide if I like it or not. I feel like I should always be doing something else while I do anything, so just sitting at my computer and listening to someone talk feels odd. I know I can download it to my ipod and listen to it while I drive to work, but then it's not interesting enough to keep my mind off the annoying landscape trucks that are extending my commute by twenty minutes (bastards). So the question(s) is this: Do you listen to podcasts? Why or why not? Which ones? The comments I get before Friday, April 11 will be placed into a hat (or perhaps a bowl), and I will draw the winning name. The winner will receive a signed copy of Get Well Soon, plus maybe another surprise book (but not super exciting, so don't freak out or anything), plus some Get Well Soon frowny face buttons.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Links of Me

Two Julie links today. The first is a newspaper article from a local newspaper. The second is the new Macmillan Get Well Soon page that includes the video clip I made about what to pack when you go to a mental hospital.

Speaking of clothes, my two library coworkers and I have been planning our outfits together all week. It started because we all had on green on Monday. My assistant, Dan, decided we should all wear the same color again. And again. Each day we choose a different color to wear the next day. It's fantastic! Our best day was yesterday, which was purple. Today was red day. The best part about it is that it makes it so much easier to get dressed every day, while also being creative. Plus, I choose things I don't normally wear just so they fulfill the color requirements. Dan won't be at work tomorrow, so Katie and I have made up a rainforest theme (don't ask), but we have all decided on light blue for Monday. Other teachers in the school are getting in on the action, too, and some even feel left out when we don't tell them what we're going to wear! How trendsetting we are in the library.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Video on B&N!

So I was doing my weekly Yahoo! search for my name and book title, and I came upon this video at the Barnes and Noble website. It turns out the book-obsessed person they are interviewing this week happens to be the mother of the "Ken" that the Ken Book Award I will be receiving in May was named in memory of (did that phrasing make sense?). She talks about her books and the importance of the collection, and then she speaks specifically about a few titles, including mine and how it made it in the awards! So amazing to hear someone talk about my book that way. Had to share.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Snackin' in the Air

So this post is going to be about Midwest Airlines, as promised in my list of blogging items. We flew from Milwaukee to Toronto. Midwest Airlines promises freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on their flights, which we have joyously experienced firsthand, but our flight was at 7:40 in the a.m. Would they serve hot cookies then? The answer is no. However, they did give us Quaker Chewy Baked Apple granola bars. How many airlines give free food anymore? That almost made up for the nasty, crusty pleather seats left over from someone's rec room circa 1974. Oh well. I'd definitely fly with them again. Maybe a little later in the day, though, so I can get me some cookies. I wonder if they have some weird baking situation, since recipes sometimes say you have to adjust things according to altitude. Oh, the mysteries of Midwest.

Instead of posting the Canada bookstore pictures here, I'll just give you this link to Matt's blog where he posted the pics and made cute comments. Let me know what you think! I haven't heard from anyone in a while :(

Monday, March 31, 2008

Canadian Bookstores

Matt and I visited three great Toronto bookstores on our trip. I have pictures to upload, but my laptop is, well, on my lap, and I don't feel like getting up. They should be up later tonight or tomorrow.

The first store was a children's book store called The Flying Dragon Bookshop. It was in this super cute neighborhood where the residents really utilize their old fashioned downtown street filled with independently owned shops. We had lunch on the street. The store was buzzing the whole time we were there, so Matt and I didn't have tons of time to talk with its owners and workers (although I did manage to get in some Degrassi questions. One of the employees said she wasn't into the show, but she was with her friend, an obsessive fan, when they saw three Degrassi actors at a mall [three in one place?! Can you imagine?]). They were so kind and friendly and served us strawberries, cookies, and very tasty tea. I purchased a stack of Canadian YA books for my school library, which we mailed home after we left so we didn't have to carry them. It was a super pleasant place, and I hope we can go back someday.

The next store was another independent children's store called Mabel's Fables. It was two stories, bright and lovely. We talked with one of the owners a little about conferences that come through Toronto, but how I had yet to go to a conference there. Sure we be another nice excuse for me to end up back in the T.O. Matt and I both used the store's adorable bathroom.

The final store was a chain store, similar to Borders or Barnes and Noble, called Indigo. They were very nice there and had ten copies of Get Well Soon to sign! It was a quick visit, and I chatted with the children's manager while I signed. I mainly talked about the difference between the American Harry Potters vs. the Canadian (same as the British) versions. Did you know the British ones don't have drawings throughout the book? And then there's a weird "adult version," that just has dark covers. Wacky!

