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To be home, our bunker was our home, took so much pressure off, to see all our family together, Trevor was minutes away, returning from Solon with, as he described her, a very powerful woman, hmmm, Jill could almost see her, sensed her good vibe, that meant something.

Bobby and Joanie were manning the security room, also chatting with ham operators all around the world, as the internet was starting to crash worldwide, world gone dark. Joanie explained that the whole world was in a rage, rioting, lawlessness, anarchy for the sake of anarchy. Gave them both a hug, asked Ronnie about Cain, her hesitation, her nervousness, enough to alert Jill, as we opened the door to his room, I was ready to kill, wow, the room was empty, the fuck had disappeared.

We got Ronnie and Mommy to agree they felt a frigid blast of air, then there was a slight cloudy vapor racing across the room and through the wall, what the fuck, over. Everyone was jumpy, tough to even comprehend the shit going down, we got everone settled down, Jill explaining that Cain was a vessel for evil, was no longer human, wasn't even alive, a zombie for Lucy.

He knew all our secrets, Jills laugh, it didn't fuck matter, Lucy already knew, Cain was meant to stay with us till the real war came, that he was to visible, his evil to apparent, he had failed, Lucy had failed, Jills power trumped all. My turn, ordered everyone to get to work, something always needed doing, sent Marcel and Fred to escort Trevor back to camp.

The one Statie had died, the other two looked tough, open, bloody wounds, the way Jill looked, the bright white surrounding her, powering her, her hands gently pressing on the cops wounds, the way the holes closed up, all gone, surreal, my girl, my Goddess. The cops were weeping, hugging Jills legs, the rest of us pretty much stunned out, I mean that was it, Jill didn't heal them a little, she changed them, changed the laws of physics, that was fairly godlike. She helped the cops up, told Fran to outfit them, arm them, their ready agreement, they would war for Jill, they would die for Jill, building our army, gathering our warriors, Jills giggle, these cops had one thought process, protect their Queen, building our Royal Bodyguards.

We were all gathered around the punk we had caught burning a nearby barn, he was naked, hanging by his hands, feet feet off the ground. His stomach and back were crisscrossed with angry purple bruises from being carried in Marcels powerful jaws, the fag was on the verge of insanity, unable to control his bladder or bowels, pig.

Jills honesty, telling the fag he was going to return to Hell soon, first we would torture him brutal, Jills smile, Lucy felt his pain, this she knew, just as Jill felt Roberts bullet wound as if she were hit, Jills rage, she would make him pay for his sins, would send him back to his Mistress broken and shamed. Jesus, sweet fuck jesus, things kept getting stranger, degrees stranger, as Trevor broke through the trees, his Harley had been customized, armor plated all over, there were machine guns, Uzis, resting on each hand grip, but who he was carrying was freaky, she had to be the biggest woman ever, it was comical the way the bike kept tipping back, her weight easily four hundred pounds, but not till they got off the bike did we realize she was at least six foot six, lots of fat, but the muscle was there, she was not soft, even her mountainous tits appeared rock solid, this was one scary broad.

She was wearing mens clothes, all blue denim, pants tucked in to her bright red cowboy boots, her button down shirt embroided with red roses, shirt sleeves missing, ripped biceps exposed,around her ample waist a holster, looked like matching S and W Model s she was carrying, the unquestioned most powerful hand gun ever, fuck ever, matching cannons, the was a.

Let everyone have their fun with the punk, lots of fun, he was quickly reduced to a babbling idiot, all of us guys ass raped him, while the girls destroyed his cock and balls, using knives and pliers to rip him up, his balls hanging free from his ripped open sack, how his sphincter flexed with his pain, quite a fun ride, as I ice picked his back silly, driving my excited rod up his bloody butt, evil would be broken.

Jill decided that the fool wasn't fit for human comsumption, Marcel and Fred had no such reservations, Fred chuckling, he ate squirrel, raw for fuck sake, this was prime rib compared, aha, every fox is a wise guy. Let the weakened fag get a running start before our animals had him in pieces, beautiful to watch, killing machines, the way Marcel and Fred shared their booty with the other meat eating animals in the compound was quite endearing, Jills wish, that fuck humans could learn from that heavy shit.

One of our joys, having dinner with the assembled troops, minus Grover and Jan who were on perimeter patrol, with Marcel and Fred, it was a deeply relaxing thing, a way for all of us to share ideas, worries, a dredging of our collective mind. Jill and I sat at a table with Tommy and Robert, an Officers Mess if you will, the need for a chain of command right, everyone enjoying Ronnie and Moms cooking, our need for calories big, the way we all were ravenous, like as if this wild life left us faminished for sustenance, to watch all our children, happy, all confident in their skin, all part of our blanket of good, a part freaks and losers, together beautiful and righteous.

