Real Moments of Genius


Dearest Readers,

Tonight I am sharing with you three imaginary plots (along with some casting!) for nonexistent made-for-TV holiday movie romances that I have dreamed up in my head.  I came up with them for no reason at all, except that it was fun and (I thought) a better way to discuss Fa-la-la-la Films and 25 Days of Movies for Christmas Movie Week than to just list a few of my favorites (ahem12MenofChristmasahem).

You wouldn’t know this if I wasn’t about to tell you, but in its original conception this post was to include Photoshopped movie posters.  But today…sigh…today I just don’t have the energy or the Photoshop skills (mostly the skills thing, to be frank) to make them.  You will have try to visualize these imaginary made-for-TV holiday movie romances based solely on my descriptions.

It will not be hard.  They are brilliant.



  • The 12 Puppies of Christmas – Up-and-coming Manhattan ad executive Piper (Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester) has no time for love, fun or puppies, until her eccentric Aunt Agnes drops her 12 dogs (of comically different sizes) on Piper’s doorstep before jetting off to Europe for the holiday.  Puppy-themed hijinks ensue:  Tacos the chihuahua puppy chews up her Laboutins and Martha the golden retriever eats the mock-up she did for work! Lucky for Piper, David (unknown actor who looks like Josh Duhamel but isn’t Josh Duhamel.  Or is that Josh Duhamel?  No, no, he just looks like him) is a handsome man who just moved in next door and happens to be a scruffy but kind-hearted vet who wears plaid and is all too happy to lend a helping hand.  Just when she starts warming up to the puppies, however, Rufus the bull mastiff tackles her boss (who is terrified of dogs) and now, Piper will have to pitch head to head with another, evil puppy-hating ad exec to win a super-huge client – on CHRISTMAS EVE no less!  Of course, with the help of David, Piper realizes that all this ad campaign needs is 12 puppies in Santa hats to win the day – and win it she does!  By the time Aunt Agnes returns from her holiday, Piper has learned all about the true meaning of Christmas: love (and puppies).

Roxie the bulldog puppy, who pees on the Christmas tree!

  • Christmas Eve in Jail – On her way to meet up with the man of her dreams on Christmas Eve, hapless but charming jewelry designer Drew (Melissa Joan Hart) is arrested after a mix-up at a gas station convenience store by sexy but stoic small-town cop Joe (Joseph Lawrence).  When it becomes clear to Drew that identity theft is the at the root of the mix-up, she tries to convince Joe to help her fix the problem.  Joe is only interested in getting to Boston by 9pm to pick up someone named Candy before “it’s too late.”   Madcap adventures ensue (and sparks fly!), as Drew accompanies Joe from the police station in rural Vermont to the big city and they encounter quirky character after quirky character (all with suspiciously Canadian accents).  In the end, Drew’s name is cleared (the man of her dreams, whom she met online, turns out to be an internet scammer – the one who stole her identify!) and Joe gets to Boston in time to pick up Candy (who is not, as Drew suspected, Joe’s girlfriend but actually his recently deceased father’s dog that was about to be shipped off to a kill shelter in Kentucky.)  In the cop car along the way, Drew and Joe overcome their initial dislike of each other and fall in love!

One thing we can all agree on: these two have chemistry that just won’t quit!  Also, in my movie it will be snowy.

  • The First Noel – Preston Blake Noel III (Scott Porter aka Jason Street from Friday Night Lights aka George Tucker from Hart of Dixie)  is guilted into returning home to his snooty family’s Connecticut mansion for the holiday season, after his grandfather (Preston Blake Noel I, played to perfection by Richard Gilmore) has a heart attack.  Preston III hasn’t had any contact with his grandfather or father since they disinherited him for failing to take over the family pharmaceutical empire and pursuing his dream of being a Doctor Without Borders and opening a small community healthy clinic in Queens instead.  Presiding over the holiday festivities are his crotchety, wheel-chair bound grandfather and his sassy live in nurse (played by Della Reese), as well as Preston III’s emotionally distant playboy father Preston Blake Noel II (Dan Scott from One Tree Hill).  Annabelle (Cheyanne from Reba) is a local interest reporter and single-mother to a precocious 7-year-old boy named Cayden; after being contacted by the press-hungry Preston II, she shows up to to do a story on The Noel Family: Three Generations of Success.  When she begins work on her story old family secrets and resentments are churned up, as well as a few new surprises.  Preston III begins to forgive his grandfather for the past as he learns what motivated the old man, even as he develops feelings for the tough (but vulnerable) Annabelle.  Though everyone is saddened by the tragic Christmas night death of Preston Blake Noel I, the incorrigible young Cayden gets his wish for a new dad after all, and we learn that nurse Della Reese has actually been an angel this whole time.  The end!

FACT: 15-years-ago Jonathan Lipnicki is the only actor qualified to play the role of Cayden.

15-years-ago Jonathan Lipnicki is watching you, imaginary cast of The First Noel.

I think we can all agree that I have found my calling in life (Photoshopping aside).  I am expecting the call from ABC Family Channel or Lifetime: Television for Women any day.


