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IMEI Number. Exchange Discount Summary When I sat out on the porch, I saw three teenaged girls walk by in cut-off jeans and t-shirts and flip-flops, engaged in intense conversation. For one moment, I felt again what that was like, being a teenage girl in the summer. I remembered the feel of soft cotton shorts and t-shirts, and the delicious urgency of sharing everything with my best friends. I saw an older man fly by on what looked like a new bicycle, and it made me want to get a new bike, too. Nothing like a buying a bike to make you feel like a kid again.
I heard voices from near by houses floating out the screen windows, and I heard the pounding of sneakers on pavement and the short, fast exhalations of the runners. The dogs lay with their front paws hooked over the top step, panting, their ears up in the high alert position. And then the fireflies came out. And I thought, ah, who cares what you see in them mirror? Look out at the summer night, and the coming and goings of your species, and the enchanting sight of the fireflies blinking on and off, on and off.
I never think of them as insects. I think of them as Tinkerbell, which is why I will never be a responsible adult. If I could hire someone to be the adult in the house, I would. Spring is like living inside a poem: The lilacs really ARE wet with rain, and the air really IS perfumed, and it really is mudilicious. I love walking around the neighborhood at this time of year, looking at all the gardens. Today I saw a rosebush on a boulevard, not planted where anyone who lived in the house it was by could see it.
It was an act of such generosity, to put a rosebush where only passersby could see it. I stood there getting all verklempt spelling? So much for the poetry in the soul of a dog. I am torn, these days, between wanting to get work done and wanting to be outside watching everything grow, watching kids play, watching people go in and out of shops and restaurants.
Today I decided to take the day off and catch up on things I need to do around the house, but also to sit on the porch and read. One is Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. Read the first two pages; you won't be able to steop. It, too, draws you in with the first brilliant sentence.
Books like these give me hope in humanity. They're the kind of books you want to keep forever. On your shelf , not in your kindle, I rush to add. Gotta have books like these on your shelf because they're kind of alive and they keep you company like dogs only you never have to let them out or feed them--they feed you. I'll be being interviewed tomorrow at noon on Center Stage. Please come if you can--you may have questions the interviewer doesn't get to, such as, "In that recipe for pulled pork that's on your website It's always fun to come to Chicago. Just think, you might catch sight of our new mayor!
Finally finished with my tour, and I'm easing back into my regular routine. Yesterday, I worked on the two things I'm writing now: one, a memoir, the other a novel. I walked the dogs in the pouring rain. Then, since I felt sorry for myself for walking the dogs in the pouring rain plus it was really cold , I quick made a pineapple upside down cake and had two 2 pieces of it.
I used a recipe I found on cookinglight. Also not SO very light. I just tried to provide a link, which failed, so I'll just direct you to the webiste. Yes, it's true. I, who for years have decried the use of such social networking sites, am now on one. A necessary evil, I suppose, but when I saw a lot of dear friends popping up asking to "friend" me, well, I felt like I was in seventh grade and the most popular boy had asked me to dance.
His name was Binks Franklin. I still remember how gracious he was, when ladies' choice was called and I made a beeline for him. I wonder what ever happpened to old Binks. Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and I really want to go to a family picnic and eat burnt hot dogs and burnt marshmallows. When I was a kid, I used to go to our family's annual fourth of July picnic. I ran around in a towel and bathing suit and jumped in and out of the pool and in addition to the hot dogs and marshmallows, ate plenty of other delicious things that my aunts had brought: macaroni and potato salads, my mom's oatmeal cake, with boiled brown sugar frosting, ham and turkey and baked beans.
That was a time when you really felt a whole day, start to finish. You'd get to the park early so as to secure a good spot; and you'd leave late at night, after the fireworks were done, happily worn out, your nose and shoulders burned by the sun, your hair smelling of chlorine. I used to like to watch the division of labor: my dad and my uncles manning the grill, my mom and my aunts supervising the kids and dishing out paper plates and cups and plastic utensils.
My grandfather also listened to his pocket-sized transistor radio. There were so many of us, then! Now many of those aunts and uncles have died, and the tradition of that Independence Day picnic has all but gone. I miss it. And we'll see where it goes from there. Maybe next year the three of us will have grown to Don't ask me how. If she can't do it, I'll grill a hot dog for myself, load it up with mustard, and sit on the porch to eat it.
