Monday, June 27, 2005

This is GOOD for you??

Lately I’ve been hearing all about the benefits of drinking a glass of pomegranate juice a day. How it will make you live longer, stay healthy, put hair on your chest…okay…so it is not truly a miracle drink (and I probably really don’t want hair on my chest!). But it is supposed to be really good for you.

So yesterday, while doing my weekly frustration shopping at dumb Awful Albertson’s (remember The Mary Tyler Moore Show; how Phyllis used to call Mary’s friend, Rhoda, dumb Awful Rhoda?… okay, okay…back to our original programming…), I finally remembered to see if they might carry this wonder drink.

Now, I don’t know about your Albertson’s (and trust me…I could do a whole blog entry on mine!), but the dumb, Awful Albertson’s I must frequent is poorly stocked, very expensive, and generally annoying, and so I felt the chances of finding the brew were small. But…voila! They had one brand!

Darling bottles in three sizes: one serving for $3.69. Two servings for $5.48. And the best deal of all: four servings for $9.99! Woo Hoo! $10 bucks for half a week of unbelievable promises. I hemmed and hawed a bit between the one and two serving sizes. I ask myself: what if I hate it? But Self answers back tartly: how can you hate it? You love raw pomegranates! You love pomegranate jelly! So what is not to like about pomegranate juice. Miserly Self speaks up: Go for the one serving size….you need to go to Costco anyway, and they probably have gallons of it at a reasonable price of $5.00 for a life-time supply. Miserly Self wins the battle. A single serving bottle plops into the cart.

Upon arriving home, I eagerly search the bags for the cute little bottle. Rip off the safety seal, and slug back my first taste of improved well-being.


It is DREADFUL! It is HORRIBLE! It is WRETCHED!!!!!!!!! Nothing, absolutely NOTHING that tastes like the liquid in that bottle can possibly be good for you!

So now, I am stuck with a $3.69 bottle of swill cluttering up my fridge. I have toyed with mixing it with some vodka and maybe a bit of 7-up…but man…I really hate to waste two perfectly good beverages in case they fail to mask the horrors of the juice.

But I am game…. Any and all suggestions are welcome! In the meantime, I am sticking to the tried and true and delicious: the other red drink! Cranberry Juice!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Good-bye, Sam...

Thursday was a bittersweet day. It started out quite happy. It was my birthday, and for the past four months, I’d been dreading it. But once it finally got here, my whole attitude improved. After all, as too many people kept pointing out to me, getting a day and a number older was better than the alternative. Yeah, yeah, yeah…like I hadn’t already been telling myself that!

I walked in to a beautifully, thoughtfully decorated office, courtesy of my terrific department mates. Tons of balloons and streamers and banners…how could one not smile at all that! And then they all took me to lunch. We had a really, really fun time.

Upon returning to the office, the brutal reality of life reared its ugly head. I had an instant message from a gal I work closely with on a review site we belong to asking me if I’d heard the news about another member: Sam. It’s not good, she added. I immediately signed on to our posts-board, and found out that Sam had passed away suddenly. Needless to say, I was stunned. I had just corresponded with her the day before. She was so young, she hadn’t seemed ill.

As numbness began to replace the shock, one thought kept reverberating through my mind: man, I am so glad that Sam and I had buried our differences and had started really forging a very nice working relationship.

It hadn’t always been that way. We didn’t dislike each other at all; we just didn’t always seem to get along. I always fully appreciated how hard she worked on the review site; how many hours she unselfishly put in; how she wanted to make everything perfect. But there were times, when quite honestly, she really annoyed me…as I am sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that I really annoyed her. But then, after the fur settled a bit, we always moved on, no hard feelings…until the next fray.

When she volunteered to publish the photos for interviews (I am the coordinator), most of me was absolutely thrilled. I knew they would look awesome. A teeny bit of me was terrified that she would overwhelm me, but I figured that I’d cross that bridge if it happened.

The first month (April’s), she spent two solid days on them. And they were beautiful. And what was even more wonderful was we finally really understood each other. We finally had a chance to email back and forth to each other over common ground…we could complain to each other, we could commiserate with each other, we agreed with each other. I knew then that we would never have the rough patches that we’d experienced before again.

Three days before she passed away, she published the second month’s photos. I had no idea that they’d be her last. I can’t express how sad I feel over her death. I never met her in person; I don’t even know what she looked like. I do know that she was way too young to go; that she had way too much to accomplish yet.

