May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007Just Wondering
I have a question.
Why does the president of the United States always have to be an old white man?
I'm just curious. Does anyone know?
Is 2008 the year we're finally, for the first time ever, going to have a non-old-white-man for president? Or will all the old white men jump up and say, "I know you guys are eager to have a woman or a not-white guy be president, but this is the wrong woman and this is the wrong not-white guy. So why not just vote for another old white man this time? Again?"?
Oh, wait - they're already saying that.
I'm not saying I have anything against old white men. But, seriously, is anyone else ever going to get a chance? This is like being in high school and watching blonde cheerleaders win prom queen every single year.
No offense, but most people in this country are not old white men. Most of the old white men I know, unfortunately, have trouble relating to me and my friends and my family and our issues. So, why in the world would I vote for another old white man, no matter how much smack he talks about the woman and the not-white guy? 4:08 PM # (20) comments
Friday, March 23, 2007Tired, Cranky
I wrote a long post for you guys earlier, then emailed it to myself for later revision, and then it disappeared. Dammit.
So, instead of posting what I wrote, I will give you guys some free advice. Ready? Here it is:
Never take advice from someone less successful than you.
Right? Am I right? You like that, huh?
When I want money advice, I go to a Republican. Why? Because Republicans love money, and they'll do anything to get and retain it. And they all have more money than me, and they all pay less on their taxes. So I ask them. "Teach me," I say. And, sure, some of their advice is unpalatable to me, and so I don't follow it. But it makes more sense to take their advice than to take that of poor, struggling liberals who work non-profit jobs. And, the same thing goes for the other way around. Why would I ask conservatives for sex advice, when they hate for people to have sex? For that, the struggling liberals are a better source of knowledge. Ha, ha, just kidding. No, I'm not.
When I want relationship advice, I ask people who are in successful relationships. You know? No, seriously... I'm saying, "Do you know any?" Just kidding. Ha, ha.
So finally: When I want career advice, I ask someone who's in my field, who's done more in that field than I have so far. Of course. Hello - why would I ask someone with less experience than me?
Meanwhile, contrary to the logic of everything I've just said, don't you find that people who are less successfull than you are always the ones trying to give you advice?
Why do they do that? I don't know. I can only guess. Maybe they're in denial about how unsuccessful they are. Maybe they're just trying to drag you down. Maybe they want you to learn from their mistakes, now that it's too late for them to do that for themselves.
Either way: When less successful people try to give you advice, don't take it. Just ignore it. You can smile and say, "Okay, thanks," but then leave it at that, you know? And don't feel bad about ignoring their advice, either.
Screw them. Life is too short, and you have a long way to go. 8:31 PM # (9) comments
Monday, March 19, 2007How I Spent Spring Break
My kids went to their dad's for the week. So what did I do?
My friends and I went out dancing and met someone mythical. We were disappointed by the new, new, new Rich's and its DJ, but that didn't keep us from staying until 3:30 AM. (Shout out to Jennifer! JENNIFER.)
My friend Rose took me to dinner at Mia Bella. We drank wine and had everything with extra olive oil. She turned me on to Jacob's Creek merlot. I used to like Red Diamond, but now that I've had Jacob's, I can never drink Red Diamond again. That happens to me with every new glass I drink, just about. Rose said Scorpios (her) and Capricorns (me) always overindulge together. Besides wine, she always turns me on to the best books I've ever read. Like this short story anthology, and this eerily accurate astrology tome.
I spent a good hour talking, via phone, with my new editor, about all the things that authors and editors should discuss. My old editor left her job to pursue bigger, brighter things. She told me, at the time, that she was inspired to do so by my upcoming novel. Isn't that funny? I hope it's funny and not a bad thing... I think it's good, even though I miss her. I hope she's doing very well.
My boyfriend and I did art. I painted, he sculpted and collaged. And it felt so right. We bought supplies to do more stuff in the future. We organized the "crafting room" so that we can all do art (me, him, the kids) whenever we feel like it. I think that's an important thing for families to do - at least as important as playing video games and taking out the trash.
We went to Central Market and bought sexy foods. Like cilantro pecan pesto and olive bread and snap beans and jumbo Gulf shrimp. Then we cooked the sexy foods up and swallowed them with two bottles of Red Diamond. Since we had to get rid of it, you know. Since I'm not drinking it anymore.
We planted celosias in my front yard, and fertilized the lawn, and got to know my neighbors better. That was nice. At first everyone in neighborhood seemed quiet and keep-to-themselves-y. But they're not. They're just busy, like me. I've learned that the time to connect with my neighbors is Saturday morning, in the yard. If I go out into my yard, someone's bound to come by, beer in hand, maybe, and start up a conversation. I like it. It's fun. It's what a community should be. It's why I pay on my mortgage. I like being middle class. At first I thought it'd be hard, making the switch. But now I see that it doesn't matter how you get there, because everyone in your neighborhood works just as hard as you do, and for the same reasons. That's really what it comes down to, this middle classiness. That, and liquor. Seriously - there are more liquor stores here in my neighborhood than in the ghetto-est ghettos I know.
I missed my kids a little, then a lot, then not at all, then just the right amount for them to come home again. I'm glad they're back. Tomorrow we'll paint together. This weekend we're going to the Bayou City Arts Festival. And I suppose we'll eat crawfish, because I promised.
It was a good week, and next week will be better. And better, and better, and the next one always better, until we're done. God willing. Amen. 8:37 PM # (9) comments
Monday, March 12, 2007Busy Being a Mom, Even When I'm Not
I haven't written in a while because my kids just went to their dad's for spring break. That means I've spent the last week doing equal parts of all of the following:
wishing they wouldn't go
wishing they'd hurry and leave
feeling guilty for looking forward to the break
feeling guilty for enjoying the break
enjoying the hell out of the break
worrying about the kids
planning to get lots of work done
planning to catch up with all my friends
planning to do wicked things
planning to be alone and rest
feeling overwhelmed by all these expectations
peeling crawfish tails
Peeling the crawfish tails takes the longest. All that other stuff flits through my head at a mile a minute.
Today I was very adult. I fertilized my lawn, attended an insurance seminar, and checked the sticker on my windshield to make sure it wasn't time to change my oil yet. Most importantly, I refrained from spending any money at all. If you know me in real life, you understand what a feat of strength that was.
Today my boss needed me a lot. Whenever that happens, I take pity on him. I want to hold a cool, damp washcloth to his head. But I couldn't, because I was very, very busy. I worked all day, and while I was working, people came by to chat and put more work on my desk. I felt like a machine. I got dehydrated.
I'm taking Friday off, but I wish I'd taken more days off. It's never enough.
This whole spring break/mommy trauma thing is just practice. It's only a week. In the summer, my kids go away for longer and it totally freaks me out.
I was going to tell you a lot of stuff about the way it feels, when you have kids and then they suddenly go away for a while. It feels scary and exhilarating at the same time, like I imagine it must feel when you're running towards a cliff's edge in a hang glider.
But then I decided not to talk about it that much, because people without kids can't know, and people with kids don't need me to tell them. So... yeah.
Today, on the long commute home (I could have stayed near work and done happy hour, but I wasn't yet ready for that), I tried to remember how I used to feel before I had kids. It's weird, but I never can remember. I don't think I ever will again. It's like having kids destroys a part of your brain, in a way. Or dumps out part of your memory core. Oh, well.
My kids said they wanted to eat crawfish. I'm fighting the urge to feel guilty that I ate crawfish without them. Silly. Instead, I'll just take them to eat crawfish when they get back. Duh.
If you call me and I don't answer the phone, it's because I'm almost never alone. I'm practicing being alone right now. It's not at all as scary as it used to be, because having kids made me stronger. But weaker, too. Both at the same time. It's a paradox. It's an enigma, wrapped up in a mystery, tied up in a mortgage, and yet, at the same time, even hamsters and cavemen can do it. It's magic. It's torture. It's awesome.
So I'm taking a break now and reflecting on all that. And I'm doing all the other stuff, too. (See list, above.)
Labels: parenting8:59 PM # (5) comments
Friday, March 02, 2007Turning Down the Direct Hit
Someone just asked you out. You know why? Because you're sexy, dammit. Aren't you flattered? Of course you are. And yet, unfortunately, your feelings for the other person are not mutual. You don't want to go out with him/her. So, what next?
You tell him or her the truth.
Ouch, right? Painful for the other person, awkward for you. It's so awkward, I can totally see how you'd want to avoid the whole conversation altogether. I know, because I've been there, and I've given all the wrong answers. And now I know why they're wrong:
Do not lie. Don't say, "Uh, not this weekend, but maybe some other time." You might think that doing that is a nice way to let the other person down, or to hint that you're not interested. But it isn't. It only gives him or her a reason to try again later. Yes, you can reason that, after you've turned the person down three times in a row, he or she will get the hint. But then, you've wasted that person's time, and gotten his or her hopes up for nothing. Why? This person doesn't deserve to be misled just because he or she thought you were sexy. So don't do it.
Don't give him or her the wrong phone number.
I know it's easy to reason that this is a nice method, since it delays the asker's embarrassment until he or she is alone. But it's not nice. It's mean, because it gives the other person even more hope before letting them down. Not only that, but it inconveniences the person whose number you actually gave. (You know--your number with the last two digits transposed. Yeah. The old woman who has that number is tired of getting calls from people who wanted to take you to the movies. She's trying to watch House. Quit bothering her.)
Don't be an asshole.
Don't say, "As if!" Don't say, "Oh, hell no!" Don't say anything rude. Why would you do that? What kind of evil jerk are you? I don't care if the person who asked you out is ugly, smelly, stupid, and has alien genitalia that's incompatible with yours. It still took that person a lot of guts to ask you out, and you need to respect the polite show of interest.
Obviously, if you are that kind of evil jerk, you aren't reading a blog post about how to be polite. So I won't go on and on about how being rude exposes you as someone with low self esteem. I'll just end this paragraph by reminding everyone to treat others as you'd like to be treated.
Here are suggestions for things you can say.
Memorize them if you need to, because I know that you're very sexy and therefore someone is bound to ask you out any moment now.
"No, thank you. I'm flattered, but I never really thought of you in that way."
"Oh, that's so sweet... but no, thanks. I couldn't."
"I'm gonna have to say no. But I would like to stay friends, if that's okay."
"Thank you for asking, but I'm seeing someone else right now."
(If the asker is in your social circle, you shouldn't say this unless it's true. Otherwise, it jacks up future opportunities for you to hook up with mutual friends.)
Here's one my friend Letty told me, for when the asker is being a little ambiguous, as if he/she might actually want your number for networking or to sell you Pampered Chef products or something:
"Why don't you give me your number instead, and I'll call you when I have time."
Then, you don't call. Or, hey--call when you want a Pampered Chef baking stone, and pretend you never realized the interest was romantic. Who could turn down the opportunity to make a sale, platonic or not?
"Dude, I would totally have sex with you right now, on this table, but my husband/wife/cult leader would kill me."
"Thank you, but I'm not looking to date anyone right now. Hey, have you met my friend Samantha?"
How to Respond When Someone Turns Down Your Direct Hit
You just hit on a sexy person, and he or she turned you down. They did it politely, but ouch, that shit hurt. So embarrassing. So disappointing. No one likes to get rejected. It sucks.
I know, because the last time I told someone that I liked him and he told me the feelings weren't mutual, it burned like the heat of a thousand sucks. But at least he told me politely, and for that I'll always be glad.
So. What do you do? You stand there, go "Gulp!" real loud in your throat, and accept the rejection as graciously as you can. Here is what you can say:
"Okay. Well, just thought I'd check and see. Let me know if you change your mind," or
"Okay. Well, you can't blame a guy for trying, can you? [wink]" or
"All right. Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me," or
"Okay, well, I hope we can still be friends," or
"Aw, man. That was embarrrassing. I appreciate your honesty, though. Later."
Do NOT say:
"What? Why not??" or
"But... but... I thought..." or
"I think you're making a big mistake, because..." or
"Well, then you've been leading me on all this time," or
anything with bad words in it.
Do not argue with the person. He or she knows better than you whether or not he/she wants to date you.
Do not ask for explanations. You can't expect someone to answer that truthfully, anyway. "Because you're creepy. Because you're whiny. Because I'm too materialistic to date someone who makes as little money as you do. Because I'm holding out for someone I'm too scared to ask out."
See how horrible that sounds? You don't want to hear that, do you?"
Do not get angry.
It's okay to feel angry (or hurt, or disappointed), deep inside your mind, alone in your room at night, but you can't act on that feeling, because it's inappropriate. Because--face it--no one owes you a freaking date.
See, the reason so many people don't turn down dates honestly and politely is because either a) they never learned how, or b) the last time they did, someone freaked out and responded with anger, accusations, or incessant demands for a satisfactory reason. Or stalking. Or crying. You know--general awkwardness.
Be as gracious as you can. That way, you leave a good impression. And that leads to the possibility of your target changing his or her mind, or at least hooking you up with his/her friends. 4:43 PM # (4) comments