A to Z 2014

A to Z 2014
A to Z 2014

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zodiac

"Woo-hoo, we pulled it off," Dave grinned as he gave his brother a resounding hi-five.  "Incredible," Bruce agreed, dumping the contents of his back-pack on the bed.  They stared down at the pile of neatly wrapped hundred dollar bills.  "How much do you think is there?"

"I told you this was a sweet deal," Dave crowed after they had divvied up the loot.  "You thought I was on dope when I took that horoscope reading class, didn't you?"  His brother nodded in agreement, "Yup, I thought you had lost it for sure.  So explain it to me again, how do you know which horse to pick?"

"I take our date, time, month, year and place of birth and chart our horoscopes.  Then I get the same information for the race horses and I chart their horoscope.  When both our charts and the horse's chart are favorable it's a no brainer.  Quick trip to the track, pick out the horses that are long shots and we go home with a sack full of cash.  And the best part is it's legal!"

Bruce's face briefly clouded up.  "Hey Dave, if you can tell when things are going to be good can you also see when they'll be bad?"   "Yea, I suppose," Dave answered cautiously.  Bruce hesitated and then asked, "Could you even tell when we'll die?"  "Knock it off Bruce, I wouldn't tell you even if I knew."   Bruce let out a sigh of relief, that wasn't something he'd really want to know.

"So," Dave said, "wanna go grab a bite to eat?  I'll drive."  "Sure" Bruce replied, "I'll meet you out front."   He headed out the door and grabbed the mail out of the box while he waited from Dave to bring the car around.  Glancing through the envelopes he noticed one from  Sun City Life Insurance.  Curious he ripped open the flap and read, "Dear Mr. Stowe, please find enclosed the premium notice for Policy #63452, Total Death Benefit: $1,000,000.00, Person Insured:  Bruce Stowe, Beneficiary: David Stowe.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yin and Yang

The little boy shrieked and wriggled as his mom tried to force him in to the childs seat of the grocery cart.  His orange T-shirt, two sizes to large, was obviously a hand-me-down as were the pair of green courderoy pants that most likely came from a second hand store. 

As for the woman, her thin dark hair hung lank around a pale face devoid of makeup.  Her ragged jeans, grubby sweatshirt and holey tennis shoes completed an unflattering picture of a young mother with too little money and too little patience.

"Noooo" wailed the boy, his crys escalating in volume.  As his mother grabbed his arm she gave him a quick shake and hissed in his ear to, "sit down and shut-up or else."   The decibal level of the boy's cry's subsided but he continued to sob as his mother used the already dirty T-shirt to wipe his runny nose.

Diane grimmaced as the pair disappeard down Aisle 1. She had been a cashier at Save-A-Lot long enough to see all kinds walk through those doors.   The sound of a screaming kid always pushed her buttons, it was like nails on a blackboard.  But it was the young mom she was angry with.  How dare she treat her little boy so mean and especially in public!  "I'd like to shove her in one of those carts," she thought to herself.

Just then an elderly gentleman shuffled up to the counter to pay for his groceries.  "Hi Diane, how are you today?"  "Hi Mr. Sottle, can't complain.  How about you?"   They made small talk as she rang up his purchase and when he turned to leave he handed her a $20 bill and asked if she would please use it to help, "that young lady with the crying baby. Always makes me sad to see a young family have such hard times."

Diane felt her face redden as she took the $20 offered by Mr. Sottle.  "That is might nice of you, and thanks for reminding me that sometimes those less fortunate need a little help."  Ashamed for her lack of insight she pulled a $20 out her purse to match Mr. Sottle's.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for Xenomania

The definition of xenomania is "an enthusiasm for foreign customs and cultures".   I believe it to be a hereditary condition that was passed on to me by my father.  He was a hobo at heart, and managed to live a nomadic lifestyle by serving his country in the Coast Guard.

All my life I have exhibited symptoms of xenomania unaware there even was such a thing.  Although I've never actually lived outside the U.S. or its territories, I have had ample opportunity to meet folks from different ethnic backgrounds and for reasons I didn't understand (until now) I felt a real affinity for cultures different from my boring middleclass, caucasion, Protestant background.

Recently I was cleaning out closets and bumped in to a childhood scrapbook that my mom had kept for me.  I found a class photo from when were living in Waipahu, Hawaii and although I don't remember being any different from the rest of my second-grade classmates I had to laugh when I handed the portrait to my Better Half and asked if he could pick me out.  You couldn't miss me, not so much because I resemble my seven year old self but because I was the only haole (white) kid in the whole class.  I vividly remember being befriended by a pair of Philippino twins, Edna and Ethel, and spending as much time as possible at their house.  They had lots of siblings, both older and younger and I loved being part of their chaotic brood.  My family was the average American one with two kids and a mom who ran a pretty tight ship with dinner at 6:00 p.m. and betime at 8:30.   Edna and Ethel's way of life was a lot more relaxed, with no specific eating time and everyone just grabbing whatever was on the stove.  There weren't enough bedrooms for everyone so you just crawled in to the nearest available opening on a bed that might already hold three other kids .  We'd wake up in the morning and eat left over cold rice with milk and sugar and dash outside barefoot.  It was awesome, I never wanted to go home.

