About Me

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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.

OPERATION BONNET

STRETCH MARKS

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ACT TWO

BOTTOM LINE

BALANCING ACT

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Found and Kept: Contest Winners!

Thanks so much to all the participants in the STRETCH MARKS FINDERS KEEPERS PROJECT! All those playing along received a signed copy of the book to keep and then were asked to pass along a few more to people and places where my prospective readers might be found.

I loved hearing where you went, how you made the Mafioso drop-offs, seeing your photos of your favorites. Folks left copies of STRETCH MARKS hither and yon, including:
* At a Disney on Ice performance, perched on a hand dryer in the ladies' room
* Behind a copy of Father of the Bride at a video store
* Strapped in a car seat in the baby section at Target
* In a lactation room (lactation room!) at the University of Iowa
* In pediatrician and OB offices all over the universe
* With various and sundry moms who needed a break and may or may not have looked like it
* Even with the members of the band Mercy Me! (Thanks, Stacia S.!)



...So many fun and inspired sightings. The winners of the photo contest, though, are those that follow. Linda H. schlepped copies of STRETCH MARKS on the way to visit her new grandbaby in Australia. She found two moms in Sydney and gave them the book.



See the Sydney Opera House in the background?


That baby is barely out of the hospital! Why is that mom looking so pretty and fresh? Where's the flab on those thighs and upper arms? Why is she smiling? Don't babies down under pass through the birth canal?

My other favorites came from Kate B., who not only made a creative gift out of the book and left it by the fireplace at a coffee shop, she also added her comments.







Linda and Kate will receive chocolate, a small token of literary love, and lunch to their favorite spot on me. Congrats, girls!

Thanks again to all! I so appreciate your time and willingness to have a fun adventure in the name of a good story.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finders Keepers Grovel Post

Snow days around here. I'm talking about 16 inches, folks, which will put chilly, frostbitten hair on any chest, even those of us used to long winters. Marc has been a bit over-zealous with ye olde snowblower, though I've come to appreciate the fumes he now wears as a sort of rugged new scent. Perhaps he should market it, name it something like "Rustic" or "Exhaust" or "Stink, Stank, Stunk."

Thea's reaction to all the white stuff, unceremoniously dropped over every surface, is to point outside and say, "Uh-oh," over and over. It's cute and also, by the third day, depressing. I love the white, I love the sparkles, I love the long, indigo shadows lying languid on the snow. But do you know how long it takes snow this deep to melt? MONTHS. Maybe years, I don't know.



They look a bit severe, don't they? It's too cold to go play in the snow (high of 11 today), so we just put on our terrorist masks and PRETEND we're playing in snow. It's super fun.

In the meantime, I have more leisure moments to grovel to all of you Finders Keepers people. Remember my cool photo contest for the Grand Prize-O-Rama? Well, I kept getting these messages that folks had tried sending photos but were getting rebuffed by a wimpy quota. Today, in my leisure moments, I talked with my web folks to set up a different system. In the process, I hate to say all the photos you sent WERE DELETED. Gone. Into the hither-and-yon of the Internet that no one, not even Al Gore, can explain.

I FEEL HORRIBLE. AND I PRAY YOU DIDN'T DELETE YOUR PHOTOS. If you're still interested in entering, would you mind sending them again? I'm SO SORRY and EMBARRASSED and feeling like that teacher we all had who would point the remote toward the TV and mutter over the white noise about not being able to work the darn thing and what ever happened to slide shows?

Please forgive. Please send.

I'm off to dunk my head in snow drift. Uh-oh.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Skinny on Skinny

Can we just take a moment to discuss the phenomenon called Skinny Jeans? WHAT IS GOING ON IN AMERICA? I know, I know, I need to hippify myself. It’s true. After the better part of the last decade devoted to getting pregnant, growing to astonishing sizes, having babies, remaining at astonishing sizes, and then gradually going back down in weight but in such an odd, lumpy way, my wardrobe suffered. My younger, very stylish sister came over recently and tried, at first diplomatically, to weed through what had become the Closet of Doom. She’d say things like, “Do you actually wear this?” and “Why is this in your closet when it first appeared during the Clinton administration?” By the end of her intervention, she’d say things like, “No. Non. Nyet. How will you best understand this? And did you get that in the juniors department?”

“Maybe,” I’d say and then toss it in the donate-to-real-life-juniors pile.

But the thing is, she was absolutely right. I needed help. Times have changed, people! My worn and loved St. Olaf sweatshirt, for example, does not flatter a chest that has nursed three babies and now points downward when it points at all. Clog-like shoes were great for teaching Spanish to high schoolers around the time of Y2K, but it was time for them to visit the great clog depository in the sky. And now that I’m 34, it’s time to delve into the wild and unforgiving world of accessorizing. It sends chills. Really.

My sister did a great job. This is, in fact, her job. She helps the fashion-challenged and rights all our wrongs with a sweet smile and a willingness to work with any budget. I obeyed her with complete trust, nodding with uncharacteristic older sister submission, until she said with caution, “I think you should consider skinny jeans.”

I would have kicked her out of my house, but she’s related to me and the holidays loomed. Instead, I said simply, “Absolutely not and you should get off crack.”

This conversation went nowhere until I had a pile of jeans in a fitting room. I was nervous, friends. Visions of disaster scurried through my head, worrisome images like this:



And this:



I believe the “V” on the pocket stands for VERY, VERY HORRIBLY WRONG. And is she wearing tap shoes? As some sort of distraction technique?

But I soldiered on in that fitting room because when you have a hip sister who has never led you astray, you give her the benefit of the doubt. And reader, I bought a pair. OK, all right, they’re kind of almost-skinny jeans. Skinny jeans for the nervous. They do NOT hug my ankles and even flare just a bit. But, incredibly, I like them! I wear them! And even Marc thinks they’re sassy and cute. This from the man whose last words to me before leaving on my shopping trip were, “Just don’t buy those disgusting skinny jeans.” Of course, we’ve all seen what HE’S been wearing, so….

So I succumbed, but only in an age- and body-appropriate manner. Watch out, fashion world. I’m taking you by storm! Sounds like a lot of walking….Wish I still had my clogs.

Finders Keepers folks: Don’t forget to send in your photo of your favorite drop-off! E-mail your favorite to kimberly@kimberlystuart.com. The deadline is Tuesday, December 1, to enter to win the Grand Prize-O-Rama. Good luck and many thanks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spellbound

Oh, how to introduce this....

Remember when I fretted about a career-endangering move. I'm not pregnant, as some suggested. Instead, we made this for you. We'll see about the whole end-of-career idea. At least I'll go down swinging and laughing maniacally.

