Heaping Spoonful

Once upon a time I went to San Francisco and met a spit-fire of an author. She asked if I would review her book on my site. I maintained my composure and said, “sure – send me a copy.” Right after that I called all my friends everyone in the entire universe my husband and told him how I had just gotten FREE stuff and AN AUTHOR wants me to review her book.

But then I sucked.

I read the amazing, awesome book and I did not tell any of you. See previous paragraph re: suckage.

I think the book deserves better than I can do. I’ll give it the ol’ college try though.

Shauna Glenn’s debut novel Heaping Spoonful is a wonderful, heart-felt read. I couldn’t put it down. I think I missed dinner and the children tucked themselves in. I can’t be sure, I was curled up on the couch reading.

The writing is smooth and easy. Easy like Sunday morning, a friend would say. Claire’s internal dialogue sounds like that of me and my friends:

My mom had been right – I needed to get my shit together – if for no other reason than so my kids wouldn’t grow up to be serial killers.

How many of us have thought something similar?

Protagonist Claire is an every-woman. She’s a single mom (not by choice, her husband died), a boss (owns her own bakery), a sister and a daughter. She’s pulled in every direction imaginable. It’s easy to relate with her. And Shauna makes her so likable. Even when she’s making poor choices, she’s likable. You feel her struggle, that really she’s confused and doing the best she can with the hand she’s been dealt. You can’t begrudge her one bit.

I think Claire speaks to a generation of woman that are trying to do it all. She runs a successful business. She begins dating. She loses her mother a little each day to Alzheimer’s. Her kids are in school. And somehow, in the midst of all this external activity – she’s still mourning her husband. She’s not leading a gilded life. She’s leading an ordinary life, with extraordinary pressures. Just like you and me. Well, except she owns a bakery so she could console herself with an entire chocolate cake pretty easily. That’s a good point that I’ll have to take up with Shauna. Maybe Claire’s on the points?

Claire’s story is about moving forward. She’s not starting fresh, it’s not like she’s hiding the kids in the cupboard while dating. She redefines her relationship with her sister, giving Lucy the space she needs to be Lucy and not mini-Claire. She reconnects with her mother through the Alzheimer’s fog. Claire most definitely pulls her self up by her bootstraps. She struggles. Again. And again. But eventually she finds her rhythm and in that her new life.

There are fantastic reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Except for one where the poster basically called Claire a hussy, disregard that one – I don’t think she read the same book I did.

If you live in the DFW area, I highly recommend going to the launch party for this fantastic debut novel (Shauna will correct me on this matter, this is her third novel – just the first that someone had the good sense to publish, therefore the first that we’re able to read). Meeting Shauna is definitely worth your time. Saturday, Sept 27 at 7pm; 1020 Magnolia in Ft Worth. Send your RSVP here or check Shauna’s site for more information.

Freebies

One thing that no one can claim is that they weren’t given tons of free stuff at BlogHer. One of the freebies I received is a subscription to SmileBox.

I am not a scrapbooker. I tried once and when all the shapes didn’t come out square I cried and started over.

So, SmileBox … it’s fun. They have over 1000 themes (backgrounds?) to choose from; they have slideshows, postcards, greeting cards and scrapbook pages. I chose a very basic postcard called “montage” which support 5, 10 or 15 photos. Since I wasn’t blogging when Elliot was a baby, he’s my test subject (ah, isn’t he cute?).

Some of the things I like: it’s an application that runs locally, so it’s faster to make stuff. I like that I can find themes by how many pictures I have or by a mood/season/occasion. I don’t like the navigation. It doesn’t conform to standard windows operations (I hate that I put standard and windows in the same sentence). But truth be told, we expect thing to operate a certain way because that’s how the MAN does it. Maybe Mac users wouldn’t find it so disorienting.

Click to play Elliot Montage

full disclosure: the smilebox people don’t know me from eve, so I did this on my own – but maybe you’re a digital scrapbooker and want to try something new? Or, you just want to be like me. Either way – it’s fun to try. Also, I don’t know the difference between what I have and what’s available free on the site.

Made-Up Haiku

Macy’s, you temptress
parade your wares openly
not one bit sheepish

your makeup counter
so shiny and full of hope
this cream removes years

beautiful shadows
many hues for day and night
blue like seventh grade

lipgloss so shiny
it’s a plumper you say, smile
I like name – buxom

buxom in my bag
face done like unemployed clown
many compliments

forced to wonder if
at thirty-four might need more
than just mascara

might benefit from
make-up lessons and products
not found at Target

Me and Grover

My chest contracts a little every time I watch it. I have no idea how TV people do it. But! I did meet Abby Cadabby’s puppeteer and asked her if she ever imagined that *this* would be her job. She was so genuinely excited that she gets to do this everyday. Before working on Sesame Street she was a puppeteer at a children’s theater. Meeting people that are living their dream is inspiring.

And yes, I do believe Grover is a natural Blue.

Name Droppin’

Clearly I was kickin it like a celebrity …

me and my fairy friend Abby Cadabby

My friend that’s in a band, Raggs

I ran lines with Grover

And up & comer, Cow Bella

I Was Spotted

Tonight walking through Macy’s a woman says, “Catherine! Pink Asparagus, right?” And in my head I’m “OH MY GAWD … SHE KNOWS ME.” She asks about my pink purse, I whip it out, she shows me shoes to match. And then I warn her that I might scare her and I say out loud what I said in my head.

Turns out I had met her Thursday night.

I gave her a moo card.

I do not have my own personal stalker.

Damnit.

You should go read my new friend, Sara, at MotherProof.com – she reviews cars! how awesome is that?

My Preciousssss

Yesterday Joshua was kind enough to come hang out with me in San Francisco. We walked and walked and walked and walked. I totally feel it today. And before you think me an utter wimp, we were out for 8 hours – walking much of it. So, uhm, yeah – my calves are a little sore. Did I mention I was wearing flip flops?

He let me play with his new camera. While it was entrusted to me I decided to try one of the randonly growing blackberries.  I told Joshua that if I suddenly dropped dead that he was not to eat the berries, he said whatever, as long as I handed him the camera on the way down.

Leave a Message at the Beep

Gone to BlogHer 08

I’m working on a mathematical proof supporting my need for four pairs of shoes, two dresses, three skirts, five shirts and 2 pairs of shorts for three days.

Dear Sprout

Dear Sprout,

You know I like you right? You’ve been visiting my home for years. We’re tight, right?

When you broke up with Melanie I was a little peeved. You two were great together. She was your first real girlfriend. Yet, when you found out about her past – a past she willingly told you about – you kicked her to the curb. Dude, I was disappointed. I expect better behavior from you and your peeps at PBS.

I love you. I really, really do. You’ve had my back more than once, I just want what’s best for you.

It looks like you’re running with a new crowd. I look forward to meeting them at the soiree in S.F. Thanks for embracing blogs, even though the Internet wasn’t so kind to you during your rough break-up.

XOXO,
Catherine

PS: Can you stop running the Alec Baldwin narrated Thomas & Friends? Stick with George Carlin or the new narrator Pierce Brosnan.

It Nerves, Nerves I Tell You

Apparently a shit storm is brewing in blog-land. Or brewed. Or blew over. I don’t know. It didn’t involve me except as a person who drove past the scene of the accident as they’re sweeping the glass from the road. (How’s that for mixed metaphors?)

But it makes my stomach hurt.

Today on IM my girlfriend that thinks it’s “cerebral geeky” that I’m attending BlogHer (I repeatedly told her I’m going for the booze) asked if I was excited. I told her I was nervous, that I sort of want to throw up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from shy. But at the same time 1000 new faces all knowing things about me that I didn’t share over a glass of wine. It changes the playing field. Similarly, I know things about you. Back in the olden days, the only way we would have intimate details of each other’s lives was if we were actual, meat-world friends. Or relations. Or friends of relations. Or relations of friends. And it makes me nervous. Maybe I’m not as cordial in person? Maybe I’m so freaking hilarious in person that you come back to my blog and you’re like, really? same girl? nah. Her posts would have me peeing my pants.

Nerves.

In my mail box today was the Pre-BlogHer Conference Guide. Reading it over I panicked. There’s a part about when you check into the hotel get your pin so other people will know you’re there for BlogHer blah, blah, blah. But I’m staying at the hostel. How will people know why I’m there? Granted, a rational person would say – uhm, that badge you’ll be wearing around your neck and the bag o’shwag. But for a moment I envisioned my lonely self walking from the hostel to the hotel on a deserted road with no one to hang with. I’ll wait while you run and get your tiny violins. Ridiculous? Yes. My imagination is a vivid place.

And here we are, two weeks before BlogHer and there’s trouble afoot. I will not pretend to know what’s going on. I read Catherine’s post. I thought it was well articulated. I read a lot of the comments. They were fine too. The thought that stuck with me more than anything else, is: is this going to cause a rift at BlogHer this year? I remember reading about cliques and hurt feelings after last year’s conference (which I didn’t attend). This year are we going to have a girl-on-girl fight in the bathroom? If so, I’d like to sell tickets, recoup some of my conference costs.

So that pit in the bottom of my stomach. It’s nerves. Nerves that I’m going to feel more clownish than usual. And sadness that the women I respect so heartily are tearing themselves apart.

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