That Whole Boondoggle/Hornswoggle/Reading Event Sing-A-Long Thing

As some of you may have heard, Augusten Burroughs and I are reading together (not at the same time! That would be like a language poetry slam in the early nineties, the sort of thing no one in his or her right mind would wish to revisit, DUH) in a matter of DAYS, April 9th, at some time or other. The information is somewhere, I don’t know, maybe on the Welcome Mat of this very website ( Here are the important things you must know ahead of time. There is good news and there is bad news. No, there is only bad news.

1. I had planned a surprise for those of you traveling long distances, which was to be in the form of Delonda. Kat was going to drive me to Indiana where we would fetch Mother, bring her here for a few days, drive her home. However, she has had to have a wretched and painful procedure enacted upon her person, and she is not allowed to go anywhere. Except maybe to the kitchen.

2. No one will be visiting my house, NO ONE under any circumstances, as it is a horrendous disaster and even if I began right this second and cleaned around the clock, no sleeping, nothing, until you begin to arrive, it would still look like a Dorothea Lange photograph. Today I returned from visiting my Mentalist, and as I approached the house I thought, “Jebus Preshus Lord, so THIS is what it what it looks like.” You know how one can be. One can live in one’s head a great deal, or in one’s barn, for instance, and simply not see the BIG PICTURE, which is graphic and unacceptable. Indeed, none of you may DRIVE PAST MY HOUSE, not that you would have cause to, but should you find yourself in this neighborhood, please detour using a different street named after a state in deep south. I’m fond of Georgia Ave., myself.

3. The reading at the Regulator Bookshop was moved from the Regulator Bookshop to the downtown branch of the public library. The event at the downtown branch of the Durham public library has now been moved to the Carolina Theater. You shall have to Google Mapquest McNally the Carolina Theater your own selves, as I cannot possibly tell you how to get there. I get lost crossing my back yard. Oh, I’ve been there many times. One of my author photos was taken right in front of it. My daughter danced in The Nutcracker there; we’ve gone to concerts (a very memorable Gillian Welch/David Rawlings show – whew); I’ve seen documentaries at the film festival held there. Not a clue how to get there or where to park. Wait! There is a parking garage right across the street!! When I told my Mentalist today I didn’t know where it was he pointed out the window and said, “It’s right there,” and I was like, “I hope you got the whole suit with those SMARTY PANTS,” and I still don’t know what he was pointing at besides the window.

4. To reiterate: I’m sorry about and for Mother Delonda. There shall be no visitations nor drive-bys of this habitation. The reading is at the Carolina Theater in Durham. All other inquiries should be directed to Sher Fick or Caryl Hayes, as they seem to know everything about pretty much everything. George Stuteville is also very knowledgeable about Durham. Indeed, his wife’s former college roommate is my current veterinarian. Yes, THAT is the size of the world.

Here is a photograph of my house, just so you’ll understand:


Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 9:57 am  Comments (662)  


  1. Hi Haven, as I’ve already told you I can’t jingle enough pennies together to make to Durham, but I do have good news for me.

    We’re going on a road trip in May to see my sister, who lives in Belt, Montana!! I have not seen or hugged my sister just before my father died in 2000. Excited!

    Shelby, doesn’t know. She’s feeling kinda depressed because she is on spring break and we can’t go anywhere. (I have exactly $100 to last me I don’t know how long. So, her having fun money at the moment is out of the question.)

    I’m having a real hard time not giving up my secret.

  2. oh baby love. words are insufficient unto the Delonda state of health. i just really can;t stand god right now. He is totally fucking with things. His mysterious ways are too goddamned mysterious for me, i’ll tell you that.

    that said, the photo of your house is DARLING. here in Marin, it would be on sale for $550k with a down payment of 30% due on close of escrow; it would alsio be described as “Charming Americana cottage with under-house al fresco dining area; Views from hill, and original fixtures in spacious loftspace. Must see to appreciate, please call, showings by appt only, do not disturb current tenants.”

  3. “When I told my Mentalist today I didn’t know where it was he pointed out the window and said, “It’s right there,” and I was like, “I hope you got the whole suit with those SMARTY PANTS,” and I still don’t know what he was pointing at besides the window.”


    i am the exact same. i got lost just the other day driving home from the corner store; i’ve lived here 12 years. i also regularly drive pablo to his elementary school, even though he is now in middle school. i did it thurday and he said “This is so totally random.”

  4. Haven – It would have been a great to meet your mother. What a wonderful treat you had planned for us! Just knowing that is enough. I hope that she is feeling ok after that procedure.

    I would never do a drive by, oh my lord! Are people asking you for a visit at the house? I don’t even have a car while in town and promise I won’t be stalker-esque and roll by. I’m just happy to hear you and Augusten read. And to say hello. And if we get to talk for a few minutes, that is all I need. Well, I dream of pictures but I know you may be in no mood or not have the time. Your good to your fans by talking to us hear and that is enough for me.

    This is my last trip before I go to Mayo Clinic. I’m happy just to have a king bed to myself and have three days off of work. Meeting some of the blog babies is the icing on my cake. I’ll be in town until Saturday, so anyone who wants to go do touristy stuff please let me know.

  5. right now my neighbor is screaming for her dog:


    wait — now another neighbor is interceding. quieter voices now…

    “…. it’s Saturday morning? I work all week and that dog is….”

    okay. I am certain this was God’s rebuttal to my earlier post. he’s all like, ‘Where were you when i made the world, beeeatch?”

  6. GTFG you are so lovely and gracious. YES. oh my god. i think 3 days off in a king bed in a hotel is enough for anyone alive, and yes it’s really about the blog babies congregating, like at a special church of haven and books and everything of interest. i of course will be here at my erstwhile home , on day 3 of my Contingency period, in escrow, fending off a nervous breakdown with a coat hanger.

  7. HEY LOOK!!! A new song from Kat! This is her with our beloved Joe Williams, husband of Katherine, singer/songwriter extraordinaire, one of the funniest men who ever lived — he wrote this song just for her:

  8. Suzanne, remember back in the 70’s when mom’s used stand at the doorway and call for their kids like the person calling for Wiggles?

  9. yes. i remember with terrifying lucidity.

  10. KAT is superb. just…powerhouse of love voice.

  11. Suzanne – I try, I try. I’m guessing the house sale is driving you nuts? I missed about four days of blog gossip, so I appologize.

    Haven – My, isn’t she lovely. What a great voice. I’d almost sell my soul for a great singing career.

    POS – I can clearly remember my mom yelling at the top of her voice AMY LYNN, STREETLIGHTS ARE ON, GET IN THIS HOUSE NOW … and I never would, hee hee.

  12. Y’all didn’t grow up with Bob Jarvis, that’s for sure. Because my butt was on the porch when the streetlight blinked ON or else some part of me would be blinking OFF.

  13. Ok, I just reread you post and the whole smary pants line went over my head the first time. Sometimes I read your posts so fast because I am thrilled when there is a new one. Like the way a dog races to a fire hydrant to smell new pee. Anyhoo, you just crack me up Haven. I look forward to just laughing with you.

  14. And not in a Cape Fear, Robert De Niro kind of way.

  15. Beautiful song!

  16. Hoot!

    Hoot! Cackling here . . . my house is in such a state and I have Kate and Baby Alice coming Tuesday . . . this is my level of hospitality – clean sheets (on behalf of Don because my back does not bend in that manner) and a clean toilet,sink, shower (on behalf of my two teenagers because they are my bathroom slaves) . . . If I am in the mood I might clean the kitchen because I want to cook, cook, cook when company comes. I’ve decided if you love me, you won’t judge me by my clutter! that being said, I am still mortified when the doorbell rings, I make the requisite apologies and we all convene to the studio . . . also, if I am really embarrassed, we bypass the house and go to the studio entrance . . .

    That being said, don’t stress out about the house, it is your sacred abode . . . perhaps you need an additional husband to help John? I’ve been considering getting a wife for me . . . not for Don mind you, just to do my bidding, it would be a vacation for him.

    Thank God I broke down and purchased a TOM TOM GPS unit for this trip . . . I promise not to program your abode into it . . . I currently have: the Washington Duke Inn, The Library, The Carolina Theatre, The Regulator Book Store, The Restaurant, The Scrap Exchange, 2 Thrift Stores, and the Nasher Museum programmed in – that, my dears is all I need! I’ll just go from one to the other . . . and I am bringing the family van so we can always fit 4 more people in as we go back on forth . . .

    here are some snippits of conversation from my week:

    “I don’t want no big fat meatball” – said in a very southern, squeaky voice by my 4 year old niece, Emma.

    “Shut Up, Tom Tom!” – said by Eric L. Hansen, a very debonair professor as his GPS Tom Tom made siren noises every time he went over the speed limit . . . this went on all day Tuesday, we would be having a very high-minded conceptual conversation . . . interrupted every few minutes, he’d yell, I’d laugh, and we went right on with the conversation . . . hysterical. “Shut Up, Tom Tom!”

    “My feet fell off” Screamed by claire as she hung precariously on a knotted rope in the back yard . . . “my feet, my feet!” – it was only her shoes, but, lord, with my history of accidents, my heart skipped a beat.

    ok, I must get me back to the dungeon as I have oh so many things to complete before the Durham convention . .

  17. being the white trash we were, my mom would honk the horn of a car to get us all home . . . it might be a few days before we would hear it (because she didn’t want us home?) – we were too busy wading in the crick (actually the sewage dump) . . . and careening our bikes down Devil’s Hill . . . or my brother’s setting neighbor’s barns on fire, also their was a Catholic Convent across the high way and we would pretend to be Satanists and sacrifice each other on the stone altar . . .

  18. I was dreaming that Delonda was the big surprise, I’m so sad she has needed another painful treatment . . . more thoughts headed her way . . . she is officially Saint Delonda to me now, although I am not fully educated if we nonprogrammed Quakers have Saints? I’m waiting for Outlaw Quaker Girl to give me the lowdown . . .

    I have been studying the shaker/quaker connection . . . and I am mightly impressed with the Quaker connections to the Women’s Movement and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony . . . amazing equality so early on . . .

  19. Haven!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Our hearts are all skipping beats to see you next week. So sorry about your mom; she will be with us in spirit in the form of you!

    Your house is safe from any over-eager Blog Babies. Sacrosanct. My uncle and cousins lived two blocks from Love Canal, and we visited them often during the 70s. This was when the barbed wire and scary orange signs were all over the place. We have just all constructed such a blockade mentally around your home and environs. Not that I would have ever thought of stalking you to your lair, not after seeing Winter Passing.

    My house? Take people who walk in covered in blood, silage, manure, and bovine afterbirth, remove any time to ever clean, add a cat that doesn’t always use the litter box and three teenage boys, a stressed out peri-menopausal woman who works all the time, an Aspergian special interest in all 37 kinds of fishing, and you’ve got the picture.

    Love ya, girl! Four days to go! We’ll all be wearing bells.

  20. …so let me get this straight…I don’t have to clean your oven, after all, is that right?



  21. be advised…a good deal about what I know about Durham pertains to barbeque and things that could wind you up in jail.

  22. …oh, and golf…I know a little about the golfing there in the Greater Durham Metropolitan Area…and i will have an extra set of clubs in my car in case any of you feel the need for a little humiliation in the game of the gods.

    and about Nasher…i will say it is exquisite. they have an exhibition on illuminated medieval manuscripts that i bet would be illuminating…i might drift over there (saw a wonderful exhibit there last year on el greco paintings) and i have a friend who just bought a decrepit greenhouse who could use a hand in cleaning it up in case anyone feels a need to get down and dirty in the middle of durham!

    i always get lost in durham — especially when playing at the golf course at the duke inn where some of you lucky people will be staying. as for me, i am staying in the greenhouse.

    people there are annoyingly friendly and will give you total directions, however…even if you find yourself on the golf course.

    and my wife’s former roommate who happens to be haven’s vet, loves the hell outta haven’s demon dogs from the fiery fourth ring of hades.

    PRIVATE TO HAVEN: so sorry that Delonda won’t be there.

  23. annoyingly friendly?

    (trying to figure out a way to hear that without getting my feelings hurt!)

  24. Nora, my impression is that anything that happens on a golf course is annoying.


  25. Okay…that perspective DOES help me process out of my miffedness…

    I’ve never in my really long life BEEN on a golf course, so I was clueless about that angle!

  26. Lucky me, lucky me…lucky you, Haven, that you have Kat right there in the flesh and if you ask sweetly I bet she will sing. WHAT a voice. And it’s like she just opens her mouth and it comes out like that, all effortless and casual-like. It makes all that’s rough or anxious in me smooth on out, just hearing her.

    And oh my gracious but Joe can write. He must be published maaannnyyy times over. (I want to put this on my ipod but I’m just not that savvy — no matter, it’s on a loop in my head now.)

    All my prayers are with your mother.

  27. Hi Haven,

    Did you get your birthday present?

    Thundersnow and tornados here.


  28. I am currently all aglow from a wonderful day with Amy from Ohio. She is delightful ~ pretty, sweet, smart, witty and fun. I drove her all over the mountain and told her lots of local history, and we had Thai lunch, and we buzzed Jon and Kate Gosselin’s house twice, and even once got faced down by an angry Jon zooming furiously down the lawn toward us on a golf cart. We suffered guilt while simultaneously laughing so hard I’m amazed we didn’t crash the car. In a couple of days when I’ve recovered I’ll blog about it, complete with pix. Needless to say, Amy is great.

    SO sorry to hear about Delonda’s setback. May she have good rest and recuperation.

    Can’t wait to hear about the BB get-together and see the pictures that will surely result.

  29. Nora: sorry, I was just being a smart-ass, didn’t mean to offend (unlike Miz Haven’s little remark, which cut me to the quick…to the quick, mind you.)

    I love all things Durham; so please, accept my apologies. When I made that offhand remark, I was just thinking about a man at the quick-stop grocery store near the turn-off to go to the Nasher as you come down the hill from Duke Kings Inn who gave me directions back out to the highway that took forever once he tossed in his bio…but it was sweet, and I am a butt-head.

    Geez, Haven, what has golf ever done to you?

    Now my feelings are, oh what’s the word? Bruised?

    But that’s ok. I’m a Hoosier and I can take it.

    Besides, I heard a beautiful song today (thanks so much Joe and Kat.)

    Tell me you didn’t mean it, Haven, whatchya said about golf…

  30. Carrie: yesterday a couple of your songs came up on my I-pod…to your ear they may have been controlled, but to my ear you accomplished what you are striving for. That’s just my two cents.

  31. Nora: Maybe you know my friend, Jeff Ernsminger, who is doing the greenhouses. He’s had a couple of write-ups in the last two weeks. Maybe you might have known him in another interation when he was really active with his catering business, A Wandering Feast. He also had a line of hot sauces called Not Cool.

    Anyway…I will shut up and head to the lockers, scrape off my ego and my golf shoes, clean up my language and my clubs, and get ready to tee it up again.

  32. “I’m as cold as a fishstick stuck in the snow!” – says Claire at the restaurant . . .

  33. George – can’t wait to give you a bear huggie!

  34. If you need to add my cell phone number into you contact lists for Durham . . . it is in the first paragraph of this page

    Kate and I will be arriving at the Washington Duke Inn on Wednesday afternoon, Caryl will also be there, as will Maureen & Kathleen.

    It is my understanding that, if all goes as ‘hoped’, Haven will join us and all GATHERED blog babies (all are invited to meet up with us at the , here is a rough time: 7 pm????, but I am not the total authority on this, we are winging it! . . .

    All Blog Babies are invited by Caryl to enjoy lunch 2-4pm on Thursday at the Garage Restaurant ??? I’ll look that up and add later, then we head over to the Carolina Theatre for the 7 pm reading . . . some of us need to arrive there early to reserve rows of seats for the BB’s . . . not sure if anything specific is planned for AFTER the reading . . .

    Friday morning, perhaps we can meet for brunch . . . ? Kate and I have to head out that afternoon. Many blob babies are staying later than that . . . into Saturday . . . that is when my information falls apart!

    there are multiple surprises, planned by various bb’s, for added pizazz for the entire trip . . . it will be fabulous!

  35. Thanks Sher. Other check in/ arrivals at the Washington Duke on Wednesday are GFTG and Kittery, and Shanna arrives on the Tuesday night with me. Hopefully Linda, Molly and George can plan on meeting us Wed. evening, and Norabarnacle too. Amanda will see us all on Thursday evening.
    As for Friday, I know I will have to fit in thrift stores prior to leaving and Hayley, Stephs friend, has googled and listed all of those for us.
    Kate and I were talking about after the reading, and we are hoping to lure people back to the hotel for a relax in the bar, so baby Alice can get in her jammies. No one is held to this, feel free to make plans, but that is where you will find Kate and I. I will probably be in my jammies too.

  36. George…I really sort of meant to be funny…not seriously offended, and certainly not meaning to be a trouble maker here among the ranks!

    And here is what I was going to tell you when we meet, but now seems good…

    When I first joined Facebook, and all the whirlwind befriending began, I would, of course, look at each person’s stuff (although, I am of the age that I’ve Grown into all this technology and communication over the last 25 years, not Born to it, so I really feel snoopy about the whole concept).

    When I first saw yours, there was a message on your wall from your friend Jeffrey, and I knew the name because his new ventures in our neighborhood have been talked about on our list serve, and I am familiar with his catering company. I looked at his friend list to see if we have any friends in common, and was amazed to see that he is friends with a woman who played in a band with my ex-husband-the-drummer in 1970 when we met in college.

    That greenhouse you may or may not be inhabiting is right down the road from me. I have long coveted that little cottagey building at the front of the property, and over the years, daydreamed about opening some sort of business there, like selling magic potions, or living there in eccentric old age…

    Time to watch the Tar Heels play basketball! (The only sports with even a tiny toehold in my whole longish life!) About golf…I am intrigued by how many musician friends I have who play…

    I too have been known to make wise cracks!

  37. Sher, and everyone…I am still waiting to hear back from Tom at the Regulator about the seating thing…I will call him back if I don’t hear by Tuesday. I have waited so as to not seem Pesky.

    Then we will know if we are in saving seats mode or not…

    I did tell him that you were all planning to come into the shop…I thought that would be thrilling for him!

    I’ll keep you posted!

  38. I always say I can’t find my way out of a paper bag, but I’m switching to I get lost in my own backyard. Because. It’s. True.

  39. Carrie – you and Haven, lost in your own back yards! Lord . . . if it weren’t for some amazingly gifted people, I would have no reason to leave mine. I am so excited about having a GPS you have no idea – to not have to think about where and how you are going somewhere – yippee!!!

    I am bebopping everywhere, but trying to finish my treats . . .

    will check in sporadically.

    Polly’s new post is great, but have you seen Amy in O’s – wonder if the Regulator has her new book???

    I keep pinching myself . . . some people are freaking out at my audacity to drive and hang with people I have never met and my main reacition is – “but I love them and they love me!” I think we are all official ‘internet love matched”

    now I feel modern!

  40. I am pulling a late nighter in the studio – anybody want to join me here in Spring Hill TN???

    I’m serious!

  41. Oh my. So many things to respond to. Let’s see…

    1. Prayers to Mother Delonda. Love her tons.
    2. Haven- you are a God send to us all and as others have said just meeting you will be an absolute treat. I am like Maureen without the cows. I am already stressing about the fact that a boat load of family are coming into town next month for daughter Emma’s high school graduation. I guess I will need to change the cat box for the celebration.
    3. George, I have thought about canceling this trip a few times because money is so tight but the thought of not meeting you was so horrendous that I shall attend if I have to sell off things on the way to pay for the hotel. I know there are others in line to be your pretend girl friend but if I am not mistaken I claimed you first.
    4. Caryl- Sam and Stephanie will get huge crushes on each other I do predict. So, a followup visit to see colleges in California may be in order.

    Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Haven- do the Quakers do anything special on Palm Sunday like we Presbyterians do with the giving out of palms that we then take home and twist into special knots and hang on the wall for good luck? Just wondering.

    Love you all!

  42. sher, if I weren’t 2000 miles away, I would be ALL OVER your invitation.

  43. Shanna – offer is open at ALL TIMES, everyone is invited to come stay with me . . . if I am in town at my house, it usually means I am open for guests and studio time . . . if you get an opening, check out my dates and we’ll see what we can work out! Seriously!

  44. Sher, I will be over in about 20 minutes, ok?


  45. Linda – it might take you 30… me – I’m serious and I even have an extra bed!

  46. I wish I could, Sher. I have to drive back over to Bellevue in about half an hour to pick up Sam. He had a big track meet all day today but still had the energy to go meet friends at a party at a girls house (of course). I can’t keep up with all his friends!

  47. ok . . . well I am working on my treats for everyone . . . can’t type well with wax fingers . . .

    will check in later and see if anyone is awake!

  48. I have fallen hard and fast for all of you! Been crazed since Mir, my Afghani driver buddy, picked me up to head off to Corpus Christi on Thursday for a summit on literacy coaching.

    I am currently sitting in the Syracuse airport at 11:23, flight arrived at an hour ago after flying from Corpus to Houston to Washington Dulles to Syracuse. But between Tristan getting out of the play late and bad weather in Cortland, Mo, Mom, Tristan and Elliot will be about an hour late.

    Since this is the first time I have been online since Thursday, I thought I’d log in to send some love.

    Haven – May peace descend body and soul on Delonda and the pain be stilled.

    May peace also bless your psychic house on stilts. The house houses the body and the body houses the soul. May it be well with your soul in the midst of it all.

    Lightning Bug – I loved the description of passover and all at your school! Would love to meet your kids and be in your class!

    Sher – Wish I could get in the studio with you. We would have some fun.

    Gramma/Mom just called from the car. They are swooping near the airport. Nephew, sister, mother love is very near. It has been since September since I have been to the farm and since May since I have seen my mom!

    Gramma is here now. Cheers!!

    thanks for the warm welcome from all of you. Can’t wait to meet many!

  49. Polly & Amy O – I am laughing at your drive bys of the Gosselins. I look forward to hearing more and glad you two are getting along.

    Caryl – I’m all for hanging out at The Duke after the reading. I’m the one who needs to get into her jammies after a long day!

  50. Hey babies. It’s in the middle of the night and I am WIDE AWAKE as I crashed around 8:30 pm after my whirlwind day with Ms. Polly. I am STARVING and wondering what kind of meal I can make out of cheese, pretzels and yogurt ( which is all there is in the fridge in my hotel.)
    I had such a brilliant day. Polly lives in a exquisite older home that is decorated to the nines and she has the most wonderful artwork. Her house really tells a story about her life and I feel I really got to know her in the short amount of time we spent together. She has a handsome, charming husband and 2 sweet, sweet teenage sons who were nothing but polite and welcoming. Even her gender confused cat Sophie charmed me!!
    As I told Polly over lunch, this blog has made me so brave. Before I came here, I would have never driven in a unfamiliar area to meet A STRANGER and spend the day. So glad I did and so glad I have found you all.

  51. As always,I am praying for Mother Delonda.

  52. I’m up . . . working on your treats!

  53. Hi Sher, I am up too. We had a dinner/auction for Jacks school tonight so MY night didn’t start until after we were home and the boys were asleep. What exactly are you working on so late..

  54. Hi Sher, got your present early via Caryl. I’ll be in Europe next week but thinking about you all.

  55. Amykins, you’re up too. How has the weekend been? And have you worn your tshirt yet?

  56. Alright, no takers tonight, I am off to read.

  57. Hi Caryl! I have worn my t-shirt. It is very tight and my husband has forbidden its viewing outside our home. Which means that a) Haven’s face has never looked better and b) I can’t decide whether the appropriate response to husband’s decree is compliance or a girls night out.

    Hmmm . . . .

  58. Amy, I just sent you a long and rambling email. Are you up for the park tomorrow?

  59. Caryl, yeah let’s do the park with your boys tomorrow. Name your time.

    I’m feeling a little blue myself. This consulting gig is so much better in theory than reality.

  60. hiya!!! just shut off the studio lights . . . if only I could blog . . . afraid the wax will ruin the new laptop . . .it is quite a quandary . . .

    treats are a surprise!

  61. still nobody here . . . ok, nap time

  62. If anyone visited my house I would have to commit hari kari. Seriously. On occasion the downstairs is well enough for people who don’t have my impossibly low standards, but the upstairs? Hell no. That’s where I keep my meth lab.

  63. Kate- you are my housework soulmate!!!

  64. I think if I could find my camera – in the clutter – I would take pictures of my house – before and after the clean-up . . . because, dear people, when I choose to work, I just drop the ball in so many areas.

    As a matter of fact, if my house is a wreck I am in creative flow – if it is clean it means somebody has pissed me off BAD!!!! I also find that one can clean an amazing amount in the 7 minute commercial intervals . . . except I haven’t even been watching tv, so it is bad . . . plus, who cares! if you love me, you will bear with me . . .

    I am worried about cleaning before the open studio April 25th – – – but that is SO far away (not!) . . . a cleaning crew doesn’t help because they need to know where to put the shit . . .

    all of us need a domestic . . . I am mortally offended that that middle class luxury has been lost in the last 50 years . . . dang. I can’t even pay somebody to do the demeaning things I hate . . .

  65. Note: I went from being a mini-Martha Stewart to a –
    who gives a shit . . . poor Don, I’m not even sure how he feels about this . . . but to feel better he will sometimes vacuum and mop the floors, then he feels good. he leaves all the other stuff where it was, but at least we can eat off the floor.

  66. Happy Sunday, y’all..
    Like everyone, I am so sorry about Delonda and my hope is for her to recover quickly and well..we know how much she is needed and loved.
    I am so jealous…again and again and again that I can’t come with you and like I said before, I will be watching CNN for the news report on the instant combustion when you all get together.
    George! Sorry…I agree with Haven about golf….for me it’s a residue of my old college socialist prejudice against ‘rich’ people (you know, the kind I would love to be today but ain’t?) are entitled to love what sport you wish as we all love you.
    GFTG…hugs to you…I missed the Mayo Clinic news…hope it is not horrible?
    Sher! I seriously enjoy the quips from your wonderful kids..let’s me be a vicarious grandma so keep ’em coming…be glad to babysit for you, too anytime you’re in Arizona.
    Suzanne is so right about the house picture…Here in Prescott it would be going for at least 350K because of the mountain views dontcha know.
    Laundry with movies day..I secretly like Sundays for that until about 5 p.m. when it dawns on me that I have to get up in the dark the next morning and go to work with the engineers. That Dilbert comic in the sunday papers? That is EXACTLY where I work.
    Oh and how I enjoyed Kat and Joe’s wonderful…where can I buy the cd? Really.
    I am going to wear my sock monkey jammies every night while you guys are in Durham.
    Caryl and Kate…have a drink in the bar for me in your jammies while I am here in mine…make it a margarhita on the rocks please.
    hugs to all.

  67. Haven!

    I love what you have done with the shack! It is beautiful!

    Aunt Julie

  68. I am so terribly vexed right now. I ventured out ALONE AGAIN in this wild kingdom of PA to find the nearest bookstore which happened to be Borders. I was looking for a copy of Solace ( as it is the most brilliant piece Ms. Haven has penned) hoping that if St. Mo does stop to visit me, I could send it along with her and have it signed. Of course they did not have it and doubly of course my own copy is at home on my bookshelf where it should be.
    I then ate 2 soft pretzels from the mall food court and ventured back to the king sized bed where I have been holding court for 7 days now. Sometimes I wear pants, and sometimes I don’t.

  69. We missed you terribly at the Oxford Conference for the Book, Haven. Didn’t know ’til I got there and you weren’t sitting at your place on the panel… so sorry for your struggles. Hope all is well now, or moving in that general direction:-)

  70. hoot hoot . . . I am on the hourly countdown at this point. except I am not good at math . . . but it is getting closer!

  71. Hi everyone I am still trying to get my monies right so I can come. I am coming from Ann Arbor MI if anyone is interested in sharing a ride and is coming from that MI let me know my cell is 734-904-3900

  72. btw now that Haven has her house redecorated what time is the front yard picnic !

  73. Brenda – I am going to Mayo to see a Rheumatologist and Neurologist. Recently diagnosed with Acquired Idiopathic Dysautonomia with Polyneuropathy and hopefully they can figure out why and confirm Sjogren’s Syndrome for me as well as U-M can’t figure out shit. I think I have Lupus like everyone elkse in my entire family. Sigh. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, more on my own blog.

    Amy in Ohio – you are cracking me up about the no pants line. When the hell are you going to start your own blog. Come on!!! When you get back we are going to have to meet but will you drive into Michigan. My driving skills are declining rapidly.

