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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ten Reasons Why Not to Work at the Jersey Shore

When you live in Philly, the closest coastline is that of the lovely Garden State. Us shoobies (vacationers who mob the shore points and make it miserable for the locals) frequent the beaches from Atlantic City (though I’m not sure if anyone actually touches the water there) to beautiful Victorian Cape May. I, personally, am a big fan of Avalon, Stone Harbor and Seas Isle City. My body, however, is not.

You see I’m allergic to New Jersey. Seriously.

I have to medicate myself with Claritin, nasal spray and allergy eye drops every time I visit the state just so I don’t sneeze myself into a coma. But somehow this doesn’t seem to prevent me from hitting the beaches. And this summer, I made the mistake of thinking I could actually get some work accomplished while hanging seaside. Yeah, not so much.

So I’ve decided to create a Top Ten list of…

Reasons It’s Not Possible to Work at the Jersey Shore

10. If you’re sharing a house with a family that has two small children it might be hard to concentrate over Sesame Street and bedtime tantrums.

9. If the house has five bedrooms and each one is occupied with at least two friends/family members, you’re lucky to get time to use the bathroom alone edit your novel.

8. When your rental house has a security-enabled Internet connection and the owners don’t leave the password, it’s hard to rely on the stolen wireless signals of neighbors long enough to check your email.

7. Nice beach days. ‘Nuf said.

6. You’ve pre-cooked three meals for the household and are now responsible for heating them up. And drinking some wine while you cook, and maybe a little beer…

5. When your options of activities range from sitting in the sun, to walking on the boardwalk, to biking to a nature reserve, to getting ice cream—it’s hard to chose the “edit my novel” option.

4. When the shower is drain is clogged with sand, you have to unclog it. And it can take awhile, so you might need another beer.

3. Little kids make lots of noise—did I mention this already?

2. You’d rather read someone else’s novel while sitting on your beach chair than read you own novel for the millionth time.

And number one….

1. My body breaks out in hives when exposed to Jersey air for more than four days. I’m not joking. My legs and arms look like I have leprosy by the end of the week, and I can only survive on Benadryl for so long before I have to rightfully return myself to the City of Brotherly Love.

Sorry Jersey, but as much as I love your seashells and water ice, there’s only so much this Philly Girl can take.

POP-CULTURE RANT: Twilight

I haven’t seen TV in a week, so I have no boob tube rants to report. But I will say that I’m reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and I’m loving it. I was worried that it might be too “Buffy” with a mortal falling in love with a vampire and all—and I love Buffy, so I’m not willing to accept a lowly substitution. But it’s very intriguing in its own right and I can’t wait to read more. It definitely deserves all the praise it received. However, I’m still upset that Buffy is no longer on and I do sometimes find myself humming the musical while turning the pages.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It’s getting hot in here…

So if you live anywhere in the Northeast, you’re sweating right now. A lot. Like it’s disgusting here—record-breaking, 100 degree temperatures in Philadelphia with humidity that feels like you’re walking through hot sauce.

Even my cat is protesting the heat wave, because let’s face it, you know it’s bad when your cat shows no interest in going outside. She’s barely moving off her chair—except to vomit.

Now, I could keep the air conditioner running full blast to keep from dripping like that girl in the Ring movies. But, a) I don’t want to go broke given that my electricity bill already costs more than my mortgage, and b) if I pump up the AC nonstop doesn’t that mean all those documentaries I watched on global warming were for nothing?

So, yesterday I decided to work at a coffee shop. They’ve got free internet and free air conditioning, which at this point is my vision of heaven. And while there, I ran into a colleague of mine who’s been helping me plan my book launch party. She was also there hoping to suck up the AC. You see, when you live in Philadelphia and your house is four stories high with your office on the top floor, working from home can get a bit uncomfortable. And by “uncomfortable,” I mean you find yourself cursing your own sense of logic at purchasing a 175-year-old, vertical home surrounded by nothing but brick and pavement. So, I’ve resorted to working in my kitchen, which is in my basement, because it’s cooler (really, you gotta visit Philly to understand). That means I’m working surrounded by my dishwasher, my washer-dryer and my HVAC system, which when all running simultaneously can sound a bit like the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan.

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday reaching out to schools in the Philadelphia area about possible speaking engagements in the fall (when my series launches). And I got a great response! Four school districts are already planning to host me. But that’s not the best part. I spoke to my former high school English teacher and she was so sweet!

First, isn’t it nice to just to be remembered? I graduated with about 400 students let’s just say a few years ago. Second, it’s even better when said teacher sends a glowing email that even your grandma couldn’t write (if my grandma were alive and actually able to write in English). And finally, my English teacher forwarded my email to my Spanish teacher who sent an equally nice email—in Spanish!

After this experience, I have to say to all of you writers out there, when the rejections are pouring in and you feel like you can’t write yourself a Hallmark card, think of contacting your high school teachers. Because you wouldn’t have become writers without them, and they deserve to know how much they influenced you. Plus, you get some really uplifting responses in return, which when your knee-deep in miserable responses from editors can make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Not that you need any help in the warm department—at least not until this heat wave ends.

POP-CULTURE RANT: Legally Blonde The Musical

Now, I haven’t seen the Broadway show…yet. But this “reality” competition on MTV is hysterical, and I’m not sure that’s its intention. Some of these girls are trying so hard to act like Elle Woods that they sound like complete crazies. I’m all for showing a little self-confidence, and I love Legally Blonde, but Elle is a fictional character! Her perky spunk is meant for the stage. And looking into a camera and saying that you’re “awesome, blossom, fabulous, fantastic,” might be taking things one bend-and-snap too far.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Summer Blockbuster: Wedding Crashers Meets the Perfect Storm

I may have mentioned this before but the year I got married, my husband and I attended TEN weddings (ours being the 10th). My world revolved around the never-ending flow of ivory invitations. That was almost four years ago. And you’d think the wave would be over. How could we possibly know more people?

Um, we do.

We were invited to five weddings between last August and now. Three were held on the same day—seriously—of which we attended two (drove from Philly to Princeton and back again). My husband was asked to be a groomsman in one and the best man in the other. Between now and October, we have another five weddings. Of which I am a bridesmaid in one. Three are destination weddings.

In the last three months, I’ve gone to two baby showers, and I was invited to three bridal showers and a bat mitzvah. My husband just attended a bachelor party last weekend, and I have a bachelorette party coming up.

It is The Perfect Storm.

All those friends and relatives who got married the year I did are now having babies, so their showers and first birthday parties are clashing with the new crop of brides who are having their own showers and receptions. Then toss in the fact that we’re all also turning 30, and thus hosting numerous surprise parties (including my own), and you’ve got yourself a heaping stack of RSVP cards (plus an uncanny ability to navigate an online registry).

We put Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn to shame. And we can party like them too. Because despite our rapidly filling calendars, we love our friends and we love a good a wedding band. Come on, open bars are awesome!

So, just to add to the madness, I’ve decided to plan my book launch party right in the middle of the chaos. In a three-week span in September, I’ll attend two weddings (one of which I’m in) and host my book party.

And I have to say, preparing for this does kinda take me back to my wedding planning days. I’ve gotten to check out different venues, meet with caterers, negotiate prices, plan a guest list and talk to vendors. I even have a meeting planner who’s offering her advice. And I’ve got a theme!

Now if I could only wear my wedding dress….do you think a tiara would be too much?



Us at our last wedding. Can you tell its the end of the night?

POP-CULTURE RANT: So You Think You Can Dance

So, I understand it’s hard to disagree with your boss. And I get that Nigel Lythgoe is the executive producer of the show, but you’d think occasionally these judges sitting beside him might express a difference of opinion. It’s like they all sit there waiting for their great leader to give the thumbs up or down before they dare speak their minds. If Nigel’s “on the fence,” then they all are; if he then says “yes,” then they all suddenly say yes. I don’t think I’ve seen a judge disagree with him yet. Come on, people, even Paula disagrees with Simon sometimes. Show some backbone!

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