Friday, July 10, 2009

Arrested Development

D'you know... I frequently forget how old I am? Seriously.
I have to do this little counting on my fingers thing and check the current calendar year to see if it's even or odd.

My mother will tell you that this is because I simply don't know how to act my age.

I put it to you that, I really don't know what that is.

In one of the other Girl's comment trails I wrote "Never Grow up! Never surrender!!" It may have been a glib Galaxy Quest-based sentiment in the moment I wrote it, but - you know what? - I'm gonna stand by it.

I don't feel a particular age. I never have. I always felt way older than my chronology-to-date warranted when I was in grade school, and then -- ever since university -- I've always felt waaaayyy younger. I'm good with that. I really do think that age is a state of mind and with the state my mind has been in lately - who knows how old I am!?? This morning, I was antideluvian... this afternoon, toddleresque.

This is certainly not to say that I don't enjoy a good birthday bash (I think I said in one of the other other Girl's comment trails that I firmly believe in celebrating moments large and small). Fortunately, I have birthday-madness-perpetrating people in my life. For one of my birthdays ending in "0", John arranged an 18-hour party for me based on the movie Ferris Beuller's Day Off with pre-arranged meeting spots at destinations all over the city -- the CN Tower, the museum, the art gallery, the race-track, a couple of pubs -- for friends to meet up with us as the day progressed. He even sound-tracked it. He is awesome.

For my latest birthday ending in "0", I celebrated in New York (having just landed a publishing deal there, it seemed appropriate). Unbeknownst to me, John had arranged to have two dear friends fly down with us for the festivities (one of whom shocked the hell outta me by appearing out of nowhere and climbing into the car as we were stopped at a light in the pre-dawn gloom on the way to the airport -- all cleverly arranged, I tell you - "Lock your car doors, people!")! Did I mention the awesomness?

So yes. I celebrate the birthdays. But I just don't keep really close track of the numbers. Does that make sense?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The June Sisters?

My birthday has always been strange because my sister and I are almost like twins. Not real twins – we are three years apart in age. Three years and one day apart to be exact. Her birthday is the day after mine in June. This actually required a lot of planning on her part, as she came into the world six weeks early, her lungs still not quite developed. Knowing my sister, I’m sure she cared much more about being born as close to my birthday as possible, than actually breathing. I’m kidding. Sort of.

Growing up, my sister always knew how to push my buttons on my birthday. She’d spend the entire day on my birthday talking about how many hours, minutes, and seconds it was until her birthday the next day. It kind of put of a damper on any birthday attention I might be getting, which was, of course, her point. And if you think my poor mother had it easy by having two girls with birthdays so close together, think again. We could never share cakes, or parties, or birthday dinners because whatever I wanted she would automatically want the opposite, and vice versa.

And this is where The September Sisters and my life intersect just a bit. The September Sisters is entirely a work of fiction, but I did pull this one little birthday tidbit from my own life and put into the book. In the book, sisters Abby and Becky are two years and one day apart, with their birthdays being in September, hence why their mother calls them The September Sisters. And true to my own life, this only intensifies their sibling rivalry.

Of course, in the book, Becky disappears; my sister did not. (And, for the record, my mother never called us the June sisters either.) But in real life my sister and I got to do something Becky and Abby don’t in the book – grow up. That’s right, at a certain point, when we were in our twenties, we actually stopped hating each other and fighting, and we sort of began to think it was cool that our birthdays were so close, that we had someone to share a birthday with. And now, even though we live 3000 miles away and barely see each other, our birthdays are one occasion when we try to always get together.

Some things haven’t changed, though. We still have to get two separate cakes. I mean, come on, you couldn’t really expect us to compromise on something that important, could you?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Celebrate . . . just because!

Oh Maureen, to be turning 30 again. I have a faint recollection of that time hidden up there somewhere. Oh yes, of course, now I remember. I had a two-week-old baby and I spent that momentous evening with Dr. Spock, thumbing through the pages of his iconic manual trying to figure out what in the heck I had done.

Fast forward to July, 2009. I'm close to publication but I'm nowhere near 30.

All the birthdays in my home are celebrated during the spring. I'm an April birthday, my youngest son is too, only six days before mine (he was due on my birthday), and my oldest son's birthday is March 20. Throw Easter in there and and spring is an expensive time of year at my house.

