| ]

Why is it that I'm not Jewish and don't celebrate Hanukkah, yet I can't get the Dreidel song out of my head?!?!?

(I defy anyone to hear it and then rid it from their brain!)

| ]

If you are a teenage girl who comes into my store in a bikini because you've just been to the local beach and can't take the time to change before you ask me for a job, I'm not going to hire you.

If you are a teenager asking me for a job and I say, "What's your favorite book?" and you say, "Oh, I don't really read that much, I just need the money," I'm not going to hire you.

If you are a teenage boy asking me for a job and I say, "We aren't hiring" and you get all bitter and say, "Can't I just leave my name and number so you can call me?" and I say, "No, we really aren't hiring. It would be a waste of your time" and you turn around and huff a REALLY BIG SIGH and then say, "GOD!" REALLY LOUD before you angrily bust out of my door, I'M NOT GOING TO HIRE YOU.



(but especially that last kid...)

| ]

(see what I did there? Jackie Handy? Old Saturday Night Live reference? You know...oh nevermind...)

  • Um, what's up with Britney & Paris BFF? Obviously there's some social herding call that only skanky blondes with fake boobs and botox can hear...
  • It's really, really (did I say REALLY) hard to type when you are wearing winter gloves.
  • Apparently, you don't need a degree (or even a high school diploma) to write for the local newspapers here (yes, a topic revisited).
  • Webkinz monkeys are REALLY popular!
  • Apparently it's easy to get 5 bucks from my husband if you are the ravers living next door who shoot bottle rockets at my dogs, put up Christmas lights in August, and move a German Shepard in who barks incessantly. (See Bright Lights, Little City for background info)
  • In my area, if you go into a restaurant at 8:35 and they close at 9, they will not let you order. HM.


Just because you LITERALLY SPEND ALL DAY lighting and decorating your Christmas tree, it doesn't mean that you will get to enjoy it all lighted because one light bulb will go out and short the entire tree after it is completely decorated...

| ]

We have this little Santa at the store. He is holding a book and when you press his hand he reads Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's really cute, he has a big fluffy beard and his head, mouth and eyes all move while he is reading.

Unfortunately, his hand pulled loose from the little book he is holding. I was super gluing his hand back to the book when I realized that I glued my thumb and forefinger to the book. Not just a little, but REALLY glued it on there. At that exact moment a customer brings up some books to check out and I'm really in a panic. I can feel sweat forming on my brow and I seriously canNOT pull my finger loose. HOW EMBARRASING! This nice older woman just stood there looking at me. What could I say?!?!

I tried to nonchanlantly pull my fingers off and I REALLY COULDN'T. She's looking at me, I'm looking at Santa...

Finally, I just ripped my fingers loose and a layer of the skin from my thumb came off (yes, OUCH).

Thus, I left some DNA on Santa...

| ]

So we go on a Christmas tree expedition on Sunday.


I LOVE Christmas, but I just wasn't into the whole tree thing this year. Could have something to do with the fact that I already decorated at the store or that Todd leaves right after Christmas every year for an event that leaves me taking down all the decorations myself. Either way, I just wasn't into it. So, Todd says, "I saw a sign for cutting your own tree right down the road, let's go there." Last year, we went to this GREAT tree farm with our friends, but I just wasn't up for the hour-plus drive.

Let me give some background: We have vaulted ceilings, but with our furniture, not a lot of room. So, we must have a VERY TALL tree, but NOT very fat. You know, Charlie-Brownish, but not too Charlie-Brownish. Easy right?


Ok, so we get to the local place and I can tell as soon as we drive up that they don't have trees tall enough. I say, "They don't have anything here." I don't want to get out because, 1) I don't want to waste my precious time, and 2) It's too damn cold-I mean that wind cutting through to your very bone cold. Which is OK if it's snowing and pretty, but it's not. It's cold but MUDDY. *bah humbug* So, of course we get out where I get to enjoy the sounds of hunters shooting cute furry animals across the street every 30 seconds (that can ruin the Christmas cheer worse than no snow, let me tell you) AND have the guy send us on a fishing expedition because he "just knows he has those kinds of trees back there..." Of course, he didn't. He argues he does, we leave. Jackie's crabby (yeah, big shock, I know).

We starting driving to the hour-plus place and see another "cut your own tree" sign. What the heck? We try it. We get out, the first one I see I say, "Let's get it." (I obviously didn't really care). We don't, instead we walk around for an hour, traipsing through muddy fields (no snow here STILL, only rain) with the -40 degree weather (OK, so it really wasn't -40, but it felt like it). We get in the truck, I have to pee (NO, I'm NOT using THAT PORTA POTTY THING!) AND Todd notices we have something like 4 miles to empty and we're in the middle of nowhere. Imagine Blair Witch Project, only during the day.

We drive down the street, find a skanky gas station with an even skankier bathroom (oh joy!) where there is (wait for it...)
A MIRROR ON THE WALL INSIDE THE STALL! I stare at it for a few minutes convincing myself that it's a two-way mirror (I really do think it was). Who cares? If they want to see my cottage cheese a**, so be it, I have to pee.

