Friday, September 29, 2006

Kitten Zest

I'm so excited to see my daughter's new kitties. They are tigers, I think she said. First she thought they were both males but evidently they are both females. I hope she knows what they are going to do to her furniture.

I like cats in general. Dogs are bigger and so dumb. They can have weird owners too.





Then there are the tremendously smelly dogs that come over to you and settle right down on your feet. Whoo! Dear God!! What an odor!!!


Or of course the crotch sniffers, which I suppose can be divided into the ones who sniff from the front and the ones who sniff from behind. Now and then a high-achieving dog will be skilled at both. I hate them too.

The barkers will kill you. RAWLRAWLRAWLRAWL without end as you stand in the doorway. HEY ZIGGY!! CALM DOWN YOU FREAKING BIG LOSER!! OH HE'S SO CUTE.

Growlers are plain scary. They're holding grudges and aren't particular on who's going to receive their revenge. Maybe you're not the one who had a bite of their food two years ago, but you could be the one to get punished for it.

Cats aren't nearly as annoying. Well, I take that back. When they stand in the doorway, undecided over whether to go out or stay in, they're tremendously annoying. GET OUT OR I'LL KICK YOU!!! I used to feel truly envious of our cat as I would leave for work, heading out into the slush and snow as she stretched out ready for a hard day lying in the windowsill. Oh to trade places!!!!!

Wonder what they're saying when they "talk." Sometimes they really seem to mean something. YOU'RE STUPID. YOU'RE SERIOUSLY NO SMARTER THAN I AM.


Enjoy the zest.

Be here now.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Karin Gillespie

Ladies and gentlemen,

Time out from villainesses today to give a warm welcome to the lovely and talented Karin Gillespie. Let's tempt Karen with a delicious hot fudge sundae, mmmmmm, while she sits here and we learn about her fabulous new book and what people are saying about it:

“Each character is lovingly crafted in Gillespie's hilarious, heartwarming, and often irreverent look at senior living in small-town America.”— Starred Review Booklist

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
Comment overheard under the hair dryer at the Dazzling Do’s

Karin Gillespie’s Bottom Dollar Girls are back with a sugar-spun vengeance in Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love (Simon & Schuster; August 2006; $19.95). Broaching the age-old question – Is it ever too late to find one’s heart’s desire? – the feisty ladies of Cayboo Creek are suddenly blindsided by schoolgirl flights of fancy when unexpected romance enters their lives.

Mavis Loomis, Birdie Purdy, and Gracie Tobias, widows in their mid-sixties are certain their dating days are over until they observe their friend eighty-something Attalee Gaines in tempestuous relationship with Dooley Prichard, a trifocal-wearing charmer. If it’s not too late for Attalee, how can it be too late for them?

Unfortunately the eligible men in Cayboo Creek are as picked over as a garage sale at noontime. Things look discouraging until an old high school heartthrob comes to town and Birdie and Mavis compete for his attentions. In the meantime socialite Gracie Tobias finds unlikely love in the arms of a rugged duct doctor. Can she overlook the vast differences in their backgrounds?

All of the books in series have been selected as featured alternatives for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs. Bet Your Bottom Dollar has been optioned for film by the actor James Woods. Gillespie ( is also co-author of The Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big-Ass Novel. (Simon and Schuster, January 2007) and has a story called TRASH TALK in This is Chick Lit ((

You can visit Karin's terrific blog here.

Praise for Dollar Daze
“A sweet and amusing tale of romance and lust for the older crowd”—Kirkus

“Gillespie writes with such conviction that readers are thrust right into Cayboo Creek and the lives of the Bottom Dollar Girls….charismatic and replete with poignancy, a story to pass on.”---Romantic Times, four and a half stars

“Laugh-out--loud”—Atlanta Magazine Critic’s Pick

“Fun factor remains high from first chapter to last… The Bottom Dollar Girls…. provide the simple pleasure of an ice-cold bottle of cola and a bag of salty peanuts and that’s just fine.”

David Marshall James, The Columbia State

“Bless her heart, she's done it again. Karin Gillespie's latest installment of the Bottom Dollar Girls series is a fun, breezy read. As tried and true as ham biscuits at a senior center potluck… the book reminds us of what's important just as often as it entertains.