  74. Ghetto Girl where in MI are you from I have had bad experiences with the UM hosp in the past too. Hope the mayo can get you diagnosed at least.

  75. Oh GFTG, my hopes are with you…sometimes it takes them so long to diagnose, you just have to find the right place or person!
    Amy! SNORT!!

  76. I do need to start a blog. Just for the simple fact that I have alot to say and just not enough people to listen:) Ha!
    GfromG- I have been on your blog keeping up with your ailments ( and your thoughts about American Idol:) and I am just so sorry for all of this! I will keep you in my prayers for quick answers and smart doctors. And hell yeah, we are going to meet. I will come to you. I am pretty much a world traveler now, have you been reading about the heroic driving I have been doing in a strange New England state??? Wait, is PA considered to be a New England state? What do I know, I was suprised to find out I flew into the capital which is Harrisburg??!!!! I still think Philadelphia is the capital.
    Big plans for me tonight…Baby Mama is on HBO ( Tina Fey is my best friend) and then I am renting yet another Edward Norton movie. I have watched American History X, Fight Club and The Score. Tonight is either Primal Fear or The Illusionist. Sign, he is the macaroni to my cheese. Side note, I was looking at him on screen trying to figure out who he looks like and HELLO, HE LOOKS LIKE MY FIANCE. They could be brothers. I suddenly felt guilty and very lucky at the same time!!!

  77. Happy Pants and
    macaroni and cheese.

  78. Brenda,
    When Polly’s son took pics of the two of us yesterday we held a sock monkey in tribute of all of you but I thought of you especially!

  79. By the way Kate, the meth lab comment was classic. You are fucking hilarious.
    I think I need to start a roadtrip where I stop and clean all of the blog babies homes. I LOVE to clean and cleaning other people’s homes actually excites me.

  80. Amy I would let you in but seriously, I am ashamed.

  81. I don’t think it would be possible to be embarrassed in front of Amy in O. I really don’t. She is too dalring and perfect.

    OH I AM JEALOUS of all the blog baby goings-on that have already occurred. GA stinks. Except for Amber and Vanessa. And Kimbits, who hasn’t posted in about a million years.

    I plan on driving behind Sher and her TomTom.

    Haven–I promise not to stalk you. 🙂 I was so sad to hear Mother D cannot join us, but I know she’ll be with us in spirit. And Kat’s voice? My word. Has anyone offered her millions of dollars yet? They should.

    Dinner time. But unlike Amy, I am wearing pants.

  82. haven, that house of yours is gorgeous. it must look incredible with christmas lights! i am thinking of all the blog babies and turning WICKED green (get it?) about the Durham trip. promise there will be photos? and maybe even a video of the reading itself? oh, and kat has some pipes. phew.
    xo, steph

  83. Hiya all –
    Oliver was tremendous and we have tons of pictures. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll get them on.
    Amy – My sis and I are planning to leave here Tuesday around 3 and should hit Mechanicburg by 7:30ish. We can meet for a late dinner, drinks, Poptarts, whatever and/or breakfast. Wednesday we’ll head on to Durham.
    OK. Guests waiting, for a change.
    Gotta go.

  84. Oh, and Sarah, it would be awesome if you could stop by! Or maybe we could catch you on the way back Friday for lunch.

  85. Thanks, Amy, for the sock monkey thoughts…I am serious about wearing the jammies..they are officially my happy pants and my comfort pants.
    LOL, y’all…gotta go hang with the family…besides, it’s into sunday night blues time.

  86. Hi everyone. More crazy weather in Tennessee. After the floods and tornadoes on Thursday it turned into perfect spring weather. Until late this afternoon when more rain and yuck came in apparently ahead of a cold front that might bring snow flurries tonight. Say what?!! They close schools down here when there is just the threat of snow. Geek gads. But, the forecast, if I dare believe it, says clear Wed-Fri and I believe it said that for the Durham area as well so keep your fingers and toes crossed. I do not want to be driving through a spring time blizzard on my way to Durham!

  87. Christmas lights are a fire hazard. I suggest chopping that thing up for kindlin’.

  88. Mo, it’s on! I will email you for more definitive plans tomorrow.
    I just finished watching the original Grey Gardens and um, I really don’t know what to say. It was well, weird. The angles and shots made me a bit seasick..however Little Edie is pretty much fabulous.
    And I think all of their cats were definitely retarded.

  89. LINDA–tell me about it. 3 straight weeks of the worst, most torrential rains. Then 2 days of perfection. Then BACK TO THE THUNDERSTORMS FROM HELL.

  90. It’s storming here in Nashville and I am IN BLISS. I hope it rains and thunders ALL NIGHT.

  91. I don’t get me wrong, Ms. Kate! I love thunderstorms…except we got struck by lightning not too long ago, and it took out EVERYTHING. So now, when it gets “bad”, my mother makes me unplug every computer in the house and the DSL, so I am totally without means of communication. PLUS I have old dogs who are TERRIFIED of thunder. So the past 3 weeks have been major suckage in terms of getting any sleep at night and having a reliable means of communicating with certain friends across the country (blog babies!) and a certain gentleman on a different continuent… 🙂

    Plus, everything here is flooded. ENOUGH RAIN ALREADY!

  92. Oh, by the way. I am a hugger. If you are not a hugger, you should tell me so I do not accidentally assault you. 🙂

    I am Southern to the bone. 🙂

  93. Good night, babies!

  94. Did I miss everyone. Are you all off to sleep?

  95. Molly –
    I think hugging is also an Irish thing. In my family is the tradition of the “McCarthy goodbye,” which lasts forever and involves very long hugs all around.

    I just read a Mary Gordon essay on Moral Fiction – same one she read aloud AT THE CALVIN FESTIVAL (which, by the way, MUST be next year’s Blog Baby Convention). Man, she’s brilliant.

  96. I am a hugger too. I guess it figures since I have Irish in my blood and am an adopted southerner.

  97. I’m coming in late to this blog string as usual but as so excited about the reading.
    First things first though – Prayer for DeLonda going up.
    I will definitely be at the reading with my daughter, who is 16 and on spring break this week. I might even try to to to the lunch which, if I understand this correctly, is at George’s Garage in Durham.
    As someone recently laid off I sure could use a smile and I know the reading is sure to give me one. I’ll call Carolina Theater again and see if they have more info. Went there recently w/my daughter to see Joan Baez in concert. That was something else.

  98. Sorry I won’t be able to make it, and that Delonda is unable to as well.

    As for your house: I can sympathize. Several years ago, Jeffrey and I saw “Grey Gardens” for the first time — the 1973 documentary about the Bouvier mother and daughter living in squalor in the Hamptons, in a once-sumptuous mansion now overrun by raccoons and minus the full portion of ceiling that most normal persons would find ideal. And as we watched we were just dazzled by the sheer exotic gothicism of it all; it was like watching a movie about life on Mars.

    We watched it again just a few weeks ago, having endured some interesting times of our own, and I had an entirely different reaction. It was almost a feeling of … well, fellowship. I kept thinking, “Yes, I can see how that can have happened.”

    Though I’d still never wear a sweater on my head.

  99. Amy in O – Oh my lord your Ed Norton fettish and Tina Fey BFF feelings totally make you my cute younger sister that I never had. I can’t wait till we meet. Can not wait. Its just tragic its not in Durham.

    Steph – Yes there will be pictures. I will write a post on my own blog and put the link here. I am a nut when it comes to photos. Take like 1,000 pictures per trip. Trust me, down to the food (I love pictures of yummy food, call me crazy!) it will be documented, lol.

  100. Dear Haven,
    I’m leaving a comment here as I am at home and don’t know how to contact you otherwise. I just want to say that we missed you terribly at the Oxford Conference for the Book. We all missed you, but me especially and only partly because Peder made me take your place on his panel. Peder & John were intelligent and interesting, but when I am called upon to opine on topics serious and important on a podium I begin to sound a lot like Sarah Palin. My head too is filled with cotton candy that dissolves into nothing on contact. I hope you are well now and we will see you soon. And I do hope your mother recovers quickly.

  101. Amy in Ohio, and Maureen–

    It’s doubtful I’ll be able to join you tomorrow night. Still, what’s the name of your hotel, just in case?

    Amy, I’m sorry the weather hasn’t been cooperative. Last I read, we might even get more Snow tomorrow. Bleah. But, perhaps it would be harder to be inside all day if the weather were nicer?

    I’m also sorry I haven’t been able to provide company, distraction, or amusement during your time of exile. I’m glad you’ve had Polly, and now Maureen and her sister, and of course the good ol’ WiFi and all those characters on the talking box.

    ~ S.

  102. Here’s a little bit of insight into where I come from: the original Grey Gardens did not freak me out AT ALL.

  103. OMG – I’m in the Grey Garden’s fan club . . . and Drew Barrymore is playing Little Edie in their movie – I think it is in April . . . Jessico Lange plays Mother Edie – – what a duo . . . I CAN’T WAIT!!!

    off to make a fake umbrella for claire because you can’t open a real umbrella in the house . . .

  104. My daughter Kate did two internships last year with Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter, etc.) Shelter while finishing her degree in documentary film making in New York at The New School.

    She reports that he is a sweetheart (as well as one of the most important doc guys of the century…)

  105. I strongly support hugging, and also being southern to the bone, as those are the bones I know best…

  106. Just want to give you all a head’s up about the book signing…
    I don’t know if this is normal for signing line requirements, so thought you might Need To Know…

    “Join us for an evening of wonderful conversation with Augusten Burroughs and his good friend and fellow author, Durham’s own Haven Kimmel. Burroughs is on tour for the paperback edition of Wolf at the Table, a searing, emotional portrait of a son who wants nothing more than the love his father will not grant him. This event is co-sponsored by the Regulator Bookshop and the Durham County Public Library. Books from both authors will be available for sale.

    People wanting to get books signed should purchase at least one book from The Regulator either beforehand at the store or at the signing.”

  107. As for the Grey Gardens movie, I’m a little wary of it, for basically selfish reasons. Other people have no business playing with my toys. Is it based on the musical? … Because I have an extra aversion to that, which I didn’t really understand till Haven’s and my beloved Christopher pointed out that Grey Gardens was ALREADY a musical.

  108. This is the website for my kids’ school district. There is a little photo show of pictures from Oliver! Tristan is not in any of them, but I’ll put some on my facebook page if I get to it.

  109. Do we need tickets to get into the Carolina Theatre?

  110. Linda
    No tickets needed…it’s free and open to the public

  111. Everyone:

    I am very sorry about this, but it appears that I am going to be on the disabled list for the reading. I was working yesterday in the garden, spading with my Crocs on, and as I stepped on the shovel, I did something to my big toe on the right foot.

    No, I didn’t sever it, but I think it is sprained, and it could even be fractured because it hurts like all get-off. I’m going to give it another day with the Advil and generally leaving it alone treatment. Thing is that right now, I don’t think I could do the drive.

    So sorry about this…more later.

  112. George!!!!!

    Cruise control?

  113. Poor George — did you at least take the day off work? — I’m thinking your steel-toed boots will be your default while spading in future.

    Shanna: snort!

    Robert, your comments blinded me so with their incisive, perceptive shiny stuff (not to mention the various spit takes elicited) that I looked for a link on your name and ! — there it was. Blog now bookmarked, for when it comes (soon, we’re promised) and novels now on hold at the library (space issues, sadly). You damn funny.

  114. GEORGE! I have a 12 pack of ski and a 12 pack of double with your name on them!!! GET WELL!

  115. GFG, you were diagnosed with fibromyalgia first, right? i am struggling here as well–and i am having the hardest time ever getting any answers! i hope you have success at the Mayo clinic. feeling this way is the pits 😦

    i am becoming sadder and sadder that i won’t be there in durham. i really wanted to make it happen, but financially and kid-wise, it is too much. i know you will have a blast and i will be thinking of you all.

    i hope mother delonda is recovering well and things are looking up for her.

    george, i hope your foot gets better. at least baseball season is underway–you love the sox (as in red), right? going to fenway on wednesday with some free tickets we scored. i can’t wait. that ballpark is home for me.

    oh, bug-i am hugger and i am born and bred in he northeast. not everyone here is a frigid bitch, although you will likely encounter more here than anywhere else i have been. i was chased, i am not kidding–actual running–out of texas from a gas station. they saw my plates and i am assuming he was the town drunk–or just drunk in general, i dunno–but he called me a “damn yankee” and i started hauling across the parking lot screaming to my roommate to get in the car. the guy was threatening to throw a bottle. he did not want a hug, but i suspect he really needed one.

  116. Texas is not really the south, Steph. It is kind of a country all in itself.

  117. Oh, Steph. My family’s all from the North, and I lived in NH for a year. I hugged them ANYWAY. AND THEY LIKED IT. MWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    George. My heart hurts. I hope you can come.

  118. Hi from Maureen’s farm! (I love to say that and don’t get to nearly often enough.)

    I am a somewhat new arrival to the blog, riding on Maureen’s coat tails and yet, am able to head to Durham. As such, I really feel for those of you longer term blog babies who, for a myriad of reasons, will not be able to journey to Durham in person.

    So… for those of you who would like to… I volunteer to work with Maureen to host some Skype calls from the group in Durham to far flung blog babies.

    Here is what you need to do. Go to Download skype for free. Then choose a skype name. Email it to Maureen. I think most of you have her email address. We will send further directions.

    In the meantime, do a test run. Skype uses the internet and costs nothing! Make a friend or relative download Skype. Place and receive a call so you can figure it out and will be ready to Skype with Durham.

    If Oprah can do book club with Skype, we can make some blog baby calls with it.

  119. Sher – the Outlaw Quaker Girl tshirt is a thing of beauty. I will wear it with pride.

    Molly – and others – I am a serious hugger.

  120. George – Oh my, why not fly in? I’m crazy enough to fly in because I have trouble driving now… and I am delaying my Mayo Clinic visit for two weeks now just to go. Be a die hard and come!!!

    Steph – Actually I started off with just Arthritis – started getting herniated disks in my spine … I have seven as of March of last year. Then came Fibromyalgia and more and more little stuff before the Dysautonomia. That disease is what they think causes SIDS. Can just stop your heart/lungs whenever. I have stepkids … I can’t just die on them. Gotta know if I’m going to get worse, etc.

    Kathleen – Oh, I don’t think I can handle one more thing online. Twitter is the death of me now. Also, welcome and we are all happy to have you, even if you are new.

    I’m not even packed. Agghrrhhh!!

  121. Packed? What does this word “packed” mean?

  122. Well I finished the blog baby ‘treats’ – but my house is a wreck, my husband had to do my laundry, my kids are cleaning my house before Kate comes tomorrow, and now I am going to bed . . . I am just overwhelmed.

    george MUST come.

    jebus. I’m freaked. packed? Packed? pack?

    perhaps this hissy fit deserves a glass of wine to chill out.

    I considered bringing Claire with me when she and lauren (the almost 15 year old, got in a boot throwing fight). just to keep them separated.

    those are desperate measures . . .

  123. George,
    I am sorry to hear that would I be th only Man there now ? I Am working on this too dont trust my 2000 GMC to get me there and back so looking into renting a car. Again if anyone would be on my way from Michigan I would be glad to pick you up and share expenses for the ride.

    George put some bacon on a biscut and go your burnin daylight

  124. So much love amongst these blog babies. So much love in all the preparation and all the longing. So much love in the excitement and the anxiety. So much love for those who travel and those who remain at home.

    This night, in the stillness of the farmdark, I call upon God who is love to inhabit all our spaces within and between. Still, fill, and thrill us with what we need of you and others. Protect us from all else.

  125. I am off to a hotel near the airport to save me an hour more of sleep in the morning. Then we fly out at 9:50a. Think of me in the air.
    George. I hope you are feeling better and most selfishly so you can meet us in Durham. I really hope.
    Safe travels to all, see you on Wednesday. OR Tuesday Shanna.

  126. Attempting to calm myself down and give some information to a friend in crisis (which I did), I decided to draw a Rune for US about the Durham Trip.

    here is what came up in my quick draw:

    The Blank Rune – The Unknowable.

    Blank is the end, blank the beginning. this the rune of total trust and should be taken as exciting evidence of your most immediate contact with your own drue destiny which, time and again, rises like the phoenix from the ashes of what we call fate.

    the blank rune con portend a death. But that death is usually symbolic, and may relate to any part of your life as you are living it now. Relinquishing control is the ultimate challenge for the Spiritual Warrior.

    Here the Unknowable informs you that it is in motion in your life. In that blankness is held undiluted potential. At the same time both pregnant and empty, it comprehends the totality of being, all that is to be actualized. And if, indeed, there are ‘matters hidden by the gods,” you need only remember: what beckons is the creative power of the unknown.

    Drawing the blank rune brings to the surface your deepest fears: Will I fail? Will I be abandoned? Will it all be taken away? and yet your highest good, your truest possibilities and all your fertile dreams are held within that blankness.

    Willingness and permitting are what this Rune requires, for how can you exercise control over what is not yet in form? The blank rune often calls for no less an act of courage than the empty-handed leap into the void. Drawing it is a direct test of Faith.

    The Blank Rune represents the path of karma – the sum total of your actions and of their consequences. At the same time, this rune teaches that the very debts of old karma shift and evolve as you shift and evolve. Nothing is predestined: the obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.

    whenever you draw the Blank Rune, take heart: know that the work of self-change is progressing in your life.

  127. Kathleen, those vibrations met in the air . . .

  128. Also, I want to share this:

    I no longer try to change outer things. They are simply a reflection. I change my inner perception and the outer reveals the beauty so long obscured by my own attitude. I concentrate on my inner vision and find my outer view transformed. I find myself attuned to the grandeur of life and in unison with the perfect order of the universe.

    – Daily Word from Ralph Blum’s Book of Runes

    And – yes – that is the feeling of the BB’s – unison and attunation.


  129. I believe in the Blank Rune Sher !!

  130. Yippee! Maybe you could kidnap Jim Shue from Indianapolis on your way South????

    MICHAEL T – I am glad you are taking a Kierkegaard step . . . just don’t look down whilst leaping!!!

    I am going to try to take some of Caryl’s advise and try, try to sleep! This time tomorrow Kate and Baby Alice will be tucked in my bed and we will wake up wednesday morning and head to the Love Fest.

    I feel much calmer after drawing the rune, why can’t I ever remember to do that for myself when I am stressed . . .

    george, I am considering doing a prayer flag for your big toe. perhaps we can stick it through the holes in your crocs and it will protect you from further and future injuries?

  131. George –
    Kathleen and I will be traveling from Mechanicsburg, PA, to Durham on Wednesday morning. I have not looked at the map in detail, but could we pick you up? I’m serious. Then you would not have to drive. We are staying Wed and Thu night at the Washington Duke and returning on Friday and can drive you back home.
    Let us know.

  132. Good morning everyone! Today started off well with a happy son Sam because UNC won the basketball game. So there will be crazy UNC fans in the area (my son included) while we are there so beware. haha!!

  133. I’m half awake and halfway packed and leaving for Durham in a couple of hours. (Or at least leaving for the airport, long travel day ahead.) Sher, I LOVE that quote about changing inner perception. I should tattoo it on my forearm.

    Can’t believe that I will see many of you SOON!

  134. Thanks everyone…gosh, you all are terrific.

    Toe Update: I iced my foot last night and the swelling went down. It is feeling better. Note to self: Crocs and spades don’t play well together.

    We’ll see.

    Stephsulz: You have Boston tickets for Wednesday? Lucky you! Who knows? It might wind up being the opener. I hope we pound Tampa.

    Did I say you all are terrific?

  135. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy, y’all….
    You are right..Texas is not in the south, it IS a country all unto itself. My officemate Cheryl who I love is from there and would hug unreservedly anyone she likes but my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was like hugging a log of wood…it took me 10 years of big squeezy hugging every time I saw her to get her to hug me back and then miracle of miracles if SHE didn’t start hugging other people. Amazing. She was never great at it, but she tried and that’s all we can do, eh?
    Oh George…what Michael T said…put that bacon on a biscuit and let Maureen and Kathleen pick you up…oh man how fun would that be????
    I’m considering wearing my sock monkey jammies bottoms to work, with a white silk blouse of course.
    Skype? I will have to look into that at home since my brother is moving to England This Thursday (sadness for us except we do get to go visit hopefully, sometime).
    Thinking hard of you all,

  136. You all are so amazing. I can’t wait to meet everyone!

    It is now almost mid-Tuesday and I have not packed yet. I have no idea what I’m waiting on…. I guess first I need a bag to put it all in…

    Ok, one step at a time 🙂

  137. Hey everyone –
    George, sounds like you might make it after all? Please please!!!
    I have one meeting to get through and then we hit the road. We’ll be hanging with Amy tonight in PA.

  138. Travelers…
    I just heard from the Regulator that they can hold some seats until 6:20, and after that they feel the crowd will arrive, and they can’t hold them any longer…

    Is it possible to compile a list of how many of you there will be?
    Here is what I can come up with from memory:

    Kate and Alice
    Linda and son
    Caryl, daughter and daughter’s friend
    Georgia Amber
    Raleigh Amber
    George maybe
    Sherrill and daughter(this is me, NoraB)
    Girl from the Ghetto

    If I am forgetting someone it’s not because you aren’t important! Just remind me, and add yourself to the list please…

    I want to make sure there is enough room for all to be together…

  139. I think I like Georgia Amber instead of Quiet Amber. Both are equally true, but I prefer the geographical description over the character trait, lol.

  140. I love this energy! I can actually feel the excitement and anxiety seeping out of my computer!!!! I get to meet Mo and Kathleen tonight!! Whoopeeee!

  141. Oh Amber. You’re such a silly goose. Just wait til you meet her, babies! She’s the funniest person ever.

    I will do my best not to embarrass her.

    It’s still Lent, after all. Ambie, you can count your lucky stars on that one.

    Also, are people using handles (HAH! Like we’re truck drivers! I keep thinking of the MST3K episode “Riding with Death”) expecting to be addressed by their real names? I am okay with Molly. Or Bug. Or LB. Or Hot Mama.

    I just made that last one up. In my father’s immortal words, “Call me anything you want except late for dinner!”

    Caryl, thinking of you!!!!

    Amy in O–what program did you decide to use and do we have your cell number somewhere so we can figure out the best time to call? I’ll bring my laptop too.

    “All you need is Love! All you need is Love! All you need is Love, Love. Love is all you need. Love is all you need.”

  142. if Sherrill’s list is right, I am now 1 short on treats . . . crapamoli, I just spent 3 days doing them and I cannot whip one out of my arse . . .

    freaking out in TN

  143. Just had one more communication with the Regulator, to make sure we are clear and won’t need to cause a scene at the event!

    The reason we need to be as sure as possible about the number of seats we need, is because Tom says that after 6:20, NO seats can be saved at all. He expects that they will end up turning people away before the reading starts. So he asks that I get a final total of our needs to him ASAP.

    There are 19 people on the list I could remember…Did anyone notice if I forgot someone?
    Or is anyone bringing someone else?

    Sorry if I am being annoying…I’m a detail sort of person, and a worrier, and I really want to have this work out as smoothly as possible for you all…

  144. Oh Sher…please do not freak!
    Are you counting sons and daughters in the treatorama count? If so, my daughter doesn’t need to be treated…if not, I don’t need to be either! Please be assured that meeting you will be a treat!

  145. NoraB/Sherrill-
    Thank you for doing this! You are correct with us- me-Linda Carter and my son, Sam Brobeck will be there!

  146. And…Sher…if you run out of treats you don’t have to give me one because you can make up for it later. I know where you live. LOL

  147. GFTG: i am thinking of you. i hope you have a fantastic time at the reading and i am sending good thoughts and hugs your way for the mayo clinic visit:)

    linda, yes, texas is a place all its own. the “lone star” state.

    george, yes, i have tix to fenway tomorrow night. i am psyched. that ballpark is my childhood, my happiness. i LOVE to watch the sox. it is like a disease. i even go to spring training each year–saw the red sox/yanks this year. awesome, plus we won.

  148. I feel like I somehow snuck into the cool kids group with the reading on Thursday.

    We’ll have reserved seats and everything?

    “How cool?!” I yell, with child-like delight.

  149. Molls,
    Maureen will have my cell number. If not, I will email to you just in case. I didn’t download skype as I have my work laptop and they are weird with adding programs:(
    So excited for you all!!!!

  150. Good Lord . . . I found 4 more treats just sitting under some books in the studio . . . they were flattening themselves . . . I am covered with even 1 or 2 extra . . . panic attack OVER . . . and Suzanne’s prayer flag has left the post office on its flight to CA . . . everyone send Suzanne the love, I don’t think it is a secret as she posted on Facebook . . . but the contract fell through on the house so we are needing to lift her up in everyway we can with love and prayers and general wellbeing wishes.

  151. George you must come because your treat has your name embeded in it and no one else can own it but you! you! you! and it might take me 4 months to mail it – so ye and thou toe get thee to durham

  152. Yea, and AMEN!
    Pobracita Suzanne, my heart just sinks for you….(slap on the forehead).

  153. Prayers going out to Suzanne that this will just be a temporary set back. That house needs to sell!!!

  154. thanks to everyone who is sending prayers. sher, you’re very kind to do this!!! well, um, yes. it’s extraordinarily shocking and disturbing. let the record state that this will be the last time i move or sell a home. i am not nearly WELL enough for this.

  155. Hi NoraB,

    Think you can save two more seats (long-time reader, first-time poster)?


    Jeff and Les

  156. Sounds like 20 for the reading seat reservations . . . I volunteer to be there early to help hold seats . . . should I make some Blog Babies Reservation Cards?

    It is like we are going to a rock concert – Haven and Augusten!

  157. Steph – thank you, very sweet of you.

    Michael T – I’m flying to Durham … and I live about two hours away from you here in MI.

    Nora – I think the list is right. Also, I will get to the theater early & will try to hold 19 other seats!

    I’m thinking about everyone who can’t come and its making me sad. I’m trying to bring only one carry on & since I am bringing a huge digital camera, three types of bath beads & comfy fleece pjs that are the size of my suitcase I can’t pack the cookies I was planning on baking. Damn. Please know that when I make & gorge on them tonight with hubby while watching Idol I’ll be thinking of you.

    Two small favors:
    One, I hope no one asks me if I’m pregnant. LOL, but seriously, I look it! I have gained a bunch of weight in my tummy and my spine is pushed forward because of all my herniated disks (And Cushings Syndrome, maybe?) so I look four months preggers.

    Two, I need some kind soul to “sort of” babysit me … but it has to be a girl because my p.o. hubby is paranoid. Like, if I don’t show up at the dinner, lunch or reading this means I went into sudden heart failure & someone needs to call my hubby & 911, and you have to tell the hospital that I have Dysautonomia. I know I sound like a complete nut here, but I didn’t buy the medical alert bracelet like I was supposed to. (Over $100, come one!) I’m not coming back online tonight so if anyone wants to volunteer just tell me at dinner Wednesday night.

    See you soon HAVEN and Blog Babies … yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  158. Yes Sher, make the cards … and we will save seats together.

  159. Oh, and p.o. does not stand for pissed off.

  160. Sher, there is a new comment on the Iodine discussion that may interest you.

  161. Michael. I would ride with you and share expenses, but I cannot make the trip because I’m beyond broke right now. And my baby’s 18th birthday is in 10 days!

  162. Okay!
    I have asked for 22 confirmed saved places, which will be available to us until 6:20…After that, we are not supposed to save the seats, so we all need to claim them on time (or be prepared to lay across the latecomers seats and make a scene!)

    This number will cover all on the list, plus Jeff and Les who just posted, and one to spare…If George doesn’t make it, that’s two to spare…

    I have emailed Tom one more time to find out exactly what he will want us to do when we arrive (Hello, I am a blog baby…where is my seat please?)…I can let you know that Wednesday evening when I MEET you!

  163. My phone just quit working. RIGHT BEFORE SHER AND I LEAVE. OMG. Good vibes and prayers, dudes. I do not relish the idea of leaving my children and driving 8 hours away with a broken 1 month old cell phone.

  164. God Bless You, Every One!!
    Welcome Jeff and Les,
    On to the sock monkey jammies and the vodka tonic.

  165. Hey all –
    We are here and just went out for beer with Amy. Too fun. Our blind internet blog date was a success! Just like we had known each other for years.
    We are meeting for breakfast and then we are on our way the second leg to Durham. We’ll be there mid-afternoon. Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  166. They beat me!!! Drats! Yes, our date was perfect. I just love, love, love when people meet ( and exceed) your expectations. I am one happy blog baby.

  167. I am toasting you all in my jammies with Jake and a sock monkey in a picture on the blog babies website under ‘Brenda’s Synch’….I wonder if I’d get fired if I wore them to work????

  168. Hi everyone I will make this quick then be back in a half hour or so I have been doing everything possible to get to Durham as some of you know I weas laid off a few weeks ago so its a bit unusual finacialy speaking I am sorry to report I cannot responsibly go to Durham at this time I was trying a few different Ideas but they have not panned out.I will be there in my heart more later.

  169. poor Michael T – I am booing . . .

  170. kate and I are sitting together in my Rec Room and we are on separate laptops! blogging! ha!@

  171. Baby Alice and Claire are sitting on the sofa watching Hello Kitty!

  172. WOOT WOOT. I’m with Sher! Alice and Claire are watching Hello Kitty. Oh, and I fixed my cell phone.

  173. Is everyone excited??? 😀

    Quick question – it’s okay to just have a Social Security card and a State ID, right?

  174. For flying, I mean.

  175. you must have a photo id to go with any other id

  176. State ID has my picture… sweet. 🙂

  177. perfect!

  178. Yes. I am excited.

  179. Yea Sher I was kinda hoping to split a ride with someone but such is life I am a computer/network technician so im far from rich its kinda odd I had a dear friend in from England and we spent tons and had a great time but then I got laid off and just could not make this happen unless I wanted to become a homeless computer/network tech hehe. you are all really special to me I know its gonna be soo cool.

    I love Haven deeply she has made me a much better man with out knowing it

    I hope you all take pics !

  180. we will take pics and be available via Skype and Messengers Live . . .

  181. we are going to bed so that we can have bushy tails tomorrow when we get into Durham . . .

    yee ho!

  182. Good morning friends. I am finishing a cup of coffee and checking email, etc. before Sam and I hit the road. We are psyched! The weather is perfect (hopefully it will stay that way)and we are packed and ready to party. Sam is so excited about seeing UNC and buying some championship gear. I think he is also secretly excited about meeting Mom’s blog baby buddies! And, he has always loved Haven and Augusten. I am so happy to share this with him.

    See you all soon!!

  183. I am still hoping to be able to limp into Durham tomorrow, but I will probably not make it. I have a very severe sprain of the ankle/foot bruising with a lot of swelling.

    I don’t have cruise control on the car…the injury is to my right big toe – ankle. As it is, I can barely walk.

    Basically, I feel like a horse’s ass for this thing happening when I had so anticipated and would so like to meet and hug many of you guys, and, of course, hear Haven and meet Augusten.

    That said, let me second what Michael T said.

    I have become a better person — at least in my own eyes — because of this blog and especially interacting with Haven who is one of the most remarkable people I have ever known. This dear community of people just happened as a result of our own searches, our own preferences, our own sensibilities, our own creativity and world views that managed to converge as all great forces in the world ultimately commingle.

    So…I may be there, but probably not.

  184. Oh George, I am so sorry.
    I also am sad.
    Can’t agree more about the effect these lovely people and their stories have on my life…they lift me up.
    lol, B.

  185. george, dont feel bad. keep that foot iced and elevated! love you xo sfc

  186. Well, Suze, I am kinda bummed about this…also, I am majorly honked off about your house deal. I hope that resolves — and quickly.

  187. Brenda,

    Thanks…I appreciate the counsel. I am less sad than just kinda pissed and more than embarrassed about the whole thing with the foot…I mean, of ALL things — I would have never considered this.

  188. george? we are moving heaven and earth here to get me into NC and escape CA. prayers and hoo doo woo woo gratefully accepted! xoxxoooxx sfc

  189. OOOh Suzanne…I will consult my little book of gypsy spells my girlfriend in Iowa sent me…the spells generally involve candles and chants and stuff but there HAS to be one in there for selling a house!! Give me a couple hours to get home as I have some errands to run and I will look one up! Don’t despair.

  190. SUZANNE:
    to my surprise, but not too much, my little book of gypsy/Romany spells didn’t have anything about selling a house..probably because they were nomads.
    BUT…you could try the one ‘To Remove Misfortune’:
    1. Take 3 small jars and 9 cloves of garlic. 2.Collect a number of thorns from a white rose. 3.Stick the thorns into the cloves of garlic and place 3 cloves in each jar.
    4. Bury each jar within site of a church entrance while you say the Lord’s Prayer.
    5. Ask for your favor.
    I beg forgiveness from anyone who is offended by superstition, but hey, I think you should also do this at midnight by the light of a full moon. Nude would be good, too, but probably not practical. Sigh.
    If St. Joseph didn’t work, you could try this and then try St. Jude.
    It also had a spell about gaining more money by putting ‘seed’ bills under the rug inside your front door and then whenever someone walked over it, more money should come your way.
    Let me know if you need emergency money…that spell is different and requires tarot cards and 14 days to complete!
    You go girl!!

  191. I’d like to tell you all who couldn’t come to Durham, that all of the blog babies I met tonight are in person just as they are on the page…genuine, funny, interesting and so effortlessly friendly. Some quiet and some outgoing and all just lovely!

  192. i’m sure everyone is great. it’s going to be great tomorrow night. i’ll love knowing you’re all together. it’s very cool.

  193. george missed meeting his harem!

  194. and guess who is still up????

    seriously, I even brought an emergency ambien . . . but is it working???? no . . .

    my clown car/van made it to Durham with only a few minutes to spare before our first ‘blog meeting’ . . . wow, but there are some empty spaces 😦

    will attempt to sleep soon as I cannot find a plug nearby and I don’t want to disturb Kate and Baby Alice . . . everyone is lovelier and more them . . . just enhanced by meeting in the flesh . . . now the words can match up with voices and expressions . . . like going from silent pictures with subtitles into the the technicolor moving pictures

    More details later . . .

    Miss you all!


    We were sitting in the Washington-Duke Inn lounge when in came Reynolds Price. I found that a very shocking thing, and I’ve seen him many times before. Many great southern writers live here but this was just A LOT to take in at once.

    Ah, yikes, I’ve been out of touch for so long — I told the BBs tonight that this flu peaked day before yesterday, and by then I’d been sick so long John was tempted to take me to the hospital. As I told them, I sat up and drank something just to throw him off long enough to allow me to die in my own bed. But I’m much much better today.

    George Stuteville, hand to God: when I heard you’d been injured gardening I said to John, “I’ll bet he was wearing those unholy crocs and using sharp tools at the same time.” I just KNEW it. We MISS you.

    Also missed: Jim Shue and JohnM. Much much. Jim Shue, I don’t know if I wrote and thanked you for the hilarious and amazing gift or if I imagined I did? Both are equally possible.

    In a very early post I recommended all of Robert’s (Robert above, Rodi) books. Yesterday I told Jodi he is my Minister of Ethics and Relationship Advice, because he is always wise and he’s always right. On the way to the Inn tonight, I was saying to John how stunningly right he got FAG HAG — the very not-television-esque relationship between a straight woman and a gay man. I read the book before R. and I became friends, and I read it because I’d loved an earlier book of his. But I expected it to be a parlor comedy (he actually owns an entire genre, as far as I can tell), when — as a person who has had gay friends almost exclusively since I was twelve — I’ve witnessed the relationship as one of real danger, and damn if he didn’t NAIL it. And his house is GORGEOUS. He lives in a three-story Victorian right smack in the something part of Chicago. I know there are only four directions but that’s at least three ways one can go wrong, and one of them is opposite of accurate.

    GREY GARDENS was astonishingly familiar to me, too — right outta the gate. I forget who said above that it didn’t seem foreign to her. And I swear I can make a Little Edie headwrap out of anything, although I can’t also form the shape of Palestine. One or the other, people.

    You are all so great, and it was, as Suzanne would say, a peak experience to walk in and see you all sitting in front of the huge fireplace. It helped, of course, that the lamps above the fireplace were attached to what appear to be the horns of a ram. That was SOMETHING, wasn’t it? Honestly, I’ve never known a more generous, artistic, fine-spirited group as you, good lord. I’ll never be worthy of you, but you are damn straight worthy of one another.


  196. I can’t believe we nearly had Michael T.

  197. seriously!!!

  198. Sher, it was shocking what you’d made for everyone. I’m teary-eyed looking at the pieces you gave me. I think I use this line from Heraclitus in IODINE, which variously translates as: one could search an eternity and never find the bottom of the soul — it is so deep. Your patience and kindness have no end; you are good. Amazing, that you took what you had and emerged with goodness as a result. I rarely see such a thing.

    Of course, that wicked fine Caryl Hayes gave me the blue jeans she was wearing, so you’re among your peers. The jeans themselves, now that I’ve washed and dried them, are so small I feel certain they would fit Gus, or as I said to Shanna, I can’t see it turning out well for me. I also quoted one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons: does my ass make my ass look fat?

  199. I’m glad I was too sick to know how close we were to having certain people here, because I most certainly would have gone and gotten them.

  200. and now my laptop is running out of juice, and I can’t find the cord in the bags nor an outlet so I am forced to sign off . . .

    but not before mooing at Maureen’s door as Kittery returned Kathleen’s cell phone cord from Caryl’s car . . . it was a highlight of my night and Molly very tentatively opened the door (after I had been mooing for MINUTES of time . . . and, may I just say, Maureen never made it to the door and I don’t know if she even knows I was moving cows at midnight . . .

  201. HA!! Cows. Always funny.

  202. I am still in denial that George is missing!!!!

    will have to mail things, or perhaps he can fly to Nashville for them???

    It has been astounding and as I said earlier to someone . . . it doesn’t matter who, that the reality is better than the dream . . .

    and that it was so comfortable and cozy, like a family gathering without the fear involved!

  203. which is to be expected, because we all had become so close . . . it was like, oh there you are . . . I see.

  204. Haven, you will have to do the – suck in your tummy, lie flat on the bed with your legs hanging over, and try to zip the jeans up . . . like in the 80’s

  205. night! see you tomorrow!

  206. The only fear seemed to be coming from Iorek. John told me that once he’d met all of you, he came back inside, looked out the back door, and jumped, as if he’d JUST discovered there were a dozen strangers standing on the back deck. He barked and barked. He went to his bed, looked out the back door, OH LORD — it appeared there were a dozen strangers standing on the back deck. J. said it was exactly like my goldfish imitation of someone I used to work with: “Look! A castle! Look! A castle!” Round, round, “Look! A castle!”

    I’m just heartsick about the George problem.

  207. Sweet dreams, Miz Sher.

  208. Also, for those of you who haven’t seen it, make sure you get over to the Posse Page and look at the photograph of Brendasynch, in her sock monkey pajamas, drinking a martini. DIVINE.

  209. (oh boy), To all the babies and the Queen h’self, Haven,

    I wish y’all the very best time imaginable and I am so freakin’ jealous that I cain’t be there but them’s the breaks. I purchased a mic thang for skype and a mate was gonna lend me his web-cam but much has intervened – mainly in the unfortunate form of bedbugs. Yes, bedbugs. I’m itchy. Mmm-hmmmm! Oh well.
    I know that I need not request that y’all snap lotsa photos coz I know ya will, but I look forward to perving on you lot havin’ a rad time!!!!!

    Love n’ hug n’ kisses,

    Tex & The Varmint

  210. Oh yeah,

    meanwhile, a mate of mine from melbourne recently rescued a stray kitty cat and we have been tossing around names for him. Apparently his darling puss has a kink in his tail so I reccommended the obvious – call him kink! But that is just too obvious, apparently. I like scout or my very fave name – rocco – but no….. so y’all are welcome to throw ya 2 cents in for a feline name.

    Love ya lotz
    tex x

  211. Morning all –

    Yes, of course, farm girl barely made it to 11 PM and then passed out and never responded to Sher mooing at my door. Damn!

    OK. Yes, I was struck dumb to be in the presence of Haven – I knew I should have brought my laptop!!!! And I even took TWO Effexors to prevent my social anxiety from kicking in. I was gratified to hear that Anne Tyler never even leaves her HOUSE because of agoraphobia, so I’m in good company.

    Haven, you are the very height of graciousness. It was such a treat to see your writing barn and spend time with you. So many thanks.

    I am looking around the Duke Inn and just realized that five square feet of the carpet under my feet cost more than our hired hand’s entire home. I feel I have been plopped down on another planet. I fear I am leaving manure dots here and there. You can take the girl off the farm, but you can never get all the farm off the girl.

    Hi TEX! Hi AMY!
    Hi GEORGE! Are you well enough to hitchhike?

  212. Tex, as Caryl can attest, I would name the cat Basket. Basket is a very sensible, versatile noun; it’s fun to say; you can’t go wrong with it. However, either I or she forgot my attachment to the name and briefly changed it to Blanket (many of the same fine qualities) but that word’s been nearly RUINED by Mr. Jackson (if you’re nasty) and his dangling Baby Blanket over a German hotel balcony.

    What I find most puzzling about the event is that so far as I can tell, he got that infant off a Baby Tree, because WHERE DID BLANKET COME FROM?

    Remember: the letter ‘K’ is the funniest letter in the alphabet by a MILE, and it’s extra saucy in the middle of a word. Thus in all of literature there is no more perfect name for a small human than MANCUB.

    Them’s my two bits, Tex. Oh, and bedbugs were all the rage on the east coast, circa 2007. You escaped quite a long time unbitten.



  214. Maureen, you and your sister are just sublime. John and I were actually talking about you when an e-mail from Kathleen arrived, and after being up all night working on this shockingly difficult book I felt kind of battered. Kathleen included a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL poem of her own, ON THE VERY SUBJECT I’d spent the night wrangling, and I’m afraid I could only say, “This was precisely what I needed, thank you thank you,” but I’ve read it about twenty times. If I hadn’t already promised another friend that my first, last, and only tattoo will be the entire text of a Richard Brautigan poem, inked down my spine (it will take much of my back, depending on font size), I’d have Kathleen’s poem tattooed somewhere so I could always have it.

    You don’t seem anxious AT ALL — it must take real courage, being so gracious.

    Much love to you all over there.

  215. Hey Mo and Haven and everyone else. I have been struck with the full blown flu/cold here in lovely PA and I finally, finally get to go home tomorrow.
    This place is breaking my spirit.
    I wish more than ever that I was with you all!!!

  216. Ahhhh! I am using a computer at the school I am at and it is showing my avatar that I changed like 80 months ago. Yes, I have a pirate eye patch on. And yes, I am drunk in the carribean in said picture.

  217. “You can take the girl off the farm, but you can never get all the farm off the girl.” hahahahaha

  218. Everyone: I am so SO INCREDIBLY Sorry to miss you. Please know that I spent yesterday at the doctors and in radiology getting x-rays. The swelling was so bad that they couldn’t get a clear enough picture to see if there was a fracture.

    I also had some other things done to address some other health-related issues.

    So…there you have it. I am doubly sick at missing you all. I have looked forward to it all winter long.

    Thank you all, too, for everything you have said.

    I wish Haven her loveliest and strongest voice tonight.

    I wish the rest of you a sweet and sublime time and safe travels when you go back to your homes.

    Miss you all,

  219. Haven (and all)

    For the record, my first reader (Maureen of course), had her hands on that poem and it is the better for it.

  220. Oops. That was an unintended merging of the sisters McCarthy. Maureen had used my laptop to check mail and write to the blog. I changed my name but it still had her return email address. So when I sent a comment on a poem I wrote that Maureen edited, it showed up as me writing the comment with Maureen’s avatar. How very confusing!

  221. OK. This is still Kathleen. I was developing a work presentation this morning about how teachers can apprentice students (especially English Learners) to become communities of readers and use words and language to learn from texts and each other.

    As I did, foremost in my mind was the image of our group before the fire. This… this is what we mean to grow in schools. Know this my friends, there are classrooms in America that DO behave in these ways. And being here – and noting again afresh how “other” many blog babies have felt – reminds me how crucial it is to grow teachers so they can grow students so that in our near future blog baby type communities -online and in person – are far less real.

  222. Shanna – Thank you for our fireside chat about reading, writing, teaching, and feeling other. Looking forward to more coffees about all that jazz.

  223. haven: glad to see you up and about. glad you didnt die in your own bed. glad your blog babies surround you with love. it is just as good as it gets.

    meanwhile, back at the Deathstar, pablo has been walking around with his Magic 8 Ball asking questions; every answer was so accurate it scared my eyes out my head. i am now in custody of the eight ball.

    tonight will be another peak experience. of course it will! poor george. well. crocs are not safe at all: pablo broke his on the very first day he wore them. i wore mine and they just felt ALL WRONG, like i had on Palmolive Dishwashing Gloves on my feet. i’m hoping that a great deal of peace will break out at the reading tonight between all lost souls, if u get my drift. love you, hand pie.

    xoxoxoxo sfc

  224. Hi.

  225. hey miss cake. whats happnin?

  226. miss cake! tonight, can you hug all the blog babies and haven and say, This is from Suzanne…..? thankee kindly.

  227. OOOOOhhhhh…Haven mentioned me on the blog!!! {worship at her feet} I’m all shivery. (makes up a little bit for not getting to be there :-()
    Maureen and Katheleen: I got the most EERIE image of siamese twins up there on your last email mix up. Hooky Spooks.
    Poor George, I hope they can make you better fast, or if not, at least give you some pain pills and a good movie to watch with them (always my choice!)

  228. Suzanne did you try any Romany spellcasting?

  229. Seriously, I am perishing. I CANNOT stop coughing and sneezing. My pity party is in full swing.
    Just finished The Hour I First Believed. Wally Lamb is some kind of genius.

  230. brenda

    havent had the chance to do any spellcasting, yet – i’m juggling paperwork and taxes and loan apps and open houses — but i WILL. THANK YOU!!!

  231. amy-my pity party is sizzlin over her, too…in CT

  232. Hi Guys!!! Back from the family trip to Florida…rested but restless to hear about the evening! It’s 11:40, BBs, time for someone to jump on the internet and tell us how it went. It sounded like a fun college dorm reunion…those of us not there are so jealous. AND, you went to the writing barn? Really? Waaaaahhhhh.

    George–so sorry about your foot. Don’t worry about our blog baby…I’ll take the night shift. 🙂 I know you are terribly disappointed to miss the trip. Take care of yourself!

    Suzanne–lots of good karma floating your way from all of us.

    Looking forward to an update in the morning. Good night to all who are at home having major pity parties.

  233. Oh Vanessa..the at home pity parties are me in the sock monkey jammies…
    BUT…I do have a spooky story to tell that quinkydinky happened to me and Dana the beloved and tolerant tonight but it will have to wait unitl tomorrow….
    Oh hell no…here it is:
    I tivo-ed ‘Castle’ the new t.v. (anathema, I know) series with Nathan Fillion as a mystery writer, and Dana and I were watching it (he doing his cross word puzzle at the same time and me in my jammies) and the episode was about a corpse found frozen at a construction site. We kept watching. He mentioned John Famalaro and I freaked out.
    When my daughter (the lovely Alexa) was 13, about 1994 or 1995, she was having body image issues, so we went to the local wallie world where they were doing ‘glamour’ photos so I could prove to her that she wasn’t ugly (oh to be 13 again..hell, no)..anyway, we took shots of mom, also because that’s the only way she would do it. Hers turned out glamorous and lovely and boosted her self esteem which was my goal, and mine just looked slutty. Oh well…Dana the loyal, nevertheless, took one of mine and displayed it prominantly on his desk at work. The above mentioned John, a member of a networking group he was in, came in and commented on my picture, asking him who I was, etc. He thought nothing of it until 2 weeks later. The above mentioned John was arrested for having a frozen body in a freezer in a stolen U-Haul in his driveway (with an extension cord running from the house). The poor woman (with dark hair..hooky spooks) had been frozen and accompanying him for years from California where he had killed her. Needless to say, his admiration for my picture is something I preferred to forget..until he reminded me of it TONIGHT while watching t.v.!! I only had just a tiny little bout of hysteria.
    Please…send me some smiling pictures of y’all?

  234. Jeez…I should have saved that story for Halloween except I’m incapable of keeping any kind of secret…I just googled John Famalaro and sure enough..he’s REAL!! Not that I would doubt Dana..who I think of as Mo’s tasmanian devil also…but now I have to go to bed with the black cocker spaniel to guard me from evil.
    LOL from under the covers.

  235. Blog Baby Update!

    Wednesday night, we all gathered in front of a fireplace, where Kate and Sher almost set their asses on fire, and had dinner with John and Haven–neither of whom ate. I will admit to losing my appetite when they came in, but fortunately, seeing that other people were still eating restored my hungry-ness and I ate my dinner as well as a fair portion of Amber’s. Haven was charming and funny and after visiting with us for quite some time, invited us back to the inner lair, her sanctum sanctorum and we saw where she wrote. Meeting Cletus (the taxidermied monkey) was every bit as unsettling as you’d expect, but I’m happy to report the Ram Dass and Mark Twain were gentlemen to the hilt.

    Also, there are not words to desribe Iorek. (who, please remember, is NOT stuffed but IS a huge fricking dog). He leaned hard against Haven, totally unsettled by all these WOMEN who wanted to pet him. I managed to pet Puppa but neither Cubby nor Iorek were that interested.

    Last night, we went to the LOVELY Carolina Theatre for the reading…which was not a reading. Oh my gosh, Haven and Augusten were like a comdedy duo up on the stage, and they laughed and poked fun at each other, and truly, they made us feel like we were sitting down with them just chilling out. It was remarkable.

    Haven is every bit as gracious and lovely as you expect and as George told us some months ago. There were some of us (naming NO name, pointing NO fingers (me!)) who brought ALL of their HK and AB books with them, and H and A signed them and didn’t make fun of me even a little bit.

    Baby Gus was at the reading as well as Gorgeous Kat and John. I was too intimidated to say anything to Kat, and we got to meet John the night before. But I digress. Baby Gus, as Haven was talking, yelled out in the sweetest little boy voice, “Hi, Mama!” And everyone laughed and Haven waved to him and it was darling.

    Also, Haven gave a shout out to the blog babies, and they had a row and a half of seats reserved just for us. I promise there will be pictures, prolly tomorrow afternoon because Amber and I have an 8 hour drive to look forward to today… God help us.

    The Blog Babies in real life are just great. I am so excited that everyone “fit” their online voice–though they will tell you MY voice does not fit at all. 😦 Oh well. Everyone was kind and helpful and sweet as pecan pie.

    We missed those of you who weren’t here desperately, but we raised glasses and forks in your honor and told silly stories and went to bed at ridiculous.

    Carrie–your beads are freaking fantastic. I won, by the way. 🙂

    George–I hope your foot is healing.

    Amy and Vanessa and Jodi and Tex and Sarah and Brenda AND EVERYONE–we love you and truly thought of you the entire time

  236. Good Morning! and thank you Bug for the update…sounds like a fantastic time and I know we’ll hear from everyone, too…and the pictures…but drive/fly home safely, y’all.

  237. Molly-thanks!!! I know you must be exhausted but you are so kind to fill us in…it sounded as lovely as I imagined. I’m such a fan of AB that it would have been too much to have he and Haven together.

    Brenda…glad I read your story this MORNING. :0

    Safe travels to all who are going home today and Happy Easter to those who celebrate. I’m in the middle of Passover and Easter–lucky me!

  238. For anyone who missed last night at the Carolina Theater – It was amazing. While I didn’t get to socialize with the other blog babies as much as I would have liked to, I did get to meet some of them and that was almost as good as watching Haven and Augusten match wits.
    As mentioned already, Baby Gus was adorable and John is quite handsome – Haven, you are so lucky as I’m sure you already know ; ) Also, please tell Augusten I don’t think he looks like Mickey Rourke unless maybe it’s how Mickey Rourke looked before his face was rearranged. It just struck me as funny as he autographed and posed for pictures with people he didn’t know. Also, as to his comment about his lifestyle choices – I hope that was in jest. I would say this isn’t a choice as much as being who you are.
    And a shout out to Kittery – hope you made it home safe and sound and that “mud season” in Maine is over with soon.
    Blessings to all and let us know how DeLonda is progressing. She’s in my thoughts and was missed last night.

  239. What a great summary, Bug. Makes me want to pout for missing out. :/

  240. She let you into her barn? I have to go slit my wrists now. I feel like someone just told me that the lottery ticket that I couldn’t buy because I was at work was the mega millions winner.
    I am electric, deep green with envy which is a terrible sin and yet I feel no guilt.
    However, this fantastic opportunity couldn’t have happened to a better group of people.

  241. i hear you amy in OH. Molly–thanks for the summary. i love the hi mama part!

  242. Kathleen, i just read up a bit about what you wrote about the importance of “growing our teachers”–i couldn’t agree more. for me i am in constant pursuit of learning…i want that for my whole life–it seems the quest for knowledge thrives and wants more once it is fed….just as you said: it grows and is boundless. all you need is to WANT to know.

  243. I have so many stories to tell, but I’m still digesting it all. I also just found out that I was awarded a fellowship to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, WHICH TAKES PLACE AT NORMAN MAILER’S HOUSE in Provincetown over the summer. I did not win the month-long fellowship I applied for (which would have been INSANITY, with meetings with the editors of the New Yorker and The Paris Review and dinner with Joan Didion, etc.) but a week-long stay for a workshop to discuss the following subject: When Is A Writer’s Work Done? The notion is terrifying, which pretty much means I have to go do it.

    I’m in Durham for one more day, holed up at the Washington Duke. There was rumor of a tornado, but apparently it was just one dramatic woman on her cell phone who was whipping everyone into a frenzy. Why is it that the decibel level of public cell phone conversations is almost ALWAYS inversely proportionate to the value of their content?

  244. Yea Shanna!!

  245. Shanna, I’ll give you $20 if you allow someone to catch you licking Mailer’s belongings. Anything you choose: sofa, handtowels, chipped coffee mug.

  246. You couldn’t STOP me from that photo op with the threat of incarceration. But I will still take your $20.

  247. Oh, and SUZANNE? You need to BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES because Caryl is A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

  248. Hello all! It was so amazing to meet everyone these past couple of days. Everyone just welcomed me right in and basically cajoled me into speaking, lol.

    I think it’s funny that Maureen said she was struck dumb. I had the same exact reaction – after Haven walked in, I literally did not speak a word. I put my plate down (and Molly finished it later).

    I send thanks to every person who attended. Every single person did something kind for me without even knowing me.

    And Sher let us drink her very fantastic wine. Even that was a group effort. Molly had the bar open our first one, Sher scoured the mini bar for a corkscrew then ordered one that was delivered like room service just as Maureen showed up to save the day with the corkscrew from her room. And I got to learn about “legs”. 🙂

  249. Hello everyone! Haven is a beautiful, generous wisp of a woman with a handsome husband and beautiful children. (Not to mention talent, dear lord!) I was terrified to talk to her, like an ass, but I had no idea what to say. The reading was fantastic, and it was like a comedy routine, but all off the cuff. At one point I was crying a bit from laughing so hard. I loved loved loved meeting Haven and Augusten, even though my forhead decided to grow a huge weird thing on it and I was wearing ugly fat clothes. Sigh.

    All of the blog babies were fabulous, and I loved meeting the new girls, Amber, the friend of Bugs and Maureen’s sister Kathleen. The sisters were fantastic and working like machines for hours during their trip. Dedicated and smart women! Caryl was warm and generous and fun I’m sad I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. She seems just my type of person and I could talk to her for hours. She was crazy generous and gave all of us huge bags of gifts and bought all of us lunch. Thank you again! Maureen is so fabulous and smart and talented, and it was nice just to talk Aspie stuff with her. I just wanted to be twenty again so I could have that young happy energy that Kittery and Bug and Amber had. Kate made the best desert and I loved her little girl Alice. Sher was fun and I loved my artwork from her. You could see that her and Kate are kindred spirits. Linda was a sweet woman and I loved her son, who was so handsome and made me laugh when he asked me what ghetto I was from! We saw Linda on the street and I screamed “Blog Baby” at her … hysterical to see someone from here driving the streets of Durham and to recognize them like that. I didn’t get to sit next to Nora too often but she was a sweet southern woman, and I appreciate all of her organizational tips. Shanna seems like a cool lady and I’m so happy for her achievements in writing. Also got to meet Kimbits at the reading as well as Amanda Clouds. After the reading I had every intention coming back down to the bar … pooped out and I had a laugh when I called Maureen @ 11 pm she was also in bed.

    I took like 200 pictures, because I am a camera nut but also because I like documenting things and wanted all the blog babies left behind to see what was going on. I will write a post about the trip on my own blog, put all of them up on the yahoo group. I have crazy fun pics from the barn, but none of the pups as I thought it would spook them.

    Right now I’m sick with a migraine after walking two hours in the Duke Gardens (Which were the best garden I’ve seen in the U.S.) and still @ The Washington Duke. Shanna I’d come find you but I’m miserable and need my Relpax and a coke asap.

