Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snippet From My Day #4

She folded her arms across her chest and looked down at me over the rims of her glasses. Her words were more polite than the You're A Fucking Liar expression she wore.

"That's not possible, ma'am. We use a Pyxis, and that has a very, VERY low rate of error."

"Well, what am I supposed to do to prevent this? You handed me a large bottle, and the bottle says Quantity: 180. It looked reasonably full, so I believed you. Should I, in the future, pour all those pills out on the counter here and count them myself before leaving? Low margin of error or not, there's still a margin of error." I was doing my best to be calm and reasonable, but this woman's tone was really rubbing me the wrong way.

"Yes, but. . ."

"Perhaps it wasn't the machine's error," I suggested, "Perhaps someone punched in the wrong number by mistake. Either way, I'm 18 doses short, and I'll tell you what's going to happen: I'm going to the doctor to obtain refills. I'm going to come back, and you're going to deny those refills, saying I'm trying to fill too early. And the reason I'm trying to fill too early is because you shorted me 18 days worth of doses."

"Look, ma'am, it isn't that we don't believe you," she explained quasi-patiently, We Don't Believe You almost visibly oozing out of every pore in her disbelieving face, "but you have to understand how many times a day we hear that accusation. And what are we expected to do? Hand over extra pills with an apology?"


"Excuse me?"

"You asked what I expected you to do! You compare what you should have on hand against what you do have on hand, and I'll take the 36 extraneous pills. I could understand your concern if I showed up claiming to be 18 Percocet short, or 18 Oxycontin short, but you can't even get high off of this stuff! There's no recreational benefit whatsoever to my trying to get extra doses out of you."

She paused before saying, "We're very busy, ma'am."

"I feel ya. I'll wait." I took a seat and pulled my book out of my purse, and she disappeared behind the counter. She wasn't just making an excuse- they really were very busy, so I resigned myself to remain in that uncomfortable chair for at least an hour.

I had only read 12 pages before I heard the technician calling my name. I put my book back in my purse to return to the counter, and there she was, holding a small bag in her hands and an embarrassed expression in her eyes. She handed me the bag.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," she said, fortified as though preparing for a blow. I merely smiled and accepted the bag from her hand.

"It's alright," I gave a little shake of the bag, "Just be glad I didn't wait till I ran out of these things before i came in." She nodded, understanding exactly what I meant.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holy Nutsack, Batman!

It's hard to pick a "most" embarrassing moment out of all the many embarrassing moments that happen over a lifetime. I had it narrowed down to two in particular: the one where I got saran wrapped to the flagpole when I was a wee freshman in high school, and this one. This one won out because I was embarrassed for the both of us.


I was married in Lake Tahoe. I don't live anywhere near Lake Tahoe, but it had a few things going for it that made the trip beyond worthwhile: it was absolutely one of the most beautiful places I've ever had the pleasure of visiting, I didn't have to deal with houseguests, and the resort people planned my entire wedding for me- all I had to do was pick out the flavour of the cake, the colour of my bouquet, and then show up at the appointed time. The last perk was the most important one to me; I'd decided to get married after all, but I damn sure wasn't going to go through the stress and hassle of planning the wedding.

The downside to elopement wasn't obvious to me at first. I'd never been married and I had NO idea what to do, and there was to be no rehearsal. You'd think simply walking down a narrow aisle would be easy enough, right? No cause for anxiety? What if I came in before I was supposed to? What if I came in late? What if I stood on the wrong side?? A lot can go wrong in twenty nine steps.

But we did have the next best thing: an appointment with the minister, and he was going to give us the play book. So we went downstairs to the lobby of our resort to meet with Reverend McIntyre the day before the wedding. I liked him immediately! He was friendly, he had that ministerly look about him (without being stuffy) and he was willing to try to make our wedding whatever we wanted it to be.

We took our seats opposite him to tell him what we did and didn't want in our ceremony. I was in the middle of trying to explain to him (without offending him) that we weren't religious people and we wanted as un-religious a ceremony as we could possibly get away with, when something on his pants caught my eye. Before I could stop myself, I glanced down to see what it was, and immediately wished I hadn't. There, right at his crotch, was a split seam maybe an inch in length, and some pink was showing through.

I felt my cheeks flame bright red with sudden blush. I was thinking it was kind of funny for a minister to be wearing pinkish underwear, when the truth of the whole business hit me like a wrecking ball: it wasn't pinkish underwear at all. I was being peeked at by Holy Scrotum. I remember blinking a couple of times, thinking I must be mistaken. I was not mistaken.

"How can he not FEEL that?!" I demanded silently, "It's COLD in here!"

My husband noticed I wasn't paying attention and knew something was wrong, because I'd just been fretting about not knowing what to do when the time came to do it. I could hear him making decisions, but I just couldn't make myself pay attention. He elbowed me in the ribs a few times, and I tried to marshal my errant focus and raise my eye back up to Rev. McIntyre's face, feeling all the while that this must be how a guy feels when he's assaulted by perfect cleavage.

The next thing I knew, we were on our feet and Reverend was shaking our hands to take his leave. He wished us luck for the morrow and left, and I stood there gaping like a complete retard, unable to utter anything coherent at all. As soon as he'd gone, Jim turned to me and demanded to know what THAT was all about. I told him. I couldn't believe he missed it!

"Well, *I* don't go around checking out ministers' packages, babe," he retorted.


This was my entry for Mrs. C's blogging challenge, topic 2: Most Embarrassing Moment

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tea in a Cold Room

A steaming cup of Darjeeling in a still, cold room is a thing of beauty. The crisp, austere white porcelain foils so agreeably with the clear russet fluid it carries.

The line between the surface and the air just above is a smear, blurred by the liquid transmuting to steam and taking wing before your very eyes. The newborn vapors rise in a thick, straight rope; the rope doesn't twist or furl in the quiet, undisturbed air.

The faint muscatel scent ascends in this medium, astride the column of mist before dispersing into cool atmosphere, invisible but delightful in its presence.

An unseen corona of heat gently suffuses the cup, eager to provide comfort to the chill-shrunken hands that embrace it.

A pleasure to all five senses, all that remains is to raise it to the lips, invite the piping wetness to cross the threshold of the mouth and let the tinge of its astringency linger briefly on the tongue before sliding down to warm the body and infuse the spirit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snippet From My Day #3

"Ugh, I've got an eye-twitch in my foot," I complained, shaking my foot as though it were something I could dislodge.

He stared at me like I'd just sprouted the twitching foot in question directly out of the side of my head.

"You know those annoying eye twitches you get when you're tired?" I tried to explain.

". . . yeah. . ."

"Well, I've got one in my foot. An eye-twitch in my foot."

"Yeah, I hur' what you sai'. It jus' don' make no sense."

"Sure it does! It's a tiny little spasm-y jerk right in the arch of my foot. It's exactly like the tiny little spasm-y jerk you get in your eyelid."

"Woul'n that be a foot twitch?"

I watched him persist stubbornly in completely missing the point, and gave up. I wasn't exactly sure I had a point in the first place.

"I suppose it would," I conceded.

Christmas Recipe Swap (Group Blog Thursday)

Yes, I LOVE recipe swaps! It's the topic for Steph In The City's Thursday Group Blog. I can't think of a better thing to blog collectively about just before I do my Christmas dinner shopping, thanks, Stephanie! Here's my recipe for a fanTAStic side dish (crock pot, so it won't take up valuable oven or stove top space!), and something to take the edge off of over-the-top family members ;)

Orange-Glazed Carrots


1 (32 oz) package baby carrots
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Combine the carrots, brown sugar, orange juice, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well. Place carrot mixture in slow cooker set on LOW. Cover and cook until carrots are tender but not soggy (about 3.5-4 hours).

Spoon carrots into a serving bowl. Remove the juices to a small saucepan and heat to a boil over high heat. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and blend. Stir into saucepan and boil 1 minute until sauce is thickened (stir constantly). Pour sauce over carrots and serve!

My Variations:

I like to double the sauce and add a chopped apple or some halved cranberries. It makes a great alternative for those who don't like sweet potatoes :)

Gluhwein (German Spiced Wine)


1 lemon
12 whole allspice
12 whole cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (Splenda works too)
3 cinnamon sticks
6 cups of cheap Burgundy wine (the cheaper varieties flavour better, so don't catch yourself thinking that if you buy a better quality wine that it'll taste better. I like to use Inglenook).

