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DEC
10

Holiday Blunders Thus Far


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Ran out of Christmas cards

Sent a portion of my address list cat stationary instead

Went to Michael’s on a Saturday in December

Went to Michael’s in December

Went to Michael’s period

Loaded 40 unwrapped ceramic loaf pans in my trunk

Drove over a curb with 40 unwrapped ceramic loaf pans in my trunk

Went back to Michael’s to replace broken ceramic loaf pans

Asked someone if Harry and David pears arrive ready-to-eat

Went ahead and cut into the just-arrived pear and found it not at all ready to eat

Missed the rehearsal for my office Christmas party’s flash mob

Donated a gift basket with a copy of each of my books to a jewelry auction because one of them is about jewelry and doesn’t that sort of count?

Picked a recipe for this year’s holiday treats that involved candied oranges

Drove all over town looking for candied oranges

Went to Trader Joe’s (found candied oranges) on a Saturday in December

Went to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday

Went to Trader Joe’s period

 

It’s going to be a long month.

NOV
12

Cat Lady

There's something very socially damning about being a single woman with a cat. I'm not sure why this is. Other than the stereotypical Cat Lady image that has proliferated from the one woman we all know whose house is overrun with them, stinky, hairy, and with a shocking lack of separation between human spaces, dishes, and food and cat spaces, dishes, and food. This lady will inevitably be single, (because who would really want to get with that?) and so there you have it. The Single Woman with a Cat Stereotype Inevitability.

For me, the threshold has always been multiple cats. Sticking to one, I maintain, is just normal pet ownership. Now, I do own cat "things." There's a cat quilt on the back of my chair at work. There's a cat clock on my desk. I have a few cat tank tops I wear to the gym. I hardly think that's Cat Lady territory, but it does show that I like my cat enough to admit that I like having a cat. When I got to work on Halloween, the girl who had dressed up as a Cat Lady (grey curled wig, stuffed cats sewn onto a ratty bathrobe) shouted over to me excitedly, "For you!" I guess because...I'm a Cat Lady?

And perhaps I am. I did admit to her that I liked the pants she was wearing, a rather psychedelic pattern of colorful cat heads, and half-joked that she could give the pants to me after Halloween if she was looking to get rid of them. I had forgotten about this until last week when the pants showed up in an intraoffice envelope on my desk at work. I became immediately embarrassed that I had asked for them (like, to wear for real), but, as you can see from the above picture, really, what's not to love about cats on cats?

Maybe don't answer that.

OCT
30

Scotland

Since fiction has thus far proved to be out of my wheelhouse, all the characters in my books are real people. And there’s a character in my latest book who passed away before I had the chance to visit him in Scotland. I made a promise when he died that someday I’d make the trip, and while there were other reasons why I wanted to go (the beauty, the piece of my heritage), I found myself thinking about this person the most. I’d wonder if I was walking down any of the streets he walked or seeing any of the things he’d seen. Weird, isn’t it? This person who has been gone from this planet for almost a decade. This person with whom it probably never would have worked, as it hadn’t in either of our previous attempts. But there’s something about the unfinishedness of it all that made me extra pensive as I strolled along Scottish sidewalks.

Scotland was, in a word, breathtaking. I kept trying to define the bright shade of green that covers all the hills. It’s in the kelly family, surely, but so much more striking than any kelly you know. And complemented perfectly against the rich aquamarine tones of the sea that hug the shoreline. So if you get high enough, the combination of green against blue is one you’ll wish could be re-created in your regular life. It won’t be though. And that’s what gets me about this trip. See, someone close to me explained it once. After having witnessed something beautiful, she wept when it was over. This happens to many of us from time to time, being moved to the point of tears. But her explanation for the tears has stayed with me, in that she said she was crying for herself, for the fact that she would never witness this thing again. In that moment, it seemed too much to bear; that there could be such beauty in the world yet her exposure to it so limited. And that’s really the only way I can describe how it felt to drive away from the Highlands, having just stood alone in the Quiraing, nothing but a sea of this unnamed electric kelly green all around. Gaelic music played as I followed the path of the Loch Ness back into town, a few tears hot on my wind-burned cheeks. Because I would never see this again. And how was that fair? How could I exist knowing it was there and I wasn’t seeing it?

It’s a question I would have asked my departed friend, over pouches of greasy food and a couple of weathered notebooks open between us. And while it doesn’t make me wish any less that he were still here, I suppose the upside is that he never has to stop seeing it. And I bet the view is spectacular.

OCT
11

Life is Beautiful

I attended the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last month. Ironic then that the man who opened fire at the Route 91 festival a week later was supposedly in a rented B&B a week earlier, looking over those of us at the Life is Beautiful festival, ready to make his move if he saw the right opportunity. I remember thinking to myself that it would be a particular blow to humanity’s morale if at the very fest where the beauty of life (art, culture, ideas, music, and, naturally, food) was being celebrated, a large contingent of it was taken. For my own sake, I remain grateful the shooter didn’t pick my festival, and remain horribly sad and disturbed that he picked any festival at all. I mean, should any of us have to spend these festivals—or any event with large gatherings—worried about this? What’s beautiful about that kind of life? 

It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot, and I know others have too. I’ve never heard more people remark about their uneasiness (to the point of changing future plans) at attending large events. I’ve never seen certain of my friends so down (to the point of not feeling up to their normal activities). “It’s a numbers game,” a lady at work mentioned after the Vegas shooting. Implying that the randomness and general uncommonness (when compared to how many concerts and festivals happen in the world every day) suggest you’ll probably be OK. But that hardly feels comforting. And even though we accept the possibility of our demise every time we so much as get in the car every morning, I understand our collective pause over this. I do.

And yet.

We must live our lives.

So I flew to Albuquerque over the weekend and took in the hot air balloon festival with an estimated 80,000 other people. It’s not that it didn’t occur to me that it would have only taken one of them to make tragedy for the rest of us, but I pushed through those side-minded anxieties and took in the world from a sky-high balloon as the sun rose. There were balloons in every direction up there, everywhere, all of us rising together in a mass ascension. When it comes to memorable views, I’ve never seen its equal.

The bottom line, see, is that life really is beautiful. It’s beautiful every day. I hope we can remember that. And I’d rather go out on a hot air balloon at sunrise than sitting in my house worrying about the state of the world. But maybe that’s just me.

SEP
20

Smell Like a Woman

A certain gentleman in my circle gave me Chanel No. 5 for my birthday a few months ago. For the record, I had never before owned Chanel No. 5. I had never before even smelled Chanel No. 5. It’s just out of my league; one of those perfumes I always figured I had no business wearing.

Anyway, it’s not about the perfume. That’s not what I’m stuck on. Rather the note this gentleman had written on the accompanying card. “Time to smell like a woman,” it said.

Time to smell like a woman.

It’s an age I’m not crazy about, so maybe you can read in these words a sweet and comforting message of encouragement about embracing my status as mature woman. But that’s not how I read it at the time. I, in fact, became rather internally panicked about what, exactly, I’d been smelling like up to that point. An adolescent? And what does that even smell like? Exclamation? Sunflower? The vanilla fragrance from Anthropologie I’ve been wearing for years?

The gift made me wax pensive over maturity, and over what life looks like before and after that point. This particular gentleman is the epitome of mature, in that he’s older, owns a sizable and expertly-furnished home, and fills it with art and sculptures and pictures from his world travels. Whereas the last time we were at my house (a small one-bedroom beach cottage with furnishings from IKEA), I had to scrounge through cupboards just to find a glass out of which to offer him a beverage. Do you see the difference? Do you see why his gift made me panic? Because now I’m convinced my whole life wreaks to him of adolescence. Except, isn’t this more minimalist-style life I live equally valid? Aren’t I still a legit adult woman even without the Chanel?

When I moved to Manhattan a few years ago, I downsized to probably only 10% of what I owned. I did this because I had to fit my large Midwestern home’s worth of goods into a 350 square foot studio apartment. And I’m not saying it wasn’t hard—seeing your costly possessions strewn about your yard and driveway being purchased for pennies can be depressing, as can realizing that you no longer really “own” anything even as a mature adult woman—but what I am saying is that I liked being so minimal. I liked only having what I needed. I liked the ease with which I could clean and pack. I liked knowing if I needed or wanted to up and move again, which, incidentally, I did a short time later, it would be a cinch. I liked being so transportable. I liked defying the Laws of Suburbia which state that possessions are what make us happy and determine our level of success.

Now that I’m in a (slightly) bigger home—one that actually has a bedroom—I’ve re-acquired some things, but for the most part I’m still pretty minimal. And it works for me. Now, would I be more attractive to this gentleman if I had stemware, artwork, and a bed and dresser I hadn’t assembled myself? I guarantee it. But if I’ve learned anything from his gift, it’s that being a woman doesn’t have to look—or smell—a certain way. Of course, I’ve also learned that Chanel No. 5 is divine, so let’s just call that a bonus.

SEP
04

10 Things I Wish I'd Realized Before Invisalign

10. It’s not just the trays. It’s also these sort of sharp, notch-like things that are adhered to several teeth. Unsexy, yes, but that’s not really the complaint. The complaint is that they are annoying. And getting them drilled off at the end of all this was so painful that I almost asked the technician to hold my hand. (True story. I didn’t know what else to do.)

9. You’ll feel like you talk funny with your trays in, but people won’t really notice it. So don’t even bother prefacing every meeting or presentation by apologizing for your sexy Invisalign lisp, because no one would have even noticed it. And it’s not sexy.

8. Your teeth will hurt. All the time. It’s pretty much constant, in that anytime you eat something with any kind of crunch or chew to it, you’re going to feel soreness in the deep center of your teeth. Every day. Every meal.

7. Your teeth will move. Like, all of them. Easily. And soon. Even if you can’t see it, it’s happening. On day 3 of Invisalign, my old retainer, the one I’d been wearing for upwards of 15 years, would no longer fit. As in would not even go on my teeth. At all. The upside of this is there is potential for very real progress, and in relatively short order. The downside is you may get more movement than you want. Or at least feel freaked out all the time, to the point of nightmares, about things going horribly wrong. Oh, just me? OK then.

6. You’ll be annoyed with the trays (removing them for meals, cleaning them, not being able to chew gum, etc), but you’ll get so used to them that you’ll actually prefer having them in. As in you’ll feel anxious after a meal until you can brush your teeth and get your trays back in. Ah, all is right with the world. The little guys are all buttoned up tight. Also just me? Yikes.

5. Keep your trays with you (like on your person) when you travel, in case someone steals your suitcase from the overhead bin when you land at JFK for a business trip. You won’t have underwear, clothes, or shoes, but dammit, you’ll have your next set of Invisalign trays ready to go and your orthodondist will be so proud.

4. Your teeth won’t feel smooth after the Invisalign is over. Pretty sure when they drill the notches off, it removes the smooth top layer of tooth. Is this possible? It’s certainly what it feels like. Other than my front two teeth, which remained notch-free during this process, my other teeth feel a bit gritty. I’m obsessed with running my tongue along my teeth now to feel the contrast. This is kind of sick.

3. Your teeth will need whitening after.

2. The thing you were trying to fix won’t end up fixed. Not that this is the case for everyone, but just be prepared. They aren’t braces. Especially if you choose an “Express” experience like I did, it’s not as extensive as the full process would normally be. And sure, they took molds of your mouth and ran the whole thing through a state-of-the-art computer system that mapped out a plan that was then debated by and ultimately carried out by exceptional and watchful orthodontists, but what does THAT really mean?

And the #1 thing I wish I’d realized before Invisalign:

Your teeth are already straight.

I guess if I could sum up I’d call the whole thing overkill. I was told I was a perfect candidate (already had braces, just need a small correction), but the near-perfectness of my teeth meant that there was always a risk not only that the small correction wouldn’t fully correct, but that other movement of teeth would ultimately leave me worse off. Or at least liking my former smile better. Not that I’m saying this happened or that it was all bad. My bite is better aligned, that I can tell. And my teeth overall are probably a teensy bit straighter. The fact that the thing I wanted fixed really wasn’t fully fixed does sort of bum me out, but I have to keep this all in perspective and realize that my teeth were straight before and they are straight now. This is not a crisis.

(To be clear, I would readily recommend Invisalign to anyone wanting to straighten their teeth. It’s not as intrusive or life-altering as braces, and it does move teeth very effectively.)

AUG
03

People Suck

At least the ones who steal your carry-on suitcase directly from the overhead bin. I know what you’re thinking. It was a mix-up, right? But just take a look at this butterfly-and-flower-riddled bag pictured above and tell me if it’s even possible to accidentally mistake it for your own crappy black one. The answer you’re looking for is no.

It’s true. I was robbed. Of some very precious things, I might add. But I don’t want to focus on that. It’s depressing. I’d rather focus on the rather unexpected things that happen when you fly to New York City for a work trip and end up with no possessions.

