Saturday, June 30, 2007

Becky's Excellent Vacation

First let me say some of the things I did NOT do.

I did not scare these children out of their wits. I merely amused and appalled them. Note my elevation. For me, it was a little like the Winslet/DiCaprio signature scene in TITANIC. Does it remind anyone else of that? No? Yeah, that's what the kids said too. "Kinda weird," one of them commented.

I'm very sorry to say I did not actually have a DQ ice cream. We had just come from dinner somewhere else and I was stuffed. [note: Emily Post says it's not polite to say you are stuffed. Okay, I was full up to my eyeballs.] But we had to make the symbolic DQ stop. These boys will remember me but hopefully not identify me in any kind of lineup.

As stated earlier, I did not get arrested. I was, however, well and truly (if subtly) censored at the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth. We saw a most hilarious production of Gilbert and Sullivan's PATIENCE. I'm telling you it was side splitting. But every few minutes some rich matron would turn around and give us the fish eye.

Yeesh. Lighten up, folks. If you can't laugh at G&S, what's there to laugh at? And please. I'm as sensitive as the next person to obnoxiousness. I swear we weren't. But I felt as though we were sitting in an audience of hall monitors. A pox upon them. The performers were fantastic.

I/we did not have the friendliest or most helpful of wait staffs. The restaurant where this pizza was served was very good. Pepperoncini is listed on the menu, but if you ask for it on your pizza, the waitress will give you a perplexed look. However, artichoke hearts WERE available and they are NOT on the menu. Who's on first, dear reader? I couldn't figure it out either.

Good grub, though.

I did NOT make friends with geese. Talk about obnoxious. They are everywhere in some places and terrible scavengers. This one wanted my coffee and was miffed that he couldn't have it. I think he'd had word from the College Light Opera audience and felt entitled. We were sitting right next to the harbor area with all kinds of yachts. It's incredible to see all the money floating around.

Wow, I'm getting closer to the Titanic shot, wouldn't you say? This is Gunning Point Beach, one of the few that looks westward and so one of the few where you can watch the sunset nightly. It's so gorgeous it gets almost ordinary.

"Do you feel like walking down and seeing an incredible purple and orange, heartbreakingly brilliant sunset?"

"I'm right in the middle of Sex and the City. It's the one with the fireman and the pole."

"Okay, forget it."

Well? What would Bette have said? Keep three feet on the floor, girls. Those Light Opera broads are on the way

I have no idea what that means.

Our official drink was champagne mixed with blue Curacao. Did I spell that right? Somebody saw this on a recipe, but couldn't remember exactly what it was called. They were right tasty, dear reader.

We watched The Prestige, which I thought was okay. I'm not into movies where the men wear top hats or are magicians.

The visit to Betsy's Diner is required. It's a breakfast outing and sets the tone for the rest of the day, mostly of disgusting, shameful , and sometimes gross, well, most of the time gross, overindulgence.

Butter! More butter! Cream! Keep it coming!

I'm home now and getting back to work. Cleaning the house, working on my syllabus for summer school, organizing paperwork and bills.
I'm lying around wondering when I can go to the Cape again and how long I could last if I sold my house and all possessions.
Now THAT would be Living the Dream.
A bientot

Friday, June 29, 2007

Awesome Vacation and Tanya Stone

I will post next time about what I did on my vacation. I promise I did not get arrested.

Meanwhile, check out this terrific book from Tanya Stone. And don't let the title scare you.

A BAD BOY CAN BE GOOD FOR A GIRL is a cautionary tale. Teens are dealing with sex, whether we’re ready or not. This novel is about three very different girls who date the same player guy. About how the choices they make shape who they want to be. About empowerment.

Meet Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva. Three very different girls who all meet the same bad boy with an irresistible knack for getting into their blood and under their skin. Three girls. One guy. Who will come out on top?

