Thursday, December 31, 2009


Roman numerals make everything cooler. And a year that looks so good in Roman numbers has got to be a good one.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I make plans. I break things down into lists and I start tackling things one by one until they're all done. Whatever I want to accomplish, I try to figure out how to do it and then I do it – step by step.

Sometimes plans get revised. Others get ditched. Sometimes despite best efforts things don’t work out as planned. Sometimes the plague strikes. Life happens.

I had grand plans for 2009. I planned on getting an agent and selling a book. That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m revising my expectations, refining my plan of attack and moving forward.

But I’m not done with that one. In MMX I’ll get an agent.

And I’ll do my best to run the New York City Marathon.

Those are my two big plans for the year. There are also some other smaller ones. There’s even one involving a tiny panda, but I’ll save those as surprises for you.

Happy New Year! Accomplish all you want in MMX.

Dream it. Plan it. Live it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Olympic Aspirations

Yesterday was the worst kind of Tuesday: one without broomball. Along with the rest of the city, the league is on hold until the New Year.

Since I couldn't play broomball last night, I watched broomball. This video was shot on the night I was too sick to play. With the break for the holidays, that means it is four weeks in between games for me. Will have to play extra hard when the league resumes to be ready should broomball become an Olympic sport.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It was cold, it was early, I was in a rush. It was hours before I noticed, but when I did, I was full of grief and regret.

Dear glove, I found you in a desperate time. The stores were optimistically stocking bikinis while a blizzard waged outside. There were no gloves to be found anywhere. “Sorry, it’s the Spring collection,” they said without a hint of apology.

I had been looking for days for a pair before I found you. You were the last of your kind. Marked down. Final Sale. I couldn’t believe my luck. Though you had no lining, you had flair and you stuck by me for the rest of that season and a full season more.

We were going on two years – ten in glove years – and I shouldn’t have taken you for granted.

Yesterday I got up at five am. I had some coffee and bite to eat before heading out for my shift at the co-op. When I got there I locked up the bike, took off helmet and gloves, turned off the blinker, and headed inside to sign in.

When I came back out hours later you were gone. Inside my bag your partner was still resting next to the keys, alone. Oh, glove, where art thou?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

7 Miles

Brooklyn. Bluejay skies. A day of rain has washed the air and the sidewalks. The temperature is in the 40s and pleasant. The snow has melted. Majo steps outside her apartment building and starts running along 6th Avenue.
ICMajo– Do we really have to do this?
MuyMajo – Let’s just try and see how it goes.
LeftKnee – Guys, I’m not sure this is a great idea.
MuscleChorus – One, Two, Three, Four, One, Two, Three…
MuyMajo – Don’t worry, knee, we’ll take it easy. Let’s see how you’re doing after a mile or two once you’re warmed up.

Mile 1: 4th Street

MuyMajo – Wow. 2nd Street. Didn’t even notice that first one.
ICMajo – Are we there yet?
MuyMajo – One down, six more to go!

6th Ave ends at Flatbush Ave. Taking a left, Majo hops on the sidewalk and exchanges nods and smiles with two separate women running in the opposite direction.

Mile 2: Atlantic Avenue Center

MuyMajo – Great job everyone! Only five more!
ICMajo – Can we go shopping? I bet Target is deserted right now.
MuscleChorus – One, Two, Three, Four, One, Two, Three…
MuyMajo – Don’t need anything right now, but thanks. How’re you doing knee?
LeftKnee – Ok, I guess. A little achy but no worse.
MuyMajo – We’ll just keep up this pace then. Let me know if you need me to stop.
LeftKnee – Nah. I’m all right.

As it moves away from Atlantic Center, Flatbush Avenue stretches in a landscape of shuttered storefronts. A few are starting to open but the sidewalk is mostly empty. Closer to Fulton Mall things start to get more gray and commercial.
Stomach – I’m not doing great here. Shouldn’t have had cereal for breakfast.
MuyMajo – Just relax. You’ll be fine.
ICMajo – This is ugly.
MuyMajo – It’ll be over soon. Look! A marathon poster!
ICMajo – Did you just high-five a poster? Dork.
MuyMajo – Look! The bridge!
ICMajo – You think I’m going to be excited about that? We’re supposed to be going up that thing.
MuyMajo – What do you think about running karaoke?
ICMajo – Would you please stop singing along? You’re making me run out of breath.

