Thursday, May 24, 2012



One of the modern paradoxes is knowing someone you don't know. The enigma of social media being social, but not necessarily personal does not escape me. I don't know Antonia Crane. She is a "friend" on Facebook - though the likelihood we'll ever even meet is as unlikely a scenario as the one where we find ourselves plotting a bank robbery together. By the way, with her movie star looks she'd make a good Bonnie in a remake of the classic film from 1967. I, on the other hand, would not make a good Clyde, although I can definitely handle the wheel in a get-away scene. So, when author Anna March suggested Antonia might serve up an interesting Lost Weekend 6-Pack, I literally had to use the little search box on FB to see who she was and if we were even "friends" yet. We were, but that did not keep me from feeling like a stalker when I sent the initial personal message through FB to her... "Hi, you don't know me, but we're friends." I sat around for five hours staring at my FB page, the box with the friend count specifically, just waiting for it to go down by one. It didn't. I got a personal message back instead, one with a sense of voice that suckered me into believing we played tennis together back in high school. I found myself wanting to challenge her to a game of doubles, but had a weird feeling she would win.  Turns out, Antonia does hit some balls, because her dad coaches tennis. I wondered if she flirted with endorsement deals like Maria Sharapova.  I still don't really know Antonia, but I know her better now that I've read her Lost Weekend 6-Pack... and I'm happy to be able to call this talented writer a friend... whatever that means.

Enjoy, but watch out for her top spin serve... she's aiming for your privates. ~ J. Goertel

Lost Weekend 6-Pack / 2 movies, 2 books, 2 drinks:
Yeah Right.

Asking an ex-drug addict to choose only two of her favorite things is torture- like dangling one potato chip in front of her face. I’m a book slut, movie junkie and music whore.  I need more than a six-pack. You need more. Admit it. So, I’m shirking the rules by arranging my picks according to theme. 

Let’s begin with vigilantism. I’d start with Tarantino’s women. His lethal, gorgeous, driven protagonists enjoy totally justified revenge in “Kill Bill” and “Inglorious Bastards.” Where there’s vigilantism, there are bank robbers with sideburns in polyester suits flanked with hot stripper girlfriends. I love Mesrine: Killer Instinct (and Part 2: Public Enemy #1).  What’s not to like about a “girl on fire?” I thought I died and went to feisty heroine heaven when I saw “Hunger Games” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Delish. Two Books where hicks take the law in their own hands are Donald Ray Pollack’s, “Knockemstiff” and Sam Lipsyte’s hard and ever-clever characters in “Venus Drive.” His characters are lovely and creepy. I’d turn up L-7’s “Shit List” and dance in my underwear slurping Diet Dr. Pepper. Lots of lemon.

I’m a sucker for tender devastation of the heartbreak variety; a sadness so searing it looks like madness like the movies “Biutiful” and “Blue Valentine.” Two books that echo poignant ache with wonderfully flawed characters that overcome insurmountable obstacles are Cheryl Strayed’ s “Wild” and Rob Roberge’s  “Border Radio” (from his collection “Working Backwards From the Worst Moment of My Life”). "Border Radio" will send you sprinting to the dentist for enamel fillings. As for music,  I love all of Jack White’s projects (White Stripes, Dead Weather, Raconteurs) but the song that tears my heart out is his rendition of “Jolene” live. A  sad drink? Berry Hibiscus Kambucha. Gross. Why would anyone drink a mushroom? Bottoms up. 

   The frayed American Dream and the crisis of identity is my last theme. I loved the under appreciated film “Frozen River,” a bleak narrative about desperate alliances made between complex women for a singular purpose. I’ll never get over Mickey Rourke’s beautifully desperate, aged-out performer in “The Wrestler.” He painted a portrait of the American dream charred at the edges as it turned to ash and blew away. I love books that, by their existence, demand more of me as a person and as a reader, like Lidia Yuknovitch’s “Chronology of Water” and Bernard Cooper’s “Truth Serum.” Both will stretch you as a human being.  I’d listen to “Hold On” by the Alabama Shakes and Lucinda Williams’ “Side of the Road” and drink water. Lots and lots of water.