    Also, Haven, I took a picture of baby Gus’s teacher with Augusten at the reading. If you can have your husband get his email for me I will send the picture to him.

  250. I am also finally in BED b/c we only slept for three hours last night. I just had so much fun.

  251. gftg–I have cody’s email address. can you email me?

    mollyhtouchton at

    Amber, I am lying in bed too.

    LINDA, CARYL, KITTERY, SHANNA, KATE, SHER–BOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and I’m so sorry. I LOVED seeing you ladies so much, and I feel like I shoulda gone and banged on doors…

    Oh my gosh, I’d also like to add that Caryl’s generosity is beyond measure, and I am so so grateful to have had any time at all with her.

    ALSO–Maureen and Kathleen are hysterically funny and GENEROUS TO A FAULT. I am so blessed.

    And also GFTG, you did not look ugly. You were lovely with your blonde hair all perfectly curled. And I don’t even know what you’re talking about with your forehead.

  252. OH AND Amanda Almost Clouds is darling.


    The lemurs were INCREDIBLE. Without you, I’da never known they were there!!!

  254. I almost DIED laughing when haven emailed me the highlights from her and augusten’s repartee. she said she’s been up for 2 days so i hope she’s sleeping now. caryl IS A FORCE and i adore her. her husband Peter is also a force. i call them whenever i need a JOLT or advice. and generous??? oh my LORD. well i’m sooooo happy that it all went down so beautifully. you all deserve it and i know haven was muchly touched. it was great to hear news of the outside world. i, as you know, live merely to fill out forms, clean my house, show my house, and Repeat. but I have Surrendered to the baby Jesus, Mary, St Joseph and everyone’s prayers, as well as my own. i have a strong knowledge that no matter what, i will be in durham soon. despite my writing Split, my ex and i are best friends and we talk every day. he just called and we talked about the horrors of Mexican Lasagna, which i foolishly ate last night and am still paying for. Ex is coming from NY to visit for 9 days to see our son, who is jazzed! actually, so am i. AND he’s going to help me with all the PURGE of my house, the Salvation Army truck is coming 4.22 and 80% of my belongings are going to the less fortunate. people, life is a movie and dont think you know the end! ha. oh i dont think one ever gets rid of an ex-wife. but, maybe that’s just me. i tend to keep everyone, i never let anyone go. which is very Circe of me. but they seem willing enough. my ex did MANY MANY WRONGS but he’s still screamingly funny, well-read, a gourmet chef, pliable, and takes an interest in my life. in fact, all my women friends are good friends with their exes. it seems to be better that way. our son is very happy that his parents clearly care for one another = i think it takes the teeth out of the divorce. haven and my mom got me through the worst of it. haven and auggie and my mom were solid rocks for me when i was devestated. there is no better Haven than our haven. but you all know that already. when i get to durham, i know i will be Home. but for now, this home is very beautiful, ornery, and expensive — but not for long, my pretties. soon it will be someone else’s. i’m good with that. i already have a realtor in durham who is a DOLL OF LIFE and so sweetly southern and REAL that we’ve declared friendship no matter what. i’m trying to qualify for a teeny house loan while i still own this house, so we’ll know about that by wednesday. it sounds crazy, but who knows? NOT ME. i just follow instructions and try to play nicely. i love you all and i can feel your frenzied fun exhaustion from CA. bless you!!!!! xxo sfc


  256. made it home amidst the storms . . . overwhelmingly exhausted, but happy . . . will post some information/stories/images tomorrow (as in later TODAY) . . . Shanna, WOW, wish we had had more time to talk . . . your residency/week sounds intimidating/exciting! congrats!

    hugs to all that were missed, hugs to those I didn’t get to say an official goodbye to . . . but our 4 a.m. “last” call was worth every one of today’s yawns . . .

  257. Hi everyone –

    Finally made it home and I am finally up! Wow, late here on the farm. Like Shanna, I am still digesting.
    Wow, Shanna, so many congratulations!

    K and I alternately listened to Iodine and talked all the way home. We had a delightful visit with Sarah, who is just a complete kindred spirit and I am so blessed that she is within driving range. We passed along gifts and we talked for hours.

    Back here on Planet Farm, I am still adjusting to the atmospheric change, and I mean that both metaphorically and literally.

    It is Tomb Day, so I am heading in and will comment again after resurrection tomorrow.

  258. I am currently uploading pictures to the blog baby site!

  259. All my pics from the Reading night are currently being downloaded from the camera to the comp, so that’s going to be a few minutes. Otherwise, I loaded up a bunch of other pics on Facebook. Enjoy!

  260. I am so excited…just looked at Molly’s pictures on her facebook page and am anxiously awaiting all others…you are all so beautiful!
    Shanna…congrats congrats congrats….butterfly stomach supreme, eh? I want to see the picture of you licking anything of Norman Mailer’s , too.
    Gotta go have a date with my Dana as it is RAINING in Arizona…an event so rare, we all hunker down inside just to watch it and listen to it, but I will check in throughout the day.
    and Happy Easter everyone.

  261. Oh and you know what? (guilty pleasure confession here) I actually went on youtube yesterday to look and see if by some miracle someone had taped all or part of the standup comedy routine and posted it there. No luck, dang.

  262. Now I’m well and truly envious of you all! Thanks so much, Molly for posting the pictures — even without captions, I pretty much knew everyone — and feel like I missed a reunion! Well, perhaps the next CALVIN FESTIVAL.

    An extra thanks for details and narrative from Molly Bug (yay you for winning! email on its way) and GFTG — you made me feel like I was in the house.

    Haven’s barn looks like the retreat I always imagined — thank you, H, for allowing it to be photographed (and also your fabulous butt among those 3 FBs, and those stockings! those stockings!). It felt like each and every furry face was an old friend.

    Shanna — that’s breathtakingly wonderful news. Congratulations — lick a toothbrush for me, would you?

  263. catching up the family is delaying my Pilgrimage journal . . . slowly but surely – this tortoise will make it to the finish line


    I sent this link to dearest Sarah (who is KINDNESS embodied), and I will post it here too for non-FB’ers. I accidently tricked Jodi into FB-friending me because it didn’t occur to me post the pics 🙂 Oh well! Here it is :

  265. I was running out of battery, Brenda, and was going to save it to tape them doing their readings. Then (lol) I realized too late there wasn’t going to be a reading; instead it was going to be this amazing conversation, and I didn’t tape a word. I was enthralled. Damn my star-struck-ness. 😉

  266. Hello everyone! Sam and I got home a little while ago. We drove through some storms yesterday so I was worried about Sher, Kate and baby Alice. I am relieved to see you all made it back, Sher. We spent last night in Knoxville visiting my very handsome brother in law and his wife and kids. That was nice. Today we drove through thick fog. What the heck?! Weather!!!

    The trip was fantastic! I am sorry we did not get to spend more time with everyone but I will never forget Thursday night. Never. I will put my few meager photos up tomorrow at the office. Sam needs me to take him to the track to run so I will write something better later, but I must must must say some words of thanks and shout outs now….

    Haven- you are the most special person on the planet. Your family is gorgeous and kind and perfect. Thank you for all you have brought into my life.

    Augusten – you may never read this but thank you for your nice words to my son about how his experience with my recovery will serve him well later in life. He was spell bound by you with something he has only in the past reserved for star athletes. And, he loved your tee shirt.

    Sher – thank you for the artwork. I walked into the house today and immediately hung it on the wall in the hallway. It is fabulous, just like you.

    Kate and Alice – you are both so adorable I just want to eat you up like cupcakes.

    Caryl- thank you for your huge generosity. What amazing gifts! I am sorry we missed lunch but glad Sam got to meet Steph even if for a few minutes. I will facebook friend them up so they can continue the conversation. And, you are probably the most beautiful woman I have ever met in my life. Yup.

    Maureen and Kathleen- you two. Wow. You are the coolest. Maureen, you are exactly as I expected you to be and I am so honored to know you.

    Carrie- I got my game bead. It is a mustard colored one. Don’t tell Haven as she does not like mustard. AND- thank you for my other gift which I have not yet opened. You are so thoughtful to think of my recovery birthday. More on that later and I need your address so I can write you a note.

    Molly and Amber- you are both funny and very cool. I wish I lived near you so I could take you to lunch every once in a while. Come to Nashville sometime, ok?

    Amanda- I am so glad we had a chance to meet. You are just as I expected you to be- smart and calm and observant. I look forward to talking with you more in the future.

    Amy – GfG- I second what Molly said. You are beautiful. Yes you are and I will not even listen to you saying otherwise.

    Kittery- you are adorable and funny!! You are another one I would love to have lunch with on days when I am feeling blue. You would cheer me up. How is your ankle, by the way?

    Sherrill- thank you again for organizing everything in the theatre. All your hometown info really helped.

    Kimbits – you cracked me up when you saw us outside the theatre. My son asked me if people think i am famous. I had to laugh so hard. I am still laughing but thank you for making my son think I am cooler than I really am.

    George – I missed you! I am secretly hoping you would make an appearance but I am sure your ears were ringing because we did talk about you.

    Tex- it’s true – we talked about you too.

    I know I am missing someone and I’m sorry but the mom taxi is being summoned. I love you all!

  267. Linda!! Oh you are so enthralling…wish I could meet you…next time for sure!!
    I laid down the law with the Dana that next time I was gonna be wherever y’all gather with or without him!!
    Here is an Arizona Quinkydink (thank you so much Sher for that word…it has become our family motto) story for y’all.
    Since writing to the blog babies I have been making more ‘art’…both abstract and representational. My latest representational is a pen and ink drawing of a big horned owl. This morning, it was rainiing! (see above posting about that) and Dana invited me for breakfast out. We went to the local ‘Cracker Barrell’ don’t get me started on the commercialization of ‘country’, because it was just across the street from the Home Depot where he had to get some planting stuff (he is a greehouse, plant, arbortist guy who only lacks the deer horns on his head to be my druid god). Anyway, we get to the Home Depot where it is deserted because of the rain, and during our shopping get told by one of the salespeople that they have a big horned owl couple nesting out in the nursery department and he shows her to us…it was just amazing…she is at the highest point in their shelving in the garden department and you can see her upper body and head if you go back about 100 yards and look up…there she sits on her nest and the salespeople are enamoured and say she has eggs and that the male periodically flys in to guard her and bring her is so breathtaking…I, of course, took it as a sign to hurry up and finish my picture of the horned owl, but I will go back and look at her through some high powered binoculors that Dana has. I just pray that the workers, who all seemed extremely protective of her, win out over any management that insists they move the pallet her nest is on. I can imagine that confrontation as a short story, eh?
    Just the fact that it was a real live horned owl that I had never seen before in my life, restores my belief in synchronicity.
    Oh, and I an agog..AGOG…at the taxidermy in the writing barn. Words fail me.

  268. Oh Linda, that was such a lovely post. Your son was so adorable. And I would love to go to Nashville. Mol, another road trip? I’ll drive a little, lol.

    Shanna, I love that you are now required to lick something! Congratulations! Molly and I talked on the way up about finding our bliss, and it sounds like you’re just going for it, scared or not. I love that.

    Brenda! I took a little bit of video, but like Molly I was trying to save my batteries for the reading part. The bit I have is Augusten talking about ski resorts. I have NO IDEA how to upload it, but I can certainly try.

  269. Oh and Haven?
    Those stockings in the pictures…I SO have to show those pictures to my office mate, Cheryl of the Prescott Regulators and Their Shady Ladies…because the shady ladies of those territorial days wore stockings exactly like those of many different colors that she has and delights in wearing…You are so dear to me…and the desk of miniatures!!!….I hyperventilated.

  270. Well, spelling fails me, but then Dana bought me expensive champagne, so I am corrupted.
    Oh dear.

  271. Here are the last of the Durham pics that I have!

    FB friends, it’s out there. Non FB people, here’s the link:

  272. One of my favorite things overheard at the reading:

    Molly and Amber were getting their books signed. Well, Molly was actually getting her entire library signed and Amber was waiting patiently to have her two books signed (ha ha- just joking with you Bug!) So, Augusten says something about them being a lesbian couple. And, they said, oh, no, we’re not lesbians. To which Augusten replied, “All women are lesbians. You know you are. I mean, women can say, look at her breasts… those aren’t real, are they real?” Guys could never be in a group and say, “hey, look at that ass. That is one nice full ass.” Seriously, you are all lesbians. ha haha ahahah. Then Molly said she was dating a buy in the Air Force to which Augusten replied, “you can’t go wrong with military guys. I like Air Force guys. Marines are good too.” OMG! It was hysterical.

  273. I’m on for Nashville! And we have to meet Sher too! Though…if anybody wanted to come down to ATL….

  274. Molly — thanks again for the pictures — you are not only lightening but shutter.

    Linda my sweet — that is yellow ochre, not m******. Check your email. xoxo

  275. yellow ochre not M–s—-d! ha

    editing my photos (I only took a few, because I just flopped at some point in the last 3 days) . . .

  276. I just got home…I am too tired to comment but I will come back…

    where are these alleged pics? Facebook? I must go look…

  277. I am finally home babies! I arrived last night to a clean house, a delicious dinner, and a fiance and 2 pups who missed me badly!! Not too shabby.
    I loved all the pictures of you all in hello how trendy are Haven and Caryl??? Love it.
    Baby Alice, just want to squeeze her face. I teared up JUST A LITTLE while looking because you all look so happy! Hopefully ( one day soon) I will meet you all!
    Molly, you looked so pretty!!!!
    And a million thanks again to Polly and the spectacular Mo and Kathleen for helping me thru my journey.
    Never have I wanted a sister more than I did when dining with them.

  278. Oh, I added some pics of Polly and I on the yahoo page.

  279. Hi again. I just received some sad news. My friend, Vivian, lost her 5 year battle to breast cancer yesterday. She was just in her fifties. Her daughter is an undergraduate at Vanderbilt. Vivian was a writer and a strong and brave person. Please say a prayer for her and for her family.

  280. Linda is correct. I had 8 books with me, I think.

    I also made a point of saying that if I were going to be a lesbian, I’d be one with Amber (but she’s not one either lol). That’s how awesome Amber is.

    And Augusten is fricking hilarious. HILARIOUS. It was such a pleasure to meet him.

    AmyO–I can’t wait to see the pics of Polly and you. You should have taken one while you were driving the getaway car away from Jon G. 🙂 Or maybe you did…Hmm. I should go look at the pics.

    Carrie–you’re so sweet; your compliment puts me in mind of a Billy Collins poem that I love. I put it on my blog so I could always find it: . I await your email with bated breath!!! 🙂

  281. Linda, I am so sorry. My comp didn’t update quickly enough. I’ll pray for her and her family, and for you of course.

  282. Suzanne – Mexican Lasagna sounds deadly. I hope you survived it.

    Molly – I am laughing hard at what Linda wrote about Augusten’s words to you and Amber … ha ha ha… and yes, I had a huge scab on my head. It just grew Wednesday at the dinner. At least I can edit it out with my adobe software. Don’t feel bad, I was only getting 4 books signed (3 for me, one for my gay) then I visted the Regulator and had to buy four more books and Tom told me it was ok to get them all signed. We have very few independant booksellers here in Michigan and Tom was so cool I had to spend my money.

    Linda – You crack me up with your son asking if you were famous and ratting out Augusten to Molly. Oh lord. And I’m so sorry about your friend. I’m sad for you to lose someone!

    Amy in ohio – Glad you are home safe and sound. I missed you terribly there. And I’m jealous that your dog missed you, as my little cat Beatrice has ignored me all afternoon becasue she is mad at me for leaving her. Hmm…..

    all- My picture shoudl be up within 24 on the yahoo page. I need to unpack, visit hubby, and relax, and blog of course. Just spent two hours checking emails/facebook.

  283. Oh Linda, I am so so sorry.

  284. I have so much to say to all of you, but I am still trying to wake up. My husband is being very patient with me coming home from “vacation” exhausted!
    I loved meeting all of you, and I will email each of you personally to tell just how much. Carrie, your beads were spectacular and your presence felt.
    I missed many of you, and hope that it works out we are all able to pull this together again.

  285. GfromG, you looked beautiful, of course, in Molly’s pics and I wasn’t sure when you were flying home so I looked for you during my 4 hour lay over in the Detroit aiport on Friday!!!
    Linda, you are in prayers tonight.
    I will post some pics of the Jon and Kate compound for those who are interested on the yahoo page!!

  286. Beatrice will come around Amy, my dogs were so confused/excited when I came home and today they are my shadows…which truly does wonders for ones self esteem!!!

  287. Your dogs are way nicer than mine. They’re always glad to see me right at first…then they spend 4 days ignoring the hell out of me. Then they’re fine. 🙂

  288. {{{Linda hugs}}}

  289. Molly!!!!
    It’s funny because Sanchez acts like I was gone for 10 minutes but Mya seems to think I left 4 years ago after the day I brought her home. She made me hold her the entire night last night while we all slept…it was precious. I had a guy in my insurance class from Atlanta which made me think of you!! He had the cutest accent!

  290. Molly- I was joking about your pile ‘o books. I thought you were adorable about it. I know they H & A did too.

    I was just at church with Emma as she is playing her mandolin with 3 other people at both services tomorrow. I was the only one sitting there listening and the music was so pretty and it made me sad that I did not get to say good bye to Viv. But, how appropriate that she died at this time of the year. She was very dedicated to AA and recovery in Middle TN and she helped so many people, including me. She most certainly has a special spot in heaven now.

  291. god speed to vivian, linda. she is with the Maker, now.

    thanks to all for sharing the BB experience. xoooxoxo sfc

  292. egads, I am bone weary. put I posted Part 1 of the Post Pilgrimage on my blog . . . just click on my name to view . . . I need more sleep, I think I might really have post-lightning jolt syndrome from the drive . . .


  293. remove PUT and replace with BUT above, I surrender and acquiese to my fatigue . . . tomorrow 9today0 is another day?

  294. All my gratitude to you, Caryl for doing the honors along with Sher who inspired the idea.

    LB — I wrote you (via the yahoo posse site) hours before you were still waiting, so write me, okay? — my address there is good (I’m Carrie D.). Thanks also for the Billy Collins. An uplift after a sledgehammer Thursday (the woman who’s been as a mother to me for 40 years) and another today (my sister). All prayers welcome, as I know this is one powerful posse. xoxo

  295. Linda – So very sorry about your friend. Prayers for you and her family.
    Carrie – Thank you for the bead. Mine is in the shrine on my writing desk. Many prayers for your sister and also your beloved mother-person.

    Blessed Easter to everyone. I know that, whatever our spiritual leanings, we all know the new life provided by books. I would like to share this from the Monks of New Skete (the Russian Orthodox dog guys) from their very cool book Rise Up with a Listening Heart:

    Rise Up with Good Reading
    “Whether it be the classics or contemporary literature, reading helps form and recreate us. Fortunate indeed are we when we recognize the power of words and take care what we put in our line of sight. Selecting good literature not only nourishes the soul, it sparks new thoughts and possibilities and ever inspires us to become better human beings. Good literature engages the whole, person, body, mind, and spirit, and lets us enter into intimate dialogue with both perennial masters and new voices. By reading and re-reading their words, we make them partners in our journey, helping us rise to more abundant life.”

    I am so grateful to have found this community of readers – and writers – and feel blessed by the thoughts and words of everyone here – and for the words you all have put in my line of sight through your comments, your recommendations, and of course the sacrificially, sacramentally crafted words of Haven that brought us all together in the first place.

    Happy Easter, all, and thank you for this community of kindred spirits who called me forth from isolation into new friendships and shared readership that so enrich my life.

  296. Amen Maureen.
    Happy Easter to all.

  297. Happy Easter, Peeps!
    (Yes, that is a lame joke. Enjoy it anyway.) 🙂

  298. Yummy… marshmallow

  299. Amber, the true glory of Peeps cannot be known until you blow them up in the microwave and eat them in those milliseconds between burning your fingers and breaking your teeth on the rock hard substance they become. 🙂

  300. go to the link above.

    it features Susan Boyle, a timely goddess. a GODDESS. CRAFTILY DISGUISED by the baby Jesus as a 47 year old unemployed women from a village in England.

    i saw this and at once i felt lifted into something very wise and wry and magic…like the


    this lifted me to a very high place. it is the time of hope. miracles will come. we must be ready and prepared, as was Susan Boyle. xoxsfc

  301. Suzanne! That was awesome…we love Les Mis in our house and that version gave me goose bumps and chills. The best part was the encouragement from the audience when they changed from skeptical to supportive. I loved her sass!

    Here is the version where they rate her:

  302. A Happy Joyous Easter Day to you all!

    I am so, so glad and heartened and feeling so bright for those who were at the Blogfest and got to hear and meet and know Haven.

    God, I wish I could have been there.

    But the universe had other plans for me and I am accepting that, disappointed as I was and am.

    As it turns out, my injury to the foot was slight, but it ushered in an attack of very painful…I mean PAINFUL gout. Yes, GOUT. The disease of old men, of boozers, of meat-eaters, of everthing bad…

    It really hurts and I was virtually unable to work. Still hurts, kinda, despite the drugs my doctor gave me.

    It was my karma to stay put…and I accept that…and that is what I have done. Haven’t been on the computer…just reading and talking on the phone a lot to my sons.

    Thank you all so much for your wishes for me.

    There will be other days…I’ll be there for those.

    Love you all and happy for you.

  303. Linda–my dear, sweet Linda. I knew you were joking. I was giving a number so everyone knew you were telling the God’s Honest Truth. 🙂 It was a library!

    Carrie–*blushes. Sorry. I never check the messages to me via the blog baby yahoo site because they never make sense. But I got your email and you are a lovely lovely woman.

    Happy Easter!

  304. Molly–I was tempted to ask you (before the Durham trip) if I could send my HK/AB books to you to get signed…maybe even just one of each. But it looks like that would have been a bad idea!

  305. Kittery-my preferred method of eating Peeps is to cut open the package, let them sit for a day or two and eat them crunchy!

  306. Vanessa–I would have felt better if you had! Then I could be like–OH! These aren’t ALL MINE…. 🙂

    Peeps are icky. 😦

    I love CHOCOLATE!

  307. “Yeah, I just brought ONE book but that Vanessa sent me her whole library. Sorry Haven! But keep signing.”

    That works! Just tell everyone they were all mine. But send me one. 🙂 Actually I was going to send my hard copy of Couch since you are close by but didn’t want to add to your trip.

    p.s. you gotta love the giant butt in Gaffney!

  308. I love you people, lol. Who knew there were so many methods in which to prepare and consume a confection such as Peeps? I mean, the microwave? Haha!

    Vanessa, Molly was so laden down with books that a couple more would have made absolutely no difference at all. 😉

  309. Amber speaks the truth. 🙂 Hell, 12 more wouldn’t have been a burden. lol.

    By the way, my mother likes to leave the package of peeps open too until they get stale. Yuck. I like marshmallows in hot chocolate or lightly toasted on a stick…

  310. Maureen and Kathleen–my mom wants me to tell you that she pegged you immediately as Irish Catholic–even beofre I told her your names. 🙂

  311. I’ve never been a fan of peeps but I still eat them if they are sitting in front of me.
    Hmm, perhaps I have food issues.

  312. Oh Suzanne, I am crying still…I watched Susan Boyle twice and then drug hubby Dana in to see her…he kept waiting for a ‘punch’ line and I kept saying, no, no she’s for real…thank you so much for that. I’m sending the link to my email peeps (pun intended):-)

  313. That video was just amazing. That song makes me cry anyway, and to hear that unbelievable voice from that woman, and everyone in the audience responding to her pure spirit brought tears to my eyes and a surge to my spirit.

    I am still coming down from our trip to Durham. I can’t believe I had THAT and NOW I have a week off! K is still here – leaves tomorrow AM. We have had a great visit together. It is downright healing when we are together. She must be convinced to move back to the East coast.

    K’s flight is at 6 AM, so I’m off to bed. Night, all. Hoping to finish Wicked so I can start on the teetering pile of books I brought home with me.

  314. The trip was incredible. Everyone was SO dear. I swear I want to adopt Maureen and Kathleen FOREVER as my aunts. I almost cried that Kathleen lives in San Diego. I. Don’t. Want. Her. To. LB Molly is wonderful…please be my little sister. Amber can come too. I *heart* Kittery but she was ever ghostly…I never saw her.

    Caryl is too amazing…she’s a little nugget of fabulous who does not take herself ONE BIT SERIOUSLY, including her generosity, which she dismisses with a wave. Sher was like the wonderful older sister I never had…funny, kind, honest, funny, fun, beautiful, generous. She is the TOTAL package. And Shanna felt like someone I knew, and she felt the same, but it’s probably not possible.

    Haven was herself…ever witty and down to earth…truly something to behold. I was stunned to be in the barn, yet comforted by it’s REALNESS. Things can be so epic in your mind and then…there they are. A place in this world.

    Sher and I got recognized by Kimbits and we thought…well, that is IT. We have arrived. We have fans. That truly, truly made our night complete.

    I cherish the time I spent on this trip, even the stuff that embarrassed me, and I am so grateful for the kindness everyone showed to me, especially Kathleen and Amanda who were so kind in helping me with Alice, who I have decided is the greatest baby that ever lived.

    I have but one word of advice. NEVER allow me to drink 3 1/2 glasses of wine and drink two caffeinated drinks while I have PMS. NEVER. SHHHHHHH.

  315. Also, I call Girl from the Ghetto GiGi…it really fits her. There is NOTHING ghetto about that classy lady!

  316. I have slept and am now going to sleep some more . . . George, did you jump to my sight to see your painting which I will now have to mail, unless we can convince you to do a Nashville – Linda/Sher and anyone else that wants to travel the Nashville pilgrimage?

    I did my part 1 report on the blog, but catching up with 3 kids and a husband and easter to boot, and calls from family today have kept me offline . . . I believe I have redeemed myself of ‘i left my children guilt’ with egg decorating, talking, watching movies (Devil’s Arithmetic – thanks Molly for that suggestion), sesame street phase 10, ugh . . . blah . . . blah . . . you get the picture . . . my shoulders still hurt from the drive home . . .

    Caryl IS amazing and I did not get to hang with her enough . . . might have to do a CA trip sooner than later . . . Some people you can’t thank enough, and that is how I feel about Caryl.

    I didn’t get to talk to Shanna enough but I feel I need and want to, if that makes any sense . . . it all went encredibly FAST . . . zoom.

    Has anyone ever read THE STONES OF SUMMER by Dowd Mossman???? I’ve been looking for a copy forever . . . out of print for more than 30 years . . . need to start another online search, but wondered if anyone else ever read it and was as enthralled as I was?

  317. Topics of conversation covered by Kate, kathleen, maureen, me, molly, amber on late Thursday night:

    beneficial effects of ambien
    negative effects of ambien
    me falling off the bed
    Various theories on IODINE
    lack of food . . . etc.

  318. found the book . . . it has been re-printed so somebody else must have liked it . . .


  319. Don’t forget drunken ballet!

  320. oh yes – DRUNKEN ballet – that was great . . . I’m sure I am skipping a few things . . . anybody else want to add a ‘slumber party’ topic!

  321. Kate – You make me laugh. I loved you calling me GG. My name is The Girl from the Ghetto because I grew up white trash poor and close to Detroit and had mice sleep in bed with me, just like poor Haven. And no matter how hard I scrub, the white trashness lurks under my skin. Bugs me, wish I could forget it, but I still make fun of it, so there you go. Oh, and Alice was SO GOOD. Jealous of your good baby.

    I am also jealous I lamed out Thusday night. 11pm is as late as I can go. Glad all of you had fun and sorry to not have more time getting to know everyone even more.

    I started to download pictures, then got sidetracked with catching up on my own blog … so, my pics will be up later this week. I have work, then physical therapy, etc. Sorry I suck. But so far I like the pics that everyone has posted!

  322. Sher, I love the butt pic. I totally saved it to my comp. I’m glad you enjoyed the Devil’s Arithmetic. My kids talked about it for days after we watched it and even went home and researched concentration camps on their own. Did I already say all that earlier? Hmm. I can’t remember.

    There are a few slumber party topics I can think of that are not safe for blog consumption. lol. We were up so late that Amber and I had to take turns sleeping and driving on the ride home.