In A BAD BOY CAN BE GOOD FOR A GIRL, Tanya Lee Stone takes a hard look at love and sex and asks the questions: “When can a bad boy be good for a girl?”Tanya says, “I get lots of email from teens thanking me for ‘being honest,’ saying my book helped them, or they ‘gave it to a friend who needs it.’ What’s better than that?”

Since the book came out, Tanya has been outspoken about censorship and the need for tackling tough topics in teen books. Check out her VOYA article: “From Forever to Today: The Importance of Sex in Young Adult Literature” and a recent interview with AS IF! (Authors Support Intellectual Freedom) in which she discusses sex, censorship, and Judy Blume. The new paperback includes a bonus Reading Guide.

Book Club Folks: If you have chat software and want Tanya to do a virtual book club visit, let her know. For a free bookmark and signed bookplate, email her at tanyastone@tanyastone.comRead an excerpt here. Download the Bad Boy Reading Guide here. In addition to her website, Tanya blogs at Live Journal and MySpace. But I think you should just buy the book!

Living the Dream

A bientot

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I'm it!! I've been "tagged" by my good friend Chief Biscuit in New Zealand, celebrating a birthday today by the way. I now must do the following:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

2. Each participant posts eight random facts about themselves.

3. Tagees should write a blogpost of eight random facts about themselves.

4. At the end of the post, eight more bloggers are tagged (named and shamed).

5. Go to their blog, leave a comment telling them they're tagged (cut and run).

All rightie then!! (Did that sound like New Zealand? More like Jim Carrey?)

I confess this will be hard to do if I am to avoid facts I have already given...maybe I can slide one or two in there. Maybe they won't be remembered. I'm sneaky sometimes. Also I invariably forget to keep the thing going. I was never any good at chain letters either. Here goes.

Fact #1: When I was in the second grade I ended up on the ground inside a circle of other children who were playing Little Teapot, or at least I think that's what it was, though I can't remember how to play it. I somehow got kicked in the front teeth. I was fine, but a few years later had a terrible abscess in my front tooth, which could have been caused by this teapot kick.

[GOOD GRIEF, is this the best she can do? Let's hope the pace picks up]

Fact #2: I hate superhero stuff. Comic books, movies, whatever. There's something wrong with me, I guess.

Every time I have let myself be lured into a Batman movie --oh Becky, you will love it!--I have regretted it. As soon as the movie starts, I am wondering what time it is. I am never going to another one.

Fact #3: I have rather cheap taste. Seriously. I think it's from my upbringing. Sorry, Mom. I got her leftover furniture all these years ago and have never replaced it. In fact, it's still sitting in the same place decades later. My reaction to this is: whatever.

Fact #4: I used to be a competent waterskier. I am not lying. I harbor a secret urge to try it again, though I'd probably end up with abscessed teeth and worse.

Fact #5: I am named for my great aunt Becky. I grew up being "little Becky" to her "big Becky." Big Becky was one of the first female linotype operators in the country at the Elmira Star-Gazette. She never married and was a union member. She used to visit us every year and cause trouble. I am very proud of my connection to her.

How am I doing? Do I have three more?

Fact #6: The first boy I ever kissed was a college kid (I was in high school). We drove up in my driveway, he put his arm around me (I knew it was coming) and stuck his tongue out as he aimed. Gross.

Fact #7: I now own a cell phone. I will post on this later. Civilization is coming to an end.

Fact #8: I can walk on stilts.

Probably won't be posting for a few days, dear reader, as I enjoy my vacay.
No doubt my hair will revert to its preferred restive state.

A bientot

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Living the Cape Dream

I always think Cape Cod looks something like a guy holding his muscled arm up in the air. Provincetown would be his hand, Hyannis I think the elbow, and Falmouth the fleshy underarm. One of those Dr. Seuss dudes like the Grinch or Cat in the Hat, except we can't see his head. We're looking at him from the back.


Here's another look. It also could be someone's crooked finger, stuck out in the ocean beckoning someone over in England to get over here forthwith.

