Thoughts from the Road

As I write this post, I sit at gate C12 in Laguardia Airport waiting for my flight to board.  I am going to Chicago.  I am meeting my boyfriend there and we are staying with his sister and her husband for one night before driving to Michigan tomorrow.  While in Michigan, we will celebrate Christmas for two days.  On Saturday, his extended family is having their annual Christmas dinner (Smith Palooza) and on Sunday, we will be celebrating again with his more immediate family.  Sunday, in case you didn’t know, is also my birthday.  Although I am excited to spend Christmas with my boyfriend for the first time, I am slightly sad that my birthday will take second fiddle.  I’m getting old though so it’s not like I need to be reminded about it!  Especially since I am several years older than my boyfriend… Anyway, on Monday, I believe we will be visiting with some of my boyfriend’s friends from high school and college, although I am not certain of that.  I think we might also be running a 5K on Saturday morning.  While I am slightly afraid of running in Flint without a bullet proof vest, I have a feeling I am going to be eating a lot more than usual this week and so a run will definitely do my body good.  On Tuesday, Christmas day, we will drive back to Chicago, have dinner with my boyfriend’s sister and her husband and then we will have the next two days to explore Chicago by ourselves. I’m totally excited about that because I’ve never been to Chicago.  Unless you count the 24 hour trip I took back in 1996 when I was sent there for training on a trademark docketing system.  Since I didn’t have time to see anything besides the airport, my hotel and the training room, I don’t count it.  This time, I will truly experience Chicago.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some real Chicago deep dish pizza! I also heard that Chicago makes one hell of an Italian hot dog and Italian meat sandwich.  Yeah, I will definitely need to run while I am away… I want to see “the bean”, shop the Miracle Mile, check out some of the architecture and at least drive by Wrigley Field.  I am sad that we are visiting in the baseball off-season as I really want to see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  I am a Yankees fan but I love visiting different stadiums.  On our last night, we will be going to a Second City show. I remember from the cruise I took a couple of years ago that the Second City is a hilarious improve show and I can’t wait.  

The trip has been uneventful for me so far.  Last time I travelled during the holidays, everything that could go wrong did. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that since the plane did eventually arrive in Jamaica and I was alive and well when I got there – that’s something. But between being delayed and ultimately booted off my initial flight, spending  the night at the airport Ramada, arriving in Jamaica a day late and welcomed by torrential downpours, I was a bit tentative about traveling this time of year.    Not to jinx myself but so far, so good.  My flight is leaving at 2 and I had my car pick me up at 11:45 in case of traffic or long security lines.  There was no traffic, I checked my bag at the curb and went through security in record time and arrived at my gate at 12:30!  I’m hoping the flight leaves on time, I am not sitting next to anyone with horrid breath or body odor, there is minimal turbulence and I arrive at Ohare safe and sound.  I also hope my bag is waiting on the carousal when I get there!  My poor boyfriend is already having a rough time.  First he missed his bus to the airport and had to take a cab.  Then the flight was delayed by an hour only to be extended by several more hours.  He was supposed to arrive an hour before me but it looks like I will get there well before him.  His sister is meeting us at the airport.  Hopefully, she’ll be game for having a beer while we wait 🙂

I really need this vacation as I have been super stressed out lately.  Work has been insane!  One of my clients has some extra money in its budget for the year and so I was instructed to do some last minute, time-sensitive projects for them.  My other clients were also super busy.  I’ve also been trying so hard to keep up with the promotion of A State of Jane.  As my fellow authors can probably appreciate, I’ve been obsessed with my sales rankings on Amazon.  I had a really good week or two in late November/early December but, based on my numbers the past few days, my sales have dropped.  I am trying not to focus on it so much because we all have bad days.  I promised my boyfriend I would relax this week and not focus too much on the writing stuff.  I hope to keep that promise for his sake and mine because the stress is just ridiculous!  My third book is with a fellow author friend.  I am waiting with baited breath to get her comments. One beta reader really liked it so far and one has been suspiciously silent which, of course, has made me super paranoid.  I’m really hoping this author friend has encouraging words because I’m really proud of this book and would hate to find out that my instincts have been way off.  That would be a waste of almost a year of writing!

OK, the gate is getting crowed which leaves me to believe we will boarding soon.  Hooray!  I will be back later.

Update: First my boyfriend texted to tell me that all flights in and out of Chicago are being cancelled at 5.  His flight is still scheduled to arrive earlier than that, but who knows?  Then there was an announcement at my gate that my flight was being delayed from 2:00 to 3:10 due to weather issues in Chicago. I also hope to arrive by 5! Ugh.  It’s dejavu all over again…

 Another update:  I am happy to report that while both of our flights were delayed, neither were cancelled and we are now together in the state of Illinois. I am happily drinking my second glass of Shiraz, comfy and cozy on the couch with my boyfriend next to me.  More later! 🙂

8 Holiday Questions for 8 Authors!

8 Questions for 8 Authors

I am so honored to be one of 8 authors participating in this holiday blog hop.  Since this is the last post in the hop, I hope you’re still reading!!