    By the way, Sher is TIRED OF CHICKEN. In case you did not know. 🙂

  323. I want to see my butt…was my gigantic Sir Mixalot fantasy ass not photographed?

  324. I think you were in the bathroom?

  325. No, I know darn well I turned my booty to the camera.

  326. What I really think is that you aren’t ready for this jelly.

  327. I am still creating a post in my head, but the possibility of sitting on the computer long enough to write, well lets just say Charlie is making me pay. I downloaded pictures today, and I have a grand total of 4. My battery died the night we met Haven, and I have nothing else, not the babies, the reading, the hotel, my new girlfriend Shanna..Durham in general. I brought no charger.
    Steph however has 222 pictures of herself and Hayley. IN the room, the elevator, the airport, in the car, on the plane, in the woods, is as if they were in Durham alone.

  328. Kate, are you quoting Bootilicious?

  329. *innocent eyes*

    What is this “Bootilicious” of which you speak?

  330. Oh, I’m not fooled by your innocent eyes and the red lips!

    Caryl–that’s too funny about Steph. Teenage girls are da bomb!

  331. I always forget to take pictures of anything…I am so happy to see other people’s pictures. Stephany is cracking me up though…I mean, OF COURSE.

  332. Just a Beyonce’ song Kate, actually Destiny’s Child.
    For all of you not in attendance this week, if you would like a copy of the handbook I put together entitled ‘Blog Babies; What We Read” please send me your address and I will get it out this week.

  333. What’s a “Beyonce?”


  334. Stephany titled her page on facebook Spring Break 2009, the best one ever. How many 16 year olds would say that about spending the week with their mom and her imaginary friends?

  335. OMG…imaginary friends…aaaaaaaaah!!!!

  336. My heart seriously aches with loneliness for you guys…just when I started to love you IRL the weekend was over. Please, please feel free to buzz me whenever…you all are delightful.


  338. I know right? Also, yes, I was quoting Destiny’s Child. It’s my secret shame.

  339. Secret Shame…what is my secret shame? Oh I know–I LOVE every song from the movie Music and Lyrics, including–no ESPECIALLY–Entering Bootytown. JUST IN CASE you don’t know this REMARKABLY CATCHY tune, here are the lyrics:

    You’ve tried every trick in the book
    To get that boy to look
    And still the road is dark and dim

    If love’s just not on his map
    It could be right in his lap
    And still it won’t get through to him

    Wise up, girl
    Boys only pay attention when they see the sign that says

    Entering Bootytown
    So shake that booty now
    ‘Cause your booty is the way into his heart
    Girl, don’t you realise
    One detour at your thighs
    Is a right turn that can break his world apart

    You’ve been here with him before
    But he just closes the door
    And says, “We’re better off as friends.”
    Tonight he’d better beware
    There’s somethin’ hot in the air
    Your wait is coming to an end

    No rules now
    Gonna use every weapon till he knows he’s crossed that line and he is…


    No rules now
    Gonna use every weapon till he knows he’s crossed the line.
    He is…


    It’s Awesome. And Shameful.

  340. Oof. I did not mean to be the conversation killer…

    I must to bed now! Love you!

  341. molly, i LOVE that your mom does the stale peep thing. i have done it for as long as i can remember. nobody in my family likes peeps, so everyone give them to me. i have 6 boxes from yesterday sitting open, getting crusty and delicious!

  342. Hi Linda,
    Late as usual getting back on to the blog. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Please accept my sincere condolences on the dath of your friend. I’m a breast cancer survivor so this hits close to home for me. I’ll be walking in the Raleigh Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on June 14th. They say it’s one of the largest breast cancer fund raising events on the east coast.

  343. Sher: went to your site and looked at the great pictures and the photos of the great encaustics! One of them is mine?

    I have also visited the yahoo site and looked at those pics, too. It must have been a wonderful get-together.

    I am still “on the couch” myself. And getting kinda surly about it.

  344. Thanks for the kind words, Terri. I have several friends who are breast cancer survivors so I guess I never really thought one of my friends would lose the battle. It is a terrible disease.

  345. Linda,
    You are always in my prayers, as we are both of the same “tribe” and your sobriety continues to thrill me. I am so sorry for your loss. Really.
    We loved Sam, he is excellent, and we need to let little time go by before getting he and Steph together on facebook.

  346. I have once again be Frida Kahlosized by the doctor with my back . . . I became quite surly towards the end of the retreat from sheer pain . . . so now I am paying the price.

    The great thing is that allows me some blogging time!

    So I am going to do a rundown of Thursday here, then work on Part II on my blog.

    So Thursday I started off feeling very awkward about visiting the barn. We were invited, but it felt a little bizarre . . . about 12 of us sat in the dark on the deck in the back yard as Haven lured Cubby out . . . it was a gorgeous thing to see her kneeling with her arms around Iorek and Cubby and Pupa (sp?) prancing around. Amazingly, I was not afraid . . . even less afraid of Cubby . . . to me dogs are terrifying because they have been domesticated/humanized and knowing the completely heinous heart of some humans who then train their dogs in this manner . . . it is the human influence I fear in the dogs . . .

    so Cubby, 86 percent wild – I am not afraid at all. Any encounter in nature, rattlesnakes or whatever, those don’t frighten me nearly as much as a barking dog. go figure.

    Entering the barn was amazing. Going through the double barn doors you walk through a storage area where Haven has extra taxidermy (including the chow-chow) . . . she has the most amazing bicycle . . . then into the inner sanctum.

    It actually reminded me of many of the convent/monastery chambers in Italy. It has been modernized with the exception of the preserved original window . . . drywalled and whitewashed it is a blank canvas . . . in which you can see the heart and soul of Haven Kimmel. Her beloved friends (her animals) are gathered to keep her company in her solitude. The pervasive feeling is of spirituality and self-determination.

    It is the epitomy of “A Room of One’s Own” – what she has been able to create in this physically small space is monumental.

    Every item has been chosen for its imbued meaning and this evokes such a spirit of readiness to creativity – I am enthralled. We were in a tour figuration, but it still felt intimate. Unfortunately, I felt like the people that used to go view the Dion Quintuplets. We were invited . . . and i LOVE to share my space with people, but it still seemed a bit voyeuristic. Probably because we were in a group . . . that was Wednesday night.

    Seriously, knowing that IODINE was written there. I am speechless.

    Now onto THURSDAY . . .

  347. Since someone mentioned drunken ballet moves, I will add “falling off the bed onto the floor.” No names.
    Also menstrual cups. What?

  348. So Thursday everyone visited different things.

    Kate, Baby Alice and I did a Thrift Store Bingo ride, led by the Tom-Tom. I found a few great things . . . in one store they didn’t even speak English . . .

    We made our way to GEORGE’S GARAGE (which was sadly George-less). the decor was unique and so was the set up . . . mediterrainian food and greek food . . . purchased by the pound . . . so we all loaded up our plates and gathered together (hosted by Caryl) . . . unfortunately Linda and her gorgeous son SAM were held up at Chapel Hill and didn’t make it to the dinner.

    Towards the end Caryl and I explained DEAR CARRIE’s “Fugly Bead” game . . . which brought her presence right in the room with us . . . Molly won the ‘ugliest bead’ so will receive a masterpiece from Carrie. Each bead was wrapped in lime green handmade paper tied with tiny twine – so I kept the remnants in use in artwork.

    As we left many pictures were taken, but not by me, because I was just STUPID . . . I think GiGi has the most pictures . . .

    We then all visited the Regulator Bookstore which is just across the street. I am ready have every Augusten/Haven book, but I loaded up on some others (including one of Suzanne’s and lots of art journals). We also went to a store called “Vaguelly Reminescent” nearby and Amber and I (we realized later) bought the same lovely handbags! Kate found some smashing vintage earrings . . .

    We headed back to the Inn to freshen and dress up for the Reading . . . As we arrived at the Carolina Theatre around 6 pm we were greeted by Kimbits who came up to us and explained “ARE YOU KATE AND SHER?” – we had our own ‘fans’ and had been ‘recognized’ on the street. It was thrilling and sweet. It was fun getting know them better and then we finally got to meet Linda and darling SAM . . . and on into the theatre we went.

    We were all held like cattle waiting for the official seating. The Carolina theatre is GORGEOUS . . . even the vintage ticket box was evoking of the old, glory days. We were not worried because, thanks to Nora Barnacles a/k/a Sherrill, we had reserved rows of seats right up front. I had made some tags just like the t-shirts, so we were set!

    I totally embarrassed myself by acting like a dork when I saw Kate and her Gorgeous Boyfriend Tyson . . . I was like “Can I say HI???” like a total jackass . . . but they were gracious and chatted like normal human beings, of course!

    Maureen and I had already agreed to sit together because we had not had a chance to ‘hang’ much. You could even get soda/wine/beer and popcorn to consume during the reading . . . wow!!!! I was driving and in pain so chose Root Beer and Milkduds as a lift me up.

    Awaiting Haven and Augusten was fun in itself because you could see the family hanging around the entry door . . . the introductions were touching and then Haven did a beautiful introduction of Augusten. They then took their directors seats and began on a riff . . . it was obvious we were attending the Haven/Augusten Show and not a typical reading. It was HysteriCAL. All the sudden they asked for questions and we all sat there enthralled and stunned.

    They really need their own radio show.

    Then the signing . . . which was standing in line for what seemed like hours and probably was . . . as we were in the end of the line!

    They prevailed and stuck there signing every book proffered. I had Haven sign a “Klattermaster” book for Claire and she made sure to say it was MADE IN AMERICA. I also had my much marked up, highlighted, flagged IODINE and she talked about the notes and symbols she used when she wrote the book. I told her I was working on my own index and she gave her blessings on that endeavour. For Augusten I had him sign a specific page in my Wolf At The Table Book – which made me cry as I stood in line choosing which page . . . I finally chose the onw with “my mother couldn’t protect me” . . . rather apt.

    I blathered at him as I am rather amazed that he is alive, that he never tried to commit suicide as a child. I am just so glad he survived with such resilience of spirit – that is something that is impossible to figure out – how some of us ‘dark place’ survivors actually blossom and others fall into an eternal abyss.

    So now at 10ish we finally make our way back to the Inn, Linda and Sam join us there . . . we are trying to figure out where to eat in the lounge . . . I go to the bathroom and everybody disappeared except for Sam and Linda. We wait and wait . . . and wait . . . then they finally leave out of exhaustion as well.

    I was painfully exhausted and all I wanted was my 2 bottles of Italian wine. I was determined. Kate was visiting with her brother, his wife, and newborn neice in our room so I went knocking on doors . .. Shanna wasn’t next door so I went on do the row until Molly and Amber answered – yippee!!!! – I petulantly refused to eat any of their chicken they had smuggled in from TGI Fridays . . . and Molly went downstairs to have the bartender open the bottle of wine . . . and, low and behold, everybody had regathered down there! But we decided to have our bottle of wine (which was already paid for!) in their room. We talked about breathing the wine, the bouquet, and the legs . . . they enjoyed the imported wine and we had a hoot. Talked about the reading, the barn, the whole experience and even went into relationships and surviving abuse. It was a great talk with much depth and moments of pure joy. I love me some Amber and Molly and I am encouraged that we have such intelligent, hopeful young adults to help us, as humankind, move forward into a bright future.

    Before we made our way downstairs Maureen and Kathleen returned upstairs and Kate called begging for the party to convene to our room . . . so we all marched or ‘drunken balleted’ over there.

    I did a hysterical search for a corkscrew again, called the front desk in sheer desperation while Maureen suddenly appeared with one. Ooops, we ended up with 3 corkscrews. So we had the 2nd import and Amber and Molly offered up their White Zin . . . Alice slept through the entire 4 hour slumber party.

    All I know is this: we are an amazing group and I want to know all of you the rest of my life.

    I didn’t get to hang with Caryl or Shanna or GiGi 1/2 as much as I really wanted to . . . so I am thinking another get together is in order . . . to include all the missing Blog Babies this time . . .

    After a quick goodbye to Shanna and Caryl in the lobby after Kate loaded up earlier and went to breakfast with her brother . . . we headed out of Durham with one last stop at the SCRAP EXCHANGE. What a glory that was. I will have some photos of my finds . . . especially the ones from Granny’s Panties . . . glorious.

    ok . . .I seek food.

  349. I totally fell off the bed, it was when i was laughing about ‘cherrypickers’ and who didn’t know about menstruel cups??? That was an enlightening conversation for many . . .

  350. I cannot spell today ….sorry!

  351. By cherrypickers, I am sure we all know that this is in reference to the lift machines power companies use to hoist men up to fix tall things like streetlights…..AHEM.

    I didn’t know what a menstrual cup was. I mean, really? Was I that alone in my ignorance?

  352. Kate and I were the only menstraul cup knowers . . . apparently it is a hidden solution . . . because it is a money saver and the big 3 – kotex, ob, tampax don’t want the american woman to KNOW . . . they probably have sanitary product conventions where they plan the elimination of menstrual cups. lobbyists even!

  353. Sher,
    Your description of the eventful trip was just lovely. I am all goosebumpy imaging you all together.
    I would leave tomorrow, for the moon, if it meant attending the next blog babies get together.
    Please god, just don’t schedule the next meeting for my wedding day or the week of my honeymoon. I WILL BE THERE REGARDLESS ( that’s irregardless for Mo and Kathleen!!!)even if it is Christmas Day. I would be willing to leave my family people, on Jesus’s birthday to meet you all.
    That’s dedication, well dedication laced with desperation.

  354. I am on for a new BB meeting . . . will be in NC last two weeks of July in Cashiers . . .

  355. Amy – IRREGARDLESS of the LENTH of time, we WILL meet. Yes? Nice picture!

  356. here is a quaker video posted by Brent Bill on Facebook

  357. GIGI!! It does fit nicely…right into my worldview.
    Just reading about you all makes me miss you and I’ve never even met you yet 😦

  358. I was also one to jump on the “what the hell is a menstrual cup?” bandwagon.

    I had all kinds of scary ideas before Kate and Sher explained.

    Sher is so kind… she didn’t mention that our White Zin was from the gas station!

  359. Amber, I still think it’s a little scary. But I’m going to look the next time I’m a store. 🙂

    That gas station wine was DELISH! Amber and I forgot to mention that, at the gas station, some drunk people practically ran us over as we were trying to walk out and then there was a guy in scrub bottoms that looked like they could walk on their own, wearing one of those dust masks approaching the shop. It was very scary.

    Then I came thisclose to running a red light but luckily Amber saved the day by saying “That’s a red light!” over and over, louder and louder until I heard her and STOPPED THE CAR.

    It was quite a night.

  360. Also much screaming of “Shut Up Tom-Tom!”

  361. also, on my recent visit by my munchkin neice, Emma, whose mother told me to put a meatball on her squetty . . .

    “I DON’T WANT NO BIG FAT MEATBALL!” in a very southern accent . . . became a quip of the trip.

  362. There was a moment on the way back to the hotel from Haven’s when Kittery organized a back seat revolution, and on the count of 3, Amber, Kittery and I yelled “Shut up, Tom Tom!” in unison. Alice didn’t even blink.

    She is such a good baby!

    And Sher’s a good driver. She didn’t startle at all.

  363. that would be because I have the powers of the mother who can tune out anything! I enter my own world . . . it annoys the hell out of my family sometimes . . . on the return trip Alice was not so cooperative. Kate wanted a nap after the slumber party and her almost 4 glasses of wine . . . Alice was not interested in this and screamed for 3 hours, saying “Awake” and “I stuck” at a 10 decibel pitch, Kate would mumble and roll over and I listened to Iodine, dodged lightning bolts and took notes . . . also, Alice is Loverly and so was the newborn baby . . . but HELLO no more babies for me! and the kids have been informed that I will not ALLOW grandbabies for at least 15 more years . . . It should be MY turn (for some non-baby years I mean).

    I am entering my crone state and I defy any further delays . . . anxiously awaiting the menopause then I will be official!

  364. Here is a history of the MenCup

  365. She was wet. Poor thing. She calmed down a bit after I changed her and got her a lollipop the size of her head.

  366. She was great – even the screaming was rather funny. If I were almost 2 I would have been screaming for the entire 10 hours . . . the return was brutal. The rain, the lightning, my back . . . the best part was talking to Kate for at least 6 of those hours, we even discussed our weddings, our wedding dresses, trips . . . it was entrancing what we covered . . . including Iodine!

  367. I’m working on part II of the Durham Journal . . . will be in and out . . .

  368. Hello friends. I have spent hours sorting through all of Emma’s college financial aid offers. She is still leaning towards Bryn Mawr even though it is the most expensive. Sigh. I am not going to think about it any more tonight.

    Caryl- I love the little Fear No Evil painting by Cathy DeleRee. I have it in front of me right now with the tiny pop-up Mary we got at church yesterday that was left over from the children’s egg hunt fun. A pop up Mary!! Ha haha haha

    I opened my sobriety birthday present from Carrie early. I couldn’t wait. OMG. Carrie made me the most beautiful earrings – light green glass beads with tiny silver dots on them. I will take a picture of them because my description would never do them justice. I opened them after I learned of Vivian’s passing and it all just made me cry. But, really, good tears because there is so much love – people move in and out of our lives so I know Carrie came into mine to replace Vivian. I just know.

    Baby Alice is the most precious little girl on the planet. A little version of her mom. Spit fires!

  369. Kate, I am 60% sure I got your butt on film. I am busy organizing medical records right now … yikes! Every few pages I have to look up stuff to see what it means. I am guilty for not having the pictures uploaded. Oh, I have over 1000 pictures on one disk, so it takes awile to do this …

    Also, I DIED laughing about what Caryl said about the girls taking 222 pictures of just themselves. I documented just about everything.

  370. Calling Polly Kahl and Suzanne:

    Could one or both of you again describe your recent meeting — I believe you were meeting for the first time. It seems to me that you wrote about it here, but I cannot locate it. Perhaps you know where it’s posted, and can give me a weblink so I can find it.

  371. I just love coming here…after meeting y’all I feel so much more social. I just bought sock monkey slippers on clearance at Target and I popped in to say hello before I go clean up my kid’s mess. I decided the best thing is to start fresh with a clean house tomorrow, and the only way is for me to suck it up and be a clean house fairy. I couldn’t begin to have the emotional or physical energy to supervise today.

    I am so very much enjoying talking about the trip…I just wish it didn’t end so soon. Just as I was falling in love with all of you…WHOOOSH! I’m SO glad Sher is only in Nashville or I would just collapse of the vapors.

  372. yes, Kate and so is Linda and Molly and Amber (and Kittery?) are in Atlanta, so they can road trip here as well . . .

  373. I visit Atlanta once a year, but always during a holiday, and Hank’s parents hold us captive 😦 But I would surely meet you all in Nashville. SLUMBER PARTY. Just don’t get me drunk.

  374. Lauren is lamenting the fact that she did not go to Durham!

  375. Dude, your imaginary friends have got to be so much cooler than her real friends!

  376. Jodi – you can find Polly’s account of the Suzanne visit on her blog:
    it is maybe, third post down from last week’s, her post on Amy King is great, too . . .

  377. Kate – this is exactly right and she thinks SAM is pretty cute!

  378. still working on part ii, decided to take photos of my finds and presents . . . it might become 3 parts . . .

  379. where did everybody run off to???

    I just posted part 2 of the durham journal with images . . . click on my name above to be taken into my imaginary world!

  380. Hello Sher.

  381. Jack is with my niece and her girls in Santa Barbara for the week, staying in a vacation home. He had me hook up to skype and it is the worse thing ever, seeing his little face far away. He started to look sad, I feel like crying. Skype is for long distance lover affairs. Do not use it with your children when they or you are away. Ever.

  382. are you still there caryl???

  383. caryl . . . I’ll be reading a while . . . call if you want to chat . . . we didn’t get to talk nearly enough in Durham!!!

  384. omg – I ‘edited’ and accidentally deleted part 2 of the pilgrimage on my blog . . .

    i just edited part 1 again . . . but will re-create part 2 tomorrow . . . what a wasted day . ..

  385. Sher,

    The memoir of your visit to Haven’s barn is fabulous. Thanks for the link to your blog. Thanks, too, for the lead on my Polly/Suzanne question.

  386. Hi Jodi!
    Are you in school this week? I am on spring break – a welcome opportunity to collapse after nearly two weeks of non-stop celebration and events: my mom here, Tristan in Oliver, my sister here, DURHAM!, Easter, airport run, and now I am picking up the mess.
    We heard of you often in Durham and saw many neat little objects created by man Jodi.
    What are you reading these days?

  387. Maureen,

    You are the sweetest soul on the planet. So nice to hear from you, too.

    Our spring break is two weeks past. Now I’m counting the days remaining before summer vacation: only thirty-five more.

    Man Jody and Haven are quite a pair — two Pisces with a Mission. Isn’t Haven’s collection of miniatures the “largest” (pun intended) you’ve ever seen? I enjoyed the photos everyone posted of The Trip to Durham, especially the visit to the barn.

    I’m reading “American Eve” by Paula Uruburu, about the Stanford White/Harry Thaw/Evelyn Nesbit love triange/debacle of 1902. I love that bit of history, and Uruburu has created a very readable account of it. On Haven’s recommendation I’m reading Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies,” and have no words for the brilliance of Smith’s creation. Take a look sometime and tell me what you think.

    Maureen, you’ve earned a respite from all chores this week, following everything you’ve done previously! Indulge in a few pleasures that are totally decadent and enjoyable, just for you.

  388. Sadly, Kittery lives in Maine. I wish she was closer too. How is her swollen ankle?

    Jodi- Fair and Tender Ladies is wonderful. I have read almost all of Lee Smith’s books and I love her only next to Haven.

  389. Dear Ones,

    I am headed off for a nap . . . all I have to do is re-post photos on part 2, but I am in need of some shuteye and some horizontal for my back . . . perhaps following dr’s orders is not such a bad idea. At least that gets me out of laundry!

    Jodi – glad you liked the Durham Journal . . . it will be complete again laster today, I should never click on any delete button at 3 a.m.!

  390. Thanks Sher, for your blog posting…I went and re-read the first and now will await the second…we love Haven’s legs (well, of course as well as the rest of her) and my officemate says she has more and different colors of those socks that she can’t wear in her re-enactment of the western period because they just didn’t have those colors back then, so we will see if she brings them and if we can get them to adorn the famous Pippi Grown Up legs. I’d love to see it.
    Gotta get to work…
    lol, Brenda

  391. i am still feeling pretty jealous and it sounds like you all had an incredible time. if another BB meeting can be arranged, I WILL BE THERE. any time. it has been great reading all the stories, my fave is the menstrual cup. i had no idea.

  392. Linda, you’re right. I’m nestled far away in Maine …
    The ankle? :: sigh :: it puffed up again Friday after flying. Had a nice visit in the ER on Saturday morning .. blood test came back negative for blood clots .. medical staff was bemused.
    So, it looks normal now, and I have no idea why it did that. Apparently no one else does either. 😉

  393. Kittery,
    How was your first flight experience??? I apologize if you have already blogged about it but I don’t remember seeing anything!

  394. Amy,

    I reeaaally like it. 🙂
    I got to the airport way earlier than I needed to (but there was no way I was going to have a stupid screw-up get in the way of my trip, so I didn’t care). At 5 AM, the airport started showing signs of life. I got frisked and all my stuff was pawed through. I sent Molly a pretty irritated text at five, which I realized right after that she was probably asleep and that was asinine of me.
    I boarded the plane, my first thought was, “whoa. TV is VERY generous when they show planes in shows..” It was fine, though. I got the window seat. 😀 The plane took off right before sunrise, so I could see all the houselights and stuff – so pretty.
    Taking off didn’t bother me at all – reading all the “don’t freak out” literature online and getting advice from people here was excellent preparation. 🙂 I was expecting worse, so I was very pleasantly surprised. 😀 The only thing that freaked me out was when the plane suddenly swerved to the side, and I thought, “oh Jesus. Nobody told me about THIS.”
    I was a total dork and took pictures out the plane window … I’m hoping they come out well, ’cause it was over the water, and very pretty..

    So yeah .. it was good. I liked. 🙂

  395. Kittery, I’m so glad there were no blood clots, though I’m sorry that the situation is still “mysterious”. I laughed right out loud when you said that TV is generous when it comes to planes. I thought the same thing too, but convinced myself that I just haven’t been on a “big” plane yet.

    I so loved Fair and Tender Ladies. Just adored it.

  396. I love that my crazy monster avatar thing is purple.

  397. ok – part 2 is recreated and reposted . . . off to play mommy/wifey!

  398. Amber – You look like a crazed radish.

    I came to a final fizzling halt reading Wicked. I loved-loved the first three quarters, and then I think life – i.e. Oliver, Durham, Easter – forced me into reading piecemeal and I lost momentum. I feel I betrayed the book, so I might have to read it again in a few months. Also (life under the rock) I just heard about the musical. Any thoughts on that adaptation?

    I cam home with a pile from which to choose my next read. Shanna recommended I buy Three Dog Life, I also grabbed The Middle Way (Kelly Corrigan), and Kittery convinced me to get Dry.* So I might have to resort to my special and specialized seven-year-old book-choosing eeny-meeny-moe game to decide. This is a complicated endeavor that requires time and space and solitude.

    I finally got my hair cut today, so I look loads better than the exhausted and harried mom-self I was in Durham.

    Does George live in Franconia? If so I almost might have bumped into him when we got lost off the highway near Washington.

    * K and I asked Augusten to sign Dry for our dad, who also went to rehab and died seven years sober. Once we explained the situation, he signed (we saw this the next day) “Dear Doug, Sorry you’re dead but glad you’re sober.” We laughed! Dad would appreciate it.

  399. A radish. Humph.

    You know, I read all of these posts with everyone suggesting their favorite books back when the discussion occurred.

    But I’m just going to admit that Caryl’s beyond-fabulous bound gift is making me feel completely overwhelmed by all the books that I have to right now immediately read.

    I liked Maureen’s technique. I’m going to have to implement that.

  400. Maureen:

    Next exit up from Franconia/Springfield. I live in Alexandria. That interchange where you got lost is so darned confusing. Sometimes, if I am not paying attention, I get all tangled up, too.


    You’re a brave girl. I am with you totally. I love the experience of flying. I am one who always goes for the window seat and I sit with my nose pressed to it the whole flight. I have flown in everything from a glider to a Phantom F-4 fighter jet, to the big guys (a 747 and the military version, a C-5 Galaxy.) About the only craft I haven’t gone up in is a hot air balloon and a blimp/dirigible. I am fascinated by the dirigibles and have imagined a novel based on the fleet of them operated by the U.S. Navy during the 1930s.

  401. Sorry you’re dead, okay that is hilarious.
    I liked The Middle Place, it was an easy read. Again, the narrator has an awesome relationshop with her dad, and I, cannot relate.
    I just started the new Jodi Picoult…sometimes her books are fantastic and sometimes I outright hate them, I’m not sure where this one is headed.
    Three Dog Life has been on my reading list for over a year now. I read an article about the author in the salon one day and started to cry.
    Amber, do tell about this book you all received from Caryl!

  402. Maureen – I saw that he wrote that. It made me laugh. I had to go sit down and read everything they wrote in my books. I’m very happy your dad died sober.

    Amy – I just passed on The Middle Place, as I was at Borders tonight buying books for my hospital stay. I bought the following books (And Sellevision last week at The Regulator, among other hardcovers by AB, which was great!)

    1.Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris, always love him.

    2. Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, memoir about a guy who decides to read all of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is so something I dreamed of doing myself.

    3. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either – Meg Cabot. I want to make lots of books like she does. Loved the Princess Diary movies. Anyone ever read her? Hope she’s good.

    Also, Amy did you watch Idol? Quentin Tarantino? Love him, love singing.

  403. I have read of the Durhamfest in Sher’s blog and looked at all the great photos in Yahoo. You guys really had a good time of it. What a lovely group of groupies. I thought maybe I would send along a photo of what I was doing while you were having your fun.

  404. George, you kill me. That is AMAZING.

    And I’m not brave, so much as the punishment I would’ve given myself for NOT getting on a plane, meeting almost all of you and Haven and Augusten (yes, please, Kathleen, start snickering) would have been severe. I’m almost positive it would’ve involved hot oil and country music. 😉 So I did what I had to. 😉

  405. Hot oil hair treatments and country music? Sign me up!

  406. Not quite what I was envisioning, Kate. 😛

  407. WOW you all had a good time I see !!!
    I would have stayed up with you night owls having drinks, being a bit loud and talking out of turn in a very gracious way of course.

    Haven I might have tried to monopolize your time so It was only fair to to others that I had to pass hehe

    Seriously I know it must have been a riot for you all. I have been reading about it for the last hour very cool y all.

    is there a link to the pictures ?

  408. Amy O, send me your address and I will send a book out to you.

  409. exhausted, night night, blog babies.

    here is the link to my pics/journal or just click on my name above my comments . . .


