A Time to Work

NaBloPoMo 2015Day 4: My Dream Job

I bore easily. It’s how I roll. As much as I would love to be paid to sit on a beach every day, I know I would eventually tire of it. It would take a long, long time for that to happen, but trust me, it would happen. Because of this personality quirk, I have many dream jobs. Most of them involve making the most money for as little work as possible – i.e. the American Dream – but none of them are boring.

Here are my top ten:

1. Lifeguard – In Hawaii.  But I don’t want to rescue anyone.  Too much work.
2. SR-71 Pilot – Those babies are badass. The pilots who fly them are, too. I qualify.  In my own mind, at least.
3. Travel Writer – Visit far away places, sample the local cuisine, and write. Heaven.  Well, as long as I don’t have to eat insects.  That’s not happening.
4. Singer – So far, my only concerts have been in the shower.  My cat has nothing nice to say about my performances. Everyone’s a critic.
5. Spy – I know I would suck at this, but the movie True Lies is to blame for my fantasy that this is even remotely possible.
6. Cat Lady – Not actually “a job,” but my son is convinced it’s my calling.
7. Aerobatic Pilot – I would have to get over my tendency to laugh hysterically during maneuvers, but if I can pull off espionage, I can do anything.
8. Dominatrix – As a mother, I’m used to no one doing anything I tell them to do. Ever.  This would be a lovely change of pace.
9. Grandmother – Forget the mom gig, too much work for too little reward. Grandmas get to do all the fun stuff with kids: get them all twitchy on sugar, keep them up all night, lavish them with noisy, expensive gifts, and then hand them back to their parents for detox. It’s perfect!
10. Empress – I want to be in charge, but elections are lame.  Also, I would rock a tiara.

If you think about it, a writer can be anything they want to be simply by seeing through the eyes of their characters.  In other words, I already have my dream job.  I’m a writer.  Although, Empress Tawn does have a nice ring to it.

Come back tomorrow for Day 5: My Proudest Moment. It should be a good one.  I can’t wait to find out what it is.

What did you say?

NaBloPoMo 2015

Day 3: My Favorite Quote

This is a tough one. I don’t really have a favorite quote. I’ve spent all day thinking about it and I haven’t been able to settle on a single one. Do I get all deep and philosophical or do I go for the funny bone? Do I source a movie, a book, or maybe a comedian? And how do I get it done soon since I’ve already wasted the day thinking about it?  Throwing in the towel on the third day is not an option.

Then it hits me. My absolute favorite people to quote are my kids. Here are ten conversations and observations The Boy (age 12) and The Girl (age 7) have had in the past six months:

(While walking home from school)
The Girl: I want to go to Mexico. They have the Day of the Dead, and tacos, and quesadillas, and a big party.

(While watching a Monster High movie for the first time)
The Girl: Monsters are hard core.

Me: So, what do you want to be for Halloween?
The Girl: I know! A piece of candy! Or pie! Or a PEEP!!
The Boy: You don’t even like peeps, hypocrite.

The Girl: Your hair looks nice. Where did you get that eye shadow?
Me: Why?
The Girl: Because I think it’s mine.

(Working on unit conversion equations)
Me: Do you know how many centimeters in a meter?
The Boy: No.
Me: Okay. Do you know what “centi” stands for?
The Boy: (Looking at me like I’m an idiot) Of course. Chocolate.
Me: …wha…?
The Boy: King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk. Kilo, hecto, deca, deci, centi, and milli.
Me: (Silently cursed myself for thinking I could get through a homework session without wine)

The Girl: Girls are better than boys. Know why?
Me: Um, why?
The Girl: Because me and my friends were chasing boys today and I caught one.
Me: What did you do when you caught him?
The Girl: I told him he’s too slow, of course.

Me: Hey, check out this fundraiser Dairy Queen is doing.
The Girl: Finally! Now I can get ice cream and help kids!
The Boy: Wait… we get ice cream?

The Girl: I must have a cold because my nose is running.
Me: Your nose is running because you’re crying. Again.
The Girl: (crying) I am not!

The Boy: This ice cream scoop doesn’t work!
Me: That’s because it’s a soup ladle.

The Boy: Truth or dare?
The Girl: Dare.
The Boy: Sing a song about how much of a butt you are.
The Girl: I’m not a butt!

And finally, a bonus:

Me: Why don’t you rub my feet?
The Girl: Well, okay, but I’m gonna need some gloves.

