Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Geeky Book Love

Today is the release day of Matt's fantabulous picture book, Another Brother! Don't forget to enter the contest to win your very own signed copy! And make sure you demand that your local bookstore carries it, please :) (Demand and please in the same sentence. So polite!)

I also had to share that my second novel, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder (Ha! When I first typed that, it read "Into the Wild NED Yonder!") was named a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by YALSA in their "Get Your Geek On" list! I will admit I would have been very saddened if it had not made that list. How much geekier can you get than Dungeons and Dragons? (Much love to my D&D Crew.) I have been very pleasantly surprised by the reception Into the Wild Nerd Yonder received (and continues to receive!) over the few years it's been out. There's certainly a fear of the dreaded "sophomore slump," but people seem to have really connected with the nerdery of ITWNY. Huzzah, I say! Now if we can only get that television show going again...

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Regret

I notice, particularly on facebook, that people like to mention their regrets. Aside from an invitation "regrets only" here or there, I thought I didn't really have any regrets. I'm happy to say that I live my life in a way where I know there have been challenges, mistakes, and major triumphs, and a lot of those have to do with my own decisions. My favorite quote is "Build yourself a life, and live with it." However, I learned today that I have one official regret. It's nothing life-changing, but it's so annoying that I truly do regret it. Here goes the long and (maybe, sort of) interesting story...

I hope a number of you are familiar with the art of Reverend Howard Finster. I was introduced to his work back in college, probably because he did the covers for albums by REM and Talking Heads.

When on a road trip in 1994 or 1995, I stopped by Finster's home ("Paradise Gardens") in Summerville, Georgia for a visit (it was open in the back for people to see his work). You can view pictures of it here, and they make it look much busier and fancier than it was when I saw it. On my visit the only people there were me and my traveling companion (a college ex-boyfriend). We were able to roam freely and take pictures of the wonder, with no one else around to interrupt or explain the beauty. Those pictures are now in the garbage, alas, along with a lot of other stuff of mine from that era (Oh, where have you gone, Monkees Tour t-shirt from 1986?). On our way out of the Gardens, there was a shed (as I recall) filled with Finster's art that you could purchase on the honor system. They had a little birdhouse-type thing, I think, where you could put the money. I remember being all, "Twenty dollars?!" or "A hundred dollars?!" about the works, and I wasn't about to spend my meager greens that needed to be saved for the next Guided by Voices album or whatever. Such are the spending habits of a college sophomore.

Fast forward to me being a grown-up. My family has a lovely collection of original and limited edition art, many from comics artists and children's book illustrators. And here we were yesterday, at a gallery show for Howard Finster's work. Finster passed away in 2001, and I guess the price of his art skyrocketed. A ritzy-looking couple walked into the gallery, and I heard them say that they paid $900 for a piece that was being sold for $500. Apparently they bought it right after his death. Matt and I ended up buying a piece (so awesome!!!), but I couldn't help thinking about if I had only been savvy as a twenty year-old. I could have bought something for under $100 that at this gallery was selling for, no joke, thousands. Sigh. Double sigh. And now you know my regret. What are yours?

Don't you regret not entering the ANOTHER BROTHER CONTEST! You can win a signed copy of Matt's new book, in stores tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Another Brother Contest!!!

My adorable and talented husband, Matthew Cordell, has a whoppin' year ahead of him. First up? Another Brother, a book he both wrote and illustrated, which will arrive in bookstores this Tuesday. Ano Bro received two starred reviews, and I'd like to post quotes from all of the reviews but in the interest of time and the child who is asking me "are you done yet?" over and over, I will let you see the glory of the book for yourself. Matt finished his Ano Bro trailer yesterday, complete with homegrown music. Here it is:

And here's a great interview with him over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Truth be told, I don't like the part where he says in reference to his office, "My wife calls all of this disgusting. I call it my studio." Makes me sound like a bitch, right? Like I don't jibe with the creativity at hand. But we only have a three bedroom house! That's the third bedroom! I worry it's contributing to allergies. It's all about me. That's the name of a store nearby. "All About Me." Isn't that weird? Anyway-- a contest! Yes!

Here's the rub: You have until Tuesday 9 p.m.Central time to enter. All you have to do is watch the trailer above, then decide what you would name the next brother if another happened to pop out! Type it in the comments of this post, along with your email address, and I will draw a name at random on Tuesday, the book's release day. Sorry, but I can only ship within the U.S. Unless someone buys me a house on Degrassi Street. Wha?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I don't know anymore. I just don't know.

So here's a pair of Power Pants. Stealth.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Metal Brain

I'm trying so hard to write an excellent blog post about my rediscovered love for heavy metal, mainly thanks to the slew of metal documentaries I've watched over the last several years and the brilliance of VH1 Classic's "Metal Evolution" (made by the same guys at Banger Films who did one of my fave metal documentaries, Metal: a Headbanger's Journey), but I'm all slow and boring this morning. I get so charged up when I watch the show (DVR'd and snuck in whenever I can find a moment or my mom babysits), but then I run out of time and never get a chance to use that energy for the good of the blog! As of right now, I'm in dorky pajamas, I have a cold, and I am getting ready to go see "Chipwrecked" with my daughter. So un-metal. Hopefully, I'll find my groove and get that post up, but in the meantime I highly recommend checking out the show and the movie. I also just watched another documentary by the same guys at Banger Films about Rush called Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. Amazing. I'd love to write more about Rush, too. Geez, obviously, or at least at the moment, music writing is not my calling. Although, hopefully I get across music fandom in my novels. That feeling in life when MUSIC IS EVERYTHING.

Dude, this post is a dud. I give you permission to smash it against some amps. Perhaps the Chipmunks will inspire me to write my Great Metal Post. That, or smash myself up against some amps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Bigger

I was about to blog about my awesome Skype experience this morning, but the first thing I saw when I opened the internet and my email was this delightful message subject: COCKZILLA is the word. That is so freakin' hysterical! Thank you, spammer, you light up my life.

Moving on...

I just had such a great Skype visit! A lot of the students had read my book (Get Well Soon), an important piece of any successful author visit, and they were so cheerful and had great questions. *Gush* My face kind of hurts from all the smiling! I hope to do many more Skype visits like this one. I love in person visits, too, but the Skype ones are so funny and laid back and always filled with technical difficulties that make me laugh. And my cat can't jump on my lap during a school visit! Such fun. Seriously, schools, I'd love to chat up your students. Skype me. I hope the whole "Cockzilla" thing doesn't deter you. I didn't make it up. Sadly.

It's a snowy day, and I scheduled a massage for later. I have had three in my life, I believe, so I'm always a little nervous. But my back and shoulders are out of whack, and I have some nice gift cards to use at a spa, so what the heck. I'm going for the hot stone massage. They won't actually burn me, will they? Oh, Cockzilla. That has nothing to do with a massage, and yet it ties the blog together so beautifully.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ruh Roh

I totally did not blog yesterday, which means my New Year's Resolution of blogging every day is broken! You know what that means: Julie is going to need another kick in the tuchus to blog every day. I started about three blogs for today already, but none of them were all that great (unlike this piece of literary glory!). Whatevs. I don't believe my readers expect greatness all the time, which is something I love about y'all. So, to reward you for sticking around, here is a pair of SLACKS:

Next time I meet any of you in person, I expect you'll be wearing these puppies. Might I suggest the tan with a nice pair of pumps?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Steak 'n Shanked

Since today is my birthday (thank you very much), I thought I'd reminisce about one of my favorite blog stories of yore. Roger Ebert recently posted about his great love, Steak 'n Shake, and seeing as it is one of my great loves, I wanted to write about it today. (What could I possibly eat at Steak 'n Shake, you ask, when I don't eat cows? The answer: grilled cheese and tomatoes and fries and SHAKE. And when I remember to ask: pickles.) Here is a bizarro, true tale from January 3 of last year (tweaked a little for greater drama):

Matt and I went through the Steak 'n Shake drive-thru for a quickie dessert while my mom babysat.  Matt ordered the Peppermint Chocolate Chip shake, and I ordered my usual Double-Chocolate Fudge Sippable Sundae.  When we parked our car to scarf down the shakes, Matt, who I think has a pretty poor sense of taste, swore his shake wasn't right, although he couldn't pinpoint why.  Eventually he figured out that there were no chocolate chips, no peppermint, and no fewer than 50,000 Maraschino cherries.  We went back through the drive-thru and told the mesh order microphone (does this part of the drive-thru have a name?) we did not get the right shake.  After waiting and finally arriving at the pick-up window, the cashier said, "Yeah, we're out of peppermint. They didn't tell me.  So they just made something up."  Say what?  You don't mess with a man's shake (and they best be glad they didn't mess with this WOman's shake).  Plus, they made something up? That is beyond weird! Why didn't they just ask us if we wanted something else? And if they were going to experiment, all they could think of was dumping in a jar of Maraschino cherries? The shake master whipped up a different shake, no comp or anything, and we drove off, confused.  I called the store and talked to a manager because Steak 'n Shake has the best managers there.  Really.  Anytime I've had a screw up, they do me one better, give me the shake for free, and make it even BIGGER.  He was very apologetic and as confused as Matt and I were. He said if I left my name, I could have a free shake at another time.  But I didn't want to leave my name.  Because what if someone got fired because of me, and my name was sitting there and when I went in to claim my free shake, the friends the fired-ee left behind shanked me or something.  Ha!  Steak 'n Shanked me!  That was not at all funny.  Except that it was.

Friday, January 13, 2012

People Like Mean Stuff

When thinking about the past week and looking at my blog statistics, I feel another surge of ick. It's sad that the only post I've written in four years of blogging that has received any sort of major attention is the one post where I deviated from my normal, nice, hilarious self and had a really shitty moment. What does that say about people? I think what it says about me is that I am a human being. Did you guys know this? I am double-checking because I'm not sure everyone out there thinks authors are human. Like we are assumed to be thick-skinned animals like, say, actors and celebrities, just because we put our work out there. But we are very different from celebrities in that our work is pretty much our work. Actors are part of a huge machine: they're in a movie that someone else generally wrote, directed, edited, produced, marketed, etc., along with a whole bunch of other actors. As an author, we do get an editor to help guide our work, and we do get publicity (coughwouldlovetonsmorecough), but we (99.999% of us) don't sit around with hundreds of people to churn out a book. And our numbers are much different than celebrities for most authors, as well. We don't sell millions of books, we don't make millions of dollars, and we generally don't reach the numbers of people that celebrities reach. Not that they deserve more public scrutiny than authors, but perhaps that's why it makes more sense that they deal with far more criticism, being so much more out in the world than authors. If only authors had the same opportunities to wear glamorous gowns and be courted by designers. Dare to dream.

So you know what happened last week? (For those who have no idea what I'm talking about: a blogger wrote a bad review of my book, and I wrote a nasty blog post in return. Then I got about 100 comments, some supporting me, most not, and people ran with it. It was ugly.) People finally read my blog. For all the wrong reasons. That eats me up. Why, when I post a sincere blog about breastfeeding, do I get a handful of responses? Or when I write a hilarious post about lying in a tweet just to receive a re-tweet from a star obsession? Or when I post awesome pictures of my Barbies from high school? People on the internet, apparently, prefer their news bad, their comments worse. Blech. My most-read post? This one, about how I love Ke$ha. Sounds happy enough, right? Except when I looked into my blog's stats to see what search terms were used to connect readers to my blog, the ones that came up most were "Ke$ha" and "ugly." Damn, people. You are seriously searching the internet for ugly pictures of Ke$ha? And here we are, back full circle to the celebrity scrutiny. I hope someday I earn the kind of money that makes getting torn apart worth it. Or at the very least, it somehow leads me to Ke$ha. Hey girl.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dream World

I know, I need to stop blogging about my dreams, but last night I had all sorts of apocalyptic dreams! Thing was, they didn't feel super-scary. I have had serious zombie dreams in the past, and those have made me terrified. These dreams were more like, oh, end of the world? How can I best be prepared? My favorite portion of one of the dreams was when I was in a shop with my mom, trying to decide what items we may need. It was an artisan bakery that also sold fancy candles, and my mom kept picking up candles because, of course, we'd need candles. I was my practical self and told her, Ma, these candles are eleven bucks. We can get them way cheaper somewhere else. As if we had time to shop around as the world ended. I, on the other hand, was all about the baked goods. I chose a giant challah, and took a huge bite right out of the center. Then I was trying to decide what kind of cookies I'd need for the end of the world. Hilarious. There was also a separate apocalypse dream where some friends and I were on the run (from what, I have no idea), and we stopped in a convenience store where the owner allowed us to take whatever we wanted. "I already sold the place," he shrugged. So what did I select for sustenance? I pack of Nutter Butters.

My question to you, dear readers: what items would you grab for an apocalypse? You can make it a real one, or a ridiculous choice, as per my dreams.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Time to Talk About Breasts

I have been toying with the idea of writing a blog about breastfeeding for a long time, even though it has very little to do with my job as an author. However, it has a whole hell of a lot to do with my life and who I am, just as my writing does, so maybe it has more to do with my job than I think. So I'm going to lay it out right here, and you can think all the crazy things you want about me. Talk shit about my writing? I may get defensive. But about breastfeeding? I will cut you the hell out.

Any person on this planet who thinks breastfeeding is wrong or gross or "his law" (a judge in this Yahoo article, also referenced below) is a child-hating scumbag. I understand that not every woman wants to or even has the ability to nurse her child, but no one can dispute the fact that breast milk is the most natural food for a baby to eat. Did you know that every woman's body makes breast milk tailored to their baby's needs? For example: my daughter was born six and a half weeks early, and the milk my body made was specifically made for a preemie until she was ready for bigger baby milk. Then my body changed and made different milk. Total super power, right? Did you know drinking breast milk gives a baby not only a boost to their own growing immune system but also the benefit of their mother's immune system during the duration of breastfeeding? A ton of studies have been done, linking breast milk to everything from increasing baby's brain size to helping mothers combat breast cancer, and yet people are still weird about it. I don't get it. Even the argument of breastfeeding in public doesn't hold water (or breast milk) because rarely is a mom just going to whip out her boobs to expose them to a pervy passersby. We whip them out discretely because OUR BABIES NEED TO EAT. Oh, I'm sorry, did I offend you for FEEDING A HUNGRY CHILD? Where is this coming from, you may ask?  This Yahoo article about Sesame Street removing breastfeeding images from their show over time and mothers asking they bring them back so that kids will understand it as a normal thing. The article should not have given voice to a random, user-named commenter (quoting it as "gross")to help fuel the fire that breastfeeding may be normal, but that doesn't mean we need to see it. Again, Sesame Street isn't about to throw some tits up on the screen. That's the problem with people and their anti-breastfeeding stance: they are sexualizing breastfeeding. It's as though a woman's body only has one purpose in these people's eyes: as a sexual object. But I think the fear of breastfeeding really stems from the fear of women and the power they can wield. Our bodies can produce and sustain life, not just during pregnancy, but even afterward. It's an incredibly important job, one without pay, one that takes a lot of time and hard work, sometimes with excruciating physical pain, and often without the support or encouragement of others. To be a working mom and a breast-feeder is even harder. I am going to admit right now that while I was pregnant, my school library was going through a major renovation. Part of that renovation was to change my office, which originally had three doors that could be entered by other people in the school at random. I designed my new office to have one locking door. It also had a tiny, cable-fed television. Do you know why I designed it this way? So that when I returned to work after my maternity leave, I could pump breast milk in a private, comfortable setting. I even offered it up to other nursing moms after their maternity leaves ended. You know what else? My daughter is three, and I still breastfeed her. We're both about ready to stop (a decision we can make together), and we only do it on occasion in the privacy of our home at bedtime, but it's still a part of our shared existence. Some mothers set their limits: I'll stop when my kid walks or talks or turns one. I set my own boundaries, too: not nursing on demand or in public when my kid was old enough to eat real food. Three may sound old to some people for breastfeeding, but when it's your kid, and you've been doing this since they were a baby-- hell, even before they were technically a person (preemies are pre-dated until they reach their due date)-- it doesn't seem gross or weird. It's what my body was meant to do, and I have never felt more proud or worked so hard at anything in my life.

