Leaving well enough alone

I've been hearing a lot of bad Cure covers lately. I haven't even bothered to get up and walk over to the XM radio display to see who they're by but they're boring beyond belief. This morning, however, they were trumped by a woefully awful cover of "Xanadu" by a band—for this junk, I got up—called Lightspeed Champion. I honestly can't believe how awful and lifeless a version it is compared to the original. Thanks. Just had to get that off my chest.

So I'm back from vacation and working through all the prerequisite post-vacation blahs. A busted boiler was a sort of cherry on top of the welcome-back-to-your-workaday-life sundae. We could buy a car for the cost of replacing it...so I think we will! :) Seriously. No, not really. But we HAVE been thinking of trading in our ho-hum car for something with a little more zip and we HAVE been thinking of postponing the purchase of a new boiler until fall, or maybe replacing the whole system next year. So get out the footie PJs and hope for an early spring.

Florida was great. Nice weather. Tons of shrimp. And then fun stuff like mini golf and OUTLETS. Plus "dates" with my husband. And TEETH! (for Ellie). Pretty exciting all around. And so now I find myself (not to sound gloomy) with, well, nothing to look forward to. I mean, I have everything to look forward to, of course. I know that. But nothing specific. Which probably means I should just enjoy the day to day and not try to wish my life away. I should start by getting back to work on my next book, shouldn't I?

And can all we gals out there agree that if our husbands or future husbands ever doing something as awful and dumb as Mr. Spitzer that we will NOT appear by his side at the press conference?

Alrighty then...



So I don't know the origins of the Friday Five and Five Things on Friday that some folks on LJ do, but today, because I'm feeling sort of scattered, I'm going to give it a shot.

1. I've been awake since 5 am worrying about my trip to Florida tomorrow. There are just so many little details to remember on the packing front and the should we take a cab or drive dilemma is ongoing. And I'm always, always afraid we're going to miss our flight. My husband is happy to get to the airport an hour before a flight and I think that, in this day and age, that's just not enough of a buffer. I'd rather sit in the airport then fret the whole way there...

2. I'm not looking forward to writing today so much on account of being so freaking tired. But I've been going through the file leaving little notes like "[fix]" or "[more here]" so I'm going to be easy on myself and try to search for brackets and tackle as many of them as I can. Maybe I can trick myself into writing or revising something in a substantial way if I don't put too much pressure on myself.

3. LOST pretty much blew my mind last night.

4. Twice in recent months I've done something really bad to my neck. I can barely move my head in certain directions. Note sure if it's something I did in yoga or if I picked up Ellie's stroller when I had too many groceries and other junk hanging on it? So I am GOING FOR A MASSAGE. At a spa! In Florida. Next week.

5. Lastly, Linus. What was UP with all that mad sexual tension between Mike Cutter and sexy A.D.A. Connie this week? [I only watched last night.] Right on, L&O! Well done!

Beware Spoilers (Do not read if you haven't seen, uh, The Sixth Sense...Seriously!)

So I just had to divert my eyes away from Sara Zarr's LJ because she says her post might contain spoilers and I saw "Project Runway" in bold further down in the post. Some of you already know how I feel about Entertainment Weekly's photos of the final contestants' collections, so I actually thought for a second, "Does Sara's post REALLY contain spoilers?" and then decided that I had to simply exercise self control and NOT READ IT. But it's so hard to listen to spoiler alerts sometimes, isn't it?

I've been thinking about spoilers a lot lately because "What Happens Here" very much hinges on NOT KNOWING something about it and so far the considerate reviewers who have chimed in on the subject of the book have avoided giving anything away. But I just KNOW there's going to come a time when somebody just puts it all our there and ruins it for some people. Which stinks.

But you can also talk too much about how easy it is to spoil something...and then ruin it another way. I heard so many times that "The Sixth Sense" had a BIG TWIST, and how it'll be ruined if you find out...so I went to see it, sat down with my friend, took out a pen and wrote, "Bruce Willis is dead" [because I didn't know Bruce's character's name]. I mean, it's a movie about a kid who sees dead people and how he's got a shrink...take five seconds to think about it and there you have it. After the movie I showed what I'd written to my friend and he said, "How did you know?" Come ON! How did you NOT KNOW?

Our parents didn't have these problems, you know. Movies were in theaters and then they were gone. Shows were on when they were on. Our Tivos and DVRs are likely to drive us all mad. Who even KNOWS if you have to avoid spoilers when you don't even know for sure WHEN the shows you're watching actually air?

And on that note, I've got some television to catch up on. Better get to it...

