Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thought experiment

If you were to perish from the earth tomorrow, who are the people who would really, really miss you--five years from now?

Those are the people you should go hug right now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hot Weekend

We fled the 100-degree heat in the city on Saturday by renting a car and escaping to Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Nice town, clean beach, cold water, fun waves.

Sunday was spent doing about 27 loads of laundry and dressing up Bailey like a bumble bee.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A new way to discipline kids

"If you don't behave I'm going to make you watch Whitney Houston try to sing."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back home again

Why do military people wear their fatigues when traveling on commercial airlines? Do they want everyone to think that they're going into battle the minute they step off the plane?

I appreciate the military, so I'm gonna let it go.

Anyway, I missed a lot of excitement while I was gone:

1. Kahlua had diarrhea and vomiting and had to stay overnight at the vet's.

2. Bailey peed on Ethan's bed.

3. One of the air conditioners konked out and had to be replaced.

4. Jen discovered a bill that we forgot to pay.

I'm not going to tell my family how much fun I had in Durango.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Durango, part 2

1. I did a book reading and signing this morning at Maria's Bookstore on Main Avenue...and some people actually showed up. The store has sold about 30 copies of my book--which is surely equal to the combined sales throughout the rest of the country. My mom is responsible for about 26 of them, but that still leaves 4.

2. My 30-year high school class reunion was actually quite fun. It was low-key, nobody tried to impress anyone else, and I was genuinely happy to see every single person there. "I like you because we went to high school together." That's the only way to explain it.

3. No, I didn't plot with the publisher to release my book just prior to my class reunion. Only a truly cynical person would suggest such an ugly thing. But thanks for thinking that I might have.

4. My brother, niece, and nephews took me hiking/jumping/sliding/swimming down a narrow gorge called Cascade Creek this afternoon. I've never used the expression "omg" before, but if I were going to, I'd use it now. (Yeah, we jumped from the top of that waterfall, and that was after I'd almost peed in my shorts from the first two we jumped off further upstream.)

5. How did Durango morph from the sleepy, dusty cow town from which I plotted my escape in 1980, to, like, the coolest, hippest town ever? Surely I haven't changed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big book news

From yesterday's Publishers Weekly:

Liza Baker at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has bought world rights to Todd Tarpley’s Ten Tiny Toes, which follows the bond of love that guides a child through every big “step” in her life. Marc Brown will illustrate, for spring 2012 publication. Rachel Orr at Prospect Agency was the agent.

Book #2, baby. Yessssss. (Joy)

Whew. (Relief)

Wow... (Comprehension)

Remain calm, Todd. Don't run into the street and start removing clothing. You're a grown-up. You're a grown-up. (Self-regulation)

(Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!) (Internal celebration)

Read the manuscript here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I'm on the last leg of my flight to my hometown of Durango, Colorado for my 30-year high school reunion. I'm also doing a reading of my children's book at the local bookstore on Saturday.

I met two toddlers at the airport gate during the layover in Denver. I lent the littlest one a copy of my book to read on the plane. We boarded, and they went with their mom to the back of the plane and I took my seat near the front. Then right before takeoff the flight attendant said she needed two volunteers from the front of the plane to sit in the back. I practically bolted from my seat and sprinted to the back of the plane, where I've taken my seat across from the toddlers. Their mom is reading my book to them.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Todd's waterpark rules

1. Don't run when the lifeguard is watching.

2. If the lifeguard whistles at you, pretend you didn't know it was against the rules.

3. Consume no more than 5 pieces of fudge before swimming. Unless it's really good.

4. Don't bother sucking in your gut; no one is looking at you anyway.

5. If you're standing next to a toddler in shallow water and he starts to make a face, get out of the water quickly.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Mom, how much do clowns cost?"

Jen: You know they're real people, right?

Ethan: Yeah, but how much for, like, a month?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Midwest Vacation, part 2

If you're not familiar with Wisconsin Dells, it's exactly like Tahiti, only without all the annoying sand and ocean and palm trees. Plus, it has a lot more waterparks, mini-golf, and places to buy moccasins.

To my knowledge, there has never been a jellyfish sting or shark attack in Wisconsin Dells. About the worst thing that can happen to you is that you eat some bad fudge.

I'm not sure there's much else to say on the subject. Roll tape.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Small-town 4th of July

Prophetstown is a little town in the middle of Illinois, surrounded on all sides by cornfields and sky. Main Street is a few blocks long. Men drive pick-ups and look like they just came back from a hunting trip or are on their way to one. Kids have buzz cuts. Soda is called "pop."

Jen grew up here, and we're here to visit her family, set off a few firecrackers, and get our annual refresher course on how the Upper West Side differs from other parts of America.

And to celebrate, this and every July 4th, the values we all have in common and that we all hope to pass on to our children and our children's children.

So here's to Prophetstown. And, well, God bless America.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pookie is evil

We got Pookie three years ago because we had mice. We have no more mice. So from that point of view the "cat project" has been a success.

But in all other ways he is a failure.

He bites and scratches if you try to pick him up or pet him. He pees in the bathtub instead of the litter box. He has the personality of a rock--but one that bites and scratches you if you try to pick it up.

I told Jennifer that we should have Pookie declawed, but she reminded me that we live on the Upper West Side, where such things are punishable by death. If we were to even ask about it, we'd probably be blackballed for life from the vet.

I'm thinking of renting a car and taking Pookie over the border to a red state where such things are still done.