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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Senior Sex(less) and the City : #20  The Other Side : Single Women!

Witchy Woman
I first talked to her because she couldn’t really be as scary as she looks, right ? Silly me! I can’t say a word about this one because I am scared of her. In fact, I suspect she is lurking somewhere, shaking chicken blood on mysterious little symbols. Shh…I don’t want one of them to be my name!

I used a short one because I have a favor to ask. I can’t tell you how flattered I am that some of you seem to think I should compile my Sex(less) in the City segments into…something. My question is, what do you think that “something” should be? It’s way too big for an essay. A chapbook? Chapter or section of a larger book—possibly a divorce guide for older women?

Or should I try to come up with more on the single women I’ve met and make it for all divorced people? Or should it somehow not be about divorce at all?

Thank you so, so much in advance. Needless to say, if this somehow makes it into print, this is my "Acknowledgements" page in the making!

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light. ~Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Improper Poll: Very Un-Playful Possum

Number one on my list of things to do this morning was “Dispose of dead baby possum on the patio.”  Not a fun start to my day.

I first discovered it when the dog showed me last night. I hoped it was playing possum as they say, but I kept conducting possum checks through the window, and if it was pretending to be dead, it sure was convincing. I enlisted the kids’ help. One of them surmised that the dog might have “squeaked” it, but we're not entirely sure how he could have caught it in the first place, being deaf and as legally blind as Mr. Magoo. 

I admired its acting ability when the rain came and it was still playing possum, but when the hail fell, it