Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Maniacal Miserable Tour

My mom (second from the right) with our dear girlfriends, and tour guide at Masada

Last week my husband's cousins from Israel came to visit. They had shown us such a wonderful time when we were out there, and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again. This brought back memories of my first trip to Israel with my mom in 1984.

It all began when one of my mom's oldest friends and her husband asked her to join them on a tour of Israel. My mom invited me, and then another close friend decided to share a room with us. I loved her friend dearly, but sometimes they would just get too rowdy late at night when I was trying to sleep. Neither of them knew how to whisper, and I remember curling up with my pillow in the hallway one night until my mom dragged me back in. Yes, I was clearly not the fun one in the group.

Mornings were like boot camp with the three of us sharing one bathroom. My mom woke up two hours before we did to get a head start. She put on her makeup and teased her hair for an hour and a half before it was my turn. I had to take a quick shower while my mom got dressed. Next our friend moved at the speed of light. She was showered and completely ready in about seven minutes flat. Everything was precisely planned out so that there wasn't even a hint of humidity in the air while my mom ignited herself with hairspray. Between the hairspray and cigarette smoke, it was refreshing to go on a tour bus through the smoldering hot desert.

We traveled to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the resort city of Eilat. A highlight was when an eighty year old woman in our group grabbed my arm, and we climbed Masada together. I started screaming for back up when my mom came up behind me. She was sporting an off the shoulder mountain climbing number when she said through clenched teeth, "Shut up Julie. You're embarrassing yourself."

My reward was sitting in the death seat on the bus ride back to the hotel. We all took turns up front next to the fan, and everyone who sat there caught a terrible cold. Everyone that is, except my mom.

In Tel Aviv, I took a day off to go to the beach. There I met a tall, skinny young man who was quite chatty. At first I thought he was being friendly until he turned into a bit of a stalker. After he followed me to my hotel across the street, I politely sat with him by the pool. Then he asked me for a glass of water. I told him to get one at the bar, but he thought it would taste better in my room. I asked him if he thought all Americans were easy, and he said yes. Needless to say, I finally ditched him, and double bolted my door.

Another hotel had a beautiful jewelry store. The owner's son was very cute and flirty, so my mom kept nudging me to flirt back. The next day he called to ask me out. He was very busy, and could only meet at midnight. After I didn't accept his invitation, my mom was disappointed. She couldn't believe that I turned down a nice Jewish boy who was the son of a jeweler. What could possibly happen with a stranger in a foreign country at midnight when odds were good we could get a discount on jewelry cleaner?

Based on those experiences, I would've never dreamed of marrying an Israeli. Though after twenty six years of marriage, my husband would be the first to tell you his wife is a shining example that not all American women are easy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Cheaters Cheat At Any Age

(Tapiture: theCHIVE)

Recently in AARP Magazine, Joe Queenan shared his theories on why many married men don't cheat on their wives. Instead of giving credit to the wives for providing them with everything they could possibly want or need at home, this journalist took a different approach. "Once a man has been married a few decades, the energy he would need to expend on an extramarital affair could be a life-threatening shock to his nervous system. That's why so many older men wouldn't even think of cheating on their wives. It's too exhausting,"

Though this temporarily gave me peace of mind, it reminded me of an incident that occurred many years ago. Long before I met my husband, there was a couple who lived in the nursing home where he worked. Since they were married, they shared a room. They were very social, and made friends easily.

One night after the wife went to bed, the husband decided to stretch his legs. A few minutes later, a nurse's aid walked in on him socializing with his pants down.

This was a perfect set-up for him, as he was able to have dinner with his wife, go out for a late night snack, and be back in his own bed by 7:00 pm. His wife didn't seem to mind getting the extra rest either. He didn't have to worry about buying the other woman gifts, taking her dancing, or even getting dressed for that matter. As for transportation, he was only an elevator ride away.

Therefore, I'm not convinced that most older men are too physically and emotionally drained to even think about cheating on their wives. As long as a man is still breathing, and has a tooth in his head, he could always find someone who's willing to do all of the thinking for him.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

High Heels and Butterflies

A new study revealed that women who wore high heels while shopping were likely to spend less than women in comfortable shoes. Some women might use this theory to rationalize buying expensive stilettos as a good investment. This could only lead to trouble in the shopping malls.

Just when I thought that I had heard every abbreviation imaginable for embarrassing conditions, I saw an ad for Butterfly, "A new kind of discreet protection for ABL (accidental bowel leakage). Butterfly adheres securely and invisibly in the buttocks, giving you a new kind of protection you can count on."

The ad features a youthful fifty three year old smiling woman. Would she still be smiling if she tripped in her high heels, and had a Butterfly lodged up in her heinie? What if this woman was also suffering from OAB (overactive bladder)? Then she would likely be sporting a Poise prevention pad. A bad fall could cause it to disappear into the abyss. How would the ER doctors decide which end to operate on first?

Between Stayfree, Always, Tena/Serenity, Poise and now Butterfly, women will be faced with even more challenges as to what goes where. As for men who also suffer from ABL, otherwise known as ESM (excessive skid marks), I suggest a masculine body liner in the shape of a catcher's mitt aptly named Stayhome.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Ninja, A Ghost and A Freelance Editor

The writer sat at his computer eager to embark on his novel. A sudden wave of thirst swept over him, so he decided to go downstairs for a glass of water. He spotted a hummingbird at the kitchen window. He glanced up to see another hummingbird next to it. He wondered if there was a nest outside, and had to get a closer look. The writer quickly slipped on his shoes before stepping out on the patio. He reached in his pocket to snap a shot with his cell phone, when he realized it was still in the house. Then he saw that the wind had blown the backdoor shut, so he reached into another pocket for the key. How could his key and cell phone both be missing from his coat pockets? Then he saw his reflection in the patio door window. The writer was locked out of his house wearing only his bathrobe in the middle of the afternoon. Oh well, he would just have to hide in the bushes for a few hours until his wife came home from work. If only the skunk hadn't gotten there first....

This is where our friend Nick Wilford,  Freelance Editor comes in. He could turn any stinky story into a rose.

With the unstoppable rise of self-publishing, it’s easier than ever to put your words and stories out there in the world. This is a great thing, and I’m all for it. However, it’s not just about the story - although of course, that is the most important part - but the way it’s presented. After spending months or years on a novel, building an incredible world and honing your characters and storylines to perfection, the last thing you want is to be let down by a lack of editing. It’s just as important as an arresting cover image.

Nick Wilford, Freelance Editor is a one-stop shop for affordable editing, proofreading and formatting services. With professional training and ten years of experience as a journalist and editor, the time has come to transfer these skills in order to help out the fellow authors I have come to love.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’m ready to edit anything; from a crucial term paper, to memoirs and other non-fiction books, short stories, articles or job application letters. Let me put that finishing touch on your masterpiece.

Feel free to take a look at my  website  for further details of my services and prices.

Nick Wilford is a writer, freelance editor and stay-at-home dad. Fascinated by words from a young age, he trained as a journalist before embracing the calling of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland.  


Another friend and IWSG member Julie Flanders is about to come out with her second book in a year. Not only would Julie have motivated this character to focus on his writing, but after reading The Ghosts of Aquinnah, he would have been too terrified to venture outside his home.


A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

The Ghosts of Aquinnah
will be released by Ink Smith Publishing
on December 5, 2013

Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching too much television. She is an animal lover and shares her home with her dog and cat.
                                                          Find Julie at:

Be sure to visit Julie and  Nick. Just think that  Alex J. Cavanaugh  brought us all together to read, write, and fight the war against poor punctuation.