photo by Romy Suskin

Antonia Crane teaches creative writing to incarcerated teenage girls in Los Angeles. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Akashic: The Heroin Chronicles (edited by Jerry Stahl), The Rumpus, Black Clock, Slake, PANK, The Los Angeles Review, ZYZZYVA and other places. She wrote a memoir about her mother’s illness and the sex industry, Spent, and is currently seeking representation for that memoir. Check out: for more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012



I thought I'd turn the tables a bit this week by starting the weekend early - real early -  but more so by tapping Randy Becker at NexTv Entertainment for a Lost Weekend  6-Pack. After all, it was Randy who tapped me to put together the literature blog for his NexTv's website. It's been an amazing partnership and I am indebted to him for the opportunity and for being such a champion of my writing - he was one of the first people in Hollywood to notice my screenwriting and among the first to work to promote it. That said, I thought I was the writer and he was the Hollywood wheeler and dealer... I mean, damn, when I asked him for a 6-Pack, I thought I'd get a list of "suggestions" for changes to the blog, you know Hollywood-style notes... "Maybe the blog could be a website?" / "Lost Weekend Wine List is polling better as a name with the 35-55 demographic than Lost Weekend 6-Pack." / "We're bringing a few people just for a 'polish' on the blog." Instead, I got something passionate and heartfelt - just like Randy, who's NexTv Entertainment has been hooking up talented filmmakers, directors, and actors with the the top players in Tinsel Town for the past few years. I love Randy's 6-Pack so much, that I am declaring a long weekend to enjoy it... starting right now. Cheers - J. Goertel

A lost weekend 6-pack, eh?  Wow…with 2 kids and a business that kicks and screams all day every day, the idea of filling a lost weekend with movies, books and alcohol, while deliciously fun to imagine, is simply not going to happen. But even before I indulge my imagination with this exercise, I need to step back and look at the great accomplishment of James Goertel.  When I first asked James to consider creating the lit blog for us at NexTV, I figured that he’d provide a few excellent articles and then we’d slowly feel our way forward.  

Instead, he has created this incredible experience for writers both to participate in and to experience as readers.  With some of the hottest authors and poets generously donating work, simply because James asked them to, I have been BLOWN AWAY by ALL ‘LIT’ UP.  Blown out of the water, in fact.  It’s not often when you find someone to take ownership over an idea, then take it to the next level (and 17 levels beyond…18, even). The LOST WEEKEND 6-PACK is one of my favorite examples of James’ great ability to provide a sandbox for others to play in. THANK YOU JAMES!  

Having said that…curse you James Goertel…CURSE YOU AND THIS BLOG! That’s right, I said it…Since I founded NexTV in 2009, I have read over 1,500 scripts, watched over 3,000 videos and taught one 4 year old how to ride his bike without training wheels (two days ago, in fact…an incredible sight).  But you are asking me to identify my 2 books, 2 movies and 2 drinks for this mythical lost weekend.  Well, James…let’s see…I’ve read 1 book in the past 3 years, I’ve seen 4 movies in the theater, each of which came with disposable glasses and, as for alcohol?  Well, I wish I was drunk now, but instead I sit here at 2:38am, intoxicated by the tingly sensation in my ass from having 185 pounds of sagging body weight pressing down on it for the past 15 hours….so this task is more an exercise in remembering who I’ve been, than a genuine look into who I am today.

Still, I’m up for it, so what the hell…lets’ give her a shot.

2 Drinks:  

Vodka on the rocks with onions…and a straw.  Any brand of vodka works for me.  They all feel like a poke in the eye going down, but I love ‘em anyway.  And I like to fantasize that my wife thinks I’m still a bad-ass for going mixer-free.  Which brings me to drink #2.  Wine Coolers.  Okay, not exactly, but the acceptable male euphemism; Mike’s Hard Lemonade…the purple one.  

2 movies: 

MIDNIGHT RUN and QUEEN MARGOT.  The former because it’s awesome.  If you haven’t seen it, I think it’s Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin at their best…really.  Just brilliantly executed on all levels and a blast from beginning to end.  I force myself to NOT watch it for at least 4 straight years, just so I can enjoy it when I stumble upon it.  #2…Patrice Chereau’s QUEEN MARGOT is everything I love about cinema (aside from the subtitles, but Isabelle Adjani makes even that worth it).  Historical fiction at its best.  Rich characters, gripping love story, awesome performances, but more than anything else…a great, edge-of-your-seat story. If you haven’t seen it, it’s so worth renting or buying or, what, downloading?