1.  What is your best (or worst) holiday memory?

I am Jewish and so my typical Christmas day consists of seeing a movie with my parents and going out for Japanese food – Hibachi.  As my birthday is December 23rd, Christmas is also the day I celebrate my birthday with my folks.  I have two older sisters and 5 nieces and nephews but this day is just me and parents.  I cherish this day every year because on this day, I am not a grown woman with a job and responsibilities, I am the youngest child who has the undivided attention of her parents.  (This often means I have to answer, or more likely avoid, my mother’s prying questions into the details of my relationship but at least they pay for my popcorn!) This year, I will be spending Christmas in Michigan with my boyfriend’s family but since I cherish him too, I am sure it will be a special day and I look forward to making a new holiday memory.  As long as he doesn’t forget to wish me a happy birthday! 

2.  Favorite holiday beverage?

After walking the crowded streets of New York City on a frigid winter day, I love to sit by a window in a cozy bar with a cup of hot mulled wine.   My German friend calls it “Gluvine.”

imageshotmulledwine

3.    What would you add to a snowman to personalize it?

As an avid fan of baseball with a loyal allegiance to the New York Yankees, I miss my boys during the off months.  I would personalize my snowman New York Yankees style with a Yankees branded scarf, hat and banner

NYYankeessnowmanCAWV1GWV

4.    What are three things you can’t survive the holidays without?

My iPod because, less face it, all of the radio stations play all Christmas music ALL OF THE TIME and quite frankly, it’s annoying. 

My credit card because, damn the holiday season sure is expensive!

 My family – this year will be different because, as stated above, I am spending the holidays as well as my birthday with my boyfriend’s family.  Hopefully they will treat me right! 

5.    Santa – sexy or let’s just be friends?

“Santa, it’s not that I’m not attracted to you but I am already seeing someone.  Can we just be friends?  Really close friends who get each other super awesome gifts for the holidays?”   

6.    Favorite holiday song, album or movie?

Whenever I am asked to choose one, I always cheat.  Today will be no exception.  My favorite holiday song(s) are Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland version) and I don’t want a lot for Christmas (I love the version in Love, Actually)  Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song is pretty cool too!  Favorite Christmas movies are Meet me in St. Louis, Love, Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life.

7.    It’s midnight New Year’s Eve – you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead. Who’s it going to be?

Bradley Cooper – I want to run my hands through his messy longish hair and plant a juicy kiss on his luscious lips.  Then I want him to flash me his dazzling white tooth smile and tell me it was the best kiss he ever had 🙂

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Don’t we look cute together?

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8.    What is your worst/funniest holiday travel tale?

One year my friend and I decided to take a holiday to Jamaica the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Both of us are pretty anal about being on time and so for our early flight, we arrived at the airport before security even opened.  First to arrive at our gate, we breathed a sigh of relief until we were told that the airline overbooked the flight and they were looking for people to volunteer to give up their tickets and fly out the following day.  My friend and I had already pre-paid our all-inclusive vacation and there was no way we were voluntarily missing a full day but it seemed no one else was willing either.  Then we were told that due to an impending snow-storm, there would be a delay in departure time.  We were told to go get food and that they would announce over the loud speaker if there were any developments in departure time.  My friend and I went to get food and when we returned to the gate (less than 30 minutes later), we were told that the flight had already departed.  In case you missed that last sentence, THE FLIGHT HAD ALREADY DEPARTED. Without us.  Since we were told to go get food and no announcement had been made asking all passengers to return to the gate, we were sufficiently pissed off.  I was cursing and throwing a fit, of course.  But there was nothing we could do about it.  We were given tickets for a flight the following morning and shuttled to the Ramada at the airport.  The hotel room and dinner were paid by the airline and we were also given a voucher for a free domestic flight.  Since our trip was supposed to be 7 days and nights, we decided that losing one day wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, especially since we got that free voucher for another flight.  Unfortunately, neither of us had packed any clothes in our carry-on and had no clean underwear for the next day.  The hotel store had underwear but only Hanes Men’s briefs.  What’s a girl with no clean panties to do?  Wear Hane’s Men’s briefs of course!  Without any further complications, we arrived safely in Jamaica and enjoyed one day of sunshine and 5 days of torrential downpours.  And then on the return trip, I left my passport in the cab that drove me home from the airport.  Along with all of the souvenirs I bought.  And my voucher for a free domestic flight. 

Vacation: Epic fail!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my fellow author’s answers, you can find them here!

Upcoming events!

I have a lot going on these days and sometimes it is helpful to write it all down.  Since I was going to put it in writing anyway, I figured I would share my schedule with you all!

Upcoming Events:

1.  Spend almost an entire week with my boyfriend starting tomorrow.  YAY!  Since he lives across the country, this is kind of huge.

2. I will be announcing the winner of the 350 “Likes” on Facebook Giveaway on Wednesday, November 21st – there is still time to enter to win a free ecopy of A State of Jane!

3. Black Friday Blog Hop.

On November 23rd, while the rest of the US is out handling the crowds, fighting for their holiday gifts, some of us like to stay in, shop online, or just ignore Black Friday all together. This year, join us in our second annual Black Friday Blog Hop! It’s a ONE DAY hop where we’re giving away prizes, talking about books we love, and most likely  eating left over turkey. 🙂

On my blog, I’ll be giving away a $5 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one lucky winner.

