Squawk Radio

Monday, February 27, 2006


After I staggered away from the Distribution Center drunk on cake, food and glory (see blog below), I went to Tudor Bookstore, a lovely independent bookstore, for an autographing the day before Valentine’s Day. Lynn Gonchar gave me a wonderful welcome, and I sold books to ladies who were buying for their friends as gifts, and chatted with one who had just delivered her husband to the airport for his second stint in Iraq and came to the bookstore for lunch, books and comfort.

That evening I signed at Wal-mart. A Wal-mart signing always surprises the shoppers; they come in to buy toilet paper and find an author autographing books. Sometimes it takes a lot of talking to convince people that, yes, I wrote the book. But Wal-mart is the largest bookseller in America and the night before Valentine’s Day, that store was busy and full of people who needed Valentine’s Day gifts. That was a very good signing. By the time I got to the hotel, it was about 8:30 and I hadn’t eaten since noon. I ordered dinner from the restaurant downstairs and went up to my room … and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally about 9:15 I called down and asked about it, and they said they were bringing it up.

Here’s my theory. Room service got it from the restaurant and didn't get around to delivering it right away, so they had to microwave it. It was lamb chops, very well-done lamb chops, which made it mutton-y, and — wait for it! — they didn’t bring up a steak knife so I could cut it. Did I call down for a steak knife? Nooo. Picture Christina alone in her room, looking like Henry VIII, eating with her fingers and tossing the bones over her shoulder.

Okay, I didn’t really toss the bones over my shoulder, but I wanted to.

On Valentine’s Day I traveled to Philadelphia to my daughter’s. She’s in law school at UPenn, and she called the week before and asked me out for Valentine’s Day. She’s a nice girl. Since I was far from Scott and she’s currently unattached, so we had the perfect date — good food, good wine and incredibly witty conversation. At least we thought so.

The next day I was interviewed on the Morning Show on WCAU-TV CHANNEL 10 (NBC). Here’s something I now know about myself. Public speaking may petrify me, but television is a breeze. Well, really. Think about it. Two very good-looking people are focusing all their attention on me and asking me about myself. What’s not to like? My daughter said I did a great job. I’ve seen the interview (and was trying to get a photo off the video to show you, but haven’t been able to yet. Later!) and you know what? She’s right! Best of all, the next day my daughter and I indulged in a manicure — and the manicurist recognized me from the interview! I mean, yes, I know that people actually watch TV, but I’ve never had someone flutter over me!

Sunday, I flew home to Washington, twelve grueling hours of flying. Ten days away is a long, long time, especially when it involves me being pleasant for more than one day in a row. I can barely work up pleasant for more than one hour in a row. (Shaddup, Teresa.)

I had five days at home where I rushed around trying to finish all the stuff I had neglected while I was out signing books and eating lamb chops with my fingers, then I drove to Seattle. I finished the tour with two last, magnificent Barnes and Noble booksignings filled with really wonderful fans, including our own Lacey, and the chance to visit with a few friends — I ate meals with Jill Barnett and Kristin Hannah, and Julia Quinn came to the very last signing.

When I got home yesterday, I kissed the floor.

Not true. I kissed Scott. Thank you to everyone who came to an autographing. I treasure your kindness. And in the end, I'd rather have great signings and crummy hotels with armpit food than the other way around. My ego is puffed, my waist is slimmed, and I’m ready to write.

I can’t remember who said it, but there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
Christina Dodd, 7:33 PM