Monthly Archives: August 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina has a Bush Moment

This is pretty funny (sent to me by my brother Pat).

During Friday night’s broadcast of the Miss Teen USA Pageant on NBC, Lauren Caitlin Upton was asked the question “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?” Here is her answer:



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One Writer’s Inspiration

I just read an interview with an author who answered the question, “Were there any particular books you found inspiring while working on this one?” by listing The UK Office Christmas special, Extras, The Sorpanos and The Wire. ‘Nuf said.

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Birthing Advice from a Three Year Old


Martin and I, both former residents of Los Angeles, were excited to visit our old town this past weekend for a wedding. Aside from driving through on a couple of return trips from Southern California, it had been six years since I’d been to LA. Because the wedding was downtown, we stayed at the beautiful (and reasonably priced) Hotel Figueroa. It has a pool, a bar next to the pool, a restaurant, a beautiful lobby and great rooms, although it is a big “faded” as one friend described it.

When I lived in LA, I rarely stepped foot downtown. Downtown was considered dirty and dangerous, full of homeless people and drug addicts. But downtown is rapidly changing, and it was a pleasure to spend almost our entire weekend going to wedding events and restaurants there (Marvimon House, Ciao Trattoria, Cafe Tiara, Hotel Figueroa – we didn’t make it to Angelique, but that’s supposed to be another great place for breakfast.) Sunday afternoon we stopped by the west side to eat breakfast at the farmer’s market, check out the Grove (which didn’t exist when I lived there), visit my old apartment building and my friend Lesley who still lives there, and go to LACMA. Then we drove by Martin’s old house in Hollywood and the Disney Center before making our return. We never made it west of La Cienega, and I was fine with that. Continue reading


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Pregnancy Update—25 weeks


A brief pregnancy update:

(I still plan to blog about Squaw, but, like after the wedding, I was so exhausted that the last thing I wanted to do was write about it.)

Today I’m 25 weeks, and I’ve gained (gulp!) 25 pounds. I’m supposed to have gained 15-17 pounds by now. Oh well! I have, however, cut out sweets and started exercising more. I had terrible insomnia at Squaw, so all my exercise time was used up taking naps, and I gained two or three pounds that week alone.

My back has been hurting a LOT, mostly the right side and usually after I eat, which one new mother told me is heartburn. Today I’m writing from the couch in my office because it hurts too much to sit in the chair, and I had a terrible time sitting through Sicko at the Cerrito Sunday night after eating a large pasta meal.

I started swimming this week. I found a wonderful outdoor pool—just as nice as Mills’ and only a four-minute drive away—and I’ve been twice this week to do laps for an hour each time. I feel like my old self in the water, instead of like a Heffalump. I love, love, love water—baths, hot tubs (except now), lakes, rivers, oceans and pools—and it’s hard to get me out once I’m in. I also attended my first prenatal yoga class at Seventh Heaven two weeks ago, which was easy but wonderfully relaxing. I missed class last week while I was at Squaw and this week because my back hurt too much after swimming, but I plan to go once a week. I also found a place on Solano that does prenatal massage, so I plan to check that out soon.

We plan to order nursery furniture next week because it takes up to 12 weeks to be delivered, and our birthing classes start at the end of next month. Meanwhile I’m just trying to write, write, write. Eleven hours this week so far, but my goal is 15. Just one more week until the third trimester begins …

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Berkeley Composting Program


I’ve wanted to start a compost bin for a while, but never have, and now Berkeley has started a city-wide composting program. This month they will distribute pails to every house in Berkeley and, starting next month, we’ll be able to throw all our food scraps and food-soiled paper into our yard waste bin to be picked up every week. I’m very happy that all the rotten fruit and vegetables I throw away (as well as pizza boxes, paper towels,  napkins and scraps) will be used for fertilizer instead of landfill. Now they just need to ban plastic bags from supermarkets like they did in San Francisco (Knowing Berkeley, it probably won’t be long.)

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Squaw Valley Writers Conference

I am off to Squaw in the morning, so I’ll be out of blogland for the next week.

By the way, we celebrated our wedding anniversary tonight since I’ll be gone for the real day on Monday. And for all you who still haven’t given us a wedding gift, Ms. Etiquette says you still have two days! (Cash and checks are fine.)  Off the top of my head, without looking at my wedding files, I can think of at least 13 people who came to our wedding but didn’t give us a gift. Isn’t that strange? It’s nothing I would hold against people (My dad says my mom stopped sending Christmas cards  to people who did that to her. I think that’s hilarious.) It just wouldn’t ever occur to me to go to someone’s wedding and NOT take/send a gift, even if I barely knew them (like the wedding we’re going to in two weeks. It’s for a friend of Martin’s whom I barely know but I sent a gift the minute I RSVP’d.) I think that’s one of the big differences between California and the Midwest. In the Midwest, people show up when they say they’re going to show up, they come to your parties, they buy gifts for weddings, etc. Our here people are just kind of on their own trip (which is also why we love it out here.)

See you all in a week!


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Writing ticks

I guess we all have our writing ticks, things we do and don’t do and things we love or hate. Sometimes I’ll read a story or book or essay in which the writer uses some word that stands out—a very descriptive or big word—and they’ll use it two or three times, and that makes me cringe because it distracts from the rest of the piece. I start thinking, “S(he) really likes that word” and forget about what I’m reading. Some things I do/don’t do/love/hate when I write/read:

1. I love m-dashes and use them all the time.
2. I probably use more semicolons than the average person, too.
3. I sometimes repeat things, although I’m trying to stop doing this, like “I ran, I ran really fast” or “I was scared, so scared that I wet my pants.” Well, hopefully better than that, but you get the idea.

And things that drive me nuts:
1. I can’t stand it when people misspell “definitely.” There is no “a” in definitely!
2. There are a lot of other word mis-usages that drive me nuts, like:
a. “a myriad of” (it’s just myriad, and it literally means 10,000)
b. to “beg the question” (doesn’t mean to ask the question)
c. enormity (doesn’t mean big)
d. singsong (monotonous, not song-like)

And the list goes on. I guess these are editor/reporter annoyances because if you’re a daily reporter, you get reminded every day, and if you’re an editor you’re reminding someone every day. Anyway, I’m fascinated by people’s writing ticks.

What are yours? (good or bad)


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