4. Rachael Magazine Event

On December 6th, I’ll be a guest speaker at Rachael Events Create, along with three other women who have created or are in the process of creating their brands.  I will be discussing my books, writing in general and providing dating tips from the main characters of my two novels – use your judgment before following said advice…Tickets are $20 a person and include cupcakes, prosecco and crafting for charity.

Here are the details!

http://rachaelpresentscreate.eventbrite.com/#

It’s going to be a busy few weeks so I’d better get some real work done while I can 🙂

From Santa to corn dogs – my experience with Hurricane Sandy

Before reading more, please know that this post is meant to be my personal experience with Hurricane Sandy and I am writing it in a humorous tone to go with the mood of my blog.  I am very much aware of the devastation caused by this hurricane and this post is in no way meant to minimize that.  I am truly grateful that all I lost during the storm was power and I mean absolutely no disrespect to others who were not as lucky. 

The Saturday before the hurricane hit, my friends and I went out to celebrate an early Halloween.  We all dressed up as sexy Santa Claus and went to a bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  I drank a couple more Key Lime Pie Martinis than I should have.  I had run over nine miles earlier that day and barely eaten anything for lunch and I am also sort of a lightweight.  I tend to get buzzed before even finishing my first drink.  While it usually takes me several more than one to get more than tipsy, I drank several more than one that night!  When I woke up the next morning, I was feeling wretched.  I skipped my usual Sunday morning spin class and had no desire or motivation to leave the (dis) comfort of my bed. My mother called and urged me to get to the grocery store sooner rather than later in order to stock up on food for the impending storm and said I could get back in bed after I was finished.  Deciding she was right, I threw on a pair of cargo pants and a hoody and sans makeup headed to the supermarket.  I was happy I did as it seemed everyone in my neighborhood’s mother gave them the same advice and there were already very long lines.  Unfortunately, when one is hungover, one’s judgment with respect to what kind of food should be purchased is a bit lacking.  Since I wasn’t very hungry, I didn’t buy much at all.  And while I remembered to buy some canned foods in the event the power went out, I truly wasn’t expecting the storm to be as bad as it was and bought mostly yogurt, fruit and frozen meals. 

When I woke up on Monday morning, I was surprised that it was barely raining.  I texted my boss and said I almost felt guilty for missing work.  He responded that if I felt that way, I should just go in.  (The office was closed.)  Since my boss is actually one of my best friends, I didn’t feel the slightest bad for responding, “fuck you” and heading back to my couch to resume my Fringe marathon.  At about 8:30 on Monday night, while I was still watching television and pressing refresh on my Goodreads author page to see if anyone new had added A State of Jane to her bookshelf, the lights flickered for a second and then both my computer and television turned off as power blew in my entire neighborhood. (I later learned it was caused by an explosion.) The first thing I did was text my boyfriend Jason in Seattle to let him know.   He texted back and told me to light some candles.  After that, I texted a few more people to let them know and I started reading a book by flashlight.  The wind was howling and I will admit to being pretty freaked out and afraid in the dark.  I really wished my boyfriend was there.  Or anyone for that matter!  But mostly my boyfriend… I began receiving texts from many people asking if I was OK in the storm.  I was surprised that some of these people were friends I hadn’t heard from in years.  It made me feel very good that they thought of me and reached out to see how I was holding up.  As the hours dragged on, I became afraid of depleting my phone of charge and so as much as I was reassured by the people texting me, I was also afraid to use my phone too much.  It was suggested to me that I just go to sleep and hopefully the power would be back by the time I woke up.  I tried but the wind was so overpoweringly loud and I was scared, not to mention a little annoyed at my boyfriend who hadn’t checked up on me since I told him my power had gone out over three hours earlier. He’s wonderful and I don’t mean to suggest otherwise but that night I was really frightened and when I got frightened, I get needy and when I get needy, I get pissed.  So, I was pissed.  I’ve since moved on…I woke up the next morning extremely disappointed to see that the power hadn’t come back on and then I heard voices outside of my apartment door.  I opened the door to see several of my building staff holding flashlights and walking up and down the hallway to make sure we were all ok.  When they said that the power wasn’t expected to be back for another 24-48 hours, I freaked out.  My phone was already almost out of charge, I realized I hadn’t bought enough food and I was pretty lonely.  A friend who lived close by texted to tell me she had power and I was welcome to come over to charge my phone and take a shower and I was thrilled until I packed my bag, headed to the door and realized that, oh shit, I live on the 18th floor.  In order to get to my friend’s apartment, I would need to walk down 18 flights of stairs in the pitch black.  And then walk back up them later.  It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how afraid I am of the dark!  I decided the only way I was going down those stairs was if I had a place to stay until the power came back on.  I texted a few friends and asked if I could stay over.  One said I was welcome but she was very sick and shivering on her couch.  The other said I was also welcome but she reminded me that it might be difficult to find a cab.  I didn’t want to walk down those stairs only to be stuck without a way to get to my friend’s apartment uptown.  I began to cry. And then I decided to read and calm down.  But I couldn’t calm down.  I texted my boss who told me to turn my phone off and only check it every hour or so.  He also suggested that I contact our mutual friend who recently moved close by to see if she had power.  My boyfriend was also very attentive and checking in often.  He suggested that I charge my phone with my computer.  After I couldn’t find the right plug to do so, I completely lost it and called him crying. Looking back, it seems silly that I was so frantic but at the time, all I could think about was being trapped 18 flights up in the dark with no way to communicate with the outside world. I kept looking out my window in jealousy of the people walking down the street.  I already suffer slightly from claustrophobia and I was in full panic mode. He managed to calm me down and after we hung up, I found a way to charge my phone using my computer.  I also texted my friend Alisa as suggested by my boss to see if she had power. While I waited to hear back from her, I tried to fall asleep but couldn’t.  I tried to read but couldn’t.  All I could do was stare at my phone to see if it was charging. It was, but very, very slowly.  I just prayed the phone would sufficiently charge before my computer lost power as well.  And then I received a text from Alisa saying that she was ok.  She offered to have me stay with her.  Thrilled at the thought of escape from my apartment, I quickly summoned the courage to walk down the 18 flights by myself but not before texting Jason to see if he would talk me through it.  Before I could chicken out, I headed down the stairs and was already on the 9th floor when Jason called and kept me company for the remaining trip.  I was so happy when I got outside and breathed in the fresh air.  When I saw my friend Alisa who offered to come and get me, I almost started crying tears of joy. We went straight to a bar close to her apartment that still had power and, OMG, that first beer tasted SO good.  Alisa let me use her portable charger and I managed to multi-task drinking beer and texting some friends and family to let them know I had made it out of my building. 

Flash forward several hours and I learned that my friend Shanna also did not have any power.  Although I had assumed she had found a place to stay, when she told me otherwise, Alisa generously offered to let Shanna and her dog stay with her as well.  Alisa lives in a typical NYC apartment (read: small) but she said that in times like these, we make it work. Honestly, her generosity astounded me. She kept saying she knew I would do the same had the roles been reversed but even though I knew she was right, I was so incredibly grateful.  I still am. 

The next few days were pretty uneventful.  My office opened for business on Wednesday and since the building is in walking distance from Alisa’s apartment, I went to work for the rest of the week and continued to check in with friends and family to confirm they were ok.  I hoped each day that the power would be back by the time the day was through but it wasn’t.  As I had been without power, I didn’t know the full extent of the damage caused by the hurricane until we watched Rock Center with Brian Williams.  That was an extremely humbling experience and I realized how lucky I was to have lost only power when so many other people lost their homes and even their lives.  We made the best of things and, to be honest, I had a lot of fun.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a roommate and it was fun to have two girls to talk to every night after work.  I hadn’t bonded with Alisa in years as she only recently moved back to NYC after living elsewhere so it was great to catch up.  On Friday, it was announced that power was expected to be back up in all of NYC by 11pm on Saturday and so we were fairly certain our sleepover party was coming to an end.  We decided to celebrate the end of the week at a local bar.  At some point early in the evening, the news came on to announce that power was back up in the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan.  We toasted to that.  We discussed the pros and cons of the city cancelling the Marathon and we met some tourists – several from Canada and one from Denmark.  While this was going on, a friend texted me the news that power was back in our neighborhood.  As I was already loopy from several pints of cider and had no desire to end my evening cleaning out my refrigerator, I decided to stay one more night with Alisa, who was actually in no hurry for us to leave.   Because Shanna had to walk her dog, she and I left the bar a little bit earlier than Alisa.  We were snacking on pretzels when she came home holding up bags from Papaya King because she recalled me saying earlier that week that I had never eaten a corn dog!  The three of us ate our corn dog and French fries and after laughing over the stupid words to Taylor Swift’s “We are never getting back together”, went to sleep.  Shanna and I woke up the next morning to further confirmation that power had returned to our respective apartments and, after thanking Alisa profusely for her hospitality, I headed back home.  Although cleaning out my refrigerator was not fun, it did not smell nearly as bad as I expected, probably because I live like a college kid in a grown woman’s body and barely had any food to spoil. 

The power has now been back for almost two days and, aside from having to walk more blocks than usual to get coffee and restock on food, my life is returning back to normal.  While Hurricane Sandy was merely an inconvenience for me and perhaps a built-in use to skip the gym and drink more than usual, I am all too aware that for others, life is far from normal and might never be.  It is so sad how one night can change everything.  While I vow to be more prepared next time, for example, stock up better for food, replenish batteries for flashlight, purchase portable external charger etc., I also vow to not take my blessings or my friends for granted.  It can all be taken away so quickly.

Blog Vows!

My new website was born this weekend and this is my first post on my new blog!  As this is a new beginning for me, I have decided to write some vows that I will try very hard to uphold with respect to my postings:

 

  1.      I vow to be sufficiently active on this blog but not so active that any followers I am lucky to secure will accuse me of being a self-promoting, all-about-me douchebag.  My goal is a new post approximately once a week.
  2.     I vow to keep it real.  I will not paint my life as one of perfection because we all know that no one’s life is perfect.  I will post the good, the bad and the ugly.  But the ugly will not include pictures of myself after a two hour run or after just waking up in the morning. 
  3.     I vow to post about my books and my writing but also anything on my mind I think might be of interest to my followers, including but not limited to events in pop culture and humorous observations about life in New York City or anywhere else my travels take me.   
  4.     I vow to host guest bloggers on my site so that they can shamelessly self-promote their books or share their own humorous observations about life.  If you are interested in being a guest on my blog, please contact me.
  5.     I vow to keep mentions of my mother to a minimum at her request.  She is the favorite and most productive of my muses but it makes her uncomfortable and I love her too much to cause her pain. 
  6.     I vow to be open to suggestions for blog topics. If there is anything you’d like me to write about, I would be happy to oblige (within reason).

