Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tell the Truth Wednesday

1. I HATE the new Blogger posting functionality. The box is so small and weird and awful. Thanks for nothing, Blogger.

2. WE CAUGHT THE MOUSE. That's right. That little $^*()#*# finally stumbled into one of our traps and met the big cheese in the sky. I know I should feel bad about killing the little guy, but I really, really don't. Of course little mousey might have the last laugh if it managed to procreate before he met his maker. Every time I close my eyes I see litters of mice babies and I want to bleach my eyes.

3. My house STILL hasn't sold. Every time we have a showing with annoying feedback like, "Your bathroom is in a weird place." Or "Eew, this basement is so gross" I feel like screaming, "Yeah, duh, why the $%#* do you think we're moving?" Also I've started putting a curse on every person who walks through this house without making an offer. Yup, you heard me. Walk through this house and decide to go in a different direction and I'm wishing all kinds of hexes on your new house. Leaks, roach infestations, silverfish, neighbors who collect hub caps in their front yard - you name it, I've wished it. Home shoppers BEWARE.

4. Lydia turned 4 this week and Mia left her the worlds most awkward birthday message. She sang happy birthday into the phone like a 5-year-old Marilyn Monroe with severe social anxiety. It was awesome.

5. I purchased two pairs of neon bright skinny jeans. I have no idea if I'm pulling them off or not, but they're so cute I'm not sure I really care.

6. I'm reading A Million Suns right now and omigod, Beth Revis knows EXACTLY what she's doing. So, so, so good.

7. I've restarted the 30 Day Shred. This time my husband is doing it with me only he calls it the Shred 30. He must think that it sounds more masculine that way. It's a great work out, but I'm pretty sure my Easter candy consumption levels are cancelling out any potential weight loss.

8. Dawson Leary is FUNNY. I mean, I kind of figured he had a good sense of humor after the whole Van Der Memes thing (not gonna lie, that site still makes me pee a little), but I love that he's playing himself in Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23. I mean, I still like Pacey better, but well played Dawson. Well. Played.

9. Have you guys watched Girls on HBO? Obviously super controversial for lots of reasons, but I love it. It's like a window into a life I never lived. Well, let's face it, it's a life most of us haven't lived. I mean, there aren't a whole lot of people in the world with parents (or trust funds) flush enough to allow us to live in New York City working unpaid internships and finding ourselves. Also I've dated the same guy since I was 15, so the whole single in the city business fascinates me. The Sex In the City comparisons are inevitable, but this is a different show entirely. Equal parts cringe worthy, terrifying, riveting and brave. I love it.

10.  Finally saw The Hunger Games over the weekend and HOLY CRAP IT WAS SO AWESOME. The whole time I was sitting in the theater I kept thinking about how amazing it must have been for Suzanne Collins to watch the world she created come to life. Can't wait for Catching Fire.

Ok, so you know the drill. It's been ages. Hit me with your best truth this Wednesday. I've missed them!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Dreaded Book Report

99% of the time being a semi-successful mom/writer/corporate drone is kind of a thankless gig. I mean, yes, kids are cute (sometimes), writing is fun (sometimes) and the day job keeps the baby in Target brand diapers and me in Gap Outlet jeans (all the time), but on a day-to-day basis my life is the kind of thing that would have given 18-year-old-Lisa some serious nightmares.

But there are those rare occasions when our work is actually quite rewarding. Peeking in at sleeping children, getting a stellar annual review and reading a google alert informing you that some poor gal from Canada is being forced to write a book report on your book.

Yup. You know you've really arrived as a writer when the kids are looking for the Cliff Notes version of your esteemed work.

Alexis from Canada writes:

I need a summary of The Liar's Society.?

Please ... I need help. I am doing a book report on "the liar's society" and i need a summary of it ... the book s too big for me to do a summary. i need a sweet short to the point summary. Also if you can a list of characters and descriptions.
And we responded as any responsible writer would:
Hi Alexis - Today is your lucky day. We are the writers of this book and we happen to know a thing or two about book reports. Email us at and we might be able to work something out. Of course we're operating on the assumption that after we help you with your book report you'll think we're cool enough to actually read our book.
And for the record, Alexis, Kirkus totally agreed with your assessment about the book being too long, so you actually might have a future in literary criticism.
Ah, well, only time will tell if Alexis will actually take us up on our offer. I kind of hope she does.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why I $%&*^ Hate Spring Break by Lisa Roecker

9:30 PM - Finish work for day job that has piled up throughout the day because my freaking kids are doing things like climbing walls and drinking leave-in conditioner. I did not just make that up. I literally had to check Ben's breath for traces of Pantene to see if I needed to call poison control.

9:32 PM - Start in on edits for THE LIES THAT BIND. Got to finish these bad boys tonight so Laura can wrap things up in the morning shift.

9:37 PM - 99% sure I heard a mouse. Stacey recommended clapping to keep it away, so I stand on the couch and clap like a maniac.

9:38 PM - My neighbor from next door is walking her dog and sees me clapping and jumping on the couch and waves at me awkwardly.

9:39 PM - I check our real estate portal for feedback on any of our showings. I really, really need to move.

12:24 AM - Rewrite the ending of the book with lots of [INSERT AWESOME POOL SCENE HERE] and [SOMETHING COOL NEEDS TO HAPPEN HERE. EXPLOSION?]

12:33 AM - Hit send.

12:34 AM - Pass out in bed inordinately pleased with myself for rocking revisions and kicking ass at work with 3 children and no childcare. I am a bad ass.

4:45 AM - Wake up to the sound of my husband's alarm. Surgery has left him temporarily deaf in one ear and homeboy wakes up EARLY. Briefly consider stabbing him awake.

4:46 AM - Fall back into a fitful sleep with lots of crazy half awake dreams where Ben is drinking Windex.

6:50 AM - Hear relatively quiet, yet persistent noises from Jack's room. "Mommy, I need to show you something. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" So much worse than an alarm.

6:51 AM - Jack wet the bed for the first time EVER. And we're not talking a tiny little accident, it's full on man urine and it's EVERYWHERE.

6:53 AM - Strip the sheets and take them down to the washer only to see the $&*%&*& mouse. Yup, still haven't caught that little bastard. My friend has diagnosed me with a severe case of ninja mouse. This thing has successfully avoided 5 traps for the past 7 days. This little bastard is holding me hostage in my own home and now it's taunting me when I'm carrying urine soaked sheets. Not cool, mouse. Not cool.

7:01 AM - Ben is awake and he's screaming. Guess they must lace leave-in conditioner with amphetamines or something.

7:02 AM - All three children are awake and screaming and someone I work with wants to have a conference call.

7:03 AM - Corral all children into Ben's bedroom and double check that there's no drinkable beauty products on hand.

7:05 AM - Talking on the phone, taking care of business like the bad ass, multi-tasking mother that I am.

7:06 AM - Something upstairs crashes.

7:07 AM - Still talking.

7:08 AM - Mia is screaming at the top of her lungs.


7:10 AM - Jack is laughing like a maniac and Ben is yelling "NO!"

7:11 AM - Seriously? You're still going? SERIOUSLY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

7:12 AM - Hang up the phone to find all children still alive, no blood and with relatively minimal psychological side effects. Victory?

7:13 AM - Get an email from Laura. The end of the book is broken. Need to rewrite it, but she's leaving for the weekend. Maybe we can just turn in the book on Monday.

7:14 AM - Cry a little.

7:15 AM - Get an email from our realtor asking if we'd be open to dropping the price of the house another $10,000. For the record, that will put our list price at roughly $30,000 LESS than what we paid for it in 2005.

7:16 AM - Cry a LOT.

7:17 AM - Call husband at work. Cry to him.

7:18 AM - Call my mom at home. Cry to her.

7:19 AM - Consider calling Laura to cry to her, but I hate her too much for tearing apart my pathetic ending to the book.

7:20 AM - Consider calling Stacey to cry to her, but know she'll try to cheer me up and say soothing things and I'm so not ready for soothing.

7:22 AM - Cry some more.

7:23 AM - Ben pours an entire water bottle all over his last clean shirt.

7:33 AM - Can't remember the last time I took an actual shower, so I decide to risk it. The human tornado otherwise known as my son, proceeds to tear through our bathroom. By the time I've lathered up my hair with shampoo he's already unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper onto the ground and thrown a brush into the toilet.

7:35 AM - Ben's entire diaper explodes in what Jack coined a "poop tsunami" while I'm rinsing.

7:38 AM - Jump out of the shower, drag my laptop into the bathroom and toss Ben into the tub.

7:39 AM - Get an IM from someone else at work who wants to have a "quick chat."

7:40 AM - Cry some more.

7:41 AM - Get an email alert that the house we've been obsessing over sold after being on the market for less than 72 hours.

7:42 AM - Cry again.

7:47 AM - Admit defeat and call in reinforcements.

This story has a somewhat happy ending. I was rescued by the 13-year-old girl down the street and the Regulator who helped out with the kids for the rest of the day. So I was able to fix the end of the book and kick a small amount of ass at work.

Sadly none of this changes the fact the only topless guys I see on my Spring Break every year, look like this:

Instead of this:

And you know what? I'm actually REALLY ok with that, Pantene breath and all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jellicoe Road

Sometimes life is very sad. So sad that you can't really let yourself process how sad it is. Like if you really think about it, the sadness might eat you alive.

So you avoid it. And you focus on other stuff. Like how unfair life is. Or how angry certain people make you. Sometimes it's easier that way. Easier to be a little numb.

It's been ages since a book has made me cry, but tonight I finished Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and I just can't seem to stop. The real magic of books is that sometimes the right one finds you at the moment you need it the most. I feel that way about Jellicoe Road. I needed to read Taylor's story. To experience her journey from numbness to hope. 

Thank you Melina Marchetta for writing a book that reminded me that out of the deepest sadness can come hope and wonder.  I will be forever grateful.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hello to Sarah Frances Hardy and friends!

It's no secret that we love Sarah Frances Hardy's new release PUZZLED BY PINK.

And today we're lucky enough to be celebrating with SARAH FRANCES herself. Oh...and she's also brought along a few of her friends.

But first, check out SF's most beautiful website ever.

And now we welcome Sarah Frances who was kind enough to answer some of our most random questions.

1. What's your favorite color and why?
Green. I think it's because my birthday is in the spring. But it needs to be kind of chartreuse or limey.
2. What's your most embarrassing moment? 
Um, just about every time I'm on any kind of video. Also, the time I went on a "date" in seventh grade and came back from the bathroom with a very long toilet paper tail. It was tucked into the back of my jeans (probably paisley Guess jeans tapered and zipped at the ankles). Nice.
3. What annoys you?
I kind of hate the word "chinos".
4. What makes you happy?
Right now--my Starbucks cinnamon and vanilla soy milk latte'. And (I know everybody says this) my three daughters. They are, each one, completely different, and when they're not arguing, they are so much fun! Oh--and I must add my sweet husband, too.
5. What do you think about the book?
I think it's the greatest book ever written (kidding!). I do hope that people have fun with it and get that it's all about being yourself.

And now Rose, you're up!

1. What's your favorite color and why?
Pink. Why? Are you kidding? There shouldn't even BE any other colors. Everything should be pink or at least covered in glitter.
2. What's your most embarrassing moment?
When my sister Izzy came backstage after my ballet recital and threw a rubber snake at me. It scared me so bad I almost wet my pants, and Fletcher and his friends laughed at me. Okay, I actually did wet my pants a little. It was awful.
3. What annoys you?
Nothing. Everything in my world is pink roses and unicorns! I just ignore everything else. Except rubber snakes. They're scary. I don't like spiders either.
4. What makes you happy?
Dancing, glitter, flowers, butterflies, fairy wings and tutus.
5. What do you think about the book?
Well, I still kind of wish that Izzy had followed the party rules and worn a tutu, but I'm glad that in the end she came in her icky black dress. She's pretty weird, but she's my sister.

And last but not least, Izzy!

