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Showing posts from 2010

Congrats to the Winner of the CSN Stores Gift Certificate

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Random.org selected comment 52, which was from Shellie & Brutus. Congrats! CSN also gave me a gift certificate that I used toward the purchase of this Wildon Home sheet set . I have a tall mattress, and a stupid propensity for picking fitted sheets that shrink, so lately, the fitted sheet and I have been having a knock-down battle every time I change the linens. Three corners I can manage, but that damn fourth corner turns me into a red-faced, panting, sweating person who hollers, "Come on! Get on there! You jerk!" and hopes nobody ever walks in and sees me in this condition. So you can see that I was due for some new sheets. Anyway, I've never owned 600 thread count sheets as far as I'm aware-- I mostly pick up whatever's on sale-- and I wanted to see if I could feel the difference. I couldn't. I would fail the Princess and the Pea test, too. But that's okay. They were totally comfortable, but I didn't really get the "ohhh, so this is what

On Searching for Validation

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The thing about writing is that there's no multiple-choice exam you can take to find out if you're doing it right. You know if you're good at math because either you get into the honors classes or you don't... you pass the finals or you fail. With writing, the closest barometer you get in school is to see what kind of grade you get in English class-- or if you're lucky enough to be in a school where "creative writing" is offered (mine didn't offer that), you can check out your grade in that. But it's not objective the way math or science are. Your grade is largely dependent on a single teacher's taste. A competent teacher can tell you if your grammar stinks, if your writing is full of holes or redundancies, or if you're making common errors-- but there are many areas that teachers can't reliably grade. Your writing style, primarily. Like what I did just there. "Your writing style, primarily" is a fragment, and an English tea

An Open Letter to the Twitter Agents (And Writers)

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I have pissed off the Twitter agents. It all started when one was lamenting the fact that writers sometimes accept offers of representation without checking in with the other agents they've submitted to first, and I responded with my view on why writers might do that. Ugliness ensued. And because I can't adequately respond in 140 characters or less, I figured I'd respond in an open letter here. (I was in the middle of a completely different post for writers, but that'll have to wait a bit. It'll be awesome, I promise.) This is the actual exchange: literaticat: For the third time this week, somebody has accepted representation from another agent without giving me the chance to respond. Grr. If you don't want me to even have the chance to be your agent WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME & FILLING MY INBOX IN THE FIRST PLACE? I'm not MAD, just, why not give yourself options? Get an offer, tell the other agents - chances are one of them might be interested t

Great Holiday Gifts for Preschoolers

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'Tis that time again, and I have to admit, I'm really excited to see the look on Sarina's face when she opens up her gifts this year. This is the first time she was able to make a "list" for Santa, so I know I've done right with most of the things I've bought her. For those of you who are looking for ideas for a preschooler, I thought I'd share with you some of the best toys and games we already own or I've already tested out: 1. Mobigo Sarina has owned the Mobigo since last summer, and it's been a steadfast companion whenever we have downtime. It's a terrific little handheld gaming/learning system for young kids (they suggest 3-8, and I agree). Simple to use, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the game it comes with is very good quality. My daughter has just one other game so far, and it's kept her entertained for months. Every time she finishes a game, she rushes over with excitement to show me her new score. 2. FurReal Friend

Win a $40 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

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Happy Thanksgiving, readers! I'm thankful for you. And for stuffing. Mmmm, stuffing. Just in time for the holidays, CSN Stores has done it again-- they're offering one of my super readers a gift certificate that you can use in any of their stores. And those stores are mighty diverse. You can get just about anything there, from a stool to a bed. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment here telling me something that's made you happy this week. For extra entries, you can do any of these things (leave me a separate comment for each thing you do): 1. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GhostwriterJG 2. Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect. (Look over there in the right sidebar for the follow button ---> ) 3. Tweet about this contest. Use whatever wording you want, but here's one example: Win a $40 GC to CSN Stores from @GhostwriterJG at http://jennaglatzer.blogspot.com/ . 4. Review any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads , BN.com, or your own blog for 5

The Spirit of Les Miserables

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My mom called last week to tell me that there would be a one-night-only showing at my local movie theatre of the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the O2 Theatre, and she asked if I wanted to go. Of course I did; I lost count of how many times I saw Les Mis on Broadway, but it was approximately 8, sheerly because I could not afford to go every weekend. All but the last were spectacular. (The last one was an off-Broadway revival, and it was pathetic.) The first time I saw it was around 1987, which made me either 11 or 12. Colm Wilkinson was starring. The dynamics of the show are a big part of its magic-- from the booming, rousing group songs to the pin-drop moments between phrases of "Bring Him Home." I am convinced that anyone who isn't moved by that song is clinically deceased. Tonight's showing was sold out, and my parents, brother, and I had to sit separately from one another (though close enough for me to lean forward and tap two of them, at least).

