Saturday, February 26

My Own Personal Dictionary: Z

zero:  the number of times I have:

~ had a beer;
~ played a video game or watched a movie on my phone or computer;
~ eaten Chipotle;*
~ gotten a speeding ticket;
~ read a vampire novel;
~ seen the latest Harry Potter movie;*
~ enjoyed baby-sitting;
~ been tan;*
~ had a flu shot;
~ had a massage;
~ found staff meetings interesting;
~ celebrated Arbor Day;*
~ watched kittens being born;*
~ made really good fried rice at home;*
~ volunteered my crime solving skills to the police or FBI;*
~ successfully trimmed my own hair;*
~ written 'a lot' as one word;
~ understood those Cialis commercials where people are sitting outside in bathtubs;
~ lied about where I am from (hee-hee, Queenie, this one's for you)!

*but want to

Friday, February 25

My Own Personal Dictionary: U-Y

under-dunders:  what my grandmother called underwear

Virginia or, as they gorgeously say there, Vuh-gin-yuh:  where my step-dad (pay attention, Queen of the Universe) was from; location of the single hottest summer I've ever experienced, and also the place -- specifically the family's summer home's pool -- where I was taught by a blind man how to swim.

Williamsburg, VA:  stop number two on our honeymoon.  Spent three days successfully navigating through Washington D.C.  Got lost every single day in Williamsburg, Vuh-gin-yuh.

X: chi, the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet, Greek being one of 6 languages I've studied.  Not my favorite of the 6 nor my least favorite.  I like Spanish and Hebrew the best.  Latin was boring; Japanese was not; and French . . . I just could not make the soft, round sounds without feeling softly, roundly ridiculous.

yellow:  I'm told it's the color of the sun, but since it shines in Columbus, Ohio, only twice a year, I'm currently unable to attest, from memory, to the truth of this.

Thursday, February 24

My Own Personal Dictionary: P-T

Paul Revere:  most under-appreciated hero of the Revolution.  I spent the morning and evening of my 40th birthday hanging out at his house.  I've been to his house a lot, actually.  If he were alive, I'd be his stalker.

Queen of the Universe:  a person I am related to.  No, it's true.  I'm related to the Queen of the Universe who angrily disputes, as only the Queen of the Universe can, where I am from, as if I do not know.   I wrote about it during last fall's blog tour in an interview I did over at Reading Addict.  The nutshell version -- hee-hee, I said "nut" -- is this:  I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Therefore, I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Lived there until I was nearly five.  Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The place I'm from.  Are you getting this?  Because the Queen of the Universe is not.

When Facebook asked me for my hometown, I wrote Grand Rapids, Michigan, using this classic mathematical formula:  If A is from B, and B is Grand Rapids, A is from Grand Rapids.
Fast forward to last year.  The Queen of the Universe saw this on Facebook, turned purple with rage, I'm guessing, and sent me a really malicious piece of e-mail in which she wrote,  “You’re not even from Grand Rapids.” There was more to the nasty-gram.  Also a friend request.  Once I scrunched the bemusement off my face, I chose not to respond to either.  I don't know what she's been up to lately, but I do wish her the very great satisfaction of one day crossing paths with someone who fabricates her place of birth so that said fabricator may be soundly punished and wholly reformed by . . . the Queen of the Universe.

Revere, Paul:  see P

Simon:  my husband's and my new kitten.  He'll be six months old next week, and he is a character!
Here he is getting his face kissed on the third or fourth day we had him;

seeing what's for dinner;
wiping off the counters;
taking out the trash;
washing the breakfast dishes;
and helping me finish my latest manuscript.

terrarium:  a source of both boredom and horror in elementary school.  Boredom:  Again?  We did this last year.  Horror:  feeding live crickets to disgusting little lizards.  Again?!  We did this last year!

Wednesday, February 23

My Own Personal Dictionary: K-O

Kate Middleton: Best wishes to the bride-to-be, and, yes, I cannot wait to see what her dress looks like. (I, by the way, gave up my desire to become a princess when I realized they no longer wore those pointy hats with scarves dangling from the tops.)

lima beans: the topic of the novel being written by a woman I met at a party. It's not a metaphor. Her book is about lima beans. And because I was raised with Episcopal good manners, I stood there, feigning interest, as she described the entire plot, chapter by chapter, of her book about, I repeat, lima beans.

Men Without Hats: Canadian 'new wave' group of the 80s, whose one and only hit, The Safety Dance, is the first song on my 'treadmill' playlist.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: (sigh) brilliant, favorite author on whom I have a lingering crush.

