Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest: Meddling Mothers & Disappointing Daughters


 DL Hammons, and   Nicole Zoltack are hosting the  Deja Vu Blogfest, where writers are asked to "re- post their favorite blog from this year, or one that never received the exposure it should have."  Be sure to check out the list of entertaining entries who are getting into the holiday spirit by highlighting their favorite repeats.

My story was written in February 2013. Thanks to DL and Nicole for inspiring me to dust if off. Happy Holidays, and remember it could always be worse!

 Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters

Host: It's time to play Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters, the only game show where mothers and daughters try to get along to win prizes that the mothers will never be able to operate in the first place. Let's meet the contestants...(He notices that one mother is still trying to climb up into her chair)  Do you need some help Dorothy?

Dorothy: No, I'm fine thank you.

Dorothy's daughter: Just grab my hand, and let me give you a boost.

Dorothy: I said I don't need any help. STOP RUSHING ME!

Host: Okay, let's move on to Gladys and her daughter Gretchen. How many times do you call your mother a day?

Gretchen: Once. 

Host: And you Felicia?

Felicia: I call my mother once a week.

(A loud siren sounds)

Host: Where's Dorothy?

Dorothy's daughter:  She fell down and her Life Alert alarm went off.  

 (The paramedics lift Dorothy into her seat)

Dorothy's daughter: I call my mother six times a day. She hangs up on me, and says, "It's never enough."

(The bell sounds ding ding ding)

Host: You are correct. The answer is, "Never enough." You just won a case of prune juice. You must be very proud of your daughter Dorothy!

Dorothy: Did you see how nice those paramedics were? Why couldn't you have married someone like that? 

Host: All right then. Now we'll ask the mothers a question. Gladys when is the last time you said something nice to your daughter?

Gladys: Don't we get a lunch break?

Host: It's only been ten minutes. We'll have snacks after the show.

Gladys: But this is when I eat lunch.

Gretchen: Here Mom, I brought you a sandwich. (takes one out of her purse)

Gladys: It's on rye bread. I like a nice roll. I can't eat this. What's wrong with you?

Fanny: I'll take it. I'm starving. (Looks at her own daughter Felicia) Why don't you ever make me lunch?

Host: Fanny, when is the last time you said something nice to your daughter?

Fanny: That's easy. As we were driving over, I told my daughter that her dress was very pretty...

Host: Well, that is nice.

Fanny: And I'm sure that if she lost ten pounds it would actually fit her.

Host: Maybe we should just throw out that question. Dorothy, when was the last time your daughter took you to the doctor?

Dorothy: You know falling down really makes a person thirsty. How come no one offered me a drink or a sandwich?

Host: If you answer the question, I'll get you both.

Dorothy: Okay, yes please.

Host: Yes please what?

Dorothy: I would like both a drink and a sandwich. Soup would be nice too, but I don't want to be a bother.

(Gladys is dashing across the stage with her walker. Her daughter is jogging behind her)

Host: Where are you going?

Gladys: I just remembered I think I forgot to turn off the stove.

Host: Can you have someone else check on it?

Gretchen: It's my stove, and I just got a text that the fire department is heading over to my house.

Gladys: Are we stopping for lunch first, 'cause I still haven't eaten?

Host: Good luck ladies. Be sure to tell us your new address, so we can send you a lifetime supply of incontinence products.

Dorothy: Continents? I can name the continents! There's Asia, Africa.....

Host: Well, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for playing Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters. (The daughters storm off stage) Aren't you forgetting something? Don't leave me alone with your mothers. Come back!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shaping Up For Mom's Big Birthday

(Mom with her favorite child)
During one of my brother's weekly visits, he asked our mom what she would like for her upcoming birthday. He was astounded when she replied, "Some small weights for working out." My brother reminded her they had a few sets in the exercise room of her building that she could use on her way to dinner. Mom said she didn't want to workout at that time, and would rather have her own weights to use at her convenience.

My brother knew the weights would end up collecting dust in the corner of her apartment, as her major form of exercise consisted of lifting her comb to her hair. His patience was wearing thin, "What difference does it make if you workout on your way to dinner, or any other time of day? You never perspire, and your breathing is exactly the same whether you're exercising or sleeping."

Needless to say, our mom accomplished the same task with twin soup cans. Seeing her now, it's hard to imagine she was once the reigning arm wrestling champion in our family. She managed to hold onto her title until her grandsons were in their teens.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we celebrated our mom's birthday with a few close friends, and family. At the restaurant, I used a make-shift geriatric booster seat which consisted of one hundred table linens wrapped in sturdy plastic. This helped her maintain over-the-table eye contact at all times. Though the restaurant was louder than we expected, it was nice seeing everyone, especially our dear family friends that we don't see often enough. My brother even made a thoughtful toast, instead of his usual special occasion "roast."  

Afterward, my mom was very appreciative, and had no complaints. This made me a little concerned. Fortunately, it only took a few days until Mom was back to herself. I noticed it when she was unhappy about her temporary new caregiver. Since she was always within earshot, Mom couldn't say what was bothering her, so I asked her a series of "yes" or "no" questions. She replied "no" to everything. Then as soon as she stepped out she whispered, "She can't tell the difference between a pill and a pillow." How dare my mom's temporary caregiver have a hearing problem when my mom's hearing was perfectly fine. Suddenly, I knew she was going to be all right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

IWSG: More Than Just A Guide


Thanks to  Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his round-the-clock team of administrators, The IWSG Guide To Publishing And Beyond is here! I'm honored to be a part of this group that has been growing for three years strong, as well as a contributor to this helpful guide. You can download it at:  AmazonBarnes and Noble,  KoboSmashwords, and  Goodreads.

 Alex decided to take the IWSG to the next level with this wonderful guide to help writers attain their goals whether they're just starting out, or want to strengthen their marketing skills for their next book. Since this will be the last IWSG post for 2014, it's made me reflect on how I've gone from an insecure blogger to an insecure writer, and how this group helped me along the way.

According to Mari Kane from Blogsite Studio, there are "Five Big Differences Between Writing and Blogging." The observation that most struck a chord was how, "Blog readers like to skim, not chew."

The same could be said about many professions in our fast-paced society. Many people spend the day rushing from one meeting to another, barely making time to sit down for a meal. It's not unusual for parents to train their children at an early age to have every hour scheduled throughout the day. I knew one mother of three who kept a port-a-potty in her mini-van, so she wouldn't have to pull over when she was transporting her children from one activity to another.

Our attention spans are getting shorter, and action movies are more popular than ever. Even PBS classics like Downton Abbey have been known to cut quickly from one scene to another. Though you may find a lengthy soliloquy in a stage performance, Maggie Smith's elderly character The Dowager, is more likely to engage in a pithy punchline like, "What is a weekend?"

Some blogs are informative, while others are entertaining. Like the most successful writers, the best bloggers have the ability to do both, but it doesn't end there. Mix in loyalty, compassion, and a healthy dose of encouragement, and you have the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We may still be insecure next year, but thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, insecurity is the new black.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bird-Brained Tips On Dressing

Notice the elegant lines on the dog's fringe poncho, and the cat's pressed Pilgrim suit. Their respective feather headdress and Pilgrim hat are perfectly in sync, as well as their priceless poses. We could learn a lot from these precocious pets.

Fast forward to a Chicago courtroom. A female judge sentenced a man to two days in jail for wearing "rodeo clown pants," aka saggy pants to court. Though his case was dismissed, he still had to serve time.

Another man who got off for using his cell phone, while riding his bike was sentenced for contempt of court. Eight men in total were forced to sit in jail for wearing their pants too low. According to WGN News, "It costs about one hundred and fifty dollars a day of the taxpayer's money for an inmate to sit in jail."  Talk about really cracking down on sloppy dressing.

There should also be laws for women who show too much skin. Any woman over fifty in cleavage-baring attire should be issued a warning, and over sixty should immediately be locked up. Women over seventy should be held indefinitely without bail. My brother and I have discussed this many times, and neither one of us would have a problem locking our mom up for good if we caught her in the act again.

All hell could break loose with the saggy pants epidemic on Thanksgiving, as many people unbutton their pants after the big meal. I have already planned my outfit to insure I won't be doing any jail time. A tasteful turtleneck will not offend the turkey, or the guests, combined with a stylish pair of sweatpants with an elastic waist. I realize I won't be as fashionable as the cat or the dog, but I'll definitely be more comfortably dressed than the bird.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carol Kilgore Presents: Gracie and the Peach Thieves - Part Two

Before Gracie concludes her thrilling cliffhanger adventure, I would like to thank her for sharing her story here. To show my appreciation, I tried to make her feel at home by putting out a peach spread. Unfortunately, peaches are out of season here, but I don't give up easily. I thought I might be able to track down a few on the Internet. This is what I found instead: Peaches & Hot Sauce (Comedy Production Studio), Peaches Boutique (specializing in prom dresses), and a company that ships Peach Bourbon Fried Turkey.

Since I couldn't reach any of these places in time, we'll have to settle for some hot peach tea, and fresh scones with peach jam. Wait a minute, a truck from the Peaches and Hot Sauce Comedy Studio just pulled up. Gracie, I'll try to stall them while you tell your story.                                                      
Gracie and the Peach Thieves – Part Two

Hi, this is Gracie again. When I left you at Carol’s blog on Monday, I was trapped in a peach tree with peach thieves on the ground below. Here’s what happened.

My only weapons were peaches. They’d have to do. Some of the ones around me were still as hard as rocks. I’d have to take care not to disturb the branches when I pulled the fruit, and I wondered if I could do that. I had to try. I shoved Mama’s basket into a fork so it wouldn’t fall.

Then I pulled a hard peach. Both men kept picking. Petunia and Daisy yapped in the distance, but I couldn’t tell where they were. They didn’t sound concerned. I pulled another peach and looked down.

The men were working fast. They’d already picked a bushel of Mama’s peaches and were working on another basket. They didn’t know how mad Mama would get, that’s for sure. With my two peaches in my pockets, I yanked off two more, took aim, and fired the first peach. The second. Two hits!

The men were loud! All the words I was taught never to say spewed from their mouths. I fired the next peach, and then the fourth. The dogs were louder and coming our way. I reached for another peach, but I wasn’t careful enough.

I lost my balance, and fell through the branches.

The next thing I knew, a wet nose was pushing on one cheek and a warm tongue was licking the other.

“Gracie, wake up. C’mon, honey, wake up.” Daddy’s voice.
I opened my eyes. “Peach thieves.”

“Buster saw them drive up and called the sheriff. He’s out at the road with them now waiting for the deputy. They said you hit them with peaches. One’s got a black eye.”

“Good. They got into Mama’s trees. I couldn’t stop them in time.”

“Thanks to you, Mama still has plenty of peaches. She can make an extra cobbler for Buster. Maybe some ice cream, too. If you hadn’t stopped them, they could’ve wiped out a whole row of trees before the dogs found them.”

I smiled, remembering how good peach ice cream was on top of warm peach cobbler.

“Let’s check you out. Move your arms and legs.”

I sat up. “I’m okay. I have to get Mama’s cobbler basket.”

Daddy took the two bushel baskets along with Mama’s basket and sent me off to play. When he walked into the kitchen, I heard Mama all the way from the hay barn. Those thieves were lucky they only had to face the deputy and not Mama.

After high school, I went on to college, graduated, and joined the San Antonio Police Department. Nothing there quite equaled the thrill in that peach tree, so I searched for more.

Now I’m the newest member of a still unnamed taskforce to be based in San Antonio. We’re all still training, so look for more to come! My name is Gracie Hofner, and I’m Carol Kilgore’s newest character. She’s writing a whole trilogy of books based on me, which is why I’m writing this instead of her.

You can find out more about Carol here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:
Website with Monthly Contest:



By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apps Under Attack


Monday night CBS News ran a story entitled, "Is Your App A Trap?" The segment talked about how some apps may actually be spying on our iPhones. For example, just by downloading the free Flashlight app, we're allowing access to our contact lists, as well as other personal information. The same is to be said of using Snap Chat, or other social media. They stressed the importance of checking the "terms of service" for every app, and to never hit "update all," as it may create malware  problems.

Now that Apple is tightening their policies for iPhone, I looked up some apps that were either discontinued, or didn't make the cut in the first place: The following though aptly named, were considered offensive to children:

The Russian Bride Gallery - A fine selection of sweet and polite mail-order brides.

Zombie School - A shoot 'em up of zombie children who are coming after you. Where's the fun in just putting them to bed after dinner? 

Adult Tennis Boobs - Serving up buoyant pairs courtside.

This made me want to create my own apps. The first one falls under the category of a safety reminder for men. I like to call it the "Would It Kill You To Call Your Mother?" app. For a slight charge you can add programmed responses like, "Don't worry mom. Since it's chilly I'll take a sweater with me."

On days when you just don't feel like going in to work, 'cause you just woke up, and have no idea where you are, there's the "I'm Home Sick In Bed Anytime" app. This pre-programmed app works in conjunction with FaceTime. You simply videotape yourself ahead of time while moaning about how sick you are in bed. Then you hook it up to a live FaceTime feed showing the current date and time. No one will be the wiser, unless you hit "update all," and your boss is on your contact list.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

IWSG: Should Women Shy Away From Self-Deprecating Humor?

It's time for another addition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be sure to visit  Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the other welcoming writers.

The other day I ran into an old classmate that I hadn't seen in years. We went all through school together, and though his hair had turned salt and pepper, I immediately recognized him. He reminded me that we were Facebook friends, and offered up suggestions for my blog.

Though he thought it had "potential," he felt I needed to "ease up" on my self-deprecating humor. He added, "Men like confident women. We don't want to hear about your flaws. It doesn't reflect well on you or your family. Take pride in your accomplishments, and stop going for the cheap laughs." Then he smiled when he said, "I'm glad your mom still has a great sense of humor. Does she still wear those tight leather pants?" 

For once I was tongue-tied. Though part of me was flattered he actually read my blog,  I was shocked he had found it offensive, and creeped out that he still had a thing for my mom. It was high time I put him in his place, "Many female comedy legends are known for their self-deprecating humor. Look at Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Even Lucille Ball was at her best when she was stomping on grapes, or shoving chocolates down her uniform at the chocolate factory. Comedy isn't always sexy, yet many of these women are very attractive. I know I'll never be in their league, but you know what I mean."

He stared at me for a minute before asking, "Remember you mom's leopard couch? They sure don't make couches like that anymore. Didn't she have a matching robe too?"

I almost dropped my vanilla chai latte. "I don't remember inviting you over. When were you ever in our house?"

"Your brother asked me and Donny to come over after baseball practice one day."

Donny? Then it all came back to me. He and Donny were in a group of boys who traumatized me in grammar school. When he wasn't calling me names, he was busy shoving me on the playground. He was the ringleader in a group of kids who picked on everything from my buck teeth to my clown shoes. Funny how someone who spent years deflating my ego, found my self-deprecating humor unbecoming.