Karen Quinn's Blog
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Wife in the Fast Lane:

The Ivy Chronicles:

Interview marred by boiling water fiasco 

Remind me never to agree to do anything before noon on a Sunday. I don't know what I was thinking, agreeing to a 7:30 a.m. radio interview. After a few glasses of wine, I went to sleep about 1 a.m., then set the alarm for 7. Mark has fallen asleep on the couch after going to Smoke for jazz so I woke him as I made my coffee. I'm a Melita devotee, so I was making my individual cup, pouring the boiling water into the cone on top of the mug. The cone slipped and boiling water and coffee grains spilled all over me, the counter top, the floor, the rug, into the drawers - everywhere. As I'm screaming, the phone rings and it's the radio station calling to see if I'm ready for the interview. I ran to the office, covered in coffee, got on the phone and waited for for my moment. At this point, I'm scrambling to review my notes, which I had planned to do over a quiet cup of coffee (the one I spilled). Mark cleaned up my mess, then stuck his head in the door, and asked me if I still took my coffee with half milk and two sweet and lows. Whoa! He noticed how I take my coffee? We have been together 27 years, but still, I didn't think he knew how I took my coffee. He's never made it for me or anything. So, for the first time in our married life, Mark made me a cup of coffee and brought it to me. Very sweet indeed. Before I knew it, the interviewer was talking to me. It was weird because he asked me one question, then didn't say anything else. It was like one of those stress job interviews you always hear about (but never actually have) where the guy doesn't say a word and you have to do all the talking. At one point I said to him, are you still there? He said he was. But I rambled on like an idiot because he didn't ask me anything. What was I supposed to do? Eventually he started asking me questions. I think he must have been multi-tasking at the beginning of the interview and then he forgot I was on line. Anyway, next time I'll be way more prepared. And hopefully I won't have just scalded myself with boiling water right before going on. As Mark would say, not a good story.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Goodbye Sam 

We just learned that our friend, Sam (Samantha) Rabin, died. Her daughter, Chopin, called to tell me. I was so shocked because Sam was only 54 years old. Sam was one of the most vital, animated women I knew. She was taking drugs for a few different maladies she had and they interacted badly, causing cardiac arrest. She died in her sleep, completely unexpectedly. That's how we all say we want to die, but not at 54! I feel so terrible about it. The thing that made her so special was her incredible enthusiasm for everything. She loved to go out and party. She laughed all the time. And she was so proud of her kids. When I think of her, she's so alive. We had invited her to our party last weekend not knowing what had happened. I'll miss her tremendously :(

Yesterday, I had lunch with the publisher of my paperback, Trina Keating, and her head of marketing, Marie Coolman. These are two lovely, accomplished women. The Ivy Chronicles is selling very well in paperback, which I'm really excited about. I'm going to do a bunch of radio interviews over the next few days, which should be cool. Tomorrow, I have to get up for a 7:30 a.m. (Sunday morning) interview. That I dread. Who is up at 7:30 on a Sunday morning? Certainly not me. But there must be a bunch of early birds out there who (hopefully) listen to the radio while they read their Sunday paper.

The book party last weekend was great. I wanted to post pictures but I couldn't download them properly. I'll get Schuyler to help me when she returns from St. Barts. There was a wonderful band playing, made up of some of the talented jazz musicians that Mark knows. Later in the evening, as people got drunker, we were treated to songs from some of the world's jazz greats including a gentleman who used to sing with Miles Davis. Our friend, Mary, made the most amazing cake for me - it was a cheese cake, and the top was made of white chocolate - it was an exact replica of my book. We preserved that part of the cake and froze it. Now, when people come over, we show it to them. I couldn't bear to eat it. You'll see it when I figure out how to post my pictures.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Home from Denver 

The flight back from Denver yesterday was harrowing. There were 50 mph winds, so I felt like I was riding on a roller coaster as we descended into NY. I gripped the armrest and prayed until we landed. The reason for the trip was to promote The Ivy Chronicles in Denver. All went well. I spoke at three events, went on two local morning news shows, and was written up in the paper. Of course, I stayed with mom, which was great. I like doing these local news shows. Well, "like" might be too generous a term. They are instructive. They are good practice before my Today Show appearance. I have no plans at this time to appear on the Today Show, but I'm hoping that will change soon. My very fabulous publicist is working on it. On the second appearance in Denver, I wore my new blue jacket from Saks. My brother told me I looked like I weighed 300 pounds in it. He was trying to be helpful. He also pointed out that TV made my already deep frown line look even deeper and suggested that I get some botox. He really is a good brother, I swear it.

Tomorrow, Schuyler is going on her annual St. Bart's trip with her good friend, Rachel. She goes with Rachel to St. Bart's every year. Lucky kid! Rachel's parents rent a house with a pool and it's all very glamorous. We'll be staying in New York to enjoy the frigid temperatures. Meanwhile, we're having a big soiree tomorrow night. There will be a band, food, cocktails. We invited everyone we knew and a few people we don't know but would like to know. Our acceptances were higher than usual and I'm just hoping there's enough food and room in the house for 75 people. It should be fun. We do a big party like that every year. Why? Tradition!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The man from Sri Lanka 

Mark and I just went to Crate and Barrel to buy some shelves for our kids' bathroom. The box for the shelves was well over six feet tall, but thin. I lobbied for having it delivered. My general rule of thumb is never to try to carry anything bigger than my husband home without professional help. Mark thought we could squeeze it into a cab. Even though it was snowing, we managed to hail a taxi. No matter how we positioned it, however, we couldn't get the box to fit inside. We were so screwed. Mark said, "what we need is a pick up truck." Yeah! Right! A pick up truck in Manhattan. Just as he said it, along came a pick up truck hauling one of those food carts, the kind that sells pretzels or falafels. Mark hailed the guy and asked him if he'd mind giving us and our box a ride to where we lived. The man said, sure, why not? Mark and the guy managed to stuff the box into the bed of the truck. Since Mark was going uptown and we live downtown, he expected me to get in this truck and let this stranger take me and the box home. I told him that under no circumstances would I get into a truck with a stranger. Just because he has a food cart doesn't mean he's not dangerous. Mark reluctantly said he'd ride with me. Sadly, my husband is not from the old school when it comes to being a gentleman. It turned out that my fears were unfounded and the guy was very nice. He was from Sri Lanka. I asked him if he knew Khanti, a former babysitter we had, who was also from Sri Lanka. But he didn't. It's a big country. It turns out, he makes wonderful vegetarian food which he sells from his cart at Washington Square Park (near 4th Street). People come from all over to eat from his cart. We plan to go there ourselves. You should too, because he's so nice and he makes everything from scratch. When we arrived at our house, he helped us out with the box and refused to take any money for driving us. Isn't that something? Never let it be said that there aren't good samaritans in New York City. I felt bad for thinking for even a minute that he could be an ax murderer. But, of course, you can't be too careful. I've watched enough episodes of Law and Order to know that girls who go off with strangers usually wind up regretting it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Restaurant scandals 

I meant to post my holiday letter on my blog, but I didn't have a chance. So I wanted to attach the holiday photo of the kids I sent people. This was taken in Boulder last December. Sam and Schuyler visiting my alma mater - the University of Colorado.

Mark and I went for Mexican food last weekend. Sam wasn't with us so we were able to try a new restaurant. Sam insists on only going to restaurants he's been to in the past. That leaves us with Angelos and Maxis (which Mark won't go to - too expensive and they serve meat), and Patsy's (which I don't like - no meat dishes). So, when Sam's not with us, we can try a new restaurant. We went to Rosa Mexicana's which is the new place that took over America (18th between 5th and Broadway). They put a fortune into renovating the place - it's quite beautiful now. Anyway, as soon as we sat down, we could see this was no ordinary Mexican restaurant. We would not get out of there for less than $100. Okay, fine. If the food is great, why not? Of course, we had to order the signature guacamole which they make at your table - customized to your taste. Medium spice. No onions - Mark hates them, although I like them. Oh well. It's tough for my family to go out to eat together. We all have such different tastes in food. They prepared the special guac for us - very dramatically, I might add. And then, they served us the chips. I was scandalized - the chips came right out of a bag. A BAG! At a restaurant that charges $100+ for their meals. From that moment on, I couldn't enjoy anything I ate. It would be like a fancy Italian restaurant serving Chef Boy Ardee spagetti from a can. It was a scandal I tell you. Anyway, the meal cost $120 and I'll NEVER go back there again. The next night I insisted we try a different Mexican place. An old one that's been around forever. I had memories of really enjoying their chips a few years ago, even ordering seconds. Well guess what? Not tonight, sister. They served chips right out of a bag. What is happening? I may never have Mexican food in this town again.

Meanwhile, I had breakfast with Tracey Jackson yesterday. She is writing the screenplay for The Ivy Chronicles and she wanted to give me the latest draft. I really do like her. We met at the Coffeeshop, which is a local place that we always go to. I like it because it's cheap and the food is really good. The only problem is that every woman who works there is a 6' tall model with attitude. There were two of us and we really wanted to talk privately (plus I was carrying several bags). We asked if we could have a booth. The tall waitress with the mohawk and multiple piercings told us no, she had to save those for bigger parties. Tracey challenged her: 1) There were 4 open booths, 2) it was 9:30 and surely they weren't getting a lot more big parties for breaksfast, 3) there were two other booths where only two people were eating. No, she bitchily refused to give us a booth and stuck us at a tiny table for two, where my packages were tripping everyone who walked by. Tracey was pissed, as was I. I mentioned that I noticed the owner sitting across the room. Maybe I should go talk to him and see if I could pull strings for a booth. Really, I was just showing off that I knew the owner. I didn't mean that I would actually do that. Tracey said, yea! do it! do it! Oy vey! NOT what I feel comfortable doing. But I didn't want to look like a woos in front of my new friend and screenwriter. So I walked over to Eric and asked for a booth (interrupting his conversation and feeling very rude). He looked around and didn't seem to want to give us a booth either (I guess the no booth for two policy comes down from him). He ended up giving us a booth for two (not much bigger than our previous stamp sized table). In the end, I felt silly trying to pull strings at the Coffeeshop and not even getting us a great table. If I'd been someone more important, I'm sure we would have gotten a better table. I just hate that a restaurant can make me feel so insecure. We've decided to find a new place for breakfast, maybe the W Hotel. We may have to pay more, but we'll be treated nicely.

I"m not having good restaurant Karma this week.

my local TV debut 

I've been doing a bit of PR for the paperback of Ivy Chronicles. Yesterday, I was interviewed by Cindy Tsu from CBS news at noon. It was very cool because I got to see the news being shot from right inside the newsroom. I felt like a kid on a field trip. Boy, those newscasters are professional. They're reading from teleprompters, but still. They don't trip over words, say "um," or "absolutely" too many times, which is what yours truly did. Everyone told me I looked good, but believe me, I looked like I needed a face lift. You probably think I'm obsessed over face lifts and, yes, I am. That's what turning fifty does to you.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm Still Here 

Lest you think I fell off the face of the earth, let me assure you, I am still here. These last few weeks have been a nonstop schlep-o-rama. Getting ready for the holidays. Experiencing the holidays. Recovering from the holidays. Then Mark and I went to Grand Cayman. No complaints about that. Then I attended a Publicity Summit where I learned how to pitch the media (hint: fast and to the point). I'm hoping it will lead to some press about The Ivy Chronicles which has just been released in paperback here in the U.S. On my return, Wife in the Fast Lane was waiting for me for one final edit, which I did. I feel like I'm the living embodiment of a wife in the fast lane. Tonight I had a break - Schuyler is at a teen club. Sam is in his room as usual (doing God knows what). Mark has gone to a track meet. Dateline NBC is running one of those specials on predetors who prey on small children via the internet and I just can't bear to watch it. I think I'll go pour myself a glass of Conundrum. Ahhhhhhhh!

By the way, I realized this week that I really am getting old. It used to be I'd visit my friends to see their first babies. Now I'm visiting my friends to see their first facelifts. That's what I did this week. The first of my friends took the plunge. Even with the swelling, she looks amazing. Plus, she lost weight as she recovered from the surgery so she looks doubly amazing. I definitely want to get one of those as soon as I can afford it. Sadly, that should be a while. She said it cost $25,000 all in. Gulp. I wonder how Sam would feel about going to public school next year?

Friday, February 03, 2006

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