In other news, my new puppy is figuring things out. She's housetrained, knows the commands come, sit, shake and lie down but doesn't always see the need to honor the request. She likes to dig in the garden, much to my dismay. She grows about ninety inches an hour. She'll eat anything: sticks, paper cups, paper clips, and food from my plate when I get up to get something. Homer and she play well together, and they play often. The other day, a friend asked, "What's all over Homer's coat? And Homer spit is on her. With a new story, called "P. How can you go wrong with dogs and apple pie?
I suppose you could go wrong if the dog ate the apple pie. But you would have to admire his taste in desserts. Off to buy cascading petunias for my deck planters, and tomatoes and basil for the back yard. I'm late, but that's okay. The tour is alllllmost over, but until it is, there are a million things to attend to. That's a good time to fly there; air fares are lower. And it's still warm and beautiful in Italy. The class will offer personal guidance in writing from me, and cooking classes from the wonderful people who inspired my award-winning!
Please go to cooking-vacations. As for now, I need to go to the cleaners, walk the dogs, pack for a am pickup to go to the airport I'll probably be one of those people on the plane sleeping with my mouth hanging open. Or, worse, one of the over-caffeinated chatterboxes who keeps showing the lovely pink clouds out the airplane window to my seatmate, who only wants to sleep with his or her mouth hanging open. I'll be doing two readings in Minneapolis--check the "Appearances" part of this website.
Thanks to all of you who have come to my readings and said such swell things to me And sustain me. So why did I get a puppy NOW? Well, I saw her online I look at petfinders. Homer is not so enamored of her, but he's already come around from doing the equivalent of smacking his doggie forehead when I walked in with her to demonstrating a resigned tolerance of her. Plus my guilt is making me give him a lot of dog treats. I've hired a pet sitter to live in for the days I'm out of town, and yesterday we had a looooong conversation about her care.
So I must be out of my mind. This review just in from Library Journal: Berg is a prolific writer, but some might say her last few novels have veered toward lighter fare. Her new book leaves that designation in the dust, tackling varied meaty topics with grace, and a pacing that makes it hard to put down. John and Irene are messily divorced, but their shared love for their teenage daughter, Sadie, is a bond that cannot be broken.
When Sadie goes missing, they are reunited, like it or not. John's new girlfriend and Irene's serial online dating all fall to the wayside as the exes hunker down to try to find Sadie. Will the forced closeness cause a natural reconciliation? As Sadie's disappearance brings new issues for the couple to deal with, for the first time they examine their past marriage and what it meant to them.
Verdict: This addictive read shows anew what a wonderful writing talent Berg is: strong characters illuminate a tender story about what makes a marriage work or not , and how a family binds itself together despite things that pull it apart. So nice to get a review like that before I enter the wilds of touring. I hope I'll see some of you on the road. Right now, I've got to check on the new baby. I stopped by to pick up my mail before I took myself out to dinner and was gifted with these letters: C. Thank you! She sent out an essay to a magazine, "then got mad because I didn't hear from them.
Then I did. They bought my essay for actual money. The aftermath of emails, Face Book messges and even phone calls has been astounding. Now write more! It is as cathartic to read your books as it is to share coffee and converstation with my friend. We love you! A woman from Bayville NY, sent a most extraordinary letter. She and her partner were trying to have a baby with the help of a sperm bank.
The woman was reading Open House when she discovered she was ovulating--time to call the sperm bank. In Open House , the main character, Samantha. But he only does that so he has time to take in and enjoy life--Samantha learns he's an astrophysicist who went to MIT. But this time, she decides to use him and then learns that he is a very sweet man just like King , everyone at the clinc loves him, and he an astrophysicist! The couple now has a beautiful boy, aged seven. I LOVE this story! The last letter came from P. She was writing on behalf of her friend and colleague, Sue, who was a breast cancer survivor but recently died from another kind of cancer.
Sue who was an award-winning professor who taught general biology, genetics and microbiology, and P. With pleasure. I told an author friend today that sometimes I despair of the publication merry-go-round, the anxiety over reviews, the worry that you won't sell enough, the constant grinding need to feel you must always top yourself. It's so far from the innocence and pleasure I got when I was a nine-year-old girl, sitting at a card table and writing poems that I crafted for the joy of creation alone.