Dropping Out of the "Mompetition"

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For the past 20 minutes or so, I've been inwardly huffing and puffing about a post I read where a non-parent denounced child harnesses (usually cute backpacks with "leashes"), calling them cruel. She insisted that parents who use them are lazy and that the kids will grow up to be rebellious, drunken teens who can't wait to get away from their parents. First, I don't use a harness on Sarina. But I do know something about the absolute terror of having your little child outrun you at an amusement park, resurfacing at the top of a ride she didn't belong on. I would never judge someone for using a harness. Others who do just can't get past the "leash" imagery, but you know what? It's less restrictive than holding a child's hand firmly or placing a child in a stroller or baby carrier. Where are all the insulting outcries about how children are being oppressed because they're in strollers? A harness gives the child some range of movement,

Amazon Boycott: The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure

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I love Amazon... or at least, I did, until today. Today, Amazon took a stand! For pedophilia! Uh... huh? No, seriously. Amazon is selling this in their Kindle store: The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure . ( UPDATE : as of Nov. 11, the page is down. I've captured screenshots of what the listing looked like, and you can view them as a .pdf file here .) This is the author's description: "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught." Now, anyone can publish anything on Amazon's self-publishing platform, mind you. I don't blame Amazon for not catching it immediately. What I DO blame them for is their deplorable response to the situat

I invented a thing (with egg salad)

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It started when my new coauthor, Paula Bloom, posted a video where this guy shows us how to peel hard-boiled eggs just by blowing on them: By the way, he's lying about the baking soda being "key." Totally don't need it. It's just easier to peel (or, er, blow) eggs that are not very fresh, so choose eggs that have been sitting around in your fridge for a few days. Anyway, I had to find an excuse to try this, so I decided to make egg salad. Egg salad and I have a bit of a checkered past. See, I loved it when I was a wee one. My dad proudly told me a story over and over and over (still does) about how he got the "secret recipe" from a deli owner one day. He used to frequent a Brooklyn deli and loved their egg salad, and kept bugging the owner about the recipe. He knew there was a secret ingredient, but the owner refused to tell him what it was, because then he knew my dad could make it at home and stop coming to the deli. Well, finally, my dad was abou

Where Commercialism Rears Its Head

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"Funny you should ask that, Bob. As it says in my book, in chapter 4..." That's where I roll my eyes and change the radio station or TV channel. I hate... freakin' hate... being "pitched to" in ways that are thinly veiled as something other than pitches. Free webinars that are really just teasers to try to get you to buy big packages of audio books and DVDs, free e-books that promise to tell you all the REAL secrets in the book that you have to pay for... etc. I think I've struggled with the concept of self-promotion-- and commercialism in general-- since college, when I was an advertising major. Actually, I started as a fine art major, but by sophomore year, realized I wasn't good enough, so I switched into advertising. By the end of junior year, however, I realized I didn't want to spend my life convincing people to buy things they didn't need and couldn't afford. It's just that it was too late for me to switch majors again witho

Win a $50 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

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**CONTEST CLOSED** Congrats to the winner, Debbie C, comment #166! Thanks, too, to CSN Stores, for allowing me to review one of their products. I chose the Patch Products Building Words Tabletop Pocket Chart ($15.25). It's a very cool tool for kids who are starting to learn how to read and spell. It includes pictures of simple things: a cat, a bug, a pot-- all three-letter words-- along with the cardboard letters needed to spell all those words. Kids place the cardboard letters into vinyl "sleeves" to spell out the words, and when not in use, all the letters and pictures get stored in a big pocket in back of the chart. Love it! ----------- Hey, guess what? I have another $50 gift certificate to CSN Stores to share with you, my glorious and splendid blog readers. CSN is a great online network of sites where you can find anything you need for your home, from nightstands to rugs . If you'd like a chance to win, I have a bunch of ways you can do so. Leave a separat