1. What's your favorite color and why?
Black. Because it's dark and mysterious.
2. What's your most embarrassing moment?
Well, pretty much everything my sister Rose does embarrasses me. But I actually had something horrible happen last weekend . . . it was Easter and my mom made me wear shoes with little bows on them. Bows!!! They were black patent leather, but still!
3. What annoys you?
Glitter, roses, pink cupcakes, giggling, lipstick, and anything that has to do with a ballet recital.
4. What makes you happy?
My best friend. Her name is V and she's all kinds of awesome. She's also invisible.
5. What do you think about the book?
Well, I love the title because I AM puzzled by pink. I just don't understand why all of the girls at school think you have to wear pink, have a pink lunch box, color everything pink . . . there are other colors out there people!! But my favorite thing about the book is that in the end, I got to go to Rose's party and I got to wear my favorite witchy dress.
Happy Friday the 13th!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward

True story. We know Lindsay Ward. Once upon a time, when we had time, we were involved in a Cleveland book club which rocked the socks off of any other book club ever. Lindsay and her adorable self joined the book club, which is where we first heard about PELLY AND MR. HARRISON VISIT THE MOON. We love it. Our kids love it. Our kids' friends love it. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is absolutely charming with a little twist at the end.

Fast forward a year. I receive a note home from Lydia's preschool that an author is coming to visit. Woohoo! I love authors! As I read on, I see none other than LINDSAY WARD'S name.

"I know her! I know her," I shouted, Elf-style.

Parents and siblings were invited to the program where Lindsay was going to read her newest book WHEN BLUE MET EGG, which I'd already read, LOVED and purchased for a birthday present, and the kids would have a chance to ask their crazy, four-year-old questions.

Needless to say, I was pumped.

Until the day of the event when I noticed Lindsay wasn't selling books. In all of my excitement, I hadn't thought to run up to The Learned Owl (the best bookshop in the world) to buy my copy. Let's just say this did not go over well with Lydia who waited in line patiently like everyone else for her signed copy. Only she didn't have a copy. Cue tears and an embarrassed mommy, a fussy James and the nicest author in the world who seriously offered to give her copy to Lydia. UM...NO. Sure, Lydia was crying over a book and I couldn't necessarily blame her, but we were not going to accept the author's copy. Trust me. I know how important a sale is and Lindsey deserved a recorded sale. We left it at Lindsay offering to send a signed book plate and I ushered my sniffling daughter out the door. I'm actually a pro at this. It happens more often than I care to admit. Over books, train tables, shoes that don't miraculously tie themselves and car seat straps that get twisted.

But the tears have since dried, a book has been purchased and all is right in the world. See how much she loves it? She loves, loves, loves to explain what's actually happening in the story in her smartest, I-know-so-much-more-than-you voice.

And, of course, she imagines getting ice cream with Blue. I can't say I blame her! Blue is pretty cool and ice cream is delicious.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Live From New York It's Tuesday Morning

When I saw my dad on Easter he immediately asked me if I'd watched SNL the night before. He said there was a sketch that he knew I'd love. I watched it when I got home mostly because I wanted to see how well my dad really knows me.

Um, turns out, pretty damn well.

This sketch made me cry. Weep. Nice work, Dad.

He was also right about this new boy band One Direction. He said they were actually pretty decent. And they totally were. Not only talented, but eminently watchable. I usually zip right through the music segment on my DVR, but these guys were fascinating. If I was 14 I'd probably already have posters of them covering my walls. Since I'm 33, I'll settle for one, slightly creepy poster in my closet. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Get In My Van

Are you suffering from an Easter hangover? If so, I've got just the thing. This picture....

We took the kids to Bob Evan's for a free dinner with the Easter Bunny event. They were SO excited to meet the Easter Bunny. When they got back to the table Lydia explained that the Easter Bunny wasn't able to talk and then Mia asked the obvious question: "What would the Easter Bunny say if he could talk?"

I almost snarfed my Diet Coke because the second the words were out of her mouth I knew exactly what the Easter Bunny would say.It took me about 3 minutes to actually spit the words out because I was laughing and crying, but finally I got it.

"Get in my van."

That is pretty much the only thing I can envision that Easter Bunny ever saying to a child. Am I right?

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lisa vs. The Mouse (Part 1)

7:32 PM: I settle into the couch with my favorite blanket and a cup of hot chocolate after a long day waiting on my husband hand and foot. Yeah, he had outpatient surgery, but the whole nurse maid thing does not come naturally to me and I was freaking tired.

7:34 PM: Strange rustling noises are coming from the kitchen.

7:35 PM: "Ken?" I thought maybe my patient was digging around for percocet or something, but there was no response. My senses went on high alert.