The conversation flowing when Donna dropped a bomb, just throwing it out there like a bit of nothing, it was everything. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, sub yard, nuclear sub yard, that the USS Virginia, a kick ass kill machine, head of its own class of sub, was in drydock, its eight KT W nuclear warheads, removed from the Tomahawk missles on board the drydocked sub, stored at the closed prison, guarded by marines, that the subs twelve Harpoon missles were sitting in a weapons shed pierside, still carrying their five hundred pound high explosive warhead, not nuclear, but quite spectacualr all the same.

Harpoons could easily be configured to surface to surface, Roberts piping in, the arms guy up Moosehead way had a MK Harpoon ground launcher, that Donna knew all this, she tried to contact the authorities, all cops were the authorities to our librarian, her sarcasm heavy. As with most times in her life, she was met with ridicule, her huge shrug, if she knew their were such weapons laying about, Lucy surely knew as well.

Like a bell went off, everyone scrambling, talking, trying to do everything, doing nothing. My booming voice got them all in order, everyone was to turn to, do their chores, work on shit, turn in early, watches set, time for some reflection, Jill and I walking the compound, her desire to act fast, saw those weapons as an answer, Donna was here for a reason, to guide us, her moral shield larger even than her freak big body. Brought everyone not on watch, Cammy was with Marcel and Fred, ideas, Bobby downloading classified photos and video of the base, brought back memories, the red brick buildings, quaint cobblestones, the imposing brick prison on the slight hill, kidding that Jack Nicholson was great there, the kids wondering what he was in for, wow, told them their assingment was to watch the Last Detail, when actors acted, or something.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, named for a city in NH, was in Maine, an island, two lane road to enter the base from the mainland, the rest surrounded by water, the guard house staffed by rent a cops, getting in would be easy, even with monitors, so many alleys, the buildings endless, how to get at the nukes, stored in the prison, Donnas confidence, they were in the basement, in a max security cell, nice, see, the Marines knew how to make things tough for us.

Joanie gave us a detailed diagram of all the buildings, loaded into our blackberrys, everyone left, except me and Robert, we would draw up a plan, assigments, much to plan, little time, Jills parting wisdom, not to overplan, let our babies do their thing, the way everyone eyes followed her, as she slipped into our chamber, my baby, our sun, we did nor survive without the Queen. We figured speed was the key, having access to their base intranet, we could see their schedules, watch changes, when Robert showed me the pay stubs for the civilian guards out front, eight dollars an hour, wow, surely the price of security was higher than that, we could eliminate the front gate as a worry, Trevor and Donna would take them out, their was always two guards, at eight an hour, why not three, ha ha, no difference, we would slaughter them, after Trevor and Donna would back up our asault team.

Would instruct Trevor to take the guards out softly, give the rest of us time to fan out, wanted a full fire line, not crazy about killing grunts, but we had to have those warheads, rather Lucy could not get them, Jills solemn warning, Lucy would end the world with them, it was as heavy as possible, no middle ground, failure not an option.

Tommy would lead his unit, Cammy, Bobby and Joanie to the sub, take out the three Marine sentries, get the stored Harpoons, they would be loaded on a tram, could be towed by any of the hyper golf carts lying around the yard, they had forklifts that would load the thousand pound missles into the semi. Gover and Jan would patrol the front gate, stop any local cops from answering any gunfire, guard the eighteen wheeler we would steal from a truck yard in Portsmouth, Grover would drive the weapons back to the compound, escorted by our motorcade of bikes and weaponed up pickup.

Ronnie and Mom again would guard the home front, their roles cemented, accepted, Ronnies need to excel at weapons training, she wanted to be with us, set in stone, her and Mom were our own version of the National Guard. Marcel and Fred would patrol the outer base, pick off any stragglers, less chance of our being flanked, Marcel would also tow a tram to the prison door when called, speed up our removal of the nukes. Left our assault team, Me, Jill, Robert, Sarah, Trevor and Donna, would have to be ruthless, already called that shit, dispatch everyone in our way, no time to be hesitant, we had the interior of the prison commited to memory, my biggest fear, getting the six hundred pound warheads out of the cellar, figured the jarheads got them down there, and they were never accused of excess heavy lifting, Roberts suggestion, bring portable winches, winch the fuckers up to the ground floor, the inner prison open from the bottom to the fourth floor, see, cover all holes, do not ignore rays of sunlight poking through your plan, lest they become raging infernos, castrophe.

