And I Wrote This Book.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Twins & Intermission

Hi,
I'm sorry to leave you hanging with that last post. I ran out of time for part II, and I'm running off to go camping this weekend. In the meantime, I'm leaving you with a few photos:

Me and My Merchant Marine


And TWINS!! Excuse the lousy quality -- cheap camera.
My friend, Ron, is 7 feet tall. I am 4'8". We are standing on the same patch of dirt. He's a nice man, but we'll never see eye to eye.

Have a great weekend. I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Me and My Merchant Marine: Rum and Diet Coke, The Start

Gene Kelly

   I followed Donna and her boyfriend du jour, Enrique, to get drinks. Chico's Elks Lodge, as I'd learn that night, includes a spacious reception hall - where we'd been sitting and would later dance; and a bar in a separate room across the way.
   Donna led Enrique to the far end of the bar, smiled flirtatiously, then stepped slightly behind him. (Gentlemen, if you're not privy to this maneuver, it means "Take your wallet out and buy mine too.")
   Ugh. I hate third-wheeling and needed a jolt. I nudged my way to the middle of the bar and placed my order. "Rum and Diet Coke, please."
   "That makes sense," I heard, in a deep male voice. A man inches to my right turned to face me, approving my drink request.
   "Doesn't it?" I replied. "Why waste calories on soda when you can get gobs of  'em in rum?"
   "Exactly." He imparted a charming smile. He's handsome, I noted, in a classic film noir way, like Gene Kelly. But bigger, somewhat husky. Not the kind of guy I usually go for. No, this one's rather attractive.
   "My name's Robyn," I extended my hand.
   "I'm Troy," he responded with a firm handshake.
   Troy sipped his drink then asked, "What do you do in Chico?"
   I told Troy about the dance event, third-wheeling, and that I'm a writer and social worker. He listened thoughtfully. The dreaded question followed: "What kind of writing do you do?"
   Crap! "Well, I dabble in lots of things except fiction. I published a small poetry book and I'm working on a novel these days." I stopped there. My brain continued...It's about my spectacularly unromantic romantic life and my remarkably sexless sex life. I've had a string of failed romances, through no fault of my own, really, except that I'm drawn to the deficient. You're an alcoholic, aren't you? You're awfully cute.
   "Nice. I like poetry," Troy said.
   Damn. A gay alcoholic!* Well, I could do worse. I have done worse. I smiled at him.
  "So what do you do around here, Troy?"
  "It's kind of complicated," he said modestly. "I work for the Merchant Marines on a spy ship."
  "A spy ship!" My eyes widened, like an elementary school kid's. "That's sooo cool!" A voice inside my head yelped loudly: Date him, girlfriend. He'll give good story!
   Donna and Enrique suddenly appeared behind Troy, waiting on me. Damn them.
  "Sorry, Troy. It was nice meeting you, but my friends are ready to hit the dance floor."
  "Nice meeting you too." Troy reached into his pocket and handed me his card. "Give me a call if you'd like to do something fun before I leave."
   "Great. I will."
   And so I would...stay tuned.
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*No offense to anyone. There's nothing wrong with being gay, straight, asexual or into sheep. Well, nix the last one. That's just wrong. As far as alcoholism, don't drink and drive, don't hurt anyone, and tell me what you think about the rum-diet coke combination.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day, A Child's Perspective

I've recycled a Memorial Day post from years prior. Apologies, but sometimes I said it better then than I could now. Oftentimes, I don't know what to say about something so overwhelmingly tragic as war.

And how can we possibly begin to adequately thank and pay tribute to our military? I don't know; I don't think we can...I did give it thought as a child. Back then, I was a diehard environmentalist and humanitarian (who failed to use a dictionary to check my spelling, completely naive to the fact that I'd publicize this "poem to think of" decades later). I wrote:

                                        ~Embiggen, if you'd like to read about THE SAD war~
My favorite line in the above poem is: "I think more forests should be built."




Nephew Jeremy, age 16 mos.

May it be a meaningful, peaceful and safe Memorial Day.

