Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary! Happy anniversary to JBB, who not only puts up with my shit on a daily basis, but is still nice to me at the end of it!  I love you JBB!

aww, smoochies!


Whoda thunk it?  (Many, it seems.  Including my dad, the one who said--I kid you not--"no backsies" to JBB after walking me down the aisle. Nice one, dad.)

in Hawaii! Aren't we cute?

look at us: so young! so skinny! so well rested! 

(Also this just reminded me that I have never uploaded our actual photos by the photographer. Ten years later.  Whoops.)



Running inspired

God help me, I went for a run this morning.

look, I'm wearing running pants! WHO AM I EVEN??

I HATE running. I hate exercise in general.  The outdoors and I do not get along, unless I'm floating in water somewhere with a frozen boozy beverage awaiting me on the lanai. Those who know me (and let's face it, you're probably not reading this if you don't know me), know that I am not a fan of exertion.

And yet.  AND YET. I RAN.  

And I actually ran-ran, all the way to the end of my street (maybe 1/2 mile?), walked back up the hill a bit because let's not go too crazy here people, and then RAN AGAIN to the park and around the loop.  

Why, you ask?   My friend Kari posted this article from Runners World this am. And damn if Mirna Valerio's story isn't going to a light a fire a hell of a lot more than some bullshit thinspo on Pinterest. I will be following her blog, Fat Girl Running from now on, for damn sure. 

It's not just because I'm going to turn 40 this year, though that's part of it.  My family history of diabetes and weight struggles doesn't help my natural inclination to laze about.  I've struggled with my weight for pretty much my entire life, and my natural inclination is to gain weight, not lose it. While diet can control a lot of it for me, at almost-40 I'm far far less likely to subsist on sugar free jello, cool whip free, and popcorn, they way I did when I was at my skinniest.  

And the almost-40 part is actually a boon, because I am far more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was when I was younger. Despite always being outwardly relatively self-confident (except, ugh, teenage years), 20 years ago I would have been MORTIFIED to go out and exercise where people could SEE me.  Because yet another fat girl sweating in public, taking up space, daring to do what the THIN girls do.  (Not really, but you see the thought process). 

I still don't believe the platitude that "no, no one's watching you, really!"  because that's bullshit. Bullshit spread by the non-fat and parents of self conscious teenagers.  People ARE looking.  And yeah, some are judging.  It's one thing a big girl learns early: people watch the big girls, people judge the big girls, and people feel free to share their comments on you.

But the biggest difference is that now?  I got zero fucks to give y'all.  Want a show, looky loos? I GOT ONE RIGHT HERE. MY FACE VS. A BEET: CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

I will say, a decent outfit helps. A decent outfit being not cocooning myself in heavy, stretched out shitty cotton.  I mean, a solid sports bra is a literal requirement, but the rest of the gear helps too. So now I had:

  • a good sports bra that comes in my size (F, by the way.  Good luck finding that at Sports Authority, fuckers.) I've since bought two, in case they discontinue it. I am paranoid. 
  • athletic leggings that weren't a vain attempt of let's-hide-the-big-girl-in-a-sack (P.S. Decent plus size workout wear options are few and far between. Don't even get me started on attempting to find tennis whites not in size XS. I'm damn lucky I have no ass and can fit into Athleta's XL pants).
  •  a pair of running sneakers that were wide enough not to make my feet get pins and needles after 15 minutes of torturing them. 

And the capper? It wasn't eleventy billion degrees and sweltering outside. 

I mean, it still took me over an hour to prep for what wound up being 40 minutes outside (I count my stopping for food after as well), cause I had to find my ipod, charge my ipod, fiddle with the playlist and delete some weird shit I'd put on there, sync my ipod, decide maybe to listen to a podcast instead?, download a bunch of podcasts, revise that plan, and tweak the playlist some more (I confused that Budapest song with Barcelona, and realized it just in time but couldn't think of Budapest, so was like, hm Euro city with a B.... Belfast? Belgrade?  Then I figured it out.).  Then which water bottle to bring?  (note: carrying a water bottle while running hurts my shoulders but I need to drink the water so I don't pass out and die on the curb.  Solutions, runner friends?)

Red! and Green! and cleavage!

Now I'm drinking green juice (what, I like celery and cucumber!), sweaty and gross after a run, outside, in SUNLIGHT. I'm even debating another tennis lesson.

Jesus, I don't even know who I am anymore.

the big change ahead: going freelance

So the big changes that were afoot?  Are that after sixteen years at my current job, and eighteen years in publishing, I quit my job. My last day is this coming Wednesday. And I'll be doing freelancing (come check it out at!)

A blurry sun setting over Jersey, from my office window.

There is no reading between the lines to be done here (publishing people, I know how this works, yo), it was my decision to leave Puffin, the imprint I've called home--in the truest sense of the word--for the last sixteen years of my life.  And it was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make.

I love books, I love publishing, and at Puffin (and Penguin!) I've worked with some of the most insanely talented, generous, kind, smart, and loving people. I am honored to know them, and to see the creative things they can do.  And I am honored to call them my friends.  They have seen me through so many major stages of my life--when I started at Penguin, I was 23 and single living in an apartment.  I'm leaving at 39, married with two kids and owning a house.  They saw me through everything from my first date with JBB through getting hitched, three miscarriages, two successful pregnancies, buying two houses, renovations, and everything in between. I am going to miss going to hang out with my friends everyday. 

the Today Show

And I got to do some pretty cool shit: meet Paula Danziger--hell, sit NEXT TO PAULA EFFING DANZIGER at my very first sales conference and try not to shake while meeting my childhood favorites; act as line bouncer for a bunch of rowdy teachers and librarians waiting to meet Henry Winkler;  have (many) drinks with Tomie dePaola and hear a master storyteller at work; visit an animation studio; make someone's dream come true by acquiring her young adult novel, and in the process make a lifelong friend (with excellent taste in shoes and pink barns); write several books (one even credited!); go to the Today show with Jeff Probst for a book that hit the Times list; pitch an idea and put together a project that becomes a New York Times bestseller, year after year; participate in a book-themed-cake-off to celebrate an author visiting the office (I lost.  I knew I should have gone chocolate and played to the judges); watch authors go from a regular anonymous person folks to superstars; and most of all read and work on a shit ton of amazing books with talented folks. 

Cake Off!

It was awesome.  It IS awesome. But I'm just done with the stress of it all.  The lack of balance in my life was killing me. I was constantly running--running to the train, to work, running to relieve the sitter, running running running.  And those who know me know how much I HATE running. I was lucky enough to be working at a company with excellent parental policies, and for two working mothers who knew EXACTLY what I was going through and doing.  Thank god for that, because otherwise I would have melted down years ago. 

Train sunset. 

But no matter how much I loved the people, and working with authors and creating books, I needed the balance back. I've never been one of those people where my entire world is one thing, it's never been just children's publishing--as this blog shows, I have a ton of things I want to do.  I want to make things and hang out with my kids and read not-for-work again and edit cool stuff.  And I am in a privileged enough position to be able to gain the freedom to do the ton of things I want to do by doing something terrifying and scary like quitting my job and going freelance.

Freedom Tower, on the rise. Statue of Liberty in the background.

The thing is, I am the WORST with change. The absolute worst.  My entire family--including my kids--can testify to that.  And don't think that I'm not second guessing my decision every day, wondering if I made the right choice.  But for once in my life, I think I'm actually ok with this change.  (I say this now.  Talk to me after my last day and the many many ugly cries.)

So, if you're in the market for some editorial consulting, go check me out at!

And meanwhile I'll try to get better about posting more regularly, now that I have no good excuse not to. 


big changes afoot

There are some big changes afoot for me (some of you, aka the only people I know who read the blog, probably know to what I am referring).  More to come shortly once things are settled.  

All of this, ironically, when I am not good with change, never have been.  I may be a Sagittarius, and supposedly up for adventure, but I like my routines, I like knowing what's coming, and what to expect. And I am terrified of heights.  

And here I am, about to throw a giant monkey wrench into all of that.  Voluntarily, even! 

More to come soon...

sad kitty news

Last night we lost our younger cat Henry in a freak accident. 



He jumped off the ottoman and landed against our tv stand hard and broke his back. It was a jump he'd made a million times before, he just landed wrong and we lost him.

He died quickly, and I am very much hoping without any pain. He was clearly unable to move, and only able to moan a bit before his breathing slowed then stopped.  I pet his head, but I was also alone with the kids, and trying to keep them from hurting him further. It was terrifying and traumatic to see the whole thing unfold, so quickly, and not be able to do anything to help him.

I'm crushed. The biggest little is crushed.  The littlest little is wandering around going "Cat-cat? Cat-cat?" wandering around looking for his friend, the fat black cat who would sit still for his enormous toddler hugs, patiently (or was it terrified?).  Milo, our older, somewhat crankier cat, is also doing the same, wandering around looking for his frenemy and playmate. 

Henry and Milo.

Henry and Milo.

We got him in either late 2006 or early 2007 as a baby kitten. We suspect that he'd been removed from his mom a bit too early as he was super needy and cuddly, but refused to sit on a lap.  He grew quickly into an enormous mass of muscle who was also a big squish.  He loved to be petted and scritched, but still refused to sit down on a lap, preferring instead to pace back and forth, back and forth, over you while you pet him or scritched his belly.  He was super pretty, and liked to pose, and was very accomplished at hiding his giant belly and his buck-tooth fangs, which caused him to drool.  

baby Henry. He never stopped moving, thus the blur.

baby Henry. He never stopped moving, thus the blur.

He was not the smartest cat, at all.  Once, I saw him, completely awake just fall from his perch on the arm of the sofa.  Just fell, shook it off, and waddled off. No reason.  Just rolled off the couch. As you do.

Teenage Henry, before the tub packed on. 

Teenage Henry, before the tub packed on. 

He loved it when people visited the house and would always come say hi, and stay around long after other cats would have (and did) gone for their hiding places. And he tolerated and welcomed every single child who would come through the house, ignoring their yanks and pokes and letting himself be smooshed into baby hugs and pats.  

toddler hugs

On birthdays and mother's and father's day, JBB and I write cards to each other from the cats. Milo is a very dignified elder statesmen, a gentleman of a cat, who signed his name Milo the Cat, Esquire, and of course, perpetually annoyed and somewhat perplexed by his companion, Henry. Henry however was pure energy, bounding and excited, mispelling everything, missing articles, verbs, syntax and often writing in all caps with backwards "e"s  (I HENRY LUV THE FOOD LADEEEEE!). It was totally how he would have written.

giant eyed Henry.

giant eyed Henry.

He LOVED wool, and would knead knead knead away on anything wool. He had a knack for balancing his enormous weight (seriously, 20 pounds AT LEAST) on his tiny tiny little feet, and purring like a madman. 

Henry loves him some wool.

Henry loves him some wool.

He was built like a well-padded truck, solid SOLID muscle under about 2 inches of tub.  One of the saddest things to me was petting him after his fall and not feeling his very alive muscled self, but just ...limp. He died in his favorite place to nap, in front of our tv stand, right in line with the heating vent. 

Henry in his favorite spot.

Henry in his favorite spot.

He got up in my face, headbutting me, nudging my head while sitting on the back of the couch and I am going to miss him something awful. 

And for folks in North Jersey, the folks at the Animal Emergency & Referral Associates in Fairfield are lovely and compassionate. JBB took Henry there when he got home, and they were fantastic. 

"I'm lazy..."

I say that a lot, and I honestly think it's true. I am pretty damn lazy.  

But I also do an awful lot of stuff.  As JBB points out--often--I don't have a problem finding something to do, ever.  

Yet, still, I consider myself lazy. (I mean in college I  very often convinced my suite mate to turn off my overhead light for me as she was walking by, because I didn't want to get up. She did it because she is a lovely and kind person.) Hard work is HAAAARRRRD.  

I finally realized a few things today when I saw this Thought Catalog piece posted on facebook.  First, I am so not "very overdriven but also very lazy," as described by TC, as not many of the descriptives outlined there applied to me. Second, one piece of wording jumped out at me as truth:  I am NOT actually lazy, I do things that don't feel like hard work to me.  

For example, one time I was out of tissue paper and working on something involving decoupage.  It was rainy and evening, and there was no way I was going to actually bother getting dressed to go out and purchase tissue paper to complete this project, because EFFORT.  And so I painted some coffee filters to get the color and effect I wanted.  Easy! Some may say that's a lot more effort than buying paper.  I say I didn't have to move or put on pants, and there was no need to put the project on hold. Lazy! 

Also in this ilk? Hand whipping cream because I am too lazy to wash the mixer bowl.