Dawn Baumbartner Vaughan, Durham Herald-Sun

Monday, September 25, 2006

Susan Lucci/Erica Kane

Now this is a real villainess!!! My thanks to sandman1 for fixing this photograph so we can feast our eyes on true evil. Erica Kane (from ALL MY CHILDREN) is the girl we love to hate. It's not that she's smart exactly, but she's conniving in all the ways your mother warned you about. And she rationalizes everything the way we wish we could: "I'm going to fight for the man I want!" Translation: I'm going to ruin his life and his girlfriend's life and if ten people are made miserable by my actions, well, I'm special and I deserve my happiness first.


This is the way we nice girls need to start thinking!!!!

One of these years, all us poor schlubs who try to do the right thing should take a year off and...


Wonder what would happen to the world. Wonder how many murders would be committed, extortions implemented, and bad deeds performed. Hit and run, baby!!! (only in a romantic sense)

In truth, the great villainesses are found in abundance on soap operas. Old, young, stupid, brilliant, we love them. I wish I'd watched more in the last xkxjxl years and I could post some of them up here.

But let's have a moment of silence for all the soap bad girls. They are awesome.

Once again coming to the end of V revisions. I think I'm living the movie Groundhog Day. I will always be writing revisions to V. They will never end.

A bientot

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bette Davis Forever

I guess we can't call Bette a great villainess, but she sure was a great actress and a great commenter. Nobody did snide, sarcastic or contemptuous the way she did. "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride." Chills go down your spine and you just hope she's not talking to you.

She was beautiful, wasn't she? Later she wasn't so beautiful. What a shock. It must be so tough for Hollywood actresses even today, probably especially today. Was that line there yesterday? I must stop laughing immediately.

Screw that.

My, I'm vulgar today. It's the Davis influence and it used to be said that I had "Bette Davis eyes," haha. I think now I have Julia Child eyes.

I'm very excited that my daughter has adopted two kittens, Violet and Dahlia. Maybe I can post their pictures before too long. I'm going to see them soon, the little tigers.

It's a weekend of student essays, some good, some not so good. Not really any good bloopers yet, just the usual--"the necessities of life that were really needed" and "the daily experiences that I have every day." Ho hum.

Still completing revisions on V--I think I've been working on them since 1925.

A bientot

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Thursday, September 21, 2006


Okay, so my techno skills failed at this. I wanted you to see a splendiferous image of the Evil Queen from Snow White. She is another stunning villainess, one that brought me low as a child. I feared her absolutely, especially from any mirror in the house.

Perhaps today she would be a root canal specialist, though I like my own RCS very much and she does not look like the Evil Queen at all. She is kind to me. But I still fear her in much the same way.

Feeling preliminary zest today, though I still have schoolwork to complete. Leaves are yellowing if not falling to the ground. Soon it will be impossible to drive out to the world on my normal route, owing to the pick-your-own people who come to the orchard nearby.

Empires are the best apples.

Don't let anyone tell you different.

Crisp. Tart. A bit of sweetness. That's what we want from life, isn't it?

100 essays to read. I'm looking at you as the water begins to cover my face.

Goodbye cruel world.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

my idol

This is a somewhat fuzzy picture of Margaret Hamilton, the greatest villainess of all time. I do a really awesome imitation of her and if I am truly into it, my veins stand out and my blood pressure elevates by ten degrees. It is not for the faint hearted. Just seeing this photo makes me want to do it here in the privacy of my own home. I'm too tired, though.

I can also imitate her when she was Cora on the Maxwell House commercials.


That is a much calmer rendition. My friend John Alzapiedi does Margaret/Cora pretty well too.

Now that I am picture savvy, I may start wasting my time by honoring those I have always wanted to honor. I may start with villainesses. Stay tuned. Just so you know, I'm too old for Cruella DeVille. I missed her.

I'm exhausted from school of course. The first round of papers is in and my life is pretty much over. My quota is ten per day and that will get the job done. No longer Living the Dream but pretty happy anyway.

A bientot

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit

Monday is here and my first batch of papers are coming in. But who cares!!! Today is the maiden voyage of my Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit tour. Remember, they are the really cool girls who are nice and will eat lunch with you even if you are not cool. My guest today is Melanie Hauser and let's make her comfortable. A nice mudslide for her, there you go, Mel, and one for me too, although I'm commanding this ship and steering the wheel. I can't even see where I'm going.