First, I owe Marc any proceeds of any book I ever write. It takes a lot of man to wear a nylon print jacket all for his bride.

Secondly, we wanted my dear readers to get a glimpse of the real Stuart home. The laundry shot is UNEDITED, UNSCRIPTED, UNBELIEVABLY UNDOCTORED. I know you know. As for the general premise of Marc's difficult life, ahem, we'll just leave that for interpretation.

So here's a little love from K.I.M., featuring the grand master, Marcy Marc. Original music by Bradford Johnson, stunning cinematography by Genious Productions. Special appearances by four dead presidents and three very-much-alive young children.

Enjoy. :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Treat

Are you in a sugar coma yet? My children are currently rappelling from ceiling to floor in the living room, only taking breaks to disco or do the Marcarena. I called my mom to ask about the combined six pounds of candy they harvested but she’d only giggle and say, “Haven’t you figured out that I’d throw half of it away while you were sleeping?” I’d feel violated but that idea is GENIUS.

Here are a few images from our week:

1. Our church hosts an enormous pumpkin party, complete with inflatables, costumes, games, a chemistry show, hay rack rides, bonfire---you get the drift. I volunteered one night. Guess where they put me?



That’s right. Security. I’m pretty sure it was because I’m super menacing and bouncer-ish. I was so primed and ready to bust people! You! Scooby Doo! Put down that extra Butterfinger! Stop right there, Hannah Montana in the bad wig! Shoes off in the inflatables! And listen, kid with fake blood and pretend appendages! Our flier specifically asked for NON-SCARY costumes. You get yourself home and change into Thomas the Train! Hup to!

The head of security, Dale, supported me in these efforts. Of course, he was wearing a turkey hat, so it was tough to respect those in authority over me.



End game: I didn’t get to bust ONE, SINGLE person. Everyone was so stinking nice and well-behaved. Maybe next year they’ll let me wear a headset, which is the clearest sign of power and a shoe-in for bust opportunities.

2. Happy end to scary eyeball incident: Mitch got glasses.



I defy you to find a cuter four-year-old human.

3. We tricked and treated. Our costumes:



The masked man (sans glasses) was Spidey/Mitch, who threw up a web sling to anyone in range. Thea, the bunny in the middle, seemed to be less enthusiastic about Halloween than her siblings. Also, her mother shoved her 14-month-old body into a 9-12-month costume. Third child. Ana’s current role models are high schoolers and Asians. All high schoolers are beautiful and all Asians are beautiful. If you are an Asian AND a high schooler, you should run for president. So Ana’s costume is officially called “Kimono Princess.” Unofficially, we call her Norwegian-Dutch But Aspiring Asian.

4. And what holiday would be complete without an appearance by Chuckles?



I also captured on video when Marc attempted to chase Chuck away with a broom. Marc came at the vermin only to be charged and eluded. Chuckles ran RIGHT TOWARDS HIM, around his legs and under the deck. “He’s a fullback!” Marc exclaimed, breathless. “It’s as if he trained for this, like a fire drill! He knew just what to do if approached by a man with a broom!” Unbelievable. I think he’s hibernating (Chuck, not Marc). My children are starting to think it’s normal to share one’s personal space with rodents.

Hope your own weekend was lovely. Here’s to “lost” candy that somehow finds its way to “Mom’s mouth.” I won’t tell if you don’t.


UPCOMING FUN THING: Have you heard of the group Mercy Me? They're coming to Des Moines November 7 and will have a meet-and-greet at Connxions Bookstore in Urbandale. I'll be there too, only I'm not famous. Stop by, but don't dawdle. The band's only there for 107 minutes, starting at noon.

FINDERS KEEPERS UPDATE: The boxes are shipped! The books looked great. Thanks to all the folks who are helping we out with this adventure. DON'T FORGET to send me your photo of Most Inspired Drop-Off and I'll enter you to win the Grand Prize-O-Rama of goodies and lunch on me. E-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com before December 1,2009, to be entered.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Eyeballs Are Creepy

Today is my birthday. I’m 34, which means I’m too old to get carded (and to be out late enough for that to apply, by the way) but too young to really be taken seriously when I talk about joint pain. In celebration of this day, which is also United Nations Day, for those of you in touch with Butros Butros Ghali, here are some tidbits I’ve learned after 34 years of hard living:

1. One should always wear a belt when doing yard work. It’s just the polite thing to do.

2. When in doubt, make a list, particularly for husbands and male children. Case in point: One morning this week, we were neck-deep in the before-school-hysterics phase. Do you know this phase? The one where everyone is running around in their p.j.s and not eating their breakfasts and then spill orange juice on the floor and, inexplicably, into their hair? We were in the hair part and I was trying to remember what Jesus would do. Cue screaming, this time Mitchell and coming from the living room. When I walked in, he was standing, holding his head with one hand and a very, lethally sharp pencil in the other.

Me: Mitch, did you hit your head?

Mitchell:



Me: Honey, I can't understand you. What happened?

Mitchell:


Me (sounding way more like mean old Herod than shepherdly Jesus): MITCH! USE ENGLISH WORDS RIGHT NOW!

Mitchell:



(Translation: Mom, please help me! I know it's hard to believe, but I just stuck this pencil into my eye! No kidding!)

So we went to the eye people who are super nice and cornea-saving. But MAN, is it creepy to hear a man wearing what looks like spelunking equipment on his head say, "Yep, that's the tip of a pencil in there. But I think it's surface enough we won't have to DIG IT OUT." Then, with one look at the horror on my face, he added, "We have to do that sometimes."

When prompted, Mitchell explained why he had been pointing a sharp pencil at his eyeball, especially when we’ve covered the whole “Don’t-run-with-sharp-objects” discussion. “Mom,” he answered patiently, “I wasn’t running. I was jumping.”

So Number Two: When in doubt, make a comprehensive list, forgetting nothing, including “jumping.”

3. The swine flu isn’t really that bad. Also, I’m not supposed to call it “swine flu” because I live in Iowa and we’re very sensitive about pork.

4. Job was right.

The Lord gives….In mid-September, my dear friends Amy and Greg held their baby girl for the first time. Baby Kate was particularly celebrated. She is their third child but in between the last two, Amy lost three babies halfway through her pregnancies. THREE. But God was faithful to answer so many prayers and soon I’ll be able to kiss those chubby cheeks so long awaited.