Leaving gas station, describing two-way mirror to my husband, almost get sandwiched between a car in front of us and a truck behind us when stupid car at front of line slams on breaks.
We weren't paying attention because we were trying to find the radio information to see if it was Dean Martin singing about "Rudy and his red beak" (Dean, you arrogant SOB, must you blaspheme Rudolph?).

Finally arrive at the tree farm an hour-plus away AND find our tree in 10 minutes. WAY. And that's INCLUDING the time it took to listen to the girl explain the tree farm map.

Shall we recap?
-Furry animals dying
-Redneck tree farm liar
-Minus 40 degree weather
-Muddy traipsing
-No tree again and porta potty
-Two-way mirror
-Dean the SOB and red-beaked Rudy
-Sandwich smash
-10-minute tree

I think that pretty much sums it up.

| ]

I was cleaning the kitchen on Saturday and flipped on the little counter TV to keep me company. I happened upon a series on MTV, VH1, or one of those, called something like, "My Super Sweet 16." Have you seen this piece of crapola? Here's the premise (it's the same for every episode):

Spoiled bratty child (I've only seen girls) with extremely rich parents makes fool of self throwing temper tantrums until she guilts parents to drop loads of money on a 16th birthday party that costs more than a college education.

So, you get the point. I watched a couple of episodes beacuse it was like a train wreck. I just couldn't look away. I was so infuriated at those ungrateful little brats that at the end of those episodes I actually had to call and yell at my husband about something (which, without fail, ALWAYS makes me feel better). Here are some highlights:

The first episode I saw started with a girl going to take her drivers license exam. Her dad says, "Did you study?" and she says (insert valley voice), "UH YEAH, for about, all of FIVE MINUTES." She, of course, fails her exam, sits in the DMV crying and causing a scene and yelling at her dad to "LEAVE ME ALONE!" He, of course, rewards her good behavior (and ability to fail a driving test) later by giving her a brand new BMW M3 convertible, which someone drove out of a truck at her catered dance/rave party with a big bow on it.


At her private party with hundreds of people, the entire night is spent avoiding a girl that was a friend but now isn't a friend anymore and wasn't invited into the VIP room. It made me break out in hives and give a thousand blessings that I was no longer in high school.

This episode ended by showing the birthday girl driving away in her new car (yep) with a voice over saying, "My party cost more than my parents wedding, but, like, I'm worth it. I'm princess Jazmin, duh."
(this one's a real brain child).

Episode 2 was in LA with 2 BFF having their 16th party together. Their dads (who obviously know some people who know some people) are trying to get a live band. At one point, one of the dingbats says, "Beyonce said she would do it, but she wants half a million. It's, like, ridiculous to pay that to play for an hour." *eye roll*

SHE'S BEYONCE YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE B*TCH. She's charging you half a million dollars because you are a big NOBODY and, this may come as a shock, THE WORLD DOES NOT, IN FACT, REVOLVE AROUND YOU.

*whoo-saw...find your happy spot...whoo-saw...*

Ok, so these two chicks go to Saks where they CLOSE OFF A SECTION so that these girls would not have to be bothered by, I dunno? COMMON PEOPLE staring at them during their PRIVATE FITTING while they try on dresses that Selma Hyak wore and shoes Nicole Kidman wore. The best line out of this segment was when the mom introduced the Saks lady and said, "She's been fitting Jacqueline FOREVER..."


(and, yes, here name really was Jacqueline. Shut up.)

So, they do this invitation-only, 700-people party where they get a local grunge/mosh pit band to play and then are surprised when people are "starting to fight for no reason." WELL DUH...you invited 700 hormone-induced-frenzied TEENS to a MOSH BAND, you dumb b*tches, what did you expect?!?!

Of course, one of them ends up having a really bad time and says, "It's getting too crazy, I just want to go home." YEP, pretty sure the parents appreciated that after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a birthday party.

Wow. And I thought getting Barbie baked into a dress cake was a treat when I was growing up. Do you remember what you did for your 16th birthday? EXACTLY MY POINT!

I'll end by saying something to these parents: Don't be shocked when your kids can't become contributing members of society (and donating last season's Jimmy Choos to a charity auction doesn't count...). Oh wait, that IS how Paris Hilton became famous, isn't it? HM. Nevermind.

| ]


I'm cleaning the bathroom at the bookstore this morning when I notice that I have this tuft of hair sticking up on the side of my head like a horn. No matter what I did, it still was sticking up. Luckily I have a bottle of hairspray under the sink. After I plaster this one piece of hair down (very *HOT* btw), I lean down to put the hairspray back, proceed to knock a lavender-scented reed diffuser glass vase off the counter, onto the floor, and in the meantime lean onto the counter which I had just sprayed with a BLEACH cleaner.

I'm wearing a navy sweater.



You get the point.

After a few seconds, a nice little bleach spot appeared over my left nipple (no kidding).

I could either try to convince people that Ralph Lauren had a weird pony placement mishap OR...
AHA! I could color it in with a blue dry eraser board marker.

It worked OK (in case you are wondering).

I should've known it was going to be this kind of day when I started at the grocery store this morning buying a bottle of wine. When the girl was loading my groceries into the trunk I said, "Oh, you better put the wine up front with me, ha, ha, ha." She said, "OH! OK!" I said, "Oh no, I was just kidding." Her response?

"Hey, whatever you need..." as she rolled the cart away.

| ]

Dear CNN:

I am gravely disappointed with your recent choice of important, breaking news email alerts. In the past, I have been grateful for the email news alerts that you send me regarding important world happenings. Let's review what is and is not an important enough event to send me an email breaking news alert, shall we?

Terrorists attacking the U.S.? Worthy of an email breaking news alert
Cameron Diaz breaking her nose surfing? NOT worthy of an email breaking news alert

Respected journalist Ed Bradley passing away (especially when I didn't even know he had been sick. SORRY ED!)? Worthy of an email breaking news alert
Katie & Tom's wedding destination choice? NOT worthy of an email breaking news alert

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepping down? Worthy of an email breaking news alert
Britney dumping that blood sucking hump K-FED? NOT, NOT, NOT WORTHY OF AN EMAIL BREAKING NEWS ALERT!!!

If I were signed up to, let's say, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER TRASH EMAIL NEWS ALERTS, then I would expect a Britney Spears breaking news alert. However, I'm signed up for CNN NEWS ALERTS where, on an ELECTION DAY, the one thing that you could send me an email breaking news alert about was a has-been child star and her leech?

Come on CNN, a little judgement please?

| ]

Did you see that movie "White Noise" with Michael Keaton? It was a movie about dead people who were trying to contact others through television "noise", computers, electronics, etc. Initially, I didn't want to see it. But about 6 months ago it was HBO when I was flipping through and I stopped on it.

It was one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen.

Just in time for the Halloween season, I had my very own "White Noise" experience.

Ok. Sort of.

The first experience involves the radio. One night, our clock radio (which is always set to the alarm and RARELY the radio) blarred on at 3 a.m. for no apparent reason. Weird.

The very next night involved an experience with the TV. Sometimes I fall asleep with the TV on while Todd is traveling. If I do, I put the volume down so low that I can barely hear it. Sometime during the wee hours the TV changed channels and then went to maximum volume. Not only that, I could not turn the TV channel nor turn down the volume - it was stuck! I finally got it to change, but after two nights of that, who could sleep!?!?

(cue twilight zone music)

| ]

Small town papers amaze me. I've been in some states where the papers are really good with qualified journalists. My current area does not seem to possess those qualities. Here are a couple of examples:

  • I'm included in a "Women in Business" Section (SEVERAL pages of women in business) where they misspelled each and every banner at the top of the page as "Women Is Business" (not only did it go to print that way, it was sent out that way).
  • I send a letter to the editor about something going on in our town. They publish my letter, but first "edit" my letter to the editor and THEN make grammatical mistakes.

Of course that would happen - a published author who appears to have made grammatical mistakes...

| ]

The name of our bookstore is The Book Blues.

THE Book Blues. Somehow, we got on some business list (which multiplied into what seems like hundreds of crappy informational mailing lists) as THEY Book Blues. (See August 1, 2006, posting of "Use a Freakin' Spell Check Next Time" to get caught up).

Today I get a call while I have several customers in the store. It went something like this:

Heavy-Accented Annoying Person (HAAP): Is this They Book Blues?
ME: This is The Book Blues.

HAAP: Is this They Book Blues?
ME: It is THE Book Blues.
HAAP: Huh?
ME: (loudly) THE Book Blues. THE Book Blues.
HAAP: Are you affiliated with They Book Blues?
ME: (sighs loudly) There is no They Book Blues.
HAAP: Huh?
ME: (even louder) THERE. IS. NO. THEY. BOOK. BLUES. It is THE Book Blues.

At this point all of the customers have stopped what they are doing and turned to watch me (seriously, I had an audience while I was screaming into the phone).

HAAP: (totally confused) Oh. This is not They Book Blues?
ME: (sighs again) Look, there is no They Book Blues. It was a typo by someone, most likely YOUR company, it is only THE. THE. BOOK. BLUES.
HAAP: Could you spell the first word please?
ME: (silent disbelief)
HAAP: Hello?
ME: Yes. The first word is THE. T.H.E.
HAAP: Ok, P...
ME: NO! NO! NO! THE. The word is THE. T as in Tom. H as in Howard. E as in egg.
HAAP: Oh. The?
HAAP: Ok, thank you.


| ]

So, today is Friday the 13th.

On the radio this morning they are discussing this day and how freaky people get about their superstitions. So, I was commenting to my husband how silly it was that when bad things happen on this day that everyone attributes it to FRIDAY the 13th. We had a good laugh about it.

Fast forward 15 minutes.

I hear my dogs yapping this weird high-pitched yap outside and mistakenly assume that it's just because it's 40-degrees outside on October 13.


I go out and find that our "I'll run away the first chance I get" Shepard mix has broken his tie out and is nowhere in sight. So here I am, 4o-degree weather, wet hair, in a bathrobe (and not one of those plush warm robes, no, a bathrobe that is as thin as my worn sheer IU graduate tee...) running around outside my house at 8 a.m. I call into the house to Todd, tell him Indy ran away, and he promptly says:


I continue my search. No dog. Not only was there no dog, but there was a HUGE dead animal lying in the road in front of our house - what timing! So, hyperventilating, I run out to the road. (Don't fret, I had changed into non-matching clothes by the time I ran out to see if it was my dog. It wasn't, thankfully).

I guess the joke was on me.
Never mock the 1-3.

(Yes, the dog did come home. He was waiting patiently at the front of the house like, "Hey, where ya been? It's cold out here," while I drove around the area and my husband became a human popsicle walking the area).


| ]

...or is it bizarre to hear my almost 65-year-old dad say this when I phoned the other day:

"No, I wasn't busy. I was just downloading some music."

| ]

My day went something like this:

9:03 a.m. Politely ask construction guys if they are going to be parked in my customers' parking spots all morning.
9:03:06 a.m. Construction guy gets attititude
9:03:10 a.m. Different guy (who has absolutely nothing to do with situation) gets in redneck truck, backs into the middle of the street, rolls his window down and proceeds to scream at me about lack of parking in city.
9:04: Moments of "communicating" with redneck guy.
9:05 a.m. Bid insane redneck guy a good day and go into store before I lunge through the window of his big ole truck and strangle him with bare hands.
9:05:10 a.m. Locks store door and turns to go in back to prepare for opening when she hears knock.
9:06 a.m. Unlock door for Chamber of Commerce group and has to tell them NO, I cannot do your newsletter because I already commit to several volunteer efforts in a community that may or may not appreciate them. Does agree to host a business networking event next week (out of sheer guilt).
10:00 a.m. Opens store emotionally exhausted and having yet to eat breakfast.
10:10 a.m. First telemarketer call asking for money.
11:00 a.m. A mom comes in to ask me to donate gift certificates and my time to two different events to local elementary school. Agree to gift certificates and time for one event. Add event to PDA.
11:45 a.m. High school kids come in to sell me a yearbook ad. Promise to buy an ad, but artwork is not ready. Add reminder to PDA.
12:02 p.m. Local paper salesperson leaves message reminding me that ad for paper should be in (more $$).
1:00 p.m. Husband, who got up this morning, let the dogs out, and then went back to bed as I was leaving for WORK delivers lunch and proceeds to bitch about his lunch experience for 20 minutes.
2:20 p.m. Get email from college I work for asking me if I can do more work for them (translation: your 90 hours/week at your bookstore ain't doin' s*** for us). Add reminder to PDA.
4:00 p.m. Customers who used to come in all the time but now frequent another store (due to husband's influence) stop in to ask me to buy something from their kid's school catalogue. Oblige (only because it was a VAT of cookie dough and I was pretending I was eating it right then).
5:10 p.m. Husband calls to say he can't relieve me and work tonight because (get this) HE HAS A JOB, TOO. (How was that extra couple of hours of sleep this morning, honey?!?)
5:45 p.m. Act as sounding board for several friends who needed to talk (and I was glad to do it!)
6:00 p.m. Retrieve cell phone VM from college mentioned above (different department) about contract writing I'm doing for them and why I'm not answering emails and voicemails (even though I have answered every email).

7:10 p.m. Vent on blog in hopes of feeling better.

(In case you were wondering: It didn't work. I still feel like I have had the life sucked out of me by 1000 leeches.)

Enough about me. What do you think about me?

| ]

If you are a 40-something man wearing sunglasses in the evening and driving a cool vintage red convertible (*cough* obviously in a mid-life crisis *cough*), you probably shouldn't blast Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" while you're driving down the road.

I'm just sayin'...

| ]

I was at the grocery store this morning picking up a few things for the bookstore. When I was checking out, I sat my purse on that little ledge by the credit card machine while I got my card out of my wallet. My purse dumped OPEN TOP DOWN with $18 worth of change, a small bottle of hand lotion from a hotel and a pantyliner (just to mention a few of the 5,000 things laying right there for everyone's perusal). Apologetically, I began to scoop up all of the items when the woman in line behind me says, "Is that your thumb tack on the floor?" (as if it were a crack pipe). I gracefully bend down, pick it up, stuff it in my purse and say, "Doesn't everyone carry a thumb tack in their purse?" I shrugged my shoulders and off I went WEARING MY LOGO BOOKSTORE T-SHIRT SO THAT EVERYONE KNEW EXACTLY WHO I WAS.

(I mean, really, doesn't everyone carry a thumb tack?)

(and no, I won't tell you what I was doing with it...)

| ]

So we live next door to a cool old house (actually, cool old houses on either side of us). Unfortunately, one of the houses has RENTERS. Before I get all of the renter hate mail, let me 'splain (you know, like "LUUUCY, you have some 'splainin' to do...").

Renters are FINE, IF they treat the house like it's their own house and perform the regular home-owner duties. You know, like mowing your lawn and not shooting bottle rockets at someone else's dogs on July 4.

I think you get the picture.

There's an older woman that lives there with her son who

  • has to be 30-something
  • has no job (I know this because the mom told me)
  • plays RAVE (house, party) music loud enough to shake the walls in my EXTREMELY WELL insulated house
  • makes a twice-to-three times daily trek to the local bar down the street (I know this because my home office window faces their house and the road)

There are so many things wrong with this picture, but I'm only going to concentrate on ONE today: THE RAVE MUSIC.

