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Jump Little Children Finale at Dock Street

I get it. When someone tells you something is important to them and that they spent nearly a decade with it, I understand that. But meeting John's friends and seeing their last few shows as Jump Little Children, was significant. I haven't spent a lot of time with the band members yet, but I was moved by their performance and the soulfulness of their song.

The dress was definitely a hit, but I can't say it went off without a hitch. Shortly into the act I realized that the bustier had more room in the bossom than it had when I put it on Sure, so I don't fill it out, no surprise there. I sat up straight hoping to decrease the gap. No such luck, six climbers could've entered the crevasse that had opened on my top. I felt the back, and realized the zipper had separated at the top and the bottom. We couldn't fix it there in the balcony over looking the band, and I sure didn't want my top to take a dive onto the stage, so I held it together until intermission.

I must say, it was fun to dress up. And this is the best picture we've ever taken together. Thanks for following along.

Happy New Year's everyone!

Charleston, SC
Next: Not coming home


Green Light for Charleston

I'm about to go on the next round of meetups with John. He has lots of friends here. But first I wanted to give you the update. The houses here are irresistable. And I'm a sucker for the porches. Big houses, with porches, and palm trees. The palm trees kill me. I can't get enough of them. I'll be fine to move here. We both know that there is no perfect solution for us. And I do like Charleston, the town, better than Los Angeles. (You know how much I hate LA). So, this would work for me. But it would make me VERY far away from friends and family. Still, it's sexy as all get out.

And it's great to see John so excited. I've never seen him this happy in a place. We looked at houses yesterday and it's in the same ballpark as SoCal, but you get so much more of a house than you would. Burbank is so out of the question after seeing this place. Nobody would ever visit me, but I think I could see everybody over 3 yearly visits to the West Coast. Or just have everyone come to Vegas while I was at the WSOP every year. Who knows.

We could move in three months, or three years. But I'm fine to move here if he wants to. It is gorgeous. We saw a house for rent in an excellent location yesterday for $2100/month. That's on par or cheaper than what we were looking for in Long Beach. We also saw a BIG duplex house to buy in a decent location for $799k. Five fireplaces. Can you imagine?

It's hard to fathom that we're close to that. So close, yet so far. Right now we're going to look at an office building downtown that his friend just got for under $500/month. I'm excited about that. I think it would be fine to live in the country in a $200k house if we were working in a charming brick building from the 1700s. We'll see, it's all talk right now.

The band was amazing last night. I was crying a river and didn't even know why. On the very first song! Tonight is their last night, their final performance together as this band. I'm wearing the Oprah Winfrey dress. Everyone will be flooding then.

Hopefully we can get our camera working and take some pics. Of the band, and especially of the buildings. Oh yeah, almost forgot to tell you! John took me for some lowcountry food last night and I had some yummy shimp and grits, as well as crab cakes and red rice. The shrimp and grits at Carolina's were in deed something to yum about. Come visit, I have a feeling I'm going to end up here.

Current: Charleston, SC


Charleston, SC

Golly it takes me a long time to get ready in the morning. I think this is the definitive sign I've become a woman. But hey, I am on my debut tour to meet John's friends, so I'm trying to be extra conscious of making a good first impression.

I've been looking for a place to call home my entire adult life. Everywhere I go I think about whether or not I would want to live there. Australia, Milwaukee, and sometimes Chicago are the only places that have really gotten to me so far. So, after all my looking, it's interesting to be in the other shoes. John wants to live in Charleston, and that is on our minds while we are visiting here. Will I like it enough to move?

I think we both agree that with the way his work is, we won't be here in the next two years. For that, we need to be close to LA and Vegas. But he loves it so much that it is a solid possibility that sometime in our lives we'll be moving to Charleston.

My first impression, is that it is steeped with history. And even though all the gentrified upscale shops are taking over downtown and creating quite the retreat for tourists, you can still feel history here like no other place I've ever been to in the West or Midwest. My dad would like it here, I think, as long as he could cable in his sports.

The buildings are gorgeous, most were built a few hundred years ago. With this, there's a feeling of slight discomfort for being an outsider. I have little family history that's relative to this part of the country, and that could get uncomfortable if living here permanently. But it's too soon to tell.

Words I need to figure out since getting here:


More later.

Charleston, SC
Next: Burbank, CA (Jan. 2, 2006)
Days until USC plays in the Rose Bowl: 6


The Oprah Winfrey Dress

Happy Holidays, everyone! Thank you for your cards and emails, I do appreciate them. I'm sitting in LAX awaiting a 7:11am flight to Columbia, SC via Memphis. We'll be in Charleston tonight. It's my turn to be on tour. I met John's dad and brother Christmas Eve, and now we're headed east to see John's good friends in the final shows for Jump Little Children and their annual holiday performance at Dock Street. John managed this band and produced this show the past eight years. This is his first and last year to be on the audience side as the band is breaking up and moving on to other things.

So, a few days before Christmas he found out that the shows are going to be formal attire. He knew I wouldn't be thrilled. Mostly because with the new love weight, I'm not fitting into my old dresses. Or shall we say dress. But, as all things work out, on my very first attempt, I walked into a formal dress shop at the mall and found a stunning gown. I tried it on and it was beautiful. It's a two-piece dress. The top is a strapless corset, fully beaded and embroidered in a burnt sienna or rust color with a cream trim. The skirt has a cream colored wave section that goes from my waist to down below my butt, and then the rest is a full flowing skirt with netted tassels in the same copper color. I could see Oprah wearing it while hostessing the Oscar's. Lucky for me, the dress was on sale because the shop was going out of business. I got the $375 price tag down to $150. This ended up being an extra good thing because it cost another $100 to have the dress tailored to fit me. Still, it's all worth it because you just don't find dresses like this too often these days. And it looks pretty good on, which I rarely say.

I've never been to Charleston before. I hope I like it because John would like to move there someday. Thinking about our current move, we're still not sure when and where in LA we'll be moving, though Long Beach has the lead. It either has to happen in January, or not till the end of the year after the World Series, but of course I'll let you know when we know.

What else? I had a great time with my family in San Diego. It was short, but good to see each other. My Uncle Jon is definitely reading the blog, and that's nice. But they all seem a bit leery of being written about. Too bad, right? Right.

The most blogworthy incident happened when we were all having breakfast at Kono's on the beach. John's huge burrito came wrapped but without a plate. I could see the mess that would ensue on s tiny napkin, and suggested he get a plate. He agreed and left to get it. As soon as he left the table, my cousins took turn telling me how much they liked him.

"Wapaaaah!" Katie said when I suggested the plate.

"No," I assured them, "I'm nice to him. I am."

"You better be," Katie said again.

"I like him," Michelle said.

"Yeah, don't mess this one up, Jenny," Katie said.

I could've seen this conversation coming from Nevada.

"Don't let him go," Katie added.

"Ok," I said. "Don't worry."

# # # #


Don't Get Sick!

Man, flus and colds must be flying around out there because I'm down. And I have to turn in half my Vegas guidebook work tomorrow, so you know what I'm doing today. Most of the time I'll be flat on my back with tea at my side.

I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays...baking cookies, wrapping presents with your kids, getting on a plane to spend time with the fam, and all the overall decorating that gets done around the holidays. I miss it. This time next year I'm sure to be in a home I can call my own, and I can't wait to do all that. It's been a very long time since I've had my own place to get Christmassy, and I do miss it.

So, spike your nog and sniff some pine for me.

I'm sure you'll hear from me again soon, it's just time for me to focus. (And many thanks for all the personal emails that have been coming in. I will respond when I'm up to it).

Burbank, CA
Next: San Diego, CA (Dec. 25-27)


Do I Travel Too Much?

I sure wish I'd kept track of all the flights I took this year. This year has been, by far, the most I've ever traveled. I never travel this much. Now that I have the BBE (Best Boyfriend Ever), that is going to have to change in 2006 if I want to attain the post as BGE. He commented last night that I hadn't even been back in Burbank 24 hours and I already wanted to leave, (we went down to Long Beach). So, I started thinking about it. I like to think of myself as someone who can do both. Stay put, and travel. But can I?

Once upon a time I lived in San Francisco, worked 2-3 jobs, and was home all the time. I reminded him of this, even though it was 6-7 years ago. John asked if I had traveled yet at that point. I said no.

This does have me thinking. Can I stay put and not even mention "the next trip" for one week? Lets just start with a week. We are headed to San Diego on Sunday, and Charleston for New Year's, so this will have to start January 3. But lets keep track. Lets not even remind me that week, lets call it now and see if I can do it. Without being reminded. No mentioning leaving for a full seven days starting January 3rd. What's the over/under bet I make it?

Until then, 2005 in review:
San Diego - Redwood City
RWC - Portland
RWC - Phoenix, AZ
RWC - New York
RWC - Las Vegas
RWC - Los Angeles - San Diego - Las Vegas (to move there)
LV - San Francisco
LV - Australia
LV - Paris
LV - Burbank - San Diego
San Francisco - Capitola - SF
Bur - London
Lon - Cincinnati - Indianapolis - Madison - Sycamore - Chicago - Milwaukee
San Francisco - Pasadena - Seattle - Vancouver - Seattle - Portland
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Eugene - Portland - Seattle - San Francisco
Las Vegas

That's the list as best I remember it. I'd like to see less domestic, and more international.

But yes, for right now...

Current: Burbank, Ca
Next up: San Diego (Dec. 25-27)


It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas

I can't help it, it just doesn't feel like the holidays. I have zero time to shop. Won't make time to bake cookies until Friday when I have more of a handle on this guidebook I'm writing, and holiday cards just won't happen.

Things that are making me happy in Burbank:
1. New routine: steel cut oatmeal every morning for breakfast
2. Friends I haven't heard from in a long while writing me with good news
3. DVD player works AND we can watch TV at the same time the Tivo is recording
4. The Buena Vista Burbank Library
5. My Uncle is reading this blog.

Things that are driving me nuts:
1. I'm supposed to be an online travel expert, yet it took me more than an hour to research a decent hotel at a not so decent price for our two days in San Diego for xmas. I use SideStep, Mobissimo, and

In the poker world....
1.There's another funny picture of me up on Amy Calistri's blog from the blogger tournament. I like being a ham.
2.I tried out Daniel Negreanu's new online poker site,
3.I exchanged emails with Phill Hellmuth this week. I'd actually love to go to his camp and see the new Caesars poker room, but that's not what the emails were about.
4.I saw my first column in the current issue of BLUFF.


Leaving Las Vegas

OK, I'm headed back to Burbank, CA now and will be buried in guidebook writing till Christmas. I did get to gamble a bit...the other night we took our Seattle friends to the Silverton and bowled in an airstream, and played Pai Gow. Last night I had a mini meltdown because I just couldn't do everything I wanted to and am overwhelmed with the fact that all the work starts now. All that energy expended and I haven't really even started yet. It's mind boggling.

To make it better we went to the MGM early for a little attitude adjustment before the review dinner. (Our Avenue Q show had been cancelled). It's a good thing we did. John won $100 at Three Card Poker and I, in a random bit of spontaneity, played a $1 Megamillions slot machine. (I hardly ever play slots). So, I put in $20, maxed the betting at $3 per pull, and pulled, not pushed (the button). I was up and down a few bucks every few hands and then I hit something and the credits kept coming. At that point, I didn't know if the pay out was in $1s or quarters. When it stopped cling-clinging and the paper payout slip came out, it read $611.00. I thought John was over a few sections at his video poker machine so I ran over there. But he wasn't there. I was spinning in a circle looking for him and even yelled-JOHN! Nothing. Then I called his phone, but it went straight to voicemail so I hung up. Then I kept looking and found him laughing at me. Apparently I had ran right past him, nearly knocking him over, so he just watched me. Jerk. He said the look on my face was priceless when I got the slip, and he thought I had won $100.

Anyway, I needed it. This place is a cash suck.

Back to work.

Current: Vegas
Later this afternoon: Burbank, Ca


I'm Stuffed!

So you know—I won't be making any calls or returning much personal email until January. But I will try to check in here so you know where I am. Last night I had a terrific dinner at Sensi at the Bellagio. I was with John and Tony G, the well known European poker player.

We did make a fly by at the Fontana Bar where the WPT Five Diamond is being played. I got to say hello to BJ from CardPlayer, and both Steve Hall And Chris Newton of Poker After dinner, we met up with our Seattle friends, and I ran into the Gut Shot Poker guys! I was so excited to see Stephen I tackeled him. I really do love their tournament coverage above all others. The website isn't the easiest to use for viewing the live reports, but I told them about my concerns in that department.

What else? The buffet at Wynn is remarkable. I'd go for dinner over breakfast. After our mid day meal I showed John the Country Club—a place I have to return to. And I don't mean have to in the reviewing sense. I mean HAVE to because it's so sleek. Dark wood with leather chairs, a fireplace, and floor to ceiling glass windows that look out onto the golf course.

Tonight we're trying Shibuya at MGM. They supposedly have the biggest sake collection in the West. I also need to go to LURE at Wynn, but we'll see if I can get back to it. I was going to see Forty Deuce tonight, but nope, they're not open. Oh yeah, and I had lunch with the Wynn publicists yesterday including their poker PR guy, and that was good stuff. Justine has insisted that I see Avenue Q tomorrow night. We'll see if John can go or if I have to do that deed alone.

Still in Vegas. Not sure when I'm leaving. Maybe Friday or Saturday.


More Poker Less Scenester

I haven't had time to do one of my favorite a poker scenester. The World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic is going on at the Bellagio in the Fontanta Room, where I first entered the world of poker media. And yes, met John. I haven't had time to go over there, but will tonight since I'm reviewing Sensi at the Bellagio.

Last night I went to Aureole with Gavin Smith who's on the cover of CardPlayer magazine this month. He was a little bummed from busting out on the first day because he's trying to get the WPT Player of the year and one more final table would really help. It was Gavin's fourth time at Aureole, and he was a real trooper. He warned me that the food would be "weird", but it was just your typical artsy gourmet chef doing his thing. Aureole is a Charlie Palmer restaurant at Mandalay Bay. And it was sexy. We had the tasting menu. Sorry, Susan. No pics, or doggie bags. Adam, the Sommelier pared each course for me, and I was impressed. This would be a good restaurant for taking a date.

I'm terribly busy doing guidebook work for Pulse Guides.

But I did manage to play Pai Gow with Amy Calistri and her brother, and rolled the bones with the poker bloggers. The World Poker Blogger Tour was in town and had a great tournament at Imperial Palace. 114 bloggers playing poker in a private room with an open bar. $65 buy in with free swag from Poker Stars and Full Tilt. Pauly McGuire, the most popular poker blogger online, posted some pics and I'm in two of them. The one I'm making a face in is me being down to my last $500 chip. I went out somewhere in the 50s.

Anyway, the Imperial Palace is a real find. Center strip for $32.50 off Travelocity via It's nothing like THEhotel, but if you expect Motel Six in a prime location, you're going to be even happier with what you really get. And I got a free upgrade because I insisted I needed a room with working WiFi, which they have for $9.99/24hrs. Sadly, I haven't had a chance to gamble in their champagne pit.

OK, you know where I am and that I'm alive so it's back to work.

Current: Imperial Palace by myself
Rest of the week: THEhotel with John!!!


Cowboys Are My Weakness

A friend of mine, who has been around women whose profession it is to look good, told me about a woman who's body was so fine he wouldn't know what to do with it. Yeah, yeah, sure, I believe you, whatever. And then I spent this weekend at the New Frontier surrounded by cowboys and felt the same.

These boys are corn fed.

Their jeans are filled tight with muscle, their crisp collared shirts are tucked in, and the Stetsons on their head look like they came straight out of the box.

I wouldn't know what to do with one if I had one. And for better or worse, I wouldn't want to take his clothes off. I'd just want to look at him in this gorgeous get up, maybe put my hand around a big bicep, and just smile until I figured out if I was the kind of woman that could get him to a point where he'd take his hat off. Then I'd ask him to put it back on.


My grandfather wore these clothes. And he painted western scenes. Maybe that's why I like these strapping gents of patriotism and constitution so much. I don't know.

Anyway, I don't have a camera and I've already lost several wonderful shots including a boy of about ten who was practicing his lasso at the Four Corners as he rounded the Caesars fountain. He wasn't polished, it was as if he was told he had to carry it with him the whole year long no matter where he was till he got used to the feel.

There's a lot to blog about. I only just got internet access. Now, it's a night of being a poker scenester before I head into a hellish work week of eating and checking out hotels.

And yes, the BBE is the BBE for not wincing a bit when I said I was going to the NFR on a girl's trip. That's why he's the BBE, FREE eyeful!!! Or at leat I haven't had to start paying for it yet. (No elipses because BJ hates them) :-)

Current: Vegas
Next: Burbank on the night of the 16th.


I'm on Tilt

Don't know what Tilt is? Check out

The downside to having a BBE, is that people ask too many questions. When you have a BTDTYGE (Boyfriend that doesn't treat you good enough)...nobody asks anything except Are you still with him? Read: Are you still selling yourself short by being hung up on him? And they only care about when to start shopping for the replacement. I'm only recognizing this now. Some of the inquisitions are tolerable, with the pain only being in my own head. When 14 year olds are concerned.

All in the last hour and a half:

2nd Dad: Is John getting you a ring for Christmas
Jen: No
14yr old daughther: Are you living with John
Jen: Well.....I wouldn't call it living if I'm never there.
Katie: cool.
Jen: Wanna hear what Dad just asked me? (repeated it)
Katie: No way.
Jen: Atually I think I'm getting an iPod and a suitcase.
Katie: cool.

Grandfather: where's the car?
Jen: with John
Grandfather: Well, he's not taking very good care of it, a ticket came in (ten minute lecture on how a car gets a parking ticket and how it needs to be paid immediately)
Jen: Actually, I got the ticket, not him, it's my fault
Grandfather: What is your situation with John?
Jen: What do you mean?
Grandfather: How serious is this? (six minute lecture on my future)
Grandfather: We don't know anything about him.
Jen: He was just there at Thanksgiving, for the second time.
Grandfather: What's his background?
Jen: Ask him yourself at Christmas
Grandfather: No, I want to talk to you about it. Has he ever been married? Does he have any kids?
Jen: No
Grandfather: Well, we didn't know that. How old is he?
Jen: near losing it
Grandfather: We think you should wait and get to know him better, at least a year.
Jen: I'll have known him a year in April. He's a good guy. All my friends like him.
Grandfather: (two more minutes of lectures on various things followed by We miss you, I love you.)

It's funny. They pressure me to get busy settling down when I've got a guy (or two) that doesn't know the first thing about how to be good to me. Then I get one who does, and they want to lock me in my room.

I think I should order refrigerator magnets that read, "Trust me, I'm happy" and pass those out for Xmas presents. In four languages, just in case there's any confusion.

Actually the only thing that could make me happy right now is for December to be over.


SF for a day

I'm in Redwood City. The last author event for The Thong Also Rises is tomorrow at Book Passage. We have three contributors reading with us, and that's just great. Barabara Robertson, Jennifer Colvin and Marcy Gordon. Jen was a real trooper in Portland and Seattle and acquired quite the crowd at Elliott Bay Books.

I've got a million (or five) immediate deadlines and just want to go home. Home being Burbank with John right now, even though that doesn't feel like home any more than the other places I'm crashing at for three days at a time. He does, pad doesn't. But I'm not even due back there till the week before Christmas.

First Vegas. There are lots of fun things going on in Las Vegas this weekend. The National Finals Rodeo that I have a press pass for, and the World Poker Blogger Tour. I'll be playing live poker with a bunch of other poker bloggers on Saturday at 10am at the Imperial Palace. After that I'll be bouncing from party to mechanical bull and back again.



Seattle Down Time

I'm in Seattle with Susan. We are having our Christmas together, or rather enjoying Susan's xmas present to me. She came up for the Elliott Bay event, and then got us two nights in a great boutique hotel by the Pike Place Market. It's called Inn at the Market, and I would definitely stay here again. The first day I couldn't relax, was mostly in a fog from the weekend's NON-STOP activities and meetings.

(Powell's event + breakfast + meeting + meeting + mad shop to look like a decent Vegas hostess + drinks with 12 friends most of which I haven't seen in a year or more + party as Vegas hostess, John as poker tutor/dealer + breakfast + drive to Seattle for Elliott Bay event)

I think today is the second day and I might be getting closer to the word rested, but now we have to pack and leave again. The whole month of December is going to be the craziest yet, but I've done it to myself and we all know that there's no crying in baseball.

So, Susan suggested I don't do anything in January. Back story - I'm socially tapped more than anything else. Just entirely drained from being "on" for the past three months. It's totally genuine and natural and fun when it's happening, but I'm starting to feel what happens when there's so much of it consistently. How do famous people do it?! So, that's the plan, take a month off to decompress. And I'm going to need it after the BBE takes me on my debut tour Xmas - New Year's. But I can do it, I'm sadly weeding out things I want to do like go to the WOMMA conference, or wiggle my way into the Key West Literary Seminar, or rush right out and try and start shopping for a place in Bluff Park.

January will be for chill things like writing. I've got lots to do for VivaLasVegasBlog, and there is a book I want to write. But dinners with friends will be considerably reduced, weekenders will be eliminated, and if on the off chance I have to/get to take this retreat to Eastern Europe...well, dammit I will.

But since it's not January yet, I need to pack up, and go roam Seattle with Susan. This is an amazing Xmas present she's given me, and Seattle is one of the best cities ever. Picture me walking around downtown staring up at brick buildings. Good thing I hide my wallet way down in my front pocket of my pants. Any of the many people I bump into could be grifters..... ;-)

Highlights: Dinner at Cafe Campagne, walking through downtown, Dinner at Wild Ginger with our neighbors passing off all their food to us, and buying myself an 80-100yr old pitcher from Pakistan which will be my new flower that I have someone who brings me flowers.

Current: Seattle, WA
Tomorrow: Palo Alto, CA
Thursday: Marin for final book event at Book Passage
Friday: Las Vegas (until at least the 16th)


Watching Life Unfold

I love my life. It's by no means perfect, and never has been, but faith in the greater scheme of things, is paying off. The event at Barnes & Noble in Eugene last night was fantabulous. Julia Weiler had a roomful of fans, at least a dozen of which were from the Red Had Society and all decked out in Purple, red hats, and thongs thongs thongs. One woman who was more than 60 years old (possibly 70) had the sexiest thong of everyone. I was serverely under-blinged. And even under-dressed. Julia was a complete inspiration, as always. She and her husband James are heading off to Thailand and Cambodia for three weeks in February. I don't know if I've ever met a true Renaissance woman like Julia before. Seriously.

But I don't have enough time to go on and on. Now it's off to a girls night with the Eugene ladies—friends from when I lived here. Most of them are going to the Boots party this weekend so we're going to go to get our footsies done. No doubt we'll talk about boys, babies, and houses.'d we grow up so fast.

More later...lots to talk about. I didn't even get to start in on the watching life change stuff....being in Eugene has done a number on me.

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