In a small sauce pan, combine water, sugar, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and the peel of the lemon (it can be chopped, torn into small pieces or grated, it doesn't matter). Heat to boiling and then simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let it sit 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, retaining the cinnamon sticks.

In a medium stock pot or Dutch oven, pour the wine and squeeze the juice from the lemon (pick out the seeds). Pour in the syrup and add the cinnamon sticks. Heat slowly until hot, but not boiling (boiling ruins it). Serve in mugs.

My Variations: I like to throw two or three Tazo Passion tea bags into the syrup as its boiling (remove with the other spices) and garnish the mugs with orange slices.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Fly On The Wall

I saw "John" and "Jane" casually glancing around, taking stock of who was around and paying attention to them. They didn't notice my surreptitious focus, as I was bent over a task and looking at them through the periphery of my vision. I knew that look. That was the look of a pair of people about to go off and do things they oughtn't be doing, mainly because they're coworkers and Jane is married. You know, to someone else.

First John went out the door, trying to look intent on an errand. Jane hung back, puttering around and trying to look busy, but watching the clock. I predicted five minutes before she followed John out the door. She waited three, and with a last glance around the room, headed out a different door. Clever move, I congratulated her silently. I hadn't anticipated the different door.

Feigning an errand of my own, I left the lab and went to my office, which was conveniently located next door to John's. I walked past his closed door, went into my office, and silently shut the door. I shed my pretense on my desk and leaned against the shared wall, trying to sharpen my hearing. All I could hear were murmured voices, and I couldn't make out anything they were saying. I stood stock-still, listening, but nothing changed; the murmurs didn't change to sighs, or stifled moans. I heaved a sigh of disappointment and sat down in my chair, contemplating.

I wished I could be a fly on the wall! I closed my eyes and imagined being tiny and completely unnoticed, able to take in the scene without caution or embarrassment. I imagined the thrill of being the ultimate voyeur, the succulent vision before me splintered into hundreds of facets in my fly-eyes, rubbing my fly-forelegs together in greed.

I opened my eyes to a prismatic world, and my little fly brain began to buzz with the excitement of a wish come true! I flapped my iridescent fly wings experimentally, flushing with pleasure as I felt myself lifted from the now-huge landscape of my chair, and made a bee-line (fly-line?) for the air vent that connected my office to John's. As I popped out on the other side, I was instantly rewarded with the sight of John's face buried in Jane's perfect A-cup breasts. The murmuring voices came from an AM talk-radio station playing softly from the radio sitting on a shelf in the corner, just loud enough to cover the furtive noises of the trysters. Clever, I silently congratulated them again, and focused on the scene before me.

Jane carelessly discarded her blouse while John hiked her skirt up around her hips. He lifted her effortlessly off her feet and planted that perfectly rounded ass on his desk, one hand sliding up her thigh toward the prize. She wrapped her long, 40-inch legs around his hips and drew him close to her, fumbling with his pants as her mouth fed hungrily on his. I crept a little closer, my human mind gorging itself on the forbidden scene. I drowned in the scents of their pheromones and her secret honey dripping from her flower hotly into John's palm as he worked her. I battled my fly instincts to hurl myself toward that intoxicating smell, forcing myself to retain my place on the wall.

Jane finally won the skirmish with John's zipper. His member had barely sprung free of its confines before being slammed into a new, sweeter prison. She flung herself back across his desk, giving herself over to his thrusts, biting back little cries and swallowing them down that gloriously arced throat. Her lovely little breasts rippled and rocked to John's furious rhythm when suddenly her back arched and her mouth opened wide in a silent scream. I smelled her climax seconds before his followed. Not trusting myself to conquer my fly instincts any longer, I retreated back to the air vent, and then my office.

I planted myself back into my chair and closed my eyes to digest the images I'd taken in. When I opened my eyes again after replaying the events in my head, my vision was stereoscopic once more. I marshaled my thoughts and exited my office just as Jane was exiting John's. She looked at me, startled, and I smiled blandly at her. I was preoccupied with the lingering scent of honey trailing her, and my distracted expression set Jane's mind at ease. She smiled back at me as she adjusted her top button and made her way back toward the lab.

This is my contribution to Mrs. C's blogging challenge, topic 1: You're a fly on the wall, what's going on? What do you see?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Occasionally, I Hate Blogging On MySpace

My primary blog is on MySpace (yeah, yeah, i know, MySpace is for 14 year old girls who like to spend their days taking/posting hundreds of pictures of themselves). Why do I blog there? I don't know, it's where I started and I have a steady readership over there. I have never had any hate comments (anyone who's ever blogged on MySpace knows all about those- they attack you as a person rather than what you've just written about), and I get some pretty good feedback from writers I like to read. I like how you can leave a kudo if you don't have anything in particular to say, but want the author to know you liked it. In short, it has its perks and its irritations, much like anything else in life.

Yesterday I experienced an unanticipated irritation.

Eventually, if you read the same people often enough, you start moving in the same circles as other readers of that persons blog. Sometimes, if they like your comments, they'll come read your blog. Very occasionally, someone you don't like ends up reading your blog, and you have to choose between responding neutrally to their comments, or telling them to go piss up a rope. Option 2 is the more honest, upfront thing to do, but then (depending on who it is) you risk the wrath of that person's whole blog circle coming down on you and bombarding you with hate comments/mails/messages/what-have-yous. It's an issue that seems to be unique to MySpace blogging, and I've never been bothered by it until a few weeks ago. Enter "Jane" (name changed to protect blah blah blah).

I've seen her comments on other blogs I've read before, and she'd replied to a few of the comments I'd left myself, but I don't really care for her. I found her to be a rather obsequious sycophant, and a long-winded one, at that. Anyhow, my policy for dealing with unpalatable online personalities is simply not to respond to them, and that's how I'd dealt with her in my infrequent brushings with her.

Then she started reading my blog. Fuck.

She pulls the same over-the-top OMG I AGREE WITH YOU SO MUCH type comments on mine as she does on everyone else's, and I'd decided to deal with her monosyllabically whenever possible. After all, when one kisses as much ass as she does, one gathers quite a few friends, and she sports quite a few drama bloggers as friends. Not a scene I'm interested in! I just want to post my rants about my daily life, my bits of fiction, random dreams, and be on my way. Preferably with mild interaction with my readers.

So she's been reading my blog for a few weeks now, and I popped over to her blog, out of courtesy, and read a little bit. She's an issues blogger, which is a turn-off to me in the first place, and the cause she champions isn't one that interests me. Throw in all the bad grammar and spelling, and I decided to politely unsubscribe.

That's polite, right? Unsubscribing quietly?

Apparently, it isn't. I got a message from her yesterday asking why she hadn't seen me commenting on her blog. Fuck, and double fuck! Now I'm back at my initial problem: be honest or be vague. Here's vague:

Sorry I haven't spent much time at your blog, I've got a lot of subscriptions and as much as I try to make it to everyone, I don't always succeed. I'll try to be better in the future.


Then I can visit her blog daily and hit the kudos button, making it look as though i read it. But that's really WAY too much effort, and it's just downright dishonest. I already feel horrible just for having thought about it.

Here's honesty:

I don't have a lot of free time, and I'm not going to spend that little bit that I do have reading shit that I don't enjoy, by people I don't like. I don't expect people to read my blog just because I read theirs, I expect people to read it because they like it. If they don't like it? I'd prefer they politely unsubscribe and spend their time elsewhere- no drama, no flaming, no butt-hurtedness. Everybody wins! So please, unsubscribe in an undramatic fashion. You really would be doing me a solid.

Best of luck,

And I honestly feel that way! I don't expect people to read me just because I read them. It doesn't change the fact that I enjoy their writing, and I'm going to continue reading it. I found out a long time ago that very few MySpace people feel this way- if they spend time reading and commenting your blog, they damn sure expect that you reciprocate. If you don't, most of the time, they just quietly unsubscribe (yay for quiet unsubscription!) and you stop hearing from them.

