on the new Mrs. George Clooney

He was not the marrying type. But that was fine because there was little appeal in being married to a guy like George Clooney. The fantasy was in not being married to him. Wouldn’t that make the spontaneous trips to Lake Como more special? Oh, the thrill of the celebrity magazines wondering who I was when I appeared on his arm at the Academy Awards. Hanging out with Matt Damon. Double dating with Brad and Angie. Maybe getting a special seat at the filming of Oceans 14. I was fine not marrying George Clooney in my fantasies of our relationship.

Then he tied the knot.

In the words of Meg Ryan portraying Sally, who was spilling her heart out to Harry right before they almost ruined their friendship by sleeping together:

“All this time I’ve been saying that he didn’t want to get married. But the truth is he didn’t want to marry me.” 


Hey, I get it. I’d marry Amal Alamuddin too. She’s gorgeous. Smart. Accomplished. I presume she speaks with a British accent, which always makes me swoon. I hope they’re happy. After all, I had my chance. I drove by the Sudanese Embassy in DC the day he got arrested there. I cursed the crowds clogging traffic, only hearing later on the radio that he had been among the protestors. If only I’d have pulled my car over and joined in the outrage. We’d have locked eyes. He’d have flashed that crooked smile at me. And after getting bailed out, he’d have whisked me away on his private jet where we’d discuss climate change policy and what he could do to help me save the world.

It’s okay. I’m moving on.

Before there was George Clooney, there was Hugh Grant, who in Four Weddings and a Funeral posed this important question:

“Let me ask you one thing. Do you think – after we’ve dried off, after we’ve spent lots more time together – you might agree not to marry me? And do you think not being married to me might maybe be something you could consider doing for the rest of your life?…Do you ?”

Oh, Hugh. I do.


Happy anniversary, George

A year ago today, I self-published my first story with help from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It was short. It wasn’t overly promoted except perhaps in these pages. It never went viral. My fantasy of appearing on late night TV has not been fulfilled. But it was an accomplishment nonetheless.

I’d estimate that a couple hundred of you read it. Frankly, I have not. Not since doing a final run through anyway before hitting click and committing it to the electronic world forever. I just can’t. And especially now, eight weeks into my writing class. I already suspect what my flaws were. I can be at peace with it all by thinking that someday, you all will call it my ‘early work’.

My full-length novel, which does not feature an appearance by George Clooney, is developing nicely. The Stanford online writing class has provided me good structure, feedback and a community of fellow writers. In two weeks, 5,000 words of my ending will be workshopped. While at the start of this class, I dreaded my workshop week, now I look forward to it.

I can’t say for sure how far along I’d be right now in writing my novel if I hadn’t taken the baby step of writing My Night with George Clooney. So on this, our anniversary, I think of George and apologize that he’s been folded up in a box since our return from Hawaii.

I promise to pull him out to celebrate the completion of No Working Title Yet.


she’s alive…

And she thanks you for your concern.

All kidding aside, it’s been rather humbling to get so many “why haven’t you written?” or “where are you?” or even “are you okay?” questions over the last several weeks. It turns out that when I don’t write, you assume I am: sick, overworked, overworking out, in love, in a style rut, too depressed, too happy and/or in Lake Como with George Clooney.

But the truth of the matter is, I just haven’t had the inclination to share. After a relatively short period of time (in blogger years) of presenting the details of my life in a very public way, I felt like keeping my thoughts more private. (“Private: [prahy-vit], adjective, personal and not publicly expressed; not usually applicable to blogging activity.”) Of course, I’ve started posts in my head, usually as I’m about to fall asleep. They never felt share-worthy in the morning . I’ve contemplated the copycat method, building off interesting posts written by the three bloggers  (Wardrobe OxygenDC Celine and Lemmonex) I take time to read.  But what I came up with always seemed forced and weak, not complementary to the original.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write. I just didn’t want to write it. I kept my thoughts confined to my head and heart and shared with close friends in a more conventional format. That is, over dinners, wine, the phone and the occasional g-chat.