But anyway, here is Melanie's cool new book, Confessions of a Super Mom:

ABOUT THE BOOK: For every harried mother who dreams of cleaning with the power of 10,000 Swiffers, putting her children into Super Time Outs with just a flick of her Merciless Gaze, and employing a little Super Eavesdropping when the occasion warrants, CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is a must-read. Filled with romance, intrigue, humor and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new novel introduces a superhero for the Swiffer generation.

Birdie Lee is an average hard-working single mother of two teenagers, PTA lackey, and mild-mannered grocery clerk at the local Marvel Fine Foods and Beverages. One morning, while getting ready for work, Birdie is sidetracked by a stubborn Stain of Unusual Origin on her bathroom floor. Unable to let the stain get the best of her, she tries to annihilate it with every household product she can find –to no avail. Angry, hot, light-headed (and forgetting to turn on the exhaust fan), she makes one final desperate attempt to eradicate this vile, dastardly stain: she loads her Swiffer Wet Jet with every household cleanser she owns, aims, and fires….

And passes out, overcome by the fumes. After regaining consciousness (and reminding herself to scrub the bottom of the toilet since from her perspective — flat on her back — it was looking a little dingy), Birdie realizes something’s amiss. Her ears begin to buzz and her senses are aquiver. Eventually, aided by Martin, her geeky thirteen-year-old son and trusty sidekick, Birdie understands that she now possesses extraordinary powers — superpowers, to be exact. Birdie soon learns, however, that, to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility and she finds herself struggling to balance a new onslaught of challenges, both at home and in her community. While trying to keep her distant 15-year-old daughter’s heart from being broken (something not even a superhero can do), and dealing with her smug ex-husband and his over-achieving new wife, she must manage her job, PTA responsibilities and a budding romance– all the while trying to rescue her beloved town of Astro Park from an evil force that threatens its children.

So forget those chores— pick up CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM and relish in a much-deserved escape. This charming novel will keep readers glued to the page as they cheer for Super Mom to root out injustice and surrender herself to love. Readers everywhere will find themselves in its pages and rejoice in finding a book that celebrates their overlooked everyday acts of heroism.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Former member of the PTA, Melanie Lynne Hauser is a prototypical Super Mom. CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is her first novel, and she is a contributor, along with Jodi Picoult, Jacqueline Mitchard, Jennifer Lauck and Marion Winik, to the anthology It’s a Boy (November 2005, Seal Press). SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD will be published by NAL in March, 2007. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two teenage sons. You can visit her website here and her blog here!

I'm A Genius

Trying out my knowledge.

What about this?

Or this?

Trying out my new image knowledge.

Friday, September 15, 2006


And that ain't lemon zest, boys and girls. That's the real true Friday kind, the kind that swells your heart as you walk out of work at 10 in the morning. That's after teaching two classes, don't forget.

Big Trivial Pursuit party here tonight. I'm sure it will break down into men against women--that's the way we like it. We women wend our way carefully through the maze of possible answers. The guys roll their eyes around--"oh come ON!!" But we very often get the answer that way. My own personal technique for intimidating the other side is to keep saying, "You'll never get it. YOU'LL NEVER GET IT, I TELL YOU." This works sometimes, but not always.

The women aren't good at geography in general. What bridge crosses the skdlfkjgs river in three places? In what country is zinc most prevalent? My zinc knowledge isn't what it should be and I admit it. But that's the kind of question we can usually get, provided the guys will give us an hour.

I'd like to say I'm pretty good at sports questions, but that isn't really true. On the women's team I am pretty good, unless it gets into curling and/or horseshoes. Also, it seems that there are way too many Canadian questions. No offense to my Canadian friends, you know I love you guys, but how am I supposed to know what channel Scooby Doo was on in Toronto in 1957?

And speaking of SD, I know nothing about that or about any television questions. My colleagues kick ass on that, though, especially my daughter-in-law. She is a stone cold expert on all movie stars and I'm proud to be on her team. We do gloat a little bit when we get a "wedge." YES!!! WE ARE AWESOME!! But we try to be sympathetic when the men miss one. BUMMER, DUDES!!!!

Enjoy the weekend,everybody.
Enjoy the moment.
Be here now.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl had one celebration last night and will have several others in the continuing observance of her special day. Adoring Fans insist, or well, Adoring Fans insist on coming over on different days.