Oh, but not Jane! No, she requires explanations. I've done my best to avoid dealing with her, and that's clearly not going to work. So I think I'll go halfway between vague and honest:

I'm sorry I haven't made it to your blog, but at this time, I don't have time for additional subscriptions. I appreciate the time you take to read and comment mine, but if it isn't something you enjoy doing for its own sake, then please don't feel obligated to continue doing so. I know your time is valuable too, and I wouldn't want you to waste it on a one-sided blogging relationship.

Best of luck to you and your cause,

A firm Thanks-But-No-Thanks, but not a rude one. I hope she quietly unsubscribes and refrains from tossing me to the lions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Group Blog Thursday: Tacky Holiday Traditions

This is my first time contributing to Stephanie's Group Blog Thursday. This week's topic is tacky Christmas traditions that we'd like to see banished from today's society. Take a gander at hers, The Ugly Christmas Sweater, and contribute if you like :) You've always been a tough act to follow, Steph, but here goes!

While i was checking out at Big Buys yesterday, i had the following conversation with the cashier:

"Will that be all for you today?"

"Yes, thank you."

"I only ask because. . . ," she paused and eyed my meager selection of purchases-to-be. "To be blunt, it just seems you're being a little chintzy this year."

"Well, it's not exactly chintziness. I took a pay cut-," i began defensively.

"Yeah, yeah, the economy, blah blah blah," she interrupted, "You know, this is the one time of year where you have the opportunity let everyone in your life know how much you care about them, and you're about to drop the ball with some of them, and completely blow it with others. I mean, if you're willing to sacrifice your friends' and family's perfect holiday, that's your prerogative."

I was at a loss. She was right, i was buying things i knew my kids weren't exactly hoping for, and outright not buying for others at all. I tried not to look ashamed.

"Well, i . . . ," i stammered, groping for an unScroogely excuse. She held up her hand, mercifully forestalling my lameness.

"But there IS something you can do about it."

"There is?" Relief washed over me.

"Yes. You can apply for our Big Buys Visa card and max it out. Nothing says, 'I care' like a maxed balance on your store credit card."

"Hmm, i don't know. . . "

"Low monthly payments! A very competitive 35% APR! And a guaranteed line of credit that's unjustifiably high, given your recently-trimmed salary."

"Won't that take me like, 25 years to pay off?"

"Pah, 21! PLUS you'll get 10% off your first purchase!"

"10%! Do you know what this means?!" i enthused, my mind racing with the possibilities.

"I certainly do. You can buy 10% MORE gifts. That means you can even buy for a few co-workers you don't even like! Come on, let's face it. This is NOT the time to hide behind flimsy excuses like 'your budget' and 'the economy'."

"You're absolutely right. What're you waiting for?! Sign me up!" I smiled beatifically at the saviour of my family's holiday happiness as she ran my instant credit app.


Okay, so it didn't quite happen like that, but that's how it feels when every person who works at the store stuffs instant credit apps in my face as i shop. So the tacky holiday tradition i'd like to see done away with: companies trying to strong-arm me into fiscal irresponsibility by pushing credit cards on me (that i know damn well i can't afford), using the illusion that holiday happiness comes from a store.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Old age weren't easy on Jake. He walked unsteady and uncoordinated, like each leg wanted t' go its own way, not mindin' where he wanted t' go. My Daddy said it was cause he'd been chained up a lot, and bein' yanked back by the chain damaged his spine and his nerves. Or somethin' 'long those lines. My uncle called 'im his Crippled-Up-Old-War-Veteran. Anyway, he couldn't hardly walk, and toward the end he needed help standin' up, too. He looked vicious as hell, but he was a big ole softy with bad gas. I shit you not. When he farted, you could see his whole butt hole open up t' let out the cloud, and i swear you could see it before it hitcha. I never knew anyone or anything that could clear a room as fast as Jake, Lord rest his soul.

Fish in particular tickled 'im. My uncle would bring 'im over, and instead of playin' with our dogs (which was real hard on his joints), he'd park that big smelly ass in front of our fish tank and look at it for hours. Sometimes he'd sit there quiet-like, and other times he'd get riled up watching them fish swim round. He'd fidget and whine at em. He'd bump the tank with his nose and yip. He'd breathe heavy, his tongue lollin' out the side of his mouth. When he wasn't lickin' at the glass. He reminded me of my uncle and my daddy (hollerin' at) watchin' the game with all that carryin'-on, only my uncle and dad never licked at the TV. I sure miss that old boy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Montserrat Rocks Bristle Ridge's Face Off

Rob, Jim, Angie and I gathered up our hangover collection and stumbled out the door Saturday morning on our planned trip to the Montserrat Winery outside Knob Noster, Missouri (yeah, yeah, go ahead and snicker at the Nosters of Knobs- i sure as hell did). It wasn't a long trip, maybe thirtyish minutes. The brochure we'd read promised tours and tastings and unique gifts, and i was very excited about it, having never actually been to a winery before.

Our exit held a wonderful surprise for us: right next door to our destination was Bristle Ridge Winery! We hadn't noticed it at first on the brochure, but sure enough, they, too boasted tours, tastings, and unique gifts. Two wineries in one trip. . .fucking score! Bristle Ridge was actually before Montserrat, so we stopped there first.

We parked on the hill and climbed up to a large, surprisingly elegant covered patio nestled among absolutely stunning landscaping. The patio sported high, round tables and chairs, each with a little brazier in the center to keep the winers warm as the weather cooled. Inside, we were greeted by a weird odor and more elegance: the chandelier, the light fixtures, the hardwood floors, the fire place, and the bar were all beautifully ornate and candle-lit. The bar was tended by an old lady polishing a wine glass with a towel and an air of superiority. She smiled perfunctorily at us as we entered, and asked if she could help us. She really looked as though she'd rather not. Help us, that is.

Rob approached her and asked if we could take the tour. She coolly informed him that there were no tours at this winery, and not-quite-demanded to know who told us we could take a tour. Angie produced the brochure, which the Bar Crone barely even glanced at before crisply telling us that there were no tours. She stared at Rob with Will That Be All? Face, but to her ill-concealed dismay, he asked if we could get a tasting. She said of course we could, and produced a wine/price list before returning to the vigorous glass-polishing we'd so rudely interrupted.

The wine list looked about how we'd expect a wine list to look except for the price: tastes were two bucks each, for a two ounce sample. Somehow i didn't think this winery produced dollar-per-ounce quality wine, but i was eager to get on with trying to salvage my souring first-winery experience. We talked about which wines we wanted to try, and then looked back at the Bar Crone, who studiously ignored us.

I decided to go and have a look at the Unique Gifts, since they were the only thing left on the brochure that hadn't disappointed me yet. They were varied and wine-related, and expensive, but i found a few things i liked and i was trying to decide what i wanted to buy when Jim went to step out for a smoke. Now, we all had obviously arrived together: we all piled out of the same car, walked up and entered together, and spoke familiarly with one another; in short, we were clearly at the winery as a group. But when Jim went to the door, cigarette in mouth, the Bar Crone looked up and dismissively thanked him for coming as though he was going to leave without the rest of us.

I probably don't need to mention that her Thanks For Coming sounded more like a Get The Hell Out Of My Tasting Room. We all looked at each other, and Rob shrugged.

"Well, if you want us to leave, we will," he said, and the rest of us headed for the door. She didn't thank the rest of us for coming. I later learned that the Bar Crone was the owner.

That's right. The. Owner. (Well, she and her husband). I wouldn't have believed how rude she was if i hadn't just experienced it myself.

By contrast, the atmosphere at Montserrat was warm and inviting. The tasting room smelled terrific, and the guy working the bar greeted us like he might have actually been glad to see us. The decor lacked the elegance of Bristle Ridge, there were fewer gifts to browse, and no tours were offered here either, but we were offered a wine list as soon as we walked in, the samples were FREE, the bar guy was friendly, and he actually gave us samples once we'd made up our minds!

We tasted several wines, including a chocolate wine (that's right- Chocolate!). The wines were tasty, and Bar Guy told us about the local wine industry while we sampled. Never at any point did we feel rushed or unwelcome, and my disappointment evaporated as though Bristle Ridge never happened. After some great wine and conversation, we bought a few bottles and left with good memories and a mental note to return next time we came through Knob Noster. Oh, and the Bar Guy? Not an owner, just an employee. It's a sad, sad day when an employee treats the clientele better than the owner of an establishment.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snippet From Oklahoma #1

I arrived at my Nana's house after a rather exhausting trip in my Jeep. For those who've never taken a road trip in almost-winter in a Jeep. . . well, it's far, far less than comfortable. I won't bore you with the details, but i will say that the only road trips Jeeps are meant for are ones in the summer, with the top down.