All in all, a wonderful, book-loving experience.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Canadian Chow

Matt is fascinated by the fact that there isn't really "Canadian Food" (or none that we found in Toronto, anyway). We saw one restaurant called Philthy McNasty's that claims to be a Canadian sports bar, but seeing as we are frightened by American sports bars, this didn't seem like an option. The one piece of Canadian food that we can never seem to get our hands on is the illusive Maple Drumstick. We discovered this novelty the last time we visited, but only managed to find advertisements and not the actual product. This time I made it my goal to find one, and we did, but it was at a weird store in the middle of the afternoon when I wasn't prepared to eat it. We figured we'd go to this little convenience store that we went to the day before, because surely they would have a Maple! Alas, they did not, and everything else nearby was closed. I guess we'll have to wait to sample the Maple NEXT time we go. That will be our motivation for going back.

We chose a place called Pumpernickel's for lunch our first day, mostly because it was close, cheap, and because the name is funny. It was fine. For dinner we went back to a Thai restaurant that is close to our hotel and we went to during our last visit called Golden Thai. The atmosphere and some of the food is good, although we have had a few bland dishes. We both agreed we'd go back. My curry dish was quite tasty.

On the second day we had lunch at a French patisserie near one of the bookstores we visited, out of the downtown area. It was fancy and tasty, but I don't recall the name. For dinner we tried a place called Fressen, which I had circled in our guidebook during our last visit but we didn't try until this one. It was a pretentious, hipster, vegan restaurant that had seriously blah food. The funniest part of the dinner was the lame hostess who asked if we had a reservation (it was a Friday night before 6:00- did we really need a reservation?). When we said no, she looked down at us and pointed us to a table close to the door. I watched her the rest of the evening (since I was so close to the door) turn down couple after couple with moronic delight. As for the food, it really was blah. I would not recommend the place, unless you prefer snotty atmosphere to joy and tasty food. I know there are people out there who do. And that's the Toronto food rundown.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Interview with Me on Kaleb Nation's Blog!

Oy! I was so on Spring Break that i forgot to mention Kaleb Nation's interview with me on his fantastico webpage! Be sure to learn all about his amazing pet pig (not in my interview, but as you explore his page)!!! Thanks, Kaleb! I'll be sure to keep my blog readers posted about your upcoming book release.

I still haven't started playing my Potter game... too much to catch up on! I've got a game of Scrabulous waiting, too. Focus, Julie, focus!

Car Adendum

Don't ask why I felt the need to post about this ASAP, but I found this article on Yahoo! about the coolest cars in movie history, and I had to let everyone know that a good number of these cars are on display sickeningly close to my town at the Volo Auto Museum. Definitely worth a visit if you're into that kind of thing.

Back from the T.O.

Matt and I just got home from our visit to Toronto. It was a fun-filled two days, with several decent meals, lots of walking, and some Canadian bookstores. I had all sorts of blog posts planned, which I will eventually get to, but since I'm home and I still have one and a half days left of my Spring Break, I'm sorry, but I have to do a little Potter gaming. You know how it is. For now, I will leave you with this tantalizing list of things I intend to blog about if I ever can become disciplined enough to do so:
-Food we ate in Canada
-Bookstores we visited
-Midwest airlines
-Canadian television
-Curling
-Degrassi Street Part 2

I hope that keeps you on the edge of your seats until next time!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Buff is Back

It's about time SMG (that 's Sarah Michelle Gellar in my universe) went to a Buffy event. What's her deal? The event of which I speak is the PaleyFest, which apparently is something big that happens every year in Los Angeles that I have never heard of. The Paley Center for the Arts held a panel with most of the original cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and my buddy, Joss Whedon (see pic below for how tight we are). Matt and I have been scouring the internet for footage of the panel. We've found quite a bit, the saddest being a red carpet interview with Nicholas Brendan (Xander), who seemed kind of drunk. I'm hoping he was just nervous. If anyone is interested, I can find you the clip. The big news is that these Paley Centers (there's also one in NYC) supposedly have the entire event on video, and if you go there you can watch it in their library. Well, we just happen to be going to NYC for my big Ken Book Award ceremony (I'm still waiting for an official announcement to share with y'all), and with the tiny amount of time we have, I think we may have to try and check this video out. I'll keep you posted.

(Yes, the picture is sideways. I didn't feel like fixing it.)

In the what was I thinking news, I sent Mike Lobel, aka Jay from Degrassi: The Next Generation, a message through MySpace about my upcoming visit to Toronto (did I tell you I'm going there for a couple of days at the end of the week? Just to hang out and soak in the Canadian goodness. And you know I'm going back to Degrassi Street). I told him about my historical love for Degrassi and asked him for advice on the visit. Plus if he could give us a tour of the set. Couldn't hurt to ask, right? We'll see if he writes me back. Or puts a restraining order on me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snow and Potter Update

Just checked the news-- my town got the most snow in Illinois today-- 10.5 inches!

In other news, Harry Potter has been proven addictive. So it's not my fault.