…and the Lord takes away. This week, two sets of parents we know and love lost their children to untimely deaths. One child still in the womb, the other 29 years out, both beloved and gone in the wrong order of things. Marc and I ache for these friends, knowing well how it feels to collapse at the gates of heaven asking why, exactly, we were made to mourn, why our arms were empty, why God moves in mysterious, sometimes indiscernible ways.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. At the risk of sounding trite, I know that I know that God’s name is to be blessed. And today I bless it. Thanks, God, for a great ride. You are good, even in, especially in times when we cling to You, beat Your chest with our fists, and crumple in a heap on Your lap. Thanks for creating me, protecting me, and pursuing me with Your love. Here’s to many more lessons along the way.

Friday, October 16, 2009

HOLY CATS!

You people are amazing! I have a flooded inbox with a hearty army of volunteers for the Finders Keepers Project. All spots are filled! If you are perishing in your inmost being that you didn't e-mail in time, feel free to write me (kimberly@kimberlystuart.com) and we'll start a sub list. A sub list! I can't believe it! I feel like Sally Fields!



Or at least you like free books and I can take that. I could take it better if I had a jiggly perm like Sally's, but I'm still pretty strong.

I'll start sending out e-mails to those of you who volunteered this weekend and we'll get this party started.

Holy cats! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your overwhelming and speedy support.

Happy weekend, readers. And thanks. :)

kim

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finders Keepers

How are the wee, small hours treating you these days? Mine are busy. I’m annoyed to say that my mind needs to CHILL OUT when I lay me down to sleep but it, like everyone else in my house, needs to be told directions at least thrice before listening to Mama. My overactive-thinking mode really irritates Marc, or it would were he ever able to stay awake for more than four seconds upon hitting the pillow. I swear this is how it happens: Marc running around, brushing teeth, chatting about the day, being generally social. The MOMENT he lays his head down, his eyes go immediately bloodshot, closed, heavy, and he starts breathing like a man in a coma. DONE. OVER. No more conversation. The ONLY thing that can stir the man from slumber, is, well, inappropriate for my grandma to read (Hi, Grandma!).

So there I’m left to think, think, thinky-think. These days I’m thinking about how to get my novel STRETCH MARKS into the hands of people who would read it and like it, people in the market for a yummy fall read with laughter and tears, a faith-infused story that is NOT a sermon...Did you know that even in this fancy-shmancy age of technology and digital stuff, the number one reason a person buys a book is still because of a personal recommendation? Word of mouth. Plain and simple.

So what if I ask you to yap about the book? What if I make up some crazy, fun way to get the book out there, in your communities, to people who’d like to happen upon a good read? Here’s my idea, indebted in part to the lovely, witty author Amy Krouse Rosenthal:

THE FINDERS KEEPERS PROJECT

1. You decide you like STRETCH MARKS. You are a nice person.
2. I send you a few books with my undying gratitude.
3. You keep one for yourself (the one signed to you or your Auntie Irma or whomever you choose).
4. You take the others and leave them in places prospective Kimberly Stuart readers hang out. The OB office, the cool emergent church down the street, a playgroup, the diaper section at Target, a park bench by a playground, etc.
5. You let me know by e-mail or post on Facebook or Twitter where you went, what happened, if you got to meet Oprah and slip her a copy, and so on.



6. If you are so inclined, send me a photo of your most creative drop-off and I’ll enter you to win a fantastic GRANDE PRIZE-O-RAMA, which will involve getting cool stuff in the mail and lunch on me.

Any takers? My publisher has been kind enough to send books for this very purpose, but once they’re gone, they’re gone. So e-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com right this very second if you’re interested. Fun, free book, a giveaway, and the chance to accost Oprah. What could be better?

Thanks, dear readers. I can feel myself sleeping better already.

www.kimberlystuart.com
kimberly@kimberlystuart.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Grinnell Signing Tonight!

If you're within 100 miles and looking for a great pick-me-up on a rainy Friday, give the high school bleachers a night off and come to a cozy indie bookstore in downtown Grinnell! I'll be signing books at Stepping Stones from 5 to 7 p.m. and would LOVE to see you there. Remember, if you show up and mention the blog, I'll slip you a free copy of ACT TWO (purchased by me, not by Mindy, the store owner. I know the Ten Commandments, people.). Then you can buy a copy of STRETCH MARKS for your neighbor or your kid's teacher or yourself, dagnabbit!

Let's say you don't live within 100 miles and you still want to get a free book. Well, I have good news. My publisher, David C. Cook, is featuring STRETCH MARKS on their blog this week and will give away freebies if you enter by Sunday, October 4. Just another option for the deal-seekers among us (unnamed here but maybe blood relation to me).

Have a great weekend, folks. I have something VERY FUNNY AND POSSIBLY CAREER ENDANGERING to share in the coming weeks. Check back every now and again...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Boss



This week Marc and I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert. Just writing that sentence should help my cool quotient, right? It should cancel out the fact that I wore sensible shoes because we’d be standing, right? I’m going with yes, it should. We went with our friends Laura and Warren, who are, by nature, cooler than us AND more organized. For example, Laura had prepared a tailgate dinner to eat on the way. I had planned on having to spend $46 dollars on a shriveled hot dog. Laura also provided us with Old People Survival Kits. Contents: A can of Red Bull, Dr. Scholl’s inserts (I’m Gellin’!), and Advil. Marc rounded out our supply by producing earplugs for all. (Warren politely declined but has since been unable to hear the voices of his children.)



So there we were, gellin’ and earplugged, right on the ground floor and within spitting distance of the Boss. First, let me weigh in on the wrinkle factor. Bruce is looking good, friends. He turned 60 this week and I must say, I can’t believe the upward trajectory of his rear. (Sorry, but I was close enough to see it.) Also, his face is remarkably smooth. Not in a creepy, Botoxed way, but very impressive for six decades and lots of late night screaming into a mic. And the voice! Still great! Gravelly and great. Laura and I got particularly hysterical and swoony when he was walking through a little pathway made just for him (the Boss gets his own pathways) and he stopped to stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. He grabbed our hands and sweated all over us! I let my hand air-dry, people. It was Bruce Sweat.



(He looks kind of sad here, but that was before he sweated on me.)

The following day, I felt just a bit smug name-dropping and retelling the sweat story. Give me a break here. I spend most of my days wiping noses and bottoms and listening to the same three children’s CDs. It is not a life of glamour and rock stars who play a different guitar for every song, unless you count Mitchell, who does a mean air-guitar. So I dropped that story everywhere I went, trying to sound super nonchalant, as if Bruce and I were meeting later for lattes and a look-sy at his newest press photos. The smugness lasted all day. In fact, it even started annoying my husband, who had been much more excited about Bruce Sweat when his wife hadn’t been talking about it for 24 hours. Just when I thought I might actually have made it through an entire experience without shaming myself, I saw this on my jeans when I disrobed.