2 Books: 

This is a tricky one.  Of the books that have stuck with me, I’ll choose two that are particularly meaningful…even after all these years.  GROUND BENEATH HER FEET by Salman Rushdie.  One of my favorite books ever.  A great story about an Indian Female Rock Star, but what Rushdie does that I just love, is he gives you an experience that can only be had with a novel. He makes you work hard, at first, to keep up or even to understand what the hell he’s talking about, but when you finally break through and the challenges of his style fade away, you start to experience a tonal sense of his particular India and these particular characters.  The smells, the point of view, the irony, all of those ephemeral, underlying things that are essential to the real experience of a specific life in a specific context…I close that book and feel like I’ve been on a ride through someone’s perception of a place and time and a people.  I love so many Rushdie novels, but this is the one that I just keep going back to. 

WATER MUSIC by TC Boyle would have to be #2.  Boyle is simply a great story-teller, and since I’m always partial to historical fiction, this is my favorite of his.  It’s an adventure story that follows a petty criminal in Scotland and a famous British explorer as he seeks to find the Niger River in 18th Century Africa.  I used this book as an example when working with a writer on his action-adventure film, yesterday, in fact.  If you want to go on a ride, an ever-escalating, nearly exhausting, rollicking tale…this is it.  Purely for story, this book covers so much ground.  I mean, you are literally out of breath halfway through the book and Boyle just keeps amping up the trouble his tainted heroes find themselves in.  Pure fun.

So, for a Randy Becker Lost Weekend 6-Pack, you’ll be transported back about 10 years to a time when he actually read books and watched movies.  Don’t pity me, though…my life is awfully good.

For a lot more information on all the good things Randy is doing with NexTv out in L.A., please feel free to visit here:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Well, well, well... the tables got turned this week a bit when YAREAH Magazine out of Madrid, Spain interviewed me about my short story collection, Carry Each His Burden. Author Martin Cid conducted the interview which was put together by Isabel Del Rio Yareah. Martin's questions were wonderful and pulled some insights from me concerning the book I don't think I was aware of before the interview. Martin and Isabel are passionate about YAREAH Magazine and about the arts. If I am fortunate they will allow me to turn the tables in the future on both of them for some features here at ALL 'LIT' UP. Thank you to YAREAH Magazine, Martin Cid, Isabel Del Rio Yareah, and all the folks at YAREAH working behind the scenes. La luna estara llena en mi corazon esta noche. no importa su cara. The interview is here.

Isabel Del Rio Yareah & Martin Cid

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I say author essay because that's the feature... but, how do you define someone like Betty Rodgers under a one word moniker? You don't and you can't. First and foremost, she is a  filmmaker and an extraordinary one at that. Her passion for her documentary project "Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor" is evidenced by the results her and her husband, author Ken Rodgers, have produced. The trailer alone is at once chilling, captivating, moving, and momentous. It is documentary film at its best. "Bravo!" is currently being prepped for the film festival circuit. Did I mention she's also a world class photographer? Then there's also her work producing and editing the Idaho Writers Update, which if you've been living under a rock, you might want to check out considering two of the country's up and coming writers, Alan Heathcock (VOLT) and Anthony Doerr (Memory Wall), are Boise residents. Well, as they like to say, there must be something in the water out there and I believe it's inspiration, determination, and pure talent. Betty Rodgers has obviously drunk deep and long from the those waters, for she has all three in spades. I am happy to have filmmaker, editor, writer, and photographer Betty Rodgers for this week's Author Essay Feature
Enjoy - J. Goertel


A parent can set the tone for how we view individuals.  Mother helped me adore my Auntie Kay by making sure I knew how she had triumphed over the life-long effects of breaking her legs as a child.  (In the early 1900s she was confined in a cast and bed for weeks.) How brave she was for serving in New Guinea as a WAC officer during WWII.  Instead of pointing out any shortcomings, Mother taught me to see the worth in this tall, intelligent, attractive brunette. This woman whose long, graceful fingers nimbly played concert-level classical piano. This woman who frequently engaged in passionate conversation about the cosmos, politics, and philosophy.

