Tuesday, December 24, 2013

50 States of Pray


Today  Mark Koopmans has brought writers from all over the world together to share our hopes and dreams for 2014. Thanks to Mark for creating this worthwhile effort, and thanks to our troops for keeping us safe. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year. Be sure to visit the talented contributors to 50 Shades of Pray . In the meantime, I've decided to go in a slightly different direction.
Grey Matter

What is this place,
Lots of strange devices.
No, I'm not making a face,
Yet, another guy with vices.

Please don't tell my folks,
They raised me to do the right thing.
If only I hadn't eaten those yolks,
My thighs look huge in this swing.

Sometimes I want to raise my fists,
At all the duds I've gone with.
Wasted time on that psychotic machinist,
Not to mention, that misguided multi-linguist.

Though bitter at first,
Sweetness flows in gentle gates.
Flourishing in pounding bursts,
Blending together to percolate.

I pray that we'll stay,
Tightly bound at the hip.
How my lips burn to the fray,
For his deep, rich macchiato with extra whip.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mom's Reflections On The Headline: Man Shops For 5 Hours 'Til He Drops 7 Floors


On December 9th, a man in China became undone after shopping with his girlfriend for over five hours. When he pleaded to go home, she said that she still had to buy shoes. They began shouting back and forth until he decided to throw packages over the seventh floor railing. Their argument ended when he jumped after them, crashing through Christmas decorations along the way, as he plummeted to his death.

My mom is an avid shopper. She will work tirelessly to find you whatever you need whether it's a large item for your home, down to the perfect pocket square accessory. She worked in retail for several years, and even her bunions didn't slow her down.

Lately, it's been harder for her to get around, but if someone is willing to take her (me), nothing will stand in her way, even if she has to do it sitting down. "How can I see anything from this angle? Nothing is arranged properly for handicapped people. Bring it closer. Push me faster. Back up. Go check all of the fitting rooms. That top has to be here somewhere. What do the salespeople know?" Several hours later, you could still find us in the same department of the department store.

Recently, we found a new place to have lunch at my mom's favorite store. We picnic in the bedding department. I lay out our drinks and sandwiches on one of the display beds, while we take a short break. We had to relocate to this section, as all of the regular public seating areas have been filled up with holiday shoppers. I keep waiting for a sign that says; FOR DISPLAY USE ONLY.  NO PICNICS ALLOWED YOU TWO, but  people just smile when they see us. You know that smile for people who had a day pass from the asylum.

My mom still has a great eye, and a wonderful sense of the most flattering cuts for your body type. She continues to help me shop for the whole family. It's not too late to hire my mom for Christmas and New Year's. If there's a man in your life that you won't miss much, my mom is here to help. And she can do it in less than five hours.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheers To Arlee Bird


Today we are celebrating the genius of  the man who brought you the A to Z Challenge, and  Tossing It Out,  as well as five other intriguing blogs, Arlee "Lee" Bird. Thanks to Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy,  David Powers King,  Stephen Tremp,  and 2012 CheersFest recipient Alex J. Cavanaugh, for creating this good spirited roast.

Without further ado, here are the questions that our hosts compiled:

Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
He wanted to share his love of blogging with people from all over the world; inspiring creativity while forming friendships. 

If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
It means they have perfect hand-eye coordination, and lots of nervous energy.

Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
Absolutely, and so are his comments. Once I wrote something that completely misfired, and Lee swooped in to my defense.

 · Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
Why Bruce Willis of course.

 In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these (bold) prompts:

The Fearless Juggler

The juggler twirled his dapper mustache,
Before slipping into his brown prom jacket.
He grew it to cover an upper lip rash,
From tossing some old tennis rackets.

His act was in full swing on stage,
When a heckler flipped him the bird.
He used his wits rather than rage,
Without even uttering a word.

He added flaming daggers to the mix,
Lee's rise to the challenge was sky high.
He risked it all with his dangerous tricks.
When he stopped abruptly to zip up his fly.

"I've told you a million times, I didn't play a doctor in that Linda Lovelace movie. I'm not that kind of performer."
Thanks for all that you do, Lee. I will always be grateful to you, and I hope that you enjoy this special day in your honor.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lexa & Julie's Dream Destination Blog-Hop

Julie Flanders  and  Lexa Cain  are hosting the Dream Destination Blog-Hop to celebrate their book releases.  Julie's  The Ghosts of Aquinnah, and Lexa's Soul Cutter are both debuting this week, so they're celebrating with lots of fantastic prizes. Be sure to visit  http://julieflanders.blogspot.com/  and http://lexacain.blogspot.com/  to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway, and learn more about their fascinating novels.    

Speaking of dream destinations, I've always wanted to visit Paris, or explore all that Greece has to offer, but there are some unusual sights worth seeing right here in the U.S.     

According to Wikipedia, "Bubblegum Alley is a local tourist landmark in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, known for its accumulation of used bubble gum on the walls of an alley...lined with chewed gum left by passers-by." It's not clear whether the alley was created after WWII at the San Luis Obispo High School graduation, or if it began in the "late 1950s, as rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School, and Polytechnic State University students. The strength of the alley has been tested by objecting store owners, ecologically minded locals, scrapers, and even fire hoses." When firefighters sprayed the walls in 1985, the walls were refilled within a month.

I would only accompany my family to this germ infested alley, because they don't chew gum. Of course we would still be outfitted in Hazmat suits, and gloves to be on the safe side. Fortunately, it's not far from San Francisco which would be a wonderful place for the whole family.

If we wanted to stay even closer to home, we could take a road trip to Olney, Illinois, home of the white squirrel (photo courtesy of Wikipedia).

As cited in Wikipedia, "White squirrels have the right-of-way on all public streets, sidewalks, and thoroughfares in Olney, and there is a $750 fine for running one over." The police even wear a white squirrel on their badges. Since my husband and older son love wildlife this would be a great attraction for them, and it's only about a four hour drive from Chicago.

Sometimes you can visit the best Dream Destinations while you're curled up with a good book or two. Thanks to Julie Flanders' The Ghosts of Aquinnah, and Lexa Cain's Soul Cutter, you can take off on thrilling adventures without ever leaving home.  


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

IWSG: Pick Your Battles


I can't believe that this is the last 2013 post for  Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Fortunately, you can head on over to the official  IWSG Website which is open 24/7 to get you through those rough patches that don't always fall on the first Wednesday of every month.  

A few months ago, I was at a dinner party when I noticed that the hostess had a little something in her nose. I decided to ignore it hoping that someone else would mention it.  A moment later, the object had mysteriously made its way to the tip of her nose. A male guest took me aside, and suggested that I tell her "woman to woman."   

I gathered all of my courage, and gently approached her in the kitchen. She asked me exactly where it was, and then she just flicked it away with her fingers. Afterward, she continued to serve dessert without even washing her hands.

I on the other hand, would have slithered into the bathroom, and blown my nose so hard that the room would've shaken. Then I would've inspected my nose from every angle with a magnifying glass to insure that there was nothing on the horizon. Afterward, I would've scrubbed my hands, and sanitized the magnifying glass before serving the next course. If some of the guests decided to leave during this long and drawn out process, then so be it.  For those who have decided to stay, there is a point to this madness.

What if I remained silent. Would the object have eventually fallen in to our food anyway, or would it have simply vanished in to the background? As writers, is it better to let the chips fall where they may, or do we have to speak up, and give an honest critique of every chapter?

I've learned a lot from the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and often writers say how they don't choose their stories, because their stories choose them. I'm still waiting to tell my story, but my fear is that no one will want to read it. Oh sure, they'll be very polite about it, but how will I really know if it's worthwhile?

In other words, you can pick your friends, you can pick your Internet provider, but if your story is lacking, you risk getting  picked on, or picked over. After months of hard work, finding out that your story is nothing more than a runny mess can really burst your nose bubble.