Eventually we moved to California and instead of Philippino, Japanese, and Polynesian friends I now went to school with a lot of Hispanics.  Anita DeSoto and I became best friends and again I was drawn to a lifestyle different from my own.    Anita's grandfather lived with the family which I thought was very cool and she had two younger sisters.  Her mom always had home made tortillas on-hand and there would be a big pot of frijoles cooking on the stove.  Anita had tons of aunties, uncles, and cousins who kindly assimilated me in to their family and made me feel like one of them.  The DeSotos were staunch Catholics and Anita's mom made sure we were up in time for mass on Sunday mornings.  Much to my parents consternation I no longer wanted to attend the Lutheran church I had been babtized in, I now embraced a religion where mysterious nuns dressed in black and white habits, lived in a monastery on the church grounds and mass was said in Latin.

The next move took me to a place where the Chamorran natives were of Spanish decent.  Guam was a melting pot of many different cultures and I embraced all of them.   Again, my pale skin and blonde hair distinctly stood out from the mostly brown-skinned Micronesians but I soon fell in love with the people and their happy-go-lucky lifestyle.  It was common for large extended families to trade off kids who would go to "stay" with different aunts or uncles or older brothers or sisters.  They would hold large parties for every occassion from christenings to funerals.  Vast tables of food would be set-up outside and when driving down a back road lined with cars my friends and I would often stop and join the party even if we didn't know whose house it was or what they were celebrating.  I would gladly have lived forever on that idyllic island paradise.

Our last move was to my birthplace, South Haven, Michigan, and for the first time my xenomania waned.  Although now I was living someplace where I had actual blood relatives and everyone looked like me, I had never felt more like an alien in my entire life.  Life is strange isn't it?   


Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Writers

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a National Writers Series presentation "An Evening with Gillian Flynn", author of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects guest hosted by Doug Stanton.  A New York Times best seller, Gone Girl  is a dark mystery/thriller about a twisted marriage, lies, and murder.  The book is being made into a movie for which Gillian is writing the screen play.

The attendees were mainly female and I'm guessing like me, are  book club members and "wanna be" writers.  My goal was to find out just how one goes from being an unemployed TV critic to the "it" writer of the moment.  I didn't walk away with a fool proof plan but I must say that for someone who writes dark psychological thrillers, Gillian has a great sense of humor and had the audience laughing most of the evening as she answered questions put to her by Doug Stanton.

In real life, she is the mother of a two year old and lives in Chicago with her attorney husband. She described her writing space as "in the basement right next to the root cellar" and she has to switch off the darkness of her subject matter by playing Pac-Man and dancing to Eminem before she can rejoin her family upstairs..

What really stood out for me was her connection to the characters, as though they are real people.  She described how she would write scenes through the eyes of a kindergarden teacher, or a mom, or a best friend, not to include them in the book but as an exercise in getting to know her characters, to really understand them and be able to portray that complexity.

She also claims that when she starts a book she does not know how it is going to end.  Personally, I was happy to hear this because I have never been able to lay down a plot outline and stick to it.  I'm being a little pretentious here since I have yet to finish any of the books I've started.  But that's o.k. because Gilliane says she pulls out stuff she started years ago and picks up where she left off.  And she sometimes scraps pages and pages of effort when the story peters out or takes a wrong turn.  Hey, maybe I'm on the right (write?) track.    

Here is where I'll throw in all those little platitudes, "If at first you don't succeed; The only failure is in not trying  .. blah-blah-blah."  But really, I'm re-energized and ready to give it another go, bring it on "X", "Y", and "Z"! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Veronica

The deed was done.  She had purchased a non-refundable ticket to paradise.  Visions of tropical palm trees, thatched huts, and turquoise water caused her stomach to do a little flip-flop. She and Don had dreamed of taking this vacation.  As always when she thought of  Don a stab of pain pierced her.

When she had first introduced him to her family they had been skeptical   Pretty and popular she had a reputation for fickleness, dropping one boyfriend after another when someone new caught her eye.  Everyone assumed that like the rest he would be a flash in the pan.  But they were wrong.  This time she had fallen in love.

Don's good looks, southern charm, and big dreams had totally captivated her.  When he asked her to marry him she immediately said yes and never looked back.  Until he disappeared.