Wheaten Terrier Fever + Zefron with Beard


S’Wheat Rescue is the name of a wheaten terrier rescue organization based in Kansas City, MO.  The good news is that my sister lives within a couple hours of KC, MO so when the time comes for me to rescue my sweet, lovely Wesley Crusher the wheaten terrier from a puppy mill, I will probably make a road trip of it and see my sister too!

Also, did you know that wheaten terrier mixes are called Wheatables?  Wheatables!  Just like the crackers only so much more adorable than the crackers!!!  Consider the split screen:

Now, that puppy is a Basset Hound/ Wheaten Terrier Wheatable named Henson after Jim Henson because of his muppet-like appearance.  He makes me want to VOMIT he is so adorable.  Seriously, my stomach hurts just contemplating his cuteness.

GAAAA!!! I want him.  SO MUCH.  I have a puppy FEVER and the only cure is THIS PUPPY!!!!

Okay.  Breathe.  Moving on.

Does anyone else think Zac Efron looks pretty awesome with beard?

Charlie St. Beard

The NB Beardiness Scale (also, a wheaten terrier)


I present to you The NB Beardiness Scale, which you may want to use to plot barbigerous men on a scale from “Not At All Beardy” to “Too Beardy.”

I went back and forth about including “Weird Beardy” on the scale, because I think that not a lot of men have weird beards so much as weird facial hair like mustaches and sideburns- but I think anything facial hair that is weird or off-putting belongs on the scale as well, so on it goes.

Now, I culled through a lot of photographs of famous handsome men in various stages of beardiness before settling on Brad Pitt as my exemplar of the different levels.  He really is an exemplar in EVERY CATEGORY, whereas other men tended to excel in only a few categories (other men I considered included Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, George Clooney and oh….so many others…)

In case you were wondering, my personal beardiness preference lies somewhere between Hint of Beard and Quite Beardy on the scale (though I must admit Pitt sure looks good in the Not At All Beardy photo I chose of him.)

Please do not ask how long it took me to create that infographic; be assured that it was longer than I feel comfortable admitting to.

Also, this is a wheaten terrier in the snow:

On Bearded Men and Wheaten Terriers


At present my faithful readers number in the low dozens.  I would like to try to increase that number and I have devised a strategy that I think is certain to succeed.  It is:

Henceforth, I will post exclusively about Wheaten Terriers and Handsome Men with Beards.

Apart from the fact that I really do love wheaten terriers and handsome men with beards, my decision comes from solid logical reasoning and cold hard facts.

cold hard PUPPY facts!!!

See, I get a steady stream of readers ranging in number from 5 to 30 per day who read old posts that I have written.  According to my site statistics, which are pretty detailed, these far-flung mystery readers pretty much only read two posts: Wesley Crusher, the Wheaten Terrier which I wrote for Pretend Puppy Week back in August and Men with Beards which I wrote for Things That Happen in November Week back in November.

Seriously, those two months-old musings were my two most-viewed posts this week, with more total views than all of my brand new posts combined.  Strangers care more about seeing Jon Hamm with a beard and about the imaginary dog I invented to go along with the imaginary life in England with my imaginary husband Charlieissocoollike than my actual friends care about the rest of my thoughts on life.

Not that I blame anyone involved at all: Jon Hamm and Wesley Crusher the pretend wheaten terrier are more handsome/adorable than my thoughts on life are interesting.

Surely, then, the path to world-wide blogging fame lies with wheaten terriers and men with beards.  Probably I will only post about them for one week, unless the thing really takes off…which less face it, it probably will.

Welcome to Wheatens n’ Beards Week!

I am more proud to have made this than you will ever know.





So many things about today were pleasant, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Which is false –  it is actually quite easy to know where to begin since most of the pleasantness springs from one simple thing: THE WEATHER!

It has finally happened, friends.  The shift from that soul sucking end-of-summer lingering, yet unwanted hot/humid weather to that gorgeous, sparkling, joyous, crisp, cool, sunny fall stuff that I love so much.  I genuinely believe that my body and soul draw power from lovely autumnal weather much as Superman draws his strength from the sun.

Because of the weather, I had a lovely time working the farmer’s market this morning despite dismal sales.  I saw about ten kagillion of my students there since I do the market in the town where I work.  Oftentimes I do not enjoy seeing students outside of school, but in this case I was expecting it, plus they were getting their faces painted and enjoying themselves so much that I was pretty okay with it.

At the farmer’s market I also got a hot dog, a dough boy, and (free) cotton candy.  Score.

Plus, I saw one of the cutest, sweetest, smartest, nicest students I have (and probably will ever have) holding cotton candy and smiling and petting the cutest dog ever (black lab/border collie mix, holy crap!).  At one point he knelt down on the ground so the dog could lick his face, which made him giggle.  CUTEST THING EVER.

it was cuter than this bunny. maybe not.

And I got to drive the farm’s behemoth of a van to the market today.  I tell you what – if you’ve never driven a vehicle roughly comparable in size to a small U-Haul or a Hummer, you should.  You feel powerful and important and when the van goes over rolling bumps in the road, it bounces up and down in the most carnival-ride-esque way.