Mile 3:Tillary Street

The street has been rising in a gentle slope. The incline gets sharper with the proximity to the bridge. The pedestrian path is open.
MuyMajo – It’s so different on this side!
ICMajo – It’s the same thing. Same river, same city view. Seen it a thousand times.
MuyMajo - It’s so bright today. And from here you get a better view of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. And look at that sky! And the water!
MuscleChorus – Move as one everyone! Focus. One, Two, Three, Four. One, Two…
Heart – Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Thu-Thump.
Side-stitch – Hi, everyone!
ICMajo – Ugh! Who invited her? I told you it was a bad idea to sing.
MuyMajo - Don’t panic. Just keep breathing. Stay relaxed. We’re almost at the top of the bridge. We can stop for a moment there.

At the blue canopy that marks the high point of the bridge, Majo nods at other runners coming from Manhattan. A red barge drifts along the river.

ICMajo – Hey! You forgot to stop.
MuyMajo – There was no need. We’re going downhill now!
LeftKnee – Oh, no! We’re going downhill!

Mile 4: Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge
ICMajo – Why is it windier in Chinatown than it was on the bridge?
MuyMajo – I don’t know.
ICMajo – Let’s call it a day and go for dim-sum!
MuyMajo – And skip the Brooklyn Bridge? Are you crazy?

Mile 5: Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge

ICMajo – The Brooklyn Bridge? You’ve got to be kidding.
MuyMajo – But it’s so pretty.
ICMajo – It’s full of tourists. How can you run in this mob?
MuyMajo – It’s like a race. Fun!
Heart – Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Thu-Thump.
MuscleChorus – One, Two, Three, Four …
ICMajo – Why are they taking pictures? They need to keep moving. And they should stay off the bike path!
MuyMajo – There's no need to police them. Just keep running.

Two guys on road bikes and full racing regalia slow down and duck to avoid being on a tourist’s picture frame.

LeftKnee – Oh, no! We’re going downhill!
ICMajo – Yes! Last hill!
MuyMajo – Bye, bye Brooklyn Bridge!

Mile 6: Bottom of the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Side
MuyMajo – Cadman Plaza! Let’s take the runner’s path.
LeftKnee – Yes! Rubbery and chushy!
ICMajo – We should walk to the subway from here.
MuyMajo – Why?
ICMajo – Just a suggestion.

Mile 7: Corner of Montague & Clinton Street.
MuyMajo – That’s it, guys! We’re here!
ICMajo – Huh.
MuyMajo – That was fun!
ICMajo – Can I have some coconut water now?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meet Larry

Larry moved in about a week ago, courtesy of the same neighbors who let Santa retire in my planter.

Raccoons are not only common in South Brooklyn, it turns out that raccoons like the city. New York City has the densest raccoon population in the state and most of them seem to live in South Brooklyn. Can't blame them. With Prospect Park and all the bars and restaurants in this part of Brooklyn who wouldn't want to live here.

So far Larry has toppled the garbage can only once but he's been snarky all day because I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox last night and loved it. He said Remarkable Raccoon would have been a better movie, but I'm not sure about that. Mr. Fox was pretty fantastic indeed, and if Larry wants to be able to continue living here he'll have to lose the attitude, don't you think?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Secret Santa

Though Brooklyn is not the lawless place it once was, there are pockets of unruliness. You might be safe behind locked doors; the bolt keeping intruders out. But the minute you leave your apartment you may be ambushed in ways for which it is impossible to prepare.

Like finding Santa enjoying a tropical vacation under your cacti and succulents right outside your apartment door. I know who let him in. It was my downstairs neighbors. Can’t wait for them to return from Australia so I can get back at them.