Her body as ever warm, comforting, crawling into bed with Jill was always the best feeling, her sigh at my soft embrace, her smile in the barely clock light, my everything. Her magic hands thrilling my skin, the gentle rubbing of her silky smooth ass cheeks against my aware cock, slipping into her with sureness, our love, familiar, yet always better, how she led me with her frantic ass waves, the way her fingers sought out my face, as if to make sure, her need still there, her trauma of dead daddy deep.

Our cums unified, rolling her through several always leaving me so sated, like my purpose done, satisfy the Queen. Weight of the world, still, we slept content, sure in our righteousness.

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Jills honesty, telling the fag he was going to return to Hell soon, first we would torture him brutal, Jills smile, Lucy felt his pain, this she knew, just as Jill felt Roberts bullet wound as if she were hit, Jills rage, she would make him pay for his sins, would send him back to his Mistress broken and shamed. Jesus, sweet fuck jesus, things kept getting stranger, degrees stranger, as Trevor broke through the trees, his Harley had been customized, armor plated all over, there were machine guns, Uzis, resting on each hand grip, but who he was carrying was freaky, she had to be the biggest woman ever, it was comical the way the bike kept tipping back, her weight easily four hundred pounds, but not till they got off the bike did we realize she was at least six foot six, lots of fat, but the muscle was there, she was not soft, even her mountainous tits appeared rock solid, this was one scary broad.

She was wearing mens clothes, all blue denim, pants tucked in to her bright red cowboy boots, her button down shirt embroided with red roses, shirt sleeves missing, ripped biceps exposed,around her ample waist a holster, looked like matching S and W Model s she was carrying, the unquestioned most powerful hand gun ever, fuck ever, matching cannons, the was a.

Let everyone have their fun with the punk, lots of fun, he was quickly reduced to a babbling idiot, all of us guys ass raped him, while the girls destroyed his cock and balls, using knives and pliers to rip him up, his balls hanging free from his ripped open sack, how his sphincter flexed with his pain, quite a fun ride, as I ice picked his back silly, driving my excited rod up his bloody butt, evil would be broken.

Jill decided that the fool wasn't fit for human comsumption, Marcel and Fred had no such reservations, Fred chuckling, he ate squirrel, raw for fuck sake, this was prime rib compared, aha, every fox is a wise guy. Let the weakened fag get a running start before our animals had him in pieces, beautiful to watch, killing machines, the way Marcel and Fred shared their booty with the other meat eating animals in the compound was quite endearing, Jills wish, that fuck humans could learn from that heavy shit.

One of our joys, having dinner with the assembled troops, minus Grover and Jan who were on perimeter patrol, with Marcel and Fred, it was a deeply relaxing thing, a way for all of us to share ideas, worries, a dredging of our collective mind.

Jill and I sat at a table with Tommy and Robert, an Officers Mess if you will, the need for a chain of command right, everyone enjoying Ronnie and Moms cooking, our need for calories big, the way we all were ravenous, like as if this wild life left us faminished for sustenance, to watch all our children, happy, all confident in their skin, all part of our blanket of good, a part freaks and losers, together beautiful and righteous.

The conversation flowing when Donna dropped a bomb, just throwing it out there like a bit of nothing, it was everything. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, sub yard, nuclear sub yard, that the USS Virginia, a kick ass kill machine, head of its own class of sub, was in drydock, its eight KT W nuclear warheads, removed from the Tomahawk missles on board the drydocked sub, stored at the closed prison, guarded by marines, that the subs twelve Harpoon missles were sitting in a weapons shed pierside, still carrying their five hundred pound high explosive warhead, not nuclear, but quite spectacualr all the same.

Harpoons could easily be configured to surface to surface, Roberts piping in, the arms guy up Moosehead way had a MK Harpoon ground launcher, that Donna knew all this, she tried to contact the authorities, all cops were the authorities to our librarian, her sarcasm heavy. As with most times in her life, she was met with ridicule, her huge shrug, if she knew their were such weapons laying about, Lucy surely knew as well.

Like a bell went off, everyone scrambling, talking, trying to do everything, doing nothing. Kausapin mo si Pedro tungkol sa balak mo. Talk with Pedro about your plans. He waved at me before he left. His trousers got hooked on the nail. Be careful as you walk or your trousers might get hooked on the nail. Kumawit ang pantalon niya sa pako.

His trousers were got hooked on the nail. Invite someone to go with you to to the market. Invite Juan to watch a movie. We scraped the coconut. Talk to the lonely child. Malamig sa labas, baka ka kiligin. It is cold outside, you might shiver. Carry a newspaper on the way to the office. Make the way narrow. You make the way narrow. The rough cloth rubbed on his skin. Sharpen the kinife on the whetstone. He earned a lot at the company. They want to see each other tonight. Collect some financial assistance for typhoon victims.

Gather the dry leaves in the garden. Get yourself some bananas from the basket. Get the bananas from the basket. Huwag kang mangulangot sa harap ng ibang tao. You should not pick your nose before other people. Kumulog ng malakas kaninang umaga. It thundered loudly early this morning. Don't put the bird in the cage. Imprison yourself in your room. Even if they girls would deny being innocent, even if they would resent being called innocent, that is how they looked.

This concert was a fundraiser, and in the lobby there were gingerbread cookies lying on a paper plate, ginger men and ginger ladies, so many it looked like a small nation, and they were only five dollars. I bought them before the concert started and brought them in with me so they could hear too. I sat behind some teenage girls, and one was fooling around with the another's hair the whole time, carefully laying this strand over that and the effect was really very relaxing.

It reminded me of my friend Phyllis, who used to pay her neices a quarter to mess around with her hair--gently! After the concert I went to a holiday party where I knew almost no one, but enjoyed a freindly chat and some wonderful food and an excellent martini which I drank from a plastic glass featuring a holly and berry design.

When I went to bed, I realized I'd had a perfect day. Joy lay on my chest like a cat. Good thing it wasn't a real cat, because it would have gotten in the way of Homer repeating his lie-on-the bed move, which he did happily that night. Merry Christmas to all who don't mind hearing it.

May the new year bring up hope, happiness and a measure of sanity to our inglorious Congress. In the spirit of the season, I offer the following recipe: Pull beleaguered turkey from refrigerator.

Also pull out all the other leftovers. Get out the icky white bread, the kind so soft it folds over in your hand before you've even done anything to it.

Wonder bread is best, but take care not to get any of that vile enriched or WW stuff. Spread both sides of the bread with a lot of mayonnaise. The goal here is to have mayonnaise squishing out of the sandwich every time you take a bite. Pile on some turkey. Pile on some stuffing. Pile on some cranberry sauce. Pile on some potato chips. Pile on some gravy and also some green bean bake. Keep telling that person that this is YOUR sandwich, no, they cannot have a bite, if they want one, make their own.

Only the little one. The little ones are best because they fit properly in the hand and they have the right amout of syrup and also they remind you of Santa Claus whom you like even if you don't believe in him because he's s such a good guy and because old as he is--and jeez, think how OLD he is!

Photograph your sandwich from a few different angles. You will use one of these photos to have a t-shirt made to sleep in and to remind you that next year you can have another sandwich just like this. Not before, or your doctor and Michele Obama will get you. Take a huge bite. Chew until it's all gooshy. Then call your little grandchildren over by using a series of grunts and gestures.

Say, "War a bi? When you have finished eating the sandwich, go to the kitchen and get out the left over pie. You know what to do. On my last day in Positano, I went with my friend Lauren and her husband Rino to Tramonti, in the hills of Amalfi, to vist a vineyard. Lauren had gotten a call that today was the day: The ride up into the hills was so beautiful: A videographer who works with Lauren was waiting for us so that he could lead us to the place where the cutters were working these grapes are cut by hand, not machine.

I was struck by the pride and apparent joy of the cutters, who held bunches of green grapes up like a trophy, the sun illuminating the fruit in a way that was living art. Add to that the quite literally indescribable beauty of the hills in which the vineyard lay, and you'll have some idea of what a sensory explosion it was. I was moved to tears, which kept on falling even as I was smiling, then laughing.

After the vineyard we visited Amalfi, and Lauren and I went to the Cathedral of Amalfi, down into the Cloister of Paradise, which is a jewel box of a place: Then we had lunch at a seaside restaurant: The food was so good there were no words: We ended up at Lauren's house and talked for a long time and then, for perhaps the third time, I said I really should go.

I shouldered my purse and moved out onto the balcony facing the Tyrrhenian Sea and the hills of Positano, where, in the gathering darkness, the lights were beginning to come on; here, there, over there. Rino selected the wine, a lovely rose, then uncorked it. He set out beautiful glasses which shone even in the darkness. Then he set about to light candles. The ones Lauren had put out were not to his satisfaction; he had to find prettier ones.

This he did, and we sat in the candlelight drinking wine and talking, talking, talking, saying a long farewell, which is the only farewell Italians seem to know how to do. I had a sense of being there fully in the moment, but also of being in a dream.

It is both, there in Positano, all the time. I will be going back to Italy to teach another writing workshop, perhaps next time in Venice, or up in a small hill town, for I found that I really love inspiring people to write. This was a happy surprise for me. I will also be doing the same workshop I did in Positano in the states, probably in the cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston and San Francisco.

I will post details here and on my facebook page once I have them. It will take a little while; I want to get all the details worked out first. Meanwhile, I'm going to dream again about the apartment I saw for rent in Positano. And it had a fantastic view. I walked in, looked around, and turned to the landlord to say, "Uh oh. This Friday, I go to Positano, Italy, where I'll be teaching a writing workshop and taking a cooking class, along with the rest of the participants.

See it at cooking-vacations. But last night I woke up at 3AM, worried about what to pack and all the other bump-in-the-night things associated with traveling: Or catching the flight, but the flight is doomed: Apparently our wings have fallen off.

Feel free to take along our complimentary in-flight magzine when you exit the aircraft. I fall asleep and start drooling and awaken to see my seatmate watching me with ill-disguised disgust. And then it turns out that my seatmate is in my writing class. I miss my connection. I get no sleep on the plane and arrive at my destination sobbing because when I don't get enough sleep I get verklempt or however you spell that over every thing.

I lose my passport. I get sick and have to be hospitalized. I tried my version of prayer, which is basically, "Okay, game on. What do they dream about? What is it that makes them whine and twitch their paws that way?

I am grateful for books for many reasons, but this is perhaps their greatest triumph: I'll be bringing six books with me to Italy. Thank God it's an international flight and I can check luggage for free. I wash out straws. A gray day here. Fall is on the way and I can't help but be excited, even though I hate being cold and complain about being cold more than anyone I know. But you know how it goes: If vehicles talked, surely school buses would be the friendliest.

And garbage trucks the funniest. And fancy cars the crabbiest. Recipes for stews and soups and roasts and muffins abound, and classes are offered in practically anything you would want. The serious books come out. As do the afghans that you can lie under while you read them.

I am working on a novel where part of the "research" involves going to the library for children's story hour, and I submit to you that the way to save the world might be for everyone to go to such a thing on a regular basis.

What hope is contained there, what innocence, what sly humor, what openness, what exuberance! And something else, too. Last time I went, the librarian offered a hug from a stuffed animal--a brown bear, as it happened--and I think just about every kid leaped up to get one. They waited in line--courteously, expectantly, and seemed to give their whole heart over to the bear that they believed was real.

No matter what mood I'm in when I come into that room where stories and songs and love are offered to little kids, I always come out happy. I had planned to go to a writer's colony this week, but failed to find a dog sitter, so am arranging for same in my own home.

I hired a dog walker to come two times a day, I am not answering the phone or doorbell in the mornings, and I am enjoying the pleasure of writing in my pajamas again. I write better in my pajamas. It might be because it keeps me near the sleep state, where one's mind is open and vulnerable in a way that's close to those kids in story hour.

It might be because one is simply more comfortable in pajamas--must ask Hugh Hefner about that. Downstairs, the clock has stuck eight. I hope you find a shiny penny today to bring you luck.

Sometimes I plant shiny pennies for the finding and once I saw a little kid come upon one. He acted like he'd found the moon hidden behind the parking meter. The other day, I asked a friend of mine if she would like a cookbook--I had a bag of them I had moved from a house I recently sold, and had not yet stored them on my cookbook shelf. Oh, I know the allure, the joy, really, of finding new recipes on line, the ease with which you can compare and contrast one version of chicken enchiladas against another, or find a healthier version of a high cal, high fat recipe you love that actually tastes good, too.

I know it feels good to save on paper and reduce clutter. I visited my parents the other day and for some reason my year-old father and I were talking about cookbooks. I said, "Hey Dad, do you remember you gave me my very first cookbook? I was in the PX looking at a junior cookbook, and you came in the store and saw me. You asked if I wanted that cookbook. I only went and looked at it with lust in my heart nearly every day!

But you bought it for me and I started cooking right away from it for you and Mom, remember? I guess he probably doesn't remember anymore. I remember lying on my bed and reading recipes for spagahetti and meatballs, for French toast, for jam-filled muffins. And every recipe began with the same first instruction: That cookbook also showed you how to set a nice table, how to fold a napkin beside a fork, so that you communicated the fact that your guest was not only welcome but esteeemed at your table.

I got "The Joy of Cooking" for a Christmas present from my ex-husband when he was just my boyfriend and we were living in a dump of an apartment. We never had any money; I was a nurse's aide and he drove a cab and once we had a screaming knock-down over what to spend a single dollar bill on--it was all we had left until payday, and payday was a long way away.

I found the recipe for Brownies Cockaigne in that cookbook and I bought the best ingredients I could find and I made the brownies and I was absolutely astounded at how good they were. Reader, I put them in my car and drove around with them so I could continue to smell them as I ran errands. When I joined Weight Watchers, I bought armloads of cookbooks in an effort to not feel deprived. I still use many of those recipes even when I'm not dieting.

The best thing about cookbooks is the accidental discoveries you make: And then you might make it and voila: I found chicken al'alba that way, a wonderful dish for company, as they say. I found burgundy berry pie and caramel apple pie. I love the Caesar salad recipe I stumbled across in the Joy of Cooking; it's still the only one I use.

I even like the splatters and spills you find on the pages of cookbooks. Want to know what recipes a cook really likes? Look for those splatters. If you look in the margins of my cookbooks, you'll also find phone numbers and reminders for things to do that day. Also, a letter grade will be written by recipes I've tried. A few recipes have this grade: Occasionally, you see this for a "grade": People's preferences in cookbooks can let you know who they are.

You get a sense of who the author really is when you use a cookbook. The gold standard is Ann Hodgman, who offers laugh-out-loud commentary in all her fabulous cookbooks. But even the little individual comments in church cookbooks put together by groups of people for fundraisers are little windows to people's personalities: I particularly like the ones that sound like parts of letters from your Aunt Myrtle: Made this for my daughter's birthday, and holy smokes, was it good.

Call me old fashioned. I am old fashioned. I always like the feel of a real book in my hand. And cookbooks are no exception. When you've had a hard day and can't face another challenge to your brain, can't even face reading from a novel you are loving because you're too out of gas, pick up a cookbook. Look at the lovely photos and read the descriptions. Eat with your eyes. Smell with your imagination. You'll go to sleep happy, and if you're lucky, popovers will show up in your dreams.

I know there were a lot of you on the waiting list who didn't get in, and I hope next time we can find a way to accommodate more people. We had a great time. We drank sangria, ate mini meatloaves and macarioni and cheese and mini apple pies.

I was so happy to meet so many wonderful women and two men , some of whom came from as far away as Indianapolis. And then I worried about you who had chosen this weekend to visit Chicago when, in the middle of the night, we experienced a terrible thunderstorm.

The lightning just wouldn't stop--you could practically read by it. Today's weather isn't going to be a whole lot better, so I hope those of you who are visiting will have a good time indoors--at the Art Institute, say, or at Manny's Deli. Today I'm going to get sized for a ring that Augusten Burroughs is making for me.

I can't stand it. He is the coolest friend: I should be making him a ring for all the things he's done for me. Only he wouldn't want to wear a ring I made. Then again, he probably wouldn't have to, because it would fall off due to poor construction. But next time he's in town, I'll make him a mini apple pie. Here is a writer that picks you right up by your lapels, the kind of writer who gets you very excited about reading. Full report on completion, but for right now, the idea of stretching out with that book and a glass of lemonade is so compelling I think it's all I'll do today.

Oh, that and walk the dogs ten thousand times in blistering heat. Good thing I love dogs. Recently, I went to Boston to see my granchildren, ages 5, 3 and 19 months. I squirted them with the hose, played monster and Mother May I? I got to be the teacher when we played school, and I was so relieved. May my grandchildren always honor my need to control. I read lots of books to them too, and even the youngest is so appreciative of them.

When you finish one, he points to his stack of books on the dresser and says, "Xisutsleyx? If you would be so kind, I'd love to hear the one about when cake invites ice cream to her party. At first, I was all upset. Then, two things happened.

One is that I found out she only chewed the edge, so the crime was not so great--rather like someone biting just the very edge off your chocolate chip cookie--still plenty left for you. Then I decided that rather than getting the pillow repaired, I'd keep it as a reminder of when Gabby was a puppy. There is a dog pictured on this website, a golden who was named Toby and was the best dog in the world.

I know you think your dog is the best dog in the world and I'm sure he or she is a close second, but in fact Toby was the best dog in the world. And will be evermore. Even my friend Phyllis, who hates dogs which begs the question how she can possibly be my friend but we'll get to that on another occasion loved Toby.

Anyway, when Toby was a puppy, he chewed up one leg of my fancy French pedestal table. And I was furious. I thought, Now I have to get it repaired and that will cost a bundle and I won't have a table for as long as it takes and I'll have to eat off a tv tray which is no longer fun plus who knows if they can really fix it.

I needed the table for the next night for a dinner party and then I just kind of never got around to fixing it. My sister saw the chew marks not long ago and said, "What happened here? When he was a puppy.

Toby's still here, in a way. Just look under the table. The cook was trying to make chocolate cookies quickly, and thought the chocolate would melt into the dough. What if she had tossed those cookies in the trash? The trash would have been happy, but we all would have been deprived. Gabby chewing the pillow was a lesson in priorities. But Gabby, if you're reading this, I cannot emphasize strongly enough: Chew one of your bazillion toys, not my pillows, okay?

Last night I called a good friend and asked what she was doing. Soon we were having a wonderful time. She told me she'd grilled a peach the other day, topped it with a dab of non-fat Greek yogurt and agave nectar and almonds and it was as good as a custard peach pie. I was so grateful for the change in psychic weather and I said to her, "Boy, what would we do without food?

I sat on my front porch the other night, realizing that I hardly ever do that, even though it's such a wonderful summer thing to do. It came to me that it's as important to "schedule" things like this as anything else. Read an hour a day. Sit on the porch on any nice summer's eve for at least half an hour.

When I sat out on the porch, I saw three teenaged girls walk by in cut-off jeans and t-shirts and flip-flops, engaged in intense conversation. For one moment, I felt again what that was like, being a teenage girl in the summer. I remembered the feel of soft cotton shorts and t-shirts, and the delicious urgency of sharing everything with my best friends.

I saw an older man fly by on what looked like a new bicycle, and it made me want to get a new bike, too. Nothing like a buying a bike to make you feel like a kid again. I heard voices from near by houses floating out the screen windows, and I heard the pounding of sneakers on pavement and the short, fast exhalations of the runners.

The dogs lay with their front paws hooked over the top step, panting, their ears up in the high alert position. And then the fireflies came out. And I thought, ah, who cares what you see in them mirror? Look out at the summer night, and the coming and goings of your species, and the enchanting sight of the fireflies blinking on and off, on and off.

I never think of them as insects. I think of them as Tinkerbell, which is why I will never be a responsible adult. If I could hire someone to be the adult in the house, I would.

Spring is like living inside a poem: I love walking around the neighborhood at this time of year, looking at all the gardens. Today I saw a rosebush on a boulevard, not planted where anyone who lived in the house it was by could see it. It was an act of such generosity, to put a rosebush where only passersby could see it.

I stood there getting all verklempt spelling? So much for the poetry in the soul of a dog. I am torn, these days, between wanting to get work done and wanting to be outside watching everything grow, watching kids play, watching people go in and out of shops and restaurants. Today I decided to take the day off and catch up on things I need to do around the house, but also to sit on the porch and read.

One is Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. Read the first two pages; you won't be able to steop. It, too, draws you in with the first brilliant sentence. Books like these give me hope in humanity. They're the kind of books you want to keep forever. On your shelf , not in your kindle, I rush to add. Gotta have books like these on your shelf because they're kind of alive and they keep you company like dogs only you never have to let them out or feed them--they feed you.

I'll be being interviewed tomorrow at noon on Center Stage. Please come if you can--you may have questions the interviewer doesn't get to, such as, "In that recipe for pulled pork that's on your website It's always fun to come to Chicago. Just think, you might catch sight of our new mayor! Finally finished with my tour, and I'm easing back into my regular routine.

Yesterday, I worked on the two things I'm writing now: I walked the dogs in the pouring rain. Then, since I felt sorry for myself for walking the dogs in the pouring rain plus it was really cold , I quick made a pineapple upside down cake and had two 2 pieces of it.

I used a recipe I found on cookinglight. Also not SO very light. I just tried to provide a link, which failed, so I'll just direct you to the webiste. I, who for years have decried the use of such social networking sites, am now on one. A necessary evil, I suppose, but when I saw a lot of dear friends popping up asking to "friend" me, well, I felt like I was in seventh grade and the most popular boy had asked me to dance. His name was Binks Franklin. I still remember how gracious he was, when ladies' choice was called and I made a beeline for him.

I wonder what ever happpened to old Binks. Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and I really want to go to a family picnic and eat burnt hot dogs and burnt marshmallows. When I was a kid, I used to go to our family's annual fourth of July picnic. I ran around in a towel and bathing suit and jumped in and out of the pool and in addition to the hot dogs and marshmallows, ate plenty of other delicious things that my aunts had brought: That was a time when you really felt a whole day, start to finish.

You'd get to the park early so as to secure a good spot; and you'd leave late at night, after the fireworks were done, happily worn out, your nose and shoulders burned by the sun, your hair smelling of chlorine. I used to like to watch the division of labor: My grandparents enjoyed what seeemed to me to be a kind of royal status: My grandfather also listened to his pocket-sized transistor radio. There were so many of us, then! Now many of those aunts and uncles have died, and the tradition of that Independence Day picnic has all but gone.

And we'll see where it goes from there. Maybe next year the three of us will have grown to Don't ask me how. If she can't do it, I'll grill a hot dog for myself, load it up with mustard, and sit on the porch to eat it. In other news, my new puppy is figuring things out.

She's housetrained, knows the commands come, sit, shake and lie down but doesn't always see the need to honor the request. She likes to dig in the garden, much to my dismay.

