Thursday, October 31, 2013


I asked my husband if he trick-or-treated as a kid in Ireland.  "Oh, sure," he said.  I wanted to know about their candy.  Did they have fun-size versions of their regular candy bars?  "No, we mostly got money or fruit."  Money!  Huh.  I never got one thin dime as a trick-or-treater.  Not even dusty pennies the lady of the house wanted to get rid of.  Fruit?  Not that either.  Not with the razors in apples stories going around.  I think I read somewhere online that ended up being an urban legend, but who knows.

I got some homemade treats – popcorn balls mostly, but we couldn't keep those.  I felt sorry for the people who made them.  Probably spent a few hours shaping and wrapping the treats only to have a cautious mother dump them in the garbage.  It was hard for me to understand why we went to the houses of people who we thought might want to poison us, but candy was being handed out and I wanted in on that deal.

My candy taste palette was about middle of the road.  Not too picky but I of course loved candy bars the best with Snickers at the top o' the heap:  jaw-pinching caramel and satisfying peanuts to crush with your molars, milk chocolate that melted in the wrapper from gripping it tightly in your fist before eating.  Precious bounty, magical amulet that transported you to realms of great candy bar joy…

Crackles were neck and neck with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but a full size Crackle beat a mini Reese's.  Or it depended upon my mood.  Maybe I wasn't in a very peanut buttery place that year and the crisp bit of rice on the roof of my mouth was more my thing.

Once your chocolate-based candies were gone, fruits were next.  A runner-up to be sure but when you were high on sugar and your addiction was calling the shots you didn't complain.  As a kid, I don't know about you, but I referred to flavors as colors, as in "what flavor did you get?"  "Purple."  Purple is the best flavor, then red, then green, then yellow, then orange.   I don't recall what candy this rating system was based on, but it could have been jelly beans.  I don't remember, honestly.  I was flying by then on pure sugar dosed with artificial flavoring.  (Mmm….chemicals.)  That hierarchy of color-flavors stands to this day (in my mind anyway). I always wondered what flavor manufacturers were going for with orange, because it sure didn't taste like the fruit.  Perhaps orange highway cones?

I tried to picture my husband as a boy coming home with his Halloween loot and dropping to the floor to count his pence and sort his fruit.  I don't imagine he was bouncing off the walls from eating a nice golden delicious right before bed.  The money he got could have been used to buy candy though, I reminded myself, silently.  He could have bought whatever he liked!  Not that shitty candy that people in other neighborhoods bought – they just didn't get it, I would think as I walked down their front steps, trying to prepare my mouth for green candy that would taste like postage stamp glue or red that tasted like grandma's lipstick.  But I was a kid, what was I supposed to do, not eat the candy?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

let us be grumpy for a moment

Can we talk about pajamas in public? Sweat pants weren't casual enough? I thought we had all agreed that sweats, depending upon what you consider sweats, were the last frontier in public wear.  Not to sound Victorian, but how about a little effort, pajama bottom people?  Show you care.  We don't want to see your droopy asses in flannels dotted with teddy bears in nightshirts while you're in line at CVS.  Could it be that you're depressed?  Have I been insensitive here, about to launch into a rant not fit for an open-mike night? If you are only out of bed long enough to get your prescriptions, and you just couldn't muster the energy to slip on pants, mea culpa.  I have been down myself.  Really down. Not pajama-bottom-in-public down, but down, blue.

However, however, if it's your intention to show the world "this is how much I care about what you think," then bravo.  You win Life.  No one is as jaded, carefree, and unaffected as you.  Twelve thousand volts of electricity couldn't make you give a damn.  We got it!  No need to kick off your ratty flip-flops or sloppy sleeping shirt to get the message across.  I'm uptight and You Are Cool.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday afternoon haiku

hipster mustache guy
stop your whistling to music
the alley echoes

Monday, July 29, 2013

movie mind

What is it about seeing a movie that makes you feel like you're in a movie afterwards?  Maybe it's just me.  Or maybe I'm not making any sense.  "Does that make sense?" Everyone I deal with in my job uses that expression.  I want to say/write back to them "Do you think I'm stupid?  We speak the same language.  Daaaaammmnn."

Back to the movie thing.  My theory is that you've been so recently involved in the movie itself -- the characters, their words, the music, the scenery, hell, the pageantry of film -- that you're enveloped in a post-movie experience zen.  Aware of your every step, the swivel of your head, the sound of your car keys jangling in your pocket.  Your thoughts are narrated by another voice, perhaps Academy Award nominated Morgan Freeman, and everything you're doing is damn interesting:



MAIN CHARACTER (name TBD), 40-something female, crosses the street at the light.  Dissolve to:  

Main character wistfully retrieves her keys from the pocket of her windbreaker.  Unlocks door and, smoothing her skirt, slides into the front seat.


Gosh, that was a good movie. 


Didn't I tell you?

Monday, July 15, 2013

What was I saying?

I knew it!  Proof that my memory is crap.  I signed up (again) for  I set up email reminders this time so I will remember to log on to the site every day and take the tests.  Yeah.  That's why I quit the last time.  I kept forgetting to take the tests.

Surely I can improve on 42.3 percentile.  Right?  God, I hope so.  Come on neuroplasticity!

Hope I don't forget my account password...

Monday, July 8, 2013


I wish I had a photo of myself "hoppin' mad" but then as a supposed writer, I should let my words do the talking.  Not a photo or a copyright-infringed internet photo.

I'm easing back into writing stuff, you see.  Back to writing group next month, finish some stories, review some stuff I might consider submitting, that.  So, I pulled up my trusty submission spreadsheet on google docs, which I hadn't opened since November and was surprised to see that there were three journals from which I'd not received a yea or nay reply.  Huh.  That was last summer, man!  What gives?  I checked one via their submission system.  There was simple, the puny, tiny-ass font word: decline.  Oh yeah, well, decline you too!  Thanks for the rejection letter!  Oh, right you Didn't. Send. One. 

The other two journals were email submissions so I sent an email to each of these editors.  I hope I'll hear back.  Or find out the journal folded.  Or something.  But really, how rude.  Look how much I'm using italics, for Christ's sake.  I told you I was hoppin' mad!  Submitting and getting rejected isn't hard enough.  Being ignored, stinks, er, gets my goat! You can keep that damn goat, too Plain Spoke, Watchword and Indiana Review.  That's right, I'm naming names. I'm not afraid.

You want some o' this?

Monday, June 3, 2013


buttons by jeesau
buttons, a photo by jeesau on Flickr.
Oh dear…did I really start the last blog entry with a "what is…?" A hacky device right up there with "Webster's defines friendship as…" OK. Moving on.

It was a productive Sunday for me. A bolt of organizing energy struck sometime in the early morning hours. Much unused crap was dispatched to the nearby Dumpster.

A few tips I thought I'd pass on:

1) Throwing away all those magazines, periodicals and catalogs you've read, and especially those that you haven't read (and let's face, you mostly haven't read them) makes you feel like losing at least 7 lbs. of weight from your psyche. Your burdened, dusty psyche. They're gone and I don't miss them at all. Except that recipe in People that I meant to tear out for low-cal sweet potato pancakes.

2) No, you probably will never need that much bubble bath. Toss it.

3) You'll never use all those ketchup, hot mustard and soy sauce packets. Throw. Them. Out.

4) Having a tidy desk makes you afraid of cluttering it again, sending you to the dining table to work. Note to self: tidy up dining table.

5) Domestic cats hate a running vacuuming cleaner. A foster cat you're trying to make feel comfortable living indoors turns into a possessed, psychopathic Tasmanian Devil impersonator around a running vacuum cleaner. Use your head. I'm lookin' at you, me.

6) Your mother was right: eating too many cherries gives you a tummy ache.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


What is indulgence?  To everyone, I suppose, it's different.  To me, today, it's sleeping until ten.  Ten! More than four hours later than my weekly wake time.

It's also this -- going back to bed, with coffee and steamed almond milk (Oh, what. Those of you my age can still process eight fluid ounces of cow's milk without consequence?  Please.) and read.  Read until I finish the book.  Read and laugh and get toast crumbs on my collar bone and not care.  Leave them sitting, itching, there until I brush them off the next time I get up.  Maybe I'd make a good invalid?  Maybe I was born to be here, this plane of horizontal existence, letting my muscles atrophy while spoon-feeding my mind with words and images, birds in the trees outside insistently emphasizing something, some point I will never understand, small engine aircraft droning miserably in the distance, its pilot never knowing how lonely that sound makes me feel.

The cats, well, the cats are all for it.  This is their life except for the reading.  They sleep and shift, stretch and curl their heads upside down.  Despite their comparatively short lifespans, I'm jealous of their lifestyle.  Eighteen sweet, sweet hours of sleep.  The rest is just filler.  Biological needs that keep them going, dozing through a beautiful Spring day.

But alas, I am human.  I feel the pull of substantial hunger, a jealousy of the cafe goers across the street, laughing and enjoying other people who are all, despite the sixty-eight degree weather, wearing scarves.  I'm one of them, sans scarf, and will have to get  up and join them eventually.

Friday, April 26, 2013


People around me are falling apart. I worry. Body parts not doing what they're supposed to. Snapping in two. Getting in the way. Leading them to make an immediate acquaintance with the ground. What gives,Gravity? What gives, Science, or whatever. Now, just hold on. Don't go looking at me. I'm minding my own business. Just asking for a friend, you dig? I'm keeping it real over here in Boringville USA and I don't need any adjustments.

Really though. As a matter of fact. Now that you mention it. Is that what we're all headed for? Broken parts and bits and pieces of ourselves betraying us as we age? Not a damn thing we can really do about it. Not really. But in a way, that's a comfort. No use fretting. It will happen. Just be ready. Or not. Here's an idea. Don't be prepared and complain like hell when it happens to you. It's your right. It's your choice. Ta da!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

from the people who brought us schadenfreude

Introducing fremdscham!  I wasn't familiar with the word until today, but, oh man, have I felt it.  Defined as "embarrassment felt on behalf of someone else (often someone so ignorant to what they have done that they don’t know that they should be embarrassed for themselves); vicarious embarrassment."

If you're somehow unfamiliar with experiencing fremdscham, just tune in to any reality TV show and that cringe-y, creepy, "oh, honey, don't do that" feeling is fremdscham.  

I don't say this often, but thank you, Germany!

Monday, January 21, 2013

we are gone

...also known as "Closed." Maybe I'll try that on my next out-of-office email reply.  "I am gone."  Nothing more.

The city feels deserted this holiday Monday. I felt like a chump rushing around to do errands.  But we did get that 11-day weekend over the holidays.  You won't hear me complainin'.

At an intersection, I saw a car with an enormous, day-glo pink mustache affixed to its grill.  Why?  Then again, why not?  The car behind it was driven by a man with a cigar stub clamped between his front teeth. Windows all rolled up, I noticed.  No opinion on whether those two cars are traveling together.

Then, the man crossing the street on foot, going the opposite way, let out an exasperated sigh as he passed, having had to reroute his trajectory twice to avoid me.  It was as if he'd been forced to avoid me at every intersection and now he'd finally had enough.  SIGH.  Yeah, well, same to you, pal.