what a sweet dream came true

Have you entered the Shiny New Contest yet? It’s your chance to win shiny new editions of When It Happens and Take Me There. All the contest details are here. You have until Sunday night to dazzle me with your brilliance!

Something major happened yesterday. A big dream of mine came true. Dreaming big is something I’ve always done. Despite all the times people have told me that the things I want the most are impossible, I’ve never stopped believing. They said I’d never have a book published. They said I could never be a full-time author. They said I’d never find an apartment in my dream neighborhood that I could afford. Most people just do not get my obsession with being as close as possible to the things that make me feel alive. And that includes concerts.

One thing I’ve been dreaming big about is scoring front row center floor seats to John Mayer at Madison Square Garden. Those seats are seriously hard to get. If you’ve read my books, you know how important his music is to me. So I never stopped believing that I could make that once-in-a-lifetime experience happen. After weeks of ticket pre-sales and online detective work and battling it out in a charity auction and then stomping around in the blizzard yesterday, that dream became reality. I got that front row center seat I’ve been wanting for so long. And being right in front of John the whole time was every bit as amazing as I knew it would be. Un. Real.

If you’re not a fan, sorry about the singular focus of this blog lately. Things will get back to normal next week. Well, after Monday – that’s when I’m posting unbelievable photos from the concert. I have exactly 533 photos to go through so I can pick the best ones to share with you. Then the winning Shiny New Haiku will be posted and we’ll return to our regular programming. Until then, here’s a preview:

John Mayer at Madison Square Garden, 2.25.10

John Mayer at Madison Square Garden, 2.25.10

John Mayer at Madison Square Garden, 2.25.10

Of course I’m going back tonight. There’s nothing like celebrating what makes us feel alive.

sound erases noise

Wow! I’m so impressed with all the Shiny New Haiku I’ve already received. You have inspired me to write one of my own.

neighbor gamer

trying to pretend
that modern warfare next door
is a thunder storm

Yeah, it’s been fun times around here. Neighbor gamer combined with upstairs neighbor shouting into his phone at two in the morning and downstairs neighbor snoring so loudly I can hear it through the floor has been quite a ride. It makes me look forward to spring even more. Once I can keep the windows open, all this ambient noise dissipates.

But why should I care about noise? The only sound that matters right now is the soundtrack of my life, created by John Mayer. All I can think about is seeing John’s shows tomorrow and Friday. Please excuse my inability to focus on anything else.

So. Freaking. Excited.

shiny new contest

The shiny new paperback editions of When It Happens and Take Me There have been released! I just received my author copies, so you know what that means. It’s time for another contest so I can give away some books. Because there’s no way all of these are fitting in my place:

When It Happens and Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

I’m calling this the Shiny New Contest. Two prizes will be awarded. First prize is a copy of each new paperback edition. The runner-up will receive one copy of their choice. To enter, compose a haiku (3-5-3 or 5-7-5) that relates to a topic from any of my books. Some suggestions: soul mates, fate, living in the Now, taking a chance, loneliness, waiting, wanting. The haiku that speak to me the most will be the winners.

In case you haven’t learned about this form of poetry yet, a haiku consists of three lines. In a 3-5-3 haiku, the first line has 3 syllables, the second line has 5 syllables, and the third line has 3 syllables. As an example, here’s one I wrote (with explanations):

winter satellite (title)
sharp and bright (3 syllables)
waxing crescent moon (5 syllables)
best nightlight (3 syllables)

Shiny New Contest rules:

1. Email your haiku to me at friendly.neighbor [at] hotmail.com. Please do not post your haiku in the comments section, to protect the privacy of your entry. The two winning haiku will be posted here when the winners are announced.

2. You may enter more than one haiku.

3. Include your full name and mailing address with your entry.

4. Entries must be received by 11:11 pm on Sunday, February 28.

5. This contest is only open to US residents. However, if you live abroad and have a contact in the States who can receive the prize for you, it can be sent to their address.

I can’t wait to be dazzled by your creativity!

anderson’s warehouse

My morning of travel to Chicago did not begin on a positive note. I woke up to the news of a plane crash in New Jersey and a winter weather advisory. Not at all what I was hoping for on my first flight alone since September 11, 2001.

Fortunately, things started looking up at the airport when I got lucky with an upgrade to first class. Warm Cookie Territory! It was funny because I assumed that there wouldn’t be warm cookies on such a short flight. So after lunch, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and put my braces back in. Brushing your teeth in an airplane bathroom is more complicated than it should be. Especially when orthodontia is involved. I was relieved to get it over with. But then. What did I find when I got back to my seat? The flight attendant asking if I’d like a warm cookie! I hesitated because I knew that I’d have to go through the whole teeth-brushing-putting-Invisalign-back-in thing, but of course I wanted my warm cookie. I was like, Bring it on. The guy next to me declined. I could not get over how he didn’t want his warm cookie. The warm cookie is the best part!

Okay, enough about the flight. The whole point of traveling to Chicago was not for a first class warm cookie. It was for a Something Like Fate pre-pub event at Anderson’s Warehouse in Aurora. So much fun! Everyone was incredibly welcoming and wonderful. I was thrilled to see such a successful indie bookstore that attracts lots of dedicated readers. And this bookstore really was part of a warehouse, as you can see here:

Something Like Fate pre-pub event at Anderson's Warehouse

I was talking to some of the girls about their high school, which has like 3,000 students. I cannot imagine going to a huge school like that. My high school was tiny. Even though I didn’t know each person in my grade personally, I knew of them. Plus I knew kids in other grades. But in a huge school, you don’t even know everyone in your own grade! Love that. You could reinvent yourself and actually get away with it. You could meet someone new. You could have a whole new group of friends every year, or even every semester. That discussion was enlightening and I had a really fun time talking with everyone. Thanks to Becky Anderson for hosting this event! Thanks also to Sheila, who was very sweet about schlepping me to and from my hotel.

Now I’m excited for my upcoming book tour. The best part of my job is meeting readers. You are why I write. For me, getting to see you in person is the ultimate because that’s when my books feel their most real. I’ll be doing a few events here in New York next month and my tour info should be posted then as well, so keep checking back for all the details. I hope to see you really soon!

intense

A certain company that rhymes with Shmetshmlix is being a stingy little beeyotch with my Ally McBeal. Which means I had to move on to the next show in my queue, Prison Break. When I was teaching, it would not be unusual for me to bust out with some Jack Bauer scenarios in the middle of class. Which is totally legit by the way. Running around yelling about securing the perimeter or sending coordinates to my PDA relates to so many Earth Science topics – entropy, molecular energy, density, equilibrium, etc. Yep. Totally legit.

So I’d be running around doing my best Jack Bauer imitation and my students would be like, “Mrs. Krasinski,” – oh wait, that was before my Office obsession, back it up. Tobey was my #1 boy back then. They’d be like, “Mrs. Maguire, you should watch Prison Break!” They kept telling me how much I’d love that show. So when I signed up for Netflix, I put it on my queue. Then I kind of forgot about it. My queue is really long.

I started watching Prison Break a few days ago and am still scraping my chin off the floor. Haven’t seen it yet? Watch the pilot and I swear you will be hooked. In that one ep (I don’t consider the following information to be any kind of spoiler because the show came on in 2005, but maybe if you haven’t seen it yet and you want to you should skip this part), the main guy does something stupid to get himself sent to jail. And then we find out his innocent brother is in the same jail. And then we find out the main guy is a structural engineer who designed the jail. And then we find out that his huge, elaborate tattoo contains the blueprints of the prison. And all of that happens in the first ep. See what I mean? In. Sanely. Good.

One thing that makes Prison Break¬†such a rush is that Wentworth Miller’s eyes are beyond intense. He always looks like this:

Wentworth Miller

Intense much? Even when he’s just standing in line at the post office, I’m sure he looks like this. And I’m sure people let him go ahead of them.

But Wentworth isn’t the only intense boy around. The winner of the Awesome Boyfriend Award goes to mine. SP totally rocked Valentine’s Day with his intense sense of purpose. He gave me an incredible box of Godiva chocolate. He knows I have serious love for the Godiva. He could have gotten me one of their pre-made boxes with a milk/white/dark chocolate assortment, which would have been awesome. But no. He had to be even more awesome and select each individual piece that went into my box, just because he knows I like milk chocolate the best. Plus, he gave me boxes of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries because he knows how much I love them. I know. I’m so spoiled.

He’s a good person to travel with, too. He has the warm cookie hook-up on long flights and such. There won’t be any warm cookies on my flight to Chicago tomorrow, though. But that’s okay, because I’ll be doing a pre-pub event for Something Like Fate! Way exciting. Here’s the info:

February 16, 5:30 pm
Anderson’s Warehouse
520 N. Exchange Ct.
Aurora, IL
630.820.0044

The event is free and everyone is welcome. Word on the street is that there will be advance copies of Something Like Fate. And refreshments. I can’t guarantee Godiva, but it will still be fun times. If you’re in the Chicago area, I hope to see you there!

abundance

It’s Funday Friday over at The Truth About Books! I’m psyched that Tricia has posted an interview with me today. Something Like Fate, inspiration, and my desert island picks (with some cheating – I couldn’t help it!) are all part of the funday. It’s a relatively new super cute blog, so why not head on over and share the love?

This is the second week of my new real-life minidrama, Life with Invisalign. Gripping, I know. They’re pretty easy to live with. Lately I’m forgetting that I even have braces. Yeah, I guess there’s actually not much drama involved. You just have to take them out before you eat, then brush your teeth before you put them back in. This process is simple, but it does place snacking under a harsh light. Like, there will be a cookie and I’ll be like, Do I really want to go through the whole rigamarole of taking out and brushing for a cookie? Not so much. I am anticipating weight loss.

But let’s not get crazy. Of course I have to eat. One of my fave lunches is Earthly Eats Vegetarian Chicken Salad. It tastes just like real chicken salad!* I like to do the locavore thing as much as possible, which is great because this item (which contains soy protein instead of real chicken) is made nearby. The thing is, Earthly Eats only distributes to a few local health food stores, plus places like Whole Foods. Whenever I go to Whole Foods, they’re either out or there’s like one container left. I have looked into this complication. I’ve spoken with managers. I’ve called Earthly Eats. I’ve asked almost every stock boy when it’s stocked on the shelves. Despite my various research attempts, most trips to Whole Foods yield disappointment and zero containers of Vegetarian Chicken Salad. Even as I’m walking to that section of the deli case, I expect to maybe see one or two containers if I’m lucky. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was to see this:

Earthly Eats Vegetarian Chicken Salad

What?! There were more containers than I’ve probably seen in my entire life. I’d like to think this larger shipment was the result of my relentless interrogations, but I’m sure I’m not the only fan. Here’s hoping this abundance becomes a regular thing.

*Disclaimer: I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years. After 15 years of having not eaten any animals**, one tends to forget what real chicken tastes like. If you are not a vegetarian and would like to try this Earthly Eats delight, please note that it probably won’t taste like chicken to you.

**Note: Chicken and fish are animals. You would be surprised at how many people do not know this.

snow day

Today was a snow day. Here in New York, this is a big deal. Our public schools are never closed. Plus, the snow day was announced a whole day early, which never ever happens. There were only two or three snow days in the entire last decade. (What did we decide to call that, by the way? The aughts? The 2000s? Personally, I call it the 00s, which I pronounce “the oh-oh’s”). But yeah, snow days are a rare thing around these parts, no matter how much snow we get.

I remember we had this severe ice storm like ten years ago. The sidewalks were so slicked with ice that you couldn’t take two steps without falling. It was like trying to walk on polished glass. Naturally, schools were not closed. This didn’t prevent everyone from staying home, though. Except me. When I was teaching, I had this thing about attendance. So there I was, trying to get to school in the ice storm. It took me about 45 minutes to walk half a block. I scavenged a piece of cardboard and slid the rest of the way on that. I put one foot on the cardboard and pushed myself along with the other. Push, slide. Push, slide. Ridiculous. Of course I was the only reject who showed up at school that day. Ah, memories.

Along with the unprecedented announcement, I heard something else yesterday. The first mourning dove of spring. I was so happy! Only, it’s not spring. Not even close (sorry, I know how brutal that truth is). He was clearly confused, and not just because we had freezing fog this morning. Freezing fog! I get the concept, but I taught Meteorology for a long time and I have to say, that’s a new one. Well, I hope that mourning dove took cover. I hope he’s somewhere safe. Because when the snow melts and it’s sunny again, I’ll be listening for that first sign of spring. A person has to have something to look forward to, after all.