Baby pictureszzzzzzzzzzz

I've been feeling a bit lately like I'm bored by my OWN baby pictures, as in pics of Ellie--not me, silly. So I'm experimenting with trying to take more interesting photos. I mean, how many shots can I take of Ellie looking at the camera and trying to grab it? I have some technical issues to sort out--lighting-wise, camera-wise—but here are two of my most recent pics. I thought I'd try to start documenting what Ellie actually DOES in the day to day, not simply what she looks like....At the very least, it's another way to entertain myself!

Well it had to happen sooner or later, right?

So Ellie's got a shiner. Four days before I go to visit my inlaws! Bad mother! Bad mother! At a wee seven and a half months Ellie has started pulling up to stand and she lost this round with the coffee table. It's a bit less scary this morning than it was yesterday but oh, boy. Less swelling but a lot more color. Makes me dread actual injuries/emergencies down the line.

It got me to thinking about my own childhood injuries. I remember an incident, probably when I was in fourth grade, involving a jump rope getting caught on a bike wheel—I was holding the rope—and the rider of the bike, Robert Jenkins, rode off and pulled me along with him. I hit my head on the street and ran home wailing. I never did like that Jenkins kid, which was rough since his twin sister was my best friend. Hey, I wonder if that's part of why i've always been so fascinated with twins?

Anyway, I remember being in school, in gym class, the next day and we were doing ridiculous "exercises," bending this way and that and my head hurt so bad. I guess it was my first official headache and I was sure I was dying. I'm not sure it stopped me from playing kick ball or the dreaded elimination volleyball, though, so it mustn't have been that bad.

Poor Ellie. The worst thing about it is that she only seems to sense that something is wrong if I look at her funny. So no more looking at her funny!

For once they got it right!

I went to bed last night thinking a lot about 1998, the year Elliot Smith was nominated for an Oscar for best original song for "Miss Misery" from "Good Will Hunting." I remember not being able to sleep that night....because Matt Damon and Ben Afleck, two scrappy new faces in Hollywood, had won—I envied them their youthful success—and Elliot Smith had not. This year, I had little hope that "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova would win for their wonderful song. Seeing the nominees performed might have given me a LITTLE bit more hope. I know people have really fallen for "Enchanted" but the Oscar performances did it no favors. And three songs nominated from the same film? Snore.

I slept soundly.

And woke up only to find out that Glen and Marketa had won! Right on, Oscar! The song's lovely; Glen's lovely. What a nice surprise.

It was also a nice surprise, by the way, to fall asleep easily after the Oscars. For years I'd lie awake imagining winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and I'd write my speech in my head over and over and I'd be wired for hours. I guess my dreams have changed. I think it'd be nice for someone else to win an Oscar for maybe adapting one of my books—and I'd like to be invited if they can spare a seat—but that's really the extent of my Hollywood fantasy these days. And it feels right.

In other exciting news this morning, the fabulous Little Willow has posted a review of "What Happens Here."


"What Happens Here" is starting to happen

It's always a nerve-wracking and exciting time when advance copies of your book get sent out. It means people are actually going to read it (woohoo!) and then review it (yikes). So I was very happy to get my first review for "What Happens Here" from Jocelyn over at Teen Book Review. I hope that it is a sign that more good reviews will be appearing in the lead up to the book's May release.

In other news, Ellie randomly decided to wake up at 5:40am this morning. We're sooooo very spoiled by what a great sleeper she is so we're all a bit off our game this morning. But all I really want to do today is start packing for our Florida vacation, so that shouldn't bee too hard.

We don't have a lot of plans besides hanging out with my in laws and going to see Nick's grandmother but I keep Googling the distance between where we're going to be and the Mets spring training camp--it's unrealistic to think we'd get there for a game as it's almost a 4-hour drive—and also Weeki Wachee springs. I've been dying to go there ever since Nick told me about his childhood trips to Florida. They have women who perform as "mermaids" in big tanks and I've just always been curious to see the place. It's only about a half an hour from Nick's grandmother but we're not sure we can swing it this time around.

Sometimes I feel like Ellie's this gnome that we travel around with--you start to think of everything as a photo op when a baby is too little to really DO much—but we should probably wait until she's a little bit older and could appreciate it more? We shall see. I'm also tempted to go to the P.T. Barnum museum in Sarasota. Who knew I had so much stuff I wanted to do in Florida????

One thing I am definitely doing. Going to a spa and getting a massage. I can't WAIT. Especially because a spa massage was my birthday present from Nick...back in October.

Okay, the gnome requires breakfast.



It has been a mild winter here in NYC so today's snow is a real treat. Especially since I didn't even know it was coming. But here's the thing: my neighbor has a very handy little snowblower and he is out there as soon as the first flake sticks to the ground. His sidewalk is maybe, I don't know, twenty-five feet across? And his snowblower clears a path in about five seconds. So, I know it makes me sound like an awful person, but would it kill him to push the damn thing another couple of feet to clear our sidewalk, too. I feel like if he did, it would make up for the fact that he uses said snowblower, every fall, to blow leaves from his backyard into our backyard. I caught him doing it once. I guess since the TREE is in OUR yard, he figures those leaves are ours to deal with alone?

