Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Fiction: Flying Blind

Some light weekend reading. If you read enjoy love it, please comment! Just kidding. But seriously. Comment.


Her head was pounding. A thick, clouded pounding that can only result from days of dehydration, being elevated several atmospheres above the Earth, and some mind-numbing alcohol. Not that she really drank that much. It was just hard when you went all day eating nothing but pretzels and chewy granola bars, and an occasional half-can of diet Coke.


The 5:00 AM Charlotte flight was bound to be on time, so she indeed had to wake up to the first alarm. Struggling through the fog in her mind, she made her way through her dark blue polyester pants, trying to clear the clouds from the two previous evenings. When she got to the precipice of her memory, where she might jump off the cliff, and, in falling, suddenly remember all the various horrid things she had done on the stage, in the spotlight, and under the table (literally and figuratively), she decided to hold back. Hang on to the edge of that cliff, too scared to look down and too strong to let go.


She sighed, brushing her teeth. An audible sigh, thinking ahead already to the cups upon cups of coffee she would consume, thus negating her cleanly polished, freshly-minted teeth. It was taking all her strength to get the toothbrush to move quickly. Thank goodness she had packed herself last night; the silver lining in the midst of a fairly dreary morning, absent of all light. Soon that would change, and she hoped her outlook would change with it. But it was doubtful.


Stepping across the threshold onto the Boeing 747, she had a mind to glace at her watch to offset the glances she was getting from the other crew members. Her hair was still slightly damp, something the airline had made clear was not acceptable in its latest internal “grooming” memo, and she tossed it back over one shoulder as she quickly loaded her carry-on into the attendants’ space. This was going to be a long day.


Nineteen hours ago, she was blissfully caffeinated, and five hours after that, blissfully drunk. Drunk on liquor, drunk on love, and not knowing where the two blended. This was typical in her secondary profession. But she rarely admitted it to herself, let alone a “friend” at the airline, or – least of all, close friends. Nobody else in her life knew about her dual worlds, and there was no reason to change that now.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday Freefall: Why Do You Blog?

I walked outside, fell down and smacked my head against the pavement.

No, not really. But I've done a lot of memes, bloggy games, linking lovely lyrical lengthy lists lately, and I feel now that I need to get back to the conversation. My conversation with myself you, bloggo-friends. And lurkers: you know who you are!! No, I still do not know how to do those cool strikethroughs.

I have waited all my life to be able to learned to strike through words now. Thanks, Jenni!
(And I'm officially tired of using the word "bloggy". Henceforth, I shall be repetitive creative.)

I'm having an internal debate, about whether it's important to post here daily. Forgetting for a moment about the dust piling up in the living spaces, toys not put away, and pulling a dish out of the dishwasher to use it again because nothing is clean (what? I didn't do that), I think I've come up with my conclusion: I think it's important to write.

I began this bloggerific journey to enhance my creativity, find my muse, pull motivation out of places I didn't know existed, and write. I don't want to lose sight of that, so.. if you don't see me here one day, please know that I'm saving you some of your precious time with what you do not find.

(That said, I love reindeer games. I do! So, I simply cannot help myself at times, please understand. After all, the 25 Random Things list is what got me talking about Ricki, God save her. And eventually might get me to tell the Kevin Costner story, with pictures. Oh, that house was gorgeous. And I have tons of pictures!)

Back to the point. I began a short story yesterday that I've been working over in my head. I thought of it last month when I was on a plane. My goal will be to submit it to a local short story contest, and start facing facts: that I'm hardly unique in this realm, and that I need to know how I stack up. If anyone is interested, I can post the first two paragraphs over the weekend. A treat. A little light weekend reading for your pile. You can be brutal, tell me if you yawned, or worse, closed your eyes and clicked a link - any link - to get away.

Happy Friday!
:: :: ::


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writer's Workshop: ABCs of ME

On to the Reindeer game! Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop chosen prompt:
2.) Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet, where the first line starts with the letter "A," the second "B," the third "C," etc., culminating with the final line starting with "Z."

ABCs of ME


But well known

Cunning and never

Deceptively thrown

Elegant while spinning

Farce and fiction alike

Goddess of house and

Home and mike.

Injured reserve and

Jaded, no less

Killing me softly

Letting me confess

My thoughts, nay my dreams

Never brought to light

Oh, how I wish

Paupers no fright.

Queue up for the game

Realize your limit

Surprise yet again

Turn around and spin it.

Uniformity unmasked

Virtual gazes

Wishing for yet more and more

X-ray phrases.

Yelling and screaming and finding no solace

Zipping through life with too many causes.


(Because I’m an overachiever with poetry)





Dangled his


Foot, just above the

Gurgling pond.

He heard



Klink, then







Rearing up and

Steady, our

Tired bear

Undid the bracelet of

Violets he

Wore. Then, an

X-tra wide

Yawn, he



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: iPod Meme

On my trip this weekend, I did Jenners' iPod meme (rules follow.) And for my real-life friends, a meme is a little game that you play, usually a list of questions to answer much like the "25 Random Things" meme on Facebook that I read 250 times. Oh no, I didn't mind. And I have no idea why "meme" is the acronym. Anybody? Anybody? Buehler?

But before we begin, may I just say that I rarely use the shuffle feature on my iPod. My playlists just rock that much. And so, there happened to be some cosmic connection with this exercise because, my list is very revealing about me. It touches every phase of my life, which is a pretty tall order.

1. Trouble - Dave Mathews (solo Some Devil album). Post-undergrad, pre-Charlottesville-stint era. This song is me in my bare feet, jumping, twirling, spinning, raising my arms above my head and leaping, breathless and modern dancing around the hardwood floors in the immensely long living room in our downtown Charlotte condo. Pre-K. (Pre kids.)

2. Pay For What You Get (live) - Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds (March, 2003). I was there, it was incredible. Late mid-20s era. "Everybody asks me how she's doing.. has she really lost her mind?" Need I say more?

3. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam. Undergrad era. We both love Pearl Jam, and saw them live in Greensboro, NC in 2000. Great show, go if you can.

4. Border Song - Elton John. Middle school era. I love most EJ, but especially the 70s classic stuff.

5. Sadness, Part 2 - Enigma. High school era. Ah, high school melancholy. Used to get this stuck in my head during swim practice.

6. Brian Wilson - Barenaked Ladies. Somewhere from my late-20s.

7. Nothing Left to Lose - Matt Kearney. Current era. This song is parfait! for road trips. Or running. Or, just listening and reflecting.

8. Angie - The Rolling Stones. Youth era. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in middle school (one day walking into 6th grade English I had "Over the Hills and Far Away" stuck in my head) due to 10-years my elder sister, and 7-years my brother. Saw the Stones live in Cville 3 years ago. Still kickin' it!

9. Things Can Only Get Better - Howard Jones. Youth era. I would listen to great 80s music 24/7 if I could, and wanted all 80s at my wedding (husband nixed that.) Love it, love it, love it.

10. Mozart Violin Sonata in B Flat (Andante) - Guess. Mozart. Current era. I have a lot of classical on my iPod for myriad reasons, mostly because I like Mozart. But also for the baby-now-toddler years, the importance of which is impossible to measure but probably great.

Bonus! 11. Hush Little Baby - Unknown Artist. Current era. I have a small sampling of music class music on my iPod, mostly for car trips but also for help, should I ever have the need to break out into "Open, Close Them" or "Pop Goes the Weasel".

This was fun! Thanks Jenners! Now is the part where I tag someone to play. I choose my good pal K, at Interstitial-Life, because I haven't seen her do this yet and I'm very interested!

Rules for The iPod Shuffle Meme

Using the shuffle feature on your iPod (or other MP3 player), write down the first 5 or 10 songs that play.
Justify, defend or explain why those songs are on your iPod.
Tag someone else to complete the meme.
Include these rules--and the phrase "The iPod Shuffle Meme was created by Jenners at Life with A Little One and More -- the greatest blog on the Planet Earth and perhaps the Universe" when you post your meme answers. ***

:: Important notice!!! If you have embedded comments on your blog, make sure people can post comments. Word verification is acting up, according to blogger.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Shelving My Inspiration

The prompt: Pull that book from the window sill, open it
there is that quote that always moves you, share it here
and then use it in a creative way.

My quote, my favorite:

"What would life be, if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

Vincent Van Gogh
My take:

What about you?
Would you live
Life and just
Be with me

If the two, the
We were given everything?
Had you figured
No dangers, having

Courage and stranger,
To me to accept and
Attempt honestly,


Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Winner Is...

No! This is not your update on the Academy Award Winners, but those words typed together will sure get me some google searches tomorrow. What do ya wanna bet? Also, in my humble film-major-turned-film-critic-because-it-wasn't-a-likely-career-path opinion, the Oscars are becoming like the Super Bowl.. predictable, but good ads. (Psst! See my Slumdog Millionaire review! Chris Dickens really deserved Best Film Editing. Danny Boyle really deserved Best Director. Best Score. Best Song. Etc.)

I have TWO winners of the Riddle Me This! to announce, both in the category of:

First Prize - International Division: J Cosmo Newbery

Photo credit

First Prize - Domestic Division: Beth
(Don't worry, I know how to find her in real life! I also happen to know she could really use one right now!!)

The correct response was indeed "The Blind Leading the Blind", and that was not the original riddle I'd intended to post. Why, yes! That means I have others up my sleeve, and I thought of a few more clever ones on my long drive with sleeping toddler. I think, therefore I riddle.
I'd like to thank the Academy.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Riddle Me This

I will be gone, gone, gone this weekend, to Williamsburg, VA, for a bit of history. Did you see what domain name they have?! Apparently, they are history. A bit of historical tourism for my wee toddler, and his cousin, and the women in the family. My Mom and [bossy older] Sister and kids and I will be galavanting around the ol' village. With no internet access. And I will miss you, O' Friends of Bloggy.

But, fret not! I have an idea for keeping you hooked on F&P until my speedy return. A Riddle! Oh, come on. You loved riddles as a kid! Now, put your kid hat on, or your kids' hats on, and figure it out! Hint: it's so EASY.

Look at the pictures below. What well-known PHRASE do you come up with? Guess in comments. The first one correct wins a prize! (Really!)

Disclaimer: the prize is a modest giftcard at a reputable, socially-responsible, well-known, publicly traded coffeehouse (Ahem. SBUX.) IF you do not have said coffee house, we will arrange an acceptable alternative.
(I'm really pullin' for you here, K, you live the closest!) And my real life friends who [lurk] read my blog, you can guess too!
See you Monday!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cherish Childhood, Change

(As posted today on Picture, Poetry & Prose. Photo credit: c'est moi!)

Ode to Childhood

Wiping eyes, sleepless nights
A newborn takes his toll
Cherub grows big, now takes flight
A toddler's mirth is born.

Kid yoga, preschool years all done
And now you're really big
Scorecards full of kid games won
Jumping on just one leg.

Growing learning pre-teen years
Now you know everything
Fights with girls and boys and tears
I don't know anything.

Taller than me, looking down
I nearly recognize myself
Raucous laughter, deep deep frown
Eat life up, my elf.

Flash forward in time from now
Unearthing bright memories in advance
Laugh through judgement, pain and vow
To always take that chance.


My Own Meme: Dreams

Click here to see the origin of the species, Tattooed Minivan Mom. Not only did she solidify how to spell "Tattooed" for me, she inspired me to use my creativity for the greater good. I'm a little late to the party. But I'm here, aren't I?

My meme is exceptionally simple, and short. Because given the chance to expound, we can all write a novella for a meme. Am I right?!

1> What do you believe you were meant to do (as a vocation, profession, to pass the time)?
I was put on this Earth to be an actress.

2> What are you currently doing now (as a vocation, profession, or passing the time?)
I'm doing a little more than passing the time as a Stay-at-Home-Mom of one toddler.

3> Do you ever forsee your "dream" vocation working out?
Well, since my "dream" vocation is to independently wealthy, likely not. But it's good to have goals.

4> What is your "consolation" vocation, if you can't have or be #1 (IF different. If there is one.)
To be a writer/photographer. A PAID, compensated writer and portrait photographer.
5> Do you really mean that?

6> Is there anything precluding you from accomplishing the goal in #4?
My own stubborn predilection for procrastination. I will finish this post at some point, and when I post it, it will be buried in the archives such that nobody will see it.

I rest my case.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Peeved

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop prompts are a little random this week, and I had a visceral reaction to each one that I'm willing to share:

The Prompts:

1.) If you were starring on American Idol TONIGHT and HAD to sing, what song would you choose and why. Don't watch it.
2.) Take a picture of yourself right this minute without primping and explain to us why it is you have not washed your hair today. H-E-L-L-S, NO! (my hair was NOT washed.)
3.) I just asked Pat to help me with a writing prompt so here's his: "What do you think about the NBA All Star game"...blech. I was forced to watch the opening 'ceremony' thing where they all got some ring and didn't even look into the cameras when the crowds cheered. Egos.
4.) What's your number one pet peeve? Develop a punishment for anyone caught in the act. Arrow down.
5.) Write about something mean you did to a sibling growing up. How about what they did to me? And are still doing to me, 30 years later?! Separate post.

Say you're riding in someone else's car, they're driving. You approach a stoplight, and there are 10 cars lined up in the left lane, but the right lane is completely empty. Lonely. And your friend pulls right up behind that 10th car, becoming 11th, irritating you? Yep.
*Punishment: they don't ever get to drive a car again. Just bikes, mopeds and razor scooters.

You know when you're reading something, say a magazine, or newspaper, high-brow piece of literature or trashy tabloid. You clearly aren't doing anything really important, so your companion (or husband, or mother, or sister) pipes up and starts reading aloud what they are reading?
*Punishment: they will be read aloud to for one hour each morning at dawn.

How about when you type out that lengthy, perfect email response. You've thought about it. Chosen your words wisely. gotten it just.. so. And MS Outlook (or Explorer, or your whole laptop) shuts down. That little screen that pops up, wanting to know if you'd like to talk about it? "Send" or "Don't Send"?
*Punishment: Microsoft loses the world domination quest and Apple acquires it as a division.

What about when you pour yourself the perfect cup of coffee, and let it sit until it is the perfect temperature? Then something happens, life most likely, and you come back to it to find it utterly cold and tasting like motor oil? Man.
*Punishment: haven't we suffered enough?

Someone leaving the gallon of milk out on the counter. Or the butter? Or that continuous "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" sound a toddler makes in the back seat when trying to vie for your attention.
*Punishment: hang upside down by the toenails.

Mostly, I hate that other people get irritated by tiny, inconsequential little things that they know deep down are trivial and don't enter into the same galaxy as "important" and thus should just be let go. Oh wait, that's me.

Wow, where did we go there, for a second? That was a pretty bad trip! Ok. I have something fun planned for tomorrow, promise, and it doesn't involve whining or complaining. Promise!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spin on Laughter (or, beating back Wordless Wednesday)

I have to do my weekly Spin for Sprite's Keeper early this week. Pray tell, why, you ask? Because I will be Blogging-MIA as of Friday for a trip down Historical Tourism lane to Williamsburg with my Mom and Sister. THAT will be a whole 'nother post, next week. Keep on the lookout for: "How I Restrained Myself".

Moving on! The Spin this week, funny enough, is on laughter. My husband's laugh is like his personality.. very quiet, until it is roused into raucousness. He'll quietly watch a college basketball game until an elbow is thrown at (our) player and he erupts into fist-pounding. Shouting "Oh Come ON"! And when the dust settles, you hardly know it happened.

We have this pepper grinder that looks normal enough: stainless steel. Grinds pepper. Sits there looking pretty. But, like every good-natured kitchen utensil I own, it has an issue. It has a little top that sits atop the thing that spins around, and... you guessed it! That little top is prone to pop off.

What's that? Buy another one, you say? Ah.... but you are not married to World's Cheapest Man! Variety is the spice of life, you say? Don't use pepper, you say? Ah.. that is a good point. But we still do. There I am, at the stove last night, grinding away into the homemade clam chowdah.

Can you see where this is going?

My husband is leaning against the cabinet, watching. Allll of a sudden, no warning, POP! Off comes the top. Down into the opaque-milky, formerly-delicious-looking clam chowder. As if that's not bad enough, I look up, into my husband's formerly-adoring eyes. They're kind of red. In fact, they're a little watery. He covers his mouth with a free hand. His laugh is silent, until I realize what's happening. This man, this guffawing person beside me shaking with laughter, the reason that I don't buy a new flipping pepper grinder, is unable to speak. He's laughing so hard. I'm fishing around in stew for a silver pepper grinder top, finding nothing but potatoes, he's laughing. I'm trying to get him to help me, but he can't move. He's laughing too hard to do anything useful. A tear squeezes out of the corner of his eye.

Of course I start laughing as well. It's wonderful! To laugh as hard and loud as we did, and not wake up the toddler.

If that doesn't do it for you, I've never laughed so hard at the stories my friend was telling at our Mom's Night Out dinner... the flames shooting out of the electrical panel while she and her toddler looked on in horror, her father-in-law, not an electrician, gently saying, "there's nothing to worry about. This is perfectly normal." The crazy neighbor down the street who accidentally rented her basement apartment to a registered sex offender. The grease flying off the Peking Duck in the traditional Peking restaurant, landing on a nearby restaurant goer's leather jacket, unbeknownst to her. Deciding which was worse: getting your shirts back from the dry cleaner with disintegrated buttons falling apart in your hands, or getting them back with no buttons at all.

If you can't laugh about grease and pepper grinders, what can you laugh about?
Addendum! Head on over to my pal K's blog at Interstitial-Life for extra fun. I'm guest posting! It's kind of like guest hosting the Grammy's, but not really.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Random Thoughts: High Brow/Low Brow

It's Tuesday again! Go swing by and say Hi to Keely, she's having a rough one.

High Brow Random:

I met with author Svetlana Kim Monday morning. She is a real life super-heroine, who just published her memoir about her life as a Korean-Russian political refugee who escaped from Communist Russia. She got a blackmarket plane ticket, arrived in NYC with one dollar in her pocket, and, with the help of a complete stranger, hopped a bus to San Francisco. She was cleaning lady turned Hall-of-Fame stockbroker turned successful networker and head of a major women's organization. Her book, White Pearl and I, was published four weeks ago. I, humble and little old me, will be helping her with marketing! Look forward to book reviews and giveaways, maybe around Big 100. Not a radio station, sillies, posts.

Middle of the Road Random:
Have you ever tried blowing your nose while chewing? It's physically impossible.

Low Brow Random: WHO will lose her DREAM of marrying Jason .. FOREVER?
The Bachelor. Ah, the sweet taste of trash television.
I'm so mad, I'm so mad. Why did he have to fire the cool chick? Jillian was cool, that's why there's a bar chain named Jillian's.

And every time one of the girl's said, "I just really want to open up to him.." my husband and I snickered. Think, minds in the gutter. The only way we can get through it now is laughing at them. So, when Molly was giving him the Written Spanish Inquisition (her list of 100 questions) and said, the last question is "for later tonight", we had to come up with something about STDs.
HEY, I said it was low-brow.
Not Random At All: I thought it would be fun if my hubby played today. So, here goes:
"Hey, sweetie! Have you had any random thoughts today?"


Games People Play

My high brow/low brow dichotomy will have to wait until tomorrow.

Jenners is hosting a new game, and I think everyone should play. It's in honor of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which is an international literary parody contest that honors the memory of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.
My entries.

"He looked briefly to the West, then briefly to the North; the wind whipped his hair up into a 'fro, and he looked, then, South. She was coming up behind him, which was the only direction he hadn't looked, and the door swung shut behind him as they realized: they were locked out of the only cabin for hundreds of miles, and she had to use the bathroom."
From Look Homeward, Young Santa

"The flowers were wilting in the front yard, in front of the old yellowing cedar-paneled house, where he had stood waiting, for years upon years, until he just couldn't stand waiting one moment longer, and, in doing so, with every fiber of his being, he continually reminded himself that not doing something, anything at all, was indeed a choice.."
From Please Just Finish the Thought, a Hero's Story

"She had started down this very path many times and nearly had it memorized with its birch trees flanking the silvery path, and little did she know that the Woodsman would save her from the Wolf on this very spot on which she stood, at the beginning of the tale."
From Little Red Ruin Hood

"He gazed at her longingly, much like a five-year old child gazes out the car window at McDonald's Playland after an eight-hour road trip with no bathroom breaks."
From Goodbye Cruel World


Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Soul of Wit

"...brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief."
- W. Shakespeare, Hamlet
:: Tomorrow, I am meeting author Svetlana Kim for coffee, to discuss her newly published memoir, White Pearl and I. Ergo, look forward to some high brow stuff, followed by some low brow. A regular smorgasboard for discriminating blogging tastes. Promise.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's Poem, Divine

Blicky Kitty, over at Blicky Kitty, has a very cool reason to purr today: a Karm-a-Thon! With a cool button with Blick in half lotus, to boot.

Ode To My Bloggy Friends
All week long, I read and I weep
Try to stay strong, remembering posts from the Deep
Comments that fill me with love and regard
Creating a task I begin to find hard
All of you wordsmith like professional bards
I squint and I think, Could I be this away far?
My pleasures - all daily, from the Font of the Blog
Jenners, so witty, Mama Kat in a fog,
K, you're hilarious and Un-Mom so jaded
Buffalo Dick with his cuisine art unfaded.
Sprite's Keeper with her inspiration all week
OneMinuteWriter a preponderance of brilliance,
so meek.
Jeanne with her past suddenly funny and bare
And real my life friends BigBi, HighHeeledMama so fair.
My compliments, my compliments, all you friends bloggy
I call mine
The writing, the wisdom, laughter splits
is divine
All week I did ponder, focused to share
A compliment here for Blicky to bear.
But wither, to wit, I can only imagine
My highest of compliments to you,
In true bloggy fashion.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday Free Falling

Fridays always throw me for a loop. So! I'm coming up with a new Friday tradition. Every Friday I will post about a "fall", a mishap, an accident, boo-boo, oops, foot-in-the-mouth, broken bone or fallen hero, and the subsequent band-aid, if anything. It'll be fun. Or, if not, will at least make you feel like a better person.

FF: This morning, my husband accompanied me to the babies music class I teach at a nearby kid's music&movement gym. That way, he could watch and manage punkin' head, whose predilection to wander has been drifting steadily higher. I introduced him to everyone as my toddlers' "manager." It was great. We made it through the whole class, and had reached the free play portion, where my little guy had made his way to the top of the slide. Dad was close by, I was far. Before my very eyes, and those of everyone's around us, another little toddler started UP the slide as my little one started DOWN. A Mom gave the "watch out before they--" signal to my husband, but! Too late. CLUNK. Heads bonked, Moms groaned, Dad mitigates the crying.

After the groans and laughter had subsided, I announced, "his manager is FIRED!" I gave him an 'F'.

Fast forward! To the afternoon playgroup. I'm in a heated conversation about preschool choices. My toddler is making his way up the stairs, where I retrieve him, bring him back to the other toddlers playing with trains, and resume. Repeat, repeat, repeat. As I'm making a crucial point in my must-tell story, on the cusp of the punch line, I see the captive Moms' collective expression change. Time stops. In slow motion, I see one Mom raise her hand and eyebrows to gesture behind me. I turn, in slow motion, and see the tail end of my toddler's tumbling, head over tail down the last two steps.

Scramble, scoop, soothe, sway, shhhh.

Mitigate. (He was fine.) The worst part was coming home to tell my husband, who gave me a D-.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Games Pandas Play

I love lists. I'm a big fan of making lists, even if "make a list" is on the list, because once the list is complete, I get to check that first item off. Check! Mama Kat's at it again, spacey and forgetful this week but with great prompts. I'm choosing the list. It feels like I'm accomplishing something.

3.) List your five most recent favorite things.

1. Panda Porn.
I had a meeting tonight for a committee I'm on for a volunteer organization to which I belong. One of my committee colleagues works at the National Zoo, which is very cool to the rest of us, and she was filling us in on Zoo stuff. The Zoo has two Great Pandas, and the Panda family is trying for another baby. Apparently, the male in question ("Tian Tian") isn't very good at making that happen. So, they showed them Panda Porn. You know, videos of actual Pandas mating in the wild, hoping it would.. get him in the mood. Show him some... pointers. (In the end, they had to artificially inseminate. Apparently, it's a buzz kill when the zookeeper is watching.)

2. Tar Heels beating the Blue Devils.
Whew! Dook was up by nine at one point! The elbow to Hansbrough's head was a nice touch.

3. Snark.
All things snarky. Why is snarky not in spellcheck?

4. Steven Pearlstein, columnist from the Washington Post.

5. Getting blog comments.

And this is just from today!

No hint there, with #5.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love on Love: my Spin

I'm Spinning on Love this week, in honor of Sprite's Keeper's Spin Cycle:
Baby Love

A new mother's love upon her green soul
Like a new found compliment to relish, to dole
Is rich with passion, and eager and frightened
At no other time are we this, so enlightened.

Twisting the continuum of timespace and time
Slowing it down, seeking which to unwind
In a flash, so we gather, sew together the thoughts
Words and dreams, pleasures with and with naught.

Colors swirling and blending and bending with lead
On prancer! On vixen! And off with his head.
The memories we keep, disasters loathed from our cave
Dark foreboding explored, rejected and saved.

Come out from within and recognize the light
Looking closely, the sparkle, twinkle and might.
Our strength, from within, all this we do share
Look back. My own Mother, it was she who did dare.

Wrap your arms, my true love, around me and squeeze
For this grace and our peace, I fall to my knees.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Hostess With an Idea

Since I'm guest posting on K's wonderful blog, which is quite an honor, I felt it honorable to start by introducing myself. What it lacks in humor will make up in interesting [filler] explanation.

My name is Colleen [gasp! And a hush falls over the crowd.] Yes, my real name. I go by 'CDB' in bloggyland but what I'm realizing, now that I'm in the thick of it, is that it's not so scary. I haven't picked up any stalkers. Dang it! I'm way more important in my own mind, it would seem.

The blog that I [beg you all to go visit because I'm still new and nobody reads it] write daily is "Fingers and Paws," a blog devoted to the idea that we love all of our children, furry and otherwise. Is this true? Let me know what you find out. Oh, is it true for me? Let me point out a frustration.

When we adopted our dogs, who were left in a cardboard box in an apartment, we were obviously concerned about doggy social skills. We went to dog parks, had mixed results, and enrolled them (separately, so they didn't have twin separation anxiety) in dog obedience class. It sounds more harsh than it was. We used actual cut-up hot dogs as temptation to do "good dog" stuff.

The long and the short of it is, they sat when we told them. They stayed where we told them. They laid down. They would "LEAVE IT!" even when the [it] was a dead bunny picked up on the side of the trail. Very obedient dogs.

Now, I find myself telling my toddler to "sit there" and "stay" and "leave it" all the time. "No" to drawing on the flat-panel TV with crayon. "No" to lurching from my hand down the sidewalk into the street. "No," don't climb into the dishwasher!

For some inexplicable reason, it doesn't seem to be working.

If I had the time, I would write a book on training toddlers to sit and stay as trained dogs. But honestly. What fun would that be?


Asian Yogis Meet the Bachelor

Do you ever notice that just when things are going along quite predictably, upon the same pattern, clippity clop, clippity clop, that you tend to expect the same things, again and again? Maybe to the point of even expecting a non-native English speaker to not, you know, speak English and therefore, not watch English or American television shows? Let alone, American reality shows?

Before I completely bewilder you, and you derail, jump off the tracks and run down the road towards another blog, let me share an example.

I teach a yoga class every Monday morning, to seniors, at a senior center. We live in an extremely ethnically-diverse Metro area, and nearly every one of my senior yogis is a non-native English speaker from a Far Eastern Asian country.. Vietnam. Korea. Japan. Hong Kong, China. (Syria, Bolivia and South Carolina are also represented, as they should be in a properly diverse community.)

Imagine my surprise, then, when I overheard this soundbyte:

"YES! And some are just too immature. You know, to be Moms."

"I like the Canadian."

"There's that one, whats-her-name, that always has all that hair in her face. Move your hair!"

"I really liked the one with the daughter. The sweet little girl. What was her name?"

I slowly turned around, in amazed wonderment. Were two of my many worlds colliding? Could they be? Were they talking about The Bachelor?! I cozied up to them and joined in, adding my two cents of the inanity of a bunch of attractive single girls wanting to SIGN UP to be a nose-wiping, shuttle-driving, board book-reading, high-fivin', dancin' and smilin' short order cooking step- MOM. Every week, never fails, I say aloud to my imprisoned on the couch at 9PM husband, "Really?! Do they have any idea what they are signing up for? No clue. Cancel a date and she's "lucky"? Really?!"

We, my cosmopolitan, reality-TV watching Asian yogis and I, decided Jill was "It". Mature, confident, "ready", intelligent. (Now that he kicked off gorgeous and hilarious Lauren, whom nobody could "get" except me and a bunch of other smart, funny bloggers.)

Now that I've seen tonight's episode, and have had several "Really?!" moments (dove memorial, crazy hat box did that not scare him away?), I have solidified my view that Jillian is the only one remotely aware of what the next stage of life really involves. Party over, girls! Sign up and check out of the bar scene! Well, except Naomi who can head right back there.

And I heard through the blogovine that that isn't really his house. HA!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

A New Way of Thinking of Looking

Thinking, or looking? Which is it, you say? Well. It's both. Because I've been thinking of looking like a new, improved blog. Thinking, because I have run into more problems, snares and snags and frustrating buggy type things all day long. All Day! And, newsflash.. I don't actually have the luxury of an entire day to spend on this. If I did, I would just be on vacation, perhaps in St. John or Maui, kicking back with a colada of sorts.

I have a newer, shinier look. I have a new header, which, yes, I did take myself. It's not quite as telling as the last header (in which the toddler is running, full on toddler speed, in the opposite direction as me,) but it contains an inextricable sweetness that I'm in love with. And that's what matters.

Even the twigs on the baby toes. Brought up from the depths of the underwater lair from whence they grew. I love those too, in all their imperfection.

However! Last time I checked, comments weren't working. And I got news of this, alas, from a bloggy pal who was trying to comment! Ah! What could be worse than the technological rejection of a potential ego stroke? [Nothing.]

But, as in everything else in my life, I have a theory. And here it goes...


Friday, February 6, 2009

Spin On Saving

Jen, over at Sprite's Keeper, has a great Spin Cycle this week: it's about saving money. It's really always been about saving money for my husband, his entire life. For me, it's always really been about how to spend it. So, we're an interesting pair. Plus, after yesterday's scathing comments on my list, I guess it's time for something mainstream.

Here is a smattering of examples of things my husband does, automatically, as if this were normal and everyone did this:
1. Washes and irons and starches his own (work) shirts.
2. Buys the giant pack of chicken breasts at (Harris Teeter on the East Coast, CostCo for everyone normal) at $2.99/lb, breaks them up into two breasts per zip lock bag, some with BBQ, and puts them in the freezer.
3. He drives very (agonizingly) slow. Highway and "please, please hurry sweetie we are really , really late" lanes.
4. Auto-draft investments into mutual funds.
5. High percentage 401(k) contribution. 10%.*
6. Coupons for grocery store runs.
7. Don't spend any money on oneself or one's spouse*. He wears the same pair of slippers he's been wearing since college. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
8. Claim that your child really only needs one pair of shoes at a time, until he grows out of them.*
9. Keep the thermostat at 68 or below*. (I win this battle daily, which is my daily battle win. I can't do that with the toddler! Small victories.)
10. Turn off the vents to the guest room where we don't sleep, play, or use. Doubles as a wine cellar.
* Yes, most women would not be casually accepting of these. I guess that means I'm not like "most women."

However, I have some ideas of my own. I'll be succinct (finally!)
For those with kids:
1. Babysit swaps and co-ops. Large toy swaps. Try asking, you never know.
For those without kids: stop here. Count up all the money you save by not having a kid.
2. Freecycle. She who giveth then taketh away.
3. Craigslist. Live in a small town? Apply to add your town.


I have a two-for-one today. OneMinuteWriter is doing something new, Fiction Fridays, and I'm in. Excited. Here's my contribution:

He raced down the narrow hospital hallway again, to check on her. She was breathing normally again, and the nurse was just leaving. Their conversation had been brutally short, before impact.

"Is she going to be okay?" His wild eyes searched.

"Oh, I think she'll be just fine," the older nurse smiled, knowingly. "Is she.. related to you?"

"She's my future wife," he answered slowly.

He turned back toward the room, still mesmerized.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Combination List of Random Things on My Mind

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop is one of my favorite blogging games, because it's not just a game. It's a way of life. I write because I like to talk. I talk because I cannot help it. So, by the transitive property of equality.. you do the math. This week, several prompts are challenging. I chose the cop-out prompt. The list.

Though, lists have been getting me into trouble lately. (See having to talk about Ricki Lake.)

4) Write a list of ten things on your mind this week.

1. Why (for goodness' sake, why) did I mention something in a list that I didn't want to admit, describe, remember or go into detail about? Should I tell the Kevin Costner story to make up?
2. Do we really need a new refrigerator?
3. Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? What if there are three in the bush? And five more in the shrubbery to the left of the cart path? How much is a bird worth? [This is a serious matter.]*
4. Will my Asian yogis forgive me for having to take my toddler to the doctor instead of teaching them their weekly yoga?
5. If Keynesian economics has never truly been tested, and the Senate agrees on a number between $700B and $900B, then will "negative (public) saving that deficits represent .. largely offset the positive economic effects from addressing the broader set of longer-term saving and investment needs"? **
6. Is it really important how many comments I get on a blog post? [YES.]
7. "Hey. YA-AH. Baby, I got cha number."
8. Should my husband take that job he was offered this morning?
9. I cannot believe we became victims of this economic downturn. Oh wait, yes I can.
10. It's an interesting calculation: how much productive time has been lost in the past week from people completing the "25 Random Things" survey on facebook? Do we all need that much attention from each other? Has anyone not done this yet? Does anyone not know what I'm talking about? Have you been living under a rock (quote from UVA undergrad working at Best Buy when we tried to buy an iPod "mini" end of 2005)?

* See #8


Wordless Wednesday (After Yesterday's Shenanigans, We're All Due)

I'm exhausted from all that yammering on yesterday, and the day before, ad infinitum.
Plus, I'd like to show off my tilt-shift work:


Monday, February 2, 2009

Ricki, Don't Use My Number!

Our limo guy in the airport.

Catch up here. Ok, enough of this. It's not even that great of a story. But it does have an end.
They took us right into Makeup. I capitalized "Makeup" because that was the attitude of the Makeup People. That they should be capitalized, at all times, since it was they who decided who looked good, who looked great, and who should go home and crawl under a rock. And stay there. I wanted to know if my Makeup Lady did Ricki's makeup, too. She laughed. "Ricki has her own Makeup artist." In my mind, I slapped my own head. How could I be so stupid? In front of Makeup people? My Hollywood hopes of being discovered, possibly by this very Makeup person, were being dashed right before my carefully lined eyes.
"They" put us into a special room for all the "ex's." We were all separated into different rooms. The show was entitled "My Ex is Sexier Than My Current [Girl/Boyfriend]", and it was divided up into about 4 different 7-8 minute segments. Not quite my 15-minutes of fame. Thank you, God.
It was a large room, with a giant conference table, and "they" brought us, the special, made-up Sexier Ex's, whatever we wanted. Someone ordered Chinese food, so they got enough for 100 people. One person required Tex-Mex, done for 100 people. Someone was thirsty, drinks for 100 people. Ah, to be an over consuming American in the trash-tv heyday.
What am I doing here? Who are these people? No, I don't want $100 and Chinese Food! How would I escape, if I really wanted to? Would they chase me? That was a pretty maze-y hallway.
After what seemed an eternity, the show started, and we could watch it on a close-captioned TV. In the room with me, was a dude with a guitar, who had composed a love song to his long-lost love, with whom he was still in love. There was a feisty African-American girl who was sure she was gettin' her man back, and had a recent picture with him to prove his recent disloyalty to Current.

Seriously, where was the elevator? Would they really cancel my flight home, if I ditched?

My segment began, and as I was entering the door onto Stage Left (which I desperately wanted to Exit.. great album, but I wanted to do it for real), the producer told me to blow a kiss to the audience.

Um... NO.

I sat in the chair left of "J". On his right, was an empty chair. As I sat down, I realized I was PISSED OFF that I was in this situation. I nudged him, hard, with my elbow, as I sat down. The audience went crazy. We sit there, go through required chit-chat with Ricki, who is gorgeously made up. Her Makeup Artist and producer husband are, no doubt, glowing. My best friend comes out after a (3-minute) eternity, probably since the producers were glaring at me for being so "normal" and "quiet" and "not trashy enough."

My friend is a little feistier than me. She spices things up. Some dude in the audience stands up and points out that it seems as if "J" is still "sweating" me. I chuckle. This is kinda fun. As dumb decisions go.

Then, the Current (we can call her "Lucy") comes out. She sits down, makes herself comfortable. She's cute. (Not me, but cute.) Then Ricki comes out with it. "He's up here saying she's sexier than you are. What do you make of this?"
I then realize, all of a sudden, that "Lucy" is just finding out what this show is about. Nobody has told her why she was on the show. She was probably told she was winning an Oscar, and the limo was picking her up at 8:00 AM sharp. I'm disgusted, suddenly. But Lucy is a winner. Her response:
"Well, my Ex is a lot sexier than you are, but you don't see me going on a talk show to say that."

Audience goes WILD.
And that, my beloved bloggy friends, is pretty much the bitter end. A little more bickering, some stupid/silly "Sexymeter" at the end where the audience compares the two. They load us on the elevator, someone absent-mindedly asks when we're going to meet Ricki. The large bouncer security man who makes eight bucks an hour but gets to be The Man twice a day shuffling guests in and out answers in his gruffly NY accent, "we're taking you to her right now!" The elevator doors open, we're taken to the exit where our limos are waiting. Classy, Big Man. Classy.
And that's it. End of show, end of story, the flights were a little delayed and my sorority sisters were embarrassed. Was it worth it? It made a good blog story, right?
And, just because Steely Dan is in our heads anyways;

Rikki Don't Lose That Number

You don't wanna call nobody else

Send it off in a letter to yourself

Rikki don't lose that number

It's the only one you own

You might use it if you feel better

When you get home


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ricki, Don't Lose That Number

And now we're back with our regularly scheduled programming. Already in progress. So that we're all caught up, we're in the process of hearing my very long, unnecessarily and overly dramatized story about how and why (on Earth) I was on the Ricki Lake Show. We've established that I was young.

What we haven't covered yet, was that my best friend in college was an adventurer, a regular mountain climber of excitement, a smart and brazen combination of youthful spirit and capriciousness. It would be immature and lame to forgo all responsibility for my actions and blame someone else.

It was all her fault. She found out about the call from the Ricki Lake producer, and, since I hadn't even mentioned this dude to her as yet, the dude from the camp. Whom we are calling "J." And she was R-E-L-E-N-T-L-E-S-S.

Her: "Let's go! Let's go gallivanting around New York City!"
Me: "'We?' They called me."
Her: "Well, just tell them that I'm coming too!"
Me: "I should just inform them who is coming onto their show?"
Her: "Yes! Free ticket to New York! We'll skip the show!"
Me: "Hm.. That is a good idea."
Her: "Let's go! We'll just gallivant around the city for a while, then fly home!"
Me: "So what if they cancel our return flights?"
Her: "Who cares? We'll get home! I have a final that day though."
Me: "Well, you have to skip it. And when did you start saying 'gallivanting'?"

So, I call the show back, or, more accurately, they call me back to follow up. Again. And I tell them I have this friend. They tell me to bring her on the show, too. They tell me a bunch of stuff that I need to hear to be even remotely interested in following through with this. Meanwhile, I have NOT spoken to 'J' about any of this. In fact, I haven't talked to him in a few months. I'm not sure I could recognize him right now.

Another extremely important piece of information: I call my Mom, to tell her about all of this. The extreme excitement of it all. She listens. She sighs. She absolutely forbids me from going on a show such as this one. Done, and done! (And now-poof! I have a child as stubborn and rebellious as I was. Karma. Arrgh.)

Long story short (too late!) the Pope is in town. At the exact same time. All hotels are sold out, booked, or we are gravely lied to and naive. Probably both. In any case, we are booked into a hotel in New Jersey. Told the times to appear for the limo to pick us up.

The limo does, in fact show up at the airport. It also shows up at the hotel, and we.. looking around at our various options of Waffle Houses and 7-Elevens in New Jersey, decide to get in. It does, in fact, take us directly to the Ricki Lake show, where, surprisingly, there is a line around the building to get in. (This is the 90s, remember.) We, in possession of all our faculties and stepping out of a limo in New York, feeling like the rock stars we believe ourselves to be, are escorted into a special door to a special elevator to a special private room.

Gallivanting plot is FOILED. Damn you, Ricki.

I haven't told anyone this story in a long time (like, since college) and it's taking all my faculties now to remember how this went. ERGO, part three, the final chapter, will resume tomorrow. Avec les pictures (no screen shots, sorry).




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