And I know that her passing was rather a reality check…there is not a minute to waste. There is not enough time put off the things we keep thinking we’ll do tomorrow or the next day. And most importantly, there is no time like the present to forget differences, to tell people you care about them, to do it now and not wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow might just be too late.

I am so glad that Sam and I had the opportunity to get to know each other better, and to appreciate and like each other. I will miss her a lot. And she is one person, even though I cannot honestly say “I knew her”, I can honestly say I will never forget her.

Good-bye, Sam. You are really going to be missed.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tag! Tag! You're it!!

Never was very good at ducking…obviously still am not! Looks like Randy has tagged me…so, here goes:

Total Books Owned: Man, I have absolutely no clue. I review books, and one of the “perks” is getting the books. Right now they are threatening to take over every room in my house. I have bags of them, stacks of them, the bookcases are overflowing with them. They are on the nightstand, a kitchen chair…everywhere! Get the idea? I have lots and lots and lots and lots of books… Millions of books. Trillions of books… In other words, too many to count!

Last Book I read: A GOOD YARN by Debbie Macomber. It was very enjoyable. Everything a good book should be…meaning it was a wonderful escape.

Book sitting on my coffee table I am planning on reading: well, the coffee table is one place where I haven’t allowed any books to reside! Nope! They are not invading the coffee table! However, I imagine this question was more about the next book in the stack to be read. And it is…drum roll, please… SOME DANGER INVOLVED by Will Thomas. He is a new author, and I actually started a bit of it this afternoon. After eighteen pages, I think it is going to be a big winner! Very reminiscent of Dick Francis and Laurence Saunders humor, and I am looking forward to getting more into it.

Five books that mean a lot to me: This is a pretty tough question … I am terrible with names of books after I’ve read them; and don’t normally remember the authors too often either… But there are actually a handful of books that I remember distinctly:

FOLLOW MY LEADER: This is a book that we read in the fifth grade…actually our teacher read it to us; a chapter a day after lunch (I guess to calm us down before we got on to math…). It is about a young boy who became blind after playing with a firecracker that exploded in his face. It dealt with how he learned to cope with his new way of life and learning to work with his new guide dog named Leader. It’s funny, to this day I still think about this book.

HENRY HUGGINS by Beverly Cleary: This is the first chapter books and series that I actually read all by myself…I loved her as a child and couldn’t get enough of her stories. I understand she is in her 90’s now, and still releases tales every couple of years.

THE NOVEL by James Michener: written in three different pov’s from the author’s, the agent’s and the editor’s, this is the journey a story takes from when the writer writes it, what the agent does, and what the editor does. This book solidified for me that I really wanted to be a writer.

Anything by Jayne Ann Krentz: Again an author that makes me know I have to be a writer. I remember getting my first rejection that took a year in coming after the editor requested it twice (I was so sure I was “in”! Little did I know about the world of publishing at the time…) and I was devastated. Right on the heels came a very harsh, very uncalled for (I found out later!) read and critique from a well- known editor on the same material. I was ready to quit. I’d read a lot of Jayne Ann Krentz books, but happened upon one of her first ones. Man…I was so impressed about how much she’d grown as a writer, and I knew that I could do it, too. I met her at a conference right after that, and told her how much she’d inspired me. She was sooooo gracious and kind. Last summer I again had the chance to briefly chat with her in the elevator in Dallas at RWA National, and again, she was so enthusiastic about helping people achieve their dreams of publication. What a nice, nice lady. I don’t remember the name of the book that got me believing in me again…but I will always remember the name Jayne Ann Krentz.

Anything by Katherine Stone: She has such passionate, vivid characters, and she is another author who is so very classy and gracious in person. I had the opportunity to meet her last year at a publicist party I’d snagged a private invite to (lucky me!). I turned around in the wine line and who was standing behind me but Katherine Stone. I did a double-take at her name tag and began doing something I never do: I gushed. About how wonderful I thought her books were. How loved her characters…their passion, their struggles. On and on I went, and she just kept smiling and saying thank you, thank you. I finally got a hold of myself and then apologized for being such a drooling maniac. Her friend assured me: Oh no! She loves it! And she must have! I had an agent’s appointment the next day…and she helped me define my style in a couple of sentences. I had been struggling over this, and she took the time at a party to help me. Now that is class. It was so wonderful to really love an author’s work, and find out personally that she is just as terrific as her books.

So…now I get to tag five people…problem is…I don’t know five people! So, I am gonna tag the two I do know that haven’t been tagged already! You’re up:

(Technically, I could also tag Randy again, cuz she tried to slide by by not answering all the questions!)

Eh, eh, eh….Tag! Tag! You’re it!!!