For those of you who celebrate in more traditional ways, I hope Santa was nice to you before he retired in my planter.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

With half the city doing last minute shopping and the other half traveling, I thought it would be the perfect day to go to the DMV and get my new license. The name-changing process that started with a judge, a mullet, and a coffin was finally complete last week. Now I have to go around alerting official entities, changing cards and accounts. I started with the driver’s license.

Last time I tried getting something done at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles I was told to go across the river and have the New Jersey DMV help me. Today, with holiday spirit in the air, I was determined to smile and sing jingle bells if I had to in order to get what I wanted.

It turns out there was no need. I kept being shuffled from window to window and given slips with waiting numbers with a printed estimated waiting time of zero minutes. I actually had to hurry to make it from one window to the next, those people were in such a hurry to get things done today.

I smiled and wished them all a Merry Christmas, and now I have an interim NYS driver’s license to keep my wallet warm until the permanent one arrives in the mail.

It’s a state issued document with my name on it and it’s the best Christmas gift I could have given myself.

Merry Christmas everyone! Treat yourself to something that really matters to you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grate Expectations

The way our table was set while growing up, in the middle of it there was salt, there were napkins, and there was a cheese grater. It took the place that pepper mills take at other tables.

We put cheese in our soup. Cheese on rice. Cheese on salad. Cheese on arepas. Cheese on hot chocolate. Pretty much cheese on anything.

I didn't know this wasn't the way the rest of the world ate. I assumed everyone sat down to eat with a cheese grater handy.

When I was seventeen, I moved away from Barranquilla to Bogotá for school and I started missing the cheese. In Barranquilla you can buy fresh, farm made, white cheese pretty much anywhere. It's a non-pasteurized, hard, white cheese made in small batches. Salty. Highly grateable. Not as easily found in Bogotá.

It's because of the cattle. In the northern coast of Colombia - where Barranquilla is - you find mostly Zebu. They are brown, skinny, humped cows. Not very photogenic, but it's a type of cattle that does well in hot, humid weather and produces a high protein milk.

Near Bogotá, in the high mountains, you find more of the pretty black and white Holstein cattle with the smooth back. Those are the ones that get plush toys made in their likeness. Nice creamy cheese comes out of that milk. Good on crackers, good melting points. Not good for grating.

Not good for French toast.

I was eighteen before I found out that French toast was supposed to be sweet and that cheese was not the main ingredient. One of these days I'll share my French Toast recipe with you. It comes out more like Welsh Rarebit than what most of you would call French Toast and it's delicious. It's what I had for dinner last night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Pizza Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Before heading to work this morning, instead of blogging I cleaned the stove. Usually I would never put cleaning above writing unless I was doing some serious procrastinating, but I'd finally had enough with the stove. Baking and general cooking - including a full turkey last Thursday - had left it covered with enough caked on flour, cheese, and assorted mysterious food smears for a small pizza tree to grow.

Though my kitchen does generally look like it sees regular use, I try to keep the stove somewhat clean. But lately time has been scurrying down the blogging and holiday card making hole and I've had trouble keeping up with other stuff.

Like cleaning.

Monday, December 21, 2009


For the past week I’ve been having the exact same thing for breakfast everyday. When I like something, I’m happy to have it everyday and that’s usually what I do, until the weather changes. It’s what I’ve been having for breakfast that surprised me.

I talk to my parents on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday when I was sick and with no voice my mom was upset. “Ay, mamita!” I wish I could be there to make you some changua, she said, expressing her desire to nurse me back to health from 2,000 miles away.

“Changua?” I replied in surprise.
“Si, mamita. Changua” she said. It’s good for you when you’re sick like that. Your brother didn’t like it, but you always loved it when you were sick, she continued.

Changua is a breakfast soup made with milk and eggs. I’m very particular about how I like my eggs. And those of you who’ve been following for a while know I have my issues with milk. How could I like this? My mom had to be confused. I did not like changua. It must have been my brother who liked it.

