Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alternative Christmas


I have a dream. That the days leading up to Christmas are peaceful and serene. No shopping, no mall, no grumpy crowds. Last year I’d almost talked the kids into skipping the traditional holiday madness and going someplace to escape, their only stipulation was it had to involve sun. From my research I learned that on December 25th there are two places in the continental United States that are most likely to have sunshine. Phoenix and Key West. Apparently the word is out, because both places were light-years out of the budget and frequent flier miles were completely blacked out for that time of year, so discounts were out too.
The hunt was on, and my inexpensive options were shot down with verbal cannon fire. Monastery Christmas?  Nope, my dream not theirs. Grandpa’s cabin deep in the snowy hills?  Too rustic, no heat, and complete lack of sunshine. Camping in Anywhere, AZ?  Do you know how cold the desert gets at night?  We ended up right here at home, enjoying a good old-fashioned Griswold family vacation like always. It was a blast too, it always is.
It occurred to me that I’m approaching this all wrong. Being home for Christmas, with a house full of company is truly wonderful. I love it. It is the prep work that sleighs the Santa in me. My plan early and simplify has been a repeated, colossal failure year after year. It doesn't work either because I’m still deep in the thick of it the day before, shopping and gathering, and in the end - despite my planning failures - it all works out, because none of these things or any of the details matter. Well, I may be a slow learner, but eventually I do get it.
The solution finally came to me, there is only one way to avoid the pre-holiday chaos. I’ll opt out the week BEFORE Christmas. No traveling to someplace fancy or interesting either, nothing that involves much effort at all. Maybe I’ll stay right here in my house the whole time, maybe not. The idea is simply to just wing it all in a 24-hour time frame – all preparation - and see if it even matters. What an excellent experiment, I’m really jazzed about implementing it next year. No early prep either, everything from decorations, to gifts to the meal must be the result of work done no more than 24 hours ahead. Wow. I’m looking forward to next year already. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice


Here is my spin on a Robert Frost poem, ‘The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep…’ “but I have 3,000 more words before I sleep.”  Just days before Christmas, I imagine most of us have plenty to do before we sleep. Unfortunately my solution for having far too much to do isn’t very productive, so I can’t recommend it.  Perhaps I’m just contrary by nature, but I go slower.  In fact, outside of automatic body functions, it may have looked like I was doing nothing for at least two hours today.  That was an illusion, I was awaiting divine inspiration I tell you, and I trust it will come in its own good time.  Like tonight.
This year’s winter solstice is upon us and though that means it is now officially winter, it is a BOOYAH moment mentally.  See, however infinitesimal, from here on out the days grow longer.  So take that winter.  Hah.  Summer’s right around the corner, a mere six months away, but its light is already shining.  Besides that this is also a great big fat long night in which to write, or to do those amazing Christmas things so many people do.  Like try to come up with a replacement gift for the ones that aren’t going to show up in time.  Or run out of scotch tape and stick everyone’s gifts into old gift bags and call it being green.  For some of us inspiration rarely comes in traditional homey touches, it slogs through the woods on the longest night of the year. I might close my eyes, just to keep them from drying out, but I'm not sleeping - that's an illusion - I'm just waiting patiently for the arrival of my inspiration.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reindeer Games


One awesome and under-appreciated game is scrabble, my Bohemian Gram was the best opponent because she made up words. Some people might call that cheating, we considered it thinking outside the box. I don’t play the lottery, I don’t want a bazillion dollars, I so do not want to do all that paperwork AND I have far too many relatives to ever risk winning huge amounts of money. I don’t get the gambling thing, and please don’t tell me that it is fun. I’ve been in casinos a couple of times (they have spectacular ladies rooms in places that have only tumbleweed options) and nobody is ever smiling.
Picking up antibiotics at the pharmacy one day, they pressed a handful of little paper game pieces into my hand so I could win some shtuff. Checking out at the supermarket they give me points to win various kitchen gadgets. What does a food processor do?  Seems to be a title most organic life forms could claim. Never mind, I don’t care what the mechanical ones do and I don’t even want a free one. I don’t like to raise false hopes in the kitchen.
Telemarketers have joined the game, they’re not calling to sell anything!  They’re going to SAVE me money. How about saving me time?  Though speaking of reindeer games, if a human telemarketer calls and drags me from my writing, I play with them for awhile. I’m not rude, and I’m never mean, I’m playing. I like, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak any English.”  Usually they are super polite and ask, “What language do you speak?”  Ah, I adore when they play too. Though sometimes they try to outwit me, “You’re speaking English.”  “Well, yes, but I only know enough to say, I don’t speak any English.”  The kids will often dash to the phone when I start this game, mouthing “me next!” they like to play too.
After years of effort avoiding the place, I went to Vegas for a conference and was surprised to find I liked it. For starters it is the only place I’ve ever been where the hotel rooms look just like the kind you see in movies. All those virtual reality rides are a blast, and it’s close to the Grand Canyon. The casinos are inconveniently placed right smack in your way when you’re trying to get anywhere though. For days I was badgered to try the joys of gambling, and after a couple of days I took the proffered handful of cash, plunked it down on a roulette wheel square (I saw that in a movie once) and lost it like *snap* that. No one wanted to see me do it bad enough to hand me money again. I’d go back there though, because you can skydive from 15,000 feet, more terminal velocity fall time. Now THAT is how I spell fun.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Heroes


Of all the books, movies and stories you know, who was your favorite hero? When I write a story, getting to know the hero is one of my favorite parts. It doesn’t feel like I get to invent the hero either, they just come tumbling out and kind of introduce themselves to me as the story progresses. It is a fascinating process and sometimes I’ll agonize over something that they do or something that happens to them. It bewilders my hubby. “Is something wrong?”  He asks as I push my food around my plate, unable to eat. “Yes.”  I sniff, “Asher shot and killed his girlfriend’s father today, and now they can never be together.”  “Who…  this is your book isn’t it?  If it bothers you, why don’t you change it?”  “I can’t. That is how it goes. It’s not like I can just make stuff up you know.” 
Are you familiar with the Myers & Briggs 16 Personality Types?  Apparently humanity has been narrowed down to these various types of personalities, though personally I feel like I can fit three of them depending on my mood. It is good to have options. It is fun to look at the list, check it out at:  http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp  Let me know if it works for you. Did you find yourself?  I enjoy finding my character’s personalities on there, and I can peg each and every one of them.
So what makes a good hero to you?  Does he have to be attractive?  I like to bang mine up a bit, some scars show they’ve lived. Do they have to be tough and strong?  Well I suppose at least resolute and brave enough to endure the suffering I’m tossing in their path. It builds character, right?  What’s a hero without a plot that shapes him. And of course a hero without a soft side doesn’t work either, without honor and a heart he could morph into the villain. It’s my job to make you care about him, and in my case that simply means writing well enough for you to get to know him just like I did.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Run. Faster. Hide.

Whew, really the pressure this time of year is madness.  Shopping, wrapping, decorating.  Cards, baking, cleaning.  Company, sweet kids coming and going, road trips.  That hamster wheel is squeaking round the clock.  Yesterday, in the midst of a wildly busy day, I sneaked off to my secret hiding place for a visit.  It was the wisest decision I'd made in weeks.  Calm, peace, tranquility.  THAT is my idea of a holiday.  If your house looks absolutely nothing a Hallmark commercial and more like a ransacked dorm room, then join me in the Christmas pact.  Escape from the madness, and not to the maul!  Take some quiet time, go hide someplace until the incessant noise in your ears begins to dim.  You really don't have to do everything.  No.  You don't.  Step quietly back and take a break.  Be still.  Take a nap.  Be good to you.  Finding your secret hiding place is a gift only you can give to yourself.  Do you have one?  I'll share mine if you don't. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrap This


You know that old joke where you wrap a small gift inside an ascending pile of boxes?  There have been a couple times I’ve put serious effort into that. Once I did it to my Father-in-law, I have no recollection of what the gift was. I doubt anyone else remembers what it was either, but we all remember him opening it. Presentation can be important, and part of the fun of gift giving. My son likes to wrap his little sister’s gifts in various challenging manners, duct tape being one of his personal favorites. He makes her work for it. She retaliated impressively with a scavenger hunt where the clues were all riddles.
Do you practice the transformative marketing trick with your gift giving?  That’s where you put something sparkly, like a small gift card, gum or chocolate bar into pockets to soften the blow of getting clothes for Christmas. It’s not just for kids either, I’m not altogether certain my husband even notices that sweater underneath the pile of fishing lures.
Have you ever known one of those people who can eyeball a box under the tree and deduce, “It’s a red Teflon pan with a matching spatula, a bottle of herbed olive oil and a gift card to the gourmet supermarket.”  We secretly call one family member Nancy Drew behind her back, we’ve been able to surprise her a grand total of once in her life. It’s not that we didn’t put effort into disguising her gifts, we tried pebbles in the box in case of an investigative shake, and odd shaped boxes and even weights. All wasted effort.
There are certain gifts that take serious effort to disguise for even the non-psychic recipients on your list. Have you ever wrapped fishing poles, pool sticks or hammocks? Now I’d find a way to wrap a pony if it struck my fancy, but I often take into account the wrap-ability of a gift. When I give ponies for Christmas I usually just stick a bow on them and trot them out in full view. Sometimes a girl needs to take a break from the holidays and work on her novel too, though if you have any pony wrapping tips, I’m all ears.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mauled


Due to the fact that I’m severely allergic to it, I tend to avoid going mall sharking. Sometimes I make myself go anyway though, because it’s Christmas and I’m tough like that. The Plan was to squeeze a quick shopping trip in between appointments. I parceled out an entire hour, I like to think that means I’m an optimist. Thanks to excellent parking kismet I landed a perfect up-front spot and everything was going exactly as planned, until that part where I opened the door and entered.
Oh the humanity. Have you ever noticed that gravity is heavier in the mall?  I think that’s because the whole place is a mojo-sucking black hole. Now I know that a certain gender is rumored to enjoy the place, but I don’t buy it. I didn’t see anyone smiling, male or female, and trying to make eye contact to share a smile was treated as an act of aggression.
As I dragged my bags of holiday sweaters around, I did begin to wonder if we could all opt to exchange gifts every other year and if pack mules can be considered service animals?  Bet the kids would luv sitting up there, stuffing whatever you buy into the saddlebags.  You know I might like the mall if they let pack mules in. Nah. Not even then.
In the end I have no idea what I bought, it’s in a pile of bags on the bed behind me. All I know is that I missed my appointment, forgot about lunch and emerged hours later in the dark, late for dinner. My arms were shaking either from fatigue, low blood sugar or post mall-a-day stress. The worst part is the chapter I was writing has crawled somewhere deep inside The Glitter Globe where it is rocking back and forth refusing to come out, and now SOMEONE needs to wrap all that stuff while I go find my mojo.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snipers & Mud Puppies

Gave two chapters of a WIP (Work in Progress) to a comrade to read, never expecting the response I received. In a nutshell it went something like this:  “Your antagonist is based on a composite of so-and-so and that crank you used to work for when you lived in… isn’t it?”  Apparently another reason friends don’t make good critique partners is that they know you just a little bit too well!! 
Comrade and I have known each other a long time. When I bought my very first house she came to visit and add artsy touches to the décor. We were deep into putting the finishing touches on a project in the kitchen, when the bay of kitchen windows began to explode. Glass flew over us and a sparkly trail of it sailed the entire length of the kitchen. Carefully stepping over the glass and watching in wonder as the windows continued to shatter and sparkle through the room we managed to dodge the imploding shrapnel.
            “I think someone is shooting at us!”  Comrade said indignantly.
Peering out at the sunny backyard and taking in the holes peppering the double paned glass I had to agree. Ducking the incoming shots that were now sporadic, we both stood, hands on hips, eyes narrowed into the sun, scouring the horizon for our sniper. Maybe we should have ducked, but we WERE preparing for vigilante justice, you see.
           “Oh for the luv of…” Comrade went storming to the back door, threw it open and screeched at her helpful husband out back. “GEORGE YOU CAN’T MOW GRAVEL!  GEORGE!”
Once she saved my dog’s life, from me truth be told. Taking a break from a heated escape attempt, Gunner tried to cool off in a puddle of oil. We’re talking Texas puddle of oil folks, not something spilled on the garage floor. We’re talking sailing through the air, grin on his doggy face, landing with a splash and wallowing around in it before he noticed it wasn’t water. If you ever get tarred and feathered do not call me. When he came dripping home, looking like some demon who clawed his way out of the River Styx, I simply went to the Sunday paper and looked under the “new dogs” section.
Comrade attacked him with the hose and a couple gallons of Tide, which only served to oil slick the entire backyard too. Then she demanded I take him to the Vet, in my car, pronto, which I did sort of, only in hubby’s car (it was his dog). Imagine my surprise when they dragged his usual abnormal white and orange fluffy self into the waiting room a few hours later.
So it was really no big surprise that Comrade could decode my fiction, she’s seen much of the fodder before it was submitted to The Glitter Globe for sustenance, modification and dissemination.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year...

Remember that scene in Braveheart?  The “FREEDOM” one?  Ever feel like shouting it out in that voice when you escape through the doors of the superstore?  No wonder so many of us want to curl up in front of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and escape to Bedford Falls. After basically opting out of the insanity, as best as I can, by giving my loved ones books and socks this year, I debated what to do with this inner peace I thought I’d achieve…
Today, standing in line at a store, it hit me. I’ll play good Samaritan at every opportunity. A young mother was in front of me at the checkout, handful of coupons, two carts, two children, been there. Baby #1, nearest me, dropped his chocolaty bribe to the floor. We all know that the five second rule does not apply at Wal-mart. Unless it is the holidays and you frantically decide to ascribe to the whole 'germs are good and build your immune system' theory. Mama was going with this philosophy, she just wanted OUT, as did we all. As she juggled her coupons, Baby #2, wallet, putting goods onto the belt, shoving bags into the cart, Baby #1 let his peanut butter glob of goodness fall, again. This was my opportunity to help. Being a brave Mama myself, I picked up the grotesque mess and handed it to him, making confirmatory eye contact with his Mom first.
Stranger danger, which has gone to the realm of Orson Wells IMHO, was tossed aside for a moment. Take the candy from the stranger behind you son, just let me check out so we can GET OUT OF HERE. Momentarily the child looked frightened, hadn’t he been warned about strangers bearing candy?  Yet, like a child, he looked into my eyes, decided I was human too AND I was holding that enticing, slobbery, dusty gob of goop he wanted, so I was good by his standards. He took it, started gnawing at it again and coughing a really worrisome wet cough I hadn’t noticed before I’d juiced my hand up with his saliva.
Trying to reach nonchalantly for my hand sanitizer I remembered my kids at his age. Wait. Dropping is a game at that age. I’d just entered in the game. It’s an unspoken rule. I’m gonna drop it and you are going to pick it up and hand it to me. You’re playing Jumanji now Lady, oh you can look away and pretend not to see me drop it again, but we both know you not only saw it, you heard the splash. Come on, you’re It, and this line is long, so this is gonna be fuuuun.
Fine, I stood by my resolve even when it entailed playing pick-up with an adorable, messy little carrier monkey. Everyone knows sweet cooties don’t count, right?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shameless Verbarian

A thesaurus is my favorite dinosaur. I confess I have an unnatural attraction to them. When I go to the bookstore, I like to sit on the floor in front of them and play with them. Admittedly I judge them, too thin, too plain, unimaginative, insubstantial, easy, cheap. In a perfect world they would all astonish me at every turn, they’d be fat, come from good stock and I’d never want to leave them. They’d wear leather jackets. Oh. Baby.
Sadly my expectations appear unrealistic and fantastical. So like anyone with aberrant and outlandish expectations of their ideal, I turn to the internet for satisfaction. Yes. I am addicted to the cheap thrills of on-line word-ography. A shameless click followed by onerous load-up, while forced to endure tawdry pop-ups, and there you have it. www.thesaurus.com. It’s like voting, frustrating and unsatisfying and you wish you had better options. Yet until Mr. Write coughs up the magnum opus of my dreams, such is my lot in life.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Senseless Soliloquy

Why does somebody named Newt keep calling me every day?  If I steal some chocolate from my daughter’s secret chocolate horde, while she’s off studying at Hogwarts, will it magically stick to her hips or mine?  Apparently someone broke into my attic this year and stole our Christmas tree stand. Aesthetically speaking is there really any legitimate opposition to a Christmas hedge versus a tree? 
The crippling pressure of having to bake perfect and edible cookies, as a prerequisite to visiting new neighbors (to welcome them to the neighborhood) is why I’ve never met any of my new neighbors.
While napping inside a sunbeam, in the middle of any day, the meaning of life is crystal clear for one brief moment, just before you open your eyes. Cats understand this, which is why they are so smug.
Writing notes on either stunning stationery or random bits of junk mail both thrills me, and leaves me with a sense of accomplishment; so much so that I rarely, if ever, consult those snippets ever again. After I’ve put pen to paper, ideally my work here is done. Sometimes, though, if I do happen to jigsaw these scraps onto paper, this is what I get.
Do you think it could get me out of jury duty?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dangerous Absolutes

Is it just me or have you noticed that just about everything you ever say you (or your children/dog/etc.) will NEVER do – gets done?  For example when you were an immortal teenager (perhaps you are one now, have fun with it) and as you watched the black and white world pass you by, say, shopping at Toys R Us around Christmas time you might say, “My children will never go out of the house in their pajamas, and run through stores like rabid monkeys!”  Flash to the future and introduce your angel of light, let’s call her “Mowgli”. There she is, tearing through the aisles of a shop, biting the heads off Barbie dolls, and there you are, vigilant parent, taking pictures of it.

Perhaps you were a career driven vegetarian business woman with a penchant for Edgar Rice Burroughs, and you stumbled across Tarzan one day, next thing you know you’re married, homeschooling in the jungle and blissfully confused about how it all happened, because you specifically had said:  “I would never marry a hunter.”  “I would never homeschool.”  “I would NEVER live in New York.”  About this time, one might think, you would learn to stop talking, but you don’t. You tell your dog sitter, “Don’t worry, he’s house trained.”

Shut up already. Really?  You still haven’t figured it out though, you're still spouting absolutes. Surely I’m not alone in this phenomenon, have you ever said you’d never?  Told the meter man that your dog doesn’t bite?  And then lived to eat your words?  You know who you are. I find that the list snowballs as time rolls forward and long after you start to suspect that your Maker actually does listen to you and maybe, perhaps, is trying to tell you something, your slow-learner mouth is still going. I get it now though, and I’ll never do it again. Ever.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Sparkly World Rocks

Amusement parks. Carnival rides. Roller coasters. Are you a fan?  House of mirrors. Swinging bridges. Optical illusions. Are you in?  I’ve been trapped here for over a decade now, in my own personal Fun House. My universe is the world of chronic vertigo. Oh, we all have our cross to bear and after all of these years this is now the new normal. I barely remember what it was like before, and I am a spectacularly awesome spotter. After ten years I can stand in a crowded ballroom, with flashing lights, wearing high heels and contact lenses and make eye contact and carry on a conversation. Occasionally I may have to pause, and touch something solid, or glance at a light switch that I’m using to spot while the room spins around me; but if you make a sudden move, or expect me to turn my head and try to focus on something unexpected?  We’re all going down, and I’m taking you with me.
Fortunately there are far more functional good days than bad and even better, it was a pain portal into an unexpected and brave new world. Television had to go, especially news channels with the scrolling messages. My eyes couldn’t focus on it and who wants to sit next to the chick with the barf bag and watch CNN?  Blessedly I could still use the computer or at least a pencil and paper on bad days and I had a head full of my own stories anyway. Running on a treadmill or marching on The Stairmaster?  99% success rate, there are handles. Caffeine, sugar, flour, or any form of alcohol?  Not on your life. It was like a get healthy, get fit implant from Heck.
Chronic vertigo has made me braver, stronger and more outgoing. If twinkle lights and a crowded shopping mall can flatten me and leave me to bark at the ants, why should I fear extreme sports?  Bring. It. On. My world rocks and I write. I also run, dance, go four wheeling, jump on the bed, laugh, scream and a whole lot of the time I stagger even simply attempting an elevator dismount. If you notice, don’t judge. All in all it’s just another day in the Funhouse.  This is my life, and I intend to live it. Hang around and see what rocks out of The Glitter Globe if you want to play too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beta Data

“I thought your main character was from Chicago.” The Instant Message might read.
“She is.” I might jot back, while wondering if my critique friend had skipped the first seven chapters, interspersed with references to the windy city.
“Then what’s with the brogue she develops in chapter twelve?”
Those all-night writes really aren’t very productive, all things considered. I should not be listening to Flogging Molly while I write anyway, EVER. Pull out the machete, hack, chop, change and our protagonist is once again intelligible.
That is just one reason why I needed a Beta Reader. A Beta Reader is someone who will read through your stories with a critical eye and notice when someone changes nationalities, hair color or universes, without explanation. It helps if they read a whole lot too, so they can point out when you’re breaking every other writing rule known to man. Brutal honesty is a good trait also. Someone who can tell you, “I tried to read it, but my head filled with the drone of buzzing insects, I think I fell into a coma during the fifteenth page of back-story.”  The most excellent, professional Beta Readers work for chocolate and tattoos, because they understand that there are only four paid writers left on earth.
It is a blast to primp up several chapters and give it to a friend to read, because friends won’t tell you that your baby is ugly. They’ll never say, “Told you not to go into the desert outside Roswell alone…”  Never mind, we won’t go there. Suffice to say that few friends will boldly stomp on your offspring no matter how alien.
A beta reader, on the other hand, will tell you the truth about your offspring, because if they don’t you are going to take away their chocolate and pay extra to have their tattoos misspelled. Not that they have to be rude about your work. Choose wisely, like I did, someone with a critical eye and a knack for exceedingly polite delivery of painful news. Like a real Texan, “Sugar?  Did I mention how suh-weet your hair looked on Monday before you spent $100 and had it cut and dyed on Tuesday?”  Or a Brit, “Why, yes, my seatmates were rather large but their crushing weight felt like a perpetual hug, and it made the seven hour flight seem much quicker, on account of losing consciousness due to lack of oxygen.” 
Above all, when choosing your Beta, try to get a sparkly blue one.  They’re the best. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Of Mice and Men

Yesterday I blogged about squirrels repeatedly causing power outages where I live. I happily slapped a sparkly squirrel picture on top of it, titling it “Wanted. Dead or Alive.”  Then I stayed up all night to write, and make up for lost time, and forgot about it. Life was good, writing flowed, managed to make it until about 7:00 a.m. before I lost the ability to spell, and sparkly squirrels were far from my mind.
Then I ran out to grab the mail. The mailbox stands next to a power pole with a transformer on top of it. As I stood there, looking through four pounds of junk mail, I noticed tufts of grey fur scattered in the grass and then I saw him. Yep. Sparky + Transformer = Fail. Now I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that few people like rats, and I tried to tell myself that a squirrel is just a rat with better hair. It didn’t work, the poor little fry guy was so wretched and pathetic. With an entire forest to gnaw on, he unfortunately picked a power pole, what a legacy.
I felt hugely guilty. Hadn’t I just put a bounty on his head last night?  I glanced over at a neighbor’s house. Surely not, they’d never. I mean, yes, I had bounded around the other night in a frog costume in front of their game camera, but SURELY they wouldn’t have offed some sad little squirrel in retribution for that. Never. Though I admit I did look over there repeatedly, such is the conscience of a prankster.  Oh yes, live by the sword…  chew on live wires...  poke the bunny…  And when the time comes, pay the ferryman with sparkly coins, just like my little friend Sparky. No regrets.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wanted. Dead or Alive.

Reward?  We can negotiate after the live-wire chomping beast has been removed once and for all. Normally I can be fairly good-natured about living by candlelight on Spooky Hill. And contrary to what you might have seen on Star Trek, a wormhole can be created by a pencil and paper, so the lack of a laptop isn’t completely insurmountable. It’s just that when they leave me wet and cold, with conditioner still in my hair and legs slathered in shaving cream a line has been crossed.
Company left today, and it was a near perfect visit. Admittedly as very blessed as I am, I’ve sorely missed my alternate universe even while frolicking in this one. My nieces and nephews enjoyed the sparkly chaos that is the bedlam that fuels and inspires me, and I adored spending time with them; my Cool-Auntie points accumulated this holiday visit. Yet I hadn’t been to the other side in an entire week and my superpowers were starting to wane.
Even Gummy’s orange cookies couldn’t stave it off for much longer, it was time to recharge and visit my happy place. Ushering everyone through the door this morning, I rushed almost blindly over the holiday fallout. Sequins, feather boas, dirty dishes, dying glow-sticks (Thanksgiving fodder) it could all wait. The other universe was beckoning, and words were already falling into The Glitter Globe as I hurried to fire-up the computers.
Oh wait, just one thing and I’ll be through the portal. Hang on, five more minutes. Personal hygiene is necessary in most universes, and I had no intention of coming back of my own volition, so it seemed imperative. It was then that the squirrels attacked. Again. Standing in the dark with conditioner burning my eyeballs, and handfuls of shaving cream I bellowed. “NOT FUNNY. TURN ON THE LIGHT!  HEY!  DON’T MESS WITH ME.”  There was no corresponding laughter, only the imagined chattering of sparkly rodents, as the water first iced over and then stopped altogether. Hours later, bundled up like a homeless person, with one hairy leg having a worrisome reaction to unrinsed shaving cream and my hair still sopping wet, I was shivering as I put pen to paper, muttering to myself. Christmas dinner may very well be squirrel, it can’t taste any worse than soy burgers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Books, Socks and Greek Heroes

Today I impulsively decided to swing past the mall and pick up an emergency batch of sprinkle donuts for my company. I forgot it was “Black Friday”. Ugh. It wasn’t exactly a quick pass, but my eight year old niece announced that those sprinkle donuts were definitely worth my wait. Though, I should not have fed them to the kids before their first small plane ride. That, however, is another blog. Today we have a topic Ladies and Gentlemen. Christmas gifts. How often does anyone remember what they gave or received in the store-bought gift category? 
Last year was my first “make it easy on myself and avoid the dreaded mall” gift-giving year. I shared a gift that I myself have a serious fondness for, electric throws. They’re smaller than electric blankets, comfy and fuzzy, very portable, and they’re WARM. Pretty much everyone on my list got one. To make it more fun I named them, and gave them each a personality profile. To the friend with the penchant for Greek men went Achilles, my BFF got Rocky and a teenager got Jacob…  It is simply more fun to go cuddle with your hot blanket when it has a name.
This year, as a direct result of the fact that I spent so much time at writer conferences, the theme is…  Books!  No groaning, I’m talking great books, many autographed and most come with a side of personalized chocolate and socks. The same people are on my list this year as last, and what goes better with the electric throw you got last year, than a great read, the mandatory chocolate and a warm pair of cozy socks?  And with all the time, energy and good humor I’m saving by not wasting time shopping, I can accomplish more meaningful tasks. Like writing my novel and spending time with family and friends during the holiday season - with a genuine smile. Hopefully, they’ll be smiling too. If not, at least they’ll remember this as the year they got books and socks for Christmas. Creating memories is why we give gifts in the first place isn’t it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clean Drawers

Once I helped empty out a house when the elderly occupants had gone on. In the bureau drawer of the Mrs. was a book on eugenics. What?!  All tasks ground to a halt at his unexpected discovery. Why was this monstrosity in a sweet old lady’s dresser drawer?  Nestled inside the pages were a clipped magazine article on lowering a child’s fever and some pie recipes. There weren’t many books in this house, so this was quite a curious find.
Being a bookish lot we hovered over this menacing manual to check it out. It offered useful tidbits like “do not marry an insane woman.”  And how to, and when it is appropriate, to chloroform one’s spouse.  Now we are all familiar with the old adage about donning your good, clean skivvies in case of an unexpected trip to the hospital. Yet have you ever considered what you have shoved in your drawers at home?
Are you hiding your chocolate stash?  Mine is dark, but that only proves I have exquisite taste. What about your books? The only skeleton in my book closet would be an excessively over-due library book. The Hobbit, I checked it out when I was in high school and the library closed for remodeling and then I moved away… and then I moved again, and again, and again, and that is the truth. Is there a statute of limitations on library books?  Would they extradite me?
We never did find out why that warped old tome was jammed in her drawer of unmentionables. I can verify that absolutely everything they ever touched, including every Christmas card or coupon was still in that house, including a surprising abundance of five and ten dollar bills. Some were rolled up in the window shades, tucked in with the nighties, rolled into socks, and between plates in the kitchen cupboard.
My kids enthusiastically helped clear out that entire house. Of course all the proceeds went to the estate, but they still thought it was better than an Easter Egg Hunt. I pointed out that the most they could ever hope to locate in my belongings was loose change in old pocketbooks. That and, as a tongue in cheek token for my help, the family gave me that book on eugenics. So if you’re ever in my house and spot that puppy, please note - 1) That it is a creepy antique and I’m a book freak 2) Obviously my hubby never read it and 3) Shush, because I know the proper way to use chloroform.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Resistance

There were only 20,000 words to meet my deadline and I'd grounded myself from all the sparkly distractions that slow me down.  I was running for the homestretch.  Focused.  Phone muted.  Friends likely fraping all over my Facebook, it didn't matter, I was in The Zone.  Ignore that doorbell.  Ignore the chime of new e-mail and BAM.  The electricity went down.  On a perfectly beautiful November day.  Squirrels.  They're a menace.  Why is it that when the electricity is off it surprises you at every turn?  You know it's true - you walk into rooms and still hit the light switch - dang.  How often have you pulled open the microwave and went, "Oh, yeah, this doesn't work either without power"?  It was down long enough to use up both laptop batteries and then for about eight hours more.  Enough time to read both of Ruthy's engrossing new books, which was the sterling silver lining.  Unfairly they took her quite a bit longer to write than for me to devour on the sofa with a flashlight; while intermittently dialing the power company to listen to the latest updated squirrel damage report (with its continually moving estimate for power restoration). 


Eventually the flashlights died and I learned that matches have a shelf life (who knew?) so without even a candle to read or write by, there was nothing left to do but to go in search of adventure.  It took awhile, and some serious talking to myself but I finally figured out how to make the garage door go up without electricity (yes, that took me by surprise too when I walked into the garage and hit the button.  DANG!).  Then it involved a ladder in the dark, and a hammer and one shoelace, but I escaped.  Drove past the power company trucks and when I rolled down the window to ask they just shouted at me, "SQUIRRELS!"  I could feel their pain, I'm sure they had better weekend plans themselves.  This wasn't the first time I've had my train of thought derailed by sparkly squirrels, but let me point out that there were survivors, I'm just not certain - exactly - where they are.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Faking It

Company Cometh. It is that time of year when we gather together and sacrifice a large bird. Tofurky isn’t really an option unless I want to become the sacrifice. My family falls into two categories concerning my writing habits. Clueless and Busy with their Own Pursuits and Understanding to a Certain Point. It is mostly the latter group that I will be playing Quelf with next week. They are normally understanding about my odd habits and penchant for spending long stretches of time in alternate universes, but on certain occasions they expect things. Like feigned normalcy and “real food”. I grapple with both concepts.
My daughter is taking classes in a far off land where they don’t celebrate this particular Kill a Big Bird holiday. Savages. At least that is where I think she’s at. Occasionally I Skype with her and there is a flag of said country in the background. Beyond that she could be living in the basement right here for all I know. I should probably check. My other children, their friends, my in-laws, their friends, and various nieces and nephews and their friends will be arriving in a few days. I’m googling bird and gourd recipes while trying to remain in this universe for long stretches of time in preparation. This also involved time spent shopping at Walmart (the biggest sacrifice of all). I’m not entirely convinced that place is in this universe. There is, without doubt, some sort of time-space disruption going on there.
While not a fan of cooking and baking, I am a huge fan of a happy family, so I’m wrestling with alien kitchen gadgets and struggling with mathematical concepts like tripling and quadrupling recipes. My kitchen is covered in a coating of powdered sugar and nuts with footprints going through it. The bottom of the oven has crunchy formations rising up like an army of failed baking stalagmites. They hiss YOU SUCK AT FRACTIONS and stink every time I turn the oven on. Apparently it matters if you quadruple the liquids and only double the solids. Who knew? Yet my family is worth all the effort, and I am thankful for every one of them. Besides nothing says novel-material like a family gathering, wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Problem With The Moon

In order to attend an early brunch/book-signing for an author friend, I woke this morning at 5:00 a.m. It felt like quite an accomplishment for someone who often goes to bed at about 6:00 a.m. This is how much I love to support my writer friends. It involved a couple hour drive, during which I was continuously distracted from the beauty of early morning sunrise on snowy hillsides dotted with wind turbines, by jaw cracking yawns, and the fact that the moon was on the wrong side of the planet. At 3:00 a.m. it is on the other side, where it belongs. I’d forgotten it MOVES.
My friend thanked me for driving so far though I’d have happily driven anywhere to support her. I did, however, kinda feel like I’d earned a trophy for getting up so early. In lieu of that, I ignored the protests of my dress pants and rewarded myself with a visit to a candy shop in a village that was so picture perfect it could have been built by Disney. I discovered dark chocolate covered espresso beans there. I’d heard about them from other addicts, I mean chocolate-lovers (same difference).
Tonight, as the night grew late and the moon found its proper position in the sky and the yawns began anew, my nightly write-a-thon was safe. A new weapon was in my arsenal. Now it is confession time. I’ve never admitted this before, because I think I could get thrown out of the writing world for it. I don’t drink coffee. Oh, of course I have an occasional dark chocolate raspberry pretend coffee made with decaf. Or a caramel frappuccino – decaf. It’s simply that my friends and family had a restraining order issued against caffeine and me many years ago.
Apparently I have the physiology of a coral reef. If someone drinks a cup of coffee or wine in my hemisphere I can feel the effects of it by sheer osmosis. I need no stimulants. Yet tonight, I am determined, I have a looming deadline and it will be met. So in went those espresso beans. They must be an acquired taste, and this coming from a woman who eats tofu and Boca burgers, because I ended up swallowing them whole – like pills. Maybe they just taste good and I’m not used to that. At any rate I can confirm that they work, quite well, and after I finish my novel in the next few hours I’m going to go for a jog, clean my attic and rearrange the furniture. If anyone has a book signing tomorrow, anywhere, give me a shout out. I’ve discovered my antidote to mornings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Whipped Cream Puff


Some people shouldn’t be left alone, unsupervised with a can of Reddi-whip in the vicinity, because even if one of these people I’m referring to eats healthy the bulk of the time – subsisting mostly on whole grains and green leafy vegetables – sooner or later latent fat cells will hijack their brain and demand sugar and fat be downloaded into the system as fast as you can say ‘aerosol can’ yet (perhaps you’ve read about these speaking fat cells, if so you are already aware that they are quite loud and difficult to ignore) cleverly disregarding their demands by offering an apple or carrot will result in their slinking back into their fat pants with their tails between their chubby legs afraid to ask for anything more lest something green gets shoved their way and they lose even more biological ground; but if they receive something to expand their territory, something to delight their appetites, something as appealing and one would think deliciously appeasing as a hit of straight-up sugar and cream laden real whipped cream - it will backfire like any ransom payment and they will surge forth, multiplying and dividing and growing and singing the praises of establishments that unethically sell spectacular decadent desserts late into the night that could easily provide further political gain for the secret unethical mission of ever-expanding minions of adipose tissue.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I See the Bad Moon Arising

This November splendor is certainly stirring up The Glitter Globe. It is quite late as I pull another all night-write and I’ve been writing for hours now with only an occasional break to snarf dark chocolate, download music or check under my desk for spiders. Why the whelk do they only bite my right leg?  I want to know. That leg must have stomped on a VIP spider at some point in my life, to bring such wrathful retribution upon it. Either that or it is an incredibly appealing limb to the eight-leggers of the universe. Sort of like a ZZ Top music video leg for spiders?  THAT is probably exactly what it is. Hey if I have to deal with this pox upon my appendage I get to pick the attitude.

Speaking of attitude, whoever took my stereo is no longer my friend. (Including Nigel.) Jumping on one’s bed with headphones on is a bit of a hardship, but fine, just keep it. I blew the speakers out ages ago anyway. Besides for recess tonight I did the dash to the woods, where I took a splendid walk in the dark.  Done without any music, that way I could hear if skunks were chasing me. Yes, the moon is full and glorious tonight, the sky is brilliant and clear and the weather is sublime for November. Yes, according to Pop Culture there are wolves and gorgeous vampires skulking around out there, and the skunks should be the least of my worries. Whatever.


The idea was to see if it was creepy or fun to prowl the woods at night. Verdict:  The terrain was too bumpy to run in when you have big feet and little grace, and it would probably take flashlights, less imagination and company (other than skunks) to make it fun. It was, however, enchanting, and I suggest you try a moonlit stroll yourself. Let’s make a pact to do things that scare us. “Life is lived on the ragged edge of that cliff.” To quote a couple of brilliant writers there, and I fully intend to dance on that cliff as long as I’m there anyway.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let the Midnight Special


Does it sound horribly fickle to announce that as of tonight I have discovered a new best friend?  His name is Nigel and he works at the cable company and he helped me get my internet back, after hours, when nobody else could. Apparently there is some sport people watch on Sunday evenings instead of helping distraught writers avert potential freak-out.
How can I write all night without internet?  One must have research capability. All sorts of random data shoots out of The Glitter Globe, believe you me it must be verified. Also, on-line dictionaries are mandatory because sometime before dawn I start making up words to go with my imagined facts. If sparktacular isn’t really a word, I’d like to know why not. Same goes for choctacular. (Thanks Bri for inspiring that word.) 
It’s another crisp November night up here on spiderama hill. When the choctacular raspberry mochaccino I’m nursing starts to fail in its duty to keep me alert and inventing awesome new words for my novel, I like to dart outside. Nothing can slap you wide awake like a blast of refreshing arctic air.  The constellations are crystal clear this time of year. To the north, where sometimes I can catch a ghost of the northern lights, all I see tonight are two mysterious flashing objects. For fun let’s call them sparktacular UFOs.

Midnight at the Oasis

It’s another all-night-writing-marathon. Tonight the best part is changing the clocks back and gaining that extra hour. Fortunately most things electronic know to jump back automatically – Sweet Pete I luv that, don’t you?  Gone are those awkward, confusing days of showing up an hour early or late for an entire day until you realize that it is that time of the year again. It used to be like a Twilight Zone episode. Being ruled by The Glitter Globe is arbitrary enough without feeling like you’ve had a stroke when you skip into church, chatting on your cell phone and the entire congregation turns around to give you the stink eye.
It’s a crisp starry night out, it smells like cold and it’s very quiet in the Oasis, just the occasional faint yap of coyotes, flap of bat wings, scuttle of spiders looking for a leg to gnaw on and the inevitable intermittent blasts of Norton Anti-Virus bellowing that it has been updated. The urge to head out on some random quest is strong, a promising adventure awaits. It is storyteller time and my mission will unfold in another document on this starry starry night.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Night Owl

  
If you could make your own schedule, sleep when you needed and wake when you wanted, what would be your natural circadian cycle?  I don’t like to sleep at night, it is primo writing time. The phone doesn’t ring between midnight and six a.m. – and neither does the doorbell. For some reason I can easily write all night long. For me sleep time comes naturally about the time the sun rises. That’s a shame really, because I really do like mornings, in theory anyway, besides that the phone does ring about that time and the same goes for the doorbell. Those poor souls who dare to ring my doorbell early in the morning usually quickly learn not to ever do it again though. Rawr.
There is that thing that interferes with everyone’s natural sleep cycle, unfortunately, you know that reality thing. I adore when I find people who shun reality and share my timeline. It doesn’t happen that often so it is a treat when it does. It rocks that I can text my BFF at 2:30 a.m. to contemplate why we are both thinking about whipped cream and sprinkles in the middle of the night. Or when I can get on Facebook and ask a friend if it is possible to survive jamming a screwdriver into a fuse box (book research question, do not try this at home).
My in-laws are night owls. There have been times when we’ve shown up at their house after midnight during the week and their TV was on full blast, MIL was painting ceramics or reupholstering a sofa and FIL was canning tomatoes or going through his fishing gear. My kids would drag their suitcases into the house and drag Pop-pop out for Popsicles to the 24-hr gas station or they’d all start playing “rock band”. Apparently this up all night phenomenon is both contagious and genetic. I’d offer to meet you at the corner store for Popsicles right now, except that I have a deadline to meet and need to get back to my book. If you go without me, would you mind picking me up a root beer one? Just don't bring it by before noon. Rawr.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dear First Name




Speaking of heartfelt e-mails, today I received one from President & CEO of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, telling me how important I was to him. My favorite part was the salutation:  “Dear First Name”. Isn’t the Internet great?  I’m not being entirely facetious (I’m only 90% irreverent 90% of the time – gah, I luv new math). I feel sorry for all those years when I couldn’t research or garner data with my left hand (on ß that computer) while typing on this one with my right hand. First thing this morning I had a password crisis that required me to access precise and accurate data from The Glitter Globe immediately (ROFLOL). That does not happen. I can put in a request for information, and it will certainly unfurl, but in its own good time. That did not work in this situation, but no worries. There is ALWAYS Plan B.
I hit Facebook to Instant Message my daughter who is doing a study abroad on the far side of planet earth. Her brilliant little Glitter Globe has quicker download capability. Unfortunately the works get gummed up during exams, and while suffering low blood sugar from lack of American root beer. No problemo – Plan C - I texted my husband who is off on a hunting trip. Unfortunately he was out of range of cell towers (curses on those technology blind spots). Moving right into Plan D, I e-mailed my computer dude (A.K.A. The Hacker) he is “doing time up north” as he calls it (University in the Arctic Circle) he knows EVERYONE’S passwords. Be afraid.
Yes, my hacker-boy did get me that password impressively quick once I hunted him down. It is thanks to this Technology Age we now live in that this shortcut was even possible. Of course there were a few minor speed-bumps on the way. While on Facebook I did find it necessary to change some security settings, check my favorite writer page, peek at my notifications and chat with my daughter for a bit. Then it was necessary to agree to edit an essay for her (why, oh tell me why, do people think I have the capability to edit anything?  Obviously none of them read my blog, right?) and then my girlie needed that edit ASAP. Since she was suffering from exam and lack of root beer stress and all, I was obliged to take the time to do that before continuing my search for someone who knew that password I needed.
While implementing Plan C in my quest, it fortunately didn’t take me long to figure out that my hubby was out of cell tower range and implement Plan D. I texted him a few “test” texts to be certain. Here is a good test text to know whether or not your husband has received your text or is ignoring it. “OMgoodness, you love me no matter what, right?  You know how you told me to be sure to drive your truck some while you were away, I’m so sorry…” then just stop the message right there. As soon as he gets it, you’ll know, I promise. Then you add the rest, “I just haven’t had a chance to do that, Sweetie.”  (DISCLAIMER:  USE BRILLIANT GLITTER GLOBE SUGGESTIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK.)   And Plan D, as stated earlier, was a rousing success – and – thanks to this awesome technology at my fingertips I managed to get that password in just two hours (if you don’t count the time spent blogging about it). Cheers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

When a Vegetarian Likes Hunting Season


You know the old adage, Opposites Attract?  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  A neat freak and a messy one, an introvert and a social butterfly, a country boy and a city girl – given enough time and fortitude surely you can influence each other and find common ground somewhere in the middle, right?  Now take all three of the previous and toss in, scientific vs. spiritual, planner vs. wind rider, logical vs. Glitter Globe, patient vs. NOT, even hunter vs. vegetarian – is there any hope for a lasting romance?  The Vegas odds probably aren’t good when the only thing you have in common with your true love is:  A) You’re both human (though, there were times I’ve suspected he was an android).
As it turns out those differences weren’t nearly as big as they sound. I’m going to go out on a limb many, many years into our marriage and say that they didn’t really matter. Maybe because deep down our core beliefs were similar (way, waaaay, deep down). God, family, and honor were commonalities despite our tastes and perceptions. Or maybe we’re deep into happily ever after because we take separate vacations. He went hunting, I went on retreat wherever the wind blew me. He went hunting, I threw a rave in the family room. He went hunting, I was all over NaNoWriMo.
The fact that I’ve celebrated more wedding anniversaries with my Maid of Honor (she rocks) than with my Groom is because I naively picked a wedding day during hunting season. (A fact, every member of his family pointed out to me at the wedding.) Does it bother me?  No. Would he give it up and stay home with me if I asked?  We’ll never know. Would I quit writing 70 hours a week if he asked?  Let’s pretend like we’ll never know that too, but he’s never asked and I’m willing to bet he never will.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Left to our Own Devices, We Probably Would...


What is your favorite gadget?  Somewhere, in a very short period of time, my favorite writing tool went from a sharp pencil and a notebook with good paper (preferably with gilded edges) to a laptop. Soon after, it became necessary to add a second computer – in order to research FASTER. It is also quite handy to have my cell phone right next to me, and my ipod (research apps). Can you relate?  Are you a gadget freak or are you a hold out?  You’re on a blog, so I’m guessing if you haven’t succumbed you’re on the slope. Welcome. We’ve been waiting for you.
Do you have a Nook/Kindle/ereader yet?  Was not a fan, at all. After a lifetime of paper books, I was carrying on like, “If man was meant to fly, he’d have wings!” Then I actually held one in my hands and realized that I HAD THE POWER to download and read anything RIGHT NOW. Yesssss. Really? Can it possibly get any better than that?  Books will always have my heart, just saying when it comes to instant literary gratification?  I’m in.  Microwaves didn’t replace stoves/ovens did they?  They supplemented and I think it will be the same with electronic books. And ebooks won’t make everyone gain a collective ten pounds like an entire generation did due to microwaves. What do you think about ebooks?  Technological wonder or underworld app?  Tell me in your own words, of course.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Freaked Out


In the great scheme of things are you, personally, aware of any purpose for spiders?  I know, I know, all God’s creatures – or are they?  I have my suspicions. Perhaps their purpose is simply a cosmic stress test?  You know, the instant heart rate acceleration that comes from their mere presence or from chasing them with a shoe?  Are they here simply to entertain cats?  Perhaps they're part of a cosmic joke gone awry, because face it, it is a bit amusing to watch someone walk into a web.
I have nothing against insects per se, quite the contrary, I have a thing for them. It’s the whole metamorphosis that I find fascinating. The caterpillar that drops his exoskeleton, forming a chrysalis to become a butterfly. Isn’t that amazing?  Larvae that morphs into a shimmery beetle. Beetles come in all the amazing colors of the rainbow, like art. Supposedly there are more types of beetles on earth than there are varieties of plants. Sleep on that. I visited an Insectarium once, think aquarium for bugs. I even ate a chocolate chirp cookie while I was there. Hey it was on my bucket list. #37 – Really freak hubby out. Check.

Spiders, however, are not insects. They are arachnids. Scientifically this means that they make a very satisfying crunching sound when stomped on. Still they cannot be trusted – they don’t even morph AND they have fur AND I’m allergic to them. AND they bite you way more than you might ever realize if you aren’t allergic to them. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but those mosquito bites you get in the dead of winter?  Not. Why am I sharing this?  Is it simply because of their latest assassination attempt?  Partly, but I’m a proactive person. I’m starting a grassroots movement right here, hoping to institute a recall. Please sign my petition electronically, below.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide!


Considering I have the disposition of a Nomad and spent my formative years giving into the impulse to roam, I honestly never expected to see my in-laws much after the wedding. It was part of my Grand Plan. Otherwise why waste all that effort to appear normal for the wedding? You know perfectly well you either did or will put great effort into faking normalcy for your own wedding too. It’s tradition. The plan was to abscond with my new husband and send the in-laws really great Christmas cards every year. Maybe someone tipped them off, but as with most Grand Plans, it did not go at all as planned.
Are you familiar with the term ‘Fortnight’?  The definition is:  A two week visit from your in-laws that will feel much, much longer than fourteen days. If I would mention to my Father-in-law before an impending visit, that we were in the process of packing to move again, or that one of the kids had stomach flu he was always very easy going. “That won’t bother us!  Don’t even worry about it!”  In order to ensure maximum enjoyment, they always bunked with us too. It was chaos. It was a madhouse. It was THE BEST of times, it was the worst of times, and I wouldn’t change a second of it.
Looking back it seems like MIL & FIL were always there (mostly because they always were) they knew our neighbors, co-workers and friends. They knew our new towns, area attractions and supermarkets. If we were busy working they hit the tourist spots without us, often with our friends in tow. It was a perfect example of that really old song, are you familiar with it? “You can’t always get what you want... but if you’re lucky sometimes, you might find, you get what your Glitter Globe needs…”

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's all just Fun and Games 'til Somebody gets Bored...

When was the last time you had some serious fun?  We’re talking laugh until you almost cried, and your lungs make that same sound they make when you’re sick and coughing really hard?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about put this on your to-do list:  1) Play. Now having some like-minded friends to fly your freak flag with is optimal, but not necessary to play. Kids aren’t even necessary for an excuse to play, though they are excellent cover for you. Today I bought a big bag of tiny little containers of Play-Doh to hand out for Halloween. It was a ruse, I haven’t had a single Trick-or-Treater come to my door in three years. I just like Play-Doh, plus I had a coupon. One of the miniature containers is right here on my desk. I like the way it smells. I like to open it up and play with it while I’m thinking about how my Protagonist is going to get rid of a body, or when I’m researching weapons on-line. I sure hope that there is an exemption for writers with the NSA/FBI/et al as they watch for nut-job internet searches, otherwise one of these days a nice black SUV is going to drive up my hill.
Then again, maybe I’ll get a ride in one of those black helicopters, that might be fun, if they let me blog about it after. Now maybe Play-Doh isn’t your idea of fun, nor colored Sharpies, Smencils (OMg Smencils ROCK), or even a brand new box of Crayola Crayons. Maybe you don’t like to play a rousing game of Quelf, Apples to Apples, or even Dirty Minds with your Mother-in-Law. Maybe jumping on the bed with the music so loud that your teenagers get mad at you just isn’t your thing?  Perhaps you don’t like to go to Verizon Wireless and set the alarms on every cell phone on display and anonymously text all your friends with “Hey, are you available?” Mayhaps you would never even secretly acquire photographs of your neighbor’s dog and set up a Facebook page for it just so you could send a friend request to said dog’s owners. As a matter of fact, you can probably find far more amusing entertainment for your Glitter Globe. I’m just giving you hypothetical examples, as always, anyways. So unless you have some concrete proof, just keep walking. Or stop and ring the doorbell, because I have some really spectacular things to hand out for Halloween this year, and it is still weeks away so I’m just getting started, and I still have coupons. Just ring the bell repeatedly please, because I really can’t hear it over the music.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CHOCOLATE.



The black and white of cold, hard reality is just waiting to pounce from everywhere these days – have you noticed that you can’t escape it even if you:
A) Don’t watch TV  
B) Only read the comics in the Sunday Paper  
C) Spend the bulk of your time in an alternate universe
There are obviously still cracks in your defenses and reality just keeps oozing in from all over – this is just one more reason why you should always keep some chocolate on hand for emergencies – I find that a good healthy (have you heard the claims that chocolate is healthy, as addicts we’ll buy into anything won’t we?) hit of ultra dark chocolate is like pulling the emergency parachute, you are safe!  Now is this because you are now so hepped up at this point that you can no longer take in additional data?  Who cares!  Fact is it works. Reality is at bay, and you – my friend – are now in your Happy Place. Enjoy.
Now onto the important question, what is the BEST chocolate you’ve ever eaten?  I want to know, because I am currently conducting important scientific research into this very question. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that it’s all about Dark Chocolate. Perhaps you see things differently, not everyone is enlightened, I respect your journey wherever on the path you may be. I need details here, what kind of M&Ms?  What kind of Dark Chocolate?  Okay, fine, just to prove I am an equal opportunity kind of chocoholic I will say it – what kind of milk chocolate do you like?  (Is there a way to block those people?)  We, by we I mean said researchers, need to know exact brands and what proof chocolate are we talking about?  I prefer something over 86% proof, but I’ve been on the stuff for awhile. If you can give me a really good tip, and I mean something that will help The Glitter Globe stave off reality for another 40,000 words, I will share some of my chocolate with you. Now this is a good deal. REAL Dark Chocolate in exchange for information. Talk to me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Trick or Treat - The True Meaning of Halloween



Cut through the hype and Halloween is really about only one thing - free candy – HOW can that be a bad thing? Halloween also involves breaking out your tiara, feathers, green wig or whatever glam your freak flag hides behind. When I was a kid, living with the Bohemians it also involved waiting anxiously for dark, wrestling the pet monkey into his cage, and traveling with a pack of cousins through piles of crunchy leaves on a cold October night in pursuit of a plastic pumpkin full of Junk . That is what Babushka called the glorious haul we would later spread out on the living room floor. We shared, trying to appease the monkey, but Gomer raced back and forth, sugared up and throwing handfuls of treats in retribution for being cut out of the door to door action.
I just luv when you get a Trick or Treater dressed as a pirate and boasting an actual beard. You know the teens who are easily old enough to vote who knock on the door but refuse to shout the traditional greeting. They get extra candy at my house. That’s because there really shouldn’t be an age limit. It’s simply fun. Could not wait until my first born could toddle around the neighborhood with his friends, dressed in a sheep costume I actually sewed from a car seat-cover. Yes. I sewed something. *Insert Mama Credits Here* There are photographs to prove it, much to my son’s eternal horror. In the photo he’s with his sheep buddies (there were several faux sheepskin car seat-covers and it really was a brilliant idea) standing resolutely beside Little Bo Peep holding their bright orange plastic pumpkin pails. The expression on their two year old faces reflects the fact that they were already sensing this might come back to haunt them someday.
What is your absolute favorite Halloween candy?  Full size chocolate bars always rock in my opinion, I used to try to give those out. It was a fail, they never survived for the big night. My new rule is to hand out candy I don’t like –otherwise I’m stuck handing out change on the big night, dressed in my husband’s sweat pants because none of mine will fit. Oh, don’t pretend like you haven’t been there. I also like to give out glow necklaces, temporary tattoos, stickers and microwave popcorn. Swing on by if you’re out and about. My house is the one up on top of the spooky hill, with all the pumpkins on the front porch. I’m that woman draped in glow necklaces, sporting temporary tattoos with stickers stuck all over my hubby’s sweatpants and eating a big bowl of microwave popcorn.