I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure cool people don’t wear baby puke on their jeans. And I’m pretty sure Bruce doesn’t want to drink his latte while looking at the white spray marks.

It’s probably just as well. I’m all out of Red Bull and it’d be hard to fit my Dr. Scholl’s into high heels. And who would be uncool enough to meet a rock star in person and be wearing sensible shoes?

P.S. Anybody in GRINNELL/NEWTON area? I’ll be in Grinnell signing books at the Stepping Stones bookstore in Grinnell, this Friday night, from 5 to 7ish. Stop by for a copy of STRETCH MARKS and tell me you heard about it on the blog and I’ll give you a free copy of ACT TWO. And I’ll throw in a high kick for good measure!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oh, What A Night!

Wowza. You all are good to me. We had a FANTASTIC crowd Friday night at Beaverdale Books. I met lots of new folks, laughed and cried with old friends, and felt weepy gratitude for every single person there. Great conversation and lots of books sold (thank you, thank you, Marc and I both thank you), and everyone was so busy having fun, we hardly took any photos. Still, I managed to preserve a few visual memories. Here are some highlights:

1. The Shoes. I might start wearing them to the playground.



2. Flowers and Champagne, most of which we ended up taking home. I feel honored, really. This means you weren’t there to get sloshed, but rather to get a book or two. So now I’ll get sloshed. JUST KIDDING, MOM.




3. My kids. Thea was completely unimpressed, particularly during my talk. In fact, I think she thought I was super boring. If I’d jumped around more and blown raspberries on readers’ bellies, she would have felt more comfortable.
Ana, even in her not-quite-100% state, was in her element, camped out in the children’s section of the store. She told me on the way over that she was so glad her mom wrote books and didn’t sell, say, paper clips, which would be a “horrible job.”
Mitch. Oh, gracious, Mitch. He sat with me at the signing table for a bit and introduced himself to readers. At one point, he stopped my friend Makila, who was holding a copy of STRETCH MARKS. “My mom has that book at our house,” he said. “Do you think I'll like it?” she asked. He looked skeptical. “I don’t know.” Good to have the family endorsement.
Mitch also made some of his own book selections and suggested them to my brother-in-law, Jimmy. (He's the really tall one, the one who plays basketball and people pay him. Hint: I've NEVER accepted money to play a sport, but I might still hold a shot put record at my junior high.)



Mitch whispered (loudly) during my talk, taking book after book off the shelves and saying, “Jimmy, you should read this one. It’s awesome.” (STOP READING HERE, MOM.) They must have been camped in a particularly riveting section of the bookstore because Mitch's suggestions included B is for Beer and Porn For Women of A Certain Age. Couldn’t endorse his mother’s books, but these got the green light. Jimmy, to his credit, was appropriately cautious and did not buy the books.

(MOM, BEGIN READING AGAIN HERE.)

4. After the last guest left, we talked with Alice, the lovely owner of Beaverdale Books.



See how pleasant she still looks after being a hostess? And she remained pleasant, even when we discovered one book was unaccounted for. We toured the store, looking for the missing title, wondering if perhaps among all those nice people I’d invited there lurked a shoplifter. Was it my cousin Sally, such a nice Dutch girl who drove an hour just to see me? Maybe my uncle Robert, one of my favorite human beings but perhaps secretly Mr. Sticky Fingers? I was getting worried and a tad indignant but Alice assured me all would be well. When we got home, guess what I found in my things?



Me? What? I wrote this book AND stole it from a local business?




Call me Mrs. Sticky Fingers. Sorry, Alice. I’ll be by this week.

The Day After, I was not in any condition for photo taking, but two of us were. My very supportive and patient Marc and our Thea. (Go Hawkeyes!)



So thanks for coming. Thanks for reading. My heart is full of gratitude to a God who lets me have this job and to all of you who get my jokes and laugh in the right spots. Thanks for keeping me around.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Report from the Trenches

We’re working on Day 7 of a fever for one of my babes. The positives: I get to watch Peter Pan and Mulan and the insultingly syrupy High School Musical with wild abandon, all the while getting lots of in-home exercise on trips for the thermometer and Sprite. Negatives: I get absolutely no writing done, even though I have a novel due in February and I won’t be able to cite “Seven-Day Fever” as a valid excuse for a late manuscript. Please understand I am not soliciting pity here. It would be unsightly for a girl who just released a novel and who leads a very, very blessing-drenched life.

Speaking of unsightly, however, being home with a sick child means I look at myself in the mirror more often. This is woefully disappointing. I must live most of my life not really dedicating myself to mirror time because what I’ve discovered this week is nothing short of earth-shattering. Turns out, I’m aging. I have AGE SPOTS on my FACE. Like things you see a lot of at buffets and casinos and care facilities with names like “Shady Meadows.” Age spots. And wrinkles. And I’m getting a cold sore, which, admittedly, is not a byproduct of age but we might as well lump all skin trauma together.

And here’s another thing, which I am not making up, even though I write fiction: Just as I was thinking to myself that a good sit out on the deck would do me good, I saw something that stopped me in my Vitamin D-deficient tracks. And his name, friend, is CHUCKLES. Just in case you missed Chuckles’s first, grand appearance, here’s his mug shot:

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT write to tell me you think he’s cute. Just because you can’t see his age spots does not mean he should be popping up his head and scurrying around on my deck! I’m trying to keep it together here, but I can feel some SERIOUS EXCLAMATION POINTS coming on!! !!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, listen, I’d really love to see you this week. I need adult interaction. First, there’s the grand soiree at Beaverdale Books. We’ll start at 6:30 p.m. Friday and will have A LOT of fun. I can promise this without reservation. Also---this just in---I’ll be hanging out at Connxions bookstore in Urbandale Thursday night. The Connxions folks are having a Girls’ Night Out with lots of fun stuff to buy, give, and use for self-pampering purposes. So if you’re not able to come Friday, I’d love to see you tomorrow in Urbandale.

Just promise me this: You will not take my temperature, bring along any rodents, or stare at my cold sore. You don’t want to see what happens when a stir-crazy mother starts ACTING OUT exclamation points. Let’s just keep that on pen and paper. Thank you! ! ! ! ! ! !! ! !!! ! ! !!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Signings, A Video Tutorial

I’m going to let you in on a secret in the glamorous life of an author: People tend to think authors have leprosy or at least want to sell them an Amway toaster. The reason I know this is because of the book signing phenomenon. Now, when I wrote my first book, Balancing Act, my publisher asked about book signings that I was planning and I thought, “Yes! Of course! Book signings!” Images danced in my literary head, pictures of long lines of people clamoring to see me, gushing their excitement about the book, maybe a few tears at the thrill of it, Marc shaking his head and saying,



Turns out, the only ones crying are usually my children, upset that Mommy’s Book has AGAIN ruined a perfectly good afternoon. People do come, but only if they’re blood relation or paid handsomely, and only my mother clamors to see me. And the thing is, I’M GUILTY OF THE SAME THING. Confession: A few years back, before I was in the bih-nuss, I walked by a book signing table at Barnes and Noble. The author was a local TV personality who had penned a spiritual memoir. He sat with a brave smile on his face, surrounded by stacks of books, while NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE was stopping by. I DID NOT STOP BY. Here I am, years later, and I would like to say, John Bachman of TV 13, wherever you are, I’m very sorry I didn’t stop. I know better now. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. You do not need to know the author of the book to stop by a signing event or table. You do not need to know her name, the title of any of her books, if she’s famous (probably not) or if she writes real stories or ones she makes up in her head. She does not expect that you’ve ever heard of her and will not think a thing of it if you haven’t.

2. You DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT need to feel guilty if you don’t buy a book. There you are, standing in a bookstore filled with hundreds of thousands of books, and you might find the book being hawked by this particular author is not up your alley. Not your cup of tea. Not a good fish for your fry pan. Simply smile and say something like this:




3. Finally, authors are people too. They work for their money and do so in a highly competitive business. While perfectly woman enough to know everyone will not want to buy her book, an author will still be sad if you say something like:




Now, in my opinion, in order to make a signing fun for everyone and worth a bookseller’s time and effort, I prefer to pile most of my eggs in one basket and invite the entire universe to one event. I send cards, advertise, beg, plead, and make a fool of myself in social settings, trying to avoid the Sit And Smile By a Stack of Books thing. In a couple weeks, for instance, we’ll have our grand soiree at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. Big signing, big fun, champagne and chocolate, me wearing something that does not require Spanx but still, mysteriously, makes me look young, nubile and Heidi Klum-ish. (Any tips on this?) I’ll give a brief book chat and then set to having good conversation about books and anything else. The folks in Des Moines are always very good to me and we usually have a great, rollicking crowd of well wishers by night’s end. Eventually, my children will voice their protests about Mommy’s Book ruining a perfectly nice fall evening, Marc will clear his throat, and we’ll be off, home to collapse into bed after a really, really fun night.

So, for example, if you’re out and about in Des Moines, on the evening of Friday, September 11, starting at 6:30 p.m., and you want chocolate or some bubbly or a good read signed by a not-famous author, stop by. I’d love to see you. And John Bachman, if you show up, you get a free copy and a brave smile, from one author to another.

Book release signing! Beaverdale Books, Des Moines. Friday, September 11, from 6:30 p.m. until we get tired. Brief book talk at 6:45.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

It’s here! It’s here! No, no, no, not another baby. One uterus can only take so much, people. I’m talking about STRETCH MARKS! My fourth novel! The title based completely on second-hand information as I certainly know nothing of the sort! I’m looking to set a blog record for most exclamation points used per entry! How am I doing!

Yesterday, the sweet FedEx man brought my book to the front door and I found it difficult to keep from weeping. The better part of two years was spent on the creation of this puppy, so it was simply lovely to see the finished product face to face. I called Marc, who was enthusiastic and supportive, continuing his run as best-spouse-to-an-unstable-author. And then I called my parents. I realize I’m 33, but God-love-me, I still want to share my joys and sorrows with my mom and dad. Dad asked me to reserve a copy for him, and he’ll probably try to pay me for it. Mom squealed, breathless, and said she’d be right over.

This book, like all that I’ve written, is really an outgrowth of their kindness. Dad bought me my first laptop, taking me seriously as a writer when I had not one word to show for it and not one penny to devote to the craft. Mom forced me on an airplane in 2005, clucking about how brilliant I was and that famous literary people would be THRILLED to meet me at that writers’ conference. So when Mom came over yesterday, we both cried a bit. She knows what it means to finish the book amid three children, a busy house, annoying fits of perfectionism, endless distractions, nagging addictions to chocolate and sleep. She takes care of my kids on short notice, not minding that I have greasy hair and haven’t exactly brushed my teeth that particular morning. She, too, is a reader, a girl who loves a good story, and she, too, likes the feel of a new book in hand. That her daughter wrote the book is just too much. So she cried, we cried, we thanked God for His immeasurable gifts of grace, and then we asked Ana to take this photo:



Admittedly, we look a bit wonky because it took about 16 minutes for Ana to actually press the button and by then, our facial muscles were twitching. Also, the angle of the camera had us convinced Ana was photographing our navels, so we kept scrunching our bodies lower and lower toward the floor. Turns out, there was little to fear. Our heads, eyebrows, the book—all in the photo.

So STRETCH MARKS is on its way to bookstores even as I type. Might I humbly ask that you consider buying it? I think you’ll really like it! Here come more exclamation points! And it’s stinking cheap! Just a smidge over ten dollars today on Amazon! Cheaper than a movie ticket and it can sit pretty on your shelf forever, way past your buttered popcorn and Twizzlers! Buy it, like it, and spread the word to other people who like stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always a kick in the pants! Thanks for reading! Thanks, Mom and Dad! It’s here!

p.s. Stay tuned. Lots of book fun, freebies, and embarrassing PR moves in the weeks ahead….

Monday, August 10, 2009

Train Them Up

Do you have moments when you fear for your children? I’m not talking about kidnapping or tornadoes or bad skin in high school, though I think about those things too. The looming fear today is that my children will turn out like me and I have a problem keeping my mouth shut. Seriously. I don’t really appreciate the eye rolling some of you are doing right now because you already KNEW I am mouthy. Just pretend this is news, all right? I’m suffering here.

Mitchell is in the throes of developing this unfortunate personality trait. It’s the inner censor that he’s just a bit slow in embracing. Last week we were visiting a church on a Sunday out of town. The pastor, bless his heart, was doing his darndest to involve the children for a children’s sermon. Now, any parent with young children could have told him to get them to scream “Jesus loves me!”, lead them in a rousing chorus of “Father Abraham,” and bribe them with a Tootsie Pop. Then pray a quickie, release them all sugared up to their unsuspecting parents, and call yourself a genius.

This man, though, was far more conscientious than I and wanted the children to understand something about the value of stillness. You know, stillness. SECOND NATURE to twenty-five children under six. Does this look like a child ready for that particular spiritual discipline?



Poor, poor, well-intentioned pastor. The finale involved sending the children to all parts of the sanctuary in order for them to practice stillness in our presence. They weren’t very good at it. But this brings me to my censor-free son. In the most quiet moment of the Stillness Rehearsal, Mitch said, FULL VOICE:

“Okay, this is weird.”

He drew out the last word to be about four syllables: “weeeeiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrd.” I shriveled, though inwardly agreeing, and had to smile apologetically for the rest of the sermon whenever I caught the eye of a local parishoner. “Sorry,” my eyes said. “He’s just like me. Here’s his dad.” I’d nudge Marc with my elbow. “He’s TOTALLY socially appropriate! You’d really like him and probably ask him to be an usher!”

I try telling my mother these stories, looking for empathy, some cooing about the trials and travails of parenting kids who talk too much. All I get from her, though, is lots of giddy giggling. Sometimes she erupts into a cackle, whooping, slapping her knee and saying things like, “I knew you’d get it all back,” and “Hee hee, ho ho, I’m done! Your turn!”

Ah, a mother’s love.

I’m off to practice stillness, but watch for the next post around here. I have a very fun way for you to get a FREE copy of Stretch Marks. You don’t want to miss out! In the meantime, read a sample chapter of the book here. See you soon…

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Techno-Savvy

I’m kind of into baking. I’ve thought a lot about this, though not as much as the thought time I’ve reserved for, say, the shape of my eyebrows or the cowlicks that have stubbornly remained in my hair since junior high. (*Never said I wasn’t shallow.) But I think the reason I love baking is first, because I love to eat things that involve butter and sugar. Second, those things usually make my house smell really good while baking and make me feel victoriously domestic, even if the rest of the house would make Martha Stewart go into catatonic shock. Third, the beginning, middle, and end occur all in one day, unlike the creation of a novel or, for instance, a pregnancy.

A few weeks ago, I made a rhubarb pie. I used lard in the crust, which, in general, is a great thing to do as long as you don’t think about it for more than one teeny second. I cut rhubarb from my mom’s garden because I can’t make things grow that God didn’t originally plant without my intervention. While I was cleaning up the aftermath, I decided to check into how to freeze the extra rhubarb. My grandmother, who is a baker’s baker and who still bakes cookies, bars, pies and cakes each week for herself and Grandpa (NEITHER OF WHOM, INCREDIBLY, HAVE LOVE HANDLES), freezes her rhubarb. I’d been thinking of her all day, particularly since I used her recipe for the pie. Here it is, just in case you think me to be a liar:



My grandma’s is really, really good. Mine is slowly coming along. I’ve at least figured out how to make it look like a pie and not as much like a preschooler’s sand art project. (Happily, I don’t have photos of THAT stage of my development.) Since my grandma is the pro, I should have called her. Instead, I kept washing dishes that could have waited and asked Marc, who was at the computer, to Google how to freeze rhubarb.

Now here is the glory of the 21st century. Sure, I can hunt around and find what I need in a moment’s notice, be it how to install crown molding, when to feed a baby solid foods, or if Jon Gosselin really does think a divorce is “exciting” because he’s still “really young.” But I can also happen upon entire subcultures of people who know a lot about crazy things, like beekeeping and competitive eating and Peru. Proving this point, when Marc typed in my request, up popped a bunch of helpful links, not on how to freeze rhubarb but how to FREAK DANCE.

I really don’t know what freak dancing is (Marc is worried even as I write this that it is obscene or a lot like the lambada). Perhaps it involves rhubarb. Or beekeeping. For goodness' sake, don't Google it. All it know is that in this glorious age of technology and innovation, I will be calling my grandmother the next time I need her help. She loves me, she bakes for me, and she would never, ever show me how to dance, freakishly or otherwise.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

News from the (Mother)Hood

As a mother of three young children, none of whom is able to tie shoes fitted with laces, I often feel out of the loop of the normal world. I don’t watch the news in front of my kids anymore because it’s scary and lots of people die and get blown up. I recently stopped my subscription to a fashion mag because my six-year-old daughter pointed to one of the ads and wanted to know why the girl and boy were laying on each other, buckwheat naked. Even television commercials in the middle of the day can be problematic. I’ve been particularly interested to note that wild rice, beef, and window cleaner can be creatively combined with slinky music and three inches of cleavage. (Why haven’t I ever thought of Uncle Ben’s as seductive? That seasoning packet…mmmm…)

So since I’m normally out of it, I’m happy to report news from the streets of high fashion. In boutiques near you, please take the time to marvel at this new contraption, sure to catapult all us trend-challenged moms out there into the world of hip:



That’s right: MILKIES. Thanks goes to Alert Reader Sally B. who brought this marvel to my attention. Feeling out of sorts as a postpartum mom? Plagued by ill-fitting bras because of those weird and scratchy nursing pads? Worried about the whole waste-not-want-not issue? Relinquish your fear and get you some Milkies! Can you see the fine print? “Collects milk from non-nursing side while breastfeeding…Save every drop of your baby’s perfect food.” Slap on that sleek and comfortable PLASTIC FILE FOLDER and save that milk! Ignore the stares of others---they’re just jealous! They wish they’d saved more drops of THEIR non-nursing sides!

So have no fear, dear readers. I will henceforth do my best to keep you abreast (heeeee) of current movements within the fashion industry, not the least of which involve plastic, innovative technology, and wild rice. I may not know own a pair of skinny jeans but darn it, don’t count me out yet.

P.S. Administrative note: For those of you interested in receiving regular updates to this blather, eh, blog right to your inbox, click here. That way you won’t have to stalk for new updates and fashion tips. Also, you’re always welcome to post comments (instructions here) or e-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com. I’ll probably be super busy shopping and getting spa treatments but eventually I’ll get back to you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Take a Seat

Thea went through a time recently where she’d figured out how to stand up but not sit back down. Believe me, this is a worrisome way to live. Her crib (her bed, not her bachelorette pad as seen on MTV) posed the most difficulty. I’d put her down for her nap and she’d scoot around in the dark, pleased as punch at her newfound mobility. The crowning moment, when she would pull herself up to stand, would be such fun for a few minutes. There she’d stand, the queen of her chubby-thighed realm, taking stock of the rocking chair, the whimsical wall art, the stack of clean diapers ready for destruction. Lots of toothy grinning, singing, general baby glee:



But legs that pudgy aren’t used to prolonged exercise, people, and the sheen quickly wore off. What to do, when a girl can’t sit down? How long must one cling with dimpled hands to the crib railing, crying out for help to anyone who would hear? In the days of baby monitors, not long. I’d open the door and rescue the child, tucking her knees and helping her lay down again. And again. And again. We’re talking five, six, seven times I’d go in, each time seeing the poor child with tears streaming down her face, nose running, head propped on the railing to hold her tired body up. The bags under her eyes were like those of a crack addict only a bit cuter. Still, totally pathetic.