Second Day of Spring My Butt

Matt and I went to the accountant today to do our taxes, today being the first day of my Spring Break. Yesterday was beautiful and sunny and 40 degrees. Perfect for the first day of spring. Today, not so much. Our drive to the accountant was snowy, but nothing us Midwesterners can't handle. We drove about a half hour South, and I think that's what tricked us. We went out to lunch, and right at the end we could tell the snow was falling harder. Our drive back North was thick with snow, skidded stops, crazy people trying to turn, and, eventually, we managed to safely pull into our driveway. HOWEVER, our car did not make it into the garage because there was so much snow on the driveway that we got completely stuck. We then spent the next twenty minutes shoveling, salting, moving the car backward and forward, until, yay, the car is now safely in the garage. It was rather hilarious, in my opinion, although Matt did not agree. He's outside now finishing the driveway, which has somewhere between six and eight inches of snow. The picture below captures the worst shoveler's moment: when the plow rumbles by and pushes massive amounts of heavy, chunky snow onto the end of our driveway. Luckily that hadn't happened before we got home, otherwise we would never have made it into the driveway at all. This year has been so snowy, it seems like such a joke that this is happening after we finally got rid of all but a tiny fragment of the snow. Tobin seems to be enjoying it, though, as you can see in this picture of him sitting in his "chair" and watching the flakes out the window. At least I didn't have to drive to work!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Feva

Man, have I got Spring Fever. All I want to do is be silly and play Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on PS2 (given to me by my student, James, the same student who I am now devising an intricate system so that we may figure out our Hogwarts' houses). I am also planning my two whole days that I have in Toronto next week during vacation. It was somewhat of a last minute idea to go to Toronto, one of my fave cities on Earth. And you can bet that I will return to my home away from home, Degrassi Street. Matt and I are going to visit a couple of Canadian bookstores, since I have noticed that the Canadians have been quite receptive to Get Well Soon. Should be cool. Other than that, we already saw the majority of museums that we wanted to see last time we were there, so I think this time is going to be exploring and shopping and soaking in the Canadian goodness. Maybe trying to stalk a few members of the Degrassi cast (although I don't know how).

I am struggling to finish an interview with the great Kaleb Nation. The first question he asked me was to describe myself in ten words or less. I have answered all of his other questions (I actually finished weeks ago), but I just can't get this one! I've thought of many answers, including my favorite: "Kind of obsessed with Ron Weasley. Love my husband, too." But I don't feel quite right about that... What would you put if someone asked YOU that question? [You're not going to answer me, are you? Because the question's too hard, right?]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Musketeens!

I am now in a gambling ring. Or something like that. They are having a bracket thingy for basketball at work (all money goes to charity, so it's not really gambling), and I decided to take part this year. The thing is, I am guessing at every single team. It's like how I bet on horses- I like the names. It's not like I know anything about sports (even though I'm pretty athletic. I was once on a tennis team and soccer team, so I'm not that pathetic. I just don't follow professional sports. But not in an intellectual, obnoxious way. I just have other things I like to do. Like talk about Harry Potter). In basketball's case, I chose teams based on a) the state, b) the team's name or c)I have some sort of connection to the school. For example, Matt went to Winthrop, so I chose that a bunch of times. I really chose all S.C. schools because of Matt. And I chose Wisconsin because I went there. Texas because I think we might visit this summer. Drake because (and this is hilarious) the guy who plays Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation (Aubrey Graham) just happens to be a Canadian rap star who goes by the name of Drake. So that's why I chose Drake. Even funnier is that I chose the school Xavier for two reasons: the first is, of course, Xavier Roberts created Cabbage Patch Kids (go Stephanie Nancy!), and the second is that I looked up the team's name, and I SWEAR it said "Musketeens!" I thought that was insanely funny. Until I realized it said "Musketeers." Ah well. I'll keep you posted on how well (not) I do in the bracket. We are doing an alternate bracket for the students in the library with favorite candies. It took us hours to come up with 64 candies. Not as easy as it sounds. I'll also keep you posted on the winner of that spirited competition. Such is the week before Spring Break.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday. We threw the party at my house, which is very unusual. We have lived in the house almost four years and this is only the second party we've had (we threw a Rosh Hashanah shindig the first year. I made vegetarian paella. It was quite ambitious). For the party, we ordered food from a local Italian bakery, and it could not have been better. The house looked great, the food was sooooo good, and everyone had a nice time. Because we never have guests, we also don't have enough furniture for feeding guests, so my aunt was kind enough to bring over two tables and eight chairs. We set up a small table in the kitchen to put the food on (my aunt had dropped the table off earlier in the week, so she wasn't at my house at the time of this next story), and right as Matt, me, and my sister were setting up the plates with sandwiches and chips (fancy sandwiches and chips, not Subway-esque crap) the table legs fell out and all of the food fell! It was pretty hilarious, as well as frightening, but we saved everything except the table cloth and a pile of chips. Nice save, Amy (my sis)! Now we have seven hundred left-over sandwiches and salads, but that's OK. This is a shortened week of work, and this way we don't have to go to the grocery store. Until the sandwiches get soggy, that is. And then it's Spring Break! Woo hoo!!!