There were hugs all around, trips to the bathroom, unpackings, and ploppings down on furniture more suited to being sat on for extended periods (made all the more comfortable by the relative discomfort we'd sat in for the last 8ish hours). We were the last to arrive; my aunt, cousin, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were already there. Nana, Aunt Trisha, my cousin Corrinne, and my niece Morgan were all dressed to go out, and Nana invited us to go with. It was a Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Jan's church.

I'd been to Aunt Jan's churches before (i think this one was a different one, but after the previous two, i didn't hold out much hope for improvement), and i wasn't of a mind to go be dressed up in uncomfortable clothing, and sit among people who made me uncomfortable after a long uncomfortable trip, so i declined. Nana turned to my nephew, Carter, and asked if he'd like to come to dinner with his sister. Carter looked dubiously up from his Nintendo DS.

"At a church?"


"Noooo-ho-ho-ho. No."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Confession (Dew Write)

Mass Merriment <---- Click that if you wanna know what it's all about.

She snatched the sheet off the pad and wadded it up. Another ball for the basket, and she'd missed it again. This time she didn't bother getting it up to retrieve it; undoubtedly, there'd be more to follow. She frowned at the growing pile of fail in the waste basket next to her desk, disapproving her own inadvertent cliche.

Did he give her any signs? She searched her memories and found them sitting together, chatting companionably at the kitchen table. She remembered feeling full to bursting with feelings for him, but he seemed not to notice. She remembered a few other times of being alone with him, and it was always the same comfortable chat. She remembered barely being able to focus on what he was saying, only wanting to take his face between her small hands, and guide his lips to hers, but if he noticed, he gave no sign.

She looked away from the frustration to ply the pen to the waiting page, and then withdrew it again. The paper stared blankly back at her, offering pressure instead of inspiration. What If tripped her pen, mussing her neat, wispy hand. What if she chose the wrong words and he didn't understand? What if she chose the right words and he didn't care?

What if he did? The thrill and the anxiety and the What If would be gone, replaced by warmth. Not that warmth was bad! She welcomed warmth, but there was always a feeling of loss; of something missing once they abandoned the refuge and cowardice of willful unknowing. Once she looked over that cliff, she'd see the bottom. Reality would replace dream, and while she rejoiced in the solid, actual Him, she would mourn the fantastical, intangible Him. He would fulfill her. He would let her down. He would would love her.

But not right.

Emerging from her reverie, she turned back to her letter, fancying both his acceptance and his rejection with equal parts longing and dread.
Ah, but the release! At least she'd have that, and What If relaxed its grip on her pen.


It's been ten days and seven hours since i almost kissed you. . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Tendency To Recycle Disposable Cups

I love a good disposable cup. Especially the kind with the sippy lids that stop the liquid inside from sloshing into the cupholders in my car. I'm not kidding, I will rinse and reuse that thing until the paper leaks and it looks like i've fished it out of a trash can.

So why not just buy myself a permanent, reusable thermal mug? I have; i've bought several, one of which i even liked. I lost the lid to the one i like. Others have had an array of problems: one dribbled liquid out from the crevice between the lid and the cup; another didn't fit in my cup holder, in spite of its label's promise to fit any cup holder; another one was too narrow for me to get my hand down inside and wash it properly; another one had a lid that was too complicated to wash properly. All of them seemed too bulky or top-heavy.

If they made a permanent reusable thermal mug that was shaped like a disposable one, i'd be all over it.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Snippet From My Day #2

"Look, Reeses peanut butter bells!"

He looked dubiously at the bag i had thrust at him.

"No way."

"Why not?!"

"They're not fucking natural, that's why," he retorted,
just in time for a middle aged woman in a matched knit jogging suit to walk by. She stiffened visibly.

"What do you mean, 'not natural'?! It's candy, for Balls' sake!"

"Look, Reeses only occur in cup form in nature. Anything else is an abomination. A bioengineering experiment gone horribly, horribly awry."

". . . in nature? Like, Reeses in the wild?"

"Fuckin' a," he said smugly.
The stiffened middle age woman threw us the stink-eye from over by the Hershey kisses. Her face pinched up, but she didn't say anything, so i politely resisted the urge to laugh at it.

"I can't see a herd of Reeses roaming the country side in ANY form, man," i disagreed.

"No, no, they don't roam anywhere! They grow on trees."

"Like THESE?!" I picked up a bag of Reeses trees and brandished it.

"Yes. Reeses cups come from Reeses trees."

"Mhmm. And how bout Reeses minis?"

"Oh, those are like Reeses tree seeds."


"Once they ripen into full-sized cups, they're ready to be picked and enjoyed."

"Uh, huh. And how do Big cups fit into the picture?"

He rolled his eyes at me, and sighed with exaggerated forced patience.

"Do apples all show up in the same fucking size?!"

Pinchy Faced Stink-Eye hurled her candy forcibly into her cart, jerked it away from the shelves, and made a big show of glaring at Ry as she walked by us, back ram-rod straight (probably from the stick shoved up her ass). Just to make sure she got her displeasure across, she continued to glare at us all the way down the aisle. Which was really too bad, because she took out an old woman in a wheelchair with her cart while she was
preoccupied with her display of hostility towards our making such liberal use of the First Amendment. I threw my hands up in the air as the pinched look gave way to the Oh Shit expression.

"NOW look what you've done!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Random Snippet from My Day #1

"What is
this?!" She held up a baggie pinched between her thumb and forefinger.

I glanced up at her from the report i was trying to write, and then back down to business.

"A baggie of Fiber One cereal. It isn't going to bite, you know."

"It looks like fucking gerbil food."

"Well, it isn't. It's cereal."

"What's it doing in your purse?"

"I keep a stash on me."

"Uh. . . why?"

"In case i need it, genius. Look, did you want some Tylenol or to bitch about the contents of my purse?"

She looked like she wanted to comment further, maybe to ask under what circumstance i would find myself in need of Fiber One cereal. She snatched the Tylenol and tossed the offending bag back onto my desk instead.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Body Function Fail

Lately my jaw has been going lazy on me when i eat. I'll be mid-chew, and my jaw muscles start getting all kinds of tired, and then finishing the bite becomes this major undertaking. Every chomp stretches out in time like i started eating in slow-motion, taking forever to complete one mastication cycle and move on to the next. I reach up and massage the flagging mandible like a boxing coach rubbing down his prize fighter. I even kind of project a mental pep talk to it: 'Come on, you can do this! You can take that bite of tuna! That shit's practically already chewed for you, quit being such a pussy!' I kind of start bobbing my head a bit, like involving my neck is somehow gonna make the job easier, but it doesn't. It just makes my neck tired too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Box

Jim and i went to see The Box last night. I really liked it, he just thought it was okay, but we agreed it stirred up some interesting thought.

For those who don't know the premise of the movie, a creepy man shows up on a couple's doorstep with a red button in a box. It looks like this:


He gives them 24 hours to decide if they're going to push the button; if they do, they'll receive a million dollars in cash, but someone they don't know somewhere in the world will die.
(I'm not going to spoil the movie, don't worry.)

The premise itself is what intrigues me the most. Think about it: the guy shows up, gives you the wealth-creating-button-o-death, then departs leaving you to stare at it for 24 hours and make your decision. Initially, you'd scoff at it- it's a joke. No WAY this could be for real. At some point, the creepiness of the guy convinces you that this is totally for real. You figure (correctly) that a guy who looks like this doesn't fuck around:


Yes, that's a chunk missing out of the side of his face.

Then you start to rationalize: the money could pay off so many bills, send your child to college, help family members in need. You could do a LOT of good with this money. And it isn't like you KNOW the person who's going to die, right? They're nothing to you. It's probably an old person, or a person in a diseased state. You know, someone who's going to die anyway. Maybe it would even be doing them a kindness.

Do you believe in karma? Could you do it? Could you enjoy the money? Could you live with the knowledge that you just condemned someone's child, mother, brother, husband to die? I could'nt.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Empty Tub

"You've grown awfully lazy recently," he observed coolly.

She glared resentfully up at him from behind her mask of impassiveness. He knew it was her distaste for repetition that stayed her tongue, not laziness, but he was intentionally provoking her. He longed for her to get up and scream at him; to slap him, or to laugh or cry. Even a sneer.
Any reaction at all was better than this stony aloofness.

What he didn't know was the nameless, faceless horror that oppressed her dreams whenever she drifted off to sleep. She would try to scream herself awake, but fear paralyzed her as the blackness crept into her opened mouth and down her throat, choking her. It pressed against the inside of her chest from her lungs and sat on the outside of it, crushing her and eating her simultaneously. It had finally driven her early from their bed. She didn't tell him. She was afraid if she tried, the darkness would pour from her mouth instead of words, and then they'd both perish. It was better this way.

Instead, she said, "You're the one who interrupted my bath asking for a cup of tea. If you want me to make it, then you'll bring me the kettle." She said it slowly, like an adult trying to instruct a slow child, dangling the empty cup from her little finger to emphasize her point. He didn't move for a few moments, staring down at her, trying to rip the truth from her empty face.

"Say it," she ordered tonelessly.

He remained silent. The accusation was on the tip of his brain, aching to burst its way out, but he couldn't bring himself to commit to that final act that would be the destruction of them. If he verbalized what he woke up condemning her for. . .

"Say it, or get the fuck out of my face."

Burning love warred with smoldering hate across the battlefield of his countenance; twins turned against one another, neither stronger than the other. Neither capable of defeating the other.
He wanted her to care that she was hurting him. Her apathetic face mocked his pain-stricken face, he felt. He turned abruptly from her, leaving her in her empty tub.

She wondered fleetingly if he would actually bring the kettle, and whether she should have asked for the leaves as well. She knew he'd be angry when she sent him back, but she couldn't find the strength to care. She pushed him easily out of her mind to continue staring at the faucet. She wanted to turn it on, she was cold. But she was afraid the darkness would flood out of it instead of water. She shivered.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Blindfold Test, Book 4.1 of Angie and Christie's Literature and Blogging Project

Judge a Book By Its Cover

When i picked The Blindfold Test for this category, i could'nt wait to read and find out what it's about. I mean, how do you turn down a book with a cut-out disguise on the cover?! There's only one correct answer to that question: You don't.

I've owned this book for about four months now, and i've been successful with avoiding reading the back cover or flipping through the pages (you just don't KNOW what kind of torment this has been!). But now that i'm remembering the "Write about what you expect it's going to be about based solely on the cover art" part, I'm kind of at a loss. I have NO idea what to expect. I know that any guess on my part is going to miss the mark like Helen Keller with a sniper rifle, but here we go:

I think we'll find a stalker ex girlfriend going to extremes to avoid being made by the targets: her ex boyfriend and his new girl. She's a master of disguise, blending into the background as she pursues them from place to place, waiting for her opportunity to strike.

I'm not sure how the title's going to fit in with this plot.

Or maybe. . .

A guy is kidnapped and blindfolded by corporate goons wearing cheesy disguises (you know, so they can't be identified and stuff). The goons throw the hapless guy into a dark room with a single dull lightbulb suspended from the ceiling over a table with two chairs opposing one another. In front of him are two cups of liquid, and his opinion is being forcibly solicited:

"Which one tastes better", they demand, "Which one feels better on the tongue?" "Which one has the better aroma?" "Which one? WHICH ONE?!"

He's caught in the middle of a corporation flavour-war. The ultimate Pepsi challenge has been issued, and he's not sure he's up to the task.

At least the title fits, right?

Or maybe. . .

He's been invited to a Halloween party with his girlfriend. He abhors dressing up and refuses to waste any money on something he knows he'll never wear again. The solution? Some construction paper, a pair of scissors and some string. He'll cut himself out some sunglasses and a fake beard, then raid his uncle's closet for his old army-issue trench coat. Maybe he'll get lucky and find a ridiculous hat, too. Lame? Maybe. But at the end of the night, at least he will still have his fifty bucks and his dignity. Well, maybe not his dignity.

Again, not sure how the title'll tie into a plot like that. I think i'm just going to have to face the fact that i'm shooting in the dark with blanks here. So here're my hopes for the book, which are more realistic than the expectations i've just created on the spot (honestly, i've got no expectations at all):

* I hope it's funny, and the humour is dry and/or cheesy.
* I hope the author doesn't try any pretentious "ground breaking" literary styles that'll make it difficult to read.
* I hope it involves a guy NOT getting the girl (or vice versa).
* I hope the Blindfold part isn't figurative.
* I hope it isn't set in the 1980's.
* I hope there's some disguising and/or furtiveness involved.
* I hope it isn't secret agent crap.
* I hope the main character is geeky.

Now i think i'll go read. Balls know i've waited long enough!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kiss Me (Dew Write)

Mass Merriment <--Click that if you wanna know what it's all about.

"Come on, don't be like that! Kiss me," she whined, amusement fading rapidly from her face.

He rolled over onto his side, pushed himself up one one elbow and looked down at her. She was beautiful, there was no denying that. But she knew it, and it made her slightly unbearable. His initial declining of her invitation made her laugh. In her world, those invitations are never refused -at least they never had been until now, and certainly never by the likes of him. He was perfectly aware of his status as a nobody and the "honor" she was, in her opinion, bestowing on him.

Then he refused the "honor" again.

She waited, fully confident that he didn't mean it. She lay on the ground in her perfectly matched Hollister outfit, chosen for that carefully worn-in look. The corn-silk hair that spread out around her head could've been arranged atop the bright, lush grass by a media expert preparing a shampoo commercial. Her understated makeup accentuated rather than added to the natural beauty of her stereotypically bright blue eyes. . . lovely, self-assured blue eyes, without the least trace of pleading. She reminded him of a brilliantly coloured Easter egg laying there in the grass, demanding to be snatched up and prized (if eggs could demand). She was absolutely resplendent with all the blush and bloom of her sixteen years.

Sunlight glinted off of the faintest shimmer of nude-tinted lip balm, issuing its own invitation to feed upon those supple, rosebud lips. He imagined himself succumbing to her expectation and his own natural inclination, dipping his face down to meet that velvety aperture. Without ever touching them, he knew how her lips would feel on his. They would be perfectly moist, but not wet; firm, but yielding. Hungry, but not grateful to be fed. How could she appreciate that which she felt fully entitled to?

He shoved that thought aside, envisioning parting those petals and probing them gently with his tongue. He wouldn't enter unless invited. He would make her meet him half way, at least. He could make that one small demand of this self-possessed creature, couldn't he? That she show him that she was interested in something besides his compliance? That she wanted the flavour of him, not the flavour of conquering him? For surely he would be the conquest, not she. The concept of surrender did not exist for her.

But what was conquest to she who commanded tribute from everyone and everything she rested those baby blues on? In her world, everything in her sights was already hers. Including him.

He turned his sight from his fancies back to her, knowing he'd never be able to get out of his head long enough to enjoy this kiss that dozens of the Somebodies he knew would kill for. He lay back down next to her, feeling disregarded and wounded by her need to be adored. Adoring her in spite of himself.

Why couldn't he just kiss her? Why did he resent wanting her so much that he couldn't just do it? Why did he feel the need to retaliate? It isn't as though she intended his feelings any harm -or was even aware that she was harming them at all. She just didn't know any better. Impotent, inarticulate indignation fortified him, and he decided he would be the first to conquer her.

"I just don't like you that way."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Autumn is. . . (Dew Write)

Dew Write <---Click that if you wanna know what it's all about.

I shuffled my feet through the pile of leaves i just spent all morning raking up off of the lawn that i don't care about. The browns of dead leaves are much lovelier than the browns of dead grass, i decided, tracking the leaves back across the lawn. It looked kind of naked without the leaves covering it up. The lawn, i mean. But i did just spend all morning cultivating that nude look. . . if i cover it back up, i'll have wasted my time.

Or would i have? I mean, is it a waste of time to erase something, if what i wrote over it was better? And wouldn't the wind eventually do that anyway? Blow the leaves back around the yard, i mean. It isn't as though stray leaves from another lawn will obey the invisible boundaries of tidiness i just created. Better me than the wind, i agreed to myself. Shuffling is going to take all day, though, i'd better start running. . . maybe pick some up and toss them in the air for more even grass-coverage.

But would it be so bad to take all day? I'm always in such a hurry, and it's so nice outside. I can't quite see my breath, and i'm just warm enough in my hooded sweater. The browns are so vibrant, and i can smell the threat of snow in the coming months.

No, it would be better to take all day, i concluded. Soon, i'll have to bundle up and drive carefully over the treacherous roads, sitting uncomfortably in my car in clothing that makes me feel large and ungainly. Better to savor the browns before they fade to white.

This is what Autumn is. Autumn is taking all day re-blanketing the yard with leaves, wearing my hoodie, and marveling at the browns before the snow hides them all from me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cussing At Work

My boss and i have an interesting relationship. Usually, she likes me as a person and doesn't object to some of the aspects of my personality seem that irk a lot of other people. Usually.

Occasionally, though, she has to pull me into her office to discuss some of these more irksome personality traits because i've offended somebody else with them. Believe me, i've got quite a few unsavory characteristics, but the chart-topper has always been my choice in verbiage. I kind of figured that was the purpose of today's Come To Jesus, and my suspicions were confirmed when she handed me this memo.

Dear Employee:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be more easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do, however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with co-workers.

Therefore, a list of 18 new and innovative 'Try Saying' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

1, Try saying: I think you could use more training
Instead of: You don't know what the fuck you're doing.

2, Try saying: She's an aggressive go-getter
Instead of: She's a fucking bitch.

3, Try saying: Perhaps I can work late
Instead of: And when the fuck do you expect me to do this?!

4, Try saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead of: No fucking way.

5, Try saying: Really?
Instead of: You've got to be shitting me!

6, Try saying: Perhaps you should check with. . .
Instead of: Tell it to someone who gives a shit.

7, Try saying: I wasn't involved with the project
Instead of: It's not my fucking problem.

8, Try saying: That's interesting!
Instead of: What the fuck?!

9, Try saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented
Instead of: This shit won't work.

10, Try saying: I'll try to schedule that
Instead of: Why the fuck didn't you tell me sooner?!

11, Try saying: He's not familiar with the issues
Instead of: He's got his head up his ass.

12, Try saying: Excuse me, sir?
Instead of: Eat a dick.

13, Try saying: So you weren't happy with it?
Instead of: Kiss my ass.

14, Try saying: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.
Instead of: Do it yourfuckingself!

15, Try saying: I don't think you understand
Instead of: This is bullshit.

16, Try saying: I love a challenge
Instead of: This job blows ass.

17, Try saying: You want me to take care of that?
Instead of: Who fucking died and made you boss?

18, Try saying: He's somewhat insensitive
Instead of: He's a douche.

Hopefully using these alternative phrases will ease relations between you and your co-workers, while allowing you the freedom to express yourself in an environment that will make everybody, including you, more comfortable.

Thank you in advance for your full and immediate compliance.

Jane S******n
Senior Human Resources Consultant.

As i read through this memo, i was really outdoing myself in my heroic effort to maintain a straight face. I leapt through all the hoops: lip-biting, pressing my lips together, coughing, holding the paper at eye-level to conceal my face. . . seriously. I went the distance.

When i felt i was composed enough, i put the memo back on her desk and waited expectantly for the eminent reprimand. We stared at each other across the vast, paper-littered wasteland of a desk. The corner of my mouth twitched, partially with nervousness, but mostly with ill-concealed mirth. Finally, we both burst out laughing until we cried and our cheeks were sore. My stomach was in knots and her mascara had sustained irreparable damage.

Me: So, uh, someone doesn't appreciate my diction?

Rosalind: Nah, i got it in an email, and it reminded me of you.

Me: So this isn't a real write-up?

Rosalind: Nope.

Me: Jane S******n. Nice touch.

Rosalind: I thought so.

Me: This sounds like it was tailor made for me.

Rosalind: Yeah, i changed some of it to stuff you actually say.

Me: You're a real aggressive go-getter, you know that?

Rosalind: You weren't happy with it?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Commoner, Book 3 of Angie and Christie's Reading and Blogging Project

Imagine finding someone who really clicks with you; they're accomplished, independent, educated, and very much a forward-thinking individual. You're in love, and you want to make this person the one you spend the rest of your life with.

Now imagine you're the Crown Prince of Japan. Your life is a rigid, traditional one where the things you value so much in the girl you love are seen as flaws by everyone else in your world. Making this girl your wife would mean completely destroying everything about her that makes you love her in the first place, but you can't bear the thought of marrying anyone else. Would you marry her anyway?

The Commoner is the story of Haruko, the beautiful, intelligent, athletic, headstrong, and only daughter of a wealthy businessman. Haruko comes of age in the midst of social upheaval in post-WWII Japan. Her country is rebuilding and redefining itself, struggling to arrive the modern age while clinging to the thousands-year-old traditions the war interrupted. She meets the Crown Prince during a tennis match, where, to everyone's mortification, she beats him. After this, the Crown Prince continues inviting Haruko to play tennis with him, and their romance begins.

The Crown Prince sends his trusted adviser, Dr. Watanabe, to discuss the possibility of marriage with Haruko's parents. Horrified, they initially refuse the Prince's requests, worried for their daughter's future unhappiness at court due to her low birth. Her father sends her on a trip to Europe to give her the chance to think on the Prince's proposal. It's a historic request; though their family is wealthy, they are not a part of Japan's aristocracy. She chooses to accept, beginning a long life of sacrifice and suffering.

Initially, the book is an unlikely love story between a common woman and the Crown Prince of Japan. Once Haruko accepts the role as Crown Princess, a role she is ill-prepared for, the story shifts to one that tells the difficulties faced by a person transcending the traditional caste system. Due to her rise in social stature, she loses her family and friends. Her mother in law hates her. Her ladies-in-waiting resent her for being elevated above them, in defiance of their perception of the natural order of things. Her husband does his best to shield her from the prejudice of the court, but as the future Emperor of Japan, he has little time to devote to his wife's protection. Alone, Haruko suffers decades of bullying, mental abuse, constant criticism, and perpetual pressure to embody standards she'll never be allowed by those who consider themselves to be her betters to attain.

Shortly after her marriage, Haruko gives birth to a son, who is taken from her after only a few months to be raised by a legion of nurses and tutors. The nurses, under orders from the Empress, do everything they can to deny Haruko visitation with her son. Already suffering from postpartum depression, the taking of her son is the final straw that sends her into a nervous breakdown. She doesn't speak to anyone for a year.

Twenty years later, Empress Haruko is faced with a difficult decision. Her son the Crown Prince is in love with a commoner, a successful business woman named Keiko. The daughter of an ambassador, she has traveled the world, speaks five languages, and has a bright future ahead of her. She has refused him to pursue her career. He vows to leave the country with no heir if he cannot have her. Haruko, wanting her son to be happy, knows better than anyone what Keiko will have to give up, and the unhappiness she'll suffer if she accepts.

Imagine your son is in love with someone he really clicks with. . . she's
accomplished, independent, educated, and very much a forward-thinking individual. You know that helping your son make this woman the one he spends the rest of his life with will destroy everything about her that makes him love her in the first place, and so much more. It will cage her and slowly destroy her as a person. Would you choose the happiness of your son, or would you spare her your fate?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lethargy Attacks!

This exercise in visualization is based on the true stories of two girls' lives.

There was once a couple of friends, named Jinsha and Myrrh. Jinsha and Myrrh were usually the industrious sort of lasses; they would be productive at work, come home, cook good, healthy meals, exercise (Jinsha more than Myrrh), read, write, blog, and generally be engaged in their lives.

Gradually, over the period of a couple of weeks, they grew less involved in their own lives. A thick mantle of lethargy settled around their shoulders, whispering wicked things into their ears.

Lethargy, to Jinsha: You had a busy day at work, why not kick your feet up and order out? You've earned it!

Jinsha thought about what Lethargy said. It's true she had just completed the busy season at the college she worked at, preparing all of the computers for the students, installing the newest software, and debugging so that the students' studies could carry on uninterrupted. She worked longer hours than normal during this period, with no overtime pay. She DID deserve a little break! She put the ground turkey she'd been planning to use in that night's whole wheat pasta dish back in the refrigerator and ordered out for Chinese instead. She didn't hear Lethargy gloating quietly to itself.

