I'm back at home with my special medal from the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, feeling very honored and more than a little bemused.

It was a wonderful event, and a wonderful afternoon. My friend, Philadelphia Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey, asked me all kinds of funny questions, including her own version of the "Inside the Actors Studio" quiz that featured such Jen-specific gems such as "Pampers or Huggies?" and "Pat's or Geno's?" It was a great audience, and my mother was as good a sport as ever.

I just can't get over that I was actually chosen to get this award. Previous recipients include the likes of Ed Rendell, Julius Erving, former heads of the Art Museum and all kinds of other Philadelphia notables.

It really got me thinking about what's special about Philadelphia, and why I like it here so much. In addition to the fabulous restaurants, independent movie theaters, parks, museums, coffee shops, dog parks and quirky ice cream parlors, the thing I love best about Philadelphia these days is that people here seem, for the most part, really happy and excited about a local girl making good, and about seeing our town between covers, and on the big screen.

I've written about how weird it can be to think that I'm walking around with people actually knowing who I am. I don't think I've talked enough about how nice it is when a perfect stranger comes up to me in a restaurant or in the Reading Terminal Market to say "congratulations," or, "I really like your books."

I feel lucky to live here.


Jen