And there was my Uncle Harry, Kay’s husband.  This easy-going, handsome, fun-loving man, known as the “Long Tall Texan” although he hailed from Oklahoma, was respected and admired for his strong work ethic, common sense, humor, and cooking skills.  He too served as an officer in the Pacific during WWII.  That’s where the two met and married.  Both of them returned home, raised fine sons, and gave themselves as advocates for male and female veterans through their affiliation with the American Legion.

Mother made certain we attended every special event involving my aunt and uncle, such as Harry’s installation as the California State Commander of the American Legion, Kay’s speeches championing better conditions at veterans’ hospitals and equal rights for female veterans.  In some way, I knew they were fighting for me, too.  Yes, I admired and adored them both.

As the years went by, this background of respect and honor for veterans stayed with me.  When Auntie Kay passed away, Mother helped sort her belongings and showed me her writings about World War II.  From her book, “New Guinea, A Magic Name and A Magic Isle,” some insight into my aunt’s experience upon arrival at the American cemetery in Sapuda:

“I can’t begin to describe the emotions that filled our hearts and eyes, and overflowed onto our cheeks, as we stood there.  We thought of the heartache of the parents and wives of these boys, we thought of the tragedy of their having to die so young, and we thought of the magnificence of their courage and the firmness of their faith and belief in what they were fighting for, in what they gave their lives for; the ones they loved, the flag they loved, the God they worshipped, in two words, THEIR AMERICA!  We swore that we would never betray that faith and belief, or betray their trust in us to preserve the things they loved and died for.”

And on anticipation of returning to American soil:

“We will have…the exaltation of having done our part in winning the greatest war of all times.  However, the greatest gift that we will take back with us is the knowledge of what war is, what it can do, and an appreciation of the great faith in America that inspired the magnificent courage in our boys.  We are determined that their sacrifice will never be repeated by their sons, that what they fought for will be preserved, it will never die or fade—THEIR AMERICA.”

As we know, there have been many wars since, and my cousins did serve during the Vietnam War.  My husband, Ken, also served.  He didn’t talk about it a lot after we met, but one of his best friends told me what a hero he was because of where he served and what he lived through.  I only knew that March 30, 1968, was a day that had imprinted his life forever, but I knew none of the details. 

When we began to attend Khe Sanh Veteran reunions in recent years, I became keenly aware of the stories I heard and of what Ken had experienced, in part because of my aunt and uncle’s example.  Through them all…my aunt and uncle, my mother, my husband…I had learned to pay attention to the significance of history, service, and sacrifice.

This is what led me to a sense of urgency in recording the history of the men in Bravo Company, First Battalion, 26th Marines...the men with whom Ken served.  As they sat around the tables and reminisced, it reinforced what I instinctively knew…that theirs was also an incredible tale of courage and sacrifice for our country, and that we couldn’t afford to let the Khe Sanh veterans’ experience fade into oblivion. We needed to preserve it for their children and grandchildren, for American history, for mankind.

And so, that seed of adoration instilled in me by my mother, along with the men like Ken and his Bravo Company brothers who lived their story and were willing to tell it, have resulted in our new documentary film, “Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor.”  After viewing the film, a common response is, “I care about these men…I love them.”  Now, after forty-four years, their story is told and their service acknowledged.  It is a testimony to the human spirit.  It is the direct result of the power of adoration.

An avid birder, Betty Rodgers is also a filmmaker and photographer living in Boise, ID, with her husband Ken. Her images are exhibited in homes, businesses, and private collections around the west. She also publishes the Idaho Writer's Update, the state's primary resource for literary information and events.  For recent news of Betty:

To follow "Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor":

Friday, April 20, 2012

ALL 'LIT' UP LOST WEEKEND 6-PACK with MEG ZUCKER (Don't Hide It, Flaunt It)

Lost Weekend 6-Pack

2 Movies, 2 Books, 2 Drinks  

It's been a long week. I know, I know, yours too. I considered skipping the LOST WEEKEND 6-PACK segment for this week when a writer friend out in California had to pull out due to a family crisis. But, the 6-PACK seems to be a lot of folks' favorite feature here at ALL 'LIT' UP. And I knew I could use a lost weekend right about now myself. 