Tune in tomorrow when I write about my dream job. I’m fairly certain it will involve explosives, marshmallow fluff, and a spy plane.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Today’s blog topic is “20 Facts About Me.”   (deep breath)  Here goes!

1. I have wanted to fly a Learjet since the first moment I caught sight of one of those sexy beasts sitting coyly on the tarmac. As a cargo pilot, I finally got my chance, and each and every hour I logged at the controls of that glorious machine was better than the last.

2. When I was a child, I wanted to be a fire truck. Not a firefighter, a fire truck. I loved the blaring horn and sirens and was determined to be just as loud forever.

3. Contrary to popular belief, I’m an introvert. I feel awkward in most social situations and I usually pull at least one George Costanza a week by thinking of the best comment ever days after I had the opportunity to say it.

4. I love to read science fiction and fantasy. I used to steal my parents’ Omni and Asimov magazines and read them at night by flashlight under the covers.

5. I don’t scream on roller coasters, I laugh. In fact, I laugh hysterically, which is why I can never be an aerobatic pilot in spite of my complete fangirl adoration of Patty Wagstaff.

6. I am uncompromisingly optimistic. I honestly believe that so many wonderful things have happened in my life simply because those are the only possibilities I am mentally able to entertain. Along those same lines, I don’t think I will ever win a multi-million dollar Powerball because I can’t visualize it. Well, that and I never buy a ticket because I have books to buy.

7. There is not one thing I dislike about libraries.

8. I have been to Canada, Mexico, and Germany. The first two were for work, and the last as a vacation. I would travel everywhere if I did win a multi-million dollar Powerball.

9. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. Her freezer was always stocked with popsicles and ice cream, and I would stuff myself silly every time I visited. I miss her.

10. I can turn my tongue upside down. So can my husband. Since this ability is inherited, my children can do it, too. We are a blast at parties.

11. I hate doing dishes. I have purposefully broken a few in an attempt to weasel out of this particular chore. It didn’t work. Sorry Mom.

12. I want a motorcycle. My husband knows this and thinks I am delusional. I disagree entirely.

13. I have never broken a bone, but once I stepped on a sewing needle and skewered my big toe. All the way through. My kids hate that story.

14. I was called into the principal’s office in eighth grade for a conference with my parents and my algebra teacher because I was not doing my homework. I believed that I shouldn’t have to do homework since I aced all of the tests. My life has since come full circle in that I must now help my children with their homework. This, of course, makes me hate homework even more than I did in eighth grade.

15. I currently have two tattoos and another one planned. My mother does not approve.

16. I can’t stand cooked spinach, asparagus, or anything “creamed.” Why would anyone do that to a perfectly good vegetable?

17. President Ronald Reagan spoke at my high school in 1984 and I flew (then) Senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail for a week before he won the Democratic nomination in 2008.

18. I have a ukulele that I love to play. I took a few lessons from a wonderful and very talented teacher, but stopped going after I got carried away playing and singing along with “Let It Be” in class and was too embarrassed to go back.

19. I recently moved from northern Illinois to central Arizona. It is November 2nd, and I am typing this next to my open porch door wearing a sundress. If I never see snow again, it will be too soon.

20. I am a procrastinator. Case in point, I am writing this at 9:30 p.m. when I had all day to do it. Heck, I could have even started it yesterday if I wasn’t such a huge procrastinator. I have been known to start college papers the day after they were due – I would make up some lame excuse  – and stay up all night to write them.

Well, there you have it. Twenty facts about me. Come back tomorrow and I’ll share some thoughts about my favorite quote.  Hopefully, I will post it before 10:00 p.m., but no guarantees.  I have episodes of Walking Dead to watch.

Good Gravy, A little Help Here?

I hate shopping.  I particularly hate shopping for clothes. This is because the fashion industry has joined ranks with the diet industry and, through the insidious use of media, has waged a secret, evil war on my self confidence.

Before you start fitting me for a nice jacket that buckles in the back–I say “fitting” because, depending on the brand, I could be anywhere from a Medium to a Women’s XXXL– please be so kind as to indulge me in a little game.  All you have to do is match the shirt I’m wearing in the following pictures to the size listed on the label.  Easy, right?

One of these shirt is a Large, one is an XL, and one is a XXL.  Which is which?

CAM00271

No makeup…

CAM00272

No photoshop…

CAM00276

All woman, baby.

Here are the tags in the same order that I am wearing them.

CAM00273

Tightest.

CAM00274

Best fit.

CAM00275

Loosest.