She grows about ninety inches an hour. Homer and she play well together, and they play often. The other day, a friend asked, "What's all over Homer's coat? And Homer spit is on her. With a new story, called "P. How can you go wrong with dogs and apple pie? I suppose you could go wrong if the dog ate the apple pie.

But you would have to admire his taste in desserts. Off to buy cascading petunias for my deck planters, and tomatoes and basil for the back yard. I'm late, but that's okay.

The tour is alllllmost over, but until it is, there are a million things to attend to. That's a good time to fly there; air fares are lower. And it's still warm and beautiful in Italy. The class will offer personal guidance in writing from me, and cooking classes from the wonderful people who inspired my award-winning! Please go to cooking-vacations. As for now, I need to go to the cleaners, walk the dogs, pack for a 5: I'll probably be one of those people on the plane sleeping with my mouth hanging open.

Or, worse, one of the over-caffeinated chatterboxes who keeps showing the lovely pink clouds out the airplane window to my seatmate, who only wants to sleep with his or her mouth hanging open.

I'll be doing two readings in Minneapolis--check the "Appearances" part of this website. Thanks to all of you who have come to my readings and said such swell things to me So why did I get a puppy NOW? Well, I saw her online I look at petfinders. Homer is not so enamored of her, but he's already come around from doing the equivalent of smacking his doggie forehead when I walked in with her to demonstrating a resigned tolerance of her.

Plus my guilt is making me give him a lot of dog treats. I've hired a pet sitter to live in for the days I'm out of town, and yesterday we had a looooong conversation about her care. So I must be out of my mind.

This review just in from Library Journal: Berg is a prolific writer, but some might say her last few novels have veered toward lighter fare. Her new book leaves that designation in the dust, tackling varied meaty topics with grace, and a pacing that makes it hard to put down.

John and Irene are messily divorced, but their shared love for their teenage daughter, Sadie, is a bond that cannot be broken. When Sadie goes missing, they are reunited, like it or not. John's new girlfriend and Irene's serial online dating all fall to the wayside as the exes hunker down to try to find Sadie.

Will the forced closeness cause a natural reconciliation? As Sadie's disappearance brings new issues for the couple to deal with, for the first time they examine their past marriage and what it meant to them. This addictive read shows anew what a wonderful writing talent Berg is: So nice to get a review like that before I enter the wilds of touring.

I hope I'll see some of you on the road. Right now, I've got to check on the new baby. I stopped by to pick up my mail before I took myself out to dinner and was gifted with these letters: She sent out an essay to a magazine, "then got mad because I didn't hear from them. They bought my essay for actual money. The aftermath of emails, Face Book messges and even phone calls has been astounding. It is as cathartic to read your books as it is to share coffee and converstation with my friend.

A woman from Bayville NY, sent a most extraordinary letter. She and her partner were trying to have a baby with the help of a sperm bank. The woman was reading Open House when she discovered she was ovulating--time to call the sperm bank. In Open House , the main character, Samantha. But he only does that so he has time to take in and enjoy life--Samantha learns he's an astrophysicist who went to MIT. But this time, she decides to use him and then learns that he is a very sweet man just like King , everyone at the clinc loves him, and he an astrophysicist!

The couple now has a beautiful boy, aged seven. I LOVE this story! The last letter came from P. She was writing on behalf of her friend and colleague, Sue, who was a breast cancer survivor but recently died from another kind of cancer. Sue who was an award-winning professor who taught general biology, genetics and microbiology, and P.

I told an author friend today that sometimes I despair of the publication merry-go-round, the anxiety over reviews, the worry that you won't sell enough, the constant grinding need to feel you must always top yourself. It's so far from the innocence and pleasure I got when I was a nine-year-old girl, sitting at a card table and writing poems that I crafted for the joy of creation alone.

Not that I'm not gratful for my success, I am so extremely grateful. But when you go to the mail box and you find letters like this, well That makes it all worth while. Thank you again to all those who bother to write to me. I so appreciate your words. And your penmanship, a rare thing to see these days, but such a pleasure when you do see it. Another cloudy day here in the city that might as well be renamed Gray. I saw a circle of robins over on the playground, and the air is warmer, and there is the smell of dirt in the air, which is the scent of spring.

Buds are on the otherwise bare branches, poised to make a most welcome appearance. I am just back from having moved my parents into an independent living facility.

This is a begging letter, as my mother would have called it. I am begging anyone who thinks they might have the slightest interest in coming to the next Writing Matters event on Saturday evening, June 20th, featuring the absolutely delightful children's book writer Amy . Jills Fire. Chapter 4 Road Trip. by roccodadom [email protected] This to shall pass, school out, Bri gone to her moms, I told her I would leave her room for her, no one would need it, fuck sure, Jill sleeping with me, every night now, our life, nostri tempi. Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin