Column Classic: It’s Not The Heat

By Lisa Scottoline

Hot enough for ya?

That’s right.  I like to talk about the weather.  More accurately, I’m fascinated by the weather.  We begin where I begin every day, on

For me, is online porn.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the middle of writing a book, and I’m not sure where the plot is going or what the characters will do, but I love that if I log onto, I get answers. 

Answers, answers, and more answers.  

I click to, then click again to Hourly, to break down the weather for the coming day, complete with adorable pictures of shiny suns or thumbnail thunderbolts.  At a glance, first thing in the morning, I can find out that it will be 92 degrees at 11:15 a.m. today. 


Where else can you get someone to foretell your future, humidity index included?    

Come to think of it, that’s what I love most about  It can tell all sorts of information about the future with precision, and I want to know everything I can about the future, especially if it includes when my hair will frizz.

For example, once I find out that the sunshine today will morph to light rain at 3:17 p.m., I click over to the Mosquito Index.  Yes, on, you can click to find out when you’re most likely to get bitten by a mosquito, which turns out to be between 5:06 p.m. and 6:37 a.m., tomorrow morning.  And tonight, if you want to know, the Mosquito Activity will be between None and Limited, as opposed to the top of the scale, which is Very High.  You don’t want to plan your picnic for when the mosquitoes are at their worst, which is Really Frigging Annoying.

And on the Mosquito Index page, there’s even a sidebar asking, Want To Know When The Fish Are Biting?

And suddenly, I do! 

I want to know when the fish are biting, even though I don’t fish.  In fact, I didn’t even know they bite.

I click my way to the Fishing Forecast, where you can search by zip code or by lake, and this astounds me. can tell you when the fish will be biting in a particular lake? 

How great is that? 

It bodes well for our country, if we can foretell when fish will be biting in Lake Whatever, and at what time.  If we can do that, we can put a man on the moon. 

Or back on the moon. 

Or at least make my hair not frizz.

The first lake that pops into my mind is Lake Winnipesaukee, because it’s mentioned in a movie I love, What About Bob?  Of course, Lake Winnipesaukee is impossible to spell, which is a joke in the movie, so to get the right spelling, I have to navigate to, where I plug in the wrong spelling and it asks me, DID YOU MEAN….and supplies the right spelling.

Yes, Google, I did mean that.  What you said.  Thanks for saving my face, online. is almost as smart as  It can’t tell the future, but it can read your mind.   

Anyway, I go back to the Fishing Forecast, plug Lake Winnipesaukee into the lake search, and am rewarded with a multicolored wiggly line showing that today, the Lake Winnipesaukee fish will be biting the most between 12:01 p.m. and 2:06 p.m.


If I were you, I’d stay away.

And the same webpage also informs me that the Moon Phase tonight will be Waxing Gibbous.

See? Toldja!  Answers, answers, and more answers.   

I’m so happy to know this about the moon, though I have no idea what Waxing Gibbous means.  I could find out, but I don’t need to to marvel at how great it is to know it, precisely. 

And I’m not talking about horoscope-level precision.  I’m talking, real, no-joke, scientific-type precision.  In my experience, is never wrong.  Or if it’s wrong, it changes its forecast right away, which is still kosher. 

Politicians do it all the time.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Ho for the Burn

by Lisa Scottoline

I couldn’t be more excited about two new fitness crazes — exercising in high heels and/or on a stripper pole.

I can’t think of a better message for young girls than exercising is important, but only if you look pornographic.

Obviously, whoever said women couldn’t achieve equality in athletics had no idea what they were talking about.

Or maybe it’s called a craze because it’s crazy.

We begin with Heel Hop, which is an hour-long workout, including sit-ups, stretches, and lunges, but you do all the exercises wearing high heels.

Don’t forget your stilettos — and Blue Cross card.

The instructor is a backup dancer named Kamilah, who says, “I came straight out of the womb with some high-heeled pumps.”

I have one word for Kamilah:


I wish I knew Kamilah’s mother, so I could give her a big hug – and a Bronze Star.

I’m hoping Kamilah doesn’t start a new craze among fetuses, who will begin demanding high-heeled pumps in the womb. Because we don’t need babies making their exit — or their entrance, depending on how you look at it — in even an infant-size pair of heels.

Unless you want to save the doctor fees on your episiotomy.

But that’s not where I’d cut costs.

No pun.

I read online that Heel Hop is taught in classes held in Los Angeles.

I know, it makes you want to move to Los Angeles.

And if you do, you should. Move there. And stay there. Go away and never come back. I don’t want to run into you in the market.

I’ll be the one in muddy clogs.

The article I read about Heel Hop contained an interview with a podiatrist. They asked him about working out in high heels, and he said, “Exercising in them just doesn’t make sense in any way, shape, or form.”

But what does he know?

He’s only a doctor, not a dancer, and therefore unqualified to give an opinion.

I bet he can’t even walk in heels.

In fact, I challenge him to pronounce Louboutin.

Hint: Louboutin is French for you’re-gonna-break-your-ankle.

But an even better fitness craze is exercising on a stripper pole, which I saw on one of the Real Housewives reality shows, where the housewives were taking lessons, spinning around the pole.

I’m sure this is exactly your reality, spending your free time spinning around poles with your girlfriends.

Of course that’s not reality.

Real women don’t have free time.

In any event, you’ll be happy to know that you can find lots of DVDs online that will teach you how to work out on a stripper pole. I like the website called FlirtyGirlFitness, which says, “Treadmills, bench presses, and stair climbers have been replaced with dance poles, kitchen chairs, and pink feather boas.”

This may be news to Nike.

I bet right now they’re figuring out a way to paste a swish onto a boa.

Maybe they should just paste it onto a pastie.

Buy two.

Also I’m wondering what FlirtyGirlFitness is doing with their kitchen chairs. I need mine for sitting on while I eat chocolate cake.

The problem with exercising on a pole is that you need to install a pole in your house, which could be embarrassing when it comes time to sell. Unless you convince potential buyers that you’re a fireman.

And think about what happens when you abandon your pole exercises, as you inevitably will. A pole isn’t like a treadmill, in that you can’t leave your dirty clothes on it. They’ll fall right off.

I don’t buy exercise equipment that I can’t use for a hamper.

But amazingly, FlirtyGirlFitness has an answer for what to do with your abandoned pole. The website says that their poles come with “a special hook that will allow you to use this space to hang a plant.”

How’s that for a sales pitch?

Ladies, now you can combine your love of gardening with your need to look like a hooker!

I’m sure there’s a market for that, and it’s born every minute.

I just hope it wears flats.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Happy Father’s Day

by Lisa Scottoline

Those of you who read my column know that my mother is extraordinary.  My father is, too, though he has passed away.  The fact that he’s gone doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped loving him.  The human heart doesn’t work that way.  Fact is, I’m still a daddy’s girl.

Let me explain.

I’ll start by telling you what my father, Frank Scottoline, was not.  He couldn’t fix everything; he didn’t have all the answers.  He wasn’t one of these all-knowing, omnipotent fathers who solve all problems, handle all situations, and generally stand-in for God or, at least, Santa Claus. 

He wasn’t a tough guy, either.  He couldn’t even bargain for a Christmas tree.  One Christmas Eve, we ended up paying $50 for the Charlie Browniest tree on the lot.  The asking price was $35. 

Nor was he a sugar-daddy kind of father, granting all the requests of his adored, and only, daughter.  In fact, though I was always adored, I found out at midlife that I wasn’t even his only daughter. 

I learned I had a half-sister, whom he had fathered while in college at Berkeley.  She had been put up for adoption in California and eventually came to find him.  He opened his arms to her, even though meeting her was like a bad episode of The Patty Duke Show, which may be redundant. 

So he made mistakes, some with blue eyes.  By the way, before you feel sorry for her, she got a wonderful adoptive family.  I got The Flying Scottolines.  At least I wrote a novel about it – in fact, several.  My family is a miniseries.

Above all, my father loved life.  He liked everybody and he ate anything.  I cannot remember him not smiling.  He accepted all.  When he found out my brother was gay, he went down to South Beach to help him open a gay bar.  I’m not sure who got the first dance.

He was agreeable and easy.  I remember once he told me he’d seen the movie Hideous Kinky, and I asked him why.  He said, “Because that’s where the line was going.” 

He was a reliable man, too.  An architect, he never missed a day of work for sickness or any other reason.  Never.  He loved his job, always.  Any trip in the car would inevitably take us past a construction site, and he’d get out and explain how the building was being constructed.  He was always home at 6:15 and he always fell asleep on the living room, after dinner.  Sleeping on the floor is a big thing in my family.

Of course, he was most reliable about me.  We talked all the time, about everything, from as far back as I can remember.  He always asked what I learned in school that day and listened carefully to my answer.  He helped me with my trig homework; he taught me to read a map.  He drove me and my friends everywhere, both ways – no trading off with other parents for him. 

He clapped at every high school play when I was young.  He beamed through every book signing when I was older.  At one of my signings, someone said to him, “You must be very proud of your daughter, now that she’s an author.” 

He replied, “I was proud of her the day she came out of the egg.”

And he was.

I felt his love and pride all the time, no matter how I screwed up.  When my first marriage foundered, about the time my daughter was born, I quit my job and went completely broke.  He didn’t have much money, but what he had, he offered to me. 

When I found a job part-time, he babysat for my daughter every morning, made her breakfast, and took her to school.  From him, she learned that it was possible to toast a bagel with the cream cheese already on top. 

She will never forget that.  Nor will I.

Sometimes I feel sorry for fathers.  It’s as if they’re the supporting actor of parents, second-best.  It’s like we have a Father’s Day only because we don’t want them to feel left out after Mother’s Day.  In a Dick-and-Jane world, it’s moms who get top billing, and fathers who are simply, at best, there.

But may I suggest something? 

There’s a lot to be said for simply being there. 

There is underrated.  There is a sleeper.  There doesn’t get much hype, but there is about love and devotion.  About constancy and sacrifice.

My father was always there.  And whenever he was with me, I knew it was exactly where he wanted to be.  There.

And I feel absolutely certain that, even in this day of cell phones and Blackberries, he wouldn’t be on either of them when he was there.  In all my adult life, I have never met anyone who was so completely there.

Here is my wish for you: 

This Father’s Day, may you be lucky enough to have your father there.

© Copyright Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Hard-Wired

by Lisa Scottoline

There was an article in the newspaper the other day that scared me.

No, it wasn’t about carbohydrates.

It was about our brains, and the gist was that by going online and cruising lots of different websites, we’re actually changing the wiring in our brains, and this will result in an inability to concentrate and…


Where was I?


Uh oh.

This is bad news.  Five minutes ago, I was supposed to be working, but I took a break to go online.  I stopped at all my favorite gossip websites, like,, and the, then I moved onto and

I’m not making that last one up.  It’s about fashion, as you would guess if you knew how fussy I am about which sweatpants to wear.

I also visit work-related websites, like and, and I post on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Friend me.  Follow me.  This way we can get to know each another without changing out of our sweatpants.

I make lots of other local stops on my train ride through the Internet, and my track winds around and around in circles, does a few loop-de-loops, zooms around a cloverleaf and spells out CALL ME, GEORGE CLOONEY before it returns to the station.

And this will mirror the wiring in my brain?

I’m tempted to say it’s mind-blowing, but that’s the point.

Plus it’s unfair, because the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.  Everybody deserves a break from work now and then, according to federal law and McDonald’s. 

You deserve a break today.  At least six times today.

So how can it be fair that what you do during your break can break your brain?

That’s like making a funny face and having your face freeze that way.  And if you ever wished that on anybody, I hope you’re happy now.  Our brains are all messed up because of you. 

The article even had a Test Your Focus interactive, so I took the test, which involved red and blue bars in various formations.  I went with my best guess between Yes and No, and scored a  -.33 %, which seemed pretty good to me, considering that I didn’t understand the directions.

I couldn’t concentrate.

To make things worse, imagine you’re a middle-aged woman.

Stop screaming. 

It’s not funny.

It takes a real man to be a middle-aged woman.

If you follow.

Anyway, all middle-aged women know that something happens to the brain after fifty years of age.  I even read an article about it, but I can’t remember where.  Or someone told me, what’s-her-name.  And I think the article said something about declining hormone levels causing a decrease in brain function.  It talked about menopause creating confusion, a wandering mind, and “brain fog.”

Or something like that.

It was hard to pay attention.  At the time, I was daydreaming.

About you-know-who.

Also I like my fog in the air, not between my ears.  Weather, stay out of my head.

To return to topic, all I know is, menopause is bad news, brain-wise. 

Consider the implications. 

What this means is that those of us at a certain age have a double whammy, when it comes to the computer.  In other words, if you’re cruising the Internet without estrogen, you should stop right now. 

Step away from the laptop. 

You won’t understand anything you read.  And even if you did, you won’t remember it.

You’re a goner, cognitively speaking.

You’ll fare no better, offline.  One of the articles said that brain fog can roll in at anytime, and “women find themselves often worrying whether or not they have forgotten to turn the iron off.”

Heh heh.

Silly women, who forget to put the butter churn away, or leave their darning needles all over the floor, where the unwary can step on them, getting a hole that needs…darning?

Darn it!

Well, I, for one, never worry about turning the iron off, because I never turn the iron on.  In fact, I don’t own an iron.  And between the iron and the laptop, I’ll choose the latter.  In a pinch, you can press your sweatpants with a laptop.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline.

Column Classic: Post-Puberty

By Lisa Scottoline

You may have heard that AARP started a dating site.

Now we’re talking.

Get my walker.

And my blood pressure meds.

Mommy’s going shopping.

The site is called, “How About We…”

But I’m not sure what they mean by that name.

“How About We…Compare Our Cholesterol?”

Or “How About We…Have a Cup of Decaf?”

Or “How About We…Take a Nice Nap?”

So, I went on the AARP website to cruise for menfolk, er, I mean, to learn more about the organization. The first thing I noticed was that AARP membership begins at age fifty.


AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons, but if you live in America, you can’t retire at fifty. You can’t retire at a hundred and fifty. I’m thinking that my tombstone will read, RETIRED…FINALLY.

In fact, if you’re a man who retired at fifty, I want to meet you. Maybe you’re on “How About We…Retire While We Still Have a Heartbeat?”

In any event, I read through the website, which was full of articles with titles such as, How To Have Sex Without Intercourse.

Fascinating, but I’ve been doing that for quite some time now.

Sex without intercourse is chocolate cake.

I read the article, but I still wasn’t sure what they meant. There were too many euphemisms, presumably because I wasn’t old enough to be told the truth.

So, I skipped to another article, entitled “Ten Great Cities for Older Singles.”

Stop right there.

I’m not an “Older Single.”

An “Older Single” is a slice of cheese that’s past its expiration date.

I haven’t expired yet. I know because I’m still working.

Still, I read on and found good news. According to the article, Philadelphia was the eighth greatest city for us older singles.


The article suggested that “icebreaking opportunities for first dates” include a trip to Independence Hall.

What an idea!

When it comes to the forefathers, who doesn’t think foreplay?

The article also suggested a first date to the Philadelphia Zoo.

Another spot that spells romance!

Who hasn’t felt primal at the Primate House?

But of course, the more I read through the AARP website, the more I actually began to find articles that interested me, even though I’m not retired. I started to think that maybe I should join AARP. It felt fraudulent, since I’m not retired, but that seemed kinda technical. And two friends of mine, both my age, joined, and they got discounts at the movies.

I clicked through to the membership page, which said it cost sixteen bucks a year to join, which was cheap enough. I would have saved money if I joined for five years, but by this point I was feeling so old that green bananas were off my shopping list.

Still, I couldn’t decide whether to join.

I felt ambivalent about classifying myself as Officially Old.

I told myself, I may be middle-aged, but I’m not aged.

And after all, Mother Mary is an AARP member. Would I really want to join a club that would have us both?

But that may be a different question.

Just when I was mulling this over, an email request came in from my book publicist to go on RLTV, a channel that I’d never heard of. So, I went online and found out that it was Retirement Living Television.

Me? Fresh cheddar that I am?

It’s a funny thing.

Puberty is a line that’s clearly delineated. Your breasts pop.

But how about old age? Your breasts drop?

Enough said.

I went online to the RLTV website, which had photos of people I admire, like Jane Pauley and Bob Vila. Neither of them are retired, but they’re still cool, even though they’re as old as I am, or even older.

Except that the website did have an article on “Benjamin Franklin – Science Superstar.”


But still, that kind of thinking seemed mean-spirited and wrong.

So, I joined AARP.

I love being my age, and I’ve learned that age is arbitrary, anyway. So, what if I’m lumped in with sixty, seventy, eighty, and even ninety-year-olds?

I consider myself…lucky.

© Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: If a Tree Falls in the Driveway…

By Lisa Scottoline

So, a tree landed on my garage, but didn’t damage anything. That would be the good, and the bad, news.

It got me looking at the trees around my house, and there are plenty of them. More good and bad news.

I don’t know what type of trees they are, because it never mattered to me. I operate on the principle that there’s only so much information my tiny little brain can hold, and it’s already stuffed with things I need to know for work, plus essentials like the words to most Rolling Stones songs and the Empire Flooring jingle.

So, I never learned the names of the trees I own. I’d be happy to name them Mick and Keith, and let it go at that.

But I do love the way they look, especially in fall, when they turn bright yellow and gorgeous orange, or in summer, when their rich green shades the lawn. Bottom line, we can all agree, trees are good.


But then I started eyeing the trees, close up, and with the leaves fallen, I could see a lot of old branches, thick, dark, and ending in a point. I’m no expert, but some looked dead. I started to wonder when they might fall, like daggers from heaven.

Call this an exaggeration, but recall that I was raised by Mother Mary, who taught me that even the most mundane items can kill you. For example, knives loaded into the dishwasher will stab you. Blow-dryers will electrocute you. Toasters have murder on their minds.

So, I started to see the trees not as examples of natural beauty, but as lethal weapons.

And they could fall at any second, on me, the dogs, or the cats. And some of my trees hang over my street, and I’d hate to think they could fall on a passing car or person. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened.

I have enough guilt already.

And made me worry about something worse.

Namely, lawyers.

So I called a tree service guy, who came over and started pointing. He knew the names of all the trees. Hemlock. Sugar maple. Red oak. Mulberry. Tulip poplar.

What lovely words.

Then he started in with the numbers.

$450, $340, $540. Not so lovely.

And then sent me a two-page estimate.

What was it that Joyce Kilmer wrote? I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree…service estimate?

It turns out that I have lots of trees that need servicing. Dead branches have to be trimmed, stumps ground down and hauled away. We’re talking days of work.

For trees?

I expect to pay for home improvement, but I never factored in tree improvement. It reminded me of the time I had to call an excavator to build a swale in my backyard, and if you don’t know what a swale is, it’s like a berm, only more expensive.

No, I don’t know what a berm is either. That’s why it costs extra. Things add up when you start with dirt improvement.

And some of the tree improvement sounded downright exotic. For example, the tree guy told me that it was a spruce tree that fell on the garage, and it would cost $380 to reduce the top leaders.

I didn’t know what a top leader was, but it sounded redundant. Nobody follows a bottom leader.

Can you imagine, a bottom leader running for president? No, we can’t! Give up and go home!


And it would cost $90 for a fir tree that needed cable. I didn’t know trees had cable. Do they have DVRs, too?

And some of it was scary. The estimate read that my sugar maple had to be pruned “to prevent main trunk failure.”

That can’t be good, can it?

Plus, I think it already happened.

To my waist.

© Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Spot On

By Lisa Scottoline

It turns out that my past is spotty.

And yours may be, too.

All of us women have to cope with the signs of aging, and some of us do so better than others.

I mostly ignore it.

I’m not a model, so I don’t earn a living by the way I look, and I’ve come to like my face, even with its laugh lines, since I like to laugh.

I know that sometimes my cheeks look drawn and hollow, which is the kind of thing that tempts some women to opt for injections of filler.

I don’t judge, but that isn’t my style.

As soon as I hear “injections,” I’m gone.

And the only filler my face needs is carbohydrates.

The same is true of facelifts or cosmetic surgery. I don’t blame anybody who does it, but my fear kicks in at “surgery.”

Though I have to admit that I’ve been tempted recently, a fact I discovered by accident. After summer was over, I noticed an oddly dark spot on my cheek, and since I wasn’t always careful about using sunscreen, I worried it was cancer. The very notion sent me scurrying to the Internet, where I looked at various horrifying slides and learned the acronym ABCDE, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving.

Now you learned something, and so did I.

The last time I had memorized an acronym with as much interest was when I was getting engaged, and I learned about the four C’s for engagement rings.

Cut, clarity, color, carat.

Much more fun.

Worried, I called around and found a dermatologist, a woman reputed to be a great doctor, though on the brusque side.

In other words, a woman of few words.

I hadn’t even known such a creature existed.

Obviously, she’s the direct opposite of me, but I wasn’t looking for love, just to stay alive.

Anyway, the dermatologist suggested that I come in for a mole check.

I agreed, though she’d said it so fast, I thought she’d said, “mold check.”

Which was probably more accurate.

I’m not getting old, I’m getting mold.

Or maybe I’m molting.

Either way, I went to the dermatologist, who examined the suspicious mole and determined it was benign.


I promised myself never to skip the sunscreen, ever again.

But then the dermatologist frowned behind the contraption that magnified her eyes to two brown marbles. She pointed to my temples and said, “You have quite a lot of keratoses.”

Again, I didn’t understand because she was looking at my forehead, not my toesies.  “What did you say?”

“These brownish spots on your temples. You have so many.”

Thanks, I thought, but didn’t say. “They’re from the sun, aren’t they?”

“No, that’s a common misconception. They’re hereditary.”

I remembered then that my father used to have them, which might have been the reason I never minded them. Because they reminded me of him.

The dermatologist said, “They’re not related to age, but they age you, and I can remove them.”


“Hold on.” The dermatologist left the office, then returned with a Styrofoam cup of what looked like coffee, because a curlicue of steam wafted from inside the cup. Before I could understand what was going on, she swiped a Q-tip inside the cup and pressed it to my temple.

“Ow,” I blurted out. “What is that?”

“Liquid nitrogen. It burns, right?”

“Right.” I bit my lip as she swiped the Q-tip back in the Styrofoam cup and pressed it on a few other places on my temples.

I wanted my mommy but didn’t say so.

Because that would have been immature.

The dermatologist finished up, saying, “That’s all for now. Call my office in a week or so and make an appointment to remove the others.”

I thanked her and left the office, my forehead a field of red dots, like a constellation that spelled out:


A week later, the red dots had turned brown and fallen off, and in their place was fresh pink skin.

I could see that I looked better, maybe even younger.

But I have to say, I missed looking like my father.

And I think I’ll leave the other ones alone.

© Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: With Apologies to Mary Poppins

By Lisa Scottoline

My life just changed in a good way. In fact, in a great way. 

By gummi vitamins. 

I’m supposed to take a multivitamin, B complex, calcium, CoQ10, and Crestor. 

But the only thing I take is Crestor. Why? Because I don’t like taking pills, or I forget, and pills suck. 

That would be a medical term. 

So, imagine my delight when I’m cruising the aisles in the food store, and I see a massive jug of gummi vitamins. I don’t mean gummy, like my pie crust. I mean gummi, like the bears. 

I get my gummi vitamins home and they’re exciting and colorful, shaped like blueberries, orange slices, and red cherries. In other words, vitamins morphed into Jujyfruits. 

I’m so there. 

And I’m picking red goop out of my teeth as we speak. 

There’s a visual. Now you know why I’m divorced twice. 

All of a sudden, I can’t wait to take my daily multivitamins. I’m like a little kid. They’re better than Flintstone vitamins because they don’t stick together. Don’t ask me how I know. 

I get to have two gummi vitamins a day, and every morning, I look forward to picking my flavors. Never mind that they all taste the same, like the first ingredient, which is Glucose Syrup. 

It’s candy with a medical excuse. 

Sugar with a doctor’s note. 

A spoonful of gummi helps the medicine go down. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 

I go back to the store, where they had Vitamin B Complex in gummi form, too, and they’re awesome, too. Soft and chewy, in flavors that taste basically of floor wax. 

But still. 


And like a gummi addict, I went on another hunt and managed to find Gummi CoQ10 at Costco. 

Don’t ask me what CoQ10 is. It’s not even a word. It’s a password. It can’t even make up its mind between numbers and letters. It should have to choose. 

All I know is that my doctor said I have to take CoQ10 because I take Crestor, and he’s the one man I obey. 

Unfortunately, my gummi CoQ10 is only peach-flavored, but that’s still an improvement on CoQ10 in conventional pill form, which tastes like a conventional pill. 

And it’s a bitter pill to swallow. 

So far, if you’re counting, that means every day, I get to have five gummi things and call it medication. Which means that sugar, carbs, and calories don’t count. And I’m not that crazy anyway. I actually love the taste of calories. In fact, calories are my favorite food. 

Now you might be wondering about calcium, and that’s where Viactiv comes in. Because I couldn’t find gummi calcium, which would be the best thing ever. After gummi Crestor, which they have in heaven. 

But Viactiv calcium comes in chocolate and is wrapped in a square like a baby Chunky. So, I grabbed those babies and started chowing down. By the way, Viactiv calcium also comes in caramel, raspberry, and chocolate mint. Yes, there are 57 flavors of calcium, according to Dr. Baskin Robbins. 

I did notice online that Viactiv now comes in chocolate vitamins, too, but they’re no match for gummi vitamins, and I like a mixture in my meds, like Halloween candy. 

They can’t all be Snickers. 

The only problem with chocolate calcium is that it’s hard to limit yourself to forty-five servings. 

I’m starting to think that all of our medical treats are compensation for being middle-aged and having to take all these dumb pills. In fact, whoever invented gummi medicine is a great person. Why shouldn’t we get to have a little bit of fun with our cholesterol? Why can’t we whoop it up while we make our bones stronger? And what’s wrong with making a game out of whatever it is that CoQ10 does? 

And think of the possibilities. If they made gummi birth control pills, nobody would ever forget to take them. 

And if they made gummi Viagra? 

Run for cover. 

© Lisa Scottoline 

Column Classic: Reading is Fundamental

By Lisa Scottoline

Mother Mary has a new job that benefits us all.

Before I reveal it, let me explain that over the years I’ve made a few author friends, and I buy their books and get them to sign them to my mother, which gives her a big charge. Last month I shipped her five books, including my newest one, then I called to ask her, “How’d you like my book?”

“I loved it, it was great!. But I have some corrections for it. And for the others.”

“Corrections? How many?”

“About five.”

“Five corrections?” I ask, surprised. “Like typos? That’s bad.”

“No, five pages of corrections. And for the others, too.”

I am astounded. “Five pages of typos?”

“Not typos, corrections, and I have five pages per book. So, twenty-five pages of corrections.”

Now, I officially don’t get it. “Give me an example of something you corrected.”

“Okay, in your book, you use the word ain’t. Ain’t is not a word.”

“Is it used in dialogue?”


“Then, it’s fine. That’s how the character speaks. That’s not a mistake.”

“Yes, it is. Nobody should use the word ain’t. You know better than that, you went to college. I’ll mail you the sheets. You’ll see.”

“Okay, send them.”

“Ain’t! Hmph!”

So, Mother Mary mails me the alleged corrections, twenty-five pages of notebook paper, each line written in capitals in a shaky red flair. AIN’T IS NOT A WORD! is the most frequent “correction.” A few are typos, but the rest are editorial changes, different word choices, or new endings to the plot.

Bottom line, Mother Mary is a book critic, in LARGE PRINT.

Still, I read the sheets, touched. It must have taken her hours to make the lists, and it’s really sweet. I call to tell her so, which is when she lowers the boom:

“You need to send the lists to your friends,” she says. “Your friends who wrote the other books. They should know about the mistakes, so they can fix them.”

“Okay, Ma, you’re right. Thanks. I will.”

I don’t like lying to my mother, but I’m getting used to it. I figure I’ll put the sheets in my jewelry box, with daughter Francesca’s letters to Santa Claus. Those corrections are going to the North Pole.

Then my mother adds, “You don’t have to worry about the one set, though.”

“What one set?”

“A set of corrections, for your new friend.” She names a Famous Author who isn’t really my new friend, but Somebody I Wish Were My New Friend. I can’t name her here, as she will never be my new friend, now. In fact, she’s probably my new enemy. Because my mother sent her five pages of unsolicited editorial changes to her terrific, number-one bestseller.

“You did what?” I ask, faint. “Where did you get her address?”

“Your brother got it from the computer.”

“Her address is on the computer?”

“She has an office.”

Of course she does. “And you sent it to her?”

“Sure. To help her.”

I try to recover. I have only one hope. “You didn’t tell her who you are, did you?”

“What do you mean?”

I want to shoot myself for never changing my last name. My last name is Scottoline and so is Mother Mary’s, and the Very Famous Author signed a book to her at my request, so in other words….

“Oh, sure, I told her I’m your mother, in case she didn’t know.”

“Great.” I sink into a chair. “And you did that because…”

“Because I’m proud of you.”

Ouch. I can’t help but smile. How can I be angry? I tell her, “I’m proud of you, too, Ma.”

It’s not even a lie.

© Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Clipped

By Lisa Scottoline

If you raise your daughter right, eventually she will know more than you.

Which is the good and bad news.

We begin when Daughter Francesca comes home for a visit and finds me engaged in one of my more adorable habits, which is clipping my fingernails over the trashcan in the kitchen.

This would be one of the benefits of being an empty nester. You can do what you want, wherever you want. The house is all yours.


In my case, this means that everything that I should properly do in my bathroom, I do in my kitchen.

Except one thing.


I keep it classy.

Bottom line, I wash my face and brush my teeth in the kitchen. I’m writing on my laptop in the kitchen, right now. My game plan is to live no more than three steps from the refrigerator at any time, which gives you an idea of my priorities.

Anyway, Francesca eyes me with daughterly concern. “What are you doing?”

“Making sure the clippings don’t go all over the floor,” I tell her, clipping away.  Each snip produces a satisfying clik.

“It’s not good for your nails, to clip them that way. You might want to use an emery board.”

I know she learned that from Mother Mary, who carries an emery board everywhere, like a concealed weapon. “I don’t have one.”

“I do, and you can use it.”

“No, thanks.  It’s too much trouble.” I keep clipping. Clik, clik. Hard little half-moons of fingernail fly into the trash. My aim is perfect, and wait’ll I get to my toenails. Then I prop my foot up on the trash can and shoot the clippings into the air. Now that’s entertainment.

She adds, gently, “You clip them kind of short.”

“I know.  So I don’t have to do it so often.”

“But your nails would look so pretty if you let them grow longer.”

“I don’t care enough.”

Francesca looks a little sad. “I could do them for you, Mom. Shape them, polish them. Give you a nice manicure. Look at mine. I do it myself.”

So I look up, and her hands are lovely, with each fingernail nicely shaped and lacquered with a hip, dark polish. It reminds me that I used to do my nails when I was her age. I used to care about my nails, but now I don’t, and I’m not sure why I stopped. Either I’m mature, or slovenly.

“Thanks, but no,” I tell her.

She seems disappointed. It is a known fact that parents will occasionally let their children down, and this will most often occur in the area of personal grooming or bad puns. I’m guilty of only one of these. All of my puns are good.

But to make a long story short, later we decide to go out to dinner, and since it’s a nice night, I put on a pair of peep-toe shoes, which are shoes that reveal what’s now known as toe cleavage, a term I dislike.

If your toe has cleavage, ask your plastic surgeon for a refund.

Anyway, both Francesca and I looked down at unvarnished toenails, newly clipped though they were. I had to acknowledge that it wasn’t a good look.

“I can polish them for you,” she offered, with hope. “I think it they would look better, with these shoes.”

“But we’re late,” I said, and we were.

“It won’t take long.” Francesca reached for the nail polish, and I kicked off the shoes.

“I have an idea. Just do the ones that show.”

“What?” Francesca turned around in surprise, nail polish in hand.

“Do the first three toenails.”

Look, it made sense at the time. The other two toenails didn’t matter, and no one can find my pinky toenail, which has withered away to a sliver, evidently on a diet more successful than mine.

But Francesca eventually prevailed, and did all five toenails.

Like I said, I raised her right.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline