Paul Rudd -- Sexiest Man Alive...

I'm not going to lie, I can get behind this year's sexiest man. Paul Rudd has been quietly entertaining us for years without taking credit for the star that he is. I mean, he's charming, he's funny and he seems pretty humble for a movie star.


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Just so you know how low-brow my humor is, my favorite Paul Rudd movie is "Role Models." After growing up and living in Silicon Valley, the larping and Cosplay scenes make me laugh out loud. But it's also a movie with heart. And let's not forget, Paul Rudd played the modern-day Mr. Knightley in "Clueless." I'm not the biggest "Emma" fan, but I love this version. So after a few years in the wilderness, I think People Magazine got it right this year. Don't get me started on Blake Shelton please.


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We needed this, I think. Paul Rudd makes us happy. He's basically the Fred Astaire of Covid. While Hollywood is busy making dystopian movies (because we NEED more depressing things in our lives right now?) Paul Rudd is reminding us that all is not lost. We can laugh and find joy in the little moments.


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Awkward Author Social Interactions...

My author friend Sibella moved to Arizona recently and we met up to shop for vintage furniture. I told her every time authors get out socially, an angel gets their wings. Let's face it, writers live in their heads most of the time.

So I need to preface this next story with some backstory. Before my dog Fiona crossed the rainbow bridge, she had Cushing's and attacked easily. So she was no longer social and I didn't trust her with new people or dogs other than Oogie. (Because Fiona looked at Oogie like a big oaf who is unworthy of her attention.) During the end days for Fiona, new neighbors moved in across the street. I hadn't gone over there to welcome them because they had a dog and I didn't want Fiona to attack. But when I left the house without my dog, all she did was bark and hearing her stressed me out. So I didn't go in a timely manner, and it only got weirder.

Then, after Fiona did pass on, I couldn't really talk to people without bursting into tears--so I thought, I'll wait on introducing myself until I can be a normal human being. But is that even possible? Everything made me think of the dog because we were inseparable. Example: Today I got the hairdryer out and I never dry my hair. I only used it on Fiona. So I got all weepy drying my hair.

Back to my latest weird awkward author social interaction. Yesterday, my son installed misters on the front porch because Arizona is freaking hot. (He created this quaint little luxury spa on my porch and it is awesome!) But while he was doing this, my new neighbor came out and looked like she needed help with some furniture. So I thought, now I can go meet her without blubbering like an idiot over her dog. Perfect. So I walked across the street and I introduced myself and apologized for not coming sooner because of my dog. We vibed and I thought everything went well until Jonah crossed the street and shook his head.

"Way to be awkward, Mom."
"What?"
"Hi, I'm Kristin, my dog died."

That is not what I did. I mean, essentially, without the backstory maybe it did sound like that. But I may be more socially inept than previously thought, so there's that. Anyway, my neighbor is lovely. We had a great conversation. I met her husband. And they are sweet Christians so they will forgive my author personality.

This weekend, I have a birthday party (luckily, a fellow author) and Sibella and I are shopping again, so I can work on my social skills. Wish me luck.


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Oogi


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Fiona


Authenticity as Christians...

I was raised Catholic. As a Catholic, you are taught from a young age that God sees everything. What other people think of you is inconsequential because God sees all. And hell is scary. When I started dating an evangelical Christian in college, I was shocked at how much his mother despised me and thought me unworthy because I wasn't a Christian. Not in her eyes anyway. The worst part for me was that I didn't understand it. I didn't understand what was different or why I wasn't a "Christian."

The longer I've been a Christian, the more annoyed I've become at these "uber Christians" who use strange (to me) ideas on what makes a person a Christian. Here's my definition: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

Here's what I do not believe makes a Christian:
1. Doesn't dance. Um, David danced before the Lord -- naked y'all.
2. Doesn't drink. Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine.
3. Looks perfect on the outside. "There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10

I have never fit in that well with "church women" or that culture. I don't craft. I hate potlucks. I don't want to wear a floral dress and I truly believe Proverbs 16:2 -- that God looks at the heart. (All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.) So even if you're doing the right thing with the wrong motives (to get credit for it, to look good to others) it's not counted as righteousness because the Lord knows you did it for yourself -- for ulterior motives.

I get that I'm not everyone's cup of tea -- and that's fine, but one thing I truly try to be is authentic. I really wish more would take off the adornments of Christianity and live by the golden rule. Do you want to be treated like a pawn who needs Jesus? No, because it's like being sold multi-level marketing products. You think you've made a friend and they pull out the hard sales pitch. Just love a person into the fold. Let them know they are worthy simply because God created them to be. Just be a better human. Please.


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I'm sorry I'm on a soapbox, but I've seen too many people in this church "business" get recycled without ever truly repenting for the reason they lost their last Christian position. Okay, rant over. I hope you all had an amazing Easter!


Happy Easter & Fred Astaire

Happy Easter all! I hope your day is glorious and you are finally back together with your loved ones after so long of a celebration. My DIL made prime rib and homemade green bean casserole (as in no canned cream of mushrooms or frozen green beans.) As someone who hates to cook, she is speaking my love language. We celebrated with her family yesterday.

Today, I'm organizing and getting down to basics. While staying at my parents' for two months I realized how little I actually need. So I'm being ruthless on my closet and watching Fred Astaire's first major movie. It's from 1933 and I've never heard of it, but my television records anything with Fred Astaire in it because I have an inexplicable crush on this man. Not Clark Gable, who is also in the movie, but Fred.

Anyway, the movie is "The Dancing Lady" and it's quite a little gem of a film. First off, it's got "The Three Stooges" as stagehands and I actually recognized them. It also stars a young and gorgeous Joan Crawford before she screamed about wire hangers. And then, a very dapper Clark Gable. It also has a great dance number at the end and the blonde wig that Joan wears is actually the same wig that Bette Midler wears in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" How is that for a strange coincidence. If you get a chance, I recommend it.


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"The Dancing Lady"

On the work front, I'm working on rewriting some older books and getting "The View from Above" available as soon as possible. I'm at the editing stage and really needed my desktop at home. I'll let you know when it's up for preorder. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter at my website: www.KristinBillerbeck.com just in case I get kicked off Facebook for any reason. It seems like my friends are dropping like flies, but I just like to share random pics of my kids and memes, so I may be okay. Love to all, I hope 2021 is a vast improvement from 2020 for you all.


Chris Harrison Canceled -- Sigh

Okay, I'm not watching the Bachelor this season, so I had a really hard time figuring out why Chris Harrison was canceled. Here's what I can figure out. A girl on "The Bachelor" went to an antebellum party in 2018. Which of course means she's racist. (eye roll) Because Chris Harrison stood up for her just being at a costume dress party, now he's racist too. Let's not take into consideration that he's hosted the show for years and never had an issue dealing with any of the different cultures on the show. Now he's racist.

Listen, I get where you could call the show racist. It has an awful lot of white people by the numbers. But I just think that word is losing its power. And it shouldn't. Racism is ugly and real. But I don't think this meets the criteria. Was it in poor taste? Perhaps. Do I think that girl who went to this party would hate on race? Probably not. But I assume Chris Harrison wouldn't because of his past behavior -- which seems to count for nothing now. The guy has proven himself to be an upstanding citizen where that issue is concerned.

Sexixm maybe, but racism? Has the show itself dumbed us down and stolen brain cells from the American public? Sure. Have we learned the "fantasy suite" means it's okay to probably sleep with three random people in the course of three days? Absolutely -- don't you dare "slutshame" anyone.

But racism? I mean, other than the show being 97% white since its inception, I don't know why some random chick's antebellum party is an issue. But next time, Chris Harrison is asked about his opinion, I hope he says, "I don't know. I have no opinion." Or better yet, "What does Antebellum mean?"

Opinions get you canceled. And we need Chris Harrison, the American treasure who reminds those of us who can't count to one that it's the final rose!
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Wedding Dress Shopping -- this is not your Mama's dress...

I'm the sparkly, princess, ballgown sort. Well, not anymore, but when I was young and getting married. My dress was typical '80's glam and I still love it. But now, my baby girl is getting married and wow, times have changed.


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(Elle in my dress when she was nine.)

First off, my girl is nothing like me. She's an outdoorswoman who does 14k mountain climbs for fun and her favorite place in the world is Yosemite. She's a hairdresser by training, but a horsewoman by nature. So when she first showed me her wedding dress desires, her future mother-in-law and I gasped at the sight of it and we made her cry.

Honestly, we felt terrible, but it was so unexpected from the sweet Hayley Paige gowns she'd been showing us, we were taken aback. I'm not going to show the gown here in case it's the dress she selects, but she loves this designer and while I see that it's her style, it's very Stevie Nicks and I already survived the 70's. Oh, and she's wearing cowboy boots. I mean, smack my '80's glam in the face, why don't you?


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Anyway, we've made an appointment to see the gown of her dreams (similar to this one -- the Adara) by her favorite designer, Rue de Seine. Elle's future mother-in-law is coming and we'll be scoping out venues in Lake Tahoe depending on Covid rules. We've had a lot of great family times in Lake Tahoe and the kids' grandparents both live in the Sierras. So yay! Wedding planning has begun. I hate that I'm so basic and I'm like those moms on "Say Yes to the Dress" who want to see their girls in ballgowns. I don't really. It's not her style. But I will say I'm glad my daughter-in-law is extra and sparkly. SOMEONE gets it.


I miss being the stupidest person in the room: Stanford Nobel Prize

I grew up in the shadow of Stanford. Before Silicon Valley was Silicon Valley, but it's always been an intellectual haven. I'm used to being the dumbest person in the room with emotional intelligence. It was my superpower. If this video doesn't sum up my life in Silicon Valley -- where the best and brightest do not have common sense, I don't know what does.



Incidentally, Stanford is in Palo Alto, California.


#Netflix fun. #CobraKai #HubieHalloween

My son was here this week so we watched "Hubie Halloween" which is a new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix. It's a throwback to all of his other movies and I for one, loved it. I am not above stupid humor and Adam was born two days after me so all of his music and references are familiar to me. It was enjoyable -- though I would have loved if Kathy Bates was his mother since there were a lot of references to "The Water Boy."

We also started watching "Cobra Kai" which is the characters of "The Karate Kid" all grown up and with more depth. I love how they've made the villain the hero. Truth be told, I was never a Ralph Macchio fan and I can take or leave "The Karate Kid" as a movie. But I love the story from the villain's point of view. It's more interesting. And he's better looking with age on him.


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Anyway, it's back to work this weekend. I had a laptop incident so it's been an expensive week and I'm wishing I wrote faster. I met a songwriter this weekend and it's a truth universally-acknowledged that if you're an artist, the world may not appreciate you as much as if you're a hedge fund manager. That should change. Let's get a new Renaissance going. Fewer hedge fund managers, more art!

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Writing Updates #Author #Novel #WomensFiction #ChickLit

It's been a long time since I blogged -- not that I ever had much to say, but it's time to let you all know that I am still alive and that I do still exist. I have a new grand puppy and my life in Arizona is...not California. Not the Bay Area.

NEWS FLASH: Arizona is Hot!

Don't get me wrong. I love Arizona. The people are fantastic. My house is adorable. But the weather -- which granted, I knew. I grew up in Redwood City -- which literally has on the town sign "Climate Best by Government Test." Let's just say that Arizona is never going to have that sign unless it's the middle of winter. It's been the longest, hottest summer with the most recorded days over 110 degrees. I mean, did we NEED to set records this summer?

WRITING UPDATE -- SORT OF:

It's not bad enough we are locked up in our houses? Because taking the dog for a walk in the middle of the day in Arizona is not an option. That has made me a little stir-crazy. Enough whining. On a happy note, I am making progress on book two of The Pacific Avenues Series. Book one is "Room at the Top" an Adam Ant song which I post here because it makes me happy and my young readers may not have seen it. And please don't be like my daughter and mock my tastes. She was into "5 Seconds of Summer" so she has no room for making fun of anyone. And I did buy her fourth row seats for "One Direction" before they broke up, so she owes me some respect.



Room at the Top: Five Sisters. Three Moms. One Father. Lots of Dysfunction

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The first book deals with Sophia Campelli. A social worker raised by a single mother who longs to know her father -- until she actually meets him. The second book, "The View from Above" deals with Brinn, a privileged ballerina who isn't as indulged as she seems. I should have a cover for that one soon and preorders will be available by November or December. I'm working on writing faster!

Now I leave you with my son, daughter-in-law and my grandpuppy from their home in San Diego. Wouldn't they make a great book cover? Let me know if y'all have questions. I'm learning how to get my books in new outlets such a libraries and small bookstores. I'll keep you posted on that.

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Do the Right Thing!

I've been without air conditioning since last Wednesday -- in Phoenix! I waited on an American Home Shield Warranty -- only to find out they would cover a part that might last until the next implosion, but I would still have to pay the $1300 in refrigerant costs, even though the fix wouldn't last and that $1300 would all leak out. Forget what that does to the environment!

I hired my own company. I only wish I hadn't waited a week. But it's got me thinking, why doesn't anyone do the right thing anymore? Why is it so hard to just be who you say you are and show up and do the right thing? Doesn't it make people feel good anymore to do the right thing?

When Steve Jobs made engineering about marketing and stock, Silicon Valley was ruined by greed. IMHO. And it's overtaking our nation. How much do you actually need? I can tell you I know people a lot richer than me, and they're not happy. They're driven. They want to buy the next best thing, but that doesn't make for happiness.

We've made it so there is no more middle class in Silicon Valley, which doesn't actually work. Because rich people can't find nannies or waiters or services because no one can afford to be there to perform them. It just makes me wonder if we haven't been given this virus so we might learn what's important in life. Who cares if you have 3 Birkin bags? You can't go anywhere to show them off. And I only want your Ferrari right now if it comes with good air conditioning.

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On a happy note, I did get to spend time with my new grandpuppy in San Diego and she is the best. So much personality and so smart. Ironically, she came from San Jose, near where we used to live. Anyway, I don't have any real answers on this, but I will say I am grateful when people do the right thing. I notice a lot more of it here in Arizona than I did in Silicon Valley and that makes me sad because California has lost its way. And where California goes the rest of the nation follows.

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Also on a happy note, my new floors got were put in by an excellent man of his word and they did an incredible job. Tile is so practical for my in/out lifestyle with the dog in the desert. Speaking of my dog, I haven't seen her for a week so I'm really looking forward to getting her back.

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