I'm a little nervous to even post this blog because of the discomfort people have over breastfeeding in America. But I don't want to feel ashamed for doing something so beneficial for my child, at absolutely no cost to anyone else. Our society needs to stop knocking women down, and instead start holding us up for the important work we do. If this is a difficult notion for you, just envision yourself as a giant, supportive, polka-dot bra with comfortable, wide straps and a hidden under wire. And if it still bothers you? Stop looking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Thousand Words

I saw on Facebook and Twitter that people are doing #1000wordhour, which means you have to write one thousand words in an hour? I'm asking because I'm never certain about where these challenges start or how they go. This is a challenge I could never involve myself in, mostly because I hand write my books. Therefore, after an hour I would have to sit and count every word written. That doesn't sound very fun. But if I did type my books, I think setting a goal to write 1,000 words in an hour would freak me out. I'd start typing random words like, "turd" and "help" just to fill the quota. I can totally understand why someone would use a challenge like this to inspire writing; it's always helpful to set a goal, and if this is a goal that works for you, then go for it. Are any of my readers working on this challenge? Or do you do any of the other writing challenges out there? I'm very curious how well they work for you, or what other goals you set to help you get your writing accomplishments fulfilled.

As for me, the way I set writing goals is generally to sit down with a set amount of available time, usually two hours. I do not allow myself to go online, and I make certain I will not be interrupted. Then I write until I complete a chapter, or two, depending on length. If I finish under the time amount, I still stop. I don't like to leave a chapter incomplete because I feel like I'm leaving a thought incomplete. I tend to average about ten pages (handwritten) in an hour. In two hours, I write between fifteen and twenty pages. I don't know how many words that is, but I guess it doesn't matter because I finish writing the book eventually. I don't count pages as a I write, but when I'm finished I write the page numbers in the upper right hand corner. Seeing the numbers go up gives me a sense of accomplishment, just as I'm sure seeing the number of words get to 1,000 does for today's challenge takers.

Isn't it funny how all of us writers are setting goals by numbers and not letters? (Oh my god. Did that sound like some sort of Family Circus punchline?)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Barbie Girl

First off, there is something wrong with either my hands or brain today because I keep typing letters in the incorrect order. Is it possible to become dyslexic? Anywho, I wanted to discuss a fantastic book I recently finished by Tanya Lee Stone entitled "The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie." It's a non-fiction book written for teens about the history of Barbie and her impact on society, particularly on girls and body image. I found this book fascinating for many reasons: 1) I was a Women's Studies major and thus have been forced to look at my relationship with Barbie before; 2) I had a pretty large collection of Barbies (let's not forget this awesome post), in part because my sister is six years younger and I continued playing well past acceptable Barbie-playing age, and 3) I had body image issues. Barbie has been present throughout my life, whether playing with her as a child, taking eerie photos of Barbie in odd scenarios for high school photography class (see below), or watching the brilliantly disturbing film "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story" by Todd Haynes in college (you can find it on Youtube here. His use of Barbies is legendary, and rightly so).

Here are a few of my high school photos. These aren't the final prints, but for a quick search in my house they were all I could find. The lighting, printing, and focus were a lot better in the actual prints. I hope.