Bullycides and the It Gets Better Project

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Last week, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge. He announced that he was about to do it on his Facebook page, then he drove there, left his wallet on the bridge, and jumped. The reason he did this was that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, secretly videotaped him "making out" with another male and announced it on Twitter... then encouraged everyone on Twitter to watch live streaming video two days later when he secretly turned on the webcam again to watch Tyler. Dharun did this from student Molly Wei's room. First, let me show you photos of these shmucks: What an adorable pair, no? Molly with her cross hanging from her neck... The maximum sentence for the top count of the current charges is a 5-year prison sentence for invasion of privacy for each of them. What I wish is that Tyler had the kind of social support he needed following this kind of cruelty. That's the intent of the It Gets Better project: http://ww

Review: Elmo's Healthy Heroes

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The nice people at Sesame Street Live gave me tickets to see Elmo's Healthy Heroes with 3-year-old Sarina... ironically, I got sick just before the show. Sarina-- the little person who got me sick, mind you-- was feeling better, though, so my parents took her to see it at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Nassau Coliseum is always a great place to see a show. There is so much elevation between rows that you never have to worry about seeing over people's heads-- there's always a good view. And in the case of the children's shows here, they don't take up the whole Coliseum. Maybe a third of the place. The only complaint I heard about the venue is that it was absolutely freezing. Anyway, I sniffled and stuffled at home while those three were off having the times of their lives, apparently, because as my dear daughter came home bearing a giant Elmo balloon and two light-up whozamajigs that spin, she was bursting with energy and excitement about the show. And my par

Happiness Is...

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when you emerge from the kitchen, where you've just made lunch-- Bubba Burgers, by the way, are quite delicious-- to tell your 3-year-old daughter to come on in, and the first thing you notice is that a drawer is open, and that this open drawer contains just the backing of your Cica-Care, a stupidly expensive sheet of self-adhesive silicone gel that's proven to improve the appearance of scars, and you almost didn't buy it because of the stupidly expensive cost, but in the end, your mother talked you into it because you did have major surgery, after all, and if it would cost $50 to not have a smiley face on your abdomen the rest of your life, you should do it, so you did, but now you see this backing in the open drawer and you know that it is in the hands of your darling daughter, Sarina, who may be doing any one of a number of dastardly things with it right now, and you have a monster cold, which is making you a little off your game right now and not as good at chasing he

Our Trip to Sesame Place

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I've never been to Sesame Place before, and now that Sarina is 3, I had been hoping to take her there... luckily, I won four passes from MyWorkButterfly and one from Sesame Place's Twitter account, so I got to bring the whole family! We arrived the day before our "big day" and stayed at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast . There are a couple of hotels right in Langhorne where Sesame Place is, but they're pricier. From the reviews, it seemed like this Radisson would be a good pick-- a very reasonable price and an easy commute. The reviews were right: the drive was nothing, and the hotel was terrific. We stayed in a 2-room suite that was spectacular. One of the rooms was your basic size hotel room with two double beds, though a step up in terms of decor, cleanliness, and comfort (we got to try Sleep Number beds for the first time... they were interesting, though not as amazing as I'd hoped), but the other room made us feel like we were VIPs. It was hug

Five Lessons Every Kid Should Learn

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1. How to stand up to a bully. Even though Sarina's just 3, we've already had a couple of encounters with older girl bullies. One, just the other day, tried to take my daughter's bracelets. I asked Sarina if she wanted the girl to take her bracelets, or if she wanted them back. When she affirmed she wanted them back, I suggested that she tell the girl, "I'm sorry, but those are my bracelets and I would like them back now." She did, and when the girl fiddled with the last one, Sarina said, "That one is mine, too." I was very proud! 2. How to be a real friend. Sometimes, the bully isn't targeting you, but someone else-- someone weaker, who needs help. It's so difficult and so important to provide other kids with emotional support so they can be stronger, too, even if it means risking becoming the bully's next target. 3. Who to trust. This is a lifelong lesson that adults struggle with, too. As a kid, it can be even tougher to figure o

This is a CHILDREN'S book? What on Earth...?