Really, I just wanted to say "forthwith" publicly and I'm over it now.

Here we are at one of our favorite places, Betsey's Diner in Falmouth. The advice in Betsey's window reminds everyone to "EAT HEAVY."

And it's in neon, folks, so what choice do we have?

The hash at Betsey's is divine (if you are my student, I'm referring to a meat dish, not an hallucinogenic substance, although you might see a few spots in front of your eyes after eating it).

We also like driving past the Nobska lighthouse in Falmouth. I think it's called the "Nob." It's very starkly beautiful as I guess are most lighthouses, but this one isn't difficult to get to, like many that you see on PBS. We like that. We're not into that "over hill and dale" thing.

You have to cross the Bourne Bridge to get to the Cape. Personally, I don't like bridges. I don't like to see them looming out of the distance. They scare me. Interestingly, I have talked to other people who say the same thing.

I pretty much have to grit my teeth getting across, especially if I am driving.

This is what you see when you first come across the bridge (over the Cape Cod Canal), this fun sort of topiary memorial to the cape. My friend's husband says he feels relaxed as soon as he gets to this point.

I am not a Massachusetts or New England native, so I am less relaxed and more worried about which road to take off the rotary.

There are restaurants and beaches, little shops with fabulous earrings and scarves, bookstores, statues and plaques (you gotta love statues and plaques).

And of course the really important stuff. Fellowship with my friends and a cone dipped in chocolate.

Almost Heaven. Wait. Is that slogan taken?

Living the Dream at the Cape

A bientot
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Betty Said It Best

Oh God, she said. What a dump. Did anyone tell the truth like BD? A friend of mine told me that long ago a news item on TV prompted her young daughter to ask what a prostitute was. My friend told her it was someone who liked to go to parties.


That's not wrong, is it?

My parents never said a word about sex. I had to figure it out from my friends, who told me some good ones.

I sat at the kitchen table doing homework with my friend Judy in the eighth grade. EIGHTH GRADE!!!

Enter Betty again.


My mother left us for only a minute, disappearing down the basement stairs to get something, probably from the freezer.

"Do you know how a woman has a baby?" Judy said in a whisper.

"Yes," I said with confidence. "The sperm fertilizes the egg." I had just read this somewhere.

"No," said my friend. "That's not it."
Let's have Betty enter again, shall we?
"It isn't?" I asked. In the time it took for the basement door to open, my friend told me the secret of life, the birds and the bees, the thing that every kid learns.
"The man puts his blah blah blah into the blah blah."
With that, my mother walked back into the kitchen. Judy and I sat there for a while. I think she nodded at me smugly. I said to my mother, "Judy's leaving now. I'm going to walk her halfway home."
I don't remember what my mother said. I'm sure her thoughts were on dinner.
My thoughts were on WHAT A TRAVESTY!! THIS CAN'T BE TRUE!!!
Judy explained it all by saying, "That's why the man gets on top of the woman."
I didn't know this.
I knew there was no Santa Claus. Hey. I found that out in sixth grade.
But this seemed really secret. It wasn't on television, there was no hint of it in family life, how could it be true? Nowadays of course, it's totally on television.
The only thing I can compare it to is the secrecy surrounding childbirth. And that is a BIG secret. Stay tuned.
Oh dear reader, I am deep into my novel now. It's giving me thoughts and making me think.
Oh god.
A bientot

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Woman Conquers Lawn

How satisfying to know that I got this done in time for my Family Event last week. This of course is not my actual lawn, but IT LOOKS PRETTY GOOD, dear reader. If it weren't so dark out right now, I'd go take a picture of it.

So now my semi-annual entertaining is over until the second part of the semi--that being the hated holiday season (still six months away).

I am writing a steady 500 words per day on the nun book. That isn't much, I know, but at least I am getting the story down. I am taking advice from a friend and not giving away too much in the beginning. Let 'em beg for it, that's what my friend says. And there's truth there.


The Man Who Wore Underwear on His Feet

The Smile Inside

Insider Smiling

Twilight in the Bleachers

One Big Ice Cube

The Other Side of Summer

You Are Here

I am staying the course. Keeping my eye on the prize. Or at least the lane ahead of me.
Summer is nigh, dear reader.
Still Living the Dream

Saturday, June 16, 2007

GCC: Megan Crane

What a great concept for a book and one I can't wait to see explored. A "frenemy" is one of those supposed "friends" who really sabotage and backstab you--maybe with a smile on her face. Grr.

Just a few months shy of her 30th birthday, Gus discovers Nate, her “Mr. Right,” hooking up behind her back with her so-called “friend” Helen. Soon it seems despite working too hard to appear all grown up, Gus is still living the life of a teenager.
Gus is left with more questions than answers: Can she win Nate back before she turns 30 (And if so, does she really want him?) Is Helen really as devious and manipulative as she seems, or, worse, is Gus more like her frenemy Helen than she’d care to admit? And is she ever going to grow up? With the clock ticking down to her birthday, Gus discovers that sometimes the best thing about best-laid plans is trashing them altogether.
In FRENEMIES, Gus experiences first hand what happens when you reach that inevitable point in life when you must surrender yourself to adulthood and the big 3-0.
What People are Saying:
Jam-packed with hilarious one-liners and amusing scenarios, this is a quick, albeit very satisfying, read.”—Romantic Times BOOKClub Magazine

“FRENEMIES is a hugely enjoyable novel with brilliant, convincing characters and dialogue. It’s romantic, funny, intelligent, believable, and gripping. I couldn’t put it down and am now very sorry it’s finished!”— Marian Keyes, international bestselling author of Angels and Last Chance Saloon

About the Author:
Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who graduated from Vassar and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She is the author of Everyone Else’s Girl and English as a Second Language. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Take a trip over to Megan's website.

A bientot

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Do We Look Like Tourists?

My brother and sister-in-law were visiting and we walked around everywhere in Boston yesterday, not having a clue where we were or where we were going. What a great feeling.

So do we? Look like you know? We're not wearing tube socks.

Here we are at the Massachusetts State House. The horse's ass behind us is part of the General Hooker entrance to the grand edifice (it has a gold dome and I call that grand). I said I preferred to go in by the Specific Call Girl entrance, but this seemed faster. (probably every third visitor makes that same joke)

This is another part of the State House and we are right in front of the JFK statue. No one is allowed in this area generally, but our very good buddy, Officer XXXXXXXXX, let us in there. He even took our picture. We promised not to get him fired.

So do we?

Be honest.

What about right now? This is an early apartment of JFK's across from the State House. There's no plaque or anything, but the cop across the street said that when the Duck tours go by, they announce it, so we figured it was true or at least worth a picture. Can't you picture me waiting for Jack to show up? Just to check the minutes from today's meeting.


Continual questions about JFK

Continual questions about Cheers



No tube socks

No maps

No worries

Sometimes you get thirsty when you're a tourist.

Sometimes, reluctantly, you have to consult a m-m-m-you know what I'm trying to say. I look like I'm throwing myself across this one. We were on our pub crawl by then.

But the day ended well.
It almost makes me want to smoke a cigar.
A bientot, dear reader.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The More Things Change....

the more they you know what, dear reader. Especially at H-H-okay, okay, I'll say it. Hannaford's. No one can find anything there any more. AND YES I STILL SHOP THERE AND NO I HAVE NO EXCUSE AND YES I SHOULD BE TAKEN OUTSIDE AND SHOT.

This is the top of my shopping cart at Hudson Hannaford's, taken this past Saturday, and it virtually never changes. See the grapes on the right? They turned out to have been excellent this week (they don't always). The black straps are to my very cool Kate Spade handbag, a most excellent Christmas gift from my daughter.

Plastic bag of broccoli on the left, another necessity, along with the bottle of Paul Newman's raspberry walnut vinagrette leaning over to the left. I buy the same things every week. Although I walked out this time without deli ham because the new store layout has it in a different place and I forgot it.

I chatted with a woman in line and we both shook our heads. Why do we shop here, I said, and she had no answer for me. It's getting to be an existential question. And now as promised:


Please note I did not say "keeping up with the times," which is an incredibly old-fashioned thing to say.

1) computer use. Actually, all but the most resolute Luddites are using computers now. There is one guy at my work who says he does not, or he said it a couple of years ago. I figure even he must have given in. I'm afraid of him, so I can't really ask. [see former posts about Becky's invisibility at work]

2) proper slang. I know how to say "what up?" and other such rapper/cool utterances. My kids in class die laughing, of course. I know how to give a "high five." That right there sets me apart from some matrons.

3)I know who the Red Hot Chili Peppers are. This happened in the last year. I actually took a break from popular music, a break that lasted about ten years. I just wasn't interested. But that changed and now I know most of the groups and most of the hits. I used to be a big Sports Radio listener, but then I got tired of the "fellowship of the miserable," as Rick Pitino called it. all the callers say the same thing: "Ray Bourque. What can you say about Ray Bourque? This is a guy who...." WHATEVER. I'M GONE.

4) flat iron. I know how to use one on my hair and if the planets align correctly, it will work. I still can't quite get the hang of a dryer in one hand and a brush in the other, though. I tend to blow the shit out of my hair so I look like I've come through the Dust Bowl. That's why the flat iron helps.

5) fashion choices. I'm not a fuddy duddy, like some in my age group. HEADED FOR ALFRED DUNNER is a possible book title that only some women will appreciate, but those who do will laugh.
SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin about a girl who sleeps with her best friend's fiance. I thought it would be predictable, but it wasn't.
THE RUM DIARY, Hunter Thompson's first book and decidedly foreshadowing of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, one of the best books ever written. Not as outrageous, though, but plenty to think about as always.
Off to Boston tomorrow to sightsee and go to my friend Hank P. Ryan's book launch.
But tonight I am totally psyched for BIG LOVE on HBO.
A bientot

Saturday, June 09, 2007

One Happy Luddite

I don't think this woman is Amish or Luddite, but she isn't wearing a helmet and so I identify with her. Not that I ride a bike lately--I'm more of a track walker.

1) no TV. Well, let me amend that by saying no cable TV, which in the end means that I hardly ever turn it on unless it's a big sporting event. My TV is a whopping 23 inches. Over time, this means that I don't know what you are talking about if you mention some funny commercial or other. This frequently happens in class. It also means that I don't know who Jessica Simpson is or Lindsay Lohan or lots of other people. WHO ARE THEY?
2) no DVD player. A guest was here recently and we watched a movie on the VCR, which I couldn't quite figure out how to work, but finally did. So I don't see movies either. I pretty much read books and do anacrostic puzzles.

3) no cell phone. I admit I am being swayed over to the Dark Side. But I just keep thinking of all those years when no one had them. SOMEHOW WE GOT BY.

4) no bottled water. GASP. I drink FROM THE TAP. I look at it this way. That bottled water comes from somwhere, right? Some spring or natural aquifer (I've waited all my life to say aquifer in public)? I have that in my back yard in my own well, don't I? That's the way I see it anyway.

Lest you fear for my survival, dear reader, soon I will post ways that I am NOT a Luddite.

Meanwhile, little Maeve is starting to crawl. In fact, she has a very comical pose she goes into as she tries to get underway. It's a little like someone poised to do a pushup, but at the last minute she lifts her leg up behind her, rather like someone raising their pinkie before drinking tea. Very polite and even balletic in its way.

Living the Dream, though I have to do some housework this week. Lawn problems remain.
A bientot
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

GCC: BETWEEN, GEORGIA by Joshilyn Jackson

This book comes very highly recommended by me and everyone else. For starters, Jackson is the acclaimed author of gods in Alabama and this novel is every bit as good. I have only just started it and it is compelling. I'm giving up lawnmowing for the day, as a matter of fact.

As a further matter of fact, Jackson won GEORGIA AUTHOR OF THE YEAR for this book.

Jackson read the audio version herself and won a Publisher’s Weekly Listen Up award, a starred review in PW, and made AudioFile’s best of 2006 list!

Between. Georgia was a #1 BookSense pick, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to achieve #1 status in back-to-back years.

"One of this decade's most commendable novels. Every now and then a remarkable writer, following in the footsteps of great authors, comes along to reenergize American fiction. So it is with Joshilyn Jackson. ...overflows with gut-wrenching sadness and laugh-out-loud humor. Jackson's novel brilliantly explores abstractions - redemption, love and grace - through the most compelling characterizations to be found in contemporary fiction. Between, Georgia is an exemplary novel by a singular writer who is in full command of the art of story telling. Don't miss it!"- Bookpage

"Between, Georgia is a small miracle, and Nonny Frett is the most engaging woman who ever lived in the pages of a book. Joshilyn Jackson is an enormously talented writer."- Anne Rivers Siddons, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetwater Creek

Meanwhile, take a look at Joshilyn's very funny blog. Or you could visit her website. OR, you could just buy the book...

A bientot

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lawn Update because I can't help it

I tried very hard today to start the lawnmower. If the Lawnmower Police are coming, that is my answer.

It has gas.

It has oil.

It has my yanking powerful effort.

But no. It won't.

A couple of years ago, I wasn't holding down the proper lever, but this time I was.

Aren't my irises beautiful? Oh, they are. Pay no attention to the leaves embedded there.

Next week I have a Family Event, so I MUST take care of this. I am already thinking about how I will waylay some male protagonist to help me.

I do regret (sometimes) the gender roles that we follow. I am already on record complaining about female roles concerning Christmas and holidays. We do parboil and devein the shrimp. I admit it. But you men have reason to complain also. And here is part of it.
1) Mopping up sewage in the basement
2) Taking out the garbage (although I do that), especially when it has to be rebagged.
3) automotive difficulties, including flat tires, transmission problems, really anything to do with the car not starting.
4) middle of the night noises--a man must be willing to explore those
5) where the car is parked--a man should be able to retrieve the car wherever it is. My father always knew where the car was.
6) paying the check (even if we are really paying)
7) telling us we look nice (and not fat)
8) small appliance diffiulties, like the toaster. What we want to hear is, "I'll take a look at it."

Shouldn't we all be having more fun?
Living the Dream, dear reader

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A New Record?

How high can the grass get without clogging up the lawnmower, you ask. I may be finding out soon.


1. Went to NYC and returned.

2. Had company
3. Rain

4. Slothful personality

5. Don't want neighbors to feel too optimistic about my behavior

6. Seemed rash

7. Can't remember the other reasons, but they are powerful and not to be argued with.

In other news, I have a yummy big bag of Bing cherries to enjoy. They are only good when they are crisp and perfectly ripe, not over-ripe, and these are. If it weren't for the pits that have to be so crudely spit out, they might rival apples. I don't like spitting. Also, I'm curious why and when cherries became the epitome of happiness, as in "life is a bowl of...." I mean to me, life should be a bowl of Dove Bars more than cherries. Or at least a bowl of mashed potatoes. Life is a scorpion bowl, baby!

Years ago I went to a dinner party where the hostess labored over cherries jubilee, which is flambee of course, but she forgot to use cherries that had been pitted. I keep meaning to use a scene where everyone is surreptitiously trying to spit pits into their napkins in a book. Maybe the nun can do it.

Here I am with my agent Kristin Nelson (center)and author Kim Reid at the recent Backspace conference in NYC. I always surprise myself in photographs. Here I am looking heavenwards for some reason that must have made sense at the time.
One final question: Do lawnmowers have to have oil changes? Please say no, dear reader.
A bientot