This was a series. The Barbies are drinking and driving, see? There were also crash pictures.

Barbie snow angels. I don't remember taking this one.

Barbie head hunters! I made the little skirts and tops out of grocery bags.

I had another series of a funeral and wake (open casket), but I can't find those. For the best, probably. My favorite photo is of all my (and my sister's) Barbies together for a family portrait. So lifelike!

At the moment, I am not so interested in dissecting my relationship with Barbie from the body image standpoint. I am, however, fascinated by Stone's discussion of the way girls played with their Barbies. There was a hilarious section about the perverted use of Barbie and how she and Ken unromantically bumped their plastic bodies together. Of course my friends and I played that way. But how else did I play? That's where things grow foggy. The book highlights stories of grown women remembering their Barbie-playing youth, how some of them liked to do pretend weddings, while others simply changed their clothes. Others created elaborate story lines involving mystery and intrigue. So how did I play with my Barbies? And why can't I remember? The only Julie Barbie plot line that keeps coming back to me is the Beauty Pageant; but all I remember from that is laying out an elaborate array of fantastic gifts and prizes for the winner. What was I doing with my Barbies all that time? I'm hoping some of my old friends will read this and help me out. Is it bad that I blocked out my Barbie-playing periods? Is there some meaning behind that? The legacy of the doll continues...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sunday Funnies: The Undergarment Edition

The Sunday paper has been lacking in hilarious clothing options as of late, but today's is chock full of weird, shall we say, private items. I love the idea of buying undies from a newspaper.

This first ad is ridiculous in its claims: "The body of your dreams!- or your money back!" How do they even prove that? How can they uphold such a claim? What if the body of my dreams is Hulk Hogan's body? Can the slimming vest grant that wish? And talk about false advertising: the woman in the ad already had a fancy body, as anyone could detect by the size of her arms. But I do love that this is "The Slimming Secret of French Women!" So that's why French women always look so slim! I do love the word "slim." And "vest." Therefore, this item has the perfect title of "4-in-1 Slimming Vest."

The next ad, while filled with antiquated-looking bras, is also a little tantalizing, no? Check out the select pictures where hands are clasping- or are they unclasping?- the hooks. Not much else to really say about this ad, but again I find it interesting that you can buy bras from a newspaper.

No, a wig is not an undergarment (although how hilarious would it be to wear a wig in your underwear? Wait, that actually exists, doesn't it? For... purposes.), but I like the look of these ladies. Those are some very tall, round wigs. I wonder when these pictures were taken. Based on the earrings in style #724 (I'm a little saddened that they didn't name these wigs, like "The Marsha" or "The Carol"), I'm thinking 1989. I also think the size choices are pretty funny: Petite, Average, and Large. They could have thought of a funnier name for a large head, like, "Grande" or "Noggin." Did I ever tell you my grandma sold wigs? At a place called "The Wigwam?" Good times.

Our final ad is neither bra nor wig, but it is obviously trying to sell us something boob-like. "Huge Blooms" indeed! I love the size comparisons: dinner plates and a basketball. Neither strike me as being very beautiful, but I guess that's not the point of these flowers. No, these flowers are just plain HUGE and HARDY. Pervs.

If you're looking for more Sunday reading, I suggest heading over the The Bucket List blog for an interview with Little Ol' Me. I promise it will be HUGE and HARDY and at a low low price!

Dinklage Dreams

I know I've quoted this Max Beerbohm nugget a million times before: People who insist on telling their dreams are among the terrors of the breakfast table [actually, I think I may have attributed it to Mark Twain. One of the many reasons I don't write non-fiction]. Still, I can't help but tell you about this dream I had last night:

Matt and I were at an Ikea-like store. I think we may have been shopping for bunk beds. This sales girls, who I believe was played by a real-life waitress I had yesterday, was laying on a bed and rubbing her bare feet over and over across Matt's face. He was obviously peeved but wouldn't say anything. So I left and was walking around. At one point I had to blow my nose (I hate bodily functions in dreams), and I went into a gigantic, grocery store-sized bathroom that happened to be filled with Super Pretzel machines! I blew my nose in a napkin. When I left, I ran into Peter Dinklage. I wrapped my arms around him and said, "Thank god there's someone cool here, Dinklage." He seemed both annoyed and flattered. Then I tried to take a nap with him. He wouldn't stand for that, and soon Matt came over, fumbling with a wrapped box. Standing next to him was Gibby from iCarly! At the exact same time, Matt presented me with an engagement ring and Gibby asked, "Will you go to prom with me?"