After I got home and took an accidental nap for two hours, I took a nice brisk walk to Thayer Street and bought a chai and walked around looking at all the happy people in their fall clothes.

I arrived home to discover that both Alex Day AND Charlie McDonnell posted new Youtube videos today, even though my Youtube subscription box said no such thing.  Delightful!

And finally, I learned from Twitter that young adult author and major life-inspiration  John Green’s first car was a blue 1991 Volvo 240 (while mine was a 1990 but otherwise the same).  He saw one, apparently, and almost wept, which is still my reaction to old blue Volvos.  I cannot even tell the story about when I traded it in because I get choked up.  There are tears in my eyes right now as I type about it, in fact, but I nonetheless like discovering things that I have in common with John Green.

Lynette the Volvo - gone but not forgotten.

I now intend to clean my kitchen, make Kraft Spirals for dinner, read my Martha Stewart LIVING October issue and probably watch something fantastically fall-ish, like When Harry Met Sally or Little Women or Robin Hood (all of which span seasons yet have a distinctly autumnal quality that makes for the best watching during this time of year).

Really, the pleasantness of the day is out of control.

Meanwhile, suggestions for next week’s theme?  Leave them for me, please, because I have a couple I am saving up but am not sure that I want to start them tomorrow!

The Doctor, a mutt


This is my completely pretend puppy The Doctor, who is a mutt that I adopted from the local animal shelter.  He is named The Doctor because I love Doctor Who, but Dalek Puppy seemed like too silly a name for any dog.

If I didn't currently live above a dentist's office, I'd adopt him today.

In the life where The Doctor is my puppy, I live on the East Side of Providence.  I work as an elementary school library media specialist.  In my spare time I watch too much streaming TV on Netflix, read young adult books, grow my own vegetables and otherwise start a variety of fun and creative projects that remain in various stages of completion (mostly leaning heavily on the side of “incomplete”).

It is a pretty nice life, I suppose, and quite similar to the one I currently lead except that in this life I don’t live above a dentist’s office and I can afford to have a puppy.

Also, Andria’s pretend puppy story, plus one of the greatest puppy pictures I’ve ever seen that she sent to go along with it:

My dog, Nigel, is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who is descended from the same line as the Queen of England. That means he is aristocratic, and a bit of an asshole, but he loves me exclusively. We divide our time between my country estate where I pen novels, essays and articles about profound things and silly things that I make seem profound; and our London estate where I stay when I have to take a lot of meetings with my editor and during the theatre/ ballet season.

**And when I say my dog is descended from the Queen of England, I mean descended from her dogs, not herself.

it's a dog...riding a horse!

Also, Ewok Puppy!!!!!

this puppy is pretending to be an ewok

I feel like I didn’t get to half of what I wanted to talk about during Pretend Puppy Week, having focused so fully on my own personal pretend puppies instead of all the other kinds of pretend puppies out in the world (I’m talking about you, Chinese panda puppies!).  The upshot of that is that you can someday expect Pretend Puppy Week 2: More Pretend Puppies!  I’ll save that week for later though, as I am currently looking forward to Covers Week, which starts tomorrow.

Wesley Crusher, the Wheaten Terrier Puppy


This is my completely pretend wheaten terrier puppy Wesley Crusher, so named because the “Wheaten” in wheaten terrier makes me think of Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and I think it will be adorable to call this obviously very intimidating little fella “Crusher” for short.

get 'em Crusher!

In the life where Wesley Crusher is my puppy, I live in London, England and I am married to British Youtube sensation Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike on the Youtube).  Don’t be fooled by his picture, guys – he’s not a teenager, but is in fact fully 20 years old and completely within range for me to marry and have it not be altogether that weird.  What makes it weird is that I’ve never met him or anything, but then we’ve all got our celeb (sort of) crushes, haven’t we?


Since I already used up my career as a successful young adult writer in my life with Robin Hood the Shiba Inu puppy, I think in my life with Crusher I’ll just do projects, generally, and somehow make a living off that.  I’ll make Youtube videos and nerdy graphic t-shirt designs (after I get someone to teach me Illustrator*) and freelance blog writing and of course, music with the band “Bowties Are Cool”, the folk-singing cover / Doctor Who tribute band that I belong to with my sister Tessa, in which I play banjo.

Meanwhile, thanks Jenna, for sharing your pretend puppy story! You are the only one this week to do it, so I’ll re-post it here with a picture of a dog that I picked out to go with it, which hopefully you like:

“My pretend puppy is Donald, the Dandy Dinmont Terrier. In the life where I own this puppy, I live in a farmhouse in Provence, France. The house is pre-1800s, and Donald is great at catching any vermin that find their way in. We make our own cheese, and are working on our own wines.”

jenna's pretend puppy donald, the dandy dinmont terrier

Seriously excellent pretend puppy story.

*Actually, I am looking for Adobe Illustrator lessons maybe.  I think I could learn out of a book, but I’d love to get a couple sessions in with someone knowledgeable.