How is it, you may ask, that the tightest frikkin’ shirt is also the one listed as the largest size?!  I know why.  Because it is a “ladies” 2XL.  It is not a shirt for a man.  It is not a shirt for a woman.  It is a shirt designed solely to fit some fictitious “lady,” who, it seems, is now under the false assumption that she is much larger than she thinks she is and should probably eat nothing but rice cakes and water until she’s beautiful again.

Still think I’ve got my tinfoil hat on too tight?  Take a look at the quality of women’s clothing in comparison with men’s clothing.  That Ladies XXL up there is made of thinner, less sturdy material than the other two shirts.  But don’t take my word for it.  Go to any clothing store and compare sizes, workmanship, and materials for yourself.

Then, compare the prices.  It seems insane to me that while women are still paid less than men for the same work, we are charged more for inferior clothing, health care, and even something as innocuous as a haircut.  In 2015.

While you ponder that, I’ll be over here eating my daily allotment of rice cakes, brushing up on my curtsies, and plotting the downfall of the fashion/diet juggernaut of evil.  M’lord.

Guest Post: A Man’s Most Prized Possession

Thank you to my dear friend Jim for letting me post this gem.  I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed it.  

DEAR DIARY: Sunday, July 27, 2014 “A man’s most prized possession”

Yesterday I posted the following on Facebook: “Tip of the day. Careful where you apply Icy Hot.” I now put the tale to pen, confident that my diary is always under lock and key.

[Tangent: Anyone that argues what the male, from toddler to full grown man, views as their most prized possession, hasn’t been around a male toddler and seen their unashamed fascination with their anatomy (sometimes to the embarrassment of their parents). And if a man ever denies it, he is just out right lying. For me, it has played a part in having three wonderful daughters, been the source of pleasure, poor judgment, and on at least several occasions in my lifetime, particularly in junior high, unscheduled mind-of-its-own embarrassment.] 

My incident with the Icy Hot (similar to Ben-Gay…is that still around?) wasn’t the first brush with disaster for my prized possession in my life.

As a youth growing up in Ohio, we would leave the house at sunrise and not return until sunset, exploring miles of woods, creeks and old barns all summer long.

[Tangent: I am tired of reading posts from my generation on Facebook saying how THEY didn’t spend their lives indoors playing video games, but would be outside experiencing life. It is usually said with a level of superiority over the current younger generation. Guess what? We didn’t because they didn’t exist! Don’t kid yourself, everyone of us would be inside playing the video games of today if they were any good back then. If you want your kids to go outside more, just limit their game time, but don’t deceive yourself with a false sense of superiority. We just didn’t have the same distractions. It wasn’t better values you held as a youth.]

One such occasion resulted in urinating in the woods, shortly after apparently touching poison ivy. Let me just say that Sunday in church resulted in huge embarrassment for my parents as I sat in the pew itching through corduroy dress pants, appearing to all others, to show, even for a preteen, an unnatural fascination with my prized possession. That was not a comfortable week in my life. 

The second brush with disaster was the decision to pee on an electric fence (a result of a dare from a neighbor) one summer afternoon. Not a wise choice I made that day.

And of course there have been several close calls with zippers through the years.

However, the Icy Hot incident began innocently enough. I have been suffering from lower back pain for several days. In desperation, I found an old jar of Icy Hot in a medicine cabinet. My intention was to self-apply it to my lower back and upper buttocks at my hip joints, both of which were extremely sore from muscular pain. 

With my boxers lowered and my left hand holding up my t-shirt, I used my free hand to scoop out a glob of the Icy Hot, reach around, and apply it. I’m sure it wasn’t a dignified sight, but neither was my old man walk the last few days from the back pain, so it was well worth it. Besides, I was alone. And, no one will ever know of this thanks to my crack diary security.

What happened next was even less dignified and graceful. The twisting required to apply the paste caused a sudden back spasm that would have dropped me to one knee. However, with my boxers around my knees and off balance holding my shirt up with my free hand and twisting with a bad back, I went down in a crumpled mess.

The pain to my back was excruciating. So much so that I loudly dropped the F-Bomb.

[Tangent: Remember in a Christmas Story when Ralph drops the F-Bomb? His mother asks where he learned the word, and he wants to tell her that he heard his dad say it on numerous occasions. But because of fear for admitting that, he blames the school bully (who is remotely punished when his mom calls the bully’s mom). Sadly, at moments of stubbed toes and severe pain, I have let it slip around my kids on several occasions.]

From outside the room, I hear third-of-three daughter call out, “are you okay, Dad?” with genuine concern, since I only use the F-bomb at times of severe pain.