  410. I’m ALMOST done with my post with a few pictures … check me out later tomorrow night. I need to wake up in four hours, must go to bed …

  411. Gigi – Are you off to Mayo? Is that your hospital stay?

    George – Thank you for confirming that that was a confusing place. I had not missed a SINGLE TURN the whole way down and back (no, I take that back. We ended up on the PA turnpike heading toward Maryland on our way to see Amy – same thing Amy did, and you know what the front desk person said? “Yeah, people tell us all the time that the directions on our website are confusing.” Um, that is what revision is for?)

    In Franconia we ended up on this huge concrete Bridge to Nowhere and could point down at the right road fading into the north, saying “Oh, that’s where we should be …..” Had to curl around through Franconia and try again – our eyes were peeled for a potential George sighting.

    Funny tale: As we were passing DC, K was trying to pick up internet, and at one point “White House” showed up on the wireless list. For just a second we were all psyched, then we said “Naah. He’s people-friendly but not THAT people-friendly.”

    I have been chopping through great piles of procrastination here: today’s category is thank you letters I never sent out, written by my students to their shadowing mentors. Just gotta do it.

    I have an interview this afternoon for an adjunct position at a college about 30 miles from here. “You can’t say ‘No’ to a job you haven’t been offered,” right? It is more the idea of an escape that is pushing me up there. It would be a huge pay cut and a long commute. The perks would be working only three days a week, a shorter academic year, access to Dairy Science majors who might want to work for us, and a collegiate environment. I have no anxiety because I know I probably won’t take the job.

    I have to be good now, so I’m going to take a peek at Gigi’s new post and then hit the pile.

  412. GfromG-Of course I watched Idol!! Um, I wasn’t sure what credentials Tarantino had for advising their singing but I love him just the same.
    Oh, by the way I watched the season finale for Rock of Love yesterday ( without watching the season. I have watched the past 2 seasons and yes I was interested after reading your blog!). Bret Michaels is such a joke. I was laughing my ass off at how insincere he is! He should have married Jess and been done with it.

  413. Augusten drew a picture of a martini glass when he signed my copy of Dry. I thought that was appropriate since a perfect dry martini with an olive stuffed with bleu cheese is the one drink I will always miss. I told Sher that when we were in that cozy lounge at Washington Duke. I guess it is a good thing Sam and I did not stick around for the italian wine and falling off the bed!!

    Carrie- I am wearing your earrings today. 🙂

  414. Hello bbs, has everyone recovered from the whirlwind Durham trip? Immediately upon my return to SD I was felled by some sort of intestinal nightmare; I’m just getting around to unpacking and putting my life back in order.

    Sher, I LOVE my encaustic SO much. You are so very talented. I’m not sure what to do with it. I want to give it a place of honor but I don’t really know how to display it. I think it must have been warm in my suitcase because it has bowed significantly. Can I warm it to flatten it out, and, if so, how would I do that?

  415. […] know more about Haven or the blog babies?  Start off by getting to know all of us here.  You can find Augusten’s blog via Havens. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  416. My recap on my own blog, for those of you who wish to read it.

    Photos to yahoo are coming later in the week.

  417. Oh, Shanna – heat or cold could make the encaustic bow abit, I painted them on matt board and not wood panels to might them lighter . . .

    if it were me 8) I would wrap it in wax paper and place underneath some heavy books(at least over night or a few days). If the tack is still attached, just work around it. Take an old tshirt and buff the surface to a high gloss, you could get a little book easel to place it on on a shelf, or tack right into the wall . . .

    glad you love it!

  418. were’d ya’all go????

  419. SHER!!!!!

  420. I just got back from an interview – not gonna take the job – made me realize my current gig is pretty good.
    When I drove into cell phone range, I had a message from YOU, moooooooing. Ha!

  421. I’m lurkin’ a lil bit

  422. Raving Radish!
    Shoot, Elliot just called – I have to go get him.

  423. Ha! I am zipping in and out doing work . . .

    Amber, Mo – miss you both!

  424. Leonard Cohen debuts Exhibition of New Works at LindaLando Fine Art

    Vancouver, BC – “Leonard Cohen Artworks”, a visual record of 40 years, is an exhibition of works from Mr. Cohen’s archive of drawings and journals. Mr. Cohen, poet, songwriter and novelist, has maintained a visual art practice since his early days in Montreal and Hydra. Until now, his drawings have been private visual records of things, places, and people captured in his sure and modest hand. Later, these drawings found their way onto CD covers and most recently into the pages of “Book of Longing”. This is the first time the drawings have been exhibited as another manifestation of Leonard Cohen’s talent.

  425. Good morning, babies!
    I just got this in my e-mail re. Calvin Festival April 15-17, 2010. I know Mary Karr, Brady Udall, and Richard Rodriguez. Anybody know these other writers?

    “The roster for Festival 2010 already features dozens of great authors, with many more to be added in the coming months. So far, the roster includes Eugene Peterson, Kate DiCamillo, Mary Karr, Richard Rodriguez, Stephen Carter, Fanny Howe, Joshilyn Jackson, Lisa Samson, Kevin Young, Brady Udall, Kathryn Davis, Avi, Matt Ruff, Christian Wiman, Michael Perry, Peter Manseau, Sharon Flake, Scott Cairns, Debbie Blue, Gene Luen Yang, and many others. Look for several more names to be added to the Festival’s website ( later this month, along with brief author biographies, recommended reading, and links of interest.”

  426. Thanks for the tip, Sher! I had no idea.
    Here’s the link:

  427. Oooh! Joshilyn Jackson! gods in Alabama is one of my favorite books with one of my favorite first lines. And her blog is laughing-with-tears-streaming-down-your-face funny.

  428. Good morning everyone! It doesn’t matter what kind of crap comes my way today because tonight I get to see Wade Bowen at Exit/In. OMG I love him. Sigh.

  429. Being laid up with a bum foot for several days was cause to exhaust a bunch of available reads laying around the house.

    But I discovered Alice Hoffman’s, Seventh Heaven. What a great read. Her style seemed familiar so I rummaged around the bookshelves and sure enough, I found a book by her that I had previously read, Here on Earth, which I also liked.

    So, I am settling down with Alice for the next couple of days…as my foot gets better, and the trees bud and the tulips push through the dirt, pointing toward the sky, and the song birds search for fluffs of my cat’s hair on the lawn to line their new nests.

  430. Hi, Mo —

    Kate DiCamillo wrote THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX and BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, among other children’s and YA fiction. Avi is another prolific YA writer: THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE and the CRISPIN series are favorites at my house. Do they do panel discussions at the Calvin Festival; if so I’m guessing there’s a YA panel. You’ve written so glowingly of this Calvin event — I’m thinking I might have to save my pennies ….

    I was so sad not to be able to go to Durham — you seemed to have so much fun. Holy Week was a busy time for me, with various church responsibilities; also my husband is overseas right now, which makes everything a little more difficult. I can get everything done that needs doing, but I feel like I’m dragging a boulder around with me everywhere I go.

  431. Babies – I am being good and playing wife and mother and maid and laundress and etc. Really it is because we are having the open house/open studio next weekend and my house is disasterous . . . everybody feel free to bring your shovels . . .

    it was great to get back into the studio yesterday and today . . . and my back is feeling pretty good, yippee. Spring is finally here this time, we hope. in any event the bird eggs are hatching, the trees are wiccing and I saw some baby lambs a few days ago . . .

    it’s been a week since the Haven/Augusten show . . . wish I had figured out how to record it. ugh.

  432. so i know i said it on facebook, so many of you may have seen this there…but i just finished THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE and was blown away. i know i am late to this read, but it was one of those that i thought-oh, gimmie a break–he travels through time–not interested. i could not have been more WRONG. i loved every second. such a crafted piece of writing and magical love story. does anyone wanna chat about it? maybe on an older thread? i feel like i have so much to ask and so much to say. ya know when a book just gobsmacks you? yeah. that is where i am. i finished it and immediately started over from the beginning.

  433. Liz – Ah, yes. Winn-Dixie. And Crispin. The Calvin festival does a huge variety of formats: panel, interview, lecture, reading. Each session (there are about six per day) there are at least eight choices for whom to see and what to hear about. For exmple, Haven did a talk on what Quakerism has taught her about writing. I also saw Mary Karr doing basically stand-up routine. Then the keynotes are usually at night. There is also a HUGE vendors set-up – I walked away staggering under a load of books both times I went. There are also reps from a bunch of publishers who offer short sessions on what kind of books they are looking for and opportunities to meet with them. It is a MIND-BLOWING festival of … everything good. K and I are SO THERE and anyone can crash in our room.

    Steph – I have Time-Traveler’s Wife on my shelf, unread. I might have to give it another go, in which case I’d be happy to chat.

    It’s my last “official” day of vacation. Tomorrow is Saturday and like a regular weekend between school weeks. Tris and I have tickets to see Sweeney Todd Sunday. We are both interested to see how they do all the gore on stage. (I have only seen the Johnny Depp Helena Bonham-Carter version) Rumor has it that Sweeney is next year’s high school musical, though it seems a little unlikely. Rumor also has it that the director wants to and the choral teacher thinks it is inappropriate. Hmmm.

  434. Maureen,

    Enjoy Sweeney Todd — it’s one of my favorites! I was musical director for it when it was performed by Fort Wayne’s Civic Theatre. As for the blood, usually it’s pretty meager. The straight razor is rigged to expel “blood” (a combination of Hershey’s Chocolate for ice cream and food coloring) as Sweeney slits the throats of his customers, and the body immediately drops through the floor and out of sight. It’s a long show — settle in for a couple of hours.

    Isn’t the last official day of spring break a sigh-maker? Hope it’s sunshine-y and warm!

  435. Hi Jodi –
    A sigh-maker indeed. Here I sit, telling myself “Do your lesson plans for next week so you can enjoy the weekend” and then Mr. Resentment strikes back with “What the heck kind of job requires that you work on vacation?” Angel on the other shoulder says, “Just shut up and do it, Mo.” Sigh. What I want to do is fiddle around in my downstairs bathroom that I tore apart yesterday. My hair is still helmetized with plaster dust and a vision of paint chips is floating through my head. (See, Amy?)

  436. Thanks, Mo! I went to the Festival web site, but it doesn’t convey all the different stuff that goes on as well as you do. I would so love to go …. The cost …? All my money thoughts right now are focused on the fact that my son will start college in the fall of 2010.

    Steph — I l-o-v-e-d THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE; I did the same thing you did — didn’t even close the book. I just turned from the last page right back to the first. I would be glad to talk about it with you. I read it two or three years ago — so give me a day or so to re-read it.

    Today is a beautiful day in southern Northern Virginia. [I live about 20 minutes away from George, who is in No. Va. proper, and who is probably a neighbor to my dad and my mother-in-law.] A great day to watch my daughter play some kick-ass softball!

  437. Liz –
    This is a link to the 2006 book with the complete schedule. This will give you the best sense of the whole thing. 2008 is not available online yet.

    My God, I would rather go clean the calf nursery than do lesson plans ……..

  438. Thanks, Maureen!

  439. The Time Traveler’s Wife is wonderful! I just read it for a second time this winter. It’s hard to wrap your brain around it but lovely just the same.

  440. Liz: I live in Alexandria just outside the Old Town area in a neighborhood of 1930s-era townhouses.

    All: I am finishing up on Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman. I guess certain reads hit you at certain times in your life, but this book — particularly its offhand description and depiction of magic and supernatural — really resonated with me.

    I have the Time Traveler’s Wife at home and have picked it up, but never committed. I might give it a shot, but I do know that this weekend, I am heading for the library. I am going to give Atlas Shrugged another shot.

  441. Steph – I too absolutely adored The Time Traveler’s Wife. I listened to it on audiobook (which was FUN!) and I would love to reread it. I thought it might be hard to follow, but I found it very easy. I listen to audiobooks when I drive, and when I get a good one, I find excuses to run errands so I can hear more. I think I finished all of my grocery shopping three weeks in advance when I was reading this. It was just lovely.

    Mo – Molly and I went to see Sweeney Todd about a year ago. The production we saw actually had no blood at all. Well, let’s see. It was a very unusual production in that all actors were on the stage at all times. The actors each played an instrument as well, so the music for the show was provided by them. It was so super cool. When a murder occurred, there was a piercing siren noise, a blinding red light, and one of the actors not engaged in the scene would pour liquid from one bucket to another. Lol, when I break it down like that it sounds too weird, but it was amazing. The people in this show were beyond talented.

  442. George, I’ve been passively avoiding Atlas Shrugged for a long time, but Ben’s school just decided to get rid of their class sets (which seems sad to me, like they gave up on the kids ever reading them) so he brought home a copy of that and The Fountainhead.

    Now it is on my shelf… looking at me.

  443. The Time Traveler’s Wife was one of those books everyone told me to read. i was concerned about the whole sci-fi element, but i found it very well explained and excellently crafted. it was great from page one.

    i read Atlas Shrugged and sorry–meh. i didn’t love it. it was a well written book, certainly, but i found my mind wandering while i read. The Fountainhead, on the other hand, was gripping.

    amber, i totally agree about audio books…i will drive just to hear more. i don’t really get “driveway” moments bc my dogs are bananas. i listened to IODINE again the other day…amazing.

    george, i think i’ll give seventh heaven a shot on your rec… magic and supernatural was all you had to say!

    liz! awesome. let me know where and when we should chat about The Time Traveler’s Wife.

    sorry to be pushy, not trying to be, i just LOVE this book!

    my son mason (macy) and i are headed outdoors to enjoy this glorious day. supposed to get up to 70 with shining sun. perfect. bubbles, here we come!

  444. When I was in Vegas a couple of weeks ago doing a conference for my association, the sound/audio tech had his face stuck in Atlas Shrugged for three days! At one point, I said to him: “Look, John Galt!” He guffawed and said, “You know about this, dude?”

    I said, “Dude, I can remember people writing this as graffiti.”

    Anyway, the book piqued my interest, so I’ll give it a go.

    I am going to re-read The Teammates (a book given to me by a dear friend) and The Match.

    Will see what else I can scrounge up at the library.

    I also plan to read

  445. Steph: you’d like Teammates. It’s the consummate Red Sox book. I treasure my copy.

    oh….I might also rummage around when I am in the library and dig up another Alice Hoffman book.

    This is going to be such a good weekend!

  446. Amber ~ You’re right! There are TWO versions of Sweeney Todd. The production you saw, where the actors also play instruments, is a revival from five years or so ago. It’s not at all like the original stage production, which can be purchased on DVD. I much prefer the original.

    Maureen ~ Don’t do it! Wash that dust right out of your hair and ENJOY THE DAY! You have an assignment: No school work until Monday.

  447. My technique with audio books is to have both the audio and the print version available at all times. Then I can switch from one to the other and BE READING CONTINUOUSLY. Isn’t that pretty extreme?

    We just had a cow emergency. One cow must have stepped on her neighbor’s udder and made a puncture wound as big around as a little finger. Blood was pouring out like out of a spigot. I had to sit on a bucket plugging it up like the boy with his finger in the dike. The vet (who looked like she was around 12) came and stitched her up. The cow barely blinked through the whole ordeal. As prey animals, cows have a very high pain threshold because if they were to agitate in response to pain, they would be easily spotted by predators. (This is according to Temple Grandin, one of the world’s coolest women, in her book Animals in Translation.)

  448. I need a cow emergency . . . to lure me from the ‘must I shut the books’ ‘must I clean the house’ ‘paint the trim’ ‘pickup the new bed from freecycle’ ‘plant those flowers I bought 3 weeks ago’ . .. the sad thing, if ‘i want to get in the studio’ I would be jumping up and running down the stairs.

    apparently, as formerly reported, I need a domestic or a 2nd husband. hum, a daytime husband to do my bidding . .. this is not a bad idea, they can each have off-duty hours and everything . . .

    where would I find on those?

  449. um, that sounded naughty . . . I meant it in the caretaker, servant sense . . . so I can serve my muse. now if I could just make enough money, don would be happy to my ‘john’ . . . . I need to find a Cosimo deMedici patron, then Don can quit working and take care of me, the house, the kids . . .

    perfect scenario . . . anybody know a deMedici?

  450. Maureen, I learn so much from you.

    I too, like to have the audio and print version at the same time. I do this to subside my OCD. Sometimes, I cannot ( no matter how many times I hit rewind) understand what word the author is saying so.. TADA!..I go to the print version and there it is IN PRINT!!

  451. Speaking of books:

    What are some books that changed your life and why, if that isn’t too personal.

    David Copperfield – read it in 2nd grade. It was the epiphany of dyxlexia solution reading. one of the most perfect first sentences: “I was born.” God, that is the way to start a story . . .

    A Diamond in the Window – a kids’ book, I practically owned it as I re-checked it out of the school library constantly. It is where I went in my head when bad things happened . . . i would mentally walk through the diamond in the attic window and escape.

    Zippy – because I knew I was not alone. someone else had lived that midwest, paradoxical existence of poverty and joy. For those of us who remember every moment of our lives, including how we felt in each particular moment – it was revolutionary to me. To have the recall of details, but not to be pulled down by the drudgery – to hold onto the happy golden moments and transform ourselves through the pursuit of happiness. that is the ticket – out.

    Wolf at the Table – somebody had it worse than i did. somebody else survived. somebody else thrived. the remembering didn’t kill him or lead him to suicide – he is the victor. By living and breathing and creating, I, too, am a victor.

  452. Hi everyone. I saw one of my Texas music loves last night- Wade Bowen. Sigh. Sigh again. I didn’t get home until 1:45 am which is unheard of for me unless it is something like this. I had to give myself a diversion from everything because my daughter’s college choices are stressing me out. Also, Vivian’s memorial service is at 2:30 today. I am seeing my mentalist at noon, so that should help, but I have not been to an AA meeting in over a week and I really need one. Looks like tomorrow morning will be the next opportunity for that.

    The weather is gorgeous here today. I hope it is where all of you are as well.

  453. Blessing to you today Linda

  454. Amy in Ohio – that is a brilliant method with the audio. I usually do a whole audio listening with notetaking . . . then read and take notes, underline, flag . . .

    I am re-re-re-re-re-re-listening to Iodine in the car now . . . I have 11 pages of notes from Chapter 1. Oh dear. it is my ‘waiting in the car line’ at school activity. As Kate can attest I will scribble a line while driving if I need to.

    I feel so close to a breakthrough on Iodine. I am still wanting to get to the bottom of that novel. If anybody else wants to revive the revival discussion on it – I am all for that.

    I have a confession to make. I started reading the Time Traveler’s Wife about 5 years ago . . . I read at least 1/2 of it . . . then it must have taken the back seat to something. college. babies. moving twice.

    The thing is – I absolutely ADORE time travel novels, so why I didn’t devour it is beyond me. Did you know they made it into a movie, last year I believe? I know it is available on NetFlix, not sure if it is instant view or DVD version – don’t know if it is good or bad . . . just that they made it!

    I will give it another go at some point – I have all my books from Durham to read . . . and all the Joan Harris’ I bought on Jodi’s rec . . . just haven’t settled down to read much lately . . . I need a combo audio/book format . . . I’m finding I ‘read’ more if it is audio and I can take notes vs. the paper versions . . . but that is timing on my part as I like to work in the studio if I happen to be awake, it is really cutting into my ‘reading’ time.

  455. Linda dear – I thought of you last night as I delivered Lauren and 2 of her friends to Rocket Town to see a concert! I of course got turned around in the gulch and ended up doing an unscheduled drive by – they were there with masses of other kids . . . it was a hysterically ‘groupy’ moment . . . and then thought of you going to one of your concerts.

    I am so excited that your anniversary is one week away! You are so powerful and strong.

  456. A few books that have impacted my life:

    She Got up off the Couch- I read Zippy. I enjoyed Zippy. I enjoyed Haven. I went on with my life. I read Couch. I stopped and read it again, and again. This book gave me courage and as Sher mentioned above, I related to the feeling of hopelessness in an Indiana town. I related to the feeling of loving your family so very much, yet knowing you were different from the other families.

    The Bell Jar- Cliche? I read The Bell Jar my senior year of High School. This was the same year my parents divorced, I moved, and my mom starting dating. At times, I honestly felt, I would lose my mind. The character of Esther and Plath herself became a saving grace that showed me okay, shit happens but at least I still want to shower and no one is making go to shock therapy.

    She’s Come Undone- I heart this book like no other. The layers and complexity of Dolores keep me intoxicated everytime I read this novel. I love her pain and humor. And I truly believe my biggest reason for loving this book, is for the fact that A MAN created this character. A MAN wrote the pain of a woman so beautifully and I still cannot get over that.

  457. Oh yes, and every Judy Blume ever written. Specifically, Deenie, Are you there God it’s my Margaret,Blubber, and Just as Long as We’re Together.
    Girls are mean, horrible people ( this includes your dearest friends) while in school. These books taught me about friendship, sex, and boys.

  458. Amy – yes – She’s Come Undone!!!! it was a man and what a man, can you imagine someone knowing a woman’s mind that way. I loved that book, too – read it way before it was an O book . . . all his others are fab, too – but I have a special place in my heart for She’s Come Undone!

  459. ugh . . .now I have a lunch meeting (after frittering away the morning) and later a lecture . . . hopefully I can get back on the blog later today

  460. I’m a nut for time travel, too, Sher.

    Once I sorta understood Einstein’s theory of relative simultaneity, I became a believer in time travel.

    Often, here in Alexandria, it is quite possible to be walking on a cobblestone side street on a chilly foggy night. If you glance into a doorway at home lit by a flickering gas lamp, you’d swear the year could easily be 1849.

    There is an antiquey-type of store here called The Time Juggler.

    I have imagined over and over (even wrote a short story) about clients who visit it and are surprised to see there is nothing in the display case. The owner asks them what they are looking for. When they describe the item, he invites them to the special selection in the back room, which is an alternate time universe from the period the customer just described.

  461. I heart Sher!

  462. AmyO: why can’t a man write such a thing? Also, I’m with you on Couch. I have read it all three times and some parts of it, I don’t know how many.

    I wish I could point to handful of books and say they really changed me…nearly everything I read leaves me a slight different person than I was at page 1.

  463. My copy of She’s Come Undone was lent so often and to so many different people that I no longer have a copy (I did the same thing with The Lovely Bones, lol).

    I’ve been trying to track it down for almost a year now, ironically, so that I can lend it to people.

    This is one of the books I’ve read at least 5 times. I just love Wally Lamb. His newest is fantastic as well, but I like She’s Come Undone the best.

    And who could resist Sher? No one, I tell you.

  464. I looked up the movie of Time Traveler’s Wife on Netflix, but it has no DVD release date. Apparently it stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams… let’s check IMDB

  465. It has no DVD release date yet because it hasn’t been released in theaters, lol. August 2009. I hope it turns out all right.

  466. Sher – Did you seriously read David Cooperfield in second grade? The real one or the Illustrated Classic? If real, I am falling down impressed.

    I read it cover to cover during my maternity leave after having Tristan and exclusively while breast feeding. I perfected a method of holding a book with the hand of the same arm that held Tristan’s head and turning the pages with the other. Then I would switch sides. That boat on land where David stays with Peggotty while his mother gets married? One of my favorite “little houses” of all time.

    Speaking of which, I am eying this little vacant house/cottage down the road for my sis. I sneak into it all the time – actually it belongs to our neighbor, who is my buddy, so he wouldn’t mind.
    BUT I realized yesterday that it epitomizes every literary cottage I have ever loved:

    Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink
    The cottage in A Gift from the Sea
    The Eyrie in Pinky Pye
    Laura’s first home in The First Four Years
    Peggotty’s brother’s ship-on-land
    The Quolye homestead in The Shipping News
    Meditations on a Hut
    All of what I read in The Poetics of Space

    I want this structure more for myself than anything else. It would be such a perfect Room of Our Own if K and I shared it. It is a WRECK and would require tons of work, but I feel myself longing for a Whimsy House that I can decorate without being utilitarian. I want ducks in the pond and flowers around the door and everything small.

    I’ll take some pictures, and anyone with n eye for such things can give advice. I think he only wants $20,000 for it, but it is not livable as is.

  467. Hey George and Sher and Linda and Maureen and Amber…hugs to you all…am thinking of you Linda, sending you positive blessings. Maureen the mental image of you plugging a cow udder made me fall off my milking stool!!
    As for the books…the first books I remember devouring from the library were all of those colored fairy know, ‘the red fairy book, the green fairy book, the grey fairy book, etc.’ and they took me permanently into an alternate universe that I rarely emerge from. I also vividly remember reading ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeline L’Engle and it scared me badly but I never ever forgot it and have been frightened of men in suits ever since. I blame the fairy books for my progressive incline into science fiction and fantasy which I read obsessively with the occasional ‘all other’ kind of book which is how I fell into Zippy and Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Hoffman (YES George!), Ann Tyler, Augusten B. of course, and John Irving….And how do I get one of those book lists again?

  468. George I apologize:) I just find it fascinating that an author can perfectly describe the mind of a member of the opposite sex.

  469. P.S.
    I have the different colors of Pippi Longstocking glamour stockings for Haven, plus a little toy of my own to send her…anyone have a super secret non stalker address for me? I have mother Delonda’s address but that would get to Haven in a roundabout way and these shocking stockings definately need a more direct route. I will take a picture of the toy…suffice it to say it is bright yellow and black and plays ‘DIZZY’ while it spins.

  470. George: i am off to locate a copy of Teammates. just mention red sox and i am there!

    Books I love and why:

    1. To Kill a Mockingbird–b/c it taught me so much. Everyone should be so lucky to know an Atticus. I read it for the first time in 8th grade, and LOVED Scout’s spunk. and yes, there are Boo Radley’s everywhere and they are part of society, too. it was the first time a book grabbed me by the collar and demanded i join the pages. i think it might even be why i went on to get my degree in literature.

    2. A Prayer for Owen Meany–I know I have said this before, but i read it in Vietnam the first time I’d ever been there and it was staggering. breathtaking. i still have my paperback copy from there–receipts and old tickets line the pages. I LOVE IRVING

    3. Zippy–it is open, honest, funny, real and exceptionally well written. it made me SO fascinated with haven. she is one of a kind

    4. Naked–Sedaris is funny in general, but this one killed me. Carrying a towel around at a nudist colony? hilarious.

    5. The Alchemist–bc it is fantastic.

    6. The Catcher in the Rye. at first i loved it bc of the eff word at the end (hahaha), but having read it multiple times since my pre-pubescent reading–it has it all. loss of innocence done right.

    7. Dry–augusten hits on so many topics that are so close to home for me as the wife of a recovering alcoholic (3 yrs sober this july). his descriptions are funny, sad, heart breaking–and most of all, real.

    8. The Bell Jar bc it is a masterpiece.

    9. every single Harry Potter book, bought on the day they come out and read in one sitting bc they are great fun.

    10. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst–this is a children’s book, but it was my fave as a kid and is still one of my tops. bc some days are just like that.

    11. any book by Chris Van Allsburg (also children’s) but especially The Wreck of the Zephyr. the story is always compelling and the illustrations are phenomenal. He is like Dr. Caldecott Medal–he has won 2.

  471. AmyO: Actually, you’re right. There are probably only a few male writers who can authentically do female characters. A lot of people hold D.H. Lawrence up as an example. Well, maybe in the eros department and I don’t know about that, totally, but I do have to say that Joe Coomer in Pocketful of Names does it pretty darned well.

    …and for you, Maureen:

    It is spring
    In this hut
    there is nothing
    there is everything.

    – Ryoto
    For the record, I have always loved Gifts from the Sea. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

    “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

    I am entranced by the notion of choiceless…

  472. Steph: I wonder if Capote’s, In Cold Blood, would have been so great, had it not been for the influence of Harper Lee?

  473. As a kid my favorite book was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I read it over and over. I’m having a bit of de ja vous, so I may have posted this on another thread… but I remember the fear and loneliness was palpable in that story.

  474. I loved that one too, Amber. That and Witch of Blackbird Pond..

  475. George:
    i just did a quick search on capote and lee. capote was wildly jealous of lee’s success with to kill a mockingbird. in cold blood was absolutely influenced by lee. at the time of capote’s death, lee said she had not heard from him in years. wow. i didn’t realize they were neighbors as kids and met in kindergarten.

  476. Steph: Well, to complicate it, I have often wondered if Capote’s earlier works didn’t challenge and inspire Harper Lee to go the whole distance in her one and only novel. I think a good American literary scholar could make that case, too.