Once again, through the beautiful machinations of putting this blog together for Randy Becker at NexTv, I have come to know another writer who has opened a door in my heart, mind, and soul. Isn't that what writing and literature is supposed to do? Of course it is, so when I came across Meg's "Don't Hide it, Flaunt It" blog I found my heart in my throat, my mind reeling, and my soul smiling. It's been a challenging week... I'm sure for more than a few of us, but Meg knows a little something about challenges. But first, her LOST WEEKEND 6-PACK for ALL'LIT'UP. It's inspiring. She's inspiring. Enjoy ~ J. Goertel  


I am both grateful and laughing at the fact that James asked me to do a six-pack that includes two movie recommendations when for the past several months I’ve been encouraging my husband, John, to put his sharp, dry wit to use as a movie reviewer, which is something I’ve never tried. His goofy angle is always to ask, “Is this movie good for the Jews?” I’m always so amused to look for that answer now that I think I’ll steal the theme for this piece. It doesn’t hurt that I’m already in the mode because the Jewish Daily Forward is also publishing one of my articles shortly.  

Incendies. Last year we went out with friends to see this film on nothing more than the typical vague recommendation of someone we knew who said they heard it was great. That doesn’t really prepare one for such a powerful anti-war film that revolves around murder, rape, incest, torture and decades of hidden heartbreak. So emotionally gripping was this story and its surprising conclusion that we couldn’t stop analyzing it for days afterward. The plot is centered in Lebanon beginning with the civil war in the early 1980’s, with the Israeli invasion only as a backdrop, and concludes in present day, where the villains and victims of that era deliberately bury their memories and live together as best they can. Until they can’t. I can only apply the “Good for the Jews” analysis to the fact that I kind of waited on pins and needles for the scene where the Israelis would contribute to the mayhem and that moment never came (at least in this film).  

Tropic Thunder. On an equally serious note, uh, okay maybe not so much, this 2008 send up of the intelligence of leading actors, the way Hollywood makes its blockbusters and the studio machinations that drive the business had my Good for Jews/Bad for the Jews meter clicking like a metronome. But despite all the laughs, it was Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the overweight, balding, hairy-chested, loud, obnoxious, heartless, Jewish studio boss that was truly unforgettable.It pained me to be laughing so hard at something so blatantly bad for the Jews. 

On to the books. In 1999, before leaving on our honeymoon, John and I made a pact to read each other’s favorite novels on the beach. In hindsight, I won’t comment on the fact that we were so happy to go to beautiful Maui and….read. Yet, we took great pleasure in seeing each other so absorbed. John brought John Irving’s Cider House Rules for me. I gave him Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I saw John’s humor and pathos in Cider House and the character of Homer Wells. John Irving’s writing touches incredibly real feelings and experiences but wraps them with such humor that I found myself laughing and nearly crying together. That’s a feat. In Pillars, John followed my love of history that extended even to the building of a cathedral in 12th Century England. Follett’s epic storytelling and historical research took us deep into a long gone culture. I loved the fact that John couldn’t put down this 976 pager, just as I couldn’t. 

What to drink? The “Avatar” Martini was a hit at my 2010 Oscar party and my friends still remind me how much they loved it. Vodka, vermouth, blue Curacao and lemon juice – colorful, delicious and strong enough to keep everyone happy so that no one noticed that I never saw Avatar. Also, my favorite pairing with sushi continues to be a Frogs Leap Sauvignon Blanc. Dry and crisp, it is perfect (even without the fish…). 

As I close, having just learned of Dick Clark’s recent passing, I will channel him and end this fun Six-Pack experience by not saying “good-bye,” but instead, “So long.”
Ever since Meg Zucker can remember, others have been turning to her for guidance. Meg was born with a rare condition known as ectrodactyly, leaving her with only four digits on her body and shortened forearms. Unlike others who have quietly overcome many stumbling blocks to reach their goals, Meg has navigated life’s challenges wearing her limitations on her sleeve, literally. Most recently, Meg has published in Parents Magazine(December 2011), worked with Scholastic on a Storyworks article about her family (October 2011) and was a guest on Today (NBC) in January 2012.

She also runs a weekly blog called, “Don’t Hide it, Flaunt It” (, and often speaks publically in support of her self-help message. Among other engagements, next month Meg will be delivering a corporate diversity presentation to employees of Viacom/MTV. Meg completed her undergraduate studies in History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and received her law degree from New York University. In addition to her literary activities, Meg is currently the Global Anti-Money Laundering Officer at a financial services firm in New York City. Meg lives in New Jersey with her husband, John, and their three children, two of whom also have ectrodactyly. Meg is in the process of writing a self-help book working with literary agent Lisa Leshne of the Leshne Agency.

For more information, feel free to visit:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ALL 'LIT' UP : From The Editor's Desk

This week there was no Pulitzer awarded for fiction. I am as disappointed as the rest of my writer friends, both established and those still toiling to have their voices heard. Most writers are of this latter category, but what is unique about the community of writers is their ability to root for one another. Writers are outraged by this year's non-Pulitzer for fiction, because we have a sense of community which allows us to put aside our own personal dreams and ambitions to champion other authors, poets, and publishers. The decision to not award a Pulitzer acts as a collective slap in the face to all those who dream to simply have their work read. Seeing writers around the country and around the world rally to the defense of the finalists, whose work was not deemed prize-worthy, is evidence that the written word is alive and well and reinforces the notion that we have always been our own best advocates. Writers are readers and in the end it is this audience we feel not sympathy for, but empathy with for this missed opportunity by the folks at Pulitzer to be with us, not against us. Each year brings a new variety of fiction which manages to cater to a wide audience with increasingly eclectic tastes and the message that not a single work of fiction was good enough to be acknowledged says more about the process and the people behind it than it does about the books that didn't win. The authors of those books won something more important than the acknowledgement of a few outsiders, they won the admiration of readers and writers everywhere who at a minimum may just be curious enough to seek out these three very different works ("Train Dreams" by Denis Johnson, "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell, and "The Pale King" by David Foster Wallace) just to see what all the hub-bub was all about or not about in the case of the Pulitzer board which chose to simply not champion fiction for readers everywhere. Three very deserving writers lost out in this year the people at Pulitzer yawned rather than shouted for fiction writing and writers, but I believe the community of writers and readers, who are one in the same, won anyway. Read these three books and judge for yourself - that is the only measure of worth that matters.

"Train Dreams" by Denis Johnson

"Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell

"The Pale King" by David Foster Wallace

Friday, April 13, 2012

THE LOST WEEKND 6-PACK with Jen Tucker (The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out)

Lost Weekend 6-Pack

2 Movies, 2 Books, 2 Drinks

I've got to come clean. Author Jen Tucker won my fiction debut, CARRY EACH HIS BURDEN, on a GOODREADS' giveaway. She also loved the book. Her review of it was gushing. She also interviewed me at her blog. But these are not the reasons why she's this week's LOST WEEKEND 6-PACK feature. It may in fact be simply that she has one of the most provocative book titles I have come across since looking for talent to provide content for All 'Lit' Up: THE DAY I WORE MY PANTIES INSIDE OUT. And I was worried about giving my mother my book? Truth is, she's a great writer with a fresh perspective and doing it all while raising three children with her husband. I'll toast to anyone who can write anything while balancing all that. Cheers ~ J. Goertel


I have to thank my buddy, James, for letting me spend time at All “Lit” Up today. He is really putting me to the test with my six pack choices. When he first asked me to stop over and list two drinks, two movies and two books to loose myself in over a weekend I thought it would be a snap. I lived in that moment of ease for about five seconds. Then I realized that my choices are dependent on a few things. First being my mood (Am I feeling zombie apocalypse or lovey dovey?). It also hinges upon my current location and its scenery (Am I lazily lounging in a hammock on the beach, or am I in an igloo investigating the mating habits of polar bears?). Finally, if Nostradamus made a prediction that should cause me worry and these are my last moments on earth, would that information impact my decision? Then I remembered that I don’t worry about freaky predictions, and almost all was well again with my soul.

So let’s pretend that this is the scene. We are pretending due to the fact that so far this scenario has never happened. My husband, Mike, our three kids and two golden retrievers have all gone off to parts unknown for a weekend away. I am alone. I am alone in my house. I am alone in my house and smiling ear to ear. I love them, and miss them, but right now it’s all about me.

Let’s go first with the beverages of choice. For my birthday in January of this year, Mike and I met friends in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. On our way to dine at Harry & Izzy’s, we walked by The Canterbury Hotel. Legends have stayed there. Its richly grained wooden walls hold many a secret, I’m sure. I grabbed Mike by the arm and suggested that we wander in, sitting belly up for a quick drink at the bar. Our bartender was young, and witty. I called him Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy. He made me a margarita that knocked my socks off. Rather than fill the glass with the usual sweet and sour mix, he used red grapefruit juice. Married with the salty rim, this beverage had me in heaven. I must consume this drink first. It is a need, not a want.

My other go-to thirst quencher would be my favorite $4.99 bottle of Sutter Home Pink Moscato. Hey, gasoline costs over $4.00 a gallon! We all have to make sacrifices, right? If I am being truthful, I cannot stomach paying a senseless amount of money for something that I will be drinking. The shelf life of wine is not long in my home.

I am shuffling through a few different movie choices in my head. Do I go with my favorite or do I branch out and watch that one film on my “must see” list? Decisions, decisions… I want to watch an oldie, but goody! I love the 1963 movie, Charade starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Regina is a little unhappy and as a result she is contemplating divorcing her husband. After her hubs is murdered, she realizes their savings is gone and tries to piece together what happened. This film keeps you guessing “whodunit” until the very end. Mystery and laughs abound in this silver screen gem. Did I mention again that it stars Cary Grant for gorgeousness sake? Let’s start the movie-a-thon with that classic.

I feel the need to go “old school” again for my second flick of the weekend. The 1986 film, About Last Night, stars Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. I think it one of the quintessential films created in the 80’s. It’s about romantic relationships, growing pains of entering adulthood, best friends who meddle in one another’s romances, and how the choices we make impact others. I have a slight adoration for the director, Edward Zwick, who was one of the creative forces behind the television series, Thirtysomething. I still carry a grudge that it went off the air. I am just being honest with you.

Oh to flip through the pages of a book undisturbed! I am so excited! It took me a few years to jump on the Hunger Games train, and I am now one of “them.” I have the first book under my belt and the others in the trilogy, Mocking Jay and Catching Fire, are perched on a shelf in my office, just waiting for us to spend quality time together. We will finally have that long awaited date! I have to find out what the future holds for Katniss! Please don’t tell me what happens, please?!?

I believe that my previous reading selection is really one book. It had a mishap at the printers so it morphed into two books on accident. It’s so crazy how things like that happen. That is my story and I am sticking to it. My second book selection is going to be 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Sounds uplifting, doesn’t it? This dream list of destinations has been waiting for me to read it since my mom bought me a copy for Christmas in 2003. I want to pour through the pages, looking at locations near and far. I am excited to see if there are any suggestions listed that I have already visited. It could give me an idea for an excursion with my husband, or a place to journey to as a family. Armed with my pencil and yellow highlighter, this book and I will have a marvelous time.

And just like that, my six pack weekend has come to a close. It was phenomenal while it lasted. Now if only I can make this happen in real time. Anyone want to hang out with a gorgeous bald man and his three kids for the weekend? They are all potty trained… Anyone?

Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she hasn’t liked. A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries. She broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units last year with her memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out, which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. Jen’s newest tale, The Day I Lost my Shaker of Salt, will be released in 2012. She lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children.

Some days are better than others. Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like you just could not catch a break? Author Jen Tucker had one of those and shares every bit of it in her new memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out.” Her tales of escapee pets, missing dry cleaning and her own Mommy Dearest moments will have you laughing and relating. Her fierce love of her son with special needs and reflections on her battle accepting her father’s “C WORD” diagnosis will have you in tears. Sprinkled with bits of reflection and fun, this is a story that will make you always double check to be sure no day will contain a wardrobe malfunction.

For more information feel free to visit the links below:

on amazon