Not that I'm not gratful for my success, I am so extremely grateful. But when you go to the mail box and you find letters like this, well That makes it all worth while. Thank you again to all those who bother to write to me. I so appreciate your words. And your stationery. And your penmanship, a rare thing to see these days, but such a pleasure when you do see it. Another cloudy day here in the city that might as well be renamed Gray. I saw a circle of robins over on the playground, and the air is warmer, and there is the smell of dirt in the air, which is the scent of spring.
Buds are on the otherwise bare branches, poised to make a most welcome appearance. I am just back from having moved my parents into an independent living facility. They were in their house for 45 years, so the move was The good news is that this is a wonderful place, kind of like a dorm for older people--all kinds of things going on.
On the day of the move, I took my dad over to the new place to await the delivery of furniture and belongings. The only thing in the place was a TV tray holding the parakeets, Freida and Fritzi. I came upon my dad standing before them, his jacket still on , his hat in his hand, and he was bent over his beloved budgies, saying, "So do you think you're going to like it here? Do you? I intend to visit often, because for one thing, they have ice cream socials every week. I have added more events under "Appearances," and with the exception of a few details under one event, the tour is now complete.
I would like touring a lot more if I didn't have to pack a suitcase, if I could show up wherever I'm staying and there would be clothes to wear, books to read, music to listen to. AND a dog. This is my next business idea: a service to provide just that. Imagine: you fly to Italy with your purse, and there in your hotel room is a wardrobe. Makeup you've requested be there. Even shower gel. Reading material. Snacks you want around. No shoving bags into the overhead or dragging them around airports or worrying that you'll be arrested if you leave your bags "unattended" while you search out a coffee or a magazine or a bathroom.
If you're a venture capitalist and you're reading this, call me right away. We'll discuss this new enterprise which I think I'll call "Here, There. And my other excellent idea: large print newspapers. I have nearly completed listing events for the new novel under Appearances. I hope if I'm coming to a venue near you, you'll come to a reading.
They tend to be fun, and a lot of times people make friends or form writing groups. I'm still waiting for romance to happen--you know, "I met my husband at an Elizabeth Berg reading" --but so far no dice. I am recovering from the flu that ate Cleveland. I feel like one of those cartoon characters with asterisks floating around his head. The only good thing I can say about this illness is that I've been confined to bed so much I've vacummed up lots and lots of books. Most recently, I read Blood, Bones and Butter, which was fabulous. Ah, the last day of February. I'm going to call March 1st, spring.
I know it's not, but I'm going to call it that, anyway. This morning, when I went out to get the newspapers, I found a plastic bag looped around my door knob, holding the Girl Scout cookies I ordered.
The girl who left them and I never had any contact: she left a note asking if I'd like to order cookies--if not for myself, then perhaps for the troops? I could place an order, she said, through "my mom's email. When I took the cookies from the bag, I saw that they had been tied with ribbon featuring--what else? I confess I complain plenty about all this.
I confess also that I am part of the problem, what with the way I walk my dog in pajamas under my coat , though; under my coat! When you open your door to find that, first of all, a young woman has kept her word and delivered what you ordered, but also has done it with a such charming extras, well, then your day has had a quite wonderful start. And you feel happily compelled to pay it forward. Which I intend to do. It will be a pleasure to think about how.
We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it's only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. Since I was a child, I have found consolation in writing; more importantly, I have found truth. Yesterday, I got a call from a very good friend who, knowing I'm going through a poignant time after a death in the family among other things, suggested I write something happy. Not my style. I told my friend that when I was diagnosed with cancer no worries; I'm fine now , I kept waking up in the night.
My doctor wanted me to take a pill to help me sleep, but I wanted to keep waking up in the night. I wanted to respect the process I was going through, to learn what I needed to learn and pass out the other side. I think that to deny your feelings about something is only to make them stronger.
To deny your feelings takes a terrible toll on you, and often on those whom you love and who love you. But when you are going through a sad time, you are doing other things, too. Thus it is that I made a good dinner last night and ate it while I watched American Idol and I said to my dog, who also seems to enjoy the show, "Did YOU think he should have been cut? Because nobody knows what it is. I like to sit amongst people who recognize the mystery and celebrate the fact that it is a mystery.