There’s a rather clarifying sensation that settles in once you stop crying over your loss, and that is the ability to deduce what it is that you actually NEED while on this trip. And I can tell you the answer to that question is underwear. It’s really the ONLY answer, which is why instead of spend your first evening catching up with a friend at a favorite Harlem eatery (yes, I said favorite Harlem eatery), you'll schlepp it from the hotel to the nearest Victoria’s Secret. Learning this, that underwear is really the bedrock of existence, will feel somewhat revelatory.

The CMO of your company, and probably the fanciest lady you know, might invite you to her hotel room when you and your lack of luggage arrive. Her Manolos will be lined up in a row, and she’ll tell you to pick a pair to wear the following day at the tradeshow you’re working. (Remember, you have no shoes.) It’ll be the first time you’ve ever worn Manolos, and you’ll enjoy learning—even for one day—what that feels like. For the record, it feels like pain, but that won’t matter. And you won’t even begrudge her when she asks for them back the next day due to her outfit being perfectly tailored to Those Shoes. You might learn you’re pretty happy just being a regular person.

While trying on the clothes of a co-worker and complaining about them all feeling tight, she’ll point out that you’ve been hiding your cute little body in clothes that are too big. You’ll feel real slutty in leopard print tops and vampy red skirts that hug your curves and restrict both your breath and your step, but remember, short of spending a bunch of money on new clothes that you really can’t afford and that you can’t transport home anyway because you no longer have a suitcase, you don’t have a choice. And so you get to experience the week while wearing the clothes of this other person. You won’t feel like yourself, and how odd that is, to exist as not you, but at the end of it all, you’ll find yourself wanting to go out and buy a tight skirt.

A friend will subway it from 145th Street, in the rain, and bring dresses wrapped in plastic for you to try on for the gala you need to attend. People will tell you at said gala that they’d have had no idea the dress wasn’t yours. And the willingness of people to help, to step up, to comfort, and to tell you how nice you look in your slutty red skirt or baffling gaucho pants will remind you that not everyone is a thief. Not everyone does horrible things just because they can. Not everyone sucks. It won’t bring back your precious things, but in the grand scheme of things, I’d say that’s a win.

JUL
16

Tradeoffs

I would give a writing update, only I don't have one. Like, none at all. Because I haven't been writing. It's shameful. Not to say there's nothing in the works, because I did recently get asked to contribute to a book of essays being published and had a fun (read: rather torturously self-reflective) time writing that one, and I may be part of a group of single women writers launching a blog forum in the near future, so, there are writerly things happening. But as for progress toward my next book, who has the time? The answer is, not me.

There's a reason all my writing (and reading) time has disappeared, and it's because I joined a gym at the start of the year. Yes, I've become a gym rat. And I hate it. Or maybe what I mean is that I hate that I love it. In my defense though, it's not a typical gym. No sweaty, beefy body-building types. It's actually a wellness center that partners with a local hospital and focuses on rehabilitation, but also offers stellar classes and top-notch amenities. Honestly, it's nice. And while I do at times grapple with feeling like by paying the hefty membership fee that I'm contributing to White Privilege at its finest, it's a pretty incredible facility.

So there go all my weekday evenings.

And weekend mornings.

It's not so much that I want to get my money's worth (I totally want to get my money's worth), it's more that I set a fitness resolution at the beginning of the year. My usual method when it comes to resolutions is to set a crap load of them and then hope to hit at least some of them, at least the easy ones like "Take more vacations." But when you split yourself and your intentions so widely, I find it harder to really make progress. So this year I set only two resolutions, one fitness oriented and the other finance oriented. So while my writing efforts have gone to pot, we're halfway through the year, and both my fitness and financial resolutions are still on track, and to me that is satisfying.

Tradeoffs are such a bitch.

(PS - if you're looking for an interesting read featuring an excellent essay about how women have taken back "bitch" and are now coming for "crazy," check out All the Lives I Want. From Anjelica Huston to Sylvia Plath, the author delves into societal topics, mostly related to women, that don't get talked about enough. Or really ever.)

