Book I'm loving now: The Village Bride of Beverly Hills. I picked up an autographed copy at Dutton's in L.A. and it's completely engrossing -- the perfect balance of fairy tale (movie-star friends!) and real life drama (interfering in-laws!) Better yet, it's the author's second book, which means I can run out and pick up her first.

Website I'm loving now: Veiled Conceit, a catty dissection of my favorite Sunday-morning treat, the New York Times' wedding section. I love it even though my wedding was listed, which means, I guess, that I'm one of the superficial, pretentious, pseudo-aristocrats the site's set up to mock. I maintain that we did it less out of snobbery or entitlement (or even a selfish desire on my part to get some freakin' credit for graduating summa cum laude), but as a form of guerrilla marketing. By the time I was wed GOOD IN BED had been out for six months and it had become clear that the Times was never going to review it; thus, the wedding announcement became a backdoor way to get the paper of record to publish the novel's title, plot and publisher. (Little did I know the real secret of getting the Times to sit up and take notice: anal sex!)

And, as bitchy as Veiled Conceit gets, it's never going to be as bad as one of the Hartford/Springfield radio stations was in the mid-1980's. Every Monday the DJs would go through the Hartford Courant's wedding announcements and pick the ugliest bride, who'd return from her honeymoon to find a case of Alpo waiting. Horrible. Also a major disincentive for me to return to the land of my childhood for my nuptials.

Seasonal danger I'm worried about now: Lucy freaking out on Halloween. We went to a one-year-old birthday party last weekend where a life-size Cookie Monster was present. The Lu did not react well.

"MONSIE!" she screamed.

"But he's a nice monster!" I said.

"MONSIE! MONSIE! NOOOOOOO!"

She wept and shrieked and sat on my lap, clutching me, refusing to so much as glance in the monster's direction, let alone be enticed by the strains of "The Hokey Pokey." When Cookie Monster tried to present her with a little balloon doggie, she sobbed and screamed some more, until finally it was time for the Cookie Monster to go, at which point she dried her tears, beamed, waved, and said, "Bye-bye, Monsie!" like he was her new best friend.

I have a feeling this might not bode well for the costume parade in our little park on Sunday.

In other Lucy news, she can now say her name.

"What's your name?" I will ask her, and she'll beam and say "OOO-SEE!"

Close enough.


Jen