Friday, November 30, 2012

False Start Fridays: Week Three

Thought for the day:  I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  [James Michener]
A whole lotta butts...

Writers can generate a lot of buts. Not in their writing...  in their attitudes.

I would write today but...
I was going to submit that story but...
I meant to send out a query today but...
I have a great idea for a new book but...

Et cetera, et cetera.

No more buts, I tell ya! Put that butt into your chair, and write... submit... and repeat. Sorry, but there's no shortcut. If there were, I would have taken it a long time ago.

Okay, this is the last week of False Start Fridays, and I'd like to thank Suze for coming up with such a kewl idea. (Thanks, Suze!) This time, instead of dragging a forgotten writing exercise out of my desk drawer, I'm gonna post an excised portion from an earlier draft of my WIP Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. It made me laugh when I was writing it, but alas, it didn't do a thing to advance the story. Plus, it made my main character Pearl look moronic, and was way too much tell and too little show. So, it had to go. But just for you, it's back for a smelly little visit today.

   Pearl didn’t notice the man at first. She didn’t see him, huffing and puffing, as he stomped toward her, and she didn’t even see him when he stopped beside her car. Truth is, she didn’t notice him at all. Not until he demanded her attention by pounding on the window beside her head.
   Then, two things happened at once. A startled little poot bubbled out of her at one end, and she sucked in her breath so sharply at the other, she almost choked on her own spit . Which, of course, made her cough. And every time she coughed, she broke wind again. Cough, cough. (pffftt) Cough, cough. (pffftt) Cough, cough. (pffftt) For good measure, when she turned to the man glaring at her through the window, she felt a damp spot warm the crotch of her underwear. Crap-a-doodle-damn-doo.
   He was enormous, both in height and circumference. His face was flushed, and he was wearing a white short-sleeved dress shirt with huge perspiration blotches under each arm. The top button was open, his necktie loosened. His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but she could practically feel his laser-like glare burning into her flesh. He was bent over, glaring at her through the window, glaring right at her, staring right into her eyes, with his face only inches away from hers. Oh yeah, there was no doubt about it. He was ticked. What’s more, he was ticked at her.
   Wide-eyed, Pearl stared back at him, swallowed hard, and hiccoughed. Now that the coughing fit was over, she concentrated on controlling her breathing. Easy does it, slow it down, in and out, in and out. And she squeezed her crotch muscles together. Lord, please don’t let me tinkle on my car seat. Hiccough
   Slowly, deliberately, Pearl blinked at the man. He was no longer pounding on the window, but his hands, now hanging at his sides, were still balled into fists, and he continued to glare at her. “WHAT THE HELL’S THE MATTER WITH YOU, LADY?” he demanded.
   I don’t know.
   Against her better judgement, Pearl rolled the window down a teensy bit, and he immediately jammed his face next to the opening. “Excuse me…?” she squeaked. Still breathing, easy does it, in and out, in and out. Still squeezing, no more pee, no more pee. Hiccough.
   “You DEAF?” he yelled through the narrow opening at the top of the window. “I’ve been laying on my horn for five minutes! You waiting for the damned stop sign to turn green?”
   Then the purple cloud hit his nostrils. He abruptly stood up, gave his head a slight shake, coughed, and took a step back from the window.
   Take that! Pearl thought, while desperately fighting the urge to giggle. 


                                  There ya have it. Again, thanks, Suze. It's been fun.
How do you like THEM apples? (source)

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                    A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.  [Richard Back]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful? You Betcha!

Thought for the day:  In all things, give thanks.  [I Thessalonians 5:18]

And thank you for the cat...
Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Another year in which my major role was to relax, enjoy myself... and play with the grandchildren. (A role I play very well, if I must say so myself.)

Life is good, and I am thankful.

It's sometimes a challenge to be thankful in all things, though, isn't it? Unless you're as courageous as Corrie Ten Boom, the amazing woman I wrote about in last year's post. While imprisoned in a concentration camp, she was humbly thankful for an infestation of fleas. Can you imagine?

As always, we had a lot of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and thankfully, not having an infestation of fleas is one of them.

This is our son and his younguns. Aaron's in the back; (wearing an "AWESOME" shirt... which he IS) Jaiden is the 100-watt grinner sporting that stylish off-the-shoulder look; Kymber is the cutie with the super sweet smile; and Devyn is the adorable one-year-old. What's especially nice about this picture is... no one is barfing.

Uh, yeah, no fleas, but a felonious belly bug did  infiltrate our festivities. (We did our darnedest to ignore it, though.)

Kymmie on the backyard playset: "I see you!"

Aaron says, "Me, too!"

It's still hard to believe I was in the delivery room when Devyn made her grand entrance into the world.. and that it's already been more than a year ago.

"Grandma!! Why did you stop pushing us?"

Aaron's petting one of their bunnies. Remember when I told you about them getting the rabbits last year? They got four initially, then got two more. Since then, the other short-haired rabbit ran away, but they still have this black-and-white short-hair, two lion-faced bunnies, and two lops. Amazingly, no babies yet! Can you believe it? However, I observed the lops, um, shall we say ... honeymooning ... quite frequently and enthusiastically while we were there, so that situation may very well be changing in the near future.

Our daughter-in-law made turkey hats for the kids, but this is the only picture I got of one being worn. Jaiden was more into wearing the hat he got at Disney world this summer.

We spotted a lizard in the back yard, which launched the kids into some energetic high-pitched squealing like you wouldn't believe. But I caught him, and let them get a close-up, more relaxed look at him. They even got to see him change color. Cool! And Kymmie, who our son swears is afraid of grass, even held the little guy for a couple minutes. Then we sang a heartfelt rendition of Born Free and let him go. (Okay, okay, so technically, I was the only one singing... picky, picky, picky.)

It was a wonderful visit. The girls did a lot of barfing the day before we got there, but all the kids were mostly okay while we were there. A little more lethargic than usual. More cuddly than usual. More curl up on Grandma's lap and go to sleep than usual.

Then Aaron and our son got sick. And we left. And I got sick.

But ya know what? I'm thankful. What could be better than seeing the looks on their little faces, and hearing those squeals of excitement when they came running out the door to greet me? What could be better than feeling those precious arms around my neck? Than having them squabble over who was gonna sit next to me, and over whose turn it was to sit on my lap? Oh, yes, I'm thankful. Being with them was worth every miserable moment I spent shivering under an afghan after we got home.

Besides, I really needed to lose a few pounds.

Hey, wanta see a really cool adrenaline-pumping video with some gorgeous scenery? (Thanks to my brother Ron for sending it to me.) It's more than enough to sit in the comfort of our own homes and enjoy these thrills vicariously. Seeing such amazing feats is enough to make ya ... thankful.

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Loose Translations

Thought for the day:  I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. I'm worried about him, but he swears he can stop any time.

Well. looky here. It's Chopsticks, grinning from ear to ear, and ready to head down the road again. You know what that means, don't you? It means I'm too lazy to do a regular post today we're going to look at some more of those funny Chinese-to-English translation signs, by golly. Yes, sirree, I'm a real slug today some things sure do gain ... or lose... a lot in translation.

As always, sincere thanks to the webmasters of for giving me permission to share some of thier unique humor with you.


That's it for today. I hope you found something to make you smile. I believe I'm gonna go take a nap do something productive. Yeah, that's the ticket...

                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                Man with hand in pocket all day feel cocky.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leftover Turkey

Thought for the day:  Why fix it if it ain't broke?

Grandson Aaron is a rather, um,  exuberant eater at times.
We'll be spending the long Thanksgiving weekend with family, and rather than come up with a new post for today, I'm gonna do a re-run of last year's. (If it ain't broke...) After all, the year may be different, but the sentiment hasn't changed a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!!

The loverly Suze has cancelled the False Start Friday festivities for this week, so I reckon I'll ditch my previously scheduled post, and take the day off. Be back witcha on Monday.  (I plan on doing a lot of serious digesting over the weekend.)


Thought for the day:  An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving day.  [Irv Kupcine]

I'm optimistic, but I'm not stupid, so I won't even pretend to count calories on Thanksgiving. At best, maybe I'll exercise a little discretion and only eat one piece of pie. And skip the whipped cream. (I know. Such phenomenal control.)

Some years ago, when one of our kids was in middle school, I wrote a silly poem for one of the bulletin boards I'd been asked to design for the school's hallway. The senior Bush was president at that time, but with a quick presto change-o to that part of the poem, I'm gonna go with it here for an easy lazy extremely thoughtful post for your enjoyment.

And so, without further ado, I give you ...

                                                                Turkey Blues

                                                There once was a turkey named Jake,
                                                Said, "How much must we poor turkeys take?
                                                When Thanksgiving rolls round,
                                                We must go underground;
                                                Why can't all those people eat STEAK?"

                                                   Now, turkeys may not be so pretty,
                                                   Can't fly, and aren't very witty,
                                                   But with a leader like Jake, 
                                                   A chance they might take,
                                                   So a bunch of them left for the city.

                                                   Jake led a big march on D.C.
                                                  (The IN place for protests, you see)
                                                  "We don't want any fights.
                                                  But we, too, should have rights,
                                                  For this is the land of the free!"

                                                  Obama came out on the green
                                                  With the most turkeys I've ever seen,
                                                   Said, "The issue is not at all murky ...
                                                   Rights are for MAN and not TURKEY;
                                                   That's the way that it always has been."

                                                  Thanksgiving is special in the U.S. of A.
                                                  And turkeys are heroes, I'd like to say.
                                                  So thank the next turkey you meet on the street
                                                  For being so terribly tasty to eat
                                                  And have a great Thanksgiving Day!


Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.      Erma Bombeck

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. 

I YAM wishing you all  a blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas in October

Thought for the day:  Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.  [Dr. Seuss]

Okay, ready to follow me to our last Florida outing?

How about a trip to Fort Christmas? Not only is this a totally neat place to visit, it is an extremely rare commodity in Florida... it's FREE. No entrance charge at all! (What a concept.) This sign may be difficult to read, but what it tells you is the fort was originally built in the early 1800's during the wars with the Seminole Indians, who understandably didn't take too kindly to the notion of being forcibly removed from their native lands to be relocated west of the Mississippi. As an interesting aside, another sign explained a little bit about the war paint worn by the Seminoles. Red paint signified blood; green under the eyes was intended to improve night vision; and yellow was considered the color of death. A warrior with yellow paint on his face meant he had lived his life, and was prepared to fight to the finish.

Okay, here's where we enter the tiny fort/ museum.

Inside the cooking/ eating area.

Also inside the cooking area. Check out the old irons on top of the ironing board. No electrical sockets in those days.

Spinning and sewing implements from days gone by.

The wooden wagon wheel and tinder kegs were inside of the old storehouse.

Unfortunately, most of the buildings in the park closed for the day before we had a chance to explore them. There was a LOT more to see, so maybe we'll go back again next year, but a lot earlier in the day.

BUT, there was something ELSE there that made the kids happy. (Nope, no balloons this time...)

                                                      A kick butt PLAYGROUND!
As always, we had a wonderful time. Always great to see our kids and grandkids.

Always fun to capture the world with a camera. (And yes, that's an Atlanta Falcons shirt I'm wearing... brave, huh?)

Don't go, Grandpop!

Alas, the kids were a little sad to see us go...

But like Arnold Schwartzeneggar said, We'll...  be bock!

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, November 16, 2012

False Start Fridays: Week Two

Thought for the day:  I'm all for keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.  [Solomon Short]
Okay, so some of the stuff we've written may be a little cringe-worthy when we look back at it, and maybe some of us are fools who should be denied access to typewriters and computers.

Tough. I say, we've gotta keep on keeping on.

I survived last week's posting, so let's (gulp) do it again. This week's piece was written circa 1990, or so... maybe a little sooner. (Why didn't I think to write a date on these things?)


    Welcome home, honey. I know... technically, it's been more than twenty years since you got back from Vietnam, but I think we both know the man I sent away has only recently gotten here. I'm not sure who that stranger was who's been walking around in your skin all these years, but it wasn't you.
    Lord, we were young back then, weren't we? So terribly idealistic and full of dreams. A part of me raged at the unfairness of it all when you were snatched away from me so soon after we got married. But there was no question in our minds. Not really. We knew that once chosen, you would go. You would fulfill your patriotic duty, just as your father and so many others in your family had done before you.
    But ideals and patriotism and notions of what war would be like did nothing to prepare you for its reality. What twenty-one year old can face what you had to face and emerge unscathed? You were only in country for two days when you inherited the machine gun. You joked in a letter home about that's what you got for being the biggest of the survivors from that awful firefight. Well, you never said it was awful. But from that moment on, your letters home were different. You were different.
    It broke my heart when you wrote home that you didn't know what you were doing there and didn't think your being there made any difference. It frightened me. I was so afraid that loss of conviction would cost you your life. But thank God, it was a fleeting feeling, and by the next letter, your sense of purpose was strong again.
    When your Purple Heart was delivered to me without any kind of explanation from the Army about the extent of your injuries, or even if you were dead or alive, I thought my world was coming to an end. But exactly one year after you left, you returned to me. I'll never forget the way your father drove to the airport to pick you up. He had your '61 Chevy just a-flying! Remember the little American flag he'd attached to the antenna? That thing was laid flat back! Oh, God, how good it was to see you--- to touch you--- to hold you. I couldn't get enough of you. I even watched you while you slept.
    Oh, but honey, you were so different than when you'd left. There was a far-away look of emptiness in your eyes, and it seemed like you looked right through people. Like you looked right through me. I can tell you now that there were times I was afraid of you. It was like you had ice in your soul, and could freeze the blood of anyone who got in your way, all with a single look. And the anger, the rage. Gone was the idealistic class clown with a heart of gold, and in his place was an angry cynic lashing out at the world.
    I can't tell you how happy I am that we've finally put the past to rest. So again, I say, from the bottom of my heart--- welcome home, honey. Welcome home.


Ready to post one of your oldie but goodies next week? Pop over to Suze's blog and let her know. Subliminal Coffee (the thinking person's cafe)

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Better Than a Three-Ring Circus

Thought for the day:  Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth.  [Martin H. Fischer]
No, we didn't go to a circus when we were in Florida, but we did go to what has to be one of the greatest car shows on earth. Wait, wait! Don't run away. This wasn't just another car show...

What's this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? [W.H. Davies]

Believe me, the show at Mirror Lake provided LOTS of things worthy of standing and and staring. [Sincere thanks to the loverly Mr. Charleston for writing about this cool show on his blog last year, and to the equally loverly Pixel Peeper for telling me it's a show well worth attending.]

First off, the location for this show is absolutely gorgeous... a picturesque lake with walking paths, green spaces and gardens all around it, and a pretty little town nearby. And the CARS!!! Just about any kind of car you can imagine... and some you can't imagine. They were all around the perimeter of the lake, as well as along the streets. If it had just been Smarticus and me there, I'm sure we would have seen every single one of them, but we had to consider the kids and grandkids, too, so we only saw about a quarter of them. There was also a bunch of beautiful wooden boats there. You know, like the old Chris Crafts? Lots of maintenance, but truly beautiful vessels. Throw in arts and crafts booths, a farmer's market, food booths, and swans, and what can I say? There was something there for everyone. Even balloons, which is what our granddaughters wanted more than any-thing. Natch, grandma got one for each of them, and natch, I tied them to the girls' wrists. The girls decided they were big girls and didn't need to have them tied onto their wrists. And natch, they wailed like banshees as they watched said balloons sail off into the ether. Oh well, they enjoyed 'em while they had 'em.

                                                    Okay, ready for some pics?

Bizarre-looking, huh? (Oh, and check out that clear Chamber of Commerce sunny day, wouldja?)

Yep, it looks just as weird from the front.

Now, that's more like it.

And THAT...

Yeah, this car show was so much fun, it was ...downright  scary.

But you don't just wanta see cars, right?

How's about a boat?

Here's a classic Chris Craft. She's a beauty, isn't she?

The other beauty in the shot is granddaughter Persephone, who was already begging for a balloon, like fifteen minutes after we'd arrived. (Well, she did see some other kid with one ...)

A bunch of the wooden boats did slow laps around the lake. What a sight! A couple boaters were more into speed, so they lapped the other boats, but for the most part, it was a stately parade of sorts.

I TOLD you there were swans there. Here's granddaughter Persephone again, taking a rest in front of this one. Yep, she's smiling now... she has her balloon.

There were real swans there, too. Black ones. Aren't they beautiful? I must admit, I spent a good bit of time standing and staring at them. At one point, a foolish egret tried to invade their space. Wow, I had no idea swans could be so feisty! Alas, the fight was all over with before I even got my trusty camera out.

So, there ya have it. The annual Mirror Lake Classic. Not just a car show... a three-ring circus of fun. I can hardly wait to go back!

The healthiest response to life is joy. [Deepak Chopra]

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

WAIT! Don't go yet! Two more things: First, I changed my mind about doing two Friday posts for the rest of the month. I'm thrilled so many people read and commented on last week's False Start, but alas, the other "regular" post didn't get much love. So, time to cut my losses. One post is obviously enough.

Talking about cutting my losses, is anybody interested in reading my long-suffering WIP? I've arrived at a fork in the road, and it's time to decide whether to keep pushing this thing for publication, (maybe with Outskirts Press?) or whether it's time to simply stuff it into the drawer under the old socks and underwear and move on to something new. I have edited and rewritten this book so many times, it's approaching idiocy. To this point, all my readers (except the agents!) have been cheerleaders, but what I really need is constructive criticism. I need people who are willing to crush my dreams  stomp on my ego spit on my so-called writing ability provide an honest evaluation. Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade isn't a horror story, fantasy, or fast-moving thriller. It's more of a cozy book you can wrap around yourself and get all comfortable with. Might make you laugh a time or two; might even make you cry. Anyhow, if you're interested, you can use that nifty "email me" button in the sidebar to let me know. If you have a kindle, that'd be perfect. I could ship it right to ya.

Okay, NOW you can go. Thanks. Until next time, yadda yadda yadda.