Better Than a Grammy

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ver·sa·tile (versa-tea-lay)

    able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
    “a versatile sewing machine”
  2. archaic
    changeable; inconstant.

    So here I am, the swiss army knife of sewing machines (aka word knitting machines). Laurel Leigh has kindly nominated me for the Versa-tea-lay Blogger Award. And as I said in the head, this is ever-so-much better than a Grammy. I didn’t have to sit up straight in a gold lamé dress for hours with a fake smile on my face, clapping half-heartedly every time someone else besides me won. Just the opposite, I’ve been sitting in my pj’s hunched over my keyboard with a real smile on face while I type whole-heartedly about tooth fairies. It doesn’t get any better than this!

    As usual, I’m a rule bender, so if you receive this award from me, you don’t need to feel obligated to do anything but SMILE. But I will do the following:

    • Thank the person who gave me this award. THANK YOU, LAUREL!!!!! You’re’ the best!
    • Include a link to her blog. Laurel Leigh
    • Next, select blogs/bloggers that I’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
    • Nominate them for the Versatile Blogger Award
    • Finally, tell Laurel (and all you other eavesdroppers) seven things about myself.

    Here are my fave bloggers (some are also Laurel’s, so they get a double dose!)

    heylookawriterfellow will always be on my go-to list. A children’s book writer with hilarious insights about writing and the writing life, he has a soft spot for rodents.

    InterestingLiterature gives us lovely snippets about famous writers and writing.

    FictionFan and Lady Fanciful are my two “go-to” book review (and music and film) blogs whenever I’m looking for insightful commentary. Interesting thing? One loves The Gold Finch, the other ran over it with a truck. And they still respect each other.

    Vanessa Chapman will tickle your humorous.

    Drinking Tips for Teens will do the same in a slightly different way.

    CalloftheSiren has been quiet recently, but I’m sure he’ll return in fine form soon. Look here for book reviews on all things Dante, poetry, other lit reviews, and insight into writing and the writing process.

    Tales From the Motherland is what they call irreverent and often ROFL kind of fun, much better than being rolfed.

    A Prayer Like Gravity keeps me amped (surfers say ‘stoked’? grocery store employees say “stocked”)) with poetry and images.

    Tracie M. Cox is a children’s book writer and blogger whose latest post highlights American Library Association 2014 Youth Media Awards. She offers writing and marketing tips.

    101Books provides reviews and insights (and the occasional hilarious commentary on book covers from his son) about the books on TIme Magazine’s List of 100 Greatest Novels + Ulysses. He’s made it through 63 so far, I believe.

    juliehedlund is a fab writer and 12×12 thought leader in the children’s lit world.

    ReadingInterrupted blogs about all things literary. Letizia’s latest post shares Baudelaire’s French translation of Poe’s The Raven. And yes, she has joined me in the “show us a shelfie” game.

    TheWriteTransition Gotta admire a woman (outnumbered by males in her household) who multi-tasks between being a doc and a writer. Kudos to you, Carrie!

    What seven things can I tell you about myself that you don’t already know?

    1) I currently have a dead rodent behind the wall in my kitchen.


    Yes, it’s a beaver (also a rodent). The photos of mice were not nice.

    Eating out has never been more attractive.

    2) I suffer great environmental angst when I buy Clorox wipes to clean the floor around the toilet,


    but I live in a household with boys. Nuff said.

    3) I also suffer great environmental angst when my son tells me that I should be sending him to school with a cloth napkin instead of the recycled, unbleached environmentally friendly napkins that I then put in our commercial compost.


    Would an entire load of cloth napkins from one week (including those from breakfast, lunch and evening meals) use more of the world’s resources (water, soap, electricity for washing and drying, etc.) than the making of these “environmentally friendly” paper napkins that then get returned to the earth via composting? If anyone has the answer to this question, I’m all ears.

    4) Speaking of ears, I just had them roto-rootered due to complete blockage. Couldn’t hear a dad-blamed thing, and the pressure from lack of equalization was turning my head into a pressure cooker.


    Apparently, some people produce more earwax than others, so if you’re one of them, you need to use Debrox. Otherwise, imagine a swirling fan of high pressure hydrogen peroxide and water coursing into your ear canal for 15 seconds. Applying a jack-hammer directly to my corpus callosum would have had the same effect.

    5) I’m a poetry-aholic, and need a fix every day.


    I appreciate poets because they never attend meetings and are always going to parties where they stand in the corner with one drink all night and watch other people make fools of themselves.

    6) I would like to start a movement that requires all dog owners to register their dog’s DNA when they go in for vaccinations. Then we’ll start a company that picks up dog poop on city sidewalks or parks, where children walk or play with balls. Simply ID the poop’s DNA and then send a fine to the dog’s registered owner.


    No pick up poo? The joke’s on you!

    7) My car’s “Check tire pressure” light turned on right after we got two tires replaced a couple of weeks ago. It’s done this in the past, but it’s minded its own business and stayed dark for the past year or two. I can’t take the time right now to have the tires and the sensor checked. Instead, I think of this while typing and make a mental note to think about what to do later (notice the multiple layers of thinking going on). I may or may not remember to check the tires before I get in the car and drive off. So perhaps when I’m driving down to Asilomar next week for SCBWI’s Golden Gate conference, one of my tires will go flat


    and I will remember that the “check tire pressure” light has been on for awhile now…

    There you have it. Any surprises for you?