For the thousandth time she asked herself the same questions; What happened? Was he alive?  Where was he?"   No one knew, not his friends, not his co-workers, and not the authorities.  It was that uncertainty that almost drove her mad.  If  death had taken him she'd have grieved but would have been forced to accept the reality.  If he had left her for another women, as devasting as that would have been, she would eventually have come to terms with it and moved on.  Instead she was caught in nightmare.  Every phone call could be the news she was dreading to hear, every knock on the door could be the police telling her they had found his body.  For months she awoke from a night of fitful sleep desperate and depressed . And it hurt, oh God it hurt.  She prayed for the pain to go away.

Finally, after a year of torture she was surprised to realize that occassionally a few hours would go by uninterrupted by thoughts of Don.  People no longer avoided her, unsure what to say.  Her family no longer insisted that she needed their constant company as she had during the months following his disapperance.    Yes, this trip was exactly what she needed.  Finally, ready to face head on the fact that Don was really gone, she looked forward to being just another anonymous tourist.

She waited until the last minute to pack.  Now that her leaving was a reality she was nervous.  What if something should happen to her parents while she was gone?  What if she came down with a serious illness or God forbid her plane should crash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?  She was being paranoid and she knew it.

On the morning of her flight she took a cab to the airport.  When they called her flight she joined the que of people waiting to board.  After buckling herself in she glanced at the person seated next to her to gave him a quick nod of greeting.  And froze like a deer in the headlights.  There, after all these months, was Don.  Veronica could feel the vomit rising.  She wanted to scream at him, slap him and at the same time beg him to explain how he could be sitting here, next to her.  He smiled vacantly and turned to look out the window.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for UFO

Did you know there is a web-site to report UFO sightings?  Me neither!  It's a handy little site with tips on reporting experiences with extraterrestrials.  There is a list of recent reports and older archived reports.  You can read about abductions and in some cases the report includes pictures and video footage.   

If you decide to make a report of your own, rest assured that no personal information is disclosed, strictly confidential.  Nice to know since my co-workers already think I'm a little cracked.  For those with inquiring minds here is the website:  http://www.ufosnw.com/

If any of you have had an experience I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Tension and Twists

All good stories start with a question that creates tension.  The hook is set and the reader is propelled to the next page.  Here's an example:

Dear Randy,
I tied a brick around the dog's neck and threw it off the dock.  Don't rush to look, it is already done.  I'm sorry.

One short paragraph and you have tension along with multiple questions.  Whose dog was it?  Why did she kill it?  Why is she sorry?

The second key to a good story is a twist.  You lead the reader to think the answer is one thing and then reveal something entirely different.  The best twists are the ones that shock you, where you have missed all the clues.  My sis-in-law Leigh is a master at this (check her out at http://www.viewsofanoptimist.blogspot.com/).

Knowing how to write a good story and actually writing one are entirely different.   For me, the tension comes easy but the twist, now that's a different story. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sally (a Love Story)

Sally was a wonderful wife and Jack knew he was lucky to have her.  How many women would marry a man who had no intention of settling down?  He was a military man, a lifer, and his job meant moving every few years, away from home and away from family.

At first the nomad's life was simple.  With few belongings and no children they could easily pick-up and put-down roots.  Eventually, kids came along and moving got harder.  New houses, new schools, new friends, new doctors, new dentists.  No pets though, dogs and cats did not fit in to their lifestyle.

Sally never complained.  She knew when she married Jack what she was signing up for.  He had a wanderlust that couldn't be tamed.  An enlisted man's salary was pretty measly but Sally never complained.  She budgeted and made sure to sock some away for a rainy day.  When your closest relative is thousands of miles away you have no one to fall back on when things got tough.

Whatever Jack took an interst in so did Sally.  When he began bowling so did she and before long they had joined a league.  Jack loved to watch sports on the weekend and Sally would be sitting right there with him cheering on their favorite teams.  They took up golf together and then fishing.

When Jack retired they bought a motorhome so they could continue traveling.  By now Sally was a grandmother and leaving those grandkids nearly broke her heart.  But before she was a grandmother she was a wife and she loved her husband unconditionally.

When Sally got sick Jack was there for every doctor appointment, surgery, and treatment.  He kept her spirits up and when she could no longer do the things they loved Jack gave them up too. Sally had told Jack she wasn't afraid to die, she just didn't want to leave him. He stayed at Sally's side until the end, and when that time came he held her hand and whispered in her ear that it was o.k. for her to go, he would see her soon.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Reincarnation

I was lying on a couch, hands at my sides, eyes closed.  Around me I could hear the rustling of others as they shifted in their chairs.  "At the count of three you will return to the present, fully restored and refreshed."  As instructed I opened my eyes and slowly sat up.  I was unsure if what I had experienced was a product of my imagination or if I had indeed seen myself in a previous life.  I stood up and another particpant took my place.

I had attended the session with no real expectations but hoped when I left to have come to a conclusion if reincarnation was hocus-pocus or the real deal.    I was fifth in line of those who volunteered to be regressed.  The hypnotist followed the same routine with each of us.  Close your eyes, relax your body, imagine floating up in the air and then, at the count of ten, return to the ground feet first and describe your surroundings.

I don't remember much about the first three people but the fourth was a man in his late twenties, slight of build with thinning hair, an average Joe with a slight midwest accent.  During the regression his voice became deeper and when the hypnotist asked questions the midwest accent was gone, replaced by a heavy Scottish brogue.  He claimed to have been a mason named Blain McDougal.  The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up.

When my turn came I was nervous.  I closed my eyes,  floating up until I was told to return to the ground, and began describing what I saw.  Then scene before me was a flat prarie, a small wooden house, no trees.  When asked what my name was I identified myself as Mrs. Potter and said I was a school teacher. The year was 1850.   But the whole time I'm "seeing" this I am 100% in the present.  I can hear the people around me, I'm fully aware of lying on the couch and that a bunch of people I didn't know were staring at my prostrate form.  Soon I was being "returned" to present day and it was the next person's turn.

I've thought about that experience many times.  I want proof of life after life, I want to know if our soul survives death, if there is a purpose for our being here.  I didn't find the answer I was looking for but I continue to ask the question. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Questions

Kids, God bless them, are naturally curious.  When my grandkids were little they were always asking questions and I was pretty good at fielding them.  But occasionally they stumped me.  I remember one time we were  oohing and aahing over the fish at our local PetSmart when my oldest grandson, staring intently in to the goldfish tank turns and asks, "Gramma, how does fish poop come out?"  Uh, I'll have to get back to you on that.   And then there was the time I was driving with my five year old granddaughter buckled in the front seat next to me.  We were chatting back and forth and suddenly her little face scrunches up and she asks, "Gramma, why do old people have lines around their mouth?"  OK, no ice cream for you kid!

But then they got older and the questions got easier.
"Gramma, can I have a dollar?" (No) and, "Gramma, can I come spend the night?" (Yes)

Now they are teenagers and the tables are turned.  I'm the one asking the questions.
 "What time will you be back?"
 "Does your mother know you wear that?"
"You pierced your what?"
 "Will you come spend the night?"  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Poet

A poet's soul can never be
As happy as thee or me
For they feel the pain
That we ignore
When we hope to banish ever more
The fate that waits us all
When death decides to make a call

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Opossum

This past winter we were adopted by an opossum.  My Better Half  discovered him one night when he went out to bring in an armload of wood from the garage and noticed a pointy little nose and two big black eyes sticking out of a brown grocery bag that held some kindling.  When I went to take a look the little guy didn't react to me, he just kept staring straight ahead.  I wasn't sure if he was playing possum, or if he thought I couldn't see him because he was hiding.

We live in the woods so I see my share of wildlife (including a bear last year but that's a different story).   Animals that live in the wild usually stay as far away from people as possible so we knew something was wrong.  Sure enough we found bloody little paw prints on the garage floor.  It tugged at my heart that this poor little creature overcame his fear and took refuge in our garage.  My Better Half isn't the sentimental type but he does have a soft spot for animals in trouble.  That night he took the little guy out a bowl of catfood and a big bowl of water and both were gone the next morning.  We brought in some straw to give him a warm place to hide and because opossums are nocturial we would wait until evening to take out food and water.  We kept the garage door closed and once in a while we would get a glimpse of him scurrying behind a wood pile so we knew he was getting better.

Eventually the weather improved and we started leaving the door to the garage open so he could leave when he was ready.  It wasn't long before he decamped but he didn't go far.  We would spot him limping across the driveway and around the yard and it soon became evident that he had lost his little paw.

Spring has finally sprung and it's been about a week since we last saw him.  I like to think that he knows we did what we could to help and I'm really hopeful that the reason behind his disapperance is that he's  found a Mrs. Opossum.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Liebster Award

I'm very honored to be nominated for my second Liebster during this A to Z Challenge and want to give a big thank you and shout-out to Sherrie Lackey (http://sherrilackey.com/blog/).  She used "Nominated" for her N topic which I thought was pretty clever.  I also want to thank my sis-in-law Leigh (http://viewsofanoptimist.blogspot.com/) for getting me involved in this year's challenge and helping me get my blog up and going.  She writes great short stories with endings that grab you so be sure to check them out.

According to the rules (which are publised below) here are 11 random facts about me:
1.  I'm afraid of the dark.
2.  I've had the same best friend for 40 years.
3.  If the temperature never dipped below 80 I'd love it.
4.  I believe grandkids are God's reward for being a parent.
5.  I saw Elvis Presley in person when he was filming Blue Hawaii.
6.  I didn't go to the prom.
7.  I'm a bookkeeper but I hate math.
8.  I broke my first bone when I was 49 years old.
9.  I've never bought a new car.
10.  I use to be a lifeguard.
11.  When someone tells me a secret it stays in the vault.

Below are my answers to the 11 questions Sherri asked:
  1. If you could have any celebrity chef cook you a meal, who would it be and what would they fix for you?  Nigella Lawson.  I love her Brittish accent and she makes everything sound so yummy.  I've never had Yorkshire pudding so I'd ask her to include it on the menu.
  2. If you could have your choice, a free ride into outer space to stay at the first resort on the moon, or take a submarine ride down to the lowest trench in the ocean to view exotic aquatics, which would it be?  Good question!  The submarine ride for sure.  I love the sea and I once lived on Guam which is next to the deepest ocean trench ever recorded.
  3. What’s your style: modern, traditional, or country?  I like to mix and match so definitely a hodge-podge.
  4. What’s your favorite fiction genre?  Historical novels but I'm especially fond of English novels.
  5. What’s your favorite non-fiction title?  West With the Night by Beryl Markham.  A wonderful book which I need to re-read.
  6. What’s your favorite shade of blue? Aqua Marine
  7. If you could have a backstage pass to any show, what would it be? The Rolling Stones!
  8. If you could drive any car what would it be?  I don't care so long as it doesn't break down.
  9. If all cars, trains, planes, etc. suddenly stopped working due to say – a zombie apocalypse – what mode of transportation would you choose?  Horseback
  10. Would you rather be a zombie or run from a zombie?  I've got to think about that one!
  11. If you could be a superhero: Would you wear high heels while fighting the bad guys if you are a female? Would you wear spandex tights while fighting the bad guys if you are a male? Do you think superhero attire needs to be revised to fit the real world – realities? It’s just a thought…  I know sexy superhero is a bad stereotype but I love high heels, I have a closet full of them.
Here are the Rules for my nominees to follow:
1.  The Liebster is given to bloggers by bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2.  Each blogger should post eleven facts about himself or herself.
3.  Each blogger should answer the eleven questions that are asked by the person doing the nominating.
4.  Choose eleven new bloggers to nominate for the Award and a link to them in the post.
5.  Create eleven new questions for your nominees.
6.  Go back to their pages and tell them they have been nominated.
7.  No tag backs.

And the Awards go to (drum roll please) ....

Here are my 11 questions for the nominees:
1.  Do you believe hunting should be allowed?
2.  Other than being a writer, what would your dream job be?
3.  Do you belive in ghosts?
4.  If you could live to be 200 years old would you want to?
5.  What book(s) are you reading right now?
6.  Favorite color and why?
7.  Do you belive animals have souls?
8.  If you could come back as someone else who would it be?
9.  Do you know anyone who does not have a cell phone?
10. At what age did you stop believing in Santa Clause?
11.  Would fear of sharks keep you from swimming in the ocean?



N is for Nothing

I am nothing if not honest.  And to be perfectly honest, I can think of nothing to write about today.   I did have a few ideas, like for instance Nostradamus.  I was fascinated by him when I was a young adult and I would scour his quatrains every time an earth shaking event happened.  I have to admit some of what he wrote was pretty spooky but writing about it second hand doesn't have the same punch as actually reading the verses.  And I thought about nesting because after all, it is spring.  Every year after the grime of winter melts away I get inspired.  I feel the need to spruce up my house, wash windows, change the furniture around and do generally domestic things that I avoid like the plague the rest of the year.  I also considered nails (as in salon).   Most of the time my nails are short, unpainted and my cuticles look like a muskrat gnawed on them.  One trip to the salon could change all that but then I wouldn't want to do all that inspired house cleaning for fear of breaking a nail.  So I guess I'm back to nothing.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day and I already have some great ideas for the letter "O".   

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Mysteries of the Mind

When you think about it, the mind seems more invisible than mysterious but there are moments when we become aware that our mind is functioning independently.  For example, you're driving home from work and as you approach your house you realize that for the past several minutes you weren't paying any attention to the turns you made, the lights you stopped at, or the scenery you passed.  I know, scary hu?  But we've all done it, it's like we're on auto-pilot while our mind takes off on a little journey of its own.

And who hasn't experienced that odd feeling that you are reliving some experience from the past?  You know, you walk by a house you've never seen before but something about it tugs at your memory.  Or you have a conversation with someone and you get an odd feeling that you've had this exact conversation before.

Or how about when you are stumped by something during the day, something you just can't remember, like the name of a band who sang some obscure song.  Eventually you give up and go about your business right?  Then wham, it comes to you in the middle of the night and you wake up and go, "Oh yea, so and so sang that song."  It's as if your mind was on a mission to search and retrieve and even though you weren't consciously thinking, it continued to percolate behind the scenes until it found what it was looking for.

All these experiences are pretty common but they do suggest that the mind is separate and distinct from the brain.  Here is where the mystery comes in.  Where does the mind reside?  Is it physically real?  When we "talk" to ourselves how does that work? I know, I know, it's a pretty weird topic but it does make one think.  But do those thoughts come from the mind or the brain?  Gottcha!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Laughing

I'm one of those people who laugh until I cry.  Once I get going I can't stop myself but believe me, it is a PITA to have to reapply mascarra every time something tickles my funny bone.  Some of the posts I've read in the A to Z Challenge have had me in hysterics.  I keep getting busted at work because I'm sitting at my desk looking like I'm working and all of a sudden I'm roaring with laughter and dabbing my streaming eyes.  When something's really funny I start inhaling the wad of tissue balled in my fist to wipe away the tears.  If I lose my job I'm going to blame it on those evil comedic writers.

If you like to laugh (and who doesn't?), check out these links, but I'm warning you that reading the Irrational Waffletastrope story on justinappropriate's site could be hazardous to your job. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kitchen

If my house had a soul the kitchen is where you'd find it.  Every morning I put the same dented teapot on to boil and watch as the steam condenses on the window panes. I plug in my decrepit toaster and get out the butter dish that once belonged to my Great Aunt Eva. There is comfort in following the same routine and when I begin my day in the kitchen I start my day in a state of well-being.
 Like me, the appliances in my kitchen have some age to them but they are part of my daily rituals and I hate to part with any of them.  As long as they still work they are going back in the cupboard to be used another day.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jackets

Being raised in the South Pacific, I seldom had the need for a sweater much less a jacket.  I didn't see my first snowfall until I was a senior in high school and once the novelty wore off I continually longed for the tropical weather of my youth.

It took a long, long, time for me to develop an appreciation for seasonal changes but eventually I became acclimated to Michigan's weather.  My wardrobe rotates with the season and each year, when I put a jacket on for the first time, the contents of the pockets are always a treasure trove of surprises.

Occasionally I find money.  Granted, it's usually just a few dollars, but when I put my hand in my pocket and fish out money I forgot I had it always gives me a little thrill.  More often I find balled up Kleenex (which promptly get thrown away), and if I'm real lucky I might find a missing earring or a favorite hair clip.

Recently I put on my spring jacket and pulled out a ticket stub from last year.  My best friend Bev and I, went to see Wanderlust at the local theater.  We took the afternoon off from work, we bought the largest bags of popcorn they had, and after the movie was over we stopped at Jonathon B. Pub to top off our great afternoon by toasting each other with a glass of Drambuie.  That stub brought me a memory I might otherwise have forgotten.

To me, jackets represent time passing.  Fall jackets go in storage and winter coats are pulled out eventually to be replaced by spring and summer jackets.  Before you know it a year has gone by, then two, then three.  But by now I have a good excuse to go shopping because, you guessed it, I need a new coat!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Idea

Here is a question for all you writers.  Where do we go to find ideas?  One hypothesis is that ideas are actually part of a fourth dimension that exists in the mind and that the mind is a world of its own.  Whoa, can we all say existentialism?

Pursuing that thought, the things that ideas refer to are of this world, but the ideas themself and where they originate are not.  So does the mind live in a different kind of reality?  Possibly one where ideas can  attract other ideas?  This is my first A to Z Challenge and I'm blown away by all the creative ideas that my fellow bloggers are sharing.  People may be separated by space and time but they can still be close through the ideas they share. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Happy and Healthy?

I was recently asked, "What makes you happy?"  It's a simple question and I have a simple answer.  Health makes me happy.  I'm sure you've heard the jingos, "A healthy body is a happy body" and "When you have your health you have everything".  Nothing to argue with there, but if health is so important to happiness, why is it so hard to live a healthy lifestyle?  Unfortunately dieting and exercising and getting plenty of sleep do not make me happy.  So you can see my dilema, is it possible to be happy and healthy?  Maybe I should just settle for eat, drink and be merry?  If anyone comes up with a way to do both will they please let me know?

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Guam

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am a Guamanian at heart.  I grew up a service brat and when I was 14 my family transferred to Guam where I quickly fell in love with the island and its people.  If you are like most folks, you've either never heard of it or you have no idea where it is.  If you fall into either of these categories boy is it your lucky day!  Read on to learn ten fascinating facts about this little gem of an island.
1. The island of Guam is 30 miles long and 12 miles across at it's widest point.  It sits on top of a mountain next to the Mariana Trench, the deepest surveyed point in any of the world's oceans (35,797 feet deep).
2. The world's largest KMart is located on Guam.   
3. The average temperature is 86 degrees F., and average rainfall is 96 inches.
4. Ann Curry (NBC News & the Today show) was born on Guam.
5. Guam is located in the Pacific Ocean, 6,000 miles from the U.S. mainland in what is called Typhoon Alley.
6. Guam is a US territory (yea, you knew that), but did you know that it was controlled by Spain until 1898 when it was surrendered to the US during the Spanish-American War?
7. Guam was captured by the Japanese and occupied for two and a half years during World War II during which time the local inhabitants were subjected to forced labor, execution and concentration camps.  The last Japanese soldier "surrendered" on Guam in 1972! 
8. The official languages of the island are Chamorro and English.
9. Military bases cover approximately 29% of the island's total land area.
10. Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor and a 15 member legislature.

Hafa Adai Bro!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fairy Tales & Fashion

Once upon a time there was a skinny little girl would could eat what ever she wanted, never gain weight and even after turning forty her metabolism didn't change, her shoulders remained wider than her hips, and she lived happily ever after wearing a size 4.  The End.

So much for the Fairy Tale portion of this blog so let's move on to Fashion.  Every year I am glued to the TV during award season.  Makes no difference what award show it is, The Sag Awards, the Emmies, Peoples Choice Awards, Country Music Awards, or the creme-de-la-creme, the Academy Awards.  Do I really care who wins best set design for a movie I've never seen?  Of course not silly, it's all about the clothes, the jewels, the hair, and the shoes!

I'm such a rabid red carpet fan that no amount of jeers or hoots from my significant other can shame me in to moving my butt from front and center of our 42" Toshiba.   I just shush him, making sure I get in a snide remark about Super Bowl.

Now In real life I'm a jeans and sweatshirt kind of gal but somewhere inside there must be a little girl who wants her chance to play dress up.  Under my bed is a stash of Vogue and Marie Clair magazines old enough that the models who posed in them are probably now past their prime.  Call me a voyeur but I just love looking at photos of someone in 5" stilletos, positioned awkwardly on a piece of lawn furniture, wearing an outfit that cost more than I make in six months.  Hmm, maybe it's just the light in here but I think I'm looking a little green. 
OMG, I am thrilled to learn that I've been nominated for a Liebster!  First, I want to thank Leigh at  http://viewsofanoptimist.blogspot.com who prodded me in to joining this year's A to Z Challenge (and who nominated me for this prestegious award).  Not only do I now have bragging rights, but it's a great way to get to know fellow bloggers and for them to get to know you.

The Rules are fairly simple:

1.  Anyone with less than 200 followers can be nominated for The Liebster.

2.  Each nominee should post eleven facts about herself or himself.

3.  Each nominee should answer the eleven questions that are asked by the person doing the

4.  Choose eleven new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link them in the post.

5.  Create eleven new questions for your nominees.

6.  Go back to their pages and tell them they've been nominated.

7.  No tag backs.

And now for the fun part .. here are the nominees chosen for their thought provoking, humorous, inspiring, or creative blogs.  Keep up the good work!


Here are the questions for my 11 nominees:
1.  Would you ever want to be as famous as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson or even Justin Beiber?
2.  Do you have a bucket list and if so what is #1 on the list?
3. If you could pick a particular time in history to live when would it be?
4.  If you had to choose between beauty or brains which would it be?
5.  Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
6.  Is writing a passion, a hobby, or how you make a living?
7.  Were you ever the Homecoming King/Queen?
8.  Who is your favorite author?
9.  Oprah or Ellen?
10. What kind of car do you drive and what color is it?
11. Where do you live and would you change it if you could?

These are 11 random facts about me:
  1. My weight is exactly 3 times my age.
  2. I hate snow but love winter.
  3. Tea and red wine are my drinks of choice.
  4. Lee Marvin said hello to me once.
  5. Christmas is my least favorite holiday.
  6. I believe in reincarnation.
  7. I love, love, love, the ocean. 
  8. If I had to chose between books and TV, books would win hands down.
  9. I grew up in the South Pacific.
  10. I think marriage is a sure way to end a happy relationship.
  11. Grandkids and girlfriends make me smile.

These are the answers to the 11 questions asked of me:

1,  Comedy, Reality TV or Drama?  Comedy although American Idol takes a close second.
2.  Cat or dog?  Furry little felines
3.   Hilltop or valley bottom?   I like a view so hilltop.
4.  Coffee or tea?  Green Earl Gray tea, hot.
5.  Do you have an artistic routine?  Ie: do you create an outline or scratch illustrations first?
     Yes, I come up with a main character, then a story problem, then a time sequence, and then I start
      filling in the blanks.
6.  How long have you been pursuing this artistic venue?  20 plus years, on and off.
7.  Is this your first Liebster Award?  Yes and I hope it's not my last:)
8.  How many blogging sites do you typically participate with?  I'm new to blogging so just two
9.  What was the impetus to pursue writing/photography/prose?  No one special event.  I've
      always been an avid reader and eventually realized I had a need to express myself
10.  What artistic venue is your second choice?  Painting





Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for England

When I read Pride and Prejudice it was a life altering experience.  Although I've never been to England, in fact never actually known anyone from England, I am a bona-fide Anglophile with an obsession that some would consider fanatical.

My lust for all things English knows no bounds.  English celebrities and notables flow from my tongue like water over a dam; Collin Firth, Phil Collins, Kate Moss, Winston Churchill, The Beatles, Maggie Thatcher, Jude Law, Shakespeare, The Rolling Stones, Camelot, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Seymour, Princess Di, the Plantagenets.  Whoa, I better stop here before I run out of blog space.

In my mind's eye I can picture the desolate moors of Wuthering Heights, see the charming English villages, admire majestic stone castles, explore winding country roads, enjoy cottage gardens, view London's magnificence, and all without leaving my armchair.  I do have a vivid imagination but this goes deeper than the ability to visualize.  I can only surmise that in one of my previous lifes, I had an existence in Merry Old England because it's as real to me as a trip to my local grocery store.  It doesn't take a genius to guess what's first on my Bucket List!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dad

I am, ahem, a mature woman whose father has been gone for close to twenty years but to this day when I think of him it is always as my Dad, emphasis on my. 

I know kids tend to think the world revolves around them but somehow I completely missed the fact that my parents were autonomous, with a life outside of our house.  Now that I'm an adult, I know this was partially by design since my dad (there I go again), carefully kept his adult problems out of my childish world.

If he were here today I would thank him for my carefree childhood and let him know that no matter how old I get he will always be MY dad.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Cruciverbalist

Ok, I've decided to come out of the closet and announce loud and proud that I'm a cruciverbalist.  I know it sounds like someone who enjoys eating broccoli but hear me out.  When someone leaves behind a newspaper in a public place I will no longer tuck it under my coat hoping that no one saw me.  And, I'll no longer be the lady at the front of the line who tries to surreptitiously sneak a trashy magazine into my cart, instead I'll casually pick it up and put it right on top of my groceries.  I do have some grip on reality though and will most likely continue to wait until I'm in the exam room before ripping out a magazine page at my doctor's office.  It's an addiction I tell you, an obession, I can't help myself.

Still haven't figured it out?  Let me give you a hint; 1. Down - five letter word for a small thicket of trees.  "Oh no" you're thinking, "not one of those!"  Go ahead and scoff.  Next time you are stuck in a mile long traffic jam take a look around.  Most people's faces will show some degree of anger, irritation, boredom, even panic.  I however, will be the picture of serenity, happy for an excuse to work on my most recent crossword puzzle.  And in case you are wonderning, the answer to 1 Down is copse.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Breast Cancer

Slowly I became aware of an insistent voice penetrating the warm cocoon of my anesthetic induced sleep.  Deep in dream land, I had absolutely no interest in rejoining the land of the living.  The nurses took no pity on me, peeling back the warm blankets and urging me awake.

Bright overhead florescent lighting bombarded my now cold body while the RN's bustled around checking monitors, tubing, and my vitals.  "So how are you feeling Vicki, how is your pain level?"  I mumbled something even I couldn't understand.  All I wanted was to pull up the blanket, close my eyes and fall back into deep heavenly sleep.

Slowly it dawned on me that I was far from feeling o.k.  Swathed in bandages, IV bags surrounding my bed, tubes protruding from my arms, I was afraid to move for fear of ripping something.  "Vicki, we need you to get up and walk, do you think you can do that?  Just slide your legs over and slowly stand up."  Say what?  I've just had my breasts cut off, implants jammed under my chest wall and there are two very large, very heavy drain tubes protruding from my rib cage.  And you want me to get out of bed?  Really?

A few shaky steps later and I was allowed to toddle back to bed, shocked by what an effort it was to stand up let alone walk. Seeing the actual results of the surgery for the first time was emotional but not for the reasons you might expect.  When I looked at the angry red incisions where my breasts use to be all I could feel was thankful..  Thankful for the wonderful doctors and nurses who were taking care of me, thankful for an encouraging prognosis, thankful for my wonderful family and friends who gave me so much love and support and thankful that I truly realized, maybe for the first time, what a gift every single day is. 

Monday, April 1, 2013


What writer isn't drawn to the legend of Atlantis?  We've all heard of "the perfect storm" and "the perfect wave", but Atlantis truly is "the perfect story".   All the elements are there, an advanced ancient civilization, unexplained phenomena, natural disaster, death and destruction, and an unsolved mystery that continues to haunt our imagination millenia after Plato recorded it in 360 BC.  This is one tale that sets the bar high but what a great influence for all of us budding authors.  Tomorrow, when I'm staring at a blank page and wondering what in the world to write about, I'll draw on the myth of Atlantis to create my own perfect story.