Then I'm going to have dinner with a girlfriend and I know that we will spend a lot of time laughing. Life is nothing if not a mix, and I want always to acknowledge all sides of it, I want always to admit to it. If you're curious to see it before I get it on here as many of you know ever so well, computer skills are not my forte you can see it on amazon.
It's a very different jacket. It looks like somebody threw something out and tried to rescue it "It looks like somebody shoved it into his pocket wanting to save it, without even knowing why," said my friend Phyllis , which is exactly the right sentiment for this book. Because this is a novel about the moth-to-flame aspect of love. And about other aspects of love, too, including self-acceptance.
I'll say more about it under the books section on this site as soon as I think of something smart and alluring that will make you want to rush out and buy it. The tour is being put together now; I'll list where I'll be under "Appearances. For now, I'm going down to have peach cobbler for breakfast and think about how spring isn't that far away. It never is, really. I feel a bit like Mark Twain when he said "Accounts of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
I am not married. I repeat, I am not married. I was married, from until , but I have not married anyone since, nor do I intend to. I just added a new recipe under, well, recipes, of course. It's low guilt mac 'n cheese and you might as well make it tonight. You will not be sorry. For one thing, if there's any left over, it's heavenly for lunch. And if you let your dog lick the pan, he'll appreciate it. I'll put a description of the book and a quote from it on the website once we have a jacket--we still don't have a jacket.
It comes out April 5th. Today is one of those drab winter days with little flakes of snow chasing themselves around, first slanting to the right, then to the left, then just kind of hanging in the air like they're at a bad party. The best thing would be for me to go for a brisk walk. So what do I do? Eat two 2 pieces of Boston Cream pie. Which was delicious. If my doctor is reading this, I'm just kidding. I really ate a spinach salad with no dressing. And some Brewer's yeast. She has a new book out called "Picture This" which is ostensibly about drawing, but to my mind says a lot about creativity in general.
She urges people to "trust the back of your mind. In addition to that, Lynda Barry is the queen of the evocative phrase. Garrison Keillor once said, "All you have to do is say rhubarb pie and the reader does the rest. When you're next in the bookstore, take her book into a corner and start at the beginning and see if you don't get charmed pretty quickly. Then buy it. We don't know each other, but I feel that we are friends.
Your books are friends to me. If only I were Oprah, I would send her a Cadillac convertible for that. She also talks about how many of my female characters feel stifled in traditional roles, and asks if I ever felt that overwhelming desire to run away. Oh, honey, don't we all? I think all of us, men and women, have days when the open road holds particular allure. I used to find it so odd that sometimes when I was feeling really terrible, I would go to the mall and buy a new book or some red lipstick and feel so much better. It seemed to illegtimize my feelings.
But the truth is, sometimes it just doesn't take very much to bring us out of our despair. Sometimes it does, but that's another story. Virginia writes, interestingly, "I'm given to jumping in the car and taking spontaneous mini-trips. Isn't that a good idea? And with testimonoy about continuing to love people close to us when the going gets tough. Tell all your friends! Short stories are great! I wanted to share more letters, but Homer just came up and put his nose on my knee, and looked up at me. What's so great about typing?
Rabbits1 Mailmen! Pieces of I-don't-know-what gross stuff stuck to the ground for me to quick gobble up before you can yell at me or jerk me away! Let's go, man! Let's go! Come on! Then I'm going downtown to the great city of Chicago to see a play and have dinner with a girlfriend. This is even better than red lipstick. This was in part because the literary festival was full of such first class writers and poets and audience members. I sat in a darkened auditorium and listened to Jane Hirshfield and Billy Collins, for example, and thought, well, here's a peak experience.
I also enjoyed the chickens that run all over old town, and in fact witnessed a chicken domestic squabble--a hen was running down the sidewalk making pissed off clucking sounds: buk-buk-buk-buk-BUK-buk buk, and here came the rooster running after her, saying Baby don't go! Baby don't go!
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Buk buk BUK! Or so it seemed. Calvin Trillin was there, and Roy Blount Jr, so you can just imagine. Maybe we can arrange that. I had such a fantastic time and then wrote about it for National Geographic Traveler. You can see the article online. And if you go to: cooking-vacations. So sorry; I still don't know how to add a link The 6 night program will provide you with my writing workshop focusing on character, place, and dialogue, and the way to liven up prose by adding interesting details. There will be cooking classes with meals, and accommodations at the villa style hotel featured in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.