However, now a new season is upon us, and I’m going to try this writing thing again. Much like it’s hard to get back into an exercise routine after a break from the gym, I already feel this is going to be a difficult readjustment. My fingers aren’t quite as nimble on the keyboard. My brain is searching for the right words to make you want to check back to see if I’ve posted. But I want to maintain a balance between what’s going to be mine and what’s going to be yours.

In case you aren’t convinced as to why I’ve maintained radio silence, let me reassure you: I’m not sick (except a pesky head cold). I work decent hours (was oddly nostalgic for an all-nighter Senate vote-a-rama session recently). I haven’t been to Biker Barre in a week. I haven’t been on a date in awhile. I haven’t bought any new clothes (unless you count a date dress that’s awaiting the right occasion). I’m not depressed. I’m happy, but not distracted. And I’m not currently traveling with the newly single George Clooney.

Though if he plans to be in DC anytime soon, I have the perfect dress to wear to meet him for cocktails.

13 in ’13

First came 43 by 43, and now 13 in ’13. That is, I’ve set 13 goals that I intend to pursue in the year 2013. A few of these goals are a continuation of my 43 by 43 efforts. But there are some new ones already penetrating my psyche. And because I can think of no better way to hold myself accountable, I share them all with you. I expect badgering, welcome participation and hope for encouragement.

In no particular order:

1. Get spin certified. You know I love my Biker Barre. I’m not expecting to attain a level of awesomeness that will allow me to teach there. (That might have to be a 2014 goal.)  But every time I hear a song I  like, I imagine what I’d do along to it on a bike. In that regard, spinning is as close of a sport to cheerleading as I’ve managed to get in my adult life. Just harder and sweatier.

2. Learn a new wine region. I know my California wines, but it’s time to branch out. And  I know nothing about Italian wines. Bring on the Barolo, Amarone and Brunello.

3.  Host (at least) quarterly dinner parties. I love to cook, but I don’t do it enough for my friends. Just understand if you’re invited to a Chelsea feast, I’m going to cook Italian so I can practice the skills attained in the advanced pasta making class I’m taking from Hill’s Kitchen. And I’m going to multitask by serving Italian wine (see goal #2).

4. Save money for college. Or get the kids discovered. But I don’t feel like I’d make a good stage mom, so saving is probably easier (though not on my shoe budget).

5.& 6. Travel. I promised the kids I’d take them to Hawaii. And I want to go to Italy. To drink obscure Italian wines (see goal #2) of course. It’s listed here as two goals because it’s two trips.

7. Make iconic fashion purchase. I dream of Chanel. And Cartier. But I may have to set my sights lower. I’m sure I will agonize in this very forum over any potential purchase.

8. Open my heart to relationship opportunity. I’m a dating disaster. I tried Match for 24 hours before canceling the membership. I went on zero dates after six months of e-harmony. Set ups are few and far between. After my divorce, dating wasn’t a priority. However, I’m now at a point where I’d like to share my crazy, drama-prone life with another (hopefully calmer and less dramatic) person.

9. Sign new clients. I have this hot new job. It’s time to exceed my potential with some great new clients whom I can help navigate the tricky world that is the U.S. Congress.

10. Publish the sequel to My Night with George Clooney. This is the only goal that has a very specific deadline. Which would be by the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in late April. If you read my first story, you know why this date is significant.

11. Refinance my house. It’s time. That is all.

12. Finish home improvement projects. That means have a deck built, fix up the yard and install window boxes. Maybe build a wine cellar. Some things the Warriors can help me do. Some I will have to contract to have done. And maybe I can bribe my talented brother to come down to Maine for a week of intense help.

13. Live life to the fullest. I know this particular goal will be difficult to measure. But I will know it when I’m feeling it, and those who are close to me will call me on it when I’m not.

There you have it. 13 goals. 11 months left to achieve them. Wish me success.

all I want for Christmas (nice)

Christmas TreeWhile none of the below would fit neatly under my Christmas tree, here’s what’s on my list this year:

1. More hours in the day (for relaxing not working).

2. Teachers to get paid more.

3. A Super Bowl re-do. (Not a re-match.)

4. Snow on Christmas.

5. A reasonable solution to climate change.

6. A deck off my kitchen.

7. George Clooney to read my story.

Hoping all your dreams and wish lists are fulfilled tomorrow!

Happy Holidays!

Mahalo, Hawaii

Images of HawaiiThank you, Hawaii. And goodbye. (For real, this time.)

Some of you hid me from your Facebook feed these last 2 weeks (admit it) and one of you (Tim) even jokingly asked how many more months I planned to be here. So you’ll be glad to hear that after the unexpected one-day delay, I’m heading home. Home to unseasonably warm DC weather, Christmas planning, my job, and of course, two cute little boys.

I’m going to miss the Maui Onion flavored chips we ate daily, the Kailua Passions we drank on multiple occasions, sunrise walks/runs on the beach, and the laid back attitude of island life. I’m going to miss wearing flip flops and beachwear all day (and night) long. I’m going to miss fresh Ahi, apple bananas, Shave Ice, the most amazing pineapple ever and the Spam aisle at the Foodland.

I’m going to miss having a new experience everyday. Paddle surfing. (Have I mentioned that I’m a goddess at paddle surfing?) Watching the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition on Sunset Beach. Hiking to incredible vistas.

There’s a lot waiting for me back home though. The kids, of course. The Harry Potter Yule Ball my friends are hosting on Saturday. Biker Barre. (Oh, do I need some ass kicking by my friends at Biker Barre.) And George Clooney has already been shipped back to the East Coast where he patiently awaits my return.

The best vacations are those you are bittersweet about ending. You want it to continue – because it’s awesome – but you are eager to go back to your life. Because your kids are amazing and you have seen this entire trip through their eyes.

Except the parts that involved copious fruity cocktails, of course.

My Thanksgiving with George Clooney

Photo by chelseachronicl

Poor George. He flew all the way to California in cargo. I’m sure it isn’t how he’s used to traveling. So he was a little cranky this Thanksgiving in Northern California, where the weather was perfect and my sausage and apple stuffing was divine.

Dad thought he could out-gruff George, but that didn’t seem to go over well.

Photo by chelseachronicl

    So then we tried a softer approach. We opened a lovely chardonnay from Nickle and Nickle. I offered him a taste. But he declined.

    Photo by chelseachronicl
    Even by the end of the wine-fueled night, when it was time to take a photo with my brothers and our significant others, he didn’t crack a smile. He didn’t even hold me particularly close.
    Photo by chelseachronicl

    If George Clooney continues to act this way, he just might get left behind in Hawaii, whether My Night with George Clooney becomes a roaring success or not.

    My Night with George Clooney

    I did it. My short story is ready for the world.

    Click here and you can read of it for yourself. You might even be able to do so at lunch, depending on how much time you get to take. In fact, you should start reading it at lunch or on your metro ride home tonight or first thing when you wake up in the morning. (I will cut you some slack that you might already have Friday night plans.)

    This is an electronic book, published by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program. But you don’t have to own an actual Kindle to read it. All you need is an iPhone, iPad or android or any other device that is compatible with the Kindle app. The app is free, so if you don’t have it, go download it now.

    Before you cough up the $2.99 to read my story, I thought I’d give you a little description of what to expect.

    My story is:


    Better than 50 Shades of Gray.

    My story is not:


    Porn. (Sorry.)

    And you can enjoy it for less than the cost of a tall latte at Starbucks, 1/7 the cost of a one-class pass at Biker Barre, and 1/166 the cost of these dream shoes by Bettye Muller at SimplySoles.

    I feel a little dazed now that the big day is here and my story is out there for the world to read. Chalk it up the late night (it was 1:30am by the time I finally hit all the right buttons to send my story to Amazon) or the typical feeling of quiet exhaustion after you have fulfilled a huge personal challenge. I’m sure I will be more emotional later, once the realization sinks in that I just bared a significant part of my soul to you all. While I do hope you like it, I did this for me. As it turns out, proving to myself that I could publish a story was the best gift I ever gave myself.

    And now I’m going to stop before I do open the emotional floodgates.

    May you enjoy reading My Night with George Clooney as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    getting closer

    I’m working hard. I promise. I thought I had a final product yesterday. I was so sure I was done that I registered my short story with the Copyright Office. But then when I took on the project of formatting my story to Amazon’s recommended specs (a task I could not have done without the technical and emotional support of DC Celine) I started making tweaks here and there.

    Out of Thursday’s Day of Irrational Tears I have salvaged an energy and motivation whose roots I don’t understand. But I’m going with it. I spent all day Friday on my story (I mean, working from home) and even after midnight, with Nancy and her Belmonsters sleeping over (thanks, George, for helping with bedtime) I snuck in some edits on chapter two.

    Today, two soccer games and an Oktoberfest party will keep me mostly away from the computer, but my mind is racing, my heart is pounding and I’m ready to embrace the fear I feel at publishing something for the world to see.

    Frankly, I’m just ready for you to read it.

    George Clooney meets the family

    Tuesday night, after “Flat George” kindly poured me a glass of wine, I placed him safely in Jack’s room and shut the door. After all, the kids were with their dad and my cats like to eat cardboard. My intention had been to move him to my room in the morning before I left for work. But I was running late and forgot.

    I also forgot to warn the boys, who beat me home.

    When I called to tell them I was on my way, Jack was frantic.

    Jack: Mom, who is that creepy guy in my room?

    Me: That’s no creepy guy! That’s George Clooney!

    Jack: Well, I don’t want him in my house so I punched him and threw him in the basement.

    Jack punched George Clooney and threw him down a flight of stairs? I hit the gas a little harder and rushed home to assess the damage to my poor George. Per my phone instructions, Jack had rescued George from the basement and secured him in my room. When I got home, I took the stairs two-at-a-time to my bedroom. And what did I find? Right where George’s cardboard heart should be was a hole.

    It looked like a gunshot wound.

    I didn’t cry. But I was angry. I talked to Jack about respecting other people’s property. I explained that he’d have to replace it. I cringed a little as I told him what George had cost. (Remember I did the Amazon equivalent of drunk dialing when I ordered him.) Jack grew somber. He apologized. He bowed his head and went to his room. He came back to where I was trying to figure out a way to salvage George and put a $50 bill on my bed.

    Jack: There’s half of what I owe you, Mom.

    When he turned around to walk away, I knew I wasn’t going to take his money or buy a new George. After all, we’re all a little damaged in the heart, no?

    As Jack and Colin headed to art class, I took on my own little craft project. George just needed a patch on his broken heart. (If only it were that easy for those not made of cardboard, but I’m happy to affix red paper hearts to anyone who needs one.)

    Later, I walked to pick up the boys from art class. We enjoyed a nice walk home on a perfect fall evening. I reiterated the importance of being respectful of other people’s personal belongings. Jack apologized again. I explained to Jack that I had saved George and that he could keep his $50.

    When we got home, I more formally introduced the boys to George.

    Colin: He’s a movie star? I haven’t seen him in any movies. What has he been in? Did you really meet him? Why isn’t he smiling?

    Jack: How long is he going to stay here?

    If I got 20 questions for bringing a cardboard man home, I can’t imagine what it will be like someday if I bring home the real deal.

    There is no photographic evidence of this meeting because Jack refuses to be in the same room with George Clooney.