January 2009

January 6th — Oprah. It’s true. Brad and I are appearing on Oprah. Stuff of dreams, right?  Well, we didn’t get to Chicago, so you can dispense with your questions about the weather, the Green Room, the make-up chair and seeing O up close and personal.  Sad to say, none of that, friends.

 Instead, B, the producer, sent us a huge piece of Samsonite luggage that housed a Skype system.  A Skype system, for those NOT in the know, is a camera, a mike and a laptop that is so super EZ to assemble/connect that even an idiot who is scheduled to be on Oprah can set it up.  NOT.  The way it works is this – you set up your Skype in your living room, snuggle down on your couch, adjust the camera so it captures your best side in the most flattering light and have a test run with the really cute producer from Oprah.  NOT.


Instead, Betsy Thorpe (my co-author) comes over and we mess with extension cords and hook ups and shadeless lamps and tiny little cameras and we’re both sweating and grunting while we crawl on the floor looking at routers and cable boxes and take calls to our cell phone from the really cute producer from Oprah. to figure this whole thing out.  It’s a lot harder than the laminated one-page instruction should would suggest.  Just as we see the little producer appears on the screen and we can see AND hear him – Betsy accidentally unplugs the system and it crashes. Just like that, Oprah producer guy is gone bye-bye.  She and I look at each other – no words are necessary. If there was a hole in my den, Betsy would have crawled in it. There wasn’t time to pretend that this isn’t as bad as it appears…so we keep working at it.  We never get it back up that day and the producer suggests I call my internet company to tell them I don’t have enough high in my high-speed internet to make this baby work. 


So I talk to about twelve customer service reps with Time Warner Cable.  For the love of Gayle, I’m nearly undone by the whole experience – I mean, who blows their once-in-a-lifetime chance to appear on Oprah because of faulty technology?  Not me, that’s for dang sure. So I talk to at least a dozen people in India, who, if you can believe it – HAVE NEVER HEARD OF OPRAH! They don’t understand my panic, my pain and my pathetic need to increase my internet speeds so I can televise straight from my den to O perched in her leather chair.


Finally, oh finally, I connect with someone in Charlotte – the nicest, most wonderful customer service rep the world has ever known.  Tim.  I will save you the details and only say that Tim got us back up and running on Skype so that we could do our test run and make the cut for the taping.  I told Tim the whole story of Oprah and apologized for being so panicked and freaked out.  “That’s okay, m’am,” Tim said. “I walked another lady in off the ledge last week. She was doing a Skype interview for some show on HG TV.”  Bless you, Tim, and bless that lady who’s going on HG TV.




January 5th — In light of our teeny, tiny, teensy weensy appearance on Oprah, a lot of folks have asked me about some of the interview highlights over the course of 365 Nights.  Here’s a rundown:

New York Times, Sunday “Style” Section, June 8th
Notes of interest: I am called a steak-eating, Bible-reading Republican in this article – clearly a slur in NYC, but possibly not so much in other parts of America. I like my filet medium-rare, thank you.

The View,” ABC, July 7th
Notes of interest: I sat next to Whoopi in the make-up chair – craz-eee! Elizabeth Hasselback still looks gorgeous with giant Velcro rollers stuck in her head.

The Today Show,” NBC, June 26th
Notes of interest: Matt Lauer is every bit as handsome in person, but surprisingly dainty. I could take him, I think.

People Magazine, June 27th
Notes of interest: It’s the issue with poor Heather Locklear and the news of her “breakdown” on the cover.

CNN, “The TJ Holmes Show” July 9th
Notes of interest: There is a reason TJ is single.

The Independent, London, June 14th
Notes of interest: One of the few reporters who took time to read the book and realize that, gasp, this isn’t a book about S-E-X, it’s a book about marriage. Kudos to Jenny Johnson for “getting it” and getting it right. Check it out at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/marriage-and-sex-a-year-of-living-passionately-846939.html

Myrtle Beach Post, “Birthday Promise Sets Bad Example, June 1st
Notes of interest: This is by Celia Rivenbark, a columnist and author and its SOOO durn funny! You should read it…NOW! http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/columnists/celia_rivenbark/story/470310.html

WCCB-TV (Charlotte), “Fox News – The Edge,” April 29th
Notes of Interest: My first television appearance EVER for 365 Nights. Interviewed by gorgeous, married female anchor and her single sidekick named “Brutha Fred.” Need I say more than that I predict Brutha Fred will remain single fur-ev-ah?

