Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Insecure Writer's Group and Judge Judy

Because writers might on occasion grapple with insecurities, Alex J. Cavanaugh founded an Insecure Writer’s Support Group for bloggers. We’re posting monthly, exposing our insecurities and/or offering support. Please check out Alex’s link to visit others’ posts. It’s a group of exceptional writers, authors and fun folks. 

Heated tensions continue between my confident writer's voice and my insecure self. As you may recall, Dr. Phil sent us on a 26-day intensive sponsored by the Foundation for Insecure People Attached to Secure Writers’ Voices. Yet my voice and I remain at odds. In fact, my insecure self slapped my secure writer’s voice with a lawsuit. Appalled by such treatment, I solicited the help of the harshest of harsh officials: Judge Judy. Let’s watch…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Judge Judy (Glaring at Insecure Robyn): I’ve read your claim and it appears to be a bunch of bologna! What exactly are you suing for? Or are you just here to waste my time?

Insecure Robyn (pointing at Robyn’s Secure Writer’s Voice): Um, I, sh, she broke my trust. She told a secret. She wasn't supposed to tell yet.

Judge Judy: What secret are you talking about?

Insecure Robyn: Well, uh, she told some people that I, we, I mean, she’s writing a book.

Judge Judy: You’ve gotta be kidding! Do you even have half a brain lady? That’s why you’re suing? What’s wrong with that?

RSWV (Robyn’s Secure Writer’s Voice) flips her hair back with a smarmy smirk.

Insecure Robyn (shaking): I, um, I’m just, I'm not a real writer. Real writers publish like three or nineteen books and I’ll be lucky to do one before I, like, die and stuff. And I don’t have money for publication and I’m not famous like Snooki. She’s published, you know? Girl can’t read and she’s published! Anyway, I do have 26 cents saved for publication, but I hear that’s not enough. And my book might be funny but it’s gonna be a little sad too. And they'll be disappointed because nobody likes sadness. (Robyn starts to cry. Sniffling and tearful): And some people –for example, really moronic men- might get mad at me when they see their really moronic personal ads in my book.

Judge Judy (Rolling her eyes): This is sounding more and more twisted. (Looking at RSWV): What would you like to say in your own defense?

RSWV: Well they posted their moronic ads and some of them even wanted to date her. Look at her! She points at Insecure Robyn, who blows her nose loudly into her sleeve. They deserve it! But they’re not exactly literate anyway, so what the *bleep* is she worried about?

Judge Judy: I can’t argue with that. (Glaring at Insecure Robyn): Your case has no merit! I offend people all the time. You think that’s a bad thing? Think again and check my show ratings while you’re at it sister. Now, you’ve wasted enough of my time! She stands up and exits the courtroom.

RWV flips her hair back again and walks off proudly.

Insecure Robyn hides her face in her mucous-filled sleeve and trudges behind her, dodging the cameras.
**
Post-script: True, I’ve started a book and have felt too insecure to make this semi-official announcement until now. I’m excited, though.
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PPS THANKS FOR TUNING IN. HAPPY WEDNESDAY AND FEBRUARY.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reality Crap, Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus challenges us to write a piece within 100 words. This week's prompt is bolded below and was provided by Nonna at Tasty Tales. Please visit the groups' offerings here.   Have a safe and happy weekend devoid of reality crap.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The town square drew unprecedented attention. Reporters arrived in droves. With tape recorders and scratch pads in hand, they fought their way to positions near the podium. Eager citizens hustled in, freezing to forge their feet strategically.

A string of formally suited, expressionless officials paraded into view and surrounded the microphone. “We know where all the bodies are buried,” declared the Chief Investigator. A wave of suspended tension washed over the scene.

“Oy, who needs this crap?” I said aloud and to myself. Grabbing the remote, I switched channels to an even more horrid show: Kourtney and Kim Take NYC.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Why I Choose Celibacy Reason #167: Mr. Ribald's Epistle

It’s less common but more annoying than morons who can’t spell “I”: people who typically use words most folks have never heard before. Yep, I dated this one too, a couple weeks ago. 

He “favorited” me on a popular Internet dating site. His profile boasts a “ribald” and “trenchant” humor. [Both words are synonymous with “obscene.”] Still, I thought, “He’s not a moron. How refreshing.” I sent a brief, friendly “hello.” Note to self: dumb move.

Mr. Ribald responded: “What an unalloyed pleasure to receive your epistle.” Epistle? I didn’t know I had one to give. [Epistle means letter.] Slightly intrigued, I agreed to a phone chat. Epistle to self: dumber move.

The phone conversation was irritating, as I didn’t have a dictionary or the Internet within reach. Still, I thought it might be nice to have a walking Roget by my side. I thus agreed to what he enthusiastically termed a “meet and greet.” Epistle to self: dumbest move.

We met at T. Fusion, my favorite cafĂ©, and he paid for my Chocolate Chai Tea Frost. Mr. Ribald is decent looking and outgoing, but his attempts to impress involved crude jokes. 

I sat in bored irritation watching his lips move, sipping my Frost, until he finally delivered a punch-line with the word “balls.”

“That’s not funny,” I responded.

Mr. Ribald tried again, offering jokes with different creatures that walk into a bar.

“Nope, not funny.”… “Not funny either…” “I’m still not laughing.”

“Well you tell me a joke,” he insisted.

“I don’t do one-liners. It’s not my kind of humor. ”

Exasperated, he declared, “I think you don’t have a sense of humor, so this isn’t going to work. I wouldn’t have anything to say on our second date...I feel judged.” Mr. Ribald abruptly and dramatically stood up and began walking out. As the people at the next table subtly eyed me with compassion, I casually took time to consume the last of my Frost, found a napkin on the floor that needed discarding, and began strolling out behind him.

Mr. Ribald stopped and turned around to apologize. I’d apparently pushed his unalloyed ribald buttons or epistle-like trenchant nerves by failing to appreciate crude jokes.“It was entirely my fault,” he admitted.

We shook hands and wished each other well.

I’m left wondering if Mr. Ribald’s large, trenchant vocabulary serves as compensation for a small epistle he keeps hidden..? I’ll never know, and that’s a good thing. So is celibacy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reptiles and Me: Sundays in My City

Welcome to Butte County in Northern California. These photos serve as my contribution to UnknownMami's fabulous series: Sundays in My City. Please visit her site here to enjoy a scenic world tour.


I didn't know dragons actually exist until I met this Bearded Dragon Lizard. He's so adorable (I know, my standards are pretty darn low. But he IS cute, right?), I wanted to take him home.

Photos taken at the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation in Oroville, CA.

It felt comforting to have this snake wrapped around me, like nobody would mess with me. It's a real, live one too.


Our final stop: New Clairvaux Vineyards in Vina, CA.

                         Thanks for stopping by! Happy Sunday and new week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Latest in Chocolate: Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Introducing Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, the ideal combo for all who love both sweet and savory snacks. The flavors of potato chip and chocolate are distinctly good in this one. I inhaled these babies like I hadn't eaten in minutes. But my ravenous frenzy wasn't without a glitch. These chips had a somewhat funky taste. I don't know how to describe it except to say they tasted plastic-y. Upon scrutiny of the label, I find they were processed with alkali. Alkali is, apparently, the salt of a metal. Doesn't sound good, right? But baking soda is an alkali. Alkali is commonly used with chocolate to reduce bitterness and create a uniform dark color. I can't help but wonder, though, if said alkali is what created a strange taste.

Has anyone tried these? What did you think? If you haven't but are willing to, please eat some and get back to me. I'd like others' opinions. It's probably my ever-picky taste buds. Then again, as I peruse the label, maybe it's the soy lecithin - which doesn't sound too appetizing either.

Still, I didn't get sick. I'm just a bit perplexed. These ARE good. Trader Joe's IS great, and the package boasts "no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives." I can't ignore the funk, though, so I give Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips a 7.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proof that Books are Eternal


Some fear that the e-book will ultimately mark the demise of the actual, tangible, hard or soft covered book. 

As a social worker, I’ve been touched by many clients. One special lady proves the book will never go extinct…

Not long ago, I ran into a young woman I used to work with. This lady has struggled with significant mental health issues and cognitive impairment. As a toddler, she witnessed horrendous violence in her home, and she remembers the graphic details.  Yet she is one of the sweetest, most innocent people I’ve ever known – always doing favors for others, readily offering hugs, and trying to assure that everyone she knows is doing alright.

The woman earns very little money but spends what she has on books. Sure enough, when I saw her, she was holding a book. She studied it page by page, took a red pen to the words – circling select letters, underlining words and sentences, perusing each page carefully and then dog-earring it before moving onto the next. She did this for an extended period of time and with a grin across her face.

This might seem a common scenario. It’s not. What’s so striking in this case is that the young lady cannot read at all. She can’t identify letters, write her name or recite any of the alphabet. Her cognitive challenges are such that there is no way she’s learned these skills in the time since I’ve worked with her.
Yet she clearly felt important, competent and special - enjoying the feel of a book in her hands, studying the words and letters, and adding bright red ink to the pages. If this is not proof that books are eternal, nothing is!

Friday, January 13, 2012

On Why I Choose Celibacy Reasons #155-166

Dear friends, 


I’ll be having fun with houseguests this weekend and won’t be on-line much. So please enjoy these internet dating ad headlines.  Not only do these guys utilize interesting marketing ploys, they offer me 12 more reasons for celibacy. 



Reason #155:  My password is .................

156.  Not looking for Intimate incounters

157.  my purpose in life requiers a good woman

158.  have job and teeth

159.  LOOKEN FOR SOMONE TO LOVE ME

160.  Iam done with this sight!

161.  Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

162.  please keep arms inside the ride...

163.  Let's Tell People We Met at Wal-Mart

164.  I fallen and I can't get up maybe some

165.  Cling free please

166.  Knight looking for damsel to disdress!


Are you pondering what I'm pondering? That is, it just gets weirder, right? Then again, #163 might be onto (or on) something.

Be well and happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Weather Report

This re-post from 12/10 is dedicated to my beloved nephew Jeremy, because I miss him.

Jeremy and Auntie Robyn, Summer 2010

We work hard to shield kids from all things bad. In the process, though, we rob them of opportunities to learn to cope with adversity.

I wish I'd been taught that life's unfair, instead of being hit by pain time and again, completely ill-prepared.

I wish I'd been given an umbrella, one that I could use in the sun or rain.

I wish I'd been raised like my nephew, Jeremy.

On the first morning of my visit, Jeremy entered the guest room to announce, with arms outstretched in explanatory fashion, "It's a sunny day! It's a sunny day!"

"You're right, sweetie." I colluded with his denial, as rain continued pounding on the window panes. "It's a sunny day, Jeremy."

"Yeah," he sighed, plopping down beside me on the air mattress. "Rain is too scary." He shook his head from side to side. "It's dark. I don't like it."

"It is scary," I confirmed, wrapping my arm around him. "But today is a sunny day for us."

With that, Jeremy popped up and began jumping wildly on the mattress like a yo-yo on crack. "I'm a rock star! I'm a rock star!" He shouted. "Oh yeah! I'm a rock star!"

Mind you, the kid's growing up in L.A. where everyone and their i-Pod is a rock star. In fact, all inanimate objects suffer from some degree of rock stardom. Soda cans are labeled "rock star," chewing gum, gaudy sunglasses, and glittery T-shirts. You name it - all rockstars. None is quite like my Jeremy, though.

So when I called him to say "Happy Hanukah" last night, Jeremy told me that he got a Toy Story mm-brella for Hanukah.

"You got a Toy Story umbrella? That's very special," I assured.

"Yep. I used it today. 'Cuz it's raining," he said with excitement.

With his umbrella, Jeremy now welcomes the rain.

I hung up longing for the childhood in which I was given an umbrella, one that I could use in the sun or rain. I'm glad Jeremy has one.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dogs' Day Afternoon: Sundays in My City

UnknownMami hosts a scenic world tour on Sundays. Enjoy great photographs from around the world by visiting here.

Our theme today is the canine. These sweet doggies were at the Butte Humane Society in Chico, CA when I visited last month. There were lots of folks there wanting to adopt, so I'm hopeful the dogs have been -or will soon be- moved to loving homes. (I was just dropping by and taking advantage of photo opps, not looking to adopt. I was tempted, though, and bet you are too. Am I right?) 

 








Thank you for coming by. They also appreciated your visit.
Happy Sunday and new week!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's Group with Dr. Phil!

Because writers might on occasion grapple with insecurities, Alex J. Cavanaugh founded an Insecure Writer’s Support Group for bloggers. We’re posting monthly, exposing our insecurities and/or offering support. Please check out Alex’s link to visit others’ posts. It’s a huge group of exceptional writers, authors and fun folks. Some are all three.  

Several of you have remarked that I don’t seem insecure. Thank you. That feedback helped me to realize there’s a huge difference between me and my writer’s voice. It’s a gap so great that only an expert could help us find common ground.  So I asked Dr. Phil to facilitate an intervention. He agreed; he likes a challenge. Please enjoy today’s show.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RWV (Robyn’s Writer’s Voice): Welcome, Dr. Phil. Thanks for making the trip.

Dr. Phil: Sure thing. Now what seems to be the problem? I said, what seems to be the problem?

RWV (Pointing at a corner of the room): The problem? Look at her Dr. Phil! Robyn cowers in the corner. A stone-cold look of fear across her face, she slowly nibbles dark chocolate covered edamame. I do all the work. I’m the assertive, articulate, (winking and thumbing her neckline to expose a teaser of cleavage) sexy, edgy woman. She’s the wimpy, people-pleasing, shlumpy klutz.  (Nudging Dr. Phil) It ain’t hard to figure out why she’s still single. Huh? I express all her emotions for her too, while she sits there getting fat munching ho-hos.
Robyn: It’s edamame, you dumb –
Dr. Phil (interrupting): Come closer to us and let’s talk, Robyn.
Robyn (meekly): W, w, why?

Dr. Phil: Because you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. I said, you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.

Robyn moves shyly to the middle of the stage, plopping down an arm’s distance from Dr. Phil and her Writer’s Voice.

Dr. Phil: That’s better. Now, what is it you’re so scared of?

Robyn: I, well, it’s, I don’t know. I’m shy. I don’t think I have, uh, anything important to say so I get quiet when I to start to (whispering) express myself in real life. I leave it all to her.  

Dr. Phil: Tell ya what. I’ve hired the experts of The Insecure People Attached to Secure Writers’ Voices Foundation for a 26-day intensive in Fortworth, Texas. These folks are the best of the best. But it’s not gonna be easy. You’re gonna have to work real hard to come to a meeting of the minds. Now are you willing to do this? I said, are you willing to do this work?

RWV: That depends, will there be any single men there who aren’t idiots, freaks or weirdoes?

Robyn to RWV: Shh, I can’t believe you said that. to Dr. Phil: Uh, will there be chocolate?

Dr. Phil: Okay, listen; I’ve hired the best of the best. I can’t promise men or chocolate, but there’s a private jet waiting just outside the stage doors to take you there.

RWV: A pilot? I bet he’s cute! She skips off fingering her mile-high frequent flyer club card.

Robyn strolls behind, nervously, clinging to her container of edamame.

Dr. Phil: We’ll follow up with these two some other time. Ya’all have a great evening!

Dr. Phil walks up to his wife, Robin, and escorts her off-stage. There, he starts to unbutton her blouse, but she stops him when she notices the camera’s still rolling.

-Commercial break-