I remember being about eleven years old and moving to a new house in Beverly Hills one summer. My parents bought me a brand new shiny orange bicycle and told me to ride around each day and meet new kids in the neighborhood. Well, I rode around ALL summer and never saw any kids playing out on the streets in front of their big houses. I had a dog named Loopy and then a dog named Callah. My dogs and my two younger brothers were always my best friends.
My mother and father both worked all the time but they spent as much time with me as they could. Sometimes, though, it didn’t feel like enough. My father was a doctor and was always dashing to the hospital to keep people from dying. I was proud of him, especially the times he took me with him to the hospital and I got to hear the nurses talking about how he always saved peoples’ lives. But, I still missed him and wanted him to be with me more. My mother worked at her very own business. I was proud of her too but also had to share her with my brothers. I wanted more of her attention than I even knew how to ask for.
Both my parents taught me to love nature. To see beauty in the sky, plants, trees, ocean, and every other part of the world. My mother cooked for us as much as she could. Growing up she made egg rolls for us once a week. I loved those. She once tried to bake my birthday cake but it came out as two hard, stiff layers as thin as pancakes.
When I became a mom, I decided I was always going to bake Philip and Emmie’s birthday cakes. Here’s why: when I was in college I was far away from home. Over one of my birthdays I was staying a friend’s house and the morning of my birthday, my friend’s mother came into my room (early in the morning) with a homemade birthday cake. It was the kindest most heartfelt gift anyone had ever given me. I promised right then that I would learn how to make a simple, yummy birthday cake and give them to my children and friends as much as I could. I also learned that doing something for someone else is the best way to make yourself feel good on the inside.
Here’s a few more things you may want to know about me:
1. I love hot, spicy Mexican food.
2. Each year I ask Philip and Emmie to give me the same present. “Turn off the lights to help save the earth.” Lights use energy and the making of the energy can make the world hotter and dirtier. So, if you ever leave a room, please remember to flick off the lights.
3. I like shopping, sometimes, mostly for plants, sweaters, and shoes.
4. If I am going somewhere fancy the one thing I’ll do is get a pedicure.
5. When I was growing up the only job I ever wanted was to be an author. For a long time I didn’t know how to be one, though. I worked in politics, mostly what I did was help people get elected to be things like Mayor, Governor, Congressman or Senator. When Philip and Emmie were in school I finally decided I wanted to show them that you can do whatever you dream about if you don’t give up on the dream so I wrote and re-wrote Lulu in La La Land.
6. Having a few very good friends is important. I have a wonderful, kind, smart friend named Ashley Palmer. Without her help, I could not have started to write and kept writing Lulu. Two other close friends, Rachel Weber and Virginia Beutner, read early drafts of Lulu and gave me confidence. My college roommate and great buddy, Seana Wood, helped me with research and did one more very important thing: always made me laugh. If she’d ever call me during times I was supposed to be writing, she’d make me giggle and remind me how good it was to have friends.
7. I went to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. I spent lots of time there wishing I could be a better writer.
8. Here are the places I love to be Cambria, California and Kennebunk Beach, Maine.
9. If I could be anyone in the world, I would want to be: ME.