Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gatlinburg Girls Gone Wild

Okay...so it wasn't exactly "Girls Gone Wild." Not even remotely. But it did turn out to be a wonderful gift to ourselves.

Last weekend, six friends who'd known each other for 30+ years set out to enjoy a Girls Weekend together. One came from Los Angeles, one from Knoxville, and four from Dayton...and they all trekked to a beautiful cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains.

People always talk about doing such things. But too few people actually DO it. I know I would've just continued to talk about "how fun that would be," if not for our kickass, organized friend Kathy—who made it happen. About four days after we first discussed it, Kathy sent us links to various cabins and prices. I'm proud of us all for saying yes and following through.

It was easy. And it was so, so FUN. And it was an important reminder of how much good friends feed our spirits and how inspiring it is to keep those connections strong.

We laughed so much, even on the road trip. One of my favorite moments was when I banged on a rest stop stall door thinking one of my friends was still inside, saying, "Hurry up! We need more pictures!"...only to discover it was a total, terrified stranger. We apologized (and the woman had a great sense of humor, thank goodness), but outside we were laughing so hard another stranger said, "I don't know where you ladies are heading, but if you're having this much fun HERE, I don't think it matters!"

Amen to that.

We talked, we ate, we had a religious experience involving a divine concoction known as bleu cheese grits, we hiked the Rainbow Falls

Trail (even eating smoked salmon and Melba toast as a picnic—how civilized is that?), we ate, we talked, we consumed copious amounts of coffee, we laughed until our ribs ached.

Our "wild" weekend translated to: in our jammies by 10 PM each night, falling asleep on couches, running out of coffee but re-packing many un-opened bottles of wine to take home, the police actually making some arrests in our cabin compound...but not of any of us. My oh my, how times have changed...but for the better!

My wish for you is that if there are friends you've known for decades that you'd love to spend a weekend with—make it happen! Consider it your holiday gift to yourself. People and memories are worth so much more than anything that needs a gift bag, anyway!

Give the Gift of Books!

Doing Your Holiday Shopping?

One of my favorite sayings is: "A book is a present you can open again and again." It's so, so true. If you're looking for book ideas to give as gifts, please check out my October blog, "National Reading Group Month" for a list of books I loved this summer and highly recommend.

The only thing better than receiving a book as a gift is receiving a book that is personalized to you and signed by the author.

So…if you're considering buying one of my books as a gift, not only would I be eternally grateful, but I'd happily personalize it for you, AND I'll pay the shipping to return the personalized book to you (anywhere in the United States).

Here's all you have to do:

1.) Buy whatever copies of my novels you desire. (Available online or in stores—please patronize your local independent booksellers!)

2.) E-mail me at katrinakittle (at) gmail.com and I'll give you an address and shipping suggestions.

3.) Send the book to me anytime between now and December 17, with instructions on how to sign and personalize your gift books. (Are you buying it for an animal lover, for instance? Or a writer? I'm happy to make the inscription very specific to your friends or family members).

4.) Relax, sip a latte...and wait for my return package in a day or two. :-)

The first 5 people to respond will also receive a snappy Harper Perennial tote bag with a quote from The Blessings of the Animals on it!

If you're in the Dayton area and don't wish to bother with shipping, please drop by New & Old Pages Bookshoppe on Saturday, December 4th. Fellow author Kristina McBride and I will be there from 1-3 PM signing books, reading, and longing for your company!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Culinary Cat

I have a very odd cat. I know that. Joey has anxiety issues and takes daily doses of valium. He has a jelly belly that swings from side-to-side when he runs.

And he loves a spatula.

That’s right. My cat’s new favorite toy is a spatula.

I discovered this one morning when I rolled over and discovered a spatula in bed next to me. Just a simple, flat spatula. How did it get in my bed from the canister it usually lives in beside my stove? Unless I had taken up sleepwalking (and it is true that I love to cook) the only culprit could be my cat.

I washed the spatula, replaced it in its canister...then forgot all about it. Until it happened again two days later.

I’m a light sleeper. I’ve always been an insomniac. It amazed me that I didn’t HEAR this happen. I was especially astounded when one morning I rolled over on the whisk instead of the spatula. What the heck? He really took the whisk from the canister, got it from the counter top to the kitchen floor, then all the way into the bedroom without me hearing a sound?

He only chose the whisk once, though. And one time only he brought the carrot grater (which he must have taken from the dish drainer). Every other time—about nine times that I've counted—it’s been the spatula.

I’ve never yet seen him do it, but I’ll come home and find the spatula on the couch...or in the bathtub...or under the table.

I finally decided—why not let him have it? I drew a little cat face on the spatula with Sharpie. This would be his, and I’d use another one for actual cooking. He carries the spatula from room to room. He doesn’t actually play with it, but he seems to like it near him—he naps with it, sometimes even holding it like a doll while he sleeps.

I figure, who am I to judge? I’m all about tolerance.

But I documented all of this on Facebook. One morning my FB status was “Katrina Kittle finally gave up and is letting the cat keep the spatula as a toy,” and later that day I attended the fun and rowdy No Name Book Club. As a thank you gift, they gave me a lovely bottle of wine...and a new spatula.

That, my friends, is social media at its finest!