Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Totally Official FAQ Post

We're gathering more and more new readers (I know, it's all about the polar ice caps melting) and so I'm working on an FAQ, both for BlondeChampagne as well as Drink To The Lasses. Anything you want A'd? You know, that you Q on an F basis?

This will be a "rolling post" that I'll update as the questions come in over the weekend, so check back with it. The post loves you tooooooooo!

midterms at:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This is one of the pictures the book designer considered for the cover of Drink to the Lasses. It's me on the night of my first dance (described in horrid, searing detail in Chapter Thirteen.) Look at me. I'm nineteen. I haven't had a job yet (well, the desk-intensive, suck-the-soul kind, anyway.) I've only been driving for two and a half years. I have no idea who Ashley Simpson is. Fortunate girl.

Sometimes I miss her. Sometimes I want to slap her. Mostly I want to take her aside and have a very serious talk about bangs.

I still have this dress. It's in a closet, but my designated non-active closet, the same one that holds a garment bag, my high school jacket, four Halloween costumes, and the water heater. I guess a little piece of me still wants her around... or maybe she never left.

those heels are around here somehwere at:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Drink To the Lasses


It seems I've written a book.

You've seen previews without even knowing it (here, here, and here) but the bulk of this--it's a college memoir--is new writing. I hope you like it. I hope you buy it. I hope you buy it, and like it, and tell your book-buying friends about it, too. I thank you kindly in advance.

You're mentioned, by the way. Page 155.

no, really, I wrote a book at:

Monday, October 16, 2006

One Glass

I would like you to meet Kyle, The Buyer of Magically Refilling Wine.

Kyle appears with me in Formerly SuperSecretDoubleProbation Project with his deep and brave and haunting essay "You Shall Go Out With Joy and Be Led Forth With Peace." We are in charge of keeping the states of Ohio and Florida under control; he grew up in one and moved to the other, and just about the time he departed, I was taking his place in The Swamp. Writers, we do stuff like that for each other.

Kyle and I met at the Formerly SuperSecret Double Probation Project Reading. None of us ate very much beforehand, because we were pretty much on the verge of total spewage, and also what there was to eat was New York-style pizza, which, I'm sorry, is essentially a puddle of grease and pepper on flatbread. Where I come from, okay, your pizza should not contain more liquid than the eight-ounce, $89.95 cup of pop you got on the side.

So after the reading we were 1) hungry 2) wonderfully destressed 3) exhausted, so the proper thing to do was to pump us full of alcohol.

Note that the darts are nowhere to be found. They knew better than to leave us alone in a room with hurlable pointy objects.

Kyle brought me a small bottle of wine, apologizing because it had a twist-off cap, but at point I was all "IT'S FROM GRAPES" and took it anyway. I poured myself a glass, and wandered around being angst-filled and talking writer stuff, and set it down when I was done, very sad that the wine had gone away, and then I went back to our table to fiddle with my camera, and- there it was! More wine! Right in the little bottle! I had forgotten all about it! And so I poured myself a glass.



would you like a drink of pizza at:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our Liberators

For as much sniping I've done on France, I will say this: The French do properly tend their D-Day history.

I'm sitting on a bus in Normandy. It is entirely too early to be sitting anywhere. The tour operators are extremely American about departure times, by which I mean when the bus is leaving at 6:30 AM, it's not "wander down to the lobby 'roundabout 6:35." It's AIS, 6:30 AM. We were departing for a military tour, yes, but... seriously.

Whizzing past the bus are a great many cows. Paris blurs behind us, eons away; to liberate the great metropolis, the Allies first had to free the pasturelands. The cows are brown and white and don't seem particularly grateful one way or the other. Look, there go some now:

They are heartbreaking, these cows. They're just standing there. They were just standing there sixty years ago, too. Maybe they started at the sounds of the gunfire. Or maybe by then they were used to it.

The first stop is Arromanches, where the Allies built floating docks. The bases remain, decaying concrete, horrible scars in the sea. They are a tribute to outstanding engineering, remarkable planning. I wish they were never necessary. For how many men were these the last solid ground they stood upon until their bodies were dragged to the shore?

Look at the cliff. For the rest of my life I'll put my hand over my mouth whenever I think of that cliff. That was scaled by real men, with real ropes, under awful fire from real guns. When the ropes were oversaturated with water and blood, the troops hauled themselves off the beach by their fingernails and boot toes.Straight down.

I debate on posing for pictures or smiling at all; it seems horridly out of place, like grinning one's way through the Holocaust Museum. But the town of Arromanches is brimming with life, color, sun. Buses and cars and school trips and vets-- one sign in a store window that nudges me to tears in my leatherette, air conditioned seat is handlettered in painstaking English over a picture of Allied troops: "WE WELCOME OUR LIBERATORS."

And I think that was my biggest fear, with Normandy-- not the emotions or the crying or the threat of rain, but that our bus would trundle alone through overgrown cow patches and rusted-over war material. But everywhere we went that day was thronged over with men and women my age up and my age down, Americans and Canadians, French and British. They had all remembered.

So I allow myself one smile, to honor the honoring.

You see I have a picnic basket. An honest-to-God picnic basket, with a little metal spoon and slim carrots and squares of very suspicious sandwiches. It was a war zone, and now I have a picnic basket.

I am particularly glad that the Allies focused on Arromanches, for it is the only place I could find a proper cheeseburger in all of France.

Between my ghastly French and the counter lady's limited English, I am also able to order fries.

I lost two pounds in France.

Others lost far more.

This is Omaha.
It's beautiful and pure and blue and horrible. The Marines called it "Bloody Omaha," which came from our French tour guide's mouth as "Omaha the Bloody"-- I perfer the way she said it. Omaha the Bloody, an adjective and a place deserving the pause of a well-placed "the."

One of our group carefully scooped some of the sand into a little bag, and wrote on it, "I am an American citizen. This is sand from Omaha Beach, September 2006." He stashed it in his suitcase.

The customs agent waved him through.

The Omaha memorial is scattered with tiny red rocks as a reminder of the bloodshed. Directly in front of it are teenagers playing volleyball, laughing, coveting my picnic basket. I am momentarily appalled, then realize that there could be no better tribute; this is why those young men came. This is why they all slogged on shore, some of them never making it to the beach for the swells and the heavy equipment, so that these very people can do this very thing on this very sand.

More on Normandy, including the American cemetery later. I can only do a little bit at a time, for obvious reasons.

blessings to the children they never had at:

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