  477. Ah, remembering once again why I love you people so! I just took a break from Rug Doctoring my foul carpet to see what’s happening here and I get the perfect poem from George, appreciation for my bovine exploits from Brenda, all these people loving the same books I loved, and it’s all day every day! Someone is around!

    Raging Radish – Island of the Blue Dolphins and Julie of the Wolves were simultaneous obsessions for me. (And My Side of the Mountain.) Those girls out in the wild fending for themselves? My heart!

    On the Capote/Lee thread, have you all seen Capote the movie? Just fascinating about the writing of In Cold Blood. Of course Dill in Mockingbird IS Capote, based on Lee’s childhood friendship with him.

    May I just throw out two of my all-time favorites that I don’t think I have mentioned:

    The movie “Once”
    All poetry and all prose by Elizabeth Bishop

    Brenda – E-mail me at and I’ll e-mail back the address

  478. yeah george, i agree–that argument could definitely be made. they proofed each other’s drafts and were sharing a typewriter as kids. without a doubt, both incredible literary minds.

  479. George — I live in Prince William County — Lake Ridge, but my dad and his wife live on Prince Street in Old Town (across from the Lyceum) and my mother-in-law lives off of Janney’s Lane.

    Book, books, books ….
    THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING (T.H. White)is a book I go back to again and again. It’s been a favorite so long that I think it counts as number one.

    POSSESSION (A.S. Byatt) is just yummy. That’s all. I have stroked my copy lovingly to the point that friends either think I have a fetish or begin to yearn for a copy of their own to stroke.

    I think little girls are either LITTLE HOUSE girls or ANNE OF GREEN GABLES girls; one can be both, but it is rare. Put me firmly in the LITTLE HOUSE.

    GIFT FROM THE SEA, but also AML’s diaries and letters: BRING ME A UNICORN and HOUR OF GOLD, HOUR OF LEAD are luminous and tragic, sometimes simultaneously. I love her, and while I don’t love her husband, I am fascinated by him. Reeve Lindbergh is no slouch, either — UNDER A WING and NO MORE WORDS make me cry every time.

    I don’t think THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD is a particularly “great” book but I sure needed to read it when I did. Like a very intense therapy session — I don’t think I could do it again.

    I think there is a danger that the HARRY POTTER books’ popularity will mask the depth that lurks beneath the surface of the magic. She’s a really smart woman, and a really skilled writer. I think one could make an argument that the first chapter of the first book (“The Boy Who Lived”) is technically perfect, and sets up the entire series without revealing anything too soon.

  480. My love for Harry Potter has carried me through many a hard night. He is a comfort to me and it is an ideal place to escape to. However, I tend to blur reality and make believe with the whole wizarding family. I truly believe they exist, truly. Harry and I were born the same month of the SAME YEAR PEOPLE!
    Liz~I adore the Ya Ya’s, adore. I will scream it from a mountaintop…I wasn’t really impressed with the other books but the first one was perfection.

  481. Amy, my daughter Molly was born on July 31! We have an HP trivia game and the tie-breaking devise is that the person whose birthday is closest to Harry’s wins. Well — I mean she kills at this game! It’s J.K. Rowling’s birthday, too.

    YA-YA …. see here’s the thing. I read it in one huge gulp, and I would burst out crying — racking sobs I’m talking, and then two pages later I would be laughing my ass off. The whole thing about the beloved/hated mother who was so broken, and loved her daughter so much, and the little vial to hold her tears …. I just don’t think I can go through that again. So I’ve never re-read it.

  482. I took my mom to see the Ya Ya’s movie for her birthday, the year it was released. We just sat there and cried together in the theater!

  483. you all are lovely and I miss you all . . . argh, even the ones I haven’t met . . . I am headed out the door again . . . but I painted the trim and the front door!!!!

    I love this talk of books. I think why we are so enamoured of Wally Lamb, George, is that there are few of us ladies who have encountered a man than sees us to our very core . . . and he autopsies the woman’s mind so well.

    He works with women’s prison inmates, too and they have published a book of short stories written in his prison writing group.

    it is deadly exquisite.

    maureen, I would go for the hut.


  484. Just had to jump in and say I have ALWAYS been both an Anne girl AND a Little House girl…it never occurred to me that they’d have separate fan bases.

  485. Maureen!
    Thank you, I will do that…
    and as for the books…there was one series I loved about a girl and her family during the depression and they were travelers in their travel trailer while her father looked for work wherever he could. They had no money but she found adventure everywhere..does anyone remember those? I have one at home and now can’t remember the name here at work..I especially remember one in which a little girl steals a bottle of IODINE to paint little flowers on her flour-sack dress her mother had made for her to dress it up.
    Isn’t memory a wonderful thing?

  486. Brenda, Re: Isn’t memory a wonderful thing?

    Yes! Oh, and there was something I wanted to ask you … What was that?

  487. I resemble that remark, Jodi

  488. Amy,

    Of course the people in HP are real. Of course. You’re not alone. 🙂
    This story is on my Facebook right now:

    “I was looking through the numbers on my phone, and ‘George’ and ‘Fred’ were right together, and I thought ‘what? I have the Weasley twins on my phone?’ True story.”

    I was thinkin’ ’bout stuff yesterday, and this little gem popped in: James Frey, the Gilderoy Lockhart of the Muggle world.

    I’m hoping someone here finds that amusing. I had to explain it to my father, so it kind of ruined it..

  489. Hi, Kate — I didn’t say it couldn’t happen! My best friend when I was in high school was a total Anne-fan, and I was all Laura, all the time. Some of it for us was family culture (my mom grew up on the prairie in Oklahoma, while my friend’s family was from New England [this can’t be totally predictive, though, because I never met a Louisa May Alcott book I didn’t love]).

    I don’t know — my evidence is all anecdotal of course, but it seems like women always respond viscerally to just one of them.

    From what I know of you from this blog world, though, you are rare and fascinating in many ways — this is just one of them!

    Over margaritas one night my friends and I dreamed up a “book” concept based on those books you used to see all the time: “God’s Little Instruction Book,” etc. We would call it “Lessons From the Little House,” and use quotations from the books to illustrate life lessons. Copyright problems abound, unfortunately …. The whole “Little House” genre seems very marketed and brand-savvy now.

  490. Liz, Lord above, have you seen the Little House website? It’s shocking. And those ultra-realistic illustrations? No. Garth or nothing, say I.

  491. Eeww.

  492. The quizzes are fun, though. I got 10 for 10 on Little House in the Big Woods.

  493. total LITTLE HOUSE only for me. completely. i can’t believe i have never recognized this strange divide. Kate-you are an anomaly-lucky.

  494. Liz-i live in new england…born and raised. laura-she IS cool.

  495. OK, so I hate, hate, hate the new covers. How could anyone have thought getting rid of the Garth Williams illustrations was a good idea?!? And I hate the faux Little House series atrocities: “Little House on Rocky Ridge,” “Little House to Make Big Bucks.” Just awful, and so manipulative.

    Did anyone read GHOST IN THE LITTLE HOUSE? It’s a biography of Rose Wilder Lane, and purports to convince that she is the “true” author of the original books — that she edited the books so vigorously that she should be credited as a co-author at the very least. Annoying. But she apparently named some Roger McBride character as her heir, and as soon as he got his hands on the literary estate, the mega-marketing commenced. Sacrilege! I feel very strongly about this, can you tell?!

    Anyway it seems very telling to me that Laura lost interest in writing the books after Almanzo died; this would explain the un-finished feel to THE FIRST FOUR YEARS. Apparently she also intended to write more books about his childhood (sequels to FARMER BOY) but was too heartsick to continue that project after he died.

    I’m on a little bit of a tear — I’ll stop now!

  496. I thought the Rose wrote the Rocky Ridge series? Or maybe that’s just as bad?

  497. This Roger McBride hack wrote them. I disapprove.

  498. Ooh. I had all of them as a kid, but never read them .. now I don’t feel as bad. 🙂

  499. I sound so huffy and judgmental — I’m so sorry! I need to get over myself.

  500. Hahaha. We all have our things. 🙂

  501. Watch Lord of the Rings and make jewelry with me, that’ll calm ye. 😉

  502. Oh, mercy — I am so there!

  503. Oh, and regarding the Weasley twins? I cracked up and read your Facebook comment to my kids (17, 14, 12). They didn’t see what was so funny — anyone would make that assumption. Then my son said, “How cool would it be if you really could have the Weasley twins’ phone numbers?!”

  504. Ohh, I never thought to see the day where Amber would outpost me in a week. 🙂

    OK. I am LATELATELATE to this discussion BUT I think Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are 2 of THE most important books I have ever read. Atlas Shrugged to me is gorgeously written and a cautionary tale of what could happen (sorta–I mean it’s fiction after all) when any political program is taken too far. I know previously on the blog there had been some Ayn Rand-unlove esp. re: Atlas Shrugged, but I was too chicken-shit to jump in.

    I know nothing about her personally, but her books scream to me about what happens when Group-Think takes over and when mediocrity is rewarded time and time again. These books burned themselves into my head. I read The Fountainhead at 17, and it was the first book that I EVER dogeared a page or underlined anything. Amber–if I had either of my copies with me, I’d be driving to your house right now with them.

    Ok. Got to finish a paper and turn it in.

    Love you!!!

  505. Liz,

    it would be very cool. 🙂 I love that they’re young enough to think that’s normal. Hah. 🙂


    Damn, damn, damn. I’ve read Rand’s … Anthem ..? I don’t know, it was the short one where the people didn’t have names, they had numbers. I liked that one, but I’ve stayed away from the ones that resemble cinder blocks .. (Fountainhead, Atlas) .. now it looks like I can’t anymore. Bah.

  506. Been busy being sick, as always … but I met a doctor @ the hospital today who treated someone before w/Dsyautonomia so I’m thrilled.

    I hate missing all of the book talk. Every time this happens.

    Stephsulzback – Time Traveler’s Wife – When I was 14 and sick w/mono, my extremly disfunctional mother who was afraid to drive went to the library for me every week and just picked out random piles of books. All were crazy choices, but one was about time travel and teens. I would KILL to know the name of this book. It started me off on my quest to learn how to time travel. I loved TTW, it was just so darn interesting to me. Then I realized the book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court by Mark Twain was about time travel and I had loved that book as well in elementary school. I found a list of both time travel books and movies that i thought was decent. Here is the link:

  507. Amber, Maureen, Molly, et all …

    Sweeny Todd – while on my honeymoon, hubby and I (We went to England, Scotland, and Paris) did several walks in London. One was a Jack the Ripper tour, and the other was Ghosts and Gaslamps. We saw Sweeny Todds famous barbershop and it was way cool. Creepy walks during the night in foggy rain filled streets and scary ass alleys has to be better than any movie, so I have not seen the Johhny Depp movie yet.

  508. Sher – Great question! First, I have to say i’ve read most of everyone’s choices, loved them all.

    Amy in Ohio – I read The Bell Jar as a high school senior as well. My librarian loved me, I was a forer assistant there, so each week she’d bring me classic literature to read. I could tell she was saving The Bell Jar for the end of school, LOL!

    Maureen – Good to hear you have what I’d refere to as a cottage fettish. Loved The Shipping News. My dream is to have a lovely little cottage outside of London.

    I am a Laura Inglas Wilder type of girl. I wore my hair in two braids for most of my early life. Wore print dresses most of the time. Fascinated by her. However I enjoyed Anne of GG as well. But I was a Laura girl.

    As for books, hmm … I think there is a bunch.

    Laura Inglas Wilder – She, like I, was poor and had a rich nemisis. Her book On The Banks of Plum Creek showed me that the embarrassment I felt from being poor white trash was ok, as she found friends dispite her social position in life.

    Jane Austen – Dear lord, I adore this woman. Pride and Prejudise really moved me. Its hard to explain how I feel so connected to her in a short way, so I thought I’d use a quote from the book. “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

    Pat Conroy – The Prince of Tides. Read it in Mrytle Beach after I had just faced a huge crisis in my life. Wow, does that man have pain in his soul. Long before my love affair with dysfunctional family memoirs I read all of the books (Except The Boo, self published, hard to find) from this man. Only he, a man who wrote a book called My Losing Season, could make me fall in love about a book that focuses on a sport that I have grown to hate with a passion – basketball.

    John Irvine – My god, who doesn’t love him? I actually saw the film Garp in elementary school and I knew I had to read everything from this man. While I adore Owen and Rules more, The World According to Garp just took the breath out of me. I love this book because I struggled with wondering who my father was for the first 25 years of my life. I, just like Garp, also invented fantasies as to who my father was.

    I could go on and on, but it is 5 am, and I’m tired.

  509. I could just cry and die at the same time. I just love augusten burroughs. I have all of his stuff signed(except new one), and then Haven together !!!!! Too bad I didn’t get to go. What a night that would have been. I am too preggo not to be a burden to everyone with my acorn size bladder.

    I even have to miss the allman bros./widespread panic show coming to town! I am feeling the sacrifice of motherhood already. I can’t wait.

  510. Hillary – Oh, sorry you missed it. Good luck with the baby, do you know what it is?

    Also, Sher’s question just inspired me to expand my comment here into my own blog post, so thanks Sher and Haven. However, even though its now 7:00am, I am ashamed to see the many typos on this comment from a few hours ago. I’m blaming in on the morphine. (Just got out of the hospital earlier today.)

  511. Molly- I read The Fountainhead when I was 17 too! That was in 1977. It had a huge impact on me as well.

    Vivian’s memorial service was so nice yesterday. She had selected all the readings and the music, and her friend, Ashley Cleveland, a talented artist here in Nashville, performed two spirituals that were stunning.

  512. Uh-oh. I’d better get on the stick. I haven’t read anything by Ayn Rand.

  513. Ayn Rand is great as audio book versions . . .

    I have a Malbec hangover . . . spent part of my night last night parading up and down Broadway in Nashville connected by a red thread . . . knitted hats connected . . . with other people. It was a happening.


    you all are so fabulous. I never imagined I would get to hang with bookworms like me. if I asked the question to my family . . .book? what’s a book? I’ve never read a book since I cheated my way out of it in school.

    it is so pretty here in TN today, makes me want a convertible . . . but we are going to be that old couple that doesn’t get one until the kids are out of college . . .

    I was a Laura Girl, but loved Anne as well. I am infuriated at the new book covers. . . crap! I wish I coulod get my hands on some Garth Williams original LH illustrations . . . . aw . . . nothing is better than that . . . Laura and Mary sitting on the pumpkins in the attic of the LH in the big Woods . . . that is my favorite sketch.

  514. also, I am “this was my favorite” I have like a 1 million and 1 ‘favorites’ from childhood.

    the secret garden. slayed me.
    the little princess. i was a goner
    pippi longstocking.
    holly hobbie.

    oh my

  515. Liz,

    What’s your avatar? I’m having trouble ‘seeing’ it, even enlarged. It looks interesting.


    I’ve long loved the following lines from Eliot, and the word “choiceless” brought them to mind again. I don’t know that there’s a true parallel between Lindberg’s words and the following, but they somehow connected themselves unbidden [I hope the lines unravel accurately; they’re all scrunched in the preview pane, and as we all know there is no ability to go back and Edit!]:

    I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
    For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
    For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
    But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be light, and the stillness the dancing.

    ~ Sarah

  516. Sarah –
    That is beautiful. That’s from The Four Quartets, right? I really like the later Eliot.

    I was just down and took some pictures of my dream cottage. Does anyone remember a children’s book called Miss Osborne the Mop? It was about a talking mop and two kids who clean out an old house.

  517. Kittery, you slay me. I can’t stop giggling about the Fred and George comment!! You are good people:)
    This is my true HP story:
    I was dating a guy in college ( the Aspie Mo!) and we were watching a Harry Potter movie on television. He looked over at me and said ” Have you ever thought of going to England to look for Hogwarts?” I responded without even thinking ” Yeah, but what a waste of time that would be. Muggles can’t see Hogwarts.” He stared at me and said ” I was kidding and that is so not the response I was waiting for.”
    GfromG, hope you are feeling well, sending positive thoughts your way.
    Oh, anyone..what is the best email for Haven?

  518. Amy, I heart you. I’ve been waiting for my Hogwarts letter to arrive for the past twelve years .. how ’bout you? 🙂

  519. Amy – ” I was kidding and that is so not the response I was waiting for.” Wow, what an Aspie comment! I’ll e-mail that e-mail address to you.

  520. I’m with whoever said Fountainhead, yes, Atlas, meh. I read the first in my 20s and not since — I walked around accepting her worldview as obvious and unquestionable for years, until I was maybe 30, and my sense was that it was damagingly isolationist and not particularly good for anyone compelled to live where there are other people.

    The mean girls thing — I don’t get it. I never experienced anything like it, but mine was a generation where girls were still invested in being “nice.” Maybe a shallow reading of what feminists in the 70s were saying about “nice” had all the 13-year-olds a decade later taking off the gloves. — When I was in 7th grade, we moved and I went mid-year to a different junior high. Now, we remember “popular,” right? Coin of the realm? The most popular girl there was a force of nature. She made being smart (4.0 and valedictorian of her graduating class in HS), and CHEERLEADING of all things cool again; she could anoint a heretofore invisible boy wildly popular just through her attentions to him. She was always, always, kind, and sincerely so, to everyone, made no one feel “less than” around her, had a great laugh that she loosed at the slightest provocation. She wasn’t particularly pretty, but became extraordinarily attractive the more you knew her. In short, she was a perfect model for what every tween should have in front of her. What was the secret to her success? She knew who she was. And liked that person.

    I am so shamefaced. I read neither the Little House series nor the Anne of Green Gables. I am obsessed with Austen, lately. No number of rereadings of the six she wrote will suffice; I’ve moved on to every production of P&P, S&S, et al and even the peripheral Austen-referencing genre of fiction (Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Austenland, etc.).

    I loved the Eliot, Sarah. I loved further that Mo recognized it.

  521. Jodi, I just finished The Bear Comes Home. I am undone. (I’ll say it again, George:) Everything I’ve been saying to myself about music, about authentic self, about love, about metaphysics, I would say exactly like this, if only I had the talent. This guy is the real deal. Just astounding. Just finished it last night and already I want to start over and flag every other page. A life-changing book.

  522. Carrie? In high school, I walked around with cat testicles in my hair all day. One of the other girls in my Anatomy and Physiology class thought it would be oh-so-funny to castrate the poor cat we were dissecting (like it’s afterlife wasn’t sucking enough) and toss them in my jacket hood…

    Mean Girls … kind of accurate.. at least for me.

    Did you like Austenland?

  523. I forgot to make my point! The unfinished thought about “popular girl” up there: because she was as she was, every other girl wanted to be her and so followed her lead. It made junior high so much less of a misery than hormones were already making it.

  524. Kittery, that is unbelievably heartless and hateful to the cat and pretty damn sucky for you (though it could have been anyone with a hood). — I did, I did like a Austenland! It did give me pause that it was probably based on a real-life Austen camp that people PAID for! I really am happy to be a woman in 2009 every time I read a 19th-century novel. Just saw Wildfell Hall — you know, by the lesser known Bronte — and good God, nothing brought it home like that one.

  525. I love everything Emma Thompson brings to Elinor in Sense & Sensibility, prefer Colin Firth to the thumb-foreheaded “shy” Darcy in the most recent Pride & Prejudice, and love Anne Elliot most of all (Persuasion). I often wonder what Jane Austen would think of the life and lives her stories have taken on; she wrote before there were photographs, let alone moving pictures. For all her literary skill, I love her most for her sense of humor.

    Yes, Maureen– Four Quartets; East Coker. I loved it more, or perhaps differently, when I thought he was wrong. I miss my earlier certainty, but am all the more grateful for his words now.

    ~ S.

  526. Carrie, I too, have never read Anne of Green Gables. And maybe, because I grew up in the 80’s, girls had become mean, evil creatures that delighted in tormenting others. One of my best girlfriends ( whom I met in college) once told me that she had perfect attendance all through school because she was afraid of missing just one day of school as the other girls would decide to all be mad at her, and not be her friend when she returned. I was popular and well liked all through my school years and I can still
    remember the pain of one day, your friends just deciding, they didn’t like you.

  527. Yeah .. the cat and I didn’t have a great day…and I would disagree – it was for me, not anyone with a hood …she enjoyed making my entire year hell, but anyway.

    Lol. It would be interesting .. paying a crapload of money to roleplay in corsets .. or watching other people do it. 😉
    Wildfell … that’s one of Anne’s, yes?

  528. Thumb-foreheaded — HAH! I am as enamored of Firth as anyone, but moreso of Ehle’s characterization in that production (I just saw a shudderingly bad production, so there is lots of room for comparison). I want to channel Ehle as Eliza. — And Anne Elliot, yes.

    There’s a scene in one of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels where Thursday catches up and gets all stalkery (and a little twittery and giggly) running into the substantial Jane Austen on the street. She wants to say something about the talkies made of her books, but realizes it’s far too much explanation, so settles for something more general. It’s a wonderful scene, and a visceral one for many of us Austen-lovers.

  529. Amy and Kittery — that’s just awful. Why is there not a requirement in jr. high as to psychic responsibility? “Mean Girls” for the girls, and for the boys, “No Still Means No, and There Are Rules Against Drunk Sex for a Reason.”

  530. Carrie,

    I was prepared to dislike Ehle, but ended up enamored. She reminded me of Meryl Streep, in all the best ways.

    ~ S.

  531. Have you read Sanditon, Carrie? If you’re looking for another book of hers, she wrote part of it, anyway.. 🙂

  532. Hah, I don’t know. That’s a good idea…although if you start these lessons in Junior High, they ought to be continued all the way through … the cat thing happened in my senior year. Of High School.

  533. Sometimes there are cultural phenomena that completely elude me. Ayn Rand’s work is one. There was a cult-like adoration of The Fountainhead among my teenage acquaintances, some 20+ years ago. Of course, I lied about it, then, said I thought it was amazing, profound, deep. The truth? Meh.

    Also Bruce Springsteen. Doubtless some of you will find me cretinous. Sigh.

  534. So I decided to Google Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead to remind myself of the players and then I remembered (drum roll) that my mother was a HUGE fan of both works. Which explains–yet again–everything. Because it’s all relative.

    If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.

    Bruce Springsteen is on his own.

  535. :: smirks :: That’s the reason I haven’t read them either. My mother wants me to so badly and thinks that quoting “who is John Galt?!” with this maddeningly superior smirk is incentive.


  536. Kittery — If one of my parents had said a word, I’d never have read either. They were in my father’s library, well-thumbed. (Which, yes, explains everything.)

    Shanna, I should know better than to read you with a mouth full of flax seed oil.

  537. I love Bruce for who and how he is and would jump to see him live. There’s something about his live presence that is in-the-moment presence and joy 20 feet tall on the Teletron. I’ve owned one recording of his, “Nebraska.” It was acoustic and stark and showed that same present-ness. But never another CD. And I eventually gave “Nebraska” away.

    That I, who don’t like his music, would still jump to see him live makes me all the more interested in seeing him live. See?

    Is Teletron a real thing?

    I think I need to re-read the Fountainhead to remember exactly what my problem with it is.

  538. My brother bought me The Fountainhead one year for Christmas. I couldn’t get into it. Perhaps I shall give it a go again.

  539. I saw Bruce live last summer and he was fabulous. So fun and happy and non-stop energy. The thing I like about him is that I really think he is genuine and authentic about everything he does and says. I don’t love all of his music, but I have to say I think he is terrific.

  540. Carrie,

    Glad you liked The Bear Comes Home. I wouldn’t have know about it if Haven hadn’t recommended it highly. Like nothing I’d ever read before!

  541. Caryl and Kate should be here soon with a box of ice cream drumsticks that we can all share. Love those girls!

  542. Kate,
    As in Britney Bitch.

  543. LOL

  544. Emma and Chance are at the prom tonight. Well, actually, it is just ending now. Last year after the dance they went bowling and to Waffle House in their formal attire. I wonder where they will be tonight?! I will post photos to the yahoo album on Monday. Emma was so pretty! I just cannot believe that she graduates from high school next month.

  545. Holy Moly Batman . . . a girl goes to chase her 6 year old riding her bike ‘all by herselves’ down the street (and yes it was 3 pm and I was in my pajama bottles, a paint splattered tshirt and slippers . . . paints the trim in her living room, paints her powder room complete with copper accents . . . and hello we have
    the best
    in a long time.


  546. i did take a break to play YAHTZEE and watched the HBO version of Grey Gardens with Drew Barrymore playing Little Edie.

    I thought it was fabulous.

  547. postponed answer to Maureen.

    Yes, I really read David Copperfield in 2nd grade.

    But it was the end of 2nd grade and I was actually a year older than all the kids because I was born 6 minutes past midnight, thus 6 minutes past the kindergarten cut off . . . the arbitrariness of these dates infuriate me . .. it has screwed me and my Dylan up in our education . . .

    that being said, when I re-read David Copperfield, it always reveals itself to my new age, if that makes sense.

    there have always been mean girls . . . nellie olson? mean girl.

  548. The Bear Comes Home was one of the books in our goody bags from Caryl . . . can’t wait to dig into books.


  550. I FORGOT:

    CATCH 22

  551. anybody ever read THE STONES OF SUMMER by Dow Mossman????

  552. Wah, Sher, me too, I missed the fun.

    I took my laptop, my student’s copy of Twilight and myself up to my bedroom to unpack my suitcase (finally) and clean my room (finally). I watched Twilight in the name of cultural literacy and to see exactly how one becomes a multi-millionaire best-selling author/film-rights seller.

    Then I started watching Stripes and eating yummy spaghetti (made by Andy) then I snuck off to bed with Edward Sawtelle and a fledgling migraine.

    Twilight? Um …. I live with teenage boys. Lyle’s response to Twilight? “Then Buffy drove a stake through Edward’s heart. End of story.” Tristan? “Oh, my, God! The girls in my school are just OBSESSED.” Elliot? “That’s so cool the way Edward ninjas around in the woods.” I tolerated it and then watched Stephanie Myer signing books and receiving huge checks and I bit my left hand off in jealousy.

    Andy is fishing. I am trying to do a mental shift back into being a teacher tomorrow.

    On kids books …. (one of our favorite themes) … anyone remember Merry, Rose, and Christmas Tree June? It’s about dolls and illustrated by Edward Gorey.

  553. SFC, your fave list is so interesting and diverse. Who’s Simon Noonan? Do you mean Simon Doonan, the Barney’s window dude? AND I DIDN’T KNOW JUDITH MOORE HAD ANOTHER BOOK BESIDES FAT GIRL. It’s like Christmas. (Ooh, Caryl, when we were talking about my fave books I TOTALLY forgot Lauren Slater’s LYING, which is a memoir hinged on the premise that the protagonist is a liar so she may or may not be telling the truth, which sounds so device-y that I avoided it for a while and let me tell you it is BRILLIANT.)

  554. SHANNA OH MY GOD you have to read NEVER EAT YOuR HEART OUT. it is one if the finest books ever. EVER.

    and yes simon doonan. start with WACKY CHICKS. SCREAMINGLY funny.

  555. Suzanne–happy to see another M.F.K. Fisher fan in the crowd. LOVE her. HOW TO COOK A WOLF is epic. And timely in these days, except for the stuff she cooks. Some of it’s disgusting.

  556. Suzanne – Wow, that list is impressive. You are one hell of a reader. I am embarrased by having to admit I’ve never read Dickens, Vonnegut, or Updike. Am I allowed to still be a blog baby?

    I have read the following from your list:

    TERMS OF ENDEARMENT – Well, just only seen the movie 300 or so times – Damn, I never knew it was a book. I am horrified …
    CATCH 22

  557. I’ve been thinking all day about books that impacted me. I vividly remember the very first book I read in one sitting, staying up all night to finish because I couldn’t bear to put it down. It was Lightning, by Dean Koontz. I think I was 11 or 12, lol. Incidentally, I’ve been in love with Dean Koontz ever since.

    I also remember reading The Stand and being amazed. It was the first book that made me THINK. I was about 13, I think. I left my copy at school over winter break and had to go to the library to get another copy so I could finish it.

    No one paid any attention to what I read. I think my Dad gave me Cujo as an eighth or ninth birthday present.

    Mo, LOL re: Twilight. And GiGi, I’ve yet to tackle Updike either. I’m glad someone else said it first. 😀

  558. Love me some Dean Koontz . . . still read him whenever a new one comes out . ..

    Got a whole new box of books this week . . . I am set for months!

    Still trying to figure how to read, paint, and take notes at the same time . . . audios are great, but then I lose the notes, then I can’t find them and that doesn’t work for the death bed wish . . . argh. I would be so skinny if I put the laptop over a treadmill like smart people do.

  559. Oh Dean. Lightning was the first I read by him, and it still stands in the #1 spot of fave DK book. I also loved Darkfall which scared the bejesus out of me. THEN there was Life Expectancy. Oh my God. HYSTERICALLY FUNNY. If you haven’t read it, do. It will not let you down. I read it every Christmas Eve and also whenever I need a pick me up.

    Growing up, I read every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on, and I held onto those until I was 12, when my dad got me into Piers Anthony. After that, I read a lot of fantasy and some Sci-Fi, I think because I was already trying to get the hell away from what I knew. Piers Anthony was an important author in my life. The Adept Series knocked me out with its creativity and its alieness, but the Incarnations of Immortality series changed how I thought about religion and opened my eyes up to the idea that life could really, truly be different than the little world my parents had created for me.

    I love Mercedes Lackey. Her Heralds of Valdemar series made me ache to be Chosen. lol. I wanted a Companion of my very own to understand the nuances of my brain. And also to reaffirm what I wanted to know about myself–that I was special and psychic.

    Ayn Rand, whom I’ve already mentioned, made me think about the difference between self and community, responsibility to myself and to others and where that damn line actually lies. I’m still trying to figure it out, but I’m better off for having read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

    I spent my teens and early 20s (early 20s=until Rob and I broke up a year ago), reading romance novels and rotting my brain. Now don’t get me wrong. I have penned 2 little romances my own self (not that I will ever do anything with them but still.) and I enjoy the genre mightily–but. I think it really gave me some unrealistic ideas about romantic life, and I blame that for many things. lol. 🙂

    Now, I read a lot of single titles. Mostly books I’ve gotten from here. 🙂

  560. Also, I went through a phase in high school where I read everything I could find by Stephen King, and again, had the bejesus scared out of me. He did not hold my heart for long though. I spent a lot of time after reading his books sleeping with the light on and trying to scrub certain images out of my mind. The man can write, oh yes he can.

  561. Oooh, Sher wasn’t Grey Gardens wonderful?? Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange were BRILLIANT.

  562. New gravatar. Does it work?

  563. Nope, still your cute face!

  564. I have Grey Gardens on the Tivo! I’m so excited

  565. I thought of another book that had an impact on me..Mr. and Mrs. BoJo Jones. My mom gave me this in high school when I had my first serious boyfriend. I loved the fact that this was my mom’s book and she thought I was adult enough to read it. Although now, I realize she was saying ” Um hello, sex leads to babies, just read this book!” I still read it about once a year. It’s just so good.

  566. I need an avatar, or else I will forrever be Raving Radish, lol. Though it is purple, and I like that.

  567. Amber, you will love it. I am not the biggest Drew Barrymore however, I have a new respect for her. She can really act.

  568. I am Jack’s raving radish…

  569. Since when does forever have two R’s? Geez.

  570. Loved, Loved, Loved – Grey Gardens and thought both Drew and Jessica were brilliant . . . they had the voices exact! it was lovely, watched it twice . . .

    I am now watching a rerun, of my life,

  571. Lol Amy. Speaking of Fight Club, does anyone else read Chuck Palahniuk? I think I read his books in order of increasing insanity and I finally had to stop. They are either totally off the wall or I wasn’t wearing my smart hat and need to try again. Totally wacky stuff.

  572. Damn damn double damn.

    My new gravatar should be my lemur-tailed ass.


  573. Amber, you could totally use your face from the Gafney Peach picture. 🙂

  574. Why do we call it a gravatar? I missed something didn’t I?

  575. Ok,I went and followed all the damn directions and my new one STILL won’t show up.

    It’s just what’s it’s called in WordPress. Did you make yourself an account yet?

  576. Amber – I adore Chuck P. Adore him, he is so great I could cry.

    Bug – Stephen King and I have had a long relationship and it began at age 8-ish when I watched The Shinning on cable. My stepdaughter is reading that book right now. I love the circle of life! Also ADORED Nancy Drew, and when I had winter break in elementary school I checked out 49 books and read them all during that week, and the next, and was stuck at my grammas with chicken pox. To this day i love to find an author and read all of their books in a massive binge.

    Sher – Damn, I missed Drew in that. I just heard all about the original family and house today at work. I was an extra in Drew’s first movie she produced called Whip It (Coming out this fall.) and she actually SPOKE to me. I adore her, but not just because she spoke to me. Its been since ET.

  577. Molly Bug –
    Sometimes the new gravatar takes awhile to appear – like half an hour.

    I am SO GOTHED OUT. This was my weekend dose:
    Yesterday morning, in my ongoing and never-ending quest to plumb the depths of Iodine (thank God Sher accompanies me on this journey), I watched videos by Kate Bush (can you believe I had never heard of her?), the Smiths, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and then watched several videos on YouTube titled Gorgeous Goths or the ilk to get a picture in my head of Tracey. I spent the rest of the day singing “Heathcliff, it’s me I’m Cathy I’ve come home now ….”
    Then I watched Twilight. And today I saw Sweeney Todd, which was very cool. The actors were also the orchestra! So Mrs. Lovett would alternately sing and then go play the tuba and Johanna played the cello, etc. These people were SO talented – each played at least two instruments. Tristan loved it and Elliot sat alone in the second row and never moved (very unusual).

    So, yes, the correct filaments of my brain vibrated to the whole Goth Gestalt, but I gotta say, I could not park in that aesthetic for very long (except for Iodine).

    The closest I ever got personally was when my adopted dog Tuffy and I would walk to the nearby cemetery when I was in eleventh grade and sit around reading Keats (well, I read Keats, not the dog).
    But I never even did the wearing black. I did have a punk phase, which is much more tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing and as I recall involved a lot of pink.

    Andy says I must tell you all that he valiantly left at the crack of dawn, caught his boat limit of fish — all this suffering for me! — and is now cooking dinner. I meanwhile sent money for Eduardo, picked up Lyle, de-liced Elliot’s bed, took E and T to the mall and then to see Sweeney Todd. Ahem. ‘Nuff said.

  578. Not Firestarter? Ha, just wanted to bring King back into it. So I guess Chuck P gets another chance from me… this time with my brain fully engaged. There must be method to his madness.

    I just watched the Susan Boyle video again. *sigh*

  579. Mo! That’s the Sweeney Todd Molly and I saw. Wasn’t it just amazing? Weird, but totally amazing.

  580. Heathcliff! Ahaha. That was the first song of hers that I heard … don’tcha love it?

  581. Amber – Cool! Yeah, it’s the traveling production. It WAS cool. I thought Mrs. Lovett was extraordinary.

    Kittery – Help me out here on the Kate Bush thing. What’s with all the weird ballet moves and big eyes? Is that ironic or not?

  582. I didn’t read as much growing up as you all did. My father thought it was more important to be active. So, I played sports. Then I had to work and play sports. When I think of books that influenced me I recall that J.D. Salinger did but I need to re-read them as I can’t recall why. They probably would not mean the same thing to me now. As an adult I would say that all of Lee Smith’s books impacted me. And now, Haven. But, I am afraid that I will never conquer the lists you all have put out here. If I started reading right now and kept reading until I was dead I doubt I would finish.

  583. Oh no. I don’t know. Ask Sher or Haven. All I can tell you is that when I first saw Wuthering Heights, I snorted and laughed hysterically for about three hours. My best guess is that it’s ‘artistic’ .. beyond that, no clue.

  584. But there’s one version of Wuthering Heights that puts CHILLS on my spine. And I LOVELOVELOVE “Running Up That Hill.”

    And Tori Amos? Pure shudders of pleasure every time I hear that woman and her piano.

  585. Babooshka .. and Army Dreamers..

    Placebo did a cover of Running Up That Hill that I like too.

  586. Babooshka!!! GOOD STUFF!

  587. Hahaha. Very. 🙂

  588. OMG… I was completely ignorant of this Kate Bush Wuthering Heights stuff. What?!

  589. Amber, you have not LIVED. Go immediately to youtube and look up Kate Bush + Wuthering Heights. Be sure to pick the video where she’s wearing a red … outfit.

  590. Oh, oh I have. And I say again… what?!

    I looked up the lyrics… now at least I know what she’s saying. It’s kind of creepy.

  591. Haha. But it’s amaaaazing. 🙂

  592. Alright. I’m off to bed… with visions of Kate Bush sure to haunt my dreams.

    Night, Babies!

  593. Night. 🙂

  594. And now my prior post has disappeared. sigh.

  595. Kate Bush has rocked my world since I was 17. And her first album (which she recorded at 15 – 17) had Wuthering Heights, another favorite of mine in book and song . . .

    Dreamtime. Oh, yeah BIG SKY, Army dreamer . . . the list goes on.

    She was a big part of my opening conscious in the late 80’s/new age phase . . . she and her music remain with me!

    Houdini . . .

    what about Red Shoes . . . Rubberband Girl . . .

  596. Verrry cool, yo..

  597. That duet Peter Gabriel and she did, his Don’t Give Up — it just never failed to leave just dissolved in tears. I just listened to it again to see if maybe I was misremembering it. Nope.

  598. Oh yeah – Don’t Give Up! And later her “woman’s work” in the movie “She’s Having a Baby” . . . i listened to that while I was in labour . . .

    off to the studio . . . I did too much cleaning today, i need some art time!

  599. Good morning!

    Sorry to jump in late (again) — I spent the weekend at a softball tournament with my daughter.

    Sarah — my gravatar is a photo of a flapperish, Clara Bow-type woman (it might even be Clara Bow) reading and eating bonbons in a big, over-stuffed chair. She’s living my dream life. It’s from a birthday card I got from a friend who knows me all too well.

  600. Ghetto Girl: I envy you the virginal experience of reading Updike, Vonnegut…and who was that other one?

    Carrie: You and I are from the same generation of the “Popular Girl” My boys, however, were from the generation that spawned mean girls. I prefer my time.

    Ok, I checked out Atlas Shrugged, but it remained a brick on my bookshelf this weekend as I finished off Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman, then found the other book by her that I own, Here on Earth. I paged through them both finding similarities and paying attention to structure.

    Then I read The Teammates by David Halberstam — again — getting my mind right for another heartbreaking Boston Red Sox season.

    More later, work beckons….

  601. Just caught up.

    Maureen and Amber–I saw that production of Sweeney Todd in San Francisco about a year ago and it was leaving for the national tour. (I’m too chicken to see the Johnny Depp version with real blood.) I thought the actors doubling as the orchestra was very clever–I read that the director of the revival did it to save money! It wore me out but I’m glad I saw it.

    I’m sorry to say I never got into the Little House books…I feel guilty just typing that. 🙂 I got one as a gift but I think I was too old for it. Plus my childhood was about getting by and the whole LH scenario seemed too good to be true. The one book I remember from childhood was Little Women. My single mother in the 60’s wasn’t interested in reading.

    My girls love Harry Potter and the 9-year-old believes in her heart that she will be getting a Hogwarts letter in two years.

    James Frey as Gilderoy Lockhart? Hilarious! JK Rowling says that Lockhart is based on a real person but he’s so pompous he doesn’t get it.

  602. I’m too chicken to see it, too, a la Depp version so let’s just stay home, have some grilled cheese and check out Marley and Me.

  603. Just watched Marley and Me this weekend…talk about get out your hankies!

  604. Vanessa, I LOVE that your 9-year-old is waiting for her Hogwarts letter. I checked the back of every closet for the door to Narnia until I was old enough to drink legally.

  605. Shanna: After reaching legal age, did you find any doors to Narnia? That’s what I want to know.

    Vanessa: Yeah, oh Marley and Me caused me a few sniffles, too, when I looked over at my two dogs snoring and slobbering away on the carpet. The cat, too, I guess.

    Harry Potter was the first big book my youngest read. I remember him tackling it when he was about seven and when it first came out, but was still not a literary phenom.

    He started reading it on a trip to Cape Cod. So about every 25 miles or so he’d look up and say something like: “God, I can’t believe it. This is the most pages I have ever read!” A few miles later: “God, I’m on page 173!”

    We marked our progress to New England by his progress through the Sorcerer’s Stone.

    That was one of the very few enjoyable trips I have ever had on that long treacherous drive.

  606. We have two dogs and my husband was sniffling away…glad the kids didn’t see it.

    My 2nd child is quite smart but seemed to be reluctant to read in first and second grade. I thought, “How could my kid not like to read?” Then I read the first HP to them at bedtime and the kids enjoyed it. Next thing I knew they both had checked out Chamber of Secrets from the school library and it took off from there. I think Hannah didn’t like the books for her age…Magic Tree House, etc. Now in 4th grade she has read all 7 HP books over and over; she says it “calms her down” to read.

  607. I think a seat is reserved for J.K.Rowling in heaven because her books taught so many kids to love reading.

  608. Liz, I’m with you on that observation about HP and JK…by the way, went bike riding yesterday along the Potomac and through Old Town. Had lunch at a place just off King Street. I have to say that I live in a lovely area. But you know that.

  609. My husband and I lived in Alexandria before we had kids; all of our favorite restaurants are still in Old Town, plus some new greats. I love it there. I used to work a temp job in the Torpedo Factory building — I loved my lunch breaks, walking around down there!

  610. I am actually going to leave my house today, and it is about 100′ here right now, to send out packages. I have only left my house three times since Durham.
    I have a few of the books I put together left, so if you want one please email me. Thus far I have them going to George, Carrie and Amy O.

  611. My oldest caught fire with Harry Potter. I remember picking one of them up at the bookstore the day it arrived and he stayed up all night to finish it.

    With my youngest it was Redwall. There was no stopping him with those.

    I am creeping around under a migraine, so I’m going to sign off.

  612. In my family, the buzz started with HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone when my oldest was about seven. While I don’t have a “thing” about witches being satanic or whatnot, I was concerned that scary stuff might be a little TOO scary for a seven year old. [This is from a person who got caught reading THE EXORCIST behind her “Spelling is Fun” textbook in the fourth grade, but whatever.] So I read the book to my son; my four-year-old listened in to most of it. We had so much fun that this became our Harry Potter tradition for all of the books through book five (Order of the Phoenix). By that time my son was — I want to say thirteenish? Book six saw us all dispersed; my son and his father were on their way to boy scout camp, while the girls and I stayed home. So we bought two books and everyone read it on his or her own. Two summers ago, when the last book came out, we were on a family road trip that took us across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and lots of different places in Arizona. We prepared for the release of the last book by listening to the recorded books 1 through 6 all the way across these four states (love the narrator — Jim Dale — a prince among narrators!). We saw the fifth movie in Sedona, and on the way to catch our flight home from Phoenix we stopped in a Barnes and Noble and bought three copies of the newly-released last book. Quietest plane trip ever. My son finished his copy halfway through our flight home and handed it off to me. This trip is a great family memory. Was it the fantastic time spent with relatives? The Grand Canyon and too cool for school mule rides? Or was it maybe the opportunity to stay completely immersed in Harry Potter and never come up for air??

  613. Caryl, xoxox thank you!!!

  614. Liz, what a great memory. I’ve put off reading seven because I need to reread, too (Jim Dale, you say?) — what a phenom is JKR. I also love very much your gravatar (aka a “globally recognized” avatar, Kittery) — the height of hedonism: a book, a sofa, some bonbons.

    Speaking of Bow-ish characters — I’ve always been so fascinated by that story, Jodi — thanks for the heads up there is a new book on the White/Nesbit/Thaw affair. In my (admittedly out-of-focus) mind’s eye, I always pictured her in that red velvet swing on the roof of Madison Square Garden while Thaw took aim at White. I suspect neither swing nor Evelyn was there, but it’s a hard graphic to shake. Time to read American Eve. — Also, standing corrected — thank you, thank you Haven for Bear.

  615. Oh, Caryl, big love and thanks to you.

  616. Wow! Elizabeth Strout has won the 2009 Pulitzer for “Olive Kitteridge!” This is a wonderful book, right, Maureen?

    Elizabeth Strout wins Pulitzer Prize

    Rank outsider Elizabeth Strout has won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her novel, Olive Kitteridge. Strout beat a pack of literary heavyweights, including Philip Roth, John Updike, Toni Morrison, Annie Proulx, Jhumpa Lahiri, and the hot favorite Marilynne Robinson.

    Set in a small town in Maine, Olive Kitteridge binds together 13 short stories. Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, hates change but rarely notices the changes taking place around her.

    Strout was raised in small communities in New Hampshire and Maine. The Pulitzer judges said the book “packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating.”

  617. Carrie ~ The Paula Uruburu book entitled “American Eve,” about the White/Thaw/Nesbit debacle, is a fabulous read. I’m about halfway through, and I’m delighted with the way the author is telling the tale. Let me know what you think — I highly recommend it.

  618. my son pablo loved the WARRIORS cat books, you know the ones? OH! and before that, The Edge Chronicles, all of which i read aloud to him. we also read ERAGON and ELDEST aloud. that hour before bed was our sacred reading time, from age 1 – 10. now he reads on his own, and loves it. the books for children now are so glorious. haven gifted pablo with FROG BELLY RAT BONE, wjich is really unparalleled for young readers 4 – 6. then of course ORVILLE THE DOG and KALINE became staples. i’m giving TONS of books to the salvation army, but i saved those. my back is in a lot of pain from going through boxes under the house today, but i had two stalwart helpers — my ex and my son, so it was doable. tomorrow we tackle the second storage room and the rest of the garage. wed. the SALVATION ARMY truck is scheduled to swoop up about 50 bags and boxes and some furniture. all i can say is: thank GOD they accept books. it’s starting to feel less overwhelming. for this i am truly blessed. then caryl and her son are visiting from LA this weekend and we’re going to do Jack Shit. yay. my back needs a rest: it’s my achilles heel but i ignore it, mostly. epson salts and a hot bath every night seems to do the trick. i’m lucky. i’m insanely lucky, actually. i cannot imagine doing the whole move without help. no offer on the house yet but lots of interest and that’s a good indicator. it will happen. i’ve got sher’s prayer flag, carrue link’s mary beads, st joseph buried in the yard, and a jillion prayers from a lot of places. also? i surrender. that’s key.


  619. Suzanne, someone is going to feel so incredibly blessed when they find your books at SA. I know my children’s shelves are overflowing with the thrift store book bounty.

  620. Jodi — it’s on the hold list. I’ll let you know when I’m halfway through…

  621. Suzanne — I know those WARRIOR cat books; my daughter Molly went through an obsessive phase with them. I love to read big chunky novels aloud to my kids; there’s something so cozy about it. My kids still seem to love it too — our problem with two high schoolers and a middle school girl is to find the time. Usually happens in the summer.

    I read RAMONA THE PEST to each of my kids during the week before he or she started kindergarten — so funny with the “dawnzerly light” and Susan’s boing-boing curls.

    And I read FARMER BOY to my son when he was four. I wasn’t sure he was into it until the scene when Almanzo throws the blacking brush and hits the parlor wall — my son slid off the bed and hid his face, he was so worried about what would happen next.

  622. I need some quote help. Is this really Dickens or just Kermit the Frog in the Christmas Carol:

    Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.

    Either way, it’s beautiful…but I…don’t actually have a copy of A Christmas Carol…don’t stone me…

  623. Molly,

    As best I can tell (quickly), it’s not in A Christmas Carol, but is very like something Dickens has been quoted as saying:

    “But this life is half made up of partings, and these pains must be borne.”

    See this page (and search for “partings”):

    ~ S.

  624. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Sarah?

    Sarah–you’re a gem. Thank you.

  625. Here’s another one, Molly —

    “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” This is from NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, I think.

  626. sfc, make that a jillion and one. your house will sell. fo’ sho’. and i agree with kate, we LOVE books from SA and goodwill. there will be some lucky readers out there.

  627. Carrie-Jim Dale has won multiple Grammys for his readings of the Harry Potter series. Totally mesmerizing.

  628. Vanessa,

    He may have won Grammys for his readings, but Jim Dale is most famous for being Eli, Wild Billy, and Jasper Bloodshy– all in one movie! At least, that’s what he’s known for in our household. That and Barnum, thanks to his many (many) TV commercials for his Broadway show, back in the day.

    ~ S.

  629. i did nothing I wanted to today.

    so am going to bed.

    blah. blech. boooring life without art . . .

  630. Jim Dale = Dr. Terminus in Pete’s Dragon. 🙂

  631. i’m 100% thrilled that elizabeth strout won for olive kitteridge. i loved it, read it in one sitting, wished it were 500 pages…she did something very unique and masterful there….i LOVE the random-ness of the Pulitzer. it’s like, you just never know. i hugely recommend olive kitteridge to everyone!!!!!!! it was sort of shocking, that novel. you’ll see.

  632. Good morning lovely people. I posted a few photos of my pretty daughter in her prom attire in our yahoo album. 🙂

  633. ok.

    1. I will not go back to bed.

    2. I will not sit here on this lap top all day.

    3. I will not eat anymore graham cracker and marshmellow sandwichs which I warm in the microwave for 10 seconds.

    4. I will straighten up the studio and NOT turn on the wax and end up painting for 6 hours.

    5. I will pick 2 rooms to clean, wait, since I have been procrastinating – I need to pick 3 rooms to clean today, possibly if I put on the Iodine audio I will stay put. Nope, that won’t work because then I will start making notes, and still not clean. I will – um – possibly I could listen watch to some documentaries on Netflix while I am cleaning . . . something semi-interesting that will not lead to note taking.

    6. I will go grocery shopping for all my crap I need . . .

    7. I will do all this before 3 pm when teens get home.

  634. Making that to to list makes me want to do #1 in a very bad way.

  635. yahoo yahoo . . . now that is something I can do to procrastinate . . . pictures of Emma . . .

  636. other ways to delay/procrastinate – change your gravatar to pippi longstocking . . . even though it won’t show up for hours

  637. Sher: Why don’t you hire a maid service to come in? Go ahead. Do it. You have my permission.

    Suzanne: Soon as spring takes hold, you’re going to sell and this time next year, you’ll be a regular at the Regulator in Durham. This…I predict.

    Liz in VA: I used to read individual poems — one right after the other — from some collection, think it was called A Treasury of Poetry, to my youngest son. It’s a cherished memory, reading The Highwayman or something by Poe, hearing my son breathing, listening, beside me, he, kicking a cover half-off, fighting sleep because he wanted more words.

  638. Oh George . . . but where would they put all the cluttery stuff that I have piled everywhere – I would have to clean off the 1st layer, so they could clean the surfaces . . . wah!

  639. Tell em to put all that cluttery stuff with the rest of the cluttery stuff: in the garage! (I pile mine on the stairs.)

  640. it’s hopeless, I am procrastinating, but I wouldn’t let anybody touch my stuff . . . they might throw away the broken figurines thinking they are ‘trash’ when they are really art supplies . . . perhaps some shopping will cure the delay . . . then I will have to clean in order to put things away . . .

    but in the meantime I registered on a new art directory online . . .

    life is good, I’m just lazy.

  641. George – email me your address and I will get your painting in the mail . . .

  642. I loved Olive Kitteridge, also her other books, Abide With Me and Amy and Isabelle (not 100% positive on the latter title). Elizabeth Strout was my host at a literary festival recently; I was there as one of the PEN Emerging Voices writers, so she was like my big writer sister for the day. She was SPECTACULAR, everything that you would hope from reading her books, and more. Smart, sassy, NY chic (she evokes a younger Blythe Danner) and so, so generous with her knowledge and her spirit.

    I agree with SFC (and now the Pulitzer committee, so great), this book is a joy.

  643. Sher: Oh boy! I will mail it to you.

  644. The various books and memories that have been swirled around over the past few days are all connected for me: books I loved as a kid, books I loved with my little ones, books they love now, books we love together.

    We stumbled upon THE KING OF SHADOWS, by Susan Cooper, a few years ago, solely because we found the audio version, narrated by Jim Dale. We listened to this wonderful book which involves a boy who travels in time to the Globe Theater, as William Shakespeare is preparing the first performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This led to renting the movie (Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett, Kevin Kline), which we loved.

    Then soon after, we went to a friend’s house because she was hosting a play reading of — you guessed it — “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Normally, these play readings have been a grown-ups and older teens-only thing (the hostess’s rule, not mine). Younger kids listen until they get bored, and then they run off and play in the back yard. So you can imagine that Jonathan’s joy was complete when he (twelve years old) was asked to read the part of Puck.

    Picture him sitting on the floor, curled up with a copy of a Shakespeare play — another great memory.

  645. Sending powerful anti-migraine vibes and all good wishes to Maureen ….

  646. Ditto that send to Maureen….

    Have any of you read yourself or read to your kids the book, Skellig? My son loved it, was entranced by it.

  647. I stumbled upon a book the other night that I LOVED as a child. Has anyone read The Wish Giver? My mom bought me a hardback copy for Christmas, almost 20 years ago and she inscribed it. Very sweet.
    Also, I am re-reading Eat, Pray, Love and man alive, that book is incredible. I read it last year when I was going through a very hard time and things are kind of blurry from then. So it’s like I am reading it for the first time!

  648. AmyO: I liked Eat, Pray and Love — except for the third segment. Here’s the funny thing. I have since tried to read other things by her: Last American Man, Stern Men, and I find it difficult. No, impossible.

  649. I read Eat,Pray,Love early on when there wasn’t a lot of hype so I enjoyed it for what it was. Some of my friends were disappointed when they finally read it because they didn’t see it as life-changing. I thought it was like a nice vicarious vacation.

  650. I think I am relating to Eat, Pray, Love because I am pretty much in the same mindset as the author. She was married, didn’t want children, needed to travel, to find her purpose…I am pretty much right there. I really get her desperation of connecting with God and finding adventure.

  651. george, i just got my hands on a copy of the teammates and plan to devour it today. just read the first couple pages and i am hooked. thanks for the rec.

    much like sher, i am supposed to be cleaning, but there are so many other things i would rather do. i suppose i should start where it is worst: the kitchen and the bathrooms. yek. at least i have done a load of laundry already! baby steps…

  652. And I’m straightening for the cleaning people. They can’t clean if they can’t see any surfaces. 🙂

    I really enjoyed E,P,L and totally understood her need to find purpose. I call it vicarious because she does something I could never do…have faith and take a giant leap out of her comfort zone. I also have a family that I don’t want to leave but it’s fun to think about.

  653. Exactly Vanessa! I could never go to foreign country ALONE! I think I am living vicariously through her too:)

  654. Steph: I could have kicked my own ass for not offering to mail you my copy…it’s a great little book, just wonderfully written and evocative of a time gone by in America that will never, ever return.

    Bottom line: Gilbert had the means to justify her ends! How many others really have that? That said, I do think the second section of the book, when she is in India, was a great spiritual tract. And, frankly, I would love to eat my way through Italy, warming myself after a thorough immersion in England’s County Cornwall and Scotland’s Edinburgh. Or maybe…heading south through Provence and on down to Sicily to satisfy the munchies I would have acquired by a few days’ stay in Amsterdam.

    Dreaming here…

  655. Oooohhhh! George! Pick me! I’ll go on that trip with you and we’ll take Amy. Like Elizabeth Gilbert, we’ll sell the book rights to fund the trip.

  656. Ok, ladies…do we start in England, rent a car and drive or kick it off in Amsterdam and go down by train/ I’m cool either way. Can I take my golf clubs?

  657. Sure, George, same deal as in my house: you take your clubs and we hit up all the spas.

    Never been to Europe so you decide!

  658. My kids all read SKELLIG and loved it; I haven’t read it myself. I used to read almost everything before I let my kids read it — not for censorship so much as to be prepared for questions that might arise. They were all precocious readers, so I worried …. Now that they’re older, I have a hard time keeping up with their reading, which is quite varied as you can imagine.

  659. Liz: My thing was that if my kid wanted to read something — fine, for it. Whatever. There was no such thing as censorship One son tackled Ivanhoe at age nine; another read Maus I and II at age 11. I have wondered about my wisdom in letting Maus through the door, however. He was undone by it, especially after visiting the Holocaust museum.

    Skellig was so strange. My other son and I discussed for days. It still pops up some ten years later.

    Vanessa: I will leave the clubs at home and just join you and Amy at the spa. Let’s be total hedonists and kick this trip off in Amsterdam.

  660. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: George is a man after my own heart. Such a Renaissance Man!

  661. Vanessa: I’m a dolt!!!!!! I can’t even spell rent-a-sauce!!!! Plus, I have gout!!!! You want such a man as that after your own heart? I thinketh not.

  662. Now, now. In the immortal words of Caddyshack:

    Judge Smails: “I’m no slouch.”
    Ty: “Don’t sell yourself short. You’re a tremendous slouch.”

    Just kidding, George. You are a prince among men (and all these female blog babies.)

    I have to collect children from school so I can’t play anymore. Have a good afternoon!

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