This is me, Oct. 16, 2007, hugging the house in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote The Scarlet Letter.

orange: the color of my legs for the first two summers sunless tanning products were on the market. I preferred it to my natural fish-belly white,but it was definitely in the oompa loompa spectrum.

Tuesday, February 22

My Own Personal Dictionary: F-J

frumpiness: "Cured of frumpiness by a psychiatrist . . ." So begins the description of the 1942 movie Now Voyager, which my husband and I watched eight or nine years ago. It doesn't rank among our favorites, and viewed through modern sensibilities, it's just plain odd, but "cured of frumpiness by a psychiatrist" cracked us up then, and it cracks us up now. Frumpiness -- the leading cause of admissions to psych wards in the 1930s and 40s. Who knew? Bunch of plain women shuffling grimly up and down the halls, in pleated skirts, high-collar blouses and beige, soft-soled shoes.

George Washington:
"He was the father of our country,
leader of a brand new nation,
and he believed in liberty."
Am I the only person in the world who remembers this song from elementary school?

hair: I wear it short, pixie short, for a bunch of reasons, but the predominant reason is my grandfather. He liked it short, and I trusted him more than anyone else in the world.

Indian restaurant: a place where my husband and I met.

J. Crew: the clothing store that keeps me from going out naked at least three times a week, because, clearly, the choice is J. Crew or nudity.

Monday, February 21

My Own Personal Dictionary: A-E

I thought I'd write a personal, albeit abbreviated, dictionary this week. Today: A through E

anxiety: the only reason I'm thin

bread: I bake all the bread we eat in this house, from scratch, not with a bread machine, but since I'm not Ma Ingalls, either, I do rely on my nifty KitchenAid stand-mixer to do the kneading. But I turn it on. And select the speed -- so, yeah, there's work involved.

cinnamon swirl bread: see B; made this loaf yesterday -- first time!

Don Johnson: read my first novel; hated it, but I get so much mileage out of the story, so, thank you, Don!

Erin: I like my name. It may be a compulsion, but every single time I meet someone with my name, I immediately say, "That's my name, too." I'm usually more excited than the other Erin.

Sunday, February 20

The Saturday Seven -- One Day Late

My Week in 7 Words

long walks
beach . . . sigh
cooked for 6

Monday, February 14

And The Winner Is . . .

SPLIT by Swati Avashti.

Of course I'm talking about the Cybils. The winner was announced today, making this the most happily anticipated Valentine's Day I've experienced in ages.

My husband and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day -- not in an iconoclastic way, because we're not remotely opposed to the holiday. We just got out of the habit of celebrating it. No, I adore the heart-shaped hopefulness of this day along with the cheery pinks and reds everywhere I go, brightening and warming an otherwise grey and dreary time of year here in Central Ohio. And it's still fun to hear how friends celebrate the day.

My husband and I used to exchange cards, but a few years ago, we both got so absurdly busy that we never got around to it and ended up greeting the cardless day with a shrug. So we shook hands and made that our Standard Valentine's Day greeting. (We have a No Flowers policy in this house since our cat thinks, "Hey! Salad in a vase. All right!")

I should add that we have invented and institutionalized our own holidays which each has traditions that are fun to us:

The Day Tim Proposed

Our Anniversary

Our Birthdays

Grandma McCahan Day

Paul Revere/Lexington and Concord Day

Jug Day

and . . .

Piss on a Bastard's Grave Day (No, seriously. No one actually pisses on a bastard's grave on this day, but we, by which I mean I, do pause to remember that famous bastard John Hathorne, who sent 19 innocent people to their deaths in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. He was one of the judges at the Witch Trials. I descend from the first Puritan woman accused of witchcraft, who lived through the mania, and the result is I, her progeny, have issues with people wholly committed to their own erroneous opinions for no other reason than that the opinions are theirs, despite masses of evidence of their error. And I work these issues out every May 10th, the day John Hathorne croaked, with a moment of silence for his victims followed by a good long raspberry to his eternal memory.)

So we do celebrate holidays in this house other than Valentine's Day, but the run-up to today was truly thrilling. I have not yet read SPLIT but will because all 6 of the Cybils YA finalists are on this year's reading list, and I'd be happy for any of us who won. There is an attitude, for the most part, I've encountered in the YA author community of collegiality, a spirit of unity, the idea that we're all in this together, and there's room for us all. And in that spirit, I am very excited for Swati Avashti and equally excited that I was on the list of nominees.

So, congratulations, Swati.

Happy Valentine's Day, Friends.

And to John Hathorne -- an early pfffffffffttttttttt!

Saturday, February 12

The Saturday Seven

My Week (or day, in this case) in 7 Words

Wow! What a day. Grateful for it.

Saturday, February 5

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 words

contract coming