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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Passive Aggressive Post About Passive Aggressives

Forgive me. I’ve just been dealing with so many of them lately...though I can't figure out if I actually draw them, or if there are just a lot out there. Here are:

10 Things People Have Actually Said to Me:

1.     Woman who was discussing plastic surgery with someone else at the table, suddenly turning to me: “I bet I know what you’d have done! Boob job, right?”

2.     Same woman from #1: “Why don’t you get your dog shaved? Maybe they could make him look like something! Because you know MY dog is a genuine Bichon Frise! We paid ONE HUNDRED-SEVENTY-FIVE dollars for her!”

3.     Ditto again:” “Did you make that?”
            Me: “Uh…yes.”
“I could tell.”

4.     And my personal favorite from, you guessed it: “I heard your grandmother died and you got her furniture! How wonderful!”

5.     Above woman’s husband: “Who cares if our dog poops in your yard? She’s so small.”

6.     Different woman who asked to see my garden, pointing to a plant: “Is that supposed to look like that?”
Me: “Yes.”
“Oh. Huh.”

7.     Same woman in the same garden: “Is that something?”
Me: “Yes.”
“Oh. Huh.”

8.     Garden woman again, after I’d moved to a new house: “So are you going to make your garden nothing but pink again?”
Me, laughing: “Yes. I do like pink and purple.”
“Oh. Huh.”

9.     Another one: “So what is your daughter’s major again?”
Me: “Biochemistry.”
“And does she have a boyfriend?”
Me: “I don’t know. She did, but I think they just broke up.”
(With conciliatory tone) “Well, don’t worry. I knew girls in college who sat around and did nothing but study, and they turned out to be just fine!”

10.  Same woman from #s 1 and 2: “I’m thinking about breeding my dog. Because you know she is a genuine Bichon Frise, and we paid ONE HUNDRED-SEVENTY-FIVE dollars for her!”
Me: “Oh. Huh.”

“Oh. Huh.” ~Pretty much every passive-aggressive I’ve ever known

“She was a one-man verbal wrecking crew.” ~Overheard in Dr.’s office waiting room

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 234: Oscars Aplenty

Many thanks to Grandma of Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours. Participants are invited to kick back and throw together a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer based on the photo. This week’s bonus word was “vouch.”

I’ll vouch it belongs to Oscar the Grouch.   35

I’ll vouch it belongs to Oscar Madison.   33

I can vouch for the fact that it was once a de la Renta.   43

No matter what, I’ll vouch that the Oscar couch…is just as “ouch.”   55

The perfectionist fixes one line of a poem over and over—until no lines are right….The perfectionist is never satisfied.  The perfectionist never says, “This is pretty good.  I think I’ll just keep going.”…To the perfectionist, there is always room for improvement.  The perfectionist calls this humility.  In reality, it is egotism.  It is pride that makes us want to write a perfect script, paint a perfect painting, perform a perfect audition monologue….Perfectionism is not a quest for the best.  It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough—that we should try again. ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Not So Rose-Colored Glasses

I’m not sure now if I was so much blessed with perfect vision as I was blessed with a mother who wouldn’t allow her children to have anything less than perfect vision. Regardless, I didn’t wear glasses until my mid-forties.

The way my self-delusion came crashing home is recounted in my story, “Dare to Enter” in the hilarious book, Your Glasses Are on Top of Your Head: Tales of Life, Longevity, and Laughter, now available.

The good news is I have developed such a smooth routine with my glasses that I no longer give them—or my aging vision—a second thought. That is, until the other day when I pulled them from their customary storage place (the unused cup holder), put them on...and they just didn’t improve my vision any. As in at all.

My doctor always asks me if I’ve experienced any sudden vision changes. I’d never given it much thought before, but now I did. What do sudden vision changes mean? I ran down the whole list—at least the list within my knowledge. Diabetes? Glaucoma? Retinal detachment? Probably a whole bunch of other horrible ones I don't even know about! My breathing grew more rapid with each one.

I’m Facebook friends with a woman who seems to have all sorts of weird medical disasters befalling her. One of them was when she experienced sudden detachment of her retinas. The way she told it, she was just hanging out and her retinas suddenly decided to depart, introducing for me the alarming possibility that body parts can just randomly flee. She always describes all of her health issues in detail, complete with pictures. It seems to me she was left in the hospital for the longest time, suspended facedown and immobile, in order to help preserve her vision.

It was so horrifying, hundreds of people “liked” it.

So I started to panic there in my car. I can’t afford a night in the hospital, let alone weeks! And dangling face-down! What would I do?! And worse—my vision was not only blurred, but dimmed! What did dimmed vision mean? I thought of movies where dying people coughed and whispered melodramatically, “It’s…it’s getting dark.” It was almost like….

Oh. I said it aloud in my car because I also talk to myself these days. Then I started laughing—something I’m afraid I also do by myself sometimes these days. Sunglasses, is what it was like. Non-prescription ones. The ones I’d accidentally put into my cupholder where the driving glasses go. So technically the glasses were on my face and everything, but they were just the wrong ones.

Who knew old age was so entertaining? Don’t forget: Your Glasses Are on Top of Your Head, edited by Brenda Elsagher. You might even find yourself randomly laughing for a long time afterward.

I learned at fifty I had joined the army of unwanted men. ~Ray Brandbury, Farewell Summer