But my mom recently proved me wrong regarding my memories of a certain childhood incident involving a wonder woman costume and a missing pair of front teeth (she produced photographic evidence which I will not share). Maybe she was right about changua too, so instead of arguing I told her I’d make myself some.

Quick keystroke action gave me a recipe. I had all the ingredients or suitable substitutes in the fridge. Since something savory and warm did sound nice I thought I’d give it a try. I sautéed a small shallot. When it was translucent I added a cup and a half of a milk and water mixture. Salt. Once it was boiling I added an egg, lowered the flame, and let it cook for a couple of minutes until the yolk was fully solid. I poured it into a bowl over crumbled feta and topped with chopped cilantro.

I was prepared to toss this if I didn’t like it. It hadn’t taken long to make and I could always serve myself a bowl of cereal and yogurt if this didn’t work, I thought as I sat down to have the first spoonful.

There was no need. First sip. The taste, familiar but forgotten, took me back to my parents’ kitchen. Second sip soothed my throat and warmed me up. The changua went down easily that day, the day after, the day after that, and the rest of the week. I even had to make a special trip to the co-op for more milk and cilantro. And now I’m much better.

Thanks, mom!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

9 + 1

All I did was ask for Theresa, introduce myself, and say I was there to volunteer. I was at the New York Road Runners headquarters ready to fulfill the last requirement for guaranteed entry for the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. I ran all my races, now I was ready to volunteer.

The goal of qualifying for the marathon had come as a whim. It was something seemingly impossible to strive for. There was not a chance I’d be able to run nine races in one year without my body falling apart, but I thought the striving would be good for me and that was enough. At best, I’d get in better shape and learn how to run.

I was wrong.

At best I found friends and strength that helped me live this year better. I also found a body that wants to run, that keeps getting faster and enjoys the road. And I have found the best post-race brunch company. And bacon tastes even better after a race.

I got goose bumps and tears watching the marathon this year from mile 6, and I can’t even begin to imagine what training for and running the marathon next year will be like. I don’t even know if I can make it, but I know I have to give it a try.

I’m excited about it and because of that I was excited about the volunteering.

Theresa gave me an up and down look. “Daphne!” She called out. “This one’s got a personality. Put her as a greeter.”

And that’s how I got the spend part of the afternoon yesterday smiling at strangers and directing them upstairs to pick up their bibs. My spot was right by the store cash registers so I got to chat with Celeste who celebrated her 75th birthday last week. When I mentioned mine had been the previous day she opened up the drawer of the register and gave me a marathon pen.

It looks like the perfect pen to log my runs, don’t you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Paula Radcliffe!

It's Paula Radcliffe's birthday today, I just found out. She's exactly two years older than me, which means I have a couple of years to become as fast as she is. I'll have a bit of cake while I think about that.

The celebrations started early. One of my clients surprised me with a mini-birthday party. Since I work freelance and I’m not there everyday, I was not expecting any kind of fuss.

My boss and coworkers - Anna and Kevin - had brownies topped with candles for me, and they even sang happy birthday. The blowing out of the candles – all four of them – took about three tries. Not because they were those trick candles that re-light themselves but because in the past week this cold I have has managed to take away almost all my lung capacity.

There were candles, there were brownies, there was champagne, and there was a gift: a Flip video camera (I don’t know yet what I’ll be doing with a video camera, but stay tuned and you’re bound to find out).

But more than that there was warmth. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such lovely people. Not just at work, but here too. Thank you.

And you, Paula Radcliffe, have a lovely birthday too. To read my previous posts featuring Paula Radcliffe, go here and here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

High hopes

I haven't been able to shake the something I started fighting last week. It managed to lodge itself deep in my chest and cook up a batch of green rice pudding. Though I've been coughing enough to give nineteenth century heroines a run for their money, besides some soreness in the chest I actually feel fine.

Oh, and I have no voice.

Other than that, I'm peachy.

But, in the interest of getting better on time for my birthday, I skipped my broomball game tonight. It was a very hard decision to make but I was threatened by my Manisha and Lizz and told I had to rest.