 That’s about it for now but I vow to come back and add more if it’s deemed necessary.

random updates about me!

I haven’t blogged in a while about me. I’ve either had guest authors on my blog or talked about A State of Jane. I will never tire of talking about A State of Jane (well, not until book number 3 comes out at least) but today, I feel like talking about me. It’s my blog so I’m entitled!

I don’t feel so hot. I don’t have crazy cold symptoms like a cough or sore throat but I feel out if it and kind of weak. I have been drinking a lot of fluids and dosing up on Emergen-c and Airborne. I have a busy weekend ahead of me and as of now don’t plan to cancel anything. Just hoping to rally like the rock star I am. I do not feel very much like a rock star right now so wish me luck.

What else? Been spending tons of money. I booked my flight to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s family in Michigan and Chicago. I’m excited about it. I’m Jewish and although my sister had a few Christmas dinners at her house when she was married to her ex-husband, I’ve never truly experienced a real family Christmas – should be fun. I’m also thrilled to be spending over a week with my boyfriend since we don’t live in the same state (or time zone) and the most consecutive days we’ve spent together to date is five. This should be interesting! Yes, I am very much looking forward to it but between the flight and purchasing gifts for his family, it’s going to be more than I usually spend around the holidays. Not that I’ve actually purchased gifts for his family yet but I will! One of my closest friends/boss is turning, um, 29 next week and I ordered his gift. He has historically spent more money on my gifts than pretty much anyone else and so I try to buy him something special every year. Last year I failed miserably so hopefully I made up for it this year. My boyfriend’s birthday is also coming up and now that we’ve been dating over a year, I feel like I need to raise the bar on his gift, especially since he has bought me a ton of stuff for the various milestones/holidays we have shared since we’ve been together. He also had flowers delivered to me three times over the past year! But I have no idea what to get him. *sigh*. I am dressing up for Halloween for the first time in several years. I’ve always wanted to be a sexy Santa Claus so I bought a costume on Amazon. A bunch of my friends are buying the same costume so together we’ll look like a bunch of slutty Santas – woot woot! So, yes, lots of money has been spent! I’m hoping to make some of this money back on sales of A State of Jane but since I’m also updating my website (or trying to – waiting on my web administrator to get back to me and waiting and waiting), I have a feeling everything I make will be spent. Thank God, I do not write to get rich, I write because I love it. I write because I love it. I write because I love it. I am repeating this mantra to myself so I do not get frustrated if I don’t sell as many copies as I’d like or if it takes a while for the book to catch on. It’s only been out a month and I already stalk Amazon and Goodreads on an almost hourly basis. Currently the book is in the hands of many bloggers/reviewers and while many of the reviews will not come out until my Chick Lit Plus blog tour in January, several of the people I asked are separate from the blog tour so hopefully at least some of those reviews will come out soon. And I am very excited to be working with a new “Book Manager” assigned by my publisher to help me on the promotional front. She said that I am doing great with my blogging, tweeting etc. and it’s wonderful that I’ve already reached out to so many reviewers but she is going to try to help me reach an audience I might not be able to do on my own. Yippee!

Oops, I just realized I’ve been talking about A State of Jane and I’m supposed to be talking about me!

Back to me – I wish I could say I am crushed that the New York Yankees have been eliminated from the post season but the way they played the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers was PITIFUL. They couldn’t hit. They didn’t deserve to win. I am sad mostly because baseball is the only sport I really follow. I am going to try to get into college basketball this year. My boyfriend went to Michigan State and so I said I would root for them since I have no other allegiance. Nothing will ever really replace baseball as my favorite sport but maybe college basketball can be a close second. We’ll see…

Is there anything else about me I want to share? Hmm, just one thing – I still feel like crap!

Hollywood Hits & Misses – take 2

I initially wrote this blog for a third party website but, for reasons unknown, it was never posted. I’ve decided to post it on my own blog for your reading pleasure.

I would think almost all of us have read books that were made into movies and just as many of us have probably seen movies that were adapted from books. When I devour a book and find out it’s being turned into a movie, I literally count the days until I can watch the scenes play out on the big screen. (Most recently, I organized an outing for my friends to see The Hunger Games.) Most of the time I do not expect to enjoy the movie as much as the book and most of the time, it works out that way, for example, Bonfire of the Vanities – Loved the book, HATED the movie. But sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.

Listed below are my picks for three best movies that were adapted from books and three worst movies that were adapted from books. My list is limited to books/movies in the chicklit/rom-com genre because that was the “assignment” for the third party blog.

Hits:

1. The Devil Wears Prada – Book by Lauren Weisberger

Although I enjoyed this book, I preferred the film version for several reasons. Most importantly, I liked that Merryl Streep brought vulnerability to the role of Miranda Priestly. I also enjoyed Andrea’s makeover and watching her transform from a somewhat sloppy “plain Jane” to a sophisticated fashionista. And, of course, any film starring Simon Baker is cool with me.

2. Bridget Jone’s Diary – Book by Helen Fielding.

I recall finding the book humorous but, in my opinion, the movie kicked serious ass! The casting was completely on point and I found Renee Zellwegger’s portrayal as a British single woman very authentic. Also, while reading the book, I got bored with the diary entries of how much she weighed, drank, smoked etc., but the narrative during the movie made me laugh. I have watched this movie more times than I can count on my fingers and toes and quite honestly, I can’t wait to watch it again! HIT with a capital H!

3. In Her Shoes – Book by Jennifer Weiner

The movie perfectly captured the complex relationship between two sisters, Rose and Maggie. The casting of Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz, not to mention Shirley Maclaine was spot on. I don’t recall major discrepancies between the book and the movie but if there were any a) they were subtle and b) they worked. I loved the book but I think I might have enjoyed the movie even more.

Misses:

Something Borrowed – Book by Emily Giffin

1. Something Borrowed is probably my favorite chicklit book of all times. It is one of the only books I’ve actually read more than once and I was beyond excited to see the film adaptation. In fact, I actually counted down the months with a friend. Unfortunately, I was unimpressed. For one thing, I didn’t like the casting of Kate Hudson as Darcy Rhone. The character was supposed to be a dark-haired sophisticated head turner and, while obviously an attractive woman, I consider Kate Hudson more of a ham. Her performance actually exceeded my low expectations in that regard, but I HATED what they did to the character of Marcus. In the book, Marcus was a viable contender for Rachel’s affections and made Dex feel somewhat insecure. In the book, he was a complete train wreck, like a court jester. Additionally, the book character of Hilary, Rachel’s work confidante, was completely written out of the movie and much of her advice-giving role was given to Ethan. While I adore John Krasinski, the character of Ethan was in London for the entire book. The movie completely foreshadowed the eventual romance between Ethan and Darcy in the follow-up Something Blue and I just didn’t like it. The one thing I loved about the movie – Colin Eggilsfield was some serious eyecandy! But in sum, I wish the movie had followed the book more closely – why mess with perfection?

2. One Day – Book by David Nicholls

I admit to being torn by the book but the chemistry between the main characters Emma and Dexter was undeniable and I was completely sucked in as I waited to find out if they would eventually find the right timing to be together, as they belonged. Where the movie succeeded in spanning two decades, the movie felt too rushed, the connection between Emma and Dexter seemed forced and I was left thinking “is that all there is?”

3. The Lovely Bones – Book by Alice Sebold

This book will always hold a special place in my heart. I found it hauntingly beautiful. While the violent death of Susie Salmon at such a young age was tragic, the descriptions of her afterlife were magical and I loved being able to imagine what “her” heaven looked like. This novel touched me in such a major way that whenever I see the soft blue cover, I feel the urge to pick up the book and leaf through the pages. The movie adaption, on the other hand, was just too commercial for me and I was majorly disappointed. I also never pictured the parents as good looking as Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz and while I would never complain about watching Mark Walhberg on the big screen, it seemed a bit too hollywood for me and detracted from the magic that exuded from the pages of the book.

And there you have them. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent? What about you? What are your picks? They need not be limited to any particular genre!

Writing Whore – Part 2

If you read my blog last week, and I hope you did, you know I am a writing whore. It’s ok, I don’t try to hide it by writing under a pen name. All of my novels (all=one) are published under my real name as are my book and restaurant reviews. There is no shame in being a writing slut!

As much as I enjoy writing, if you asked me to read my work in public, I might be tempted to run away. (It’s a good thing I’m a running slut too!) I’m not a particularly shy or quiet person but getting up to speak in a room full or even half full of people causes significant anxiety.

 

Just a few weeks ago, I was asked to attend a pitch to a potential client. In our prep meeting, I was told I would have to say a few words about myself: my name, my years of experience and what I do in a nutshell. It was not difficult to compile this information since I know my name and how long I’ve been a trademark paralegal and I’ve had to summarize what I do countless times. Nevertheless, the thought of doing this in the presence of four partners, including the chairman of my firm and a bunch of potential clients, set my pulse racing wildly. I wrote down my “speech”, all of 16 words, and recited it over and over again, “Hi, I’m Meredith Schorr. I’m a trademark paralegal with 15 years experience in domestic and international trademarks, including, blah, blah, blah, blah.” “Hi, my name is” Crap, I meant “Hi, I’m Meredith Schorr. I’m a ….” I was still memorizing the stupid piece of paper mere seconds before my turn! And I have no recollection of speaking at all. I just remember it being over.

When I told people my book was being published, many of them asked if I was going on a book tour and if I’d have readings at Barnes & Noble and other brick and mortar book stores. While I did participate in a online book tour (blog tour) and look forward to doing it again with a second novel, there was no big cross-country tour, or (even cross-town tour) for Just Friends With Benefits. I published with a small boutique publisher and have not exactly hit the big time. I’m ok with that although, of course, I still have big dreams of book tours and movie deals. On the flip side, the very idea of reading excerpts from Just Friends With Benefits in public as part of a live book tour sends my knees wobbling, and not the sort of knee wobble one gets from a really good kiss but the sort of knee wobble one gets out of sheer terror!

I was taking a novel writing course with Gotham Writer’s Workshop while I was writing the first draft of JFWB. My awesome instructor, multi-published YA writer, Matt De La Pena, had us read a scene from our pages before beginning the critique. When it was my turn, he ALWAYS chose a sex scene from JFWB. If you’ve read the book, you know there are only a handful of these scenes but out of all the scenes he could have chosen for me to read out loud, he picked the sex scenes! Writing sex scenes is not my favorite thing to do but making me read them out loud to my classmates was just mean!

I’ve always dreaded public speaking. I had to take a public speaking class in high school in order to graduate with a Regents diploma and I worried about it for years prior. I got an A-. I was told I would have gotten an A if I didn’t always speak so fast. Duh – I was trying to get it over with as quickly as possible! Back in the 9th grade, I had to do an oral presentation in my Social Studies class. We had to present some aspect of the world in 3D. I remember creating some sort of globe of the earth with clay. I am the WORST artist and so I’m sure the globe was not a very good representation of the earth but I’m pretty certain the report itself made up for it. I remember the feeling of relief passing through me when I finished the presentation and inquired of my classmates whether they had any questions and crossing my fingers behind my back that no would raise his hand. No such luck. Dante Golio raised his hand and loudly said, “Can you repeat that?” Since I was famous for speed talking, everyone knew what he meant and the entire class erupted into hysterics, including my teacher, Mr. Sherman. I ran out of the classroom crying. It was horrible. I’m on the verge of tears right now just thinking about 14 year old me running out of the class in tears and then having to come back in later with my tail between my legs. Dante never apologized. If he’s reading this or any of my Facebook friends from high school are in touch with him – tell him I’m still waiting for his apology and am glad I said “no” when he asked me on a date in the 7th grade.

I was the maid of honor for my sister’s wedding when I was still in college. The wedding was in February but my toast was written by November. It was a great toast but I had to do about 4 shots of tequila before making it. And since I had a terminal case of laryngitis in my college years, I sounded like a frog. A (very) drunk frog. One of my best friends has now asked me to be the maid of honor for her wedding this June. I haven’t started writing my toast yet but I’ve jotted down notes. I don’t think I’m up for 4 shots of tequila anymore but I will definitely require some liquid coverage.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that I do not like to sing in public either. In terms of karaoke, I enjoy belting out songs in groups, or even me and just one other person. But as soon as I am alone up there, I feel like Cindy Brady when she got paralyzing stage fright on that game show. I’ve always wished I was a ham and someone who could just get up in front of tons of people without a second thought, but I’m not that person. Years back, my friend Alisa tricked me into singing alone one night at karaoke by promising to sing with me. We were supposed to sing Another One Bites the Dust by Queen. (Strange song choice, I know, but I have a pretty deep voice and there are very few high notes.) Anyway Alisa sang the first two words with me and then *quietly* walked away leaving me on stage alone. I completely froze and when I yelled at her later, she said she was trying to help me overcome my fear. Next time, Alisa: DON’T. Even in the presence of friends I’ve had for almost 20 years, I require multiple drinks and am still nervous on the rare occasion I take the mic at my friend Dan’s house parties. Dan says my “voice is pretty good but I have no stage presence.” That’s because I’m terrified, Dan 😦

In sum, in terms of my least favorite activities, speaking in public is up there with going to the dentist, doing laundry and commuting in the rain and I am most definitely NOT a public speaking slut. I guess you could say I am a public speaking prude 🙂

dumbass.com

 

I’d like to preface this post by stating that I am a pretty smart chick. I won’t claim to be a genius but scores on several IQ exams have indicated that I am “highly intelligent.” I graduated college with honors even while partying approximately four nights a week, I think certain things come easier for me than the average person and I am generally very insightful.

The above aside, sometimes I do the most lame brain things where I have to stand back and say, “Really Meredith? Did you really just do that?”

This post is inspired by something I did earlier this week. I had signed up to participate in Six Sentence Sunday. Writers who take part in Six Sentence Sunday simply post six consecutive sentences of anything they’ve written, published or not, on their blogs each Sunday. The masters behind Six Sentence Sunday centralize the participants by linking all of the writer’s websites to the Six Sentence Sunday website. In order to do so, the site requires that we provide information including the web address and title of our blogs. Sounds simple, right? Well, apparently not simple enough for one Meredith Gail Schorr. When asked for the title of the blog, I indicated that it was “Six Sentence Sunday” as that is, in fact, what I intend to call my blog post this Sunday. After I provided the requested information, I perused the list of other participants and thought it was odd that my name was not there. There were lots of other names on the list, including fabulous author and twitter friend Tracie Banister, but not my name. I checked again and saw that the list was filled with names of participants except for participant number 18 whose name was listed as, wait, “Six Sentence Sunday?” Rut Roh. Apparently, we were supposed to provide the name of our blog; not the name of the specific post. And apparently I was the only one who didn’t understand that. I was able to correct the mistake by sending a quick email but I was mortified. How did everyone else get it right when I got it wrong? DUH.