I promptly thanked her for checking and said that I was. And for that brief moment I was. But, if you have ever used Icy Hot, you know there is a delay.

Somehow, mid mangled fall, I had tried to pull my boxers up from around my knees to aid in balance with the hand that, you guessed it, was covered in Icy Hot paste. Sadly as the boxers came up just as my fall completed, my hand made contact with the entire area of my prized possession. 

And for a very brief moment, I thought all would be okay. Until the medicine began to do what it was designed for. It started with a slow burn, reaching a crescendo of heat shortly after. This time, I let three F-Bombs in a row fly, in very rapid succession, not even having the mental capacity to question the poor parental skills I was showing. 

So, diary, that is why I shared my humorous warning on Facebook yesterday. 

P.S. Don’t take yourselves so seriously in this life and learn to laugh at the things we are faced with every day. And don’t forget to write for fun every once in a while. I was inspired to write this by Mike Rowe’s (of Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch fame) tales on his Facebook page, including an intestinal disaster while painting the Golden Gate bridge. Laugh at life, laugh at yourselves. And be careful where you apply Icy Hot.

Walking Log #2 – Oh Look! A Bunny!

Today, I learned that sometimes there are simply too many distractions to allow my mind to incubate anything useful – or even coherent – during my walk.  Here are my notes:

Dreamed of giving birth in the shower.

I should print “Darkling Drake” so I can have a hard copy to review

Leaves a brighter green against the dark blue clouds

Hey! Don’t poop on me bird!

Yep. Picking up that candy wrapper.

What if I don’t think of anything when I walk?

Shit, I’m tired.

There are baby birds in that nest!  Aw!

Yeah.  Maybe this whole “take a peek inside my head while I walk” idea isn’t as genius as I thought.

A Tale About a Whale

A very good friend of mine once said, “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a small fish in a big pond.” He was referring to his Maui Wowi Hawaiian business, but I think it also applies to most anything. But it’s a funny thing about fish in bowls:  it isn’t necessarily true that a fish will only grow as large as the tank will allow.

Long ago, my parents once had a 40 gallon fish tank, in which – among the mollies, neon tetras, and tiger barbs – they kept the required bottom feeder, a Plecostomus. We called it the P-fish because we couldn’t pronounce plecostomus. It was tiny when we first brought it home from the pet store. Many years later, not so much.  In fact, my kids were able to re-dub the monster fish it had grown into “The Whale.”

Image

A reasonable facsimile of The Whale

I kid you not, this thing was immense.  At least a foot long.  It once jumped out of the tank and fell down a flight of stairs and survived. No, it thrived.  It outlived generations of fish, and probably ate quite a few of them toward the end.

When I inherited The Whale, it had to have been about 1000 years old in fish years, and it was way too big for the tank.  I contacted a local pet store to see if I could sell it or even donate it just to get rid of it. They weren’t even remotely interested.  They informed me that this particular type of fish will outgrow it’s tank every time, and I would be very lucky to find a new home for it. My only recourse? Release into the wild, serve it up for dinner, or wait for it to die. None of these options were very appealing.

I plead the 5th as to which route I took. However, IF I went with the first choice, I would have consoled myself with thoughts along the lines of, “It’s not like I released a python into the Everglades,” or “I certainly didn’t flush a baby alligator down the commode.” This thing was essentially a catfish that needed a bigger bowl, and IF I had it in me to do something as potentially illegal as introducing this creature into a foreign ecosystem, I would have taken precautions to be sure that its new home would be big enough to guarantee that we wouldn’t have a real whale to contend with in about 20 years time.  If I had gone with the second option, I would have consoled myself by thinking, “Everything tastes good fried.”  The third choice wasn’t really a choice at all.

I’m telling you this tale because, lately, I’ve begun to relate to The Whale. I’ve been feeling like a fish who has outgrown her tank, and been unexpectedly released into a much, much larger body of water (allegedly). Once I started writing, I was suddenly a minnow in an immense sea of bloggers, writers, authors, editors, and publishers.

It’s exhilarating – and scary as hell – even more so than flying had been at times.  Just like the proverbial “small fish in a big pond,” I’m going to have to learn the waters, grow, and just keep swimming – or, in my case, writing – so that one day, the sea won’t seem to be such a big, scary place after all.  Either that, or start eating mayonnaise so that I taste good on toast.

I have friends who tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book.  To them I say: “Come on in! There’s plenty of room and the water’s fine.  Just stay away from the mayo – I’m sure it’s gone bad by now.”