With gratitude and blessings to all who have served and will serve our country, and to their loved ones, for all time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ode to the Oreo (sort of): The Latest in Chocolate (sort of)


First, and Ode to the Oreo (sort of, though it's more like a hazing)

Oh Nabisco
Why’d you go
And desecrate the Oreo?
I liked it fine before the change
To an array of flavors gross and strange.
With double stuff, you should have quit.
But birthday cake?
Who’d eat that sh*t?
You’re triple stacked
And berry burst. Neapolitan.
And it got worse.
You hit new lows with the words “low fat.”
What PR guru thought of that?
Nabisco, tell me, why’d you go
And make a "springtime" Oreo
That’s dyed in freaky loud yellow?
Could that be cream or real bright snow?
You’ve gone peanut butter and mint too.
A Girl Scout rip-off -- Shame on you!
So Oreo, now I must go.
It’s you, not me, if you must know.
You gave good licks and chews to start.
But Big Fig Newton’s my new tart.

Next, A Review: the Golden Oreo - chocolate cream, vanilla cookie. It's the only one I dared taste. And tasted. And tasted. As regular cookies, they are okay. Meh. Neither exciting nor lousy. As Oreos? No, no, they must go! So I give this brand a 3 on a scale of 1to 10. Nabisco didn't solicit this review. [They are not the brightest, but they're clearly not stupid either.]

What do you think about the 20 varieties of Oreos? What's your favorite? Have you tried them all, BabySister? {I ask, because my dear longstanding bloggy friend, BabySis, has posted photos of many an Oreo.}

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DuPont Graduates! Sundays in My City

Welcome to Chico, CA, where
 city mascot DuPont quickly changed out of his Mother's Day garb...

into his cap and gown. Congratulations, DuPont!

He finished first (and last) in his class (of one). 
His future's so bright...well, I'll stop now. Suffice it to say, we locals couldn't be more proud.
  
                                Plus, timid April showers brought May beauties.

Visit others contributions to UnknownMami's remarkable Sundays in My City here.
Unknown Mami
Congratulations to all the graduates!
Thank you for visiting, and have a wonderfully picturesque week.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Derek Clark & You're not Alone: Fighting Mental Illness through Compassion

The #1 Motivational Speaker in the world, according to Google (and rightfully so), is a man named Derek Clark. Last week, I attended a talk Derek gave in Paradise, CA. Derek rose far above abuses and traumas that I won't attempt to summarize. Plus, he was kind enough to hug me (as he did everyone who approached him after the talk), before autographing his book. Mr. Clark is 6'5" and I'm 4'8," so I am most impressed by his warmth and willingness to put his back out. Unfortunately, I was too awestruck to have gotten a photo of us. Drats!

Derek
became instantly known as the cool Rapping Dad, when a rap he threw down while driving with his kids went viral. It's fantastically entertaining; check it out here. His main website, with all sorts of fun information and links to his appearance on Rikki Lake, etc., is here.

Coincidentally, I'd penned this poem the day before Derek's presentation. It addresses the strength of the human spirit, with which he shines. This month marks Mental Health Awareness month. Mental health challenges touch us all. I've lost two people I was very close to, to suicide, and I've battled depression throughout my life. I'm doing great right now, though we never know what the next moment will bring. [If you're interested, I published an article in a local newspaper last year on my fight against depression here.]  Know that, whatever your life's struggles, you're never alone.

You're Not Alone

Please believe
I know your pain
Your broken soul
That smile you feign
You say "I'm fine"
But it's a lie
You dare not share
Your urge to die

I know your rage
And hate
And shame
The burn that set your heart aflame

Consumed by grief
Your life a curse
Cold lonely days
Still nights are worse

Please believe me when I say
Keep holding tight
You'll be okay
Monstrous ills, you cannot halt
Go gentle now
It's not your fault
Mental illness has no cure
You're mortal with a heart that's pure

I know not how
I know not when
But you'll reclaim your life again
Embrace a faith you never knew
You'll be so glad you wrestled through

Please believe
And hold on tight
As strands of pain fade into light
And tender hues transform your sight

You're not alone
Please know it's true
I'm right here
Holding tight 
with you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interview with Tori Spelling: IWSG

First Wed of Every Month     
Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for founding and continuing the IWSG. As you know by now, the IWSG provides a space for revealing writers' insecurities, supporting each other, and -in my case- interviewing some of the brightest, dimmest and weirdest of celebrities.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I really wanted to talk with the most successful Film and TV Producer of all time, Aaron Spelling. But he's dead, so that was going to be risky. Next I sought his childhood dog. Dead too. I'm afraid we're stuck with the daughter of the amazingly talented but dead and sorely missed Aaron Spelling. She played TV's most annoying virgin in the hit series, Beverly Hills 90210, produced by her father, the late great Aaron Spelling. May he rest in peace!

A troubled, tearful, emaciated Tori Spelling  walks onto the stage. There's no applause. There's no audience. We can hear stagehand Macaulay Culkin snorting something. Robyn shakes Tori's feeble hand and gestures towards a sofa set that was once admired by the late great beloved Aaron Spelling. May he rest in peace.
Robyn: Thanks for being here, daughter of Aaron Spelling. May he rest in peace.
Tori: Daddy was my hero. It's been really tough. But my father, Aaron Spelling --he was my rock-- taught me the value of working real hard and how to love and be a good person with strong family values.  My father, Aaron Spelling, was a very good man.
Robyn: May he rest in peace. Say, you played a virgin for seven years. How'd you pull that off? Tori looks perplexed, as always. You also claim to be an author. An actress too. Your father, the phenomenal, sadly dead Aaron Spelling, may he rest in peace, paid for acting lessons for you. It didn't stick. Tori's eyes widen, and she changes the topic. I've written six books, with a top best seller too. Robyn: On that note, let's read what one reviewer wrote to you about your authorship. Robyn reads from a large flashcard. "Aaron deserved a better family, not a golddigger wife and spoiled brat child. And to top it off, any success you have is from your fans, yet you seem to be ultimately bothered when they want an autograph, and you did not even thank them in the book! Wow! So grateful!"
Tori defends herself. It's not that easy. I'm only worth $15 million*, and we can't even afford a vasectomy for Dean. *actual estimate of her worth; **actual complaint she made regarding financial hardship.
Robyn:  If you think it's hard before the vasectomy, watch how hard it grows after -- Robyn giggles, blushes and nudges Tori with her elbow. At 80 pounds, Tori falls off her chair and onto the floor. She stands up and takes a seat again, as if nothing happened.
Tori: Just because I'm the daughter of TV Network Producer, Writer and Filmmaker, the late great Aaron Spelling, don't think that I have it easy. But Daddy taught me to always be strong.

Robyn's had enough. Look, you and Dean cheated on loyal spouses and destroyed two families. Your first husband found out about your infidelity when he saw the supermarket tabloids. Now you're acting all --Robyn pinches her nostrils to speak in a nasally tone-- 'Poor me! I'm such a victim! How could he do this to me?' Get a grip, b*tch!

A shocked daughter of the late great Aaron Spelling, may he rest in peace, runs off the stage crying. The camera zooms in on Robyn. My friends, I think I've proven that while money and nepotism might land you the starring role as a virgin, lacking any redeeming qualities, your cheating, drug addicted, worthless but attractive husband will tire of you. So will the the rest of the world. 
     If she can write six books, you can too. Right? Write! Be confident. There's more than enough room for talent to rise to the top and take center stage.

Monday, May 5, 2014

May Medley



Today, my charming and quick-witted friend, River Fairchild, launches book 2 of her Jewels of Chandra series, A DRAGON'S LAMENT!

CONGRATULATIONS, River!
Much success with your newest jewel! 

    Magic is real. So is betrayal.


   David enters the Fire Kingdom and events shift from bad to worse. He learns a shocking truth about the dragons, a truth destined to block his efforts to retrieve the lost magic of Shaylar from the ruling Council.  After a cave-in and injuries force a rescue, David finds himself more isolated than before as personal concerns scatter his trusted advisors and the wizard who led him there abandons him.


   The head of the dragon Council negotiates separate deals with both David and his father, sowing further discord between them. David's close friend, Lothan, disappears into the caves and doesn't return. A group of dissidents kidnap Wilks, the child empath David is sworn to protect. With no options left, he accepts the Council's demands to help them in their centuries-old conflict, risking a war which might kill them all.

   Even if David manages to win, there's no guarantee the dragons will let him leave the region alive. They don't want the Kingdom of Shaylar to rise again and will stop at nothing to see it remain a pile of dust.                       
You can find A Dragon's Lament on Amazon for just $2.99 here.


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Next, thanks so much to all of you who voted for me by "liking" my story and/or leaving comments at Midlifecollage.com. My piece, "Goodbye, Ursula: Chronicle of a Hysterectomy" won! WOOHOO!! There's no entry fee for these weekly contests. You need only be 40-65 years of age. Submit a short non-fiction story. See site link for details. This blurb is unsolicited. It was a very pleasant process, and I'm glad to promote it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~<<<@ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<<<@ 
Third, a story about my story: 
      I set out to attain a two-sided page draft of my novel, Woman on the Verge of Paradise. With 183 papers held together by a measly green rubber-band, I trekked to the nearest office supplies store. There, a competent professional with copy machine expertise would expeditiously create a two-sided copy for me. So I assumed.
    And I handed my doc to Supervisor Incomm Putunt (I.P., for short) at Staples. IP placed it in the feeder, pressed a button, then exclaimed,  "Oops! What's going on?" She waved over her colleague, Supervisor Comm Putunt (CP), for help. 
     Crap. Don't hurt my baby, I thought. Lots of years (2-1/2, though it feels like a lifetime) went into that one.
     CP approached the machine, pressed a button, and walked away.
     IP kept starting and stopping the copy process. She created a number of seemingly random piles with my doc, and my blood pressure surged toward unknown galaxies.
    "Is there a problem?" I asked.
    "Yes," IP responded. Sh*t! Nix my original plan of leaving the job to go for ice-cream at Baskin Robbins across the way.
     "What page was I on?" IP asked me.
     "I don't know. I'm the customer. You're making me a little bit nervous," I told her. 
     CP intervened again,...and again.
     CP told IP "I'm going on my lunch break." No! Don't go until I have my book back!
     Nearly half an hour after I'd walked in, the job was done. I went through page-by-page to make sure I had it all. I did, though several copies were shoddy, and edges had been chewed up. IP did not apologize. Per my insistence, though, she gave me a discount.
    I have everything backed-up in approximately 23 different ways (flash drive, hard copies at home, copies emailed to my writing partners...), so no harm was done, except that I'm still frazzled and in need of blood pressure meds. Also, I missed an opportunity for Baskin Robbins.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<<<@ Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reasons for Celibacy #299-307


Hi! I hope this finds you well and ready for some perplexing internet dating ad bites, served with my usual italicized commentary.  Note: these are actual dating ads lifted from some of the most popular internet dating sites. As much as I may be tempted to change or correct the wording, I never do. I simply abbreviate these reasons why a straight, single gal like me is smart to choose celibacy. Enjoy.
.............................................................................................................................
REASON #299:
Looking for my best friend in more.  
Well, in “more,” you can find Moe. Is that your best friend?’Cuz Curly is my favorite. Sorry. So close.

REASON #300:
Wake up at a rediculious hour just to go fishing at a remote backpacking lake.
Wow. That lake must carry one jumbo waterproof backpack!

REASON #301:
Hey Hey Hey, Smoke Weed Every Day!    
Yo yo yo what do ya know?
Joints and poems too! How cool are you!
Thing is lass, I’m gonna pass.
I don’t wanna get friendly
With your 420.
Gimme chocolate, though, and I’m all yours, bro. [Wink, wink.]

REASON #302:
Wake and Bake, shake the snake, just doing the normal morning routine
Really? Because the boys 'round here, drinkin' that ice cold beer.
Backwoods legit, don't take no lip. Chew tobacca, chew tobacca, chew tobacca, spit!
 -from Blake Shelton’s Boys Round Here

REASON #303:
I am looking for my soul mate. I think you are too...just a educated guess. I am looking for someone that compliments me and my lifestyle.
If I tell you that you’re an excellent speller of the word “educated,” which clearly indicates an upstanding lifestyle, will you kindly add an “n” to “an” and move on? Thank you.

REASON #304:
where are the good one    
Here I are, honey! Here I are!

REASON #305:
would like to meat someone to have a good time with
Sorry, carnivorous stud. Effective immediately: I’m vegetarian.

REASON #306:
Now, we’ve seen some perplexing wording, but this one is truly fuct. Please excuse the expression; it’s not mine. I just found it in an internet dating ad.
Born into a fanatasy fuct by
??? That's it! That's the guy's ad headline.

REASON #307:
IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW WHEN I WAS YOUNGER.
I feel ya, dude. It’s like, damn! If I knew when I’m older than I am now that I was younger when I was then.