And so I'm here, blogging about broomball instead of playing broomball as I wait for the result of the game. The pictures - courtesy of NYCSSC - are from last week's game against Gotham Blades. Yes. Last week. This ain't twitter folks. I'm the one in the highlighter yellow pants.

We lost.

We haven't won a game this season yet. But we will. I know we will. Maybe even tonight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Irma v. Williams

Cookies are not my thing. Never have been. Not making them, not eating them. I might enjoy one sometimes, but I’ll always choose a brownie over a cookie, a tart over a whoopee pie. Cookies are nice. I’ll take one if offered and enjoy it, but they rarely make me my taste buds flare up in happiness.

Today I was invited to not one but two cookie parties. While flipping through cookbooks trying to find something I thought I might like to make I found Mexican wedding cakes. Also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nuts, Southern Pecan Butterball, Viennese Sugar Ball, and Snowdrops they are considered a traditional holiday cookie.

The problem was that I had two recipes for them: one from The Joy of Cooking and another from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook and they were different.

I learned how to cook with The Joy. While growing up I had ignored my mother’s dire warnings that I would never find a husband if I couldn’t cook and found refuge in books while staying away from the kitchen.

When I moved to Bogotá for school I no longer enjoyed the benefits of my mom’s cooking, but I could still have homemade meals. Near schools and business areas there are lunch places that sell home cooked food by subscription. They have no menu. They just have one lunch item, but it’s a full homemade lunch and it’s different every day. That was my one good meal a day while going to school in Bogotá. For dinner I was happy to have toast.

It was when I moved to New York that I became interested in cooking. Even though New York is a great place to find all kinds of cheap and delicious food, it’s not easy to have good homemade meals here. And so, craving food at home that did not come out of a can, I started to cook.

Irma was my first teacher. A friend gave me a copy of The Joy of Cooking and through its pages I learned not only how to follow a recipe but when and how to experiment with one. Not only does it have reliable recipes, but it’s also a great reference source. Got a spare butternut squash? Check out pg. 423 for everything you might need to know from selecting one, storing it, different ways of cooking it, to ideas about what to use it for and what foods it goes well with.

Williams, on the other hand, has given me some excellent soups. I have a copy of Soups from the Williams-Sonoma kitchen library and it has yielded an excellent Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere among others.

Another friend gave me a copy of the Williams-Sonoma Cookbook more recently, but since I rarely use cookbooks these days I hadn’t tried any of the recipes. But the pictures are lovely.

Including the one for Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Williams makes them with blanched almonds, Irma with toasted pecans. William uses more sugar, but other than that they’re very similar. Williams’ picture is compelling, but Irma has been my friend for longer. I briefly considered doing a cookie-off and making both versions to see which one I liked best, but decided against.

I stuck by Irma. She may not be flashy, but she’s been true.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Still windy and chilly. It will stay that way but that won’t stop me. It might slow me down, but I have to keep going. Besides - unlike Thursday morning - I have hot water by my side. Showered I can do anything.

By 8:55 am I’ll be shivering in Prospect Park, waiting for the race to start. Today is the NYRR Holiday 4miler and I don’t even want to acknowledge the temperature by writing it here, but the wind chill will be in the single digits.

This means the road near the water stations will be covered with ice and that I’ll have to be very careful when running past them. But it also means that the hot chocolate after the race will taste amazing.

Even more, it also means that it’s cold enough for me to run in my Santa hat and enjoy it. As if the hat weren’t enough, I’m also running with my posse and there’s no better way to stay warm on cold day.

Happy Holidays! Have some hot chocolate!

Friday, December 11, 2009

European Style

For the past few days I’ve been battling something in my chest. Because of it I’ve been having trouble breathing and there’s a gelatinous substance traveling my trachea.

I’ve been trying to stay warm but sometimes that doesn’t work. Tuesday night found me running on ice (literally). Wednesday morning was rainy and cold, then warm, before temperatures plunged on Thursday morning as the city entered the chilly wind tunnel where it spends winter.

When I woke up yesterday morning my nose was struggling against the cold air trying to squeeze some oxygen out of it. I was shivering and my hands were hurting. I wondered if for the first time in ten years I had gotten really sick but except for the shivering and the breathing thing I felt fine.

A glance at the thermometer and I realized what was wrong: my apartment was the same temperature as the fridge. The pilot light on the boiler must have gone out. No pilot light equals no heating and no hot water. I’d have to go at it European style.

My first trip to Europe was when I was fifteen. In 1992 (don't bother with the math) I had written an essay for a contest celebrating five hundred years of Columbus tripping over America and had won a trip to Spain. There were a couple hundred of us between fifteen and seventeen from all over the world touring Spain in seven buses and attending official events.

An uncle of mine who was the more traveled among my relatives had warned me that if I wanted to learn anything I should stay away from the Latin Americans. “Latinos are all the same, you should try to spend time with Europeans.”

Which is how I learned that Europeans have different views on showering. Neus, seventeen, from Spain told me “In the summer I do shower everyday, but not in winter. Every other day is enough.” And Florence, fifteen, from France confirmed it “It’s a waste of water – you have to save water.”

I’m all for saving water. Particularly when it’s ice cold and I’m supposed to shower in it. I don’t have access to my boiler so I couldn’t re-light the pilot. I’d have to wait until the super got around to it, which would not happen before I had to leave for work. I'd be European for a day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fame or Infamy?

Not sure which, but I'm definitely heading for one of those. I'm not doing it on purpose, but it seems to be part of the job description.

Since you've been so loyal I thought I'd come clean and let you know about my recent internet fame. I'm still getting used to the idea of it which is why I didn't mention this sooner.

Let's start with Party in Your Mouth. I love Jess Hulett's show and was thrilled to be a part of it. For those of you who might have missed it, you can watch me share my arepa recipe on this video.

Something else that was fun was this. I walked into this shoot wanting to help my friend Agatha and not knowing exactly what it was. Though it was fun participating, finding out the feature was up and that they had chosen my pictures from an email from an unrelated friend was startling.

And then there's that award that was named after me. It's the Majo Tinoco "that was my eye award" for best injury for the 2008-2009 winter broomball season. It's not news, but it's one that tends to linger the way things do in these google days.

Today, Party in your Mouth. Tomorrow, the world!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fashion Unconscious

Sometimes it's hard to come back from a weekend. It's Tuesday evening and I'm just now landing. Because it was such a good one, Monday loomed particularly dreary and I felt I needed a little color in my day.

First I grabbed the red jacket. Then I went for the most colorful scarf I have which looks like a patchwork of Tibetan prayer flags. I was running late for work, so I grabbed the bag I've been carrying lately instead of trying to switch things around. The only problem is that it's purple. Since it's getting cold out I needed a hat. I paused to try to figure out what went with all that and made a grab for the fuzzy white hat because since it's neutral it would go well with all this color, right?

Except that the fuzzies threw the whole thing over the edge straight into a different territory: this was the outfit of someone who didn't give a hoot and the color combination was one rarely seen outside retirement homes in Florida.

Well, I didn't give a hoot. I went out wearing all that, enjoyed it, and didn't even get fined.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alone in the kitchen with an egg

This one falls under the WTF is Majo eating category. Since I was focusing on working on writing stuff yesterday I didn't want to bike over to the coop for groceries. Besides, lunch with whatever is at home is my specialty.

Give me an empty fridge, a raided pantry and I'll give you a meal. Tell me there's no food at home and I'll prove you a liar. Some days what will come out is normal looking - like a Spanish tortilla. Other days you might end up with the above pictured.

Let's start with capellini. Always keep some in hand -it's delicious and it cooks quickly. While the pasta is cooking, fry an egg and break it up with a spatula. Crumble some feta and toss it with the pasta and the egg. The feta will add some salty tangy goodness to your day. For texture (or if you happen to still have some left over from Thanksgiving) top with some homemade breadcrumbs. Toss with soy sauce and extra-virgin olive oil. Lunch for one is ready and it will knock your socks off. That was the first time I tried that particular combination but I know I'll make it again.

For most of my life I hated eating alone. Now I love it. I don't think I'd be able to come up with meals like this if I were trying to feed others. I'd be too weird-conscious. In the words of Mrs. Dalloway "It is the privilege of loneliness; in privacy one may do as one chooses."

It's in that privilege of loneliness that I write.

But not today. A peek at my day: people running, people playing, people eating, people making music. It started yesterday with some people acting (You're a good man Charlie Brown - I'm in love with Snoopy!) and people reading (Jonathan Lethem's marathon reading at Bookcourt). I might tell you about all this soon.

If you're nice.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leaning tower

Meet my reading pile. These are all books I've either read or am trying to read as part of my quest to find an agent and it looks messy. It's all over the place and in need of dusting.

Besides, I've pretty much maxed out both of my public library cards. Time to slow down and speed up. Stop reading and write more. Be more efficient.

On the list for today is sorting through this pile and figuring out which books I want to keep for a while longer and which ones need to go back to the library. Next, I'll be trimming my agent spreadsheet, querying, and working on another piece I'm writing.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rejection: it works!

Last night I got my first real rejection email. It was a lovely one and though I know it might have been a copy paste job I don't care. The email let me down gently and was so encouraging I didn't really mind (much) that it was a rejection.

This was from the more surprising of the partial requests which might be why I'm not upset. It had been an agency submission where I had filled out a form online hoping to reach Agent B, but it was Agent A who wrote to me and asked for more. I got excited - of course I did - I've heard great things about Agent A and he seems great, but he's not my dream agent. And I'm ok with that.

Or maybe it's just all that running. Not just the running helps you cope with anxiety thing but something else that I've found out through running races: being on the receiving end of cheering makes a difference to me.

Random strangers cheer for you when you're running a race:
"You look great!"
"Good job"
"Keep it up!"
"Looking good!"

The first time I found it strange. How do they know I look great? What if I usually look better and this is terrible for me? Turns out it doesn't matter because I don't care. It feels good to have others cheer for you even if they're strangers.

I know these are anonymous cheers but it's still good will being sent my way and I soak it up, just like I'm soaking up Agent A's encouragement. Sure, he might not have written that email just for me but that doesn't mean he didn't mean it and now that I don't have the hope of his acceptance dangling like a carrot, I need to majo up and get more queries out there.

(Note on the picture: that's not the rejection email but a visual of my working style.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alarmed and dangerous

At least until I get some coffee in me. Broomball was a lot of fun last night but the struggle with the snooze button this morning wasn't pretty.

The alarm clock and I, we go way back. We've had an on and off again relationship for the past seventeen years. Once, on trip to San Francisco he threatened to abandon me and stay behind but in the end he realized what we have is special and he came back to me a few days later via FedEx.

For a while the alarm clock was in cahoots (don't you love that word?) with a cat but now the cat is gone and it's back to just the two of us. When the cat was around this is what things were like in the morning:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hello, winter!

A balmy Thanksgiving weekend gave way to a gray and rainy Monday which brought us to this: Winter! It's definitely in the air. A dry cold blast in the face when you step out door and it's here just in time.

For years I fought it. Though snow is pretty, long dark cold days can get to me. I started dreading it as soon as summer left, and by mid-winter I was a miserable shivering mess. Enter Pavlov. Instead of fighting winter I decided to make winter a season of good things, so now when it's cold I get excited.

A few years ago I joined the New York City Social Sports Club and now I have something to look forward to every Tuesday of the winter season.

And it starts tonight, with the opening game of the broomball season.

Broomball. Think hockey, but without skates. On ice. Hence the need for a helmet with a cage.

My team, Too Fat for Porn will be facing Secret Agents tonight. We all know who the favorite is: doesn't everyone root for Porn? Go Pornies!