7:36 PM: More rustling. My knees went weak. I knew in my heart that something was in my kitchen but did I really want to know what it was? No. I really, really didn't. But I had to know. You know that dumb ass girl in the horror movies who actually goes down the basement to investigate that creepy moaning noise? Yeah, that was me.

7:37 PM: I crept toward the kitchen. Well, I crept as well as anyone can in hot pink Ugg slippers. They are so tacky and yet so warm.

7:38 PM: I stood completely still on the kitchen step. Waiting for the noise to come back.

7:39 PM: Still standing.

7:40 PM: Whew, I must just be hearing things or....OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT! THERE'S A $%*(*#* MOUSE ON MY COUNTER! I screamed and ran upstairs.

7:41 PM: A conversation with my husband who's currently high on painkillers and deaf in one ear:

Ken: Blaergh?
Lisa: MOUSE! You have to get it! Hurry!
Ken: Argh?
Lisa: MOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ken: Get like a box or something. You'll be fine. Garghs. *passes out*

7:43 PM: Clearly my husband wasn't a viable option. So I do what every self actualized woman does in the face of rodents. I started googling.

7:44 PM: Found this and felt vaguely better. I mean, I'm clean. My house is up for sale and I literally get on my hands and knees and scrub down my kitchen every single night. WTF mouse? The one time I leave some dishes in the sink because I've had a really long day you just decide to show up and mock me? DAMN YOU.

7:45 PM: Found this and was slightly comforted by the fact that mice are actually a tiny bit cute. Still nasty and gross, but cute.

7:46 PM: Sent SOS texts to both Laura and Stacey who are out of town for the weekend.

Laura: Oh no! I'm sure it's just one mouse. It's super cold.
Lisa: You really think?
Laura: No, I'm always wrong. Just buy a humane trap.
Lisa: Hell no. This little bitch needs to die. (See how quickly I forgot the cute factor? Yeah. Over it.)

Stacey: Honestly, I'd rather have a mouse than a centipede.
Lisa: ....

I mean how does one respond to a mouse/centipede comparison? It's like telling someone there's a serial killer in your house and having them text you back and say, well, at least it's not a ghost.

And so, first thing tomorrow the great mouse hunt begins. I'm going to kill that little $%*^($%.

Happy Easter! Happy Passover!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Bookanistas: Puzzled By Pink

Once upon a time, I was a girly girl. The girliest of girls. I wanted my ears pierced so badly I stopped sucking my thumb when I was 5. Sure, I had my Punky Brewster/Little Orphan Annie stage where I pretended to be a tom boy, but at the end of the day I loved make-up and curling irons and dresses and anything that sparkled.

When I found out I was pregnant with a little girl I couldn't wait to start buying pink. Finally I could start shopping for frilly little dresses and tiny mary jane shoes.

And then I gave birth to Mia. Instead of worshipping me and embracing the feminine mystique, she worshipped her older brother and tells everyone who will listen that she wishes she was a boy.

I tried reading Pinkalicious, Birdie's Big Girl Shoes, all kinds of adorable books only to have her request Just Like Daddy and Captain Underpants.

Enter PUZZLED BY PINK by Sarah Frances Hardy.

From Amazon:
Not every girl loves pink

Izzie hates pink as much as her sister, Rose, loves it. So when Rose plans an all-pink birthday party with the guests dressed in fairy costumes, Izzie decides to give her own alternative party in the attic, where the guests will be monsters, spiders, ghosts, and the pet cat. But some powerful magic triggers the appearance of yet another guest - an unexpected one. This will be a party nobody forgets!

LiLa's Take:
BUY THIS BOOK. I mean it, buy this book for any upcoming birthday parties you have, Christmas presents, baby gifts. BUY THIS BOOK. The illustrations are adorable, the story is divine and a funny thing happened, as I was reading it to my 4-year-old daughter, my 6-year-old son started inching closer and closer. By the time we got to the last page Jack and Mia were laughing and pointing at the final illustration. BUY THIS BOOK because not every little girl loves pink but most of them love a great book.

Don't call this a comeback

So it’s been a minute. Or 10. Or truthfully more like 2,102,400. At least we think that’s how many minutes there are in 3 years, but let...