Which brought to mind other dumb ass things I have done, even in the past couple of months. Check these out:

I was setting up my bike for spin class a few Sundays ago and saw that I had put my tank top on inside out. Now, I’ve put my shorts on inside out more than once but usually on weekday mornings when I’m at the gym half asleep because the sun hasn’t even come up yet. My spin class is at 10:15.

I tried to buy a metro card using my ATM card. I couldn’t understand why the machine kept telling me my zip code was wrong. Er, maybe because I was supposed to provide my pin number, not my zip code!!

I went to deposit my royalty check using the ATM and didn’t understand why the machine said my check had expired. The check clearly indicated that it was good for 90 days and it had only been about 30. I got on line to have a talk with the bank teller. It was lunch hour, the line was long and a bank employee came around to ask if anyone would prefer to use the ATM. I told him I much preferred to use the ATM but it would not accept my check. He said he would assist me and suggested that perhaps my check was too wrinkled. My checks are always wrinkled and none had ever been rejected before, but I decided to humor the guy anyway and let him straighten out my check. I once again tried to deposit the now unwrinkled check and once again, the transaction was bounced because it expired. I gave the bank employee an “I told you so” look and said, “See? It says it’s expired and it’s not!” The employee looked at me with pity and said, “Dear, it’s not the check that is expired, it’s your debit card.” Oh.

I flooded the contents of one of my office desk drawers because I put my water bottle inside without firmly closing the lid.

I walked all the way from 44th and 6th to 52nd and 7th with my dress tucked into my jacket. It wasn’t until I walked into Rosie O’Grady’s that I noticed it. I laughed it off because, really, what else could I have done?

I tried unsuccessfully to unlock the door to my 18th floor apartment. Perhaps the attempt would have been successful had I not been on the 17th floor.

I accidentally flushed the key to my office bathroom down the toilet. I was finally given another key. I lost it.

There are so many more where these come from to which my friends and family can surely attest and they are welcome to share here. But, please, if you’ve ever done anything that seems to defy your own high intelligence quotient, please feel free to leave a comment! I’d like to know I’m in good company.

annoying mispronunciations + giveaway!

GIVEAWAY IS  OVER!!!

 

People mispronounce or misuse words/phrases all of the time. It’s not a felony or even a misdemeanor but sometimes it’s pretty darn annoying. And sometimes, when I hear these mispronounced words, it’s like fingernails on a chalk board. Since misery loves company, I thought I’d share some of what I consider the biggest offenders with you:

1. Valentime’s Day. It’s Valentine’s Day!! Would you pronounce New Year’s Eve, “Mew Year’s Eve”? I doubt it. I know “M” and “N” are consecutive letters in the alphabet but seriously people.

2. Libary. It’s Library! If you are going to make a trip there, you might want to look at the dictionary and see how it’s spelled. Libary? C’mon!!

3. Alfit. Outfit. Ok, this is not a common one, but I have heard people pronounce “outfit” as “alfit” as in, “I’m going to wear a sexy alfit when my boyfriend takes me to the libary on Valentimes Day.

4. My As Well. Might as Well. I am extremely ashamed to admit that I used to say this and apparently I used to say it often. No one ever corrected me until one day, my boss had enough. I must have said something like, “I my as well give it a shot, right?” Well, Alan’s face turned a deep shade of red, to the point where I thought it might pop off of his neck, he pounded his fists on the desk and shouted, “It’s Might as well. MIGHT. MIGHT. MIGHT!” Needless to say, I never made that mistake again. (I learned it from my mother. Just sayin…)

 5. irregardless. Ok, there is no such word as “irregardless.” The correct word is “regardless.”

6. Mines. Mine. As in:

“I got my prom dress today.”

“Ooh, you’re so lucky! I’m getting mines tomorrow!!”

7. For all intensive purposes – for all intents and purposes. I think I might have been guilty of this at some point. “For all intensive…” is easier to roll off your tongue than “for all intents and…” but it doesn’t make it right!!

8. Anyways. Anyway. “Anyway, I better get going now.” not “Anyways, I better get going now.” This one doesn’t bother me all that much unless I am PMSing 🙂

9. Gimme – ok, this one just bothers me because it’s rude! I hate when the person in front of me on line at (insert name of restaurant/store) says “Gimme a glazed donut and a chocolate munchkin.” ‘Gimme a pack of Marlboro Ultra Lights” Gimme? Even if you said “Give me”, I would still hate you. Politeness goes a long way!

10. Axe. Ask. May I axe you a question?

Bonus – even though I’ve only heard this one once, it’s my absolute favorite:

11. Rappaport – Rapport. My boss and I were in the elevator at our previous law firm. Two women were speaking and one told the other how she was introduced to someone recently and discovered they had a really good “rappaport” We assumed she meant to say “rapport”. I bit my lip and stared at the ground trying to avoid eye contact with my boss. As soon as the women exited the elevator, the two of us looked at each other and burst out laughing. Whenever I tell him about a new friend, he asks if we had a good rappaport.

This list is certainly not exhaustive because I want some audience participation. I’ve left room for you to add to it. I will give a free copy of Just Friends With Benefits (paperback or Kindle download) to the person whose comment I like the best!! Deadline is February 14th – ValentiNes Day 🙂

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!