JUL
02

San D after 2

After celebrating my two year mark, here’s what I’ve come up with:

 

Cons

Buying a home (and really accumulating savings in general) is a pipe dream (-25)

Sunburns (-5)

Mysterious yeast-based skin condition (hypothetically) (-20)

Traffic (-50)

No plastic bags at grocery stores (-3)

Lots of black widow spiders (-10)

Drought (-7)

Lots of Golden State Warriors fans (-12)

Total: -132

 

Pros

No snow (+30)

The ocean (+25)

Disneyland proximity (+20)

Family proximity (+35)

Sunshine (+40)

Sparkly job (+18)

Ideal temperature range (+50)

Sports/Oscars not on late at night (+5)

Total: 223

 

Some might say I have screwy priorities. I say, I think I’m doing alright.

JUN
17

Picture This

Picture booking a trip to Cleveland for game 6 of the NBA finals and then realizing with your team down 3-0 that game 6 is likely not to happen. Picture changing your plans at the last minute and booking the last seat on a plane to Cleveland for game 4. Picture lugging the dresses and heels and suits you wore over a week-long work trip with you across the country, as the last minute-ness of the change in plans doesn't allow you to go home first.

Picture upsetting your ex's family by asking in this state of last minute-ness (ie. no hotels available) if you can crash with them for a night. Picture sobbing in an airport bathroom when you realize the door to their friendship is no longer open, even though this is probably as it always should have been.

Picture getting pulled over in Cleveland and trying to get out of a ticket when you say you're here for "the game" and have a California drivers license. Picture the Cavs shirt you're wearing saving the day. Because it does.

Picture winning.

Of course, I could tell you to picture it all falling apart in the next game anyway, but that really doesn't matter. Because if you can picture 20,000+ fans erupting in unison after each (record-breaking) three-pointer, if you can picture being unable to keep yourself from jumping to your feet every possession, if you can picture the glee in watching Steph Curry momentarily being made to look like a lost little boy, if you can picture hope and belief in their most unadulterated forms ("Cavs in se-ven!"), then you will have gotten what you came for.

So picture that.

 

MAY
21

Eat Drink Read

When I showed up at the Eat Drink Read fundraiser for the San Diego Council on Literacy, it didn't end up being quite what I expected. A pretty literary person, when I'd heard that chefs would be creating food and drink based on their favorite books, I guess I'd been picturing book books. The classics. You know, Frankenstein or something. But right away I could tell the approach from pretty much all the chefs was something much lighter.

They'd picked children's books, see. And the night was much more delightful for it. Eclairs for Pinocchio's nose. Scattered bean sprout topping for the hungry caterpillar. Mountains of chocolate frosting for Wonka's factory. By the time I finally got to a chef who had tried be somewhat adult in his presentation (The Little Prince had been his book of choice), the chef's thickly-accented description of his ravioli covered in a sauce made from a special kind of cheese I had never heard of was so boring that it was all I could do not to literally RUN over to the Alice in Wonderland table as fast as possible where they had bubbles of hibiscus tea that popped when you oyster-style poured them in your mouth and liquid-nitrogen-soaked cheese cubes that were still smoking as you swallowed. Now that's what I'm talking about. Ravioli? Psssshhh.

The event was a fundraiser, so I was happy to pay the overpriced ticket. Because literacy is such a crucial need, and I think about that not just as a writer and a businesswoman, but as a person with a curious and functioning mind. Learning to read is such a given for so many of us. But that's not the case for everyone. And even when I think about learning to read myself, it's something that's always been easy for me. I read well and I read fast. Again, this is not the case for everyone. And the overall prioritization of literacy, of resources, and of reading-rich communities is something near and dear to my heart.

So read on, San Diego. And I'll be there again next year, front and center, looking for the Frankenstein table as usual.

MAY
11

On Writing about your Love Life

There are some benefits to writing a book about your love life. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any, but don’t let that deter you if you’re considering the same. The good news is that you’re likely not in touch with any of your exes, so they won’t even know you’ve written a book. Again, let me reiterate: THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS. If, however, you ARE in touch with any of your exes (“in touch” means connected via social media, naturally), they might see you’ve written a book, but they’ll have no idea they’re in it, which means their comments like “You’re the real deal, Tali!” will trigger equal parts mischievous delight at your own stealth and acute horror at how close they’ve come to figuring it out.

Inevitably there’s One Ex to whom you’re still fairly connected. Let’s say, hypothetically, that this One Ex is whom the bulk of the book is about and it ends with him breaking your heart in epic fashion. Hypothetically. If you have such an ex, trust me: he won’t read it. THIS IS ALSO VERY GOOD NEWS.

Then there is the matter of future men you may date. Not that admitting in your book that you go to church and wish alcohol didn’t exist will leave you a particularly large number of interested suitors, but the point is, if they do read your book, they’ll know your game. They’ll know how you approach a relationship. They may know better how to woo you, but they’ll also know when you’re on your way out. They’ll be able to read the signs, because they literally already have. It’s an interesting situation, honestly, and in recent weeks I’ve had a potential suitor who wanted to discuss my first-chapter theory that most of the time you make up your mind about romantic compatibility right away, another who admitted the book made him think about how he would approach dating me if it ever got to that point, and yet another who told me he sides with my One Ex (the #1 way to not get lucky, by the way).

And we can’t forget the family contingent, because if there’s anyone who’s going to lose their mind reading about your romantic exploits, it’s your mother. And father. And possibly everyone else related to you. Not that your family was ever intended as your target audience, but you’ve got to give it to them, this right to be traumatized and to describe the book using charming descriptors like “painful to read.” But it’s OK, because you know they love you. You know they are proud of you. You know mostly they are just glad you’re no longer mixed up with the sumbitch you dated more than a decade ago. MORE VERY GOOD NEWS.

So, see, it’s not all bad. Sure, your family hates it and your exes avoid it and your future dating life is entirely in jeopardy, but it will all be worth it when a woman approaches you on behalf of her daughter who’s just gone through a rough breakup. You’ll sign a book for her, for her daughter too, and for just that moment, the two of you will be connected in a way that has you both clasping your hearts. It will all be worth it when a young man tells you, in tears, that he’s just finished the book and is so impressed by how accurately you’re able to describe “what this feels like.” Because these things will happen to you. They’ll happen to you a lot. And they’ll remind you why you write in the first place; why it’s so important to remind people of the simple truth that we are all the same.

APR
16

The Birthday Effect

It’s birthday month. I love birthday month, but it takes a toll. On my waistline. Take that with a grain of salt though, because I’m one of those fortunate (unfortunate?) waifs who seem to be just as waif-like despite my diet. You’d think it’s a blessing, which it is, but it’s doing nothing for my 2017 effort to bulk up a little in the muscle department. Every day I look at my scrawny, shapeless arms and think, “And I’m drinking nasty protein shakes for THIS???

The point of this was not to talk about my pointless gym membership. The point was to tell you that there’s an entire birthday cake in my fridge right now. And that I will begin eating said cake now that the first cake has been consumed. Both of these cakes were gifted to me by gracious, loving friends, and I try to still think of them as gracious and loving even when they force me to do things like eat a dinner of red velvet with cream cheese frosting followed by a dessert of half a candy bar and brownies. I mean, it’s bad, people. The other night I ate a S’mores cupcake for dinner. The cupcake incident, which is pictured above and which went down in my gym parking lot, was tough to pull off in my car, while reading a book, with no napkins (when I was done I opened the car door and proceeded to rub my sticky hands together until the sticky seemed spread out enough to let me turn the page without leaving any smudges). And then I grabbed my gym bag and went inside to the 6pm body pump class. You could say I’m just not understanding the concept of what’s required to be fit. I say, it’s Birthday Month.

MAR
19

The Signing at Loganberry Books

It's hard to beat Loganberry Books when it comes to intricate and charming details, literary nostalgia and whimsy, and let's not forget sheer size. It's a deceivingly large store, with ladders and chairs and pillows and tables. In short, it's the full bookstore package. Plus, they have a cat.

I'd done a few events there in the past, but always as part of a larger book fair featuring many authors. My first solo event, it wasn't as well-attended as I had hoped (you know, like in author dreamland where every person you invited and/or know shows up and you sell out of books) but I do have to remember that I don't live there anymore. It's not as if I can claim it as my own. Or bug my co-workers by incessantly reminding them that THIS IS THE WEEKEND of the book signing. Um, not that I did this with my California signing. How needy.

Cleveland is a special place for me because I spent so many years there, surely, but also because of the kinds of relationships I formed while I was there. And because the book I was in town to celebrate is the "love" book, of course that had me waxing pensive over how many men I met and dated there. One of the main exes I mention in the book is still in town, and, if I'm being honest, I had thought I wanted him to be there. I mean, three books? Don't I deserve that kind of support for being an ex that's just so damn prolific? But during the event I grew uneasy at the thought of navigating the conversation. "So, great book, Tali. I really enjoyed the part where you spilled the beans about the cowardly way in which I broke your heart." I mean, all's fair, (meaning he gets to break my heart and also that I get to broadcast the deets Taylor Swift style by writing about it), and truth is an absolute defense, but maybe some relationships really do work better in the past tense. It's why I'm a writer. It's why I'm single. It's why I probably need some new book tour cities in my circuit.

 

MAR
05

Warwick's Book Signing

Last weekend may have been my best book signing ever. And it wasn't just because of the turnout...which was amazingly good. It's also because it's the one that felt the most party like, the most celebratory, the one with the most smiles, the most hugs. I just felt so damn supported. Surrounded by people who were genuinely happy for my achievement...and also anxious to read the new book.

I was remarking to someone afterward about the relative letdown of an event like this being over. Because that's all I get. Those two hours of being the focus of a party held in the city where I live is all an author like me gets. An encouraging boost in both confidence and royalties, the first month after a book is released is pretty much the best. "It's all downhill from here," I remarked to someone a couple of days ago. Which when it comes to book sales, barring some fortuitous intervention of luck, it is. Besides, there can only be one launch party. And once it's over, you won't be able to rally a crowd in the same way until your next book comes out.

And so that probably explains why I savored every moment at Warwick's last weekend. Because the day was mine. Completely. And surrounded by a helpful staff, customers as loyal to Warwick's as any bookstore I've ever seen, family, and friends, it's more than enough to keep me going.

One thing to note about this signing in particular was that it got a lot of the "strangers" involved. Meaning customers who just happened to be at the bookstore that day and were not there specifically to see me. Because the party was such a force (champagne! a candy bar! tons of people! a photographer!), people wanted in. Or, at the very least, they wanted to see what the hell was going on. And in many cases, these customers participated in the festivities. They bought books and had me sign them. They told me stories about gems they loved, or about hearts that had been broken. There's a picture in the smattering you'll see below that shows me wearing a pained expression, hands over my heart. It's because one of these customers, a complete stranger to me, had just told me about her daughter's recent heartbreak. And who can't relate to that? Which is why I love this book so much. "Can you give her some words of advice?" the mother asked as she handed me a newly-purchased copy to sign. "Here's to love," I wrote. And just underneath, I added, "Because, eventually. Right?"

One can only hope.

FEB
14

Happy Launch Day!!!

I know it won't eclipse Valentine's Day for anyone else but me, but Happy Launch Day for my new book!! Welcome to the world, Fooled. May it be as loved and inspiring as it's been to me over the past couple of years. And may my exes not hate me for writing about them.

Here's to love.

You, dear readers, certainly have mine.

Today and always.

FEB
09

Golden *what?*

And then it was Valentine’s Day. Well, almost. Seriously though, I’m not sure how this happened. A friend mentioned I hadn’t blogged yet in 2017 and I didn’t believe him. True that January was taken over by book preparations, so, there’s that, plus I’ve just spent 10 days in Arizona at a couple of jewelry shows. (Post to follow at some point.)

But back to Valentine’s Day. Because I sort of forgot about it until walking into a donut shop while on the road and seeing trays of heart-shaped donuts. I bought one. Naturally. And then I started thinking about love. It’s not a huge priority for me, really. Which seems odd to say. I certainly miss love, and hope I find it again, but it’s not something I’m willing to devote a lot of time to. Mostly because the odds of a return on investment being at all worthwhile always seem pretty slim. And I’d rather spend my time writing books and perusing gems than going on crappy dates.

I read a book recently that proved what I have always suspected: there aren’t enough men to go around. Or, more accurately, there aren’t enough college-educated men to match the number of college-educated women. It’s actually causing a big problem at universities, where the male students have so many options that the term “golden cock syndrome” exists, whereas the female students will not only struggle to secure one of the available men, but will also struggle to find one that isn’t taking full advantage of the syndrome’s benefits (ie. tons of women wanting to have sex with you).

Not looking to make a generalization here, I’d just like to point out that I have observed, even well past my college years, that golden cock syndrome is still alive and well in the adult male community. It can be hard to find someone who’s interested in monogomy, and with so many other women also seeking a man, I’ve met many men who are consequently not very motivated to make sure the experience you have with them is a positive one. Because when you’re in high demand (meaning you are desirable and in short supply), burning bridges isn’t really that concerning. It’s the same reason why Disney handled me with such little care back when I was offered an internship. It was a crappy deal, but if I didn’t take it, there’d be a line of others who would. So it didn’t matter to them that my overall experience was negative and that I ultimately turned them down. It affected them and their ability to fill that internship ZERO MUCH.

It’s gotten so rare for me to be impressed after a date that when it happened last week, word spread to my family at such speed that I received calls and/or texts from all of my siblings the next day. The hope! Don’t get me wrong. I have it too. The hope. I hope for a man so crazy about me that he doesn’t want anyone else. And I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who are as decent as they are interested in being faithful. I know they exist. They’re just harder to find.

In the case of last week’s date, the feeling did not appear to be mutual, which, of course, is the other side of this equation. Meaning even if you find a man you could be interested in, he has to think the same thing about you, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. My track record would, in fact, suggest that I am exactly NO ONE’S cup of tea. But, again, there is hope. And always will be. In the meantime, I’m having another donut.

DEC
31

On Waxing Pensive at Year End

I remember in high school being asked by an English teacher to make a list of things I wanted to do before I was 30. It was an interesting exercise for a class of teenagers from a very small town, where dreaming big wasn't something that always came naturally, but I took it very seriously. I was one of those who could always be counted on to dream big.

Some things on the list I accomplished in time (publish a book), others I did not (have a baby), but I'm a firm believer that showing up late to the party is better than never showing up at all. Besides, on this New Years Eve of goal-setting and course-correction, aren't we always sort of working on becoming who we want to be, regardless of when we thought we'd get there?

The thing I remember most vividly about that high school list is the following item: "Fly over the ocean." I put this down because it was a big deal to me. Something, again, being a from a small town, that seemed epic. I also put it down because it scared me. And giving myself until I was 30 to do it felt like a nice far-away cushion. Probably the easiest on my list to actually accomplish (one need only buy a ticket), I didn't get there before I was 30. I'm embarrassed to admit I've been avoiding it. The long plane ride, the jet lag, the language barriers, the world being so messed up. It was easier to just stay home.

While 2016 was a year of many epic things--Cleveland won the NBA Championship, for crying out loud--I'll remember it most for being the year I finally got my sweet and sour off this continent and flew over the ocean. It probably doesn't mean anything to anyone else, this single stamp in my passport, these photos of cathedrals, the leftover foreign coins in my pocket. But to me it means a great deal. It means that the items on our lists are more important than our timelines for them. It means that whenever we're ready, even if it's not this year, the world is waiting for us. Whether you're ahead of schedule or years behind, the view is equally spectacular. 

DEC
15

Early Christmas Present

And there she is, folks. The first copy.

Isn't it pretty??

Still two months before release, but, boy oh boy, it's an amazing thing to see this project you've spent years of your life working on in the form of an actual book.

I'll definitely curl up over my Christmas vacation, read a few chapters, and pretend I don't know how it ends.

DEC
11

Still Holding Out

I've just gone through the part of the book process that involves approving the Kindle files for the ebook. Something made more difficult given that I still do not own a Kindle. Sure, they have programs that allow you to see a "Kindle view" on your laptop, but as I flip from page to page, I can't help but wonder if this is really how things will look to those who end up reading the book on a Kindle.

I'm probably as close to getting one as I have ever been, what with this whole checking my own ebooks prior to launching thing. Not to mention a couple of coast to coast redeye flights last month where my use of the overhead light was seriously pissing off my neighbor. I know, I know, tough shiz, right? We each buy a ticket, and if your neighbor wants her light on, THEN YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. But I'm a bleeding heart. I feel too much. Plus I don't want people wishing me ill while we're all 35,000 feet in the air. So a Kindle appeals to me more these days. As in bye-bye overhead light.

Yet I still can't pull the trigger on making the purchase. And why? On one hand, it's like Lasik. I could get it, but wearing contacts really isn't that bad. Yet I remember going through the same holdout on an iPod years ago, and after getting one, I've never looked back. The difference, however, is that a world without discmans and walkmans is one I can live with. A world without physical books, however? Not so sure. Which is why I just purchased a portable mini book light for my next night flight. And why if you see anything wonky on the Kindle version of my upcoming book, you can rest assured that everything looked *great* on my laptop Kindle viewer.

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