Greetings from Los Angeles!

I'm in the home stretch now -- fourteen cities down, one city to go. The book tour's been wonderful and exhausting and has, so far, included only one car accident (my author escort got rear-ended on the 101 last night by a guy with expired insurance) and only one clothing emergency (Lucy soaked through her diaper and pants between Miami and Chicago, and I had to wheel her from the gate to baggage claim wearing just her little shoes, little shirt, and a diaper.)

The readings have been terrific, with great, funny crowds and all kinds of interesting questions. My favorite so far: Is Jennifer Weiner really your name, or is it a pen name?

"Excuse me?"

The woman asked it again, and I explained that yes, Jennifer Weiner is, alas, my actual name.

"Besides, if I was going to pick a pen name, wouldn't I go for, you know, an improvement? Or at least something alphabetically advantageous, like Alice Adams, so my books would get shelved at eye level instead of ankle level?"

Weird.

I was complaining about it to my husband. "What name would Jennifer Weiner be an improvement on?"

He thought it over. "Doodle von Taintstain?"

True that.

The readings have been great, the hotels have been lovely, my mother and my sister are having a ball with Lucy.

But travelling with a seventeen-month-old ain't easy.

For starters, there's the whole concept of personal space, which is eluding Lucy thus far. You can't explain to a toddler that she shouldn't, for instance, grab the newspaper away from the guy in the next seat on the airplane, pat his forearm and give him a very emphatic "Hi!"

Or how it's not cool to fling her sippy cup, board book, stuffed shark and Mom's wallet into the aisle, or onto the floor, or onto her neighbor's lap.

So far, of all the books and toys I packed and all of the diversionary tactics I've tried, the only thing that will keep her amused on the airplane is when I pretend to vomit into the airsickness bag.

God help her, she's got her mommy's sense of humor.

Meanwhile, I'm coping with the grief of once again being passed over for both the Macarthur genius grant AND the National Book Award (and I thought I really had a shot this year).

Hope to see you tonight at the Marina Rinaldi store in Costa Mesa or Friday or Monday in San Francisco!

Jen