Beginning next week I have agreed to join what is called the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit. It's a network of gals (all with good personalities who won't steal my prom date if I get one) who tour around and interview each other. It's got some top-of-the-line authors on there and I'm very humbled to be asked. Maybe they want someone to wash up. Maybe they want me to wash their cars. I will, too.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I have on my plate right now. Revisions to V, constant class prep and teaching, this new GCC, and of course my Martha Stewart preparations for Christmas.

[clears throat]

It's a short one today, Boys and Girls, because the Birthday Girl overdid it last night. (not really)

J'ai envie d'essayer mes skis neufs

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Dalliance Woman

I think The Dalliance Woman will be my next book. I worked it through with a friend yesterday, the skeleton of the plot, although I don't have the ending. That will have to come to me in a vision, haha. More or less, it's about a woman and how she dates three married men at the same time. Plenty of high jinks.

In the mood for cheerful songs now--U2 "Beautiful Day" is a great one. It makes me want to dance, never a good sight. If anything can be tripped over or spilled or broken, I will find it as I dance around. I'm sort of a dancing dowser of destruction--try saying that with a lemon in your mouth.

I'm noticing with some songs that you cannot understand the words. The music sounds great and you're really into it and you realize you're saying "Eat the hell free beans in bun sittay." Or "I'm looking for the Tower of London. I'm looking for the copious fort."

Huh? Those are from Rufus Wainwright, whom I adore but can't understand.

My sleep patterns are completely cuckoo right now. My body is crying out, "Stop this! We like the summer schedule, getting up at 7, then a nice nap later. We don't like this crap!"

So here I sit at one in the morning, having slept for several hours. In the morning I will be a zombie. Oh well, I can be a caffeinated zombie. My new coffeepot is a joy, for those of you who were wondering.

My neighbor has a secret garden of green peppers. You can smell them from the back yard. I wonder if he knows I know.

A bientot

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jeff Jackman

I went to my senior prom with Jeff Jackman. He was a friendly earnest boy and I remember him fondly for his warmth and charm.

He brought me a "joke" corsage on that night. It was resplendent with purple and orange tendrils going this way and that. Little did I know it was all weeds.

Probably I didn't know because I had lost a contact lens in my frantic preparations for the event. My parents were at that moment crawling on their hands and knees upstairs in the bathroom looking for my lens. It all worked out and my eagle-eyed mother found the lens and Jeff and I went to the prom. My real corsage was beautiful.

Jeff has recently died and I have only now heard about it.

I feel saddened and diminished by this news.

I always thought I would see him again.


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Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Zest

Next week I will be entitled to true Friday Zest, but since I only worked three days this week, I don't get the full amount.

It still feels good, though.


I'm thinking about this title. We're looking for sort of a Fried Green Tomatoes slant--K thinks the book has a "southern" feel to it. I don't quite get that, but I'm perfectly amenable. Southern it is, baby, except with six feet of snow in Massachusetts. Maybe that's a description of me anyway.

I had a fantastic class this morning. One of those hours that zip by full of interest and enthusiasm, the rare time when I feel guilty for getting paid. Hah!!! I've met all six of my classes and most of the faces are a blur. There seem to be more adversity-challenged and adversity survivors than I've seen before. More power to them. Everyone is named Timothy. One class is 16 young men and one girl. Yikes!!!! I don't think I have ever seen this. That will be the Testosterone Control Group.

Weather this weekend? Summery. This is the only time of year that I have a modest suntan, so I will be looking to keep that going. I am as white as a deer's tail normally. I've got that Irishey white skin/blue veins thing going on. I would have been in the height of fashion in Scarlett O'Hara's day, when the women carried parasols to keep their skin pasty. You know something, though? It's not much comfort to know you would have been in fashion 150 years ago. I wants to be in now!!!!!

I have two parties to attend this weekend. Call me the madcap socialite. I feel tired already.

Sacre Bleu!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I felt so hesitant to start revising. I didn't want to put my dirty little mitts on it somehow. But then I did and now I feel okay.

First I divided the opening section into two sections so I can have a little suspense at the end of the first one. Might as well have my shoplifting girl almost get caught right off the bat, right? My agent says we have to really get these first 50 pages killer and that's my goal.