Meanwhile, Lethargy was working Its evil on Myrrh as well.

Lethargy, to Myrrh: You've been pushing yourself too hard, what with all that teaching you've been doing lately. Why not skip your blog commenting tonight, and watch some TV? Give your mind a rest.

Myrrh thought about what Lethargy had said. It's true, she'd been preparing her technician candidates for the better part of three months, spending extra hours at work, and even bringing work home with her, to make practice quizzes and problems for her students. Her brain was just tired! Some TV would be nice for a change. She logged off of her computer and went and sat on the couch instead. Lethargy crowed in triumph, but she didn't hear it over the explosions in the movie she'd put on.

Yes, it all began innocently enough. Jinsha and Myrrh really did work very hard, both at work and caring for their families. Every night, Lethargy would remind them of the things they'd done, cooing softly and comforting them.

Lethargy, to Jinsha: You did it! 5K! Why don't you rest your feet and watch a movie?

Lethargy, to Myrrh: Your weight loss has been going so well! You deserve a pizza night every now and then!

Lethargy, to Jinsha: Softball, and soccer, and choir, and cheerleading, and homework. . . you've devoted a lot of time to your kids lately. You're such a good mother! Why not treat yourself tonight? Don't count points for those drinks, just enjoy.

Lethargy, to Myrrh: The sink is full of dirty dishes. Haven't you cleaned enough for one day? All that dusting and straightening up for the Board of Pharmacy inspection. Just hit a drive through and put on a movie or a show.

Lethargy, to Jinsha and Myrrh: It's getting colder outside. Why don't you go inside and snuggle up with your husband? He loves spending time with you.

As Jinsha and Myrrh made themselves more and more comfortable, Lethargy grew fatter and heavier around their shoulders. They practically trudged in through their doors after work, grateful to collapse on the couch and veg out for a while. They had dirty houses and unwritten stories knocking around in their heads, but they were just SO tired after all they had to do! Lethargy had grown silent, not even bothering to whisper Its calming sloth into their ears. By then, they were talking themselves into feeding Lethargy, and It didn't have to spend any effort at all. It was leading a very comfortable life, indeed.

One day, Jinsha realized she'd skipped several Weightwatcher meetings in a row, and that she was contemplating skipping another. That same day, Myrrh realized the exact same thing. They decided to talk to each other about this uncharacteristic laziness that was threatening to consume everything they'd worked so hard to achieve. They were stunned to realize that they were both experiencing the same listlessness and lack of focus.

Jinsha: I haven't finished my book yet. I'm eating like crap, and i've blown off exercise for ages now.

Myrrh: I haven't written anything in weeks! I've put on so much weight, and i can't seem to eat anything healthy to save my life!

Jinsha: I've been watching TV to avoid thinking.

Myrrh: I haven't been reading or commenting on blogs to avoid thinking.

Jinsha and Myrrh: What's wrong with me?

Lethargy sensed this uneasiness emanating from Its prey, and realized It was in danger. Desperately, It began whispering into their ears, hoping to disrupt the conversation, but the damage had been done. Lethargy had been exposed.

Myrrh: Let's take a walk together Saturday.

Jinsha: That'd be lovely! We can plan to walk for tennish minutes.

Myrrh: And if we walk longer, great!

Jinsha: And if we don't,

Jinsha and Myrrh: At least we did SOMETHING.

Lethargy shrieked in terror, but they didn't hear It over their excited planning. They knew Lethargy was a formidable enemy, not easily defeated, but they began building their arsenal little by little. They armed themselves with motivation and interest; with good recipes and smart shopping. They wounded It with exercise, both of the mind and of the body. They struck mortal blows with good meals and lively participation in their lives. Through effort and good sense, they beat Lethargy off of their backs and sent It packing. They smiled in satisfaction.

But they knew that though they'd won the battle, the war was far from over. They knew that steady vigilance would be required to keep It at bay, and they swore to themselves and to each other that they would keep that vigil.

This is for us, Angie. Let it be the first blow against the Thing that is setting us against ourselves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Like Water for Chocolate, Book 2 of Angie and Christie's Literature and Blogging Project

I'll do my best not to gush over this one.

This was the most interesting melding of a recipe book and fiction i've ever read. It was 12 recipes accompanied by the story of the somewhat-supernatural events in the life of Tita De La Garza.
Each story begins with a recipe, and unfolds during the directions to prepare it.

Tita was born to a woman, Mama Elena, who ruled her household with an iron fist. She was raised by the cook, Nacha, because Mama Elena couldn't breastfeed. Nacha raised Tita in the kitchen, passing on generations of recipes and general kitchen know-how, developing Tita into a marvelous cook in her own right.

Mama Elena had two other daughters before Tita, and it was Tita's fate, according to an ancient family tradition, never to marry and to stay with her mother to take care of her until she died.

Tita discovered this fate on the day her boyfriend, Pedro, came over to ask Mama Elena for her hand in marriage. Mama Elena instead offered her middle daughter, Rosaura, whom Pedro reluctantly accepted as his bride. "If i cannot marry the one i love, it is best to marry her sister, so that i can be near her always," he told his father, who chided him for his broken promise to Tita to love her forever.

Tita then proceeded to ruin her sister's wedding by cooking the wedding feast with tears and bitterness in her heart, which gave all of the guests a nasty case of food poisoning. Unfortunately, the feast also killed Nacha, who after eating the cake infused with Tita's tears, dies of the heartbreak Tita feels.

After that, unable to express her love any way except through the loving preparation of food, Tita and Pedro began their 22-year unconsummated love affair.

I loved this book. It had everything- food, romance, intrigue, unrequited love, prostitution, rebellious teenagers, and the purest form of hatred: the love of a daughter turned sour toward her overbearing, abusive mother.

The one thing i struggled with was the relationship between Pedro and Tita. After his marriage, Pedro continued to court Tita, when he should have released her to find her own happiness. She was never truly free to seek the love of someone who could love her back freely and openly, and the one time she did almost find that love, he treated her badly.

I disliked him for his hypocrisy. He couldn't bear the pain of seeing Tita with another man, though he had no problems with inflicting that very same pain on her by marrying her sister. I felt like if he couldn't bear to see her with someone else, he should've waited for Mama Elena to die.

I loved this book. You should read it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Language of Fear, Book 1.5 of Angie and Christie's Reading and Blogging Project

I'd like to start off by saying how annoyed i am with the fact that the blog categories can include something dumb like podcasts, but not one about books and literature. HINT, HINT, Tom!

Now, on to the book.

I called this book "1.5" because it didn't quite qualify as #2. I read about 2/3 of it, and put it down for good. It's a book of short stories that i suppose are intended as horror, but simply came off as repugnant to my less-than-delicate sensibilities. I felt like Mr. James' goal was to shock and offend his readers as much as humanly possible; bravo, Mr. James! *golf clap* Mission accomplished.

The first story was about a heroin addict who tried to sell his prostitute girlfriend's toddler for drugs. He almost succeeded, but his girlfriend went over to the drug dealer's abode and got her back. This story was the best one i read, and i had high hopes for the rest of the book.

From there, those hopes were dashed against such subjects as incest, to-the-death cage fighting, wife killing at a phone prostitute's behest (actually that story wasn't bad either), more incest, teen suicide, some more incest (wtf?!), and finally, a guy killing his own dog. The guy killing the dog was the last straw for me, and i had no interest in reading any more after that.

I wouldn't call myself easy to offend. I wouldn't call myself sensitive. However, i simply don't enjoy a read where i feel like the author's entire intent is to gross me out on some level (usually more than one). If this is your bag, then this book is for you!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Long, Rambling Story of the Midget Who Accosted Me At The Mall

I stood there, my hand still holding the door open
, knowing that no good could come of this. The Useless Hallway was empty, as usual, and i stepped inside, bracing myself for another round of fake smiles and enthusiasm in hopes of landing employment.

Once i felt sufficiently braced, and i made the decision to walk into the Den of Corporate Evil, i was momentarily distracted by the opening of a door i hadn't noticed before. It was a normal, innocuous looking white door that blended very well with the rest of the white wall; it was no wonder i hadn't noticed it.

The person who opened the door, on the other hand, was not normal or innocuous at all. It was a midget with the worst duck's ass hair do i'd ever seen in my life! In case you don't know what duck's ass hair looks like, let me provide you with a visual:


This guy's hair was greasier, and had an obnoxious little tail dangling from the bottom in a spiral. The whole thing was really just a particularly clever, but completely ineffective comb-over. Or maybe it was effective. After all, i was completely absorbed by the hideousness of the remaining hair, which distracted me from the bald spot it was designed to hide.

He turned to look at me, and his face lit up like the Marshall Fields Christmas tree. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt that was opened up down to his hairy navel, displaying some gold chains that were busy tangling themselves up in a very fine chest-lawn. He smiled a wide smile at me. . . and it was the icing on the cupcake that was this little man. His mouth was full of yellowish brown teeth that jutted out at the most unimaginable angles, with one single, solitary straight tooth encased in gold.

He was generously ignoring what i can only imagine was a cross between a horrified and fascinated look on my face.

"Hello, my friend!" he greeted me, "Would you be interested in taking a market survey?"

I took a minute to marshal my expression and smile back at him. I mean, i know staring is impolite and all, but this guy HAD to be used to it. He was dealing with my unintentional rudeness like a pro. I took another minute to realize he'd asked me a question, and was patiently waiting for an answer. Yup, this guy was definitely used to it.

I told him i didn't have time, as i had to be at work in a few hours, and was here to apply for jobs. He assured me it'd only take about ten minutes of my time, and that i'd get twenty bucks for completing the survey. I had to think about it. I really needed the money, but i really needed a job, too. But what's ten minutes out of my day? And, more importantly, how do you say 'no' to a midget with a duck's ass comb over?!

When you get down to it, the answer is simple: You don't. I followed him through the innocuous door in the Useless Hallway.

We emerged unscathed into a brightly-lit, windowless office. We walked through the office and through another doorway that led into what appeared to be a conference room. There were two other people seated at the long, rectangular table, pencils and forms spread out before them. There was an empty place in front of another pencil and set of forms, and the midget gestured toward the seat. I sat.

At the head of the table was one of those TV-VCR combos, and the midget informed us that he would play a series of commercials for us, and then stop the tape so that we could answer one section of questions. The line of questioning was one of those Which Commercial Was Most Memorable sort of things, and as it turns out, the market survey was being given by Olive Garden.

The midget then put in another tape, and told us to watch a series of Olive Garden commercials and fill out the rest of the questions. From the other office, we heard a door slam, and a high, screeching voice.


A look of irritation crossed Jerome's features and he hit play on the VCR before excusing himself into the next room. One of the guys i was left in the room looked at me with barely suppressed mirth.

"Jerome??" he said, incredulity and snickers escaping his clenched teeth.

"Yeah, i had him pegged for a Leeroy or something," the other guy chortled. It made me wonder if there was even an appropriate name available for a duck's ass combover-wearing midget.

From the next room, angry murmurs escalated into muffled shouting. The muffled shouting rapidly evolved into full-fledged shouting; the midget and the unseen woman were having it out in the next room. I felt a pang of sympathy for Jerome, being harangued almost-publicly by this harpy-voiced woman. I wouldn't even want to be harangued privately by a voice like that.

The tape ended, and i supplied answers to questions i couldn't even focus on, not that it would have mattered since i didn't hear a word of the commercials anyway. It's hard enough to resist the urge to flip away from a commercial on a normal day; when there's a shouting-death-match happening between Jerome the Midget and Harpy Voice next door. . . well. You understand.

As the battle raged on, the three of us sat there looking uncomfortably at one another.

"Should we interrupt them?" the Snickering Man asked. The Chortling Man coughed one of those fake attention-getting coughs as Jerome re-entered the room, smiling as though nothing at all were wrong. He collected our questionnaires, collected our names, and then handed out twenty dollar bills to us. We began to shuffle out of the office.

I felt something tug on the sleeve of my shirt, and i turned around to see Jerome standing there, watching the other two guys leave. As soon as they were out of sight, he slipped an envelope into my hand, winked at me, and turned me loose. I strode out of the office, glancing over at Harpy Voice, who looked exactly like she sounded. I smiled wanly at her and she scowled at me in return. I tried to bolt for the door without looking like i was trying to bolt for the door.

Once i was safely back out in the real world, i decided not to go applying for jobs in that mall after all. I exited the mall through the door i entered, suppressing an irrational fear that i wouldn't be able to find my car. Remembering the envelope, i opened it up and found $75 worth of Olive Garden gift cards inside. I recalled my earlier feeling that no good could come of my visit here today, and was happy, for a change, to be wrong.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Longer-Than-Necessary Prelude To The Story Of The Midget Who Accosted Me At The Mall

First, i feel the need to disclaim- I do NOT frequent malls. In fact, when i find myself faced with the undeniable necessity of going to one, i need days of mental preparation. The over-aggressive middle-aisle-kiosk salesfolk; the snotty teenagers with the shrill, ear-rupturing laughs; the oblivious Me People who walk against the flow of traffic; dodging the power walkers who will NOT stop or slow down on account of my unhappy ass. . . they all make me want to torch the building once i've concluded my sordid business.

But there was a point in time when i needed a second job, and i was desperate enough to seek employment in the vast Temples of Capitalism. After weeks of railing against the dire financial straits that required such an unthinkable act, i put on some khakis and a polo shirt (two of my least favourite things to wear in the world- polo shirt material is SO itchy!) and made my circuit of the three area malls.

After spending most of the day looking like a complete tool in my khaki-and-polo attire, requesting applications in two malls, i realized that i did not belong to the demographic desired by any mall retailer. I wasn't goth enough to work at Hot Topic, i didn't have enough tattoos or piercings to work at Spencers or any of the eclectic shoe stores or the music stores, i wasn't old or conservative-looking enough to work at any of the knick-knack shops, i wasn't thin or pretty enough to work at the lingerie stores or the thin-people clothing stores, i wasn't fat enough to work at the plus size stores, and my desire for medical benefits pretty much ruled out every restaurant in the food court. Needless, to say, i was feeling more than a little dejected when i entered the third and final shopping Hell.

I should have known something was going to happen to me when i was driving around the parking lot, looking for the Sears. For some reason, i have an OCD need to park near and enter a mall through Sears, but this mall did not have one. Instead, i parked near the Dillards, and entered through one of those doors at the end of one of those hallways with nothing but benches, vending machines, and lighted free-standing advertisement obelisks. Those hallways always made me feel kind of uneasy- they're always abandoned, no matter how packed the place is, and they don't really serve any purpose. Teenagers don't even hide down them to make out on the benches; it's like they sense the wrongness of the meaningless hallways, too.

But what was i going to do? THERE WAS NO SEARS! It was an unnatural, disfigured mall i was steeling myself to enter, against my better judgment.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Random Snippets

I went to put the cap on my marker when he stopped me.

"Wait," he said to me, reaching for the marker in my hand. I pulled the cap back off for him and held it up so he could see it better. He grinned and pulled the cap off of his marker to reveal a nib that was at least an inch longer than mine.

"Oh, great, now i have size issues," i harumphed at him.



"I don't know, Scott! Jesus! And how are those two questions even related?"

A moment of tense silence ensues, and everyone bursts out laughing.


He grasped my hair and yanked my head back. A gasp of fear escaped my lips as his eyes probed, and then saw right through me. His stony expression melted slightly, confusion beginning to colour his pallor.

"Just a little taste then. I have to know, i have to taste," he murmured as his fangs protruded. I went limp in his arms. There was nothing left to fear. He slowly bent his face down to mine, and he began smelling me behind my ears. Then down to my neck and up my chin to my lips. He touched his fangs to my lips ever-so gently.

"Just a little taste," he assured me again, and i felt the smallest pricking in my lower lip as he carried out his promise. He retracted his fangs like a cat sheathing its claws and began to lick my lips, and then to kiss me deeply.


I dialed the number to bring the elevator up from the secret basement. I knew they were monitoring, and that when i did this, i would confirm their suspicions. But i had no choice. I had to get away, and where else could i go?


I felt it eating its way through me, the burning, gnawing pain in my stomach broadcasting its progress. I fell to my knees, clutching my stomach, thinking that this isn't how it was supposed to be.