The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Book Blurb Friday #4!

         Yes, it's just hours away from Friday.  That means it's time to write the blurb for our soon-to-be-written novel, so the publishers can get into a bidding war because the blurb is so darned intriguing.

         How does it work? Lisa Ricard Claro gives us a photo every week.  (But don't think she is a marvelous person for doing this. She rents her kids--and passes them off as her own--so it's the "rentals" who are doing the real grunt work on this meme...) We write a blurb (a hook that is 150 words or less in length) and post it on our own blog along with linking it on Lisa's blog. (And then you can read other blurbs and see what they did with the photo.)

         Here is the photo, and my blurb follows:

The Babcock's B & B and the Case of the Calloway Cougar

         Yes, the carpeting's worn. And yes, sometimes the beloved Mr. Puss can be found on the diningroom table, licking from the butter tray. But the Babcocks are lovely people, living out their twilight years in quaint Calloway as they eek out a living with their bed and breakfast business.

        And business is good. Until Mrs. Babcock is accused of making improper advances. Reportedly, Mrs. Babcock offered a bran muffin to a male guest as she unbuttoned her duster, rubbed Vick's on herself as she simultaneously licked her lips, and dislodged her dentures in a "lacivious" manner. 

        Will the Babcocks be able to weather the trial?  Will their business go under?  Or will Mrs. Babcock have to take pole-dancing lessons so she can put her libido to work in a lucrative way?

        (Proceeds from book sales goes to "Support Hose," the fund set up for Mrs. Babcock's legal fees.)

(149 words--whew!)    

A Porn-y Tale

          I have only been to a porn shop once. Thirty years ago. However, the memory is still embarrassingly clear. And it had been (thankfully) shoved to the back of my brain bank until I read Lisa Ricard Claro's account of her trip to get her navel her daughter's navel pierced. And then the memory of the experience reared its disgusting head. (Read Lisa's blog to read the hilarious story. She posted it on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.)

photo by jo mclure
       I was working at Denny's at the time. Not the best waitress--sometimes I spilled things and sometimes many times countless times on every bless-et day, I forgot things---but I was quite personable. The old lady couples loved me, because I gladly split an order of two pancakes for them to share. (Hey, I figured that someday I would be living on a fixed income, and would have to decide between a single pancake and a can of catfood. It was easy to empathize with them...) The scuzzy "regular" guys liked me because they thought they had a chance with me. (Big boobs. Cheap bra. No Oprah episode yet on the importance of getting fitted properly for a bra. You do the math.)  However, the smelly counter-rats didn't know I was in love with the assistant manager...

       Good grief!  Couldn't you at least have set your sights on the manager?  Why did you settle on the assistant, the flunkey?  The manager made frequent and lengthy trips into the walk-in cooler every day, and still came out sweating like a menopausal mama in the middle of a heatwave.  I don't think he had any money left after he finished sniffing his paycheck up his nostrils...

        Valentine's Day was close at hand. The cogs in my head started to turn. I wanted to celebrate in a bright, red way...

        I found an "adult novelty" store in the phone book (in those days, they weren't on every corner, next to the Starbucks) and headed down one Saturday. It was in an exceedily seedy part of town, almost under the highway overpass. (Hey, isn't that where all the drug deals go down and all the bodies get dumped, at least according to the television shows? I'm just sayin'...)

      As soon as I walked in, the excuses started tumbling out. I wanted to make sure the guy at the cash register knew that I wasn't shopping for my own recreational purposes. (Yeah, I'm sure that's the first time he heard that. "It's not for me, it's for a friend."  Sure. Whatever.)

      "I-need-a-blow-up-dummy,-a-girl. A-life-sized-one."

      "It's-not-for-me. REALLY!"

       "It's-gonna-be-part-of-a-prank! I'm-serious!"

        I'm sure the guy had heard so many hokey excuses, and I'm sure he couldn't care less. A cigarette dangling from his mouth, the ash dangerously long, he asked me some questions as he led me to the appropriate section of the shop.

photo by Neato Coolville

        "What color do you want her hair to be?"  (Geeze!  What do I care?  But since I want the dummy to look like me, could I get her with dyed red hair, with big brown roots? No? Oh well...)

         "Do you want her anatomically correct?" (Good grief! I don't even want to think about THAT option!)

          I finally made my purchase--as quickly as possible--and rushed out.  The rest of the joke was easy to arrange. I dressed her in a Denny's uniform, and wrapped her up in plain brown paper, making the "package" as rectangular as possible. My brother wore something that looked like a uniform and delivered it to my soon-t0-be guy.

       Fortunately for me (unfortunately for him) he happened to be on "the line" (cooking) at the time that "Wanda the Waitress" was dropped off.  Unfortunately for him, there was a cook right next to him when he opened the package. And unfortunately for him (but of course, another cherry on top for me), as soon as he unleashed what was inside the brown paper, her legs---that had been more or less bound together---sprang apart with a surprising force.

      As I watched him from across the diningroom and enjoyed the shade his face had instantly taken on, I thought, 'Yes, red is the perfect color for Valentine's Day...

photo by katytheterrible

My thoughtful gesture was not in vain.  Thirty years later, we're still together. Thankfully, we were both able to escape from Denny's and we only had to chew off a couple of our feet to get away...



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jodi Picoult's House Rules

House Rules: A Novel
photo by
             I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Like all of her novels (at least all of the ones I've read so far), the story swirls around a family. And after she puts the characters and issues into her  magical tilt-a-whirl, the stance you might normally take gets blurry. And then Picoult is able to sit back and smirk in a self-satisfied way...

             At the center of the story is a young man with Asperger's who is accused of murdering his social skills tutor. Jacob's  daily "demands" on his family (a single mother and a younger brother) wear and tear at them; the murder trial is just added stress. 

          A child with Asperger's seems normal. They're intelligent---sometimes highly so.  But if you scratch the surface, you notice their inability to maintain eye contact or to feel empathy, their difficulty initiating a conversation, their strangle-hold on "habits" they've created...and you soon realize that this person is very different.

          Like all of Picoult's books, there is a twist at the end; it doesn't end up quite the way you think it will.  What starts out as black and white turns to many shards of gray...

          And after all, what about life is black or white?

          To finish this post, I'd like to welcome my newest follower.  Hedgewitch has two blogs. Please stop by and check out her blog.  Hedgewitch writes poetry that makes me think (and sometimes her poetry is beyond my thinking-ability). Thanks for following me.


Monday, March 21, 2011

A Blogging Fairy Tale of Fireblossom, Lisa and Pearl

illustration by
                    In a land far, far away there lived a woman named Fireblossom.  For years she was held prisoner. She wasn't allowed to be herself. She wasn't allowed to write. So she wasted away, drowning in a dammed-up river of words.

            Ten years ago she was released; at the same time, a poet was unleashed. Fireblossom toiled away at her keyboard, creating a poetic work of art every day. Or so she led us to believe...

         Hundreds of people--from near and far--followed her trail of words. People drooled over her poems, wondering how one person could give birth to a work of art every day.

       But in reality, it wasn't Fireblossom writing the poems. In her palace called "Wordgarden" she had dozens of bottles, all lined up in rows. In each bottle was a spirit; every day one of the genies was given their freedom for the day.  The price of a day out of their prison?  A mind-blowing poem... 

         So even though Fireblossom's minions were responsible for the incredible poem every day--and not Fireblossom (after all, what mortal could create a poem like this every single day?), it was still marvelous reading, so her followers kept coming back to read the latest poem...

photo by Rebecca Nathan

            In another corner of the universe was another writer named Lisa Ricard Claro.  A perky smile. A wrinkle-free face. Having lots of talent and energy, her writing credits piled up.

           Trying to appear older and more "mature," she created the ruse that she has grown children.

          Her followers were aghast!  Where were the Samsonites that were supposed to be under her eyes?  Why were her breasts not resting on her poochy belly?  Where was the red, sweaty face---the sign of constant hot flashes?

           It was discovered that her children were rented.  After many experts measured her waistline, it was proclaimed she had never given birth. Lisa was "outed" by AARP, who declared her age closer to 30 than 50.  In spite of her lies, her followers did not abandon her. After all, a good writer is a good writer... And who can resist a well-crafted phrase?

        And yet in another faraway land was Pearl.  She, too made the mistake of Lisa and claimed to have a grown man-boy.  Again, AARP brought in their experts. It was found that Pearl was closer to 30 than 50.  She had paid the same rental company for her "child." A bunch of female bloggers, all of them sporting mustaches and cellulite, threw rocks at her in protest. But since Pearl is used to running after people who deface the bus stops, she avoided getting hit.

       But then PETA stepped in.  It seems that Pearl does not write her blogs. The real talent behind her blog is Dolly Gee Squeekers.  Dolly got herself into a "minimeowzer" so her rolls of fat did not show, called for a press conference and claimed she was being underfed and overworked. 
photo by Ignotz

        "Being tied to thith computer for eight hourth every day ith dethpicable!" Dolly cried.   PETA is working on what would be an appropriate sentence for Pearl.

         And the ending to this fairy tale?  Once the truth was unveiled, everyone lived happily ever...And their happiness will continue as long as these three powerful bloggers do not unite.  Because if their powers do join to become one super-power, the world will never be the same... 

The Reason Why I Occasionally Paint My Toenails...

         Pink is not a color I ever had in my wardrobe...That is, not until a few years ago.

         I never put nail polish on my toenails. Not until I got squeals of delight for doing it.

         My granddaughter---born almost five years ago---has changed my perspective. She makes me gush (and my friends swore I was un-gushable!). She reminds me of the importance of taking time to "play." And she reminds me--no matter what problems I face--I was successful at parenting, because she is proof that my kids ended up healthy and happy.

           And if you think you see a bit of "devilment" in her eyes, you're close.  There's definitely a sparkle in her eyes. She's so clever, she does not forget a thing (even years later) and is full of personality...She can even get me to dance (when it's just her and me) and yet---my gift to the human race---I refuse to dance in any other situation.

        What has happened to you---personally or professionally---that has changed your life?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

If They're White, They Ain't Right (And Darn It Again, Fireblossom!)

        I've started choosing my friends more carefully.  I mean, I'm at the age where I should pick and choose with more discrimination.  Sometimes my friends are unkind.  Sometimes they do damage. In fact, the friends I have chosen in the past have been cruel and cunning.

        So from now on, I am choosing my friends by their color. And I'm only looking for friends who are brown. Because my white friends have helped me make a mess of my life.

         My mantra has become what I titled this post:  "White ain't right!"

         Now don't get me wrong.  The white friends from my past have not abandoned me. On the contrary, they have stuck by me through thick and through...well, they've refused to leave.  In most cases, that would be admirable. But not in my case. Because I would like for them to go away, yet they continue to hang around. These friends think they are a comfort for me, a buffer against the rest of the world. What they don't know is they are making things worse for me... 

         In January I went to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting. I'm not a religious person, so I was skeptical. I hate to ask for help from anybody, so I had my eyes all stubbornly squinted up. And I have so far avoided selling Amway/becoming a scrapbooking zombie/ending up in an auditorium full of people chanting "See it! Believe it! Achieve it!" so I was sure that I would not fit in.

       But after that first meeting, I went back the next week, and the week after that and the week after that. And it seems to work, even with a heathen like me.

       I won't go into the specifics---because it would not interest anyone (and perhaps this whole post is boring to you)---but I have started to avoid foods that are white.  And they have indeed been "friends" for decades...

photo by Wasabi Bratwurst
                  Mashed potatoes...With butter or gravy.  I used to make a meal out of mashed potatoes.  It wasn't that I ate a whole potful of them, but there were many occasions when I would eat nothing but a serving (or two) of mashed potatoes.

                  White bread, like yeast rolls and King's Hawaiian Bread...Bread and pasta---my favorite things in the world.  And although I have never liked white bread like Wonder Bread (just a bunch of air, in my opinion), I love homemade white bread and any kind of noodles or pasta.

photo by Tornado Chaser

                What I've discovered is my body takes in white bread/rice/potatoes and converts it into my all-time favorite food group:  Sugar.  Because along with compulsively and impulsively eating bread and potatoes, I was also out-of-control with chocolate and other desserts.  And the more I eat, the more I want to eat.

               Now most people can eat a couple of chocolate chip cookies and they're fine.  The majority of folks can eat a croissant and they're satisfied. I'm not like that. One is too much and 6 or 7 or 8 cookies is not enough...

              So I'm slowly changing the way I look at food.  I plan what I eat every day.  I've discovered that fried sweet potatoes and onions are delicious. I'm taking pleasure in eating whole grain breads. And I'm trying to be mindful when it comes to food.

photo of Ezekiel Bread by traui
This is a whole grain bread, has no sugar, and can be
found at Dierbergs (in the freezer section in the "health food" aisle)
but it's cheaper at Trader Joe's. (Keep it in your freezer.)

             So when I say, "No, thanks," to some dessert, when I bring my own lunch to a meeting and it looks weird, when I avoid the crackers and dip at a get-together, it's because I'm trying to change my way of thinking.

           And all my white "friends" who---millions of times---I've turned to in the past:  I don't want you around no more....   

And to those who have not found Fireblossom's blog...Check out her poem "An Edifying Fable" posted today.  It was prompted by the photo at another site. You have to page down to find the picture prompt challenge...