Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Succinctly Yours Week 244: Pretty Fly for a Snow White Guy

Hooray! Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash is back! And I hope my work life is settling down enough that I’m back from my unexpected little break as well. Succinctly Yours participants are invited to chill out and pack a story into 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. This week’s bonus word is “wisdom.” Okay, it’s actually last week’s. Oops.

Dr. Snaumann listened for his patient’s heartbeat and consulted his medical wisdom. “I diagnose a cold,” he said.  “An UNCOMMONLY cold!”  138

“Also,” said Dr. Snaumann, “Have you noticed any vision problems? Conventional wisdom tells me this might be an issue.” 120

As gray, as controlled, as dreamless as we may strive to be, the fire of our dreams will not stay buried. The embers are always there, stirring in our frozen souls like winter leaves. ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Man Shopping

Pity me. I’ve been performing that most abhorrent of female duties: Man Shopping. No, not shopping in order to acquire men, as I’ve chronicled here, but shopping for the men in my life. And worse than that, even…today I shopped for stocking gifts.


The women in my family have always adored giving and receiving stocking gifts, as long as they are for or from other women. The problem is that once we’ve filled each other’s stockings to the brim, we’ve felt obligated to do likewise for the men in our lives. And I don’t think I’ve ever known a single man who really likes small, inexpensive gifts. They don’t even seem to understand the whole small-gift-concept.

Still, my dad always dutifully made an effort to be appreciative each year:

 “Wow! A mini-moose-horned back scratcher! Now that sure is something.”

“All righty…just what I needed. Socks! Those will come in mighty handy.”

“Ha ha, yes siree…a polishing kit for bald heads! That sure is pretty funny.”

I’m not sure what was more painful—buying the stocking gifts, or watching him open them.

We must not be the only family who goes through this, because stores make an effort to set up displays of suggestions for men each year. There must be an enormous amount of pressure to get creative, because today I passed more than the usual wallets, desk games, cartoon-themed boxer shorts and creatively inscribed golf balls.

For the wife who is trying to combine good hygiene and a love of tools, there was a large and varied display of electric toothbrushes. Interesting to me were the racks and racks of pink flashlights and animal-themed bag clips, which surely must be high on every man’s “want” list.

The one exception to the shopping rule is my son. When he was a teenager, shopping was torture. Then a girlfriend entered the picture and everything changed. I don’t know how she does it, but if she likes it, he does, too. Once I took him shopping and brought his girlfriend along. While we loaded him up for his trip into the dressing room, I winked at her and handed him a short-sleeved button down shirt in aqua and white gingham that I’d had the wonderful luck to find brightening up the clearance rack. My son solemnly took it.

“Your girlfriend really likes this one,” I prompted. He only nodded, completely clueless as to why I was snorting and giggling.

I am so proud…not to mention relieved. He just might be getting a set of monkey-themed bag clips. I’ll just blame it on his girlfriend.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
  • This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
  • I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.
  • I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
  • They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

~Puns lovingly passed down from my friend Jim’s dad

Monday, November 23, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 243: Kung Fu Poultry

Thank you to Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours. Participants are invited to take a shot at a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. This week’s bonus word is “hearsay.” Have a happy Thanksgiving!

They were so excited when they heard there was a holiday held in their honor that they hurried into the clearing to ask if the rumor was merely hearsay.  124

Every year on Thanksgiving Eve, people told the story that some thought was legend, and others, hearsay. Few truly believed the five-headed Turkey Gobblin’ was real.  140

In case the rumor wasn’t hearsay, they got into formation as they’d practiced. Tom acted as wingman while they prepared to put their martial arts training to use.  135

Through self-nurturance we nurture our inner connection to the Great Creator.  Through this connection our creativity will unfold.  Paths will appear for us.  We need to trust the Great Creator and move out in faith. ~Julia Cameron

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Succinctly Yours Weeks 241 and 242: I Spy with My Little Eye

Thank you to Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! Participants are invited to step it up and tap out a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. Life has been beyond crazy lately, so I am combining Week 241 (bonus word, “autonomous,”) and Week 242 (bonus word, “parse”). I invite you to parse the preceding sentence. Would you place the period where I did, or inside the last set of quotation marks? Grammar-obsessed minds want to know.

They had won the vote at last. Still, she found it hard to believe women were becoming more autonomous when they were still bound by the feet.  116

Evelyn was known to hide and parse the neighbors’ eating habits in minute detail. She was sure they weren’t washing their food properly.   114
Aim for success, not perfection.  Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. ~Dr. David M. Burns

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 240: Tricked

Thank you to Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours. Participants are invited to carve a story to a mere 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. The word of the week is “border.”

His friends told him if he smiled nicely, the people would let him cross the border of the pumpkin patch to live in a place called “Pumpkin Paradise.” Those punks.   134

His “cute face,” which bordered on adorable, at last got him picked. He found out they weren’t adopting him when the carving knife came out. The horror. The horror.  136

Every year, people crossed the borders of the quiet pumpkin patch and changed their sweet faces into grimaces of death. Those ghouls.  112
Squidward, I used your clarinet to unclog my toilet. ~Spongebob Sqarepants

Friday, October 23, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 239: Too Pretty to be Silly

Thank you to Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours. Participants are invited to write a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. This week’s bonus word is “evaporate.”

Beneath the amber autumn canopy, the elixir of leaf-spiced dew evaporated all tenseness, all toil…all time.   92

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place. ~Iain Thomas, often mistakenly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut