Skipping a Beat, by Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping a BeatFinished 12-19-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 323 pages, pub.2011

Michael and Julia had a marriage that started with love and turned into indifference.  They had started out West Virginia poor, but ended up Washington DC millionaires.  When Michael died for four minutes his whole life turned on its head.  Now, he wanted a real relationship with Julia and she wasn’t sold on the idea, but that wasn’t Julia’s biggest problem.  Michael wanted to give away everything.  He wanted to make amends for the years of lying and neglect his power had caused.

The premise is fascinating.  I love books about marriages because each one is complex, unique.  This was no exception.  The chilliness in the marriage happened over time and it is only after a gradual reveal of their past that I totally got them as a couple. I thought the timing of the story and the way that it went from past to present was perfect.

In this story Michael wants to give everything away and Julia has fallen in love with all the amenities of the rich.  I get Julia not wanting to give up heated tiles or a jacuzzi, (who would once you had them?) but her repeated rejection of Michael got to be too much for me.  She was not a nice person and even when I read her backstory I never really got past the problem of her superficiality.  She made progress and grew as a person and the end of the book could have helped me feel better about her growth, but I think it was a cop out in that regard. The complexity of the book was lost in the sad, but pat, conclusion.

It may see that I didn’t like it and that’s not true.  It’s just that the distance I felt from Julia kept the whole story at arm’s length for me.  I loved Julia’s friend, Isabelle and was really invested in her story more than Julia’s.  Even with my complaints I still shed a tear, which I found surprising, so I must have been at least somewhat invested!   I think I’m in the minority for not loving this one.  A good read for fans of stories about complex relationships.

I checked this out of the library.

The Missing Ink, by Karen E. Olson

The Missing Ink (Tattoo Shop Series #1)Finished 12-16-11, rating 4.75/5, mystery, 299 pages, pub. 2009

Book 1, Tatoo Shop series

“Can I help you, Officer?” I politely asked his profile.  I knew how to talk to cops: Keep it cordial, no sudden moves.

He was studying the frosted letters on the window, his hands on his hips.  He didn’t look ready to grab the gun or the nightstick that flanked his stocky frame.  He turned his head slowly, his mouth set in a grim line, eyes narrowed as they settled on my face.

It unsettled me.  Usually people stared at the ink on my left arm-a detailed replica on Monet’s water lily garden, complete with a weeping willow and footbridge-or the dragon that creeps up over my right breast under my tank top.

Chapter 1

Brett Kavanaugh, owner of The Painted Lady tattoo shop in Las Vegas, is the last person to have seen a prominent runaway bride.  Brett is caught up in the mystery and finds herself doing some investigative work of her own, leading her to a dead body and big trouble.  Her brother and roommate, Tim, is a detective and tries to save her from herself with limited success.  She also teams up with a rival tattooist and a sexy Brit who obviously knows way more than he should about the missing woman and the dead man.

Brett is awesome.  She owns her own tatoo shop, but she also has a fine art degree in painting, so she’s got credentials.  She moved out to Vegas when she needed to leave the east coast and remains unimpressed with all the trappings of Vegas.  She sees it as an illusion and that makes her a smart cookie.  She is independent (which leads to some dumb decisions) but relies on the help of her friend and co-worker, Joel.  She obviously is too brave for her own good or she wouldn’t be involved in the murderous mess at all.  What’s not to love?

I have no interest in getting a tatoo and I am no fan of Las Vegas (Was there once, stayed at the Four Seasons and the Luxor.  Was sick the entire week so maybe Vegas didn’t get a fair shake) so it was a bit of a surprise to me that I loved this book so much.  I’d seen all the positive reviews, but was turned off by the cover for some reason.  This will end up being one of my favorite books this year and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.  Who knows, maybe Brett will eventually convince me that tats are cool 🙂 (I do think that a high proportion of people with tattoos are cool, but remain less enamored with the tattoos themselves)

This book had the perfect voice and a strong mystery to make it a fast and fun read.

I checked this book out of the library.

Sundays with Gage – How Mom keeps her sanity.

Being a stay at home mom is a blessing and I know it.  Some women don’t have the option and I’m thankful every day that I do.  But, there are many days, cooped up in the house for too long with a toddler who is starting to walk, but can provide no meaningful conversation, that I just want to pull my hair out (well, okay, really I want to either take a nap or go out for a relaxing glass of wine).  At some point in the near future Gage will be going to day care for a few hours a week and I think it will be good for both of us, but in the past few months I have found other ways to stave off boredom for both of us.

1. Library Storytime is the best thing available for moms. We live within 20 minutes of four libraries and we go to storytime 3 times a week at 3 different libraries.  You can find us at the library on Wednesday, Thursday, and 2 Fridays a month.  They are free and take babies from about 6 months up.  A great place to meet other moms.  This is Gage at a storytime at the library where I used to work.  This is Shelby and she and I used to work at the reference desk together, now she works with the kids.  Note that Gage is paying attention.  This happens about 5 minutes out of 30.

2. My Gym (or any other gym for kids) is awesome.  We started taking Gage twice a week (once with mom, once with dad) when he was 5 months and he hated it because he hated being on his tummy.  Once we got his acid reflux under control he started really enjoying it.  They have circle time, a new skill each week, free time in the gym, swings, and separation time where all of the parents gather together in the front of the gym and chat while the kids play together in the middle of the gym supervised by staff.  One mother called separation time the best 10 minutes of her day and I can’t disagree.  We may start going 3 times a week. The 45 minute classes are worth every penny.

3. Pretty Girls. On our street we have a few teen girls who babysit Gage.  This is Brooke and once a week she or her sister Maddie come over for 2 hours after school and play with Gage.  I usually leave the house (coffee with friends, shopping, hair cut), but sometimes don’t because I tackle things like cleaning the office or organizing things for donations.  And once a week Marcy comes over for an hour after school to play with Gage.  She’s 13 an it’s her first babysitting experience so I stay home, but the hour to get stuff done (think laundry or actually cooking dinner) is awesome.

4. Classes.  We sign up for free ones at our city library, they have great ones liked Kindermusik and classes that cost a little at our local nanny school, like the sign language class.

5. Blogging.  It takes time, but I can do it after Gage and Jason have gone to bed.  I consider it my grown-up time and consider it an important social outlet for me.  Thank you all for keeping me sane.

So, there you have my helpful scheduling tips for stay at home moms.  I’m always looking for new things to try until I can start taking Gage museum hopping, so let me know if you have a good one.

Hawkes Harbor, by SE Hinton

Hawkes HarborFinished audio 12-12-11, rating 4/5, pub. 2004

Unabridged audio.  6 hours.  Read by Dick Hill.

An orphan and a bastard, Jamie grew up tough enough to handle almost anything. He survived foreign prisons, smugglers, pirates, gunrunners, and shark attacks. But what he finds in the quote town of Hawkes Harbor, Delaware, was enough to drive him almost insane—and change his life forever.

This is a shortened overview from the paperback version of the book and it is bland enough to be true.  I wish I could include the one from the audio version because then you’d understand the few issues I had while listening to this one, but I can’t because I already returned it to the library.

Jamie was orphaned at 8, and on his own for a long while, having only his friend, Kell, to watch his back.  He was crude and always looking for the easy way, for the big payoff.  When Jamie ended up in Hawkes Harbor he found the shock of his life, and that’s saying a lot given all that Jamie had been through.  He ends up staying in Hawkes Hall, working for Grenville Hawke.  Until he gets sent to state hospital for the mentally ill.

The book is supposed to have a bit of mystery attached to it, I guess, since none of the descriptions really give Jamie’s shock away, so I won’t either.  I was surprised that by the end of the book I found it to be a rather charming story of an unlikely friendship.

I assumed that a book by SE Hinton would be teen friendly, but I was wrong.  This is definitely an adult book, with frank and bawdy sex talk and situations, but it does have the popular teen themes of the day.  I liked it quite a bit, but wouldn’t have read it if I’d known what happened to Jamie.  Are you curious yet?

I checked this audio out from the library.  Thanks for the recommendation, Jill.

Kona Winds, by Janet Dailey

Kona Winds: Hawaii (Americana Series)Finished 12-6-11, rating 2/5, romance, 186 pages, pub. 1979

Julie is a recent graduate and looking for a teaching job and she sure found one.  Leaving a snowy Boston to head to Hawaii for at least six months as a private tutor to a teen stuck in bed after an accident, Julie has a lot to be thankful for.  Raul, the teen’s sexy brother, shows an interest in Julie, especially after she starts dating a surfer.

For some reason I liked Harlequin novels when I was in junior high, reading them must have made me feel grown up.  I remember reading Janet Dailey’s Harlequin books and liking them.  So, when she came out with this romance series in the 80’s that was a book for every state I felt like I should read them all.  I ended up picking up a lot of them too.  In a box in the basement of my parent’s house I found 36 of the states!  Fast forward to this states challenge I am determined to complete this year and I decided to read this one for Hawaii.  I don’t remember ever actually reading it.

In all fairness I did learn quite a bit about the island of Oahu, the sugar cane, the pineapple, the winds and terminology.  The story itself was just not interesting at all.  How a story set in Hawaii could be so lackluster is a mystery.  At 180 pages, it was perfect for helping me finish the states challenge at this late date, but nothing that I’d recommend.

From my personal library (at least for now)

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Laura Lipton

Mating Rituals of the North American WASPFinished 12-4-11, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 353 pages, pub. 2009

Peggy has been waiting for Brock to propose for 7 years, so is it any surprise that after a drunken night in Vegas with girlfriends that she wakes up next to a stranger?  Oh, and that he’s her husband?  After heading back to New York City and the store she owns with her best friend, she receives a call from Luke, her Connecticut WASP husband.  This White Anglo-Saxon Protestant husband comes from one of the oldest families in New England, a fact that his aunt and friends don’t let him forget.  When his aunt finds out about his marriage she changes her will so that the pair must stay married for a year to inherit.

I liked the New England setting and aunt Abigail.  She was a hoot.  As a ninety-year old woman who was at turns fruity as a loop and sharp as a tack, she was the real heart of the novel, even with her Waspish ideas.  Luke was smart and quiet and sometimes nice.  He wasn’t the most enigmatic hero I’ve encountered, but there was nothing terrible either.  He was a solid guy.

It’s not the high brows I had a problem with it was Peggy.  I found her a distasteful character.  On weekends she’s in Connecticut playing married for money and during the week she’s in New York with a clueless Brock.  She never really won me over, no matter how much I liked her friends.

I liked the story and the humor and the way that Lipton played on the stereotypes of the old, moneyed New England families.  It’s only my dislike for Peggy that kept me from loving this one.

This is from my personal library.

Interview with Connie Corchoran Wilson, part 2

On Monday I posted the first few questions I asked Connie and now it’s time for the rest.  The first part of the interview is here.  My review of her book, Laughing Through Life, and a giveaway is here.  Connie’s website is here.  Enjoy!

2. You love movies.  Who are your favorite actors working  today?
Yes, I loves my  movies!  Every year, we have a traveling trophy Oscar-predicting  contest with friends and predict ALL categories.  (I hold the  trophy, this year.)  Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite male actors  working today. I also like George Clooney. “The Ides of March” was wonderful.  [Two for the price of one!] My husband kids me about my Richard Gere  phase—[which, actually, secretly endures today]— where my college  roommate and I rented every film of his with a love scene and watched just the love scenes one summer when we  were vacationing together. However, “King David” was a horrible film of  Richard’s (Sorry, Richard) and we quit after we rented that one. I just saw  Tilda Swinton in “We Need to Talk About Kevin”  at the Chicago Film  Festival, and she turned in a truly powerful performance, with John C. Reilly  starring opposite her in the film. On TV, I like Julianna Margulies in”The  Good Wife” (which I regularly review for Yahoo) and Cate Blanchett in  “Homeland.” I recently met Chicago native John C. Reilly who sat and  watched his own film with us, and he couldn’t have been nicer to me,  as were Colin Hanks and Forrest Whitaker when I met them. I’ve been following  Colin’s story arc on “Dexter.” [I don’t want him to leave the plot!]  
3. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?
On the top of my blog (www.WeeklyWilson.com), [on which I often  review film], I have a Shakespeare quote: “There is a tide in the affairs of  men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage  of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Or, as the Bard  also famously said, “We must take the current when it serves or lose our  ventures.” Those quotes really speak to me, because, even today, I  have risked to get where I am, giving up a tenured 17 and 1/2 year teaching  job to write for a living (in 1985), starting 2 businesses from scratch in  wintry economic climates (in 1986 and 1995, after the writing job pretty  much crashed and burned). Selling two successful businesses while really  too young to retire  to (try to) come full circle  and write “one of everything” before another of my favorite poems  applies (Edna St. Vincent Millay), “Dirge Without Music:” 

“I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard  ground.  So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:  Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned with lilies  and with laurel they go, but I am not resigned. Lovers and thinkers, into the  earth with you.  Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.   A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase  remains,—but the best is lost. The answers quick and keen, the honest look,  the laughter, the love,—They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses.   Elegant and curled is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not  approve.  More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in  the world.  Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go,  the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the  witty, the brave.  I know.  But I do not approve. And I am not  resigned.”
So, now that I’ve cheered everyone up with that poem.
6. You are from Iowa, went to college there and I need  to read a book set in Iowa for a reading challenge.  Can you help me out by  telling us a few of your favorite books set in Iowa?
I’ll give you a couple of “Iowa” book  references/recommendations. The obvious choice (and a good one) would be Jane  Smiley’s “A Thousand Acres,” which is based on King Lear. She’s also  written Ordinary Love and Good Will, which is  also set in Iowa, but I haven’t read it yet, although I hear it is  excellent. There are also references to “Iowa Bob” in one of John Irving’s  books, but the book, itself (The Hotel New  Hampshire), is set in New Hampshire although that   character is based on former University of Iowa football coach Bob Commins, I’m  told (now deceased: see poem above). For fine nonfiction,  try Methland by Nick Reding,  a searing  documentary-style look at Oelwein, Iowa, 12 miles from where I grew up and how  meth labs have destroyed the town. (It’s a quicker read, and a  worthwhile one.)
And, if you want to read something by a struggling genre author trying to  gain a foothold at least in E-books, I will happily send you  The Color of Evil, which is set in Cedar Falls, Iowa absolutely free!  It should be out in 2012. It is the  first book in a trilogy about a boy with paranormal abilities. The second book, Red Is for Rage, will take Tad McGreevy on into his  senior year of high school, just as the first book focuses on his junior  year in high school. [You could tell others that you are “a beta  reader” for a struggling novelist who has just completed her second  novel. It’s strictly genre reading with echoes of Stephen King. And, after  I publish the first one, I’m thinking of writing up my political adventures in  2004 and 2008 (nonfiction) to coincide with the upcoming presidential campaign.  I’m a movie and a political junkie, I guess, and it’s just as addictive as meth,  I fear.
Thanks for the excellent questions!

Laughing Through Life, by Connie Corcoran Wilson w/ GIVEAWAY

Laughing Through LifeFinished 12-12-11, rating 3/5, non-fiction stories, 170 pages, pub.2011

Wilson compiles stories from her life, from entertaining, to getting her ears pierced to politics.  She’s not a good cook, which accounts for a few of the more amusing stories, nor is she a good golfer, which I can easily relate to, although she is much braver than I am by putting her skills on display.  She is also unabashedly liberal, which is not a bad word in this house (I don’t consider myself a liberal, but detest it when some cable stations spit it out like it’s the worst of 4-letter words), and not shy about her anti-Bush sentiments.

The good news is that most of the stories were amusing, except the last chapter which really left the book hanging on a low note (if you are interested in hemorrhoids then this chapter is just for you).  If you read part one of her interview yesterday you know she write in a very conversational style, just like she’s sitting right there and you two are having a coffee.  The bad news is that I found the selection of stories disjointed and would have preferred a more careful consideration.  Including a random story about the 1984 Olympics seemed weird.  And the paper vs. plastic debate has pretty much been covered.

I didn’t mind the politics, the only reason I accepted the book for review is because I knew I probably agreed with her on most things, and I did, sort of.  But rehashing the 2004 election rallies seems tired at this point, unless it’s a comprehensive collection and this wasn’t.  It would have been better as a separate book, and beware she has nothing nice to say about Republicans, except that the women dress well.

Connie has graciously agreed to give away one copy to a lucky commenter.  Just let me know you’re interested and I’ll throw your name into a hat.  Open internationally (for an e-edition) or in the US for a paper or e-copy.  I’ll draw a winner on December 27.

I accepted this book for review as part of the Premier Virtual Author Book Tours

Here are a  few other stops…

Nov. 28 Page Flipperz Nov. 30 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Dec. 1 She Treads Softly Dec. 5 Carabosses’s Library Dec. 6 Ruthi Reads  Dec. 8 Joy Story Dec. 9 Read More Books Dec. 10 A Life Sustained Dec. 14 Book Zone Dec. 15 Emeraldfire’s Bookmark

 

 

Author Interview – Connie Corcoran Wilson

I am reading Connie’s book, Laughing Through Life, for a book tour (Premier Virtual Author Book Tours) and I’m still finishing it up so I thought I’d give you part one of the interview with her.  She graciously took the time time to answer 6 questions for me.  Check back tomorrow for my review and giveaway and Wednesday for part two of the interview.
1. You’ve been writing a long time (fiction, reviews, interviews,  etc.) and I’m impressed by the number of big name authors you’ve  interviewed.  Can you tell us who your favorite few were and something  about them we may not know?

Yes, Virginia, I HAVE been writing a long time,” she said, with a smile..56 years, by actual count. But who’s counting, right?

I can share with you some interesting sidelights of interviewing some of those authors you mentioned. I interviewed Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., because I was in college at Iowa at the time, but I had just spent the summer on campus at Berkeley during the “Summer of Love.” [That’s 1965 for you young whippersnappers, and, yes, it was as crazy as you’ve heard! I recently saw a documentary at the Chicago Film Festival and I was the only one in the room that had an actual personal anecdote about seeing Alan Ginsburg come out onstage at Berkeley stoned and have to be carried off by the janitor,— but nevermind about that.] That merely means I was probably one of the oldest people in the room, although cinematographer Haskell Wexler was there, and he’s at least 85, so maybe not.

 

Anyway, I loved it at Berkeley that summer, especially the trip to the San Francisco Cow Palace, ditching class to go see the Beatles and riding up on the back of then-boyfriend (Colgate’s) Czechoslovakian motorcycle. I wasn’t that happy at Iowa at the time. I wanted to transfer from Iowa to Berkeley, but, as an English major, I usually “sandbagged” and took fewer than 15 hours (and then signed up to make up the difference in hours to bring me up to 15 per semester in summer school on campus), because there was so much reading that it was hard to keep up if you didn’t try something creative to cope. (And I read FAST and later taught Speedreading). You also had to have a “B” average for the semester. I only had 14 hours, so I needed ONE more hour, in order to flee Iowa for the west coast and warm weather. (Although Colgate, whose real name was William Hopkins, didn’t live in California, but was from Philadelphia and merely attended Colgate University).

 

So I approached my American Humor & Satire teacher and asked if I could be given one hour of “special project” credit for interviewing Kurt Vonnegut, who was teaching on campus at the time. My professor agreed and it was up to me to contact the Great Man and interview him, which I did with great trepidation. I had read everything he had ever written and loved Cat’s Cradle and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine.

 

It was the dead of winter, and the classes then met in old Army Quonset huts. [Not too glamorous and not too warm.] I schlepped down there in the dead of winter in my snow boots and parka, extremely frightened at the prospect of interviewing someone famous. I didn’t know that Vonnegut hated all little blonde people who looked like they were from Minnesota on sight (until I read about this eccentricity later.)

 

Vonnegut definitely did me no favors during the interview. He was tired, cranky and monosyllabic. Also chainsmoking like a chimney. I had already interviewed many subjects during my years in high school ( I began working at age 10 for our local paper doing interviews), but Vonnegut was like a bad guest on Letterman. (My first question, “How would you compare your writing to Joseph Heller’s?” Heller had Catch 22 out fairly recently at that point in time) earned a sneer and the comment that they had absolutely nothing in common. My paper—which, at that point I had written and required only that I plug in the appropriate quotes from the Great Man about how and where Mr. Vonnegut fit into the black humorists of the day that we were studying in class—-sank like a rock, taking my mandatory “B” grade and my chances to transfer to the University of California at Berkeley with them.

 

Perhaps it was for the best, but I’ve always wondered…”What if?” After that, I wasn’t quite as crazy about Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, I have other equally meanspirited Vonnegut stories that I’ve heard over the years, but let me just add that, when I student taught at the University of Iowa Lab Schools (which no longer exist, but, at that time, served the faculty’s children), his daughter, Edie Vonnegut was assigned to my class. (She later went on to marry Geraldo Rivera!) Talk about your moment of zen!