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Why, yes, that IS a car full of gun-toting criminals trying to outrun police that you see below. And even better, one of the criminals is actually shooting his gun at the police! On the next page, we see that the kindly police officer-- the one who we're teaching our children to trust and go to in case they're ever lost or in trouble-- is leaning out of the car with his gun and preparing to shoot back. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth are mere feet away and likely to get killed in the crossfire, but they look pretty excited about it. And to top off this excellent book, I noticed that Clifford's brother Nero (the rescue dog at a fire station) is helping to put out a fire at a bodega on pages 9-12. "That's weird," I thought. "In the book Clifford's Family , I'm sure that Nero also helped put out a fire in a bodega. Does this author have a thing about bodegas being on fire?" "I remember this from Clifford's Family ," my astute

Win a $60 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

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CONTEST CLOSED. WE HAVE A WINNER! Random.org picked comment 20. Congrats to peg42, who wrote: "The best thing that happened to me this week is that my Dad, brother & Sister in Law came over for dinner last night to help celebrate my upcoming birthday with my family & I. We had such a nice time, sitting outside & relaxing.Thanks so much." -- The thing that's so impressive about CSN is the amazing range of products they carry. You can buy anything from a new bed to new shoes to a new wine rack ... they have more than 200 online stores filled with a products in these categories: home decor, furniture, housewares, baby and kid items, outdoor, home improvement, bags and luggage, shoes, health and fitness, pets, office, and school. The other thing that's so impressive about CSN is that they noticed this here little ol' blog. I RULE. This bodes so well for my plan to take over the Internet! *Ahem.* So they wrote to me and offered to give me a $60 g

The voices of the Wonder Pets

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Ever wonder who does the voices of the Wonder Pets? Well, I did. Every time I watch it with Sarina, I mean to Google to find out the ages of the people who do the voices. And now I know: This is sewious.

Starred review in Publishers Weekly!

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This just in: My Stolen Son Susan Markowitz with Jenna Glatzer, Berkley, $7.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-23634-5 This poignant memoir tells the painful story of a brutal slaying that captured national attention when it became the basis of the 2007 drama Alpha Dog. In the summer of 2000, Susan Markowitz's 15-year-old son, Nicholas, was kidnapped and murdered by a local drug dealer in revenge for his brother's debts. Nicholas's death, the ensuing trials of his killers, and the international manhunt for a fourth suspect nearly tore his family apart and sent his mother on a decade-long quest for justice and sanity. Markowitz writes with candor about her grief-induced alcoholism and suicide attempts as well as the troubles that shook her family's foundation long before Nicholas's death. Her unflinching honesty makes this a deeply powerful story that will move fans of the film and anyone grieving a loved one's death by homicide or suicide. (Sept.) Thank you, Publis

Toy Story 3

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Fan-flippin'-tastic. Who else saw it today? I'm dying to have someone to chat with about its fabulousness without spoiling it for everyone who hasn't seen it. I was even accosting people in the parking lot afterwards to ask if they'd just come out of Toy Story 3, too (they hadn't... they saw Marmaduke... WTH?) so I could have someone to gush with. Suffice it to say that I laughed and cried (QUIT JUDGING ME) and all five of us who went together (ages 3 to 63) loved it.

Safe Sunscreens, According to the Environmental Working Group

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I can't believe how much effort I'm putting into finding the perfect sunscreen this year. I want it to be chemical-free, easy to put on (I have a very squirmy little girl who hates standing still for sunscreen application, especially when there's a beach in sight!), and fragrance-free or with just a light scent (because I get migraines). I consulted the Environmental Working Group's 2010 Cosmetics Safety Database for their sunscreen testing results (they tested more than 400 beach and sport sunscreens and recommend only 39 of them). It was hard tracking down each of the sunscreens online to find reviews and purchasing info, though. Then, once I found each of them, I found mixed reviews on all of them. There were very few with overwhelmingly positive reviews, and every one of them had some down-sides (generally that the non-chemical sunscreens are harder to apply, tacky, and leave your skin white). Now that I've done my homework, I'll pass the links and summar