I quite liked this dream. I hope Peter Dinklage and Gibby appear in many more of my dreams. And next time I don't have a dream cold.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Well, my resolution must stand, but it's late and has been a very long day. Not a bad one, just busy. It ended with a broken water glass, a spray of cat puke, and the additional breakage of an already broken mirror. Bad luck? I don't believe it. Now shoes on the bed, that's another story. Goodnight. I'll try to blog better tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Jube Jel Post

I don't know how many years I've posted about Brach's Jube Jel Hearts. I am obsessed. They have a delightful, smooth texture, and the sweetest, most perfect cherry flavor. I am not alone in my obsession. Every year stores have them for Valentine's Day, and every year they disappear well before the holiday. I do believe they are my absolute favorite holiday specific candy. And there are many. Let's take a look at some of my faves (per holiday):

V-Day - Duh, Jube Jels, but I also love the V-Day (how lazy am I???) candy corn. And conversation hearts. They're like Tums! But instead of being good for your stomach, they expand your MIND.

St. Patrick's Day - Is there St. Patrick's Day candy? I'm just trying to go through the calendar. Maybe I should also have included Presidents' Day. I think all holidays should have their specific candies. At least a presidential gummy head or something.

Purim - Um, not a candy, but I cannot handle the deliciousness of hamantaschen.

Passover - Also not a candy, but once I eat a crappy Manischewitz macaroon, I cannot stop.

Easter - I'll always remember when I lived in Australia how they went INSANE around Easter with their candy. And we think Americans are weird. For Easter, I like the candy corns (yeah, I like them for all seasons, although not quite as much for Christmas), malted eggs, and the rainbow gum eggs. If I had more time right now, I would be much more specific with titles and fancy pictures, but I am late on the post as it is. Mickey Mouse can only hold my kid for so long. Oh, and I also love a tiny carton of pretty foil-covered chocolate eggs.

Fourth of July - Corn.

Halloween - Is that the next holiday? I am tired. I ate too many Jube Jels, and I am fully crashing right now. I might need to eat some more just to have enough energy to complete this post. I am all about the candy corn and little pumpkins at Halloween. I don't know how much Halloween counts in this because little versions of regular candy doesn't scream "holiday specific" to me.

Thanksgiving - Not a candy, but I love the explosion of pumpkin-flavored ice cream everywhere.

Hanukkah - Gelt. Is there anything else? Oh the guilt from eating gelt! Yeah, I'm sure I'm the first Jew to make that joke.

Christmas - I think Christmas candy is lacking. Adding white to a candy mix, particularly with salt water taffies, grosses me out. And it's a little weird eating Santa. Maybe I'm just all Christmas-ed out. We still need to take the tree down, and Romy won't stop playing with her Rudolph toys. Enough already!

What are some of your holiday-specific candy faves?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Travelin' Togs