Ah, neighbors. I guess I should mention that he's about 85 years old. I guess that probably lets him off the hook in both situations.

My babysitter is due to arrive in an hour so I'll trudge out to a cafe to write for four hours today. I'm working on my third young adult novel and it is TOP SECRET. Only a handful of people know what it's about because it's sort of "out there" and I quickly found that when I told people about it they just looked sort of confused and/or horrified. [You would think that I'd be used to this since my first novel (for adults) was about a pair of Siamese twin pop stars, but still.] I'm hoping that if I execute it well enough, it'll fly but the jury's still out. Wish me luck today.


Where have you been all my life, Linus Roach?

So I've decided that there isn't much point in maintaining a LJ if you don't post regularly so I'm going to experiment in the coming weeks and try to post more frequently. I think I often don't post because I don't think I have anything "to say" but I'm just going to broaden the scope of things I deem LJ'able and see how it goes. This way maybe those of you who are reading will, at the very least, get to know me a little bit better in the weeks and months leading up to the release of my next tome, "What Happens Here."

So, I believe I've already mentioned that I'm a huge Law & Order freak, but HOLY COW. Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roach have joined the cast and WOW. The original is still the best, alright. I'm not sure which of these actors I like watching more. Okay, I am. Linus Roach. I had a massive crush on him years ago, when I was in college, then I forgot about him entirely for more than a decade and BAM—here he is and he looks like he hasn't aged a day and he's soooooooooooooo goooooooooooood. My poor husband. He's practically wiping up drool whenever we tune in.

In other (TV) news, I've been watching Breaking Bad, which is so very good. Who knew that dude from Malcom in the Middle was such a talent? Well, apparently a lot of people knew, but not me. It's a stunning show. I probably wouldn't have ended up watching if it weren't for the slim pickings during the writers strike but I'm really glad I did. It's a highlight of the TV-watching week for me now.

Speaking of which, Project Runway. I've never been angry at a magazine before but I was flipping through Entertainment Weekly the other day and found myself looking at a photo montage of all these dresses and then I saw that they were pictures of the collections of the final contestants in PR. What the...? I was SO ANGRY. I don't want to see the designs until I SEE them. I don't know what the produces of PR were thinking giving press access to a sneak preview of the collections. Really bad judgment call. I'm reluctantly rooting for Christian and really hope Romi and his draping get auf'd soon.

Next time: a post that doesn't mention TV at all. Promise.


Nothing much new, just some movie talk

It has been a weird movie week. Weird in that I've seen TWO movies--on DVD, of course—in the past six days. You see, I came THIS CLOSE to celebrating an anniversary with the "Munich" DVD in my house. I am the reason Netflix can make money. I'm serious, people I had Munich, unwatched, sitting around, for eleven full months. Sigh.

So anyway, if you knew me well, and some of you do, you would know that "Once" is a "Tara movie" if ever there was one. [The other one in recent memory, the one that prompted emails from friends around the Globe, saying "Have you seen this?" was "Brothers of the Head"] But anyway, I used to live in Dublin, where I worked as a music journalist and indeed my very first concert review was of a little-known band called the Frames. This was 1992. So now lead singer Glen Hansard is in a lovely lovely film. It made me cry and not for any obvious reason, I don't think. It made me nostalgic for my time in Ireland, when I was so fired up about music, but it also moved me because I'm that way when someone in the arts executes something so well. As proud as I am of the work I've done to date, I still don't quite feel I've hit the nail on the head. "Once" hits that nail. I envy everyone involved its subtlety and perfection.

Then Nick put this weird film from the seventies, "The Warriors," on the Netflix queue, right up at the top, so that's what arrived next. My top secret work in progress has a Coney Island element and the Warriors are a gang from Coney who are falsely accused of killing a gang leader at a big meet-up and they spend the film's duration trying to get from the Bronx back to Coney alive. Ah, the seventies in New York. It's hard to believe it's the same city I live in today. The dude from Xanadu was in it, which was strange. I had a mad crush on him back in the day, of course. And I also spent twenty minutes saying to Nick, who was Googling various actors, "That HAS to be Willem Dafoe" before realizing that the actor I was talking about played, most recently, Sex and the City Samantha's rich older boyfriend, whatever his name was. Thank god I figured that out.

In other news, I'm reviewing the "first pass pages" of What Happens Here. So it looks like a book, which is exciting. May will be here before I know it. Won't it? I sure hope so because I'm already over this "winter" thing.