Monday, March 31, 2008

"Decent guys don't cause drama"

I'm sitting here, watching the latest episode of The Hills with my teenage daughter, and I can barely contain myself. Every guy on this show is a colossal jerk. There's Brody, the serial-cheater, and Spencer, the lying manipulator. The way they treat the women in their lives is horrible. Aren't there any nice guys out there in L.A.?

"You know what I hate about this show?" I fumed, "They don't show any decent guys."

My daughter looked at me, and said with the matter-of-fact wisdom that comes so naturally to teenagers, "Decent guys don't cause drama."

Damn. I hate it when she's right.

Shows like The Hills are not real-life, of course. Bad boys are the order of the day because they create angst and tears and stomach-churning drama that nice, decent guys don't.

Nice guys don't make for good TV. Welcome to 2008.

I feel like a fossil.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gone, in 3 days

good lord, but I heard some truly horrible news today about an old friend. She was the wife of a colleague at a company where my dh worked several years ago. She was about my age, with a great sense of humor, and we became friends. We even got pregnant around the same time (my third child, her first). Physically, she was everything that I was not: very tall, impossibly thin, regal features, startling blue eyes, and flaming red hair. She looked like she could be Marcia Cross' gorgeous younger sister.

She had her son two weeks before my Cathy was born. We used to take them to baby gym classes together once a week, and she'd come here for breakfast beforehand and lunch afterwards. We bonded in the way that most moms do, talking about our hopes and dreams for our children, and how to achieve them without losing sight of our own dreams in the process.

Eventually, her husband left the company, and after a while, we lost touch. My husband bumped into her dh about a year ago on a business trip, and found out they'd just had another child, a little girl. I could just imagine how beautiful her baby was, just like her mom.

Last Friday, she returned from a trip to Florida, feeling tired and a bit rundown. She rested all day on Saturday, but by Easter Sunday, she knew she needed to see a doctor. Her husband ended up calling an ambulance when they realized she was too weak to even get out of bed. The diagnosis: leukemia.

There wasn't even time to treat her. By Wednesday, she was dead. She was only 42 years old.

I can't even imagine what her husband is going through, and how the children are coping with the loss of their mother. Her son's 8th birthday is just a few weeks away; how can you possibly explain something like this to a child?

I know that Life has a way of throwing you curveballs when you least expect them, but this is just too much.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Broadway show review: Cry Baby

On Thursday night, I had the pleasure of seeing a new Broadway show (debuting in April, currently in previews) that is destined to be a BIG hit. Cry Baby is the latest stage offering based on a John Waters film (the genius who brought us Hairspray), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The songs were irreverant and funny--a bit more adult-themed than Hairspray--and the cast really threw themselves into their roles. The story isn't exactly original: boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets prim and proper girl from a wealthy family, they fall in love, and chaos ensues as their friends and family try to keep them apart. Still, the execution of this well-worn theme was kept upbeat and tongue-in-cheek, and of course, it all ends happily for everyone (as evidenced by the final song, "Nothing Bad's Ever Gonna Happen Again.")

Alli Mauzey stole the show as Lenora, the crazy stalker chick who hears voices and pursues the leather-jacketed Cry-Baby. Her solo, "Screw Loose," was an endearing ode to insanity, and one of the highlights of the show for me. Other fun songs: "Girl, Can I Kiss You with Tongue?" and "I'm Infected."

Tickets for the previews cost $54 apiece (since the play is set in 1954), with rear mezzanine tickets going for only $35. Definitely a great night out!

James Snyder as Cry Baby and Elizabeth Stanley as Allison

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Message from Al Gore

Al Gore asked me to pass along the following message (yes, I like to delude myself into thinking that he sent this email ONLY to me, dammit) so here goes:

Dear Friend,

Climate change is an urgent issue that requires immediate solutions. That's why I've joined with Al Gore and others across the country and around the world who want to halt global warming.

We're on the verge of being over one million strong and I'm asking you to join us. Please click here today to become part of the solutions to global warming:

If leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need to send a loud message that we want action now. That's why I'm asking you to get involved today.

Together, we can stop global warming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up."

Jimmy Valvano

With the recent news of actor Patrick Swayze's brave battle against pancreatic cancer, I got to thinking about another celebrity who was faced with a similarly dire prognosis: Jim Valvano. His speech at the 1993 ESPN Awards was one that I will never forget. He showed courage and grace under tremendous pressure, and offered inspiration and hope to those struggling with cancer.

