Saturday, April 15, 2017


It was the Easter bonnet parade at the kids school the other day. We spent a week making these! X won first place, and Cate took second in their classes. We do go overboard with the hats, but we have fun making them. Cate's last year is next year and we already know what we're making. It's too amibitious, in my opinion, but we'll try.

So the 40 days of cleaning was harder than I thought. Each day in the beginning I went mad, tidying one or two cupboards or drawers. Then I got bored around day 18. Tomorrow is Easter and while the house is considerably less cluttered, I could have done better. But we went traveling for a week and had houseguests another week, so I kinda let things slip.

But, I still have the list of things I wanted to accomplish, tidying-wise, and I plan to continue my quest until it's done. It may take another 40 days and 40 nights, but I'm determined to get this place clutter free.

The first thing I want to do is chuck out these bonnets to make room for the next project!!

Happy Easter!

Monday, February 27, 2017

What I'm Doing For Lent

Lent is two days away. In the past, I always gave up wine or dessert and usually ended up adding ammendments to my promise so I could cheat. Not really in keeping with the spirit of Lent!

This year, instead of giving up something I've decided to DO something productive.

As a recent addict of Marie Kondo I've decided to tackle 40 different things to help organize my house. I started before Christmas by organizing my closets and chest of drawers. It took me three days to go through every single item of clothing I owned, decide whether is sparked joy or if it was to be donated. I cleared out SO MUCH stuff and now have everything beautifully organized.

Yet, I stopped there. My house is over-run with things I don't need or I'm unreasonably attached to and can't throw out. Every now and then I have a surge of purge and start chucking out knick-knacks and papers I've saved for decades but haven't been able to discard. And you know what? I don't even miss a single thing. No regrets.

So this Lent I'm purging my house of clutter and rubbish. I've moved to five different homes in the last seven years and have moved most of this stuff with me. Do I really still need the birthday cards from friends in college that I don't even remember? Or thousands of printed photos of people I can't remember from my 20s? No, I do not. I can't even remember half the events (or the clothes I was wearing - and don't even get me started on that! Thank heavens I've already thrown them out!)

I'm making my list, checking it twice and gonna find out what's not sparking joy! According to Marie Kondo - you have to hold every single item of clothing, pot, pan, paper, vase, etc. If it doesn't bring you a sense of joy or usefulness - it's gotta go.

My old Diane Von Furstenburg dresses sizes 2 and 4 did spark joy. But after two kids - it' ain't going to happen. So I put them in a consignment shop and they sold for a nice pretty penny. And that sparked considerably more joy! I've sold old bags, purses, jewelry, shoes on eBay and don't miss one single thing.

Now the rest of the house is going to get the KonMari treatment. I don't need 64 wine glasses - yet I have them! Don't need two blenders either. My kitchen is overrun with things I never use. So is my office.

Come Wednesday, look out house. I'm coming to clean you out. And I'm going to find that joy!

And when Lent is over. I'm going shopping! ;-)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre - my moment to shine.....?

Yesterday, Cate's class visited Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and I was lucky enough to be one of the chaperones. It was absolutely fantastic! I've wanted to go for the entire seven (almost) years we've been here but just never found the time.

Well, yesterday was the day. I think I was the most excited of all. I was itching to get on that stage and belt out a soliloquy: MacBeth's initial descent into madness (Is this a dagger I see before me...).  I joked about it with some of the other mums because I didn't think I'd actually get the chance.

Years ago, when I was in highschool and studying Shakespeare, my father and I would run lines together. MacBeth was his favourite Shakespeare play and he knows most of the lines, just as I do. Even now, decades later we have a giggle and quote from the play. Sometimes I'm Lady MacBeth with the bloody hands, sometimes an outraged MacDuff. Dad is Duncan or MacBeth. It's just for fun.

But yesterday was my day to be MacBeth. At Shakespeare's Globe. On stage. Whether they liked it or not!

We got to the theatre, had a fantastic tour behind the scenes, sat in the benches, heard all the history of the three different Globe theatres over the past 400 years. Even the twenty-eight 9/10 year old audience was enthralled.

We were backstage, learning all about the trap doors, how the stage managers make the magic happen and then it happened. They opened the doors and we were able to go out onto the stage. It's really a very impressive sight! It was raining, and as it's an open air theatre, the rain was falling onto the pit where the 'penny-stinkerds' would stand. The seats had a few other visiting schools sitting in them while we all filed out onto the stage.

Drinking it all in, I winked at another mum and decided to step forward to have my moment. Yet, there was Cate, out in front, hands held wide, a big grin on her cheeky face.

"Romeo, Romeo...where for art thou Romeo..." she said loudly to the glee of her class and the audience. Everyone applauded.

And I howled with laughter. My little girl had her own moment. And I couldn't be prouder!! The Shakespeare gaunlet has been passed to the next generation.

Next time... it's my turn! ;-)
Cate's moment!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Aaaaaand..... I'm back

After a two year hiatus for a multitude of reasons, I've decided to start up my blog again.

We've been in London for almost seven years, so I'm not a newbie in town anymore. We're settled, my kids are more British than American and we're...happy.

I've read back over the blog and really just don't know how we did it! From the horrific eviction of our first place (not our fault!) to the many illnesses that slowed us down in the beginning, to our children starting school, working under duress, the Barbie murder most foul, saying goodbye to the PTA and so much more.

But we survive and I'm hoping for more adventures in the coming years!!

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year - off with a bang.

Yesterday I woke up to my daughter climbing in bed with me and whispering in a whiney voice (yes, that's possible): "X keeps farting and woke me up." It was 6:20am. I took it as an omen that the day would not pan out to be the great day I had hoped.

The kids went back to school yesterday and I had a plan to get up, get them dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair combed and styled (Cate thinks I'm a professional hairdresser and asks for off the wall designs daily. Madness), and out the door by 8:15 without yelling, without repeating myself a million times, without iPads or TV. We did get out the door by 8:15 without everything but the repeating myself - in a stern voice that meant business instead of shrieking.

I dropped them off, ran a few errands then went for a hike in the Heath with a friend - always fun. My plan was to get home by 11 do 45 minutes of zumba, eat lunch and then get to work by 12:30 get to work. Which I did. I sat down to 125 emails! That was just overnight! Instead of jumping on them I went down my list, created the night before, to  get the priority things done. By 2pm the phone started ringing because it's 9am in NYC which is where my office is located.

I've received a bunch of new submissions which is great - they are all farmed out to my assistant, interns and readers for first looks which is a huge help. But 8 clients have come up with new ideas, novels, proposals and all of them, every single one of them, sent them withint 5 days of each other - right before the holidays. And now one is very annoyed with me. Not good.

So I'm going through everything, editing proposals, critique writing samples, creating pitch letters, submission lists, getting it together when I hear a hissing noise. Loud, high pitched. That can't be good. But I ignore it because I'm busy. Then I hear water overflowing followed by a toilet flush.


For the next two hours I wrestled with the toilet tank. It's mounted high on the wall and has a pull down lever to flush it. I can't see inside it and it just keep filling up, overflowing then automatically flushing. It's the most annoying thing ever. Between calls to the husband, the land lord and running to the upstairs neighbor to see if he's hoe, I'm putting towels and buckets down. The landlord is sending me emails with picture trying to show me how to turn the water off, but the valve is so painted over, I can't even turn it. Meanwhile, the phone is ringing, my work is piling up and the kids with their nanny will be arriving shortly.

Finally Fen arrived home and managed to put the little ball thing back on the stick in the tank so it will stop overflowing and act normal. The landlord arrives and show me the valve - it was at the floor, not the ceiling (not my mistake) but the part needs to be fixed so we now have one bathroom working in the house until tomorrow. Ah - good way to start the year.

I worked until 1am to make up the lost time but I'm still behind. I need one more day to catch my breath, get everything out to everyone and then I will be good to go.

Let's hope it happens. I've implemented a new plan into my work and so far it seems to be work. It's been three days - so time will tell.

Regardless - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

10 Most Influential Books

I was challenged on Facebook for the 10 book challenge: I had to list the top 10 books (or book series) that have affected me in some way after reading them. Then I had to list 10 friends who are supposed to do the same. This is not a list of the best books I've ever read, just a few that have stuck with me for years. Here they are. 

1. Bobbsey Twins series: my mother read these to my brother and sisters before bedtime for years. It is one of my fondest childhood memories.

2. Enid Blyton's The Famous Five and Secret Seven series. I devoured these as a kid. Couldn't get enough of them! I loved her other series, but these two were the biggest influences.

3. Lost in the Everglades by Lucy Salamanca. My mom took a break from the Bobbsey twins to read this to us. It was so intriguing - about a young boy lost in the Everglades having to use survival tactics to make it out alive. It was terrifying and fascinating at the same time. I've always been interested in survival type books/shows since.

4. Forever, by Judy Blume. I think this was a right of passage for all teenage girls in the 80's. However, I still giggle whenever I meet anyone named Ralph.

5. Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small. My first foray into adult romance. It was utter trash - long, epic, overdone but full of sex. I read it at 16 and thought it was the greatest book ever. Read it years later and couldn't get through it! Met Ms. Small at the Long Island Romance Writer's tea years ago and told her how much the book meant to me as a teen. She said she hears that a lot!

6. Trinity by Leon Uris. My mother let me read this when I was 15. It was the first adult book I ever read. There was no going back to kid books afterward. I loved it. Ironically, years later I ended up being Leon Uris' editor on his book A God In Ruins. I had great conversations with Leon during our many hours of editing, his rewriting and chatting. It's one of the great perks of my job!

7. Anthem by Ayn Rand. Also read as a teenager. I thought it was fascinating. Couldn't get into her other books.

8. Suffer the Children by John Saul. I read a few of his books the summer when I was 15, quickly followed by a few Stephen Kings and finally The Amityville Horror. I haven't read any horror since. That was enough! Didn't sleep all summer!

9. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I was lucky enough to read this as a manuscript for another editor when I was at S&S. it was un-put-downable. Another perk of being in this industry. Met him at a book signing with his brother, Malachy. That was a thrill.

10. This is a little different. I read The Bridges of Madison County when I moved to NYC. It was THE book of the year and everyone was talking about it. I hated it. HATED it. (loved the movie though, go figure). In an interview at a publishing house I was asked if I would have bought the book if I was an editor. I struggled to answer honestly but did. The interviewer laughed and said he passed on it too. I didn't get the job and worried I would make an awful editor.

I'm nominating anyone who wants to do this. Just save the link to your top 10 in my comment pages. I'd love to hear what books influenced you!