She says my professor character is very strange in the beginning and that is true. I think I was trying to fill her with so much conflict that I made her plain old weird. So I'm going back in and making her a bit more understandable, I hope. Also giving her some dialogue with her department chair so reader might have some understanding why she likes him. I thought of a good surprise for that part.

Agent likes the old lady character as is. Yes!!!! Me likey!!!!

I've only just begun and I have work to do on the ending as well, but my time is limited because of class. Today was the first day and I must say I enjoyed it, though my legs are tired from standing. I keep doing things I swore not to do.

Let's admit it. I needed to get out of the house. I've been a total sad sack recluse the month of August. I'm done with that. Plain old working, going out every day to a job, is stimulating and I always enjoy give and take with the students. They are so cute on the first day.

Tomorrow I plan to work on revisions all afternoon, that is after I have my walk.

I have gotten tremendously good feedback and advice on my book from all my readers and I thank them from my heart. I'm getting even more of it now from one of them.

New potential titles: SOMEWHERE NEAR VICTORY

La plume de ma tante is ready to write,

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Tough Questions

Today's question, boys and girls, is exactly how much money would I accept to view the movie Snakes on a Plane. Certainly if I were offered a million dollars to see the film, I would. I'd watch every scene and scar my tender little soul with abandon.

But what is my minimum? I am ashamed to say I would probably dip down to only a hundred grand. God, what a whore, you might say. And I wouldn't disagree with you. Money talks.

Minimum for Diehard or any car chasey adventurey movie? Couple hundred, as long as no snakes. Same for Batman or any comic book movie. They are so boring. Times I have been persuaded to sit through one, all I can think of is what the hell time is it.

I might take only fifty to see a kids' movie, including anything animated. I could fill my car's gas tank and buy a cup of coffee for that and feel it was a good job done.

I broke my coffee pot yesterday. What does this mean? Is it a sign? I've had that junky old coffee pot for years.

Last day, the very last day, of summer vacation for me.

Boo hoo.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fashion Education

Today I learned about hip hugger pants.

In celebration of further weight loss I had bought a pair and was wearing them as I made final purchases for baby shower held at my house today.

The young girls who wear those hh's I guess already know that as soon as you hoist them up around your hips, they start migrating downwards. How do I know this? Because my pants fell off on my way out of the Paper Store. I don't think anybody saw. I had my hands full of a balloon bouquet and other items and I didn't want the dadblasted balloons to go flying off, so I more or less had to let it happen.

It's a very queasy feeling.

Next fashion purchase: belt.

The baby shower went superbly well. It was, as we say in New England, wicked fun. The secret document I was working on the other day was a surprise skit, performed by me, my son, and my daughter, which went over very well, but then the audience was captive, so who knows?

I am one tired cookie, though. Tomorrow I have to actually do...gasp....class prep. It's been four months since I have done that. I could actually use another four months. I told my agent I would have revisions to her by Oct. 1 so I will be a busy cookie as well in the next few weeks.

My thanks to my wonderful friend Tom who waited on people today, fixed their coffee, poured their soda, and acted as general houseboy while I hobnobbed with guests. I get somehow gripped with indecision when the party is at my house--should we eat first and then open presents or not?

But the party is over and my house is clean. Next cleaning: Christmas.

And now back to anacrostic puzzles.

A bientot


Friday, September 01, 2006


Every human has to feel joy now and then or we shrivel up and die, don't we?

Well, I feel it today and that's why I'm posting out of order. Normally, I only come on here every other day, but here I am on the wrong day!!!

My agent likes my book. WHEW. I didn't know. One never can. She might easily have said EW. Or something like that. But she didn't. She likes it. In fact, she said she's "enamored" of it. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOEY.

Lots of work still to be done on it (Victory), but for today I feel joyful. And you know something? I haven't felt that way for a while.

The title has to be changed. But I'm determined to leave the word Victory in it. How about FRIED GREEN TOMATOES VICTORY? Or GONE WITH THE WIND VICTORY? Or IN COLD BLOOD VICTORY? Uh, no on that one.

I know I have struggled with this issue already, but this time I will solve it.

Ze perfect title, monsieur et madame. MADAME BOVARY GRASPS VICTORY. Hmmm, perhaps not.

Okay, so happy Labor Day Weekend, everybody. I have mowed my lawn and prepared for Family Event. I am so ready to make potato salad.

A little bit of joy to all of you,