Next month on April 28th it will be the 15th anniversary of Jimmy V's death from metastatic cancer. During his ESPN speech, Valvano urged his audience to bring the issue of cancer research, and the need for funding, back to the forefront. In honor of his memory, I'd like to do just that.

Here's a link to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, where you can learn more. You can also see a video of Jimmy V's speech on the website, or read a transcript.

Another cancer patient who received some unexpected fame recently was Professor Randy Pausch. His "Last Lecture" speech, given to his students at Carnegie Mellon University after he discovered he had pancreatic cancer, was a YouTube sensation. It eventually made its way to Oprah, and the rest is history. Randy Pausch is still fighting the good fight, taking Valvano's words to heart, and not giving up. You can learn more about him and his incredible "Last Lecture" on his website. If you scroll down to the "Resources section" you can read about his medical/day-to-day updates, which are written with honesty and humor.

Prayers going out to Professor Pausch, Patrick Swayze, and a "gone-but-not-forgotten" shout out to Jimmy V.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A promising new cat food: Pet Promise

As I've documented in previous posts, I've been searching for a cruelty-free cat food for my pets--one that doesn't contain by-products or rendered animals or any of that other nasty stuff in traditional pet foods.

I thought the Wellness brand was the one, but unfortunately, Mittens just didn't tolerate it very well.

The good news? I think we FINALLY found a dry food that doesn't upset his stomach. I found Pet Promise at my local Petco, and have been feeding it to the cats for about a week now. THEY LOVE IT. Better yet, neither one of them has gotten sick once. Even better: they've been leaving their old Whiskas food untouched, and only eating the new stuff. So, I dumped the rest of the Whiskas and put them on Pet Promise exclusively. Score one for the good guys!

Now, if I can only find a wet food they'll eat. Pet Promise only makes canned wet food, not pouches, and the cats seem to have some trouble with the texture. Fussy babies...I'll have to keep searching.

In the meantime, at least the dry food situation is settled. Thank goodness!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

READ THIS BOOK: Dervishes by Beth Helms

I am privileged to belong to an online group of extraordinarily talented writers--I often ask myself, "What the heck did I do to get lucky enough to be in such company?"

Today, one of these writers had her novel debut in bookstores across North America. I received my copy today from Amazon, and started reading.

I'm already hooked.

Trust me, if the book wasn't any good, I could have very easily gotten away without even mentioning it here on the blog. Beth is not the type of person to hype herself or push others to give her some good PR.

Turns out, she doesn't have to: the book is fantastic. I started reading it this afternoon and CANNOT PUT IT DOWN.'s that good.

Get thee to your local bookseller and pick up a copy, post haste! Trust me, you're going to be hearing about this book very soon (it's featured in the current issue of MORE magazine, and is being reviewed by the NY Times in just a few weeks) and you'll want to be one of the first to read it.

Click here to order a copy from

Now, if you'll excuse me....I'm off to read some more.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lazy Saturday

Tiger Sleeping
Originally uploaded by RichYak
I've been trying to get motivated all day, and just can't seem to do it. I have work to edit, blogging to do, and tons of chores around the house, but the day's nearly done and I haven't accomplished much.

This picture of Tiger pretty much sums it up.

JLo watches Dragon Tales?

I just read a report that actress/singer Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony have named their newborn twins Max and Emme.

Those just happen to be the names of the brother and sister characters on the animated show, Dragon Tales. The characters are of hispanic origin, and go on adventures (via a magic dragon scale they find in their new house) to a place called Dragonland. My kids loved that show when they were little. Do you suppose JLo is a big fan?

I wouldn't be surprised if Marc Anthony's kids from his previous marriage had a hand in picking out the names. After all, my second-born got her name from a Barney video that my first-born loved at the time. In "Waiting for Santa," Barney celebrates Christmas Eve with a boy named Michael and his little sister, Amy. My daughter Christina used to watch that video all the time, and I think she assumed that all baby sisters were named Amy. She wanted a little sister very much, so she just started telling everyone that we were having a girl (even though we didn't find out ahead of time) and that her name was Amy.

When the baby was born, we decided that we loved the name, and it was even more special because her sister picked it out.

All hail, the power of television!