All Thea needed was sleep and she was in the right place to get it. Quiet, dark, cool room, safe from the perils of the outside world, like older siblings and heavy metal music. Perfect conditions, but man-oh-man, what resistance.

So this got me to thinking about my own crack-addict tendencies and God. (And I wonder why my books are greeted with caution at Christian bookstores?!) I do the same darn thing as my daughter when it comes to worrying over things in my life. I’ve been particularly fretful lately, and not just about rodents. Am I a good mother? Does Marc still think I’m beautiful? How about cute? Will my next book sell enough copies to make everybody happy? Will my friend’s marriage survive infidelity? Can I raise my children to love God and love people when the world is gross and menacing?

See what I mean? But here’s the beauty: God is God and I am not. He has never, that I can recall, asked me to take over for Him. I am His child and have been given a sweet, quiet place to rest, right in the bottomless of expanse of His grace. So I suppose if I’m hell-bent on propping myself up, fighting through tears of frustration, I can insist on worrying through this week. OR I can take a deep breath, blow my nose, and get back to dirtying diapers, which is just what I’m meant to do. Oops. Mixing metaphors a bit. Sorry. At any rate, I’m resolving again in this moment to take a seat, bend my own pudgy knees, and trust God to be the One that gives me rest.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rodent of Unusual Size


A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in our family room with Ani and Mitch going over Mensa flashcards. We’d just finished a review of the American Revolution and were beginning our trigonometry problem sets when *we heard what sounded like a large bag of wet sand being hurled against the door to the deck. (*Point in the story where I stop lying.) We looked over to see this:


Now, I’m all about ethical treatment of animals and such, but this thing was HUGE. It could have easily dropkicked me. Or eaten my 11-month-old for a fiber-filled snack.
My children were ENTHRALLED. And borderline worried because their mother was making fearful, high-pitched noises and saying, “Oooh, don’t touch it! Where’s your father? Don’t touch it!” We were, of course, completely protected by the walls of our home but that wasn’t really computing. The vermin just kept throwing himself at our door, TYRING TO GET IN SO HE COULD EAT US.  Plus, he did this with his face:


Eventually, after I’d called Marc and he’d promised to come home and rescue us, I climbed down off the kitchen table and took a deep breath. The Animal Control woman I interrogated on the phone assured me in a soothing, long-voweled North Dakota accent (?!) that the critter was a woodchuck that “just like the rest of nature, wouldn’t bother unless provoked.” Ahem. Was I PROVOKING it when we were sitting in the family room with our trig sets*? (*untrue) The North Dakotan thought I was a bit too hysterical for her taste and explained she could not send over a trap because all her traps were being used for CATS. (What? You all don’t routinely trap CATS in your cities?)
The whole event was really too emotional for me. In fact, I’m all worked up remembering it now. It hasn’t helped that Marc insists on calling it Chuckles the Woodchuck, which is far too humanizing for me. He’ll come home and ask if we’ve seen Chuckles that day. And I’m sorry to say that yes, on a few more occasions, WE HAVE.
But the minute those traps are free of cats, I’m ON it. Chuckles will be no match for a woman who knows a LOT about the Revolutionary War.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winners!

Wow, you people love free stuff! I KNEW we were meant to be friends because you’re talking to the woman who would bypass any number of department stores with marble floors to get one good hour in TJMaxx. Only a few weeks into this blogging idea and we had a whole slew of entries. Just goes to show people are reading who are not, technically, blood relatives.

So I’m happy to announce the two winners of the first fantabugorgeous giveaway at the Kimberly Stuart blog. Rachel C. and Missy T. will receive a free copy of Act Two and the summer issue of Life:Beautiful magazine. Congratulations, girls! And for all who entered but didn’t win this time, check back, dear readers. More free stuff is coming down the pike.

A word about the selection process: As I sat before my inbox and wondered how best to get the entries onto paper and into the sombrero (see previous entry), I asked Marc how he’d recommend going about it. Have I mentioned he was a physics major? This can be an asset (when fixing the lawnmower that I’ve kicked in my impatience) and a detriment (when gunning for Most Perfectly Symmetric Christmas Tree Display hours after the kids have gone to bed). Two sentences into his illuminating discourse on the benefits of a True Random Number Generator, my eyes glazed over. If I can’t find it at Target, I’m not sure it’s a good fit. And what’s this about a generator? Sounds awfully Y2K. But as Marc—dare I use the verb “droned”?—on, I saw a message from Helpful Reader Linda H., who assured me that True Random Number Generators exist for regular people, not just cute physics majors who did research in a field called Molecular Beam Spectroscopy. (NOT KIDDING.) In fact, here’s a photo of Missy T.’s winning number 50:

Please don’t tell Marc that Linda H.’s advice weighed a bit more heavily than his. He might take it out on some unsuspecting data.

Rest assured, friends. We’re not operating some shady operation around here. Your numbers are safe, random, and Y2K-proof.

So what am I supposed to do with this sombrero?

 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Give It Away Now

Might be time for a little geography lesson around here. In the space of one 24-hour period, my three-year-old son, Mitch, who lives in Iowa, spoke the following:

1.     Upon arriving at the pool on a sweltering afternoon: “Oh, shoot. I wanted to go to Chicago.” We live six hours by car from My Kind of Town. I told him that, alas, we were only able to accomplish one errand a day when the heat index was over 100 degrees. This seemed to placate him for the time being.

2.     When asked to make a stop at our potty before venturing out as it’s easier to find our potty than one in the greater world, he looked suddenly mournful and said, “It’s very, very hard to find potties in New York.” To my knowledge, he’s never been there. Seemed to have quite the pulse on the situation, however.

3.     Weeping, tired, hungry at the end of the day, he wailed, “But we didn’t go to Puerto Rico!” After further questioning, we deduced he meant we didn’t go to Tropical Sno for shaved ice, not that we hadn't been to Old San Juan. Puerto Ricoooo, Tropical Snoooo--an easily made mistake. 

[Perhaps it’s the heat causing all this confusion. Ever visited a rainforest? Throw in a few cornfields and angry, sunburned people, and you have a good visual of Iowa this week.]

At any rate, all this talk about geography reminds me of you, dear readers. There you are, all over the everywhere, and I think it’s about time to send free stuff to YOUR zip code. So here’s a little sumpin, in case you’re in search of a summer read: 


A cute, pocketbook-sized copy of Act Two (child not included) and….


...the summer issue of Life:Beautiful magazine. Have you seen this? Click here to go to their site, but I’m telling you, it’s a lovely magazine. Kind of a Martha Stewart Living for the woman of faith. The photos alone are worth the price of admission, but some writer named Kimberly Stuart also has an article in this issue.

Just take one tiny second and e-mail me no later than JULY 4, 2009, at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com and I’ll enter your name into the drawing. Two winners will be drawn, using a highly scientific process involving my three-year-old and a sombrero.

In the meantime, please look for me and Mitch the next time you’re in Chicago hunting down a New York-style potty next to the Tropical Sno. We’ll be the ones in sombreros.

Employer Appreciation Day

At the start of summer vacation, we schlepped the kids into the mini-van and embarked on a drive across the plains to Colorado. Our purpose was twofold: 1. Drive twelve hours with three children as a sort of social experiment, to see if any, all, or some would survive and 2. Visit friends, mountains, and colleagues, not necessarily in that order. Mission accomplished on all fronts! I’m happy to report every member of the family did very well, even Baby Thea, who was valiant through the travails of cutting FOUR TEETH at once. We saw friends we love, rode horses in the mountains, visited dear family, and got scared by sharks at the Denver Aquarium. But might I just take a moment to mention that I got the chance to prove to my children that I have a real job? I did. And it was very gratifying.

When Act Two released last spring, a box full of books came to our front door. Marc, ever the enlightened partner of the 21st century, made a heroic effort of impressing upon Ani and Mitch the importance of the moment. “Guys! Look! Your mom wrote this book! This is her photo on the back! She’s written three books, kids! Can you believe it?!” He was jumping up and down, running in circles around the family room. Such a trooper, that one.

Ana’s response: “Dad, it’s really not that big of a deal.”

If only I could have been wearing SEQUINS in the photo, or if the book had been hot pink with sparkles flying out of its pages, or if there’d been a singing doll that came with. But just a boring, old, wordy, non-illustrated book? Puh-lease.

So in order to prove to my children that Mommy is not making up her “books” or her “writing” or her “career,” I took these pictures. In case you, like them, have been doubting whether or not I’m actually printing my books, one by one, in my basement, I offer this evidence:


Real, brick-and-mortar building, home of David C. Cook. It even has a fountain in the front yard. Fan-cay.

Vice prez of publishing, Don Pape (he’s Canadian, which explains why he has cool glasses and an overall mellow demeanor), me (with alarmingly strange hair) and Editorial Head Honcho, Terry Behimer, who took me to lunch at a great restaurant and made me drink lots of water to get rid of an altitude headache.

See? Real people, real building, real job. So there, Ani. Proof is in the blogging. Now, if I’d only worn a feather boa and glitter paint to the office…


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swimming Upstream

Swimsuit season is upon us, friends. Try not to hyperventilate into a paper bag, as some insecure, writer types have been known to do. Try not to think about when you used to make derisive comments about your body before you had children, only to discover later the sheer relativity of "big thighs" or "love handles." Instead, feel victorious that you aren’t headed out to your local swimming pool in this:




Do you know there is a name for this thing? It is called a MONOKINI. Mono, from the Latin of “one," and “kini” from the Polynesian for “not enough to cover the groceries.” This style, I feel, is a danger to public swimming holes everywhere. Think of the therapy bills racked up by unsuspecting passersby. What happens when a girl needs to get out of a model’s pose to, say, pick up a child? Sit poolside? Eat a snowcone? NOTHING GOOD, I assure you.

I, for one, will embrace my tankini with joy this summer. Tank, from the Latin for “large swath of military-like material” and “kini” from the Polynesian for “less six-pack, more milkshake.” Get out there, girls, and be thankful your kini is just what it’s meant to be.

Photo Credits

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things They Don't Tell A Girl

When I got pregnant with our first child, I thought it best to approach the new experience with a shout-out to my comfort zone: reading with all the geekiness I could muster. Yet in the pages of What to Expect, How To Raise Perfect Children, and Make Them Love You, I seem to have missed SCADS of information that is known by other moms but not disclosed for fear that the human race will stop its procreation on a dime and be stuck only with the people presently alive and running the country.

Things They Don’t Tell a Girl #1: Personal dignity leaves with the placenta.

Some might argue this occurs months before, and they’d have a good point. But what about all the years after the delivery days? Case in point: This Sunday, I’m singing in church. Our rehearsal was Tuesday night. Moments before I was to leave the house (CLICKING my heels, by the way, to be en route to a semi-social, adult event! Yee haw!), I took stock of my image in the mirror for the first time since that morning. I had hives. Something related to gardening and a culpable resin which led to red, itchy, swell-y things all over my neck, arms, and face. The hives weren’t the surprise that night. But when I touched one of the more conspicuous ones on my chin, it started to bleed like a stuck pig (sorry—Iowa image). UNCONTROLLABLY. Minutes before my departure for two hours in the real world.

I searched the house over for a Band-Aid that was age-appropriate. The Holy Grail would have been one of those little circle things, flesh colored, demure. I located Dora the Explorer, The Amazing Spider Man, Barbie….No flesh circle. So this is how I looked when I showed up to rehearse leading a congregation in undistracted, focused, Jesus-lovin’ worship:




 

Nice, right? Here’s a close-up, since I know you’re wanting to see more of the follicles on my chin:

 

 

I’ll have you know that my husband took these photos, but it took him awhile because he kept saying in response to my facial expressions, “Um, scary. Kim, that’s scary.” This is what ten years of marriage does to verbal communication.

So here’s to a hive-free week for you, wherever you are. May your chins be blemish and rash free and may your husband look lovingly on your face and pronounce you not the scariest but the fairest of them all.

 Spouse's Editorial Note: I used the word "scary" in its nicest meaning. We have a good marriage.

Author's Retort: Not sure how often the spouse will be allowed to edit.















Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Party Like It's 2009

Today I blog! ‘Tis the beginning of a new era, friends. I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, a world of YouTube, Twitter, posts, widgets, gadgets, and blogs (I don’t officially know what three of those things mean).

If you’re game, listen in, join in, or butt in. I’m happy to see you here. But be forewarned: I’m the girl who had to be told for her latest manuscript that people don’t actually own answering machines anymore and that using the word “dork” would age my characters. AGE THEM. I didn’t mention that I’d acquired a fancy-shmancy newfangled bit o’ technology just LAST MONTH. It’s called CALLER I.D. and it has changed my life! You can see who’s calling and choose whether or not to answer! On a non-cellular phone!

Using the word “cellular” ages a writer.

Good to see you here, dear reader. Please come by again. You never know: today I blog, tomorrow I just might figure out how to set the clock on my VCR.