 

For instance, (skimping here) the “trapped in the life of a fictional character” one: I’m already trapped in the life of a REAL character, if you hadn’t noticed. I’m not about to put down my burdens and take up anybody else’s, because you know what they say about how, if we put our problems in a pile, we’d end up wanting to take back our own. I remember a quote: “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” (Insert your own comment here.) Or maybe the quote was about putting your shoes in a pile and taking back your own?. Now I’m confusing myself. I remember I was always puzzled by that quote as to how the guy was getting around to be met if he didn’t have any feet, but that’s how my mind works (obviously). I’m beginning to think it’s like that old joke about “walking a mile in my shoes.” Then, you’re a mile away and you have that person’s shoes (as long as you have feet, that is.) And, as foreshadowing to the REAL quote question[ which I will answer seriously later. Ahem.], I’ve always enjoyed “Virtue is its own punishment” and “Bliss is ignorance.”

 

Now, on to other authors I have interviewed:David Morrell was one of the nicest, although that was a phone interview. What I remember about the phone interview is that, in the middle of it, he got a call from his agent telling him that Sylvester Stallone was going to make that last “Rambo” movie, and he had to cut it short to find out how that affected him, because he knew nothing about it. He also was chagrined that I asked him about why ALL his heroines always are described wearing tan, blue and burgundy, because apparently no one else had pointed out this small detail. (“Why didn’t someone tell me that BEFORE!?”)

Anne Perry was one of the scariest (after Vonnegut, that is), since she went to jail for murder in New Zealand when she was a teenager (Kate Winslett played her in the film “Heavenly Creatures” in Winslett’s film debut in that Peter Jackson film). I realize Ms Perry (whose real name is not Perry at all) has paid her debt to society and all that, but it was still “a bit dodgy” interviewing her alone in my hotel room on a Sunday morning.

Frederik Pohl was wonderful and his stuff is really so timely and so “today” that it is hard to believe that nobody is making movies of some of his extremely creative sci-fi story concepts. And my personal, special muse and friend is William F. (Bill) Nolan (“Logan’s Run”), who has written the Introduction(s) to two of my books and is the answer to Question #4. Here’s a guy who is in his 80s and still writing wonderful things and he’s published something like 85 novels, worked for Hallmark as an illustrator, had movies made from his stuff (including the reboot of “Logan’s Run” that’s about to come out with Ryan Gosling). But he’s such a stitch and so nice and real and supportive of newbies, whether old or young. He’s been very supportive of my writing. He thinks I have real talent and told me I’m “a born storyteller” and “The work awaits.” (Morrell, while very nice to me, not so much on the “thinks I have talent,” although he DID say, “Your stuff has fewer errors than most Boot Camp enrollees,”— but I wasn’t IN boot camp at the time, so I had no idea what he was talking about. He also suggested that, since I was stressing out about 24 people coming to my house for the 44th year in a row I might take them out to eat, and all of my St. Louis relatives showed up (the teenagers) without anything but flip-flops and blue jeans, so we couldn’t eat the country club and they ended up in some park! Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) was an interview by computer (questions sent; questions answered), so not as much of the “getting to know you” vibe, although I did meet him again at WorldCon in Austin this past summer, but Vonnegut was definitely the worst ! John Irving and Eric Bogosian were asked the questions onstage by others at AWP things and I was fortunate enough to be in a small group hearing the answers, so I got the better end of that deal. Then, I got bored interviewing other people and decided I wanted to be the one that other people interviewed. Like now. [Thanks for that, she said with a smile.]

 

I have, at this point, answered Questions 4 and 5 (Who or what inspires you? If you were trapped in the life of a fictional character who would you choose?), so bear with me as I now answer 2, 3 and 6. (See? Multi-tasking: just see if George W. Bush or Rick Perry can do that!)

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the interview.

Walking with Gage

We have take-off.  Gage has been getting more brave with cruising from couch to couch over the past month or so, but it’s just in the past few weeks that I’d say he’s officially walking.  Sometimes, more like a drunken sailor than an athlete, but I think it’s cuter that way.

He still likes to hold my finger when we’re out so he’s not feeling completely independent.  My back is already looking forward to not having to carry him every single minute.

Cute, right?