Besides the fact that I loathe this kind of fast-paced, heavy-beat music, I just don't get it. It's apparent to me that this deadbeat, er, um, SON sits home sponging off his mother, doing X all day and alternating between the bar and his home RAVE DEN.

Is there a point to this posting? Yes.

I get up this morning at 5:45 a.m. (on a day that I didn't have to go into the store until later and I could've slept in...but I'm not bitter) and notice for the first time that this loser has BLINKING COLORED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AROUND HIS BEDROOM WINDOW.


If this doesn't scream rave/ecstasy den, then I don't know what does.


Again, I'm not bitter.

Maybe some day I will tell you about the beautiful dream house that we built only to have someone move across the street, build the same house, and burn off the front lawn only to replace it with tacky white landscaping gravel. (I SWEAR it's true).

My mamma once told me, "Just because you have money doesn't mean you have taste."


| ]

When first organizing the bookstore (before we opened), I was adamant about not carrying Harlequin romances, historical romances (you know, the Fabio long flowing hair guys on white horses - what BS, but I digress...), etc. Anyway, a friend of mine (you know which one you are) said, "You're making a HUGE mistake. Women around here read those." A few weeks after we were open, I gave in and started to carry a FEW (like TWENTY) historical romance. (Yes, you were right, I'll admit it).

I was reorganizing shelves today when it hit me, YET AGAIN, why I hate these novels. One of the author's names?


Look it up if you don't believe me.

'Nuff said.

| ]

You know all of those telemarketer calls you used to get at home before you put your name on the DNC list? Multiply that by 25 and that's what you deal with on a daily basis as a small business owner. I can feel your jealous insanity at the thought of what you are missing. I will gratefully share...

People trying to get you to use their merchant account for credit card processing is a daily battle. This morning I get this call:

THEM: "Can I speak to the owner?"
ME: "Speaking."
THEM: "Can you tell me who handles the merchant credit card processing?"
ME: "As the owner, who do you think would handle it?"
THEM: *silence*
THEM: *embarrassed laugher* "Yeah, I guess you're right..."
ME: *click*

There's a company that calls about twice per week. The guy starts out like he knows me, "HEY! How's it goin'?" (which annoys me endlessly). Then he goes on to say, "We're the people who put out all of those pens with business names. I'm sure you know us." Without fail I say, "No, I don't." (Every time, every single time I say that). Anyway, last week I told them not to call back. Refusing to let up, they instead mailed me an enticing little package with a really nice pen and my business name printed on it. Well, almost. Instead of THE they misprinted it THEY. So this nice item that was supposed to entice me to use their services reads THEY BOOK BLUES (instead of The Book Blues) - the dorks (or maybe I mean THEY dorks).

Can anyone say, HELLOOOOO SPELL CHECK?!??!

| ]

I'm pretty bitter this week. If you wonder why, just read the previous posting. That and it's been a generally annoying people kind of week.

There are a group of men (no, this isn't a "man hater" post, I'm just stating fact) who find it difficult to understand that a woman can own a business. And, if they do understand, it's obvious that they believe there is no way that a woman can know how to run a successful business - at which point they start to talk down to me and speaking very slowly, as if I'm blond and/or lip reading or both (maybe those new highlights weren't such a great idea). I refer to this as the "patting on the head" theory. You know, like "ahhhh, there, there, don't worry your pretty little head about this big ole scary business stuff." I was lucky enough to experience the "patting on the head" theory not once but TWICE this week alone. (YAY ME!) The first experience was pretty mundane:

Male Chauvenist Pig #1 (MCP #1): I need to speak to the owner.
ME: That's me.
MCP #1: (look of surprise) OH...

Now I ax you, why would his first assumption be that I was not the owner? Could it be the pigtails I was sporting with the red ribbons wrapped around each one? The micro-mini skirt with the 6-inch stilleto-heeled vinyl thigh-high boots? The Mickey Mouse lollipop as big as my face? The "How to be a Teenage Girl in 2006" I was reading? OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE NONE OF THOSE THINGS WERE HAPPENING. It just so happened that he assumed that I wasn't the owner because I have boobs and, er, a vag... well, you get the point. Let's move on to case #2. Here's some background:

MCP#2 leaves a free publication in our bookstore. I'm not really crazy about it - it has some alternative stuff that I'm not really into, but whatever. He brings in the new monthly publication today.