Oh and more, more, more. Read all about it, and if you have any interest, let Lauren know right away--there are only about 7 places. This is a perfect opportunity to write something you've put off, to have guidance and feedback from me in an intimate group, and to have a wonderful time in Italy at the same time. You can call Lauren at , or at and talk to her about it.
Maybe you and your best friend could come together, or maybe you can come alone, as I did, and see what there is to discover about yourself. I love cooking-vacations. It is no exaggeration to say that my solo trip to Italy changed my life; I can't wait to go back. As for now, I can't wait to make a sandwich and eat it.
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Then, as it is nearly 2pm, maybe I'll get dressed. You know what's best about being a writer? Staying in your pajamas until 2 pm, that's what. Coming nex to the blog: thoughts on Valentine's Day. And the very popular Mailbag. So here's my resolution: Make everything better. The rain has washed almost all the snow away, and there is an eeriness about the day, which always happens when the weather is not what it's "supposed" to be.
Later, I'll take Homer for a long walk, and we'll both come home muddy. I used to love to get muddy, but that was in the good old days when I bore no responsibility whatsoever for the mess it created.
Killing Me Softly With Jazz Hands by Becky Pedigo
When you have to clean up your mud, well, that's like baking your own birthday cake. It's one of my very favorite books. In it is a story called "Dog Heaven," and I won't ruin it for you by sharing the last line, because that line will resonate for you in an entirely different way if you read the story. And I hope you will read the story as well as the rest of the book. The last line is, "It waa a good day, it was a good day, it was a good day.
I got up and had an excellent breakfast while I listened to jazz. All you need to know about breakfast is that maple bacon was involved, which is why it was an excellent breakfast. After I read about the place, I had to go and see it. On her website, artist Lisa Nordstrom says, "I am convinced that our lives are shaped not only by the few cataclysmic events that inevitably occur during a lifetime, but quite profoundly by the collective moments of our everyday, even mundane, life experiences.
It is in the spirit of gathering these separate pieces and bringing them together to form a whole that I create my art. She makes Christmas tree ornaments and lamps and purses. I stayed a long time, looking at everything, and came away with a number of treasures, some of which I'll use as gifts. I found out about this author because of another article I read in the newspaper describing Harington as a vastly under-appreciated writer.
I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know what all the fuss was about. Milwaukee in Chicago. I had to go, and I invited my pal Bill to come along. I would get the tickets: he was responsible for dinner. Bill did a little research and we ended up eating at a place called Mana, at W. It was small, with a very interesting vegetarian menu, and man, was it good.
Everything was so different , which I really appreciate when I go out to eat. I had a spinach and pear salad with a sweet mustard vinaigrette and musroom saute over polenta and a white wine from France called La Craie. Everything was exceptionally good. Including the service and the bathrooms. A woman behind me who reviews plays on her theater blog said afteward, "It was so And it takes place in a diner. I'd see anything that takes place in a diner. Here is what I would like to do today: repeat yesterday. Maybe I will.
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The moral of this story is: read a real newspaper, because that's how you can accidentally come across things that can make you have a good day, a good day, a good day. I just want to say one thing to you. Go to this website: www. See that flying machine manned by a guy and his dog? The guy is my brother, and he took me up in that machine.
At first, I was so scared, I couldn't unclench my jaw. I kept trying to think that in a worst case scenario, this was actually a very good way to die. But then I relaxed and oh boy, was it fun. If you ever go to the Big Island of Hawaii, call my brother. He'll give you a ride you'll never forget. AND you can have a picture made of you up there that you can show all your friends and they'll admire you for your courage.
Those of you who liked my piece on Positano, Italy will probably enjoy this as much or more. It's pm and I'm going to bed. Jet lag. Oh, one more website for you to visit: www. That's where the photographer for the piece stayed, which is right across the street from my brother's house, where I stayed. And MY accommodations were even better.
Read the article to see why. Not sure when it's coming out yet, but I'll let you know. Now it's book and bed time. If I make it through a whole chapter, it'll be a miracle.
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