At this very moment (as I type, not as you read) I'm anticipating the opening of registration for the American Library Association Annual Conference. This summer it will be held in Anaheim, CA, just a quick walk away from Disneyland. I have only been to Disneyland once, for a single day visit on my honeymoon (the trip was a Southern California road trip culminating in our first experience at the San Diego Comic-Con). The registration process has always been exciting for me. As many of you (should) know, I am a travel planning fool. Just read my novel Don't Stop Now to get a taste of the kind of road trip I can plan. Even when it's not a road trip, I still love to research the crap out of a vacation, even a vacation as basic as a conference plus a jaunt to a theme park. The way conference registration works is this: A few weeks before actual registration (usual at the first business day of the new year), ALA posts a map of the hotels and a price list. This is where my research begins. It used to be based on whichever hotel was the fanciest (you see, when there wasn't a kid in my picture, I was a sucker for the expensive hotel at a low low price!). Now, I am all about convenience. With the world of Disney, I am always down for one of their hotels. I know I can get better deals at a nearby place, but this is our vacation and I want to do it up right. Don't judge. I know there are some cynical hipsters out there who love to shun the ol' Diz Machine, but I am certainly not one of them. Even when my family was at its most messed-up, we always came together on a Disney vacation.

22 minutes until registration.

Last year ALA really freaked me out; they didn't list the hotels before registration day! How was I supposed to know which hotels I needed to read reviews on, find out if they have bedbugs, where the quietest, cleanest, most centrally located place was?! It was torture. This year, thank Mickey, they listed the hotels. My original plan was straight-up Disney hotel, but then I found that since all of the hotels were in close range, why not choose one with free breakfast? After a significant amount of research (cross-referencing and what have you), I am back to Disney. I like the early access hours to the theme parks, the monorail into the park, the Grade A pool areas, and apparently they have fiber optic lighting on their beds!

I love the anticipation of a trip. Right now my hands can't seem to get warm. The thought of a sunny California day, meeting authors and illustrators in the morning and hanging out with Chip and Dale at night, warms me up. Well, most of me. I think I'd need Goofy to sit on my hands to warm these babies up.

Almost time to register! Librarians, start your engines!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Errand Girl

Is everyone else's house a disgusting cesspool of disease lately? Romy goes from one cold to another, and I'm on antibiotics again. I'm thinking of erecting a giant, pink tent around the house and not coming out until the end of winter. Which is frightening, considering in Chicago winter pretty much started only yesterday (and I'm terrified that means it will still be snowing in June). Sick means driving half an hour to get some decent chicken soup and watching hour after hour of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Today, my mom is coming over while Matt and I complete a terribly long list of the most boring tasks one could think of. Here is a sampling:
  • Call Waste Management for a larger recycling bin
  • Vacuum upstairs [because I'm too lazy to vacuum my entire house at once. Mind you, the house is only 1500 square feet]
  • Buy a calendar [this remains my favorite item on the list]
Oh, there's plenty more, but I see all of you clicking over to more stories about Katie Perry and Russel Brand (I am SO SICK of celebs and their divorces. Read my post here from a year ago about my theory on celebrity divorces). The glamorous life of an author. Speaking of being an author, if you do not but would like to own any of my books they are all available on the super cheap at Amazon right now. But hopefully you received gift certificates for your favorite local indie store, so you can just buy them there. Me? I have to truck out for books the same way I have to truck out for matzoh balls. Sad, but true. Maybe someday Matt and I will be famous and rich authors who can open an awesome children's bookstore near our house. I think I'll add that to my errand list:
  • Get rich.
  • Get famous.
  • Open awesome children's bookstore. One that sells matzoh ball soup.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Happy new year! Or New Year! Whichever you prefer. I am not a person who makes resolutions, as I'm sure many of you out there are not, mostly because I am already a doer. However, I thought I might try a resolution this year that won't make me feel like eating an entire cake if I break it (although one of my resolutions should probably be NOT eating an entire cake. Whatevs). My resolution is to blog every day! Huzzah! That doesn't mean write a good blog post everyday, but at least I will try to write something. I figure it will help keep readers around, help me get more of a focus on my writing, which will hopefully, in turn, get me into the writing mode once again when I head into the daunting task of writing my fifth novel.  Like I said, don't expect Shakespeare (um, if you read anything I write you already know not to expect that. And I'm not saying that in a dissing myself way. It's not as though I'm sitting around reading Ol' Will, if you know what I mean), but expect something everyday.

Here's hoping this year is a good one!