MCP#2: I usually talk to your husband.
ME: Huh.
MCP#2: We can print free blurbs in the publication if you have writers in, etc.
ME: Yeah, we have one coming up soon. Can I have your card?
MCP#2: (very frustrated) I gave it to your husband.
ME: (disbelief) There are a million people that come in here everyday. I would like your card.
MCP#2: (grumbles) I guess I can go to the car and get another one.
ME: *blink*blink*blink*
(MCP#2 returns from car, unfortunately)
MCP#2: What do you want to be known for?
ME: Excuse me? (by now I've lost interest and I'm working on the computer and not even looking at him)
SIDE NOTE: Notice head patting theory demonstrated above.
ME: Uh, books?
MCP#2: No, you have to be known for something.
ME: Yeah, books.
MCP#2: (extremely frustrated and speaking very slowly): You know. Some places want to be known for comic books.
ME: We're not a comic book store, we're a book store. *blink*blink*blink*
MCP#2: (frustrated and changes subject) We have a special advertising...
ME: (cuts him off) yeah, my husband told me about it.
ME: Yeah, well, we won't be advertising with you.
MCP#2: (slides publication across counter) Have a nice day. (abruptly leaves)
ME: *throws away 15 free publications left in my store and shreds his business card*

Heh, heh, heh, being the boss is such sweet revenge, even when you're a woman.

| ]

You know when you've worked a really long hard day/week and you just want to kick back on the couch in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a cold *beverage* and maybe some back episodes of The Closer that you've been meaning to catch up on? Well, good for you. I have no idea what that feels like. Instead, I've been sitting on my cushionless cat pee couch, looking at the the water pooling for some unknown reason under my dining room windows and laundry room sink (yes it was WATER), using my broken, buttonless garage door opener that now takes electrician-level wiring before it will work in a bathroom where half of the electrical outlets don't work.

And that was all just this week by Wednesday.

I need a cherry turnover...

| ]

It's funny (and by funny I don't mean ha ha funny, I mean strange, bordering on institutionalization funny) what people will tell you when you can't, say, run away as fast as you can screaming at the top of your lungs and flailing your arms about.

When you're stuck at a bookstore for 80 hours per week, people tend to tell you things that
a. you'd rather not hear, or
b. you really don't care about
(and sometimes both at the same time)

For example, take the guy who, five minutes before closing after a very, very long week, found the need to quiz me with definitions of words and when I was too tired to answer (or care), he left disgusted with "And I bet you went to college" as his parting comment.

Or what about the guy who held me captive (and the only reason it was legal was because I had the key to the store and, in theory, could lock him out and/or call the police) for 10 minutes so that he could tell me that slavery was really BS and that "they" could've walked away at any time (his words/beliefs, not mine). Hey, I was just innocently pricing T-shirts that made absolutely no political statement that should've triggered this barrage. In his defense, he did tell me as he was leaving that he just got out of the hospital and had more painkillers in him than I would believe. So, maybe he was delusional, thinking that he was, let's say, HITLER.

There are others: the girl who offered to give free massages at my store (so MUCH more to that story that I may have to create another posting), the people who offer to "volunteer" here (of whom I'm ALWAYS suspicious, you've been forewarned), the people who LOUDLY state their political beliefs and then become frustrated when I won't engage (like a political vault, this one right here), and on and on until you reach the pinnacle of emotional and physical exhaustion.

Anyway, what was I saying? Please deposit another 25-cents...

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Every year we have a "friends" Thanksgiving - all of our friends come to our house as to avoid the "Aunt Mary's" of the world commenting on weight gain, relationship or job status, and/or to avoid being asked, yet again, if you are having any kids.

ANYWAY, My friend Kia (nickname used here to protect individual and preserve sanctity of friendship) already made her flight plans. Apparently, she had put me on the email list from the airline to receive a copy of her itinerary. In the comments section she wrote, "your official pie maker will be there for Thanksgiving." I immediately hit reply and then proceeded to express genuine excitement about her visit. I closed the email with a ususal sarcastic comment. This one just happened to be: "Heh, heh...you said 'pie'."

Here is the message I received the next morning...

...from NORTHWEST AIRLINES (yep, I had replied to the airline and not to my friend with the 'pie' comment):

"Thank you for contacting Northwest Airline's customer service department. We believe that you have replied to us in error. Please do not reply to this email again. If you wish to contact customer service about an airline issue, please do so at..."

Hm...I guess they really don't have a sense of humor (or, maybe they were just upset that they weren't invited to Thanksgiving for said pie).

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So I put REM in the music rotation at the store. All fine and good until Michael Stipe screamed "*insert profanity* OFF" in one of his songs while a grandmother and her two grandsons were in here. I had been singing in my head (almost like talking to the voices in my head except to music) and realized it about 1 millisecond before he said it. That 1 millisecond was in slow motion for about 4 days.

I guess you should expect this kind of day when you start off stepping in cat vomit at 7 a.m.

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(employee looking down at your order) "EW GROSS!"
(window snaps shut briefly)
(window re-opens, smile plastered on face of employee)
"Thank you, have a great day!"

Disclaimer: That this post was written exactly one day after the "cherry turnover incident" is completely coincidental. I absolve anyone in the fast food or gas station industry for being responsible for my ability to fit (or not fit) into my fat jeans.

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Life in the little city continues:
Every morning on my way to the bookstore I stop at the gas station. You know, the ones that have everything you need - groceries, pastries, pizza/sandwiches, sodas, etc. Every morning I get a big 32 oz. diet coke and once or twice a week I get cherry turnovers. (I know it sounds weird, but they have KILLER cherry turnovers. For all of you who are going to comment on my diet Coke with cherry turnovers...well, just don't). Checking out this morning, banter ensued:

Bitter Woman Behind Counter (BWBC): "You know, you're going to turn into a cherry turnover."
ME: "Ya think?" (I'm quite the morning conversationalist)
BWBC: "When your fat jeans don't fit anymore don't come in here complaining to me because you ate too many cherry turnovers."
ME: ...
ME: ...
ME: ...

I had NO witty retort (And I HATE when that happens - I blame it on the morning). I'm here to tell BWBC:
I have plenty of FAT JEANS and they fit me just fine, thank you very much.
(How you gonna act now???)

Just think of it this way:
I'm a little like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Instead of always having some sort of self-help/entrepreneurial book behind the counter, I always have a cherry turnover.

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We have used books at our store. This means that they undergo a rigorous cleaning process (namely, me picking off the old price tags with the nub of a fingernail I have left). I always find interesting stuff in the books that people trade in: old bookmarks, postcards, love letters, etc. The most interesting one came today.

(The book was from 1978, which will give you some frame of reference.)

There was a coupon:

"Back-to-school valuable coupon. New Super Plus 10's Tampax Tampons for .49 - originally .59 - limit 1 with coupon."

Now - the "back-to-school" part was funny enough. When I was in the back-to-school mode, I never remember saying to my parents, "I need four red folders, those Jordache jeans and a box of tampons."

The best part? This coupon for tampons was being used as a bookmark in a book called I'm Eve - the autobiography of the woman who had 22 different personalities!

Got a really good chuckle out of that irony. For some reason I'm really craving chocolate right now...

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My bookstore is right across the water from Canada. There's a ferry and we get lots of ferry traffic driving by our store - which means Canadian traffic.

A woman was checking out the other day, when she said (in a great French accent): Can you please tell me how to get to Dee-Twa? (I'm having a hard enough time with the nasally Northern Michigan accent, let alone French Canadian).

It took me a second and then I had to laugh - AT MYSELF, of course. I then explained to the woman how to get to DETROIT. However, from that day forward, I dubbed Detroit Dee-Twa (and made all of my friends say it that way). It sounds SO MUCH better (and honestly, I think it is the answer to the economy problems here. If only people here would pronounce it Dee-Twa many of our problems would be solved).

Next I'm making a major push for the old way of saying phone numbers. You know, like PR549 or Rochester 8226. That's not catching on as well as Dee-Twa, but I'm hopeful. After that, it's a JackiePalooza for the city and then I'm queen of the world!

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Owning a bookstore is a riot. I could fill up pages and pages of this blog everyday with stories from owning an independent bookstore in a small town. However, since I live in a town that is roughly the size of Mayberry (yes, the Aunt Bea & Andy Mayberry), I'll refrain from telling you many of the stories. But this is one that I have to share.

Customer: "Do YOU read everything that you have in your store."
ME: -looks around at the thousands of books in our store- "Uh, no. I read alot, but I can't say that I've come close to reading everything in here."
Customer: "WELL, (insert name of bookstore in another city) reads EVERYTHING in her store before she puts it out."
ME: "Well, I have another job." (as if being a writer is REALLY like having another job)

Yep, that was my best defense - and I REALLY DID feel the need to defend myself. I felt like a lesser bookstore owner for not having ready every book in my store.

Sheesh. I need to get out more.

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So, I'm in Miami a few months ago annoyed that I can't eat cocktail sauce with my shrimp (another posting). Anyway, I was innocently thumbing through the Miami Herald when a below-the-fold headline caught my eye:

Ma'am, is that a skull in your bag?

From the Herald:
"A Miramar woman was charged with smuggling a human head into the United States without the proper documentation. She said she wanted it for a Vodou ritual.

OK, in the opening paragraph alone there are so many questions - aside from the obvious, "What the hell are you doing with a human head in your bag?" There's also, "What exactly is the 'proper documentation' for bringing a human head into the States?" (You know, for future reference). And there's also the question of what to pack to wear with your severed head and does that "no white after Labor Day" rule still apply? There was another question for me - the Vodou thing. I admit, I had to look up Vodou -- I know voodoo and occasionally the Creole spelling voudou, but not Vodou. I digress...So here's the best part, this chick's last name? Severe

Get it? Sever...head....

Come on people, am I the only one that finds humor in these things?

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I struggled with whether or not I wanted to write a posting about this. I finally justified it by telling myself that I needed to be honest, not only with myself, but also other writers.

A few weeks ago, I posted about being a semi-finalist in an international poetry competition (see Jan. 20 posting titled Kind of Cool). I didn't win, but I have more important information to share than that. A few weeks after being notified that I was a semi-finalist, I received another email correspondence. This time it was from a publishing company with offices in New York, London, and Paris. Even better, they were known for their fiction work (according to their email), but were now publishing some limited edition poetry and wanted to know if they could include my poetry in their publication. I admit, I was excited about this, not for the poetry part, but for the fiction part. I immediately began searching the Internet to learn more about this publishing company -- which, by the way, sounded very official and very much like large, familiar publishing company names. I couldn't find anything. Instead, I found listings with words like scam and fraud in them.

The purpose of this posting is not to smear names or point out specific companies. Instead, I'll let you find that information yourselves (just search the Internet for poetry scams and you'll find the companies). Instead, I just want to warn you about writing scams. Search out all companies before you establish any contacts (or worse yet, contracts) with them. Legitimate companies will never ask you to pay to publish your work. NEVER (period). Take heed and do your research. And if you do fall for a scam, don't feel bad. It happens to the best of us.

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Ok, so, I'm opening my very own independent bookstore. It's a cute little thing, in a quaint little old building, right on the water with tons of character -- but that's for a different blog.

I rent the building, which means I have a landlord (this will be an important fact later in the story).

So one day, running back and forth between my house and the bookstore, I placed the single key to the bookstore (another important clue) in my apparently very shallow front jean pocket (a third clue). I, er, um, went to the bathroom and after I flushed I was pulling up my jeans when I heard an unmistakable BLLLLOOOOOP sound. I knew IMMEDIATELY what it was. That's right boys and girls, my only bookstore key flushed right down the toilet. I never saw it, just heard it. After I recovered from the shock and then spent the next 10 minutes laughing hysterically at myself, I had an awful realization -- that was the only key that I had which meant that I had to call and explain the situation to my landlord and get a new key.

Thank goodness I have cool landlords with the same goofy sense of humor as me. The picture is how the new key came back to my from the landlord. In case you can't decipher, it's on a "floaty" -- a device that boaters generally use for their boating keys in case they get dropped in the water they will float. Dang, if only I had thought of that...

(come on...it was WAY TOO FUNNY not to share! agreed?)

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A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I entered an international poetry contest online. Later that day I was laughing to my friend about it, joking that maybe I could at least win some of the money. Today I received a letter informing me that my poem has been chosen as a semi-finalist (no, no money yet).

Does this mean I have to grow a goatee and start hanging out at poetry-bash coffee shops?

Here's the poem:

Evolution of a Pain
You need cheer, help, laughter, I'm there.

"No problem!" I say. It's part of me to give and love.
But it turns against me. What have I said, done wrong?
I was only there for you. How can anyone find fault in that?
But you do. It's never good enough, never enough:
Unwarranted accusations, finger pointing, diversions.

Why are all of your faults acceptable, expected?
I get blank stares in a white room. Everyone else is
laughing, playing, worrying - but not with me, not for me.
I scream silently in the middle of a crowded circle.
It's funny how no one notices. "She has it all together."
It would be a fun game if it weren't happening to me.

A movie, a drama not happening to me, yet I'm part of.
A silent film ruined by the static of unfulfilled needs.
A play filled with disinterest, mindlessness, carelessness.
Look around. Would anyone notice if I weren't here anymore?
Sadly I know the answer. Yes, they would,
but only because no one else would make everything better.

Instead, I smile. "What a happy put together person."
But the eyes tell it all, don't they?

Copyright ©2006 Jacqueline K Wilson
Author's Note: This poem is a 2006 current semifinalist in the International Poetry Competition.

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There's a published author with my same name.
Lucky me.

It is strange: I'm a published author, she's a published author. I write children's stories, she writes children's stories. As far as I can tell, that's where the similarities stop. I am painfully aware that she exists, while I'm pretty sure that she doesn't even know (or care) about my existence.

I receive about 10 emails a month for her from children on my web site telling me how much they love my childrens' books. Unfortunately, these are not my books they are talking about. How do I know this?
1. I'm currently only published in the academic arena.
2. I've never even submitted my children's stories to a contest, let alone published them.

Not wanting to discourage any young children from reading their favorite author (I was afraid when the children didn't get a response they would lose interest in reading), I did the research and found Jacqueline Wilson's agent in the UK. I now forward all the children's emails to her agent. I'm pretty sure she still doesn't know I exist. I mean, that effort alone should net me some personally-signed copy of one of her books, but who am I?

How do these children even find my site? This is a phenomenon that I can't explain. One night while trying to answer this question, I Googled myself (yes, I'll admit it). There were pages and pages about Jacqueline Wilson (yes, the other Jacqueline Wilson). After about page 27 and no mention of me anywhere, I gave up.

So, here's the conundrum. What name do I publish my fiction mystery novel under? (Yes, I am hopeful that it will be published). If I use "Jacqueline Wilson" I risk the mix up between the two published authors. If I use "Jackie Wilson", you guessed it, people searching for my book will only come up with the famous R&B vocalist. I mentioned using my maiden name to my husband. The silence alone told me that didn't go over well.

I'm pretty sure the other Jacqueline Wilson doesn't lose sleep over having the same name as me.



Today is my birthday. That's right, one day after New Year's. As you can imagine, I got cheated out of all the cool birthday stuff as a kid because everyone was "celebrated out" (or still out of town) by the time my birthday rolled around. Anyway, I digress (and I'm obviously not bitter).

I'm writing a fiction mystery novel. I have made a resolution that I will start submitting my book for publishing this year. HM. Interesting. Especially since I generally regard new year resolutions only for those who can't set and make goals for themselves the rest of the year. But this year I've jumped on the proverbial band wagon of resolutions. Hopefully this won't be one resolution that gets broken. Wish me luck!