Charlotte Observer, April 29th
Notes of Interest: Pam Kelley, book editor extraordinaire, did this interview and it was clearly the launching pad for national media coverage (thanks, Pam) and mean and nasty letters to the editor (bummer, Pam).

WFAE Radio (NPR), “The Mike Collins Show,” June 24th
Notes of Interest: A great interview on the “The Mike Collins Show.” Interestingly, Mike Collins decided to take a vacation day that day – possibly to avoid the interview with “that crazy lady who did that crazy thing,” but we’ll never really know, will we? In a stroke of serendipity, I was interviewed by the classy Chris Clackum who not only was incredibly prepared but also a delightful host.

WHJJ Radio, “Reading with Robin,” July 19th
Notes of Interest: Robin is the friend you’d want to have if you lived in Rhode Island. She’s smart, she’s funny and she loves to read. She and her co-host, Jamie (a guy), both HAD READ THE BOOK! Which made this a delightfully pleasant interview.

January  5th — As many know, I have an ongoing battle with unwanted facial hair.  Wily eyebrows.  Sneaky lip hair.  An errant mole hair. And now, I have a single dark hair sprouting on my neck – boy, do I have to keep an eye on that one. It’s quite inconvenient and on occasion, time consuming.  I spend lots of time with state-of-the-art tweezers (I have three kinds, but my fave is by Laura Mercier) gazing into my triple magnification mirror looking for the next hairy trespassers.  My normal defense is waxing and tweezing.   In high school I had two unfortunate unwanted hair incidents (UHIs) – one involved Jolene Cream Bleach on my lip and the other involved Nair on my eyebrow (which resulted in my mother coloring in the missing part of my brow for the better part of a semester).


For the last few years, I’ve also been going to an anesthetist (please know that I didn’t spell that correctly as I can hardly pronounce it correctly) for a light derma-peel that involves a straight edge razor that gently scrapes (i.e. – “exfoliates”) the top layer of gray, dead skin to reveal, with proper nudging and chemical nourishment, the dewy layer of skin underneath. It makes my face look radiant (well, that’s what I tell myself after I chuck out several bills for the privilege.) And it’s great stand in for waxing and tweezing.


It wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me that what she’s really doing is shaving my face. I admit, it’s a really unappealing idea to consider, but that’s what she does. No woman, however hairy, wants to admit that she’s as hairy as her husband and thus requires a shave.  That’s too hairy and simply too much.  But Brad has great skin where he shaves – it’s healthy, clean, smooth and, most important, hair-free.  


So I wondered, while staring in my triple magnifying mirror and pondering how I was going to appease my husband with some serious cost cutting in the new year – why can’t I just do that? What can that cute anesthetist at my skin care center do with a straight edge that I can’t do with a Venus razor? I’m not shaving, friends, I’m shavefoliating…removing dead skin to reveal the dewy layer underneath.  The fact that I’m keeping that durn lip hair and neck hair at bay is simply a lucky byproduct of my fab new skin care regimen modeled after the professionals, I might add.  I’m taking of me and it’s not costing a penny.


So, I started shaving, I mean shavefoliating.  I know, I can’t believe it either.


It was weird at first, I admit. But so far, so good. No, I don’t shave my entire face, that would be silly – and thankfully, unnecessary.  And I don’t shave my eyebrows, I’m still recovering from the unfortunate incident with Nair.  I do a few little zips on the upper lip and one on the neck in case my little friend has any wise ideas and I’m done.  It’s been great.


Until this morning.  This morning, I cut my face while shavefoliating.  It bled. I was horror-struck – would it scab? Would it scar? Would people notice my lame attempt to shavefoliate?  This home experiment took on a whole new dimension when I imagined myself at the bridge table with a scrap of toilet paper stuck to my face to stanch the bleeding.   Hmmm, perhaps I need to reconsider.

January 4th — In a bold example of the disparities that often exist in life, Brad and I recently registered on our new Wii fit. He did it right away. I waited a few days, and did it when I thought everyone was out of the room. After all, that little perky machine does weigh you.  You can password protect this information, by the way, which is critically important to those wives who live by the adage of “what my husband doesn’t know can’t hurt me.” 

 After you log in (i.e. get weighed and input your height), they adjust your Mii accordingly.  If you don’t know that a Mii is, it’s a cute little “you” of your design – you pick out everything. Your hair ‘do, your eye color, your smile (my Mii has perfect little lips, by the way), your outfit.  You cannot control your figure, however, which adjusts accordingly once you register on the Wii Fit.  Which means that my big Real Me life cut into my little Fantasy Wii life and my cute little Mii became a bit – well, a lot more – stocky.  Even my kids noticed.  “Look, Mom, you’re a lot more…” they didn’t know the right word to use and still maintain their Wii privilege.   “Tubby?”  I offered.  Everyone looked away. “Well, I’m working on that,” I quickly announced.


“Doesn’t everyone want to know my Wii Fit Age?” I asked in a lame attempt to change the subject.  So I start going through all the balance exercises. Suddenly, I let out a howl so loud our cat took off running.  Are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this. Apparently, my Wii Fit age is 32.  Thirty-freakin’-two! The irony of it all! I totally skunked Brad, who exercises five days a week and is about five pounds (versus 50) above his ideal weight.  He couldn’t believe it either.  He worked quite hard not to be surly about my incredibly fit Wii Fit score – after all, I am the least fit person in our family, next to our cat, Merlin, who is the only one more sedentary than I.   I immediately started making excuses – I’ve always been quite limber, had good balance, short people have a lower center of gravity and so on.  Then I stopped.  When it comes to health and fitness, there are few mantles I’ve worn.  So why can’t I own my Wii Fit age with pride, despite how ridiculous?  Why do I have to excuse it? Is is so unbelievable that I would have a Wii Fit age of 32 (well, yes it is, actually) After all, I will never be 32 again, so if Wii Fit says it’s 32, then that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

January 3, 2009 – Brad bought four tix to the Greatest Show on Earth. Which is a euphemism for the Greatest Rip-Off in the History of Mankind.  And I can’t believe he got four tickets as he knows how I feel about circuses.  Which is obvious: I hate them. Except for Cirque de Soleil which at one time was a freakishly awesome spectacle that has been so overfranschised that I’m now waiting for Cirque su Soleil: Dirt (you know, to follow O, air and all things useful). Anyway, I don’t like the circus.  Never have and strongly believe I never will. And no, it’s not because I’m an animal lover. It’s not that noble.  I just don’t find them that interesting.  And it’s a hassle to get there.  And a soda and popcorn costs as much as a tank of gas. And it smells.  And it’s hard to get good seats (and I am ALL ABOUT access).  And it seems kinda sad and weird (which is unusual, because I’m usually first in line for sad and weird).  The only thing I think I might like about the circus is the people watching.  Because the circus brings out all kinds of freaks who aren’t even getting paid to be freaks.   But I could do that at the Greyhound station…for free.  My kids have been several times and I’ve managed not to go.  Brad has taken them, they’ve gone with their Indian Princess or Indian Guide tribe (no moms, you know) and so on.  Now it seems, I’ll be going this February.  I’ll let you know now it goes.  I guess Mama will have start to saving her coin for some popcorn, cotton candy and some crappy souvenir guaranteed to break within eight hours of receipt.


P.S. – I will tell you that I loved “Like Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, which is about the circus.  And I read this other weirdly disturbing book about this circus and this genetically altered circus family who started a cult and had people shedding limbs to join the cult. I can’t for the life of me remember who wrote it or the name of it, but it was strangely good and repulsive at the same time. I recommend it to those with a strong stomach. I gave it my friend, David, as a gift and he never cracked the spine.  Wimp.