And here's something else that's interesting. Many of my closest girlfriends have April birthdays, too. I can think of at least five of them right now. April's a great month to celebrate.

The longer I'm on this earth the more important I think it is to celebrate. Whether it's a birthday or a high school graduation, a promotion at work or more simply the accomplishment of a small goal. We need to take the time to pat ourselves on the back, pat each other on the back and use these milestones as excuses to get together and build intimacy with one another. Create a memory.

Last night I got together with five girls from a job I had a while back. I hadn't seen them in months. We picked up right where we left off. We were celebrating Linda's success at going four months without a cigarette! We drank wine, consumed lots of chips and dip and talked about Michael Jackson. We laughed about all kinds of things and then laughed even harder. I got home way too late, and I don't feel all that great today but we grew closer and created a fun memory together.

There's something to be celebrated every day if we would just open our minds to it. Maybe today I'll celebrate the fact that I wrote eight pages yesterday on my next novel . . . just because!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Prefer Dirty Thirties, Myself

I hope everyone has picked up their copy of A STROKE OF MAGIC by our own Tracy Madison! My copy is still in transit. *Stares plaintively at Amazon*

So, this week we're talking about birthdays. I'm a little stumped about what to write today, since birthdays don't have nearly the same panache that they once did. It's kind of like: Shrug. Let's go out to dinner, maybe? But this year is a big one for me, or so everyone keeps saying, as I will leave my twenties behind this fall and enter the world of the dirty thirties. (Or flirty thirties, depending on your world view.)

A bunch of my friends are depressed about entering into this new decade. To them, thirties means real responsibilities--kids, a mortgage, marriage. Nevermind that most of them have those things anyway. I think it's because in the past, my friends have viewed thirty as The Age to Stop Screwing Around. Because your twenties are for poorly-paying jobs, hip restaurants, bad apartments and hangovers that can be killed with a cup of coffee, right?

Well, let me be the first to say that if those are the criteria, I've been in my thirties for the past three years. Having a kid and waking up every Saturday morning at 7:30am does not make one feel young. Preferring chain restaurants with lots of screaming kids so as to muffle the sound of your own little hellion does not make one feel hip. And let's just say my hangovers require an IV of coffee, Alka Seltzer and cold compresses on my head--all which are difficult to do when my son is screaming that he wants to watch Barney. Again.

So I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't fear thirty at all. I'm hoping that thirty is the magical age when people stop looking at me like a teenage mother or asking if I'm my son's nanny. Or when they stop carding me for lottery tickets and beer. (And then examining my license by holding it up to the light as though it's a fake ID.)

I always said I wanted to be published by thirty. Well, I made it, with just five months to go. I'm hoping that the next decade brings a lot more of the same--with just a little more sleep.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Contest Winners! and Birthdays!

I'm actually not going to talk a lot about birthdays today, because...well, I just celebrated one. Not to mention that three of my four kids just had birthdays in May, so I'm a little birthday'd out. But I will say that each day is a gift, and therefore, each birthday is a tremendous gift. To me, birthdays are a lot more than celebrating with cake and ice cream, they're a celebration of life...of the year(s) that have passed, as well as the years to come.

Though a little cake and ice cream is certainly nice! :)

Also, I'm running really late today. I had a morning meeting and feel like I'm racing to catch up with my normal daily activities. So I hope everyone will forgive me if I just zoom in on the good stuff: the winners of the A STROKE OF MAGIC release week contest!

Here we go:

Five winners will each receive one signed copy of A TASTE OF MAGIC from yours truly. One winner was selected from each day's comments by that day's TNG!

Monday's winner: Mia Jalali
Tuesday's winner: Anonymous "G"
Wednesday's winner: JOYE
Thursday's winner: Sarah
Friday's winner: Cait045

And out of the above five, I used to randomly choose one winner who will also receive one of my custom-created A TASTE OF MAGIC/A STROKE OF MAGIC coffee mugs...and that winner is: Cait045!

So, for all of the winners: Please email me at with your full name and your mailing address, so I can get the prizes out to you!

Thanks everyone for playing! See you all next Monday!