50 thoughts on “Better Than a Grammy

  1. Laurel Leigh says:

    Awesome post! Isn’t it great to be part of the pajama club? Robert Gluck at SFSU once said the best thing about teaching writing was that he could do so much of his job while in bed. Hear, hear!

    Thanks for recommending some more great blogs to check out. It’s really fun to spread the word about what people are doing.

    As for the rodent in the wall, as my contractor told me after I freaked out hearing a rat’s death screams behind my bathroom wall. “It’s okay, they just decompose after a while.” Welcome to the other club of we who have rat skeletons in our walls. In fact, I’m pretty sure everybody does even if you don’t know about it.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I keep Clorox wipes in my sons’ bathroom, too. It takes little effort for them to pull out a wipe or two and clean up their pee squirts or toothpaste spits. Of course, even this small task seems too much for them at times, but I figure it’s more likely to happen with a Clorox wipe than with a bottle of 409 and a rag they’d have to go hunt down. Wishful thinking I suppose…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      How did I miss you in the line-up of versatile bloggers?! I’m adding you to the list right now!

      And as for effort, the boys seem to think it takes too much time, especially in the middle of the night when they’re bleary-eyed and missing all sorts of targets.

  3. Letizia says:

    Thank you for shining your light on my little blog, Jilanne! I love that you describe yourself as a poetry-aholic…. a fine addiction if you ask me.

    As for the tires, has it been very cold where you live? My mechanic told me our tires lose pressure when it’s extremely cold even if they were recently filled. I’m learning so many new things in this extreme winter we’ve been having in my neck of the woods.

    p.s. I proudly pick up my dog’s poop. I have poop bags in every jacket and bag just in case. A few weeks ago, I was at the opera and one fell out of my coat in the theatre. Not my most elegant moment…..

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Oh, Letizia! While you all have been in the big chill, San Francisco has been enjoying unseasonably warm and dry weather. Suffice to say we’ve been running around in t-shirts and heading in great numbers to the beach! Sadly, I think the issue lies elsewhere.

      Thank you for being a responsible dog owner, even at the expense of “exposing” your thoughtfulness in a less-than-ideal way! Perhaps we should have a “responsible blogger” award, too! 😀

      • Letizia says:

        That’s true, you live in CA; I had forgotten. Hmm, so maybe it’s the extreme dryness you’ve been having (I’m drawing at straws here, I know).

        Responsible blogger award , haha! 🙂

  4. Lady Fancifull says:

    Fiction Fan and I are still speaking to each other because YOU haven’t said whose best Goldfinch friend you are going to be, so we are being as nice as pie to each other. Even though I’ve produced a fabulous Tuesday Terror moment for her, in the invention of a dystopian world without chocolate.

    Thanks to your heads-up to us terrible divided at Goldfinch birth twins!

    Does a dead rat trump a neatly severed mouse head, trodden on in the bleary depths of the night en-route to the bathroom (though, not being a boy, my aim is perfectly ladylike and I don’t need the Clorex) Except, having trodden on a mouse head…………..

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Oh dear. That does trump anything I’ve written here. Let me think—- my mother used to tell a story about the time she kept asking my father whether he heard a mouse nibbling on something in the dark. But he was comfortable and didn’t want to get out of bed to investigate. She kept pestering him until he threw back the covers and stepped out—onto a frog. Smashed flat.

      Anyone else have an unsavory animal squishing story they’d like to share?

      A world without chocolate is a hellish one, indeed!

    • FictionFan says:

      I would tell you the story of the time my beloved little cat Soxy, the queen of the hunt, once dropped a live mouse over the bannister of the stairs onto my unsuspecting head beneath…

      I would tell you, but I simply can’t bring myself to speak about it…

      I second LF’s thanks for the lovely heads-up! I think of LF and myself as the Yin and Yang of the book world – I find that stops me wanting to bop her over the head with a frying pan when she goes off into one of her mystical Slav moments… 😉 And between us, you’ll usually find someone you can agree with…

      I shall be making my way round your other bloggie tips over the next couple of days – though there are a few there that I already follow. 🙂

      • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

        Yes, it sounds far too horrible, traumatic even, to speak of. And that’s a lovely image of you two, Yin and Yang. The one with the frying pan and the other playing hide-n-seek from the one with the frying pan.

        Enjoy your reading!

  5. johnnycrabcakes says:

    Aw shucks Jilanne–you keep me amped too–especially with your insightful comments about my poems. I have learned a lot about my self and my words when they bounce back off of your noggin. (BTW I just tried to write “inciteful”! I think it should be a word.)

    As soon as I throw away the candy wrappers organize all the receipts that have made their way out of my pocket but not into the file, get rid of all the books I need to take to the thrift-store, clean up that moldy cup of coffee and blow off all the bird-dust, I *might* get around to taking some pictures of my pile of crap bookshelves.
    And then again, you might get them in all their (my?) sloppy glory.
    I’m not a hoarder.
    I’m just a slob with lots of stuff.

  6. heylookawriterfellow says:

    Yowza! I’m feelin’ the love today! Many thanks, my friend!

    So sorry to hear that your kitchen has the stink of rodent death. If you set up a field mouse resort and spa like I did, they’ll stay out of your walls and hang out with you! Doesn’t that sound cool?

    Who knows? Maybe you can even convince them to earn their keep by cleaning the toilet or washing those cloth napkins.

  7. Vanessa-Jane Chapman says:

    Hey thank you for including me! I didn’t even realise until I happened to just check my stats and saw that a few visitors had come over to mine from your blog so I came over to see why, and voila! Love your facts about you, especially the environmental ones 🙂

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