Wow. It's been over a month since I've blogged. I've released a new BOOK since I've blogged. (The Rising Tide--it's a lot of fun--you should check it out.)
I've gone on a long trip since I've blogged. From California to Virginia Beach, where I stayed with Mate for a lovely night, and from there he drove me to Portsmouth, where I attended the GRL convention (while he visited with his family.) After the book signing at GRL, he came and picked me up, taking me to Gaithersburg where I visited with his family, and from there we went to New Jersey where we both met with my family, and my friend Damon.
And then, after a "bonus" night (or, more accurately, after my curse sentenced us a night at an airport hotel) we came home.
In all, we were gone nearly ten days, and our kids seem to have left the house standing and the animals alive. (We left Chicken at home with the teenagers for fun and frivolity. It appears instead of destroying the house, they merely responsibly carried on with their lives. Go figure.)
Anyway--all in all, we had a great time, but, oi! So many things to talk about, right? (By the way--if you like my weird ramblings, be sure to sign up for my Newsletter, where they will be reliably delivered to your e-mail box, along with the newest offering :-) SIGN UP HERE.
First of all, let's do Thank Yous!
* Thank you to the waiter at the Magic Mushroom Pizza Emporium on Virginia Beach who recommended the Loaded Baked Potato pizza. It really WAS a magical pizza.
* Thank you to the organizers of GRL--Reese Dante and her husband Ron, Carol Lynne, Teresa Emil--you all do a lovely job, and thank you so much for having me!
* Thank you to the new readers who made a real point to come and say hi and to be excited about the work--I'm always so overwhelmed that people keep reading, and so grateful that they do.
* Thank you to the readers I've seen a few times--who are still excited and come up and say hi. Because I love that, as awkward and weird as I am in person, we can still connect with the stories we love.
* Thank you to my roommate, Kim Fielding, who was as eager to find a coffee place in the morning as I was, and who made me laugh--a LOT--and who didn't mind talking until we really should have been asleep, and who sat on a panel with me and was funny and charming and made me super glad I was there too.
* Thank you to my kids who sent Proof-of-Life pictures of the dogs, bless them. Including the adorable little outfits. <3 <3 <3 to all of you for letting Dad and I have this trip together.
* Thank you to Mate's family, bless you all, who were happy to see him, some of whom traveled from Pennsylvania to Maryland to meet him and who made him remember that he was not the last of his line. He's so grateful.
* Thank you to his Aunt Margie and Uncle Tom who were happy to see me after he came and fetched me from GRL, and who were happy to sit up with us and watch TV and who didn't so much as bat an eyelash when I read an emergency chapter of Weirdos to them because the conversation had turned to politics and even though I agreed with them, I was just so over politics I went, "HEY WANNA HEAR A BOOK?'
* Thank you to my cousins, who all gathered in the charming New England town of Piermont to have dinner with mate and I after we drove from Maryland to New Jersey, just to say hi and give me a hug and to have a raucous wonderful dinner where we remembered that we were related again.
* Thank you especially to my cousin Alex who welcomed us into his home the night afterward for pizza and conversation. He and his wife were lovely and they just wanted to talk MOAR and I love them so much you have no idea. Also their son is adorable. They're my age and they had a child at 48 and that takes an amount of bravery I don't think I could ever have. Bless them all.
* Thank you to Damon Suede who met us for lunch at Annabella's Mozzarella Deli (with a milkshake at the banana hut which was every bit as kitschy and weird as I thought it would be) and who was lively and entertaining and awesome and still my friend after nearly ten years. Love you, honey. Thank you for everything <3
* Thank you also to the maitre de and proprietor of Annabella's Mozzarella Deli who... well, he started off by singing Frank Sinatra to us as he dropped off our waters and ended up by soliciting some writer help from Damon on a script he'd been working on and... okay. He was the entire New Jersey experience in a very handsome package and a red henley shirt. I should have taken a picture, but... dude. There was just so much to capture.
* Thank you to Johns Hotel and the Thai Place and cookie places we found on Door Dash after we ended up spending a "BONUS" day in NYC because there was fog in Chicago somewhere. All three of these businesses were unlikely to be patronized by two exhausted tourists from California, but they all rose to the occasion.
Whew! I hope I remember everybody. I mean, I had a LOT of fun on this trip--I wanted to give credit to all the kind folks who made it happen, right?
And now for the "Needs Improvement" portion of our program, which I hope is taken in good fun--with a tiny bit of irritation for spice. Are we ready? Here we go.
* And to the wonderful coffee shop in Portsmouth who welcomed the GRL clientele with a lot of good humor and the fastest service one barista and a food server could possibly deliver. I loved you. The only reason you're in the Needs Improvement column is that I really could have used a 24 oz Irishman in Paris every morning for a week, and you only offered 16 oz. Seriously, my only complaint. Thank you guys for being awesome.
* And to the Public House that served steak and catfish at night and brunch on Saturday afternoon? Steak and catfish ALL THE HOURS. Damn. It was so good. I mean, brunch was wonderful, but the catfish was GREAT. I need catfish now. Nobody fries catfish in California and it's a damned shame.
* And to the mobsters who apparently ruined New Jersey's freeway and road system in the fifties by giving all the road contracts to people in the concrete business and getting kickbacks for all the concrete they used, creating a concrete vermicelli nightmare that changed one mile as the crow flies to a twenty minute odyssey of jug handle exits and zero right turns? Fuck you guys, I hope you're all roasting in hell. You were batshit insane sociopaths in life, and your concrete souls remain to torture the people of New Jersey in death and generally I spit on your memories, you bastards.
* And to Patton Oswald whom I normally adore and think of fondly, I have a particularly complicated fuck you. See, when we got to Mate's Aunt and Uncle's, we sat down and turned on the TV and tried to destress from the drive. We turned on Patton Oswald's new special, Hysterectomies and Hemorrhoids and enjoyed the first ten minutes. A little spicy, but very funny. So when Mate's Aunt and Uncle got home, and we put the special on pause, we weren't reluctant at all to unpause it when conversation wound down and we were all ready to lose ourselves in media for a bit. What Mate and I did not know was that the next ten minutes of the comedy routine would be about clown pubes. Mate and I looked at each other in horror and I texted the adult daughter and teenagers with "Help! Dad and I are watching a comedy special about clown pubes in front of Aunt Marge and Uncle Tom!" to which they responded, "ABORT ABORT ABORT! FIND A SITCOM, MOM--GET OUT OF THERE!" But it was too late. The mortification of two 55 year olds made to feel like children getting caught watching SNL when their parents thought they were asleep was complete. So Patton? You will never see this, and I still love and adore you, but seriously? For that moment in my life? FUCK YOU.
* And finally. To the designers of Flushing Meadows, That wonderful place in Queens where you see the globe and the alien spaceships left over from the World's Fair in 1964 and is featured in Men in Black? I'd like to give you fuckers a hearty sendoff for creating a place with --when the museum is closed--two public bathrooms, total, each one 3/4s of a mile from the center of the park. Seriously, you assholes. FUCK YOU. If I'd been in California, there would have been a portajohn every 150 yards. Considering we had to spend an hour in traffic to get there? Would it have killed you to put a bathroom in with less than a mile's walk from parking? You fucking assholes. I'm not even kidding. Jesus.
* And to the airlines--a particularly personal Fuck You because this whole overnight curse thing is starting to feel like you're picking on me. I know someone who gets on a plane three times a month who does not have overnight layovers as often as I do in a year. I've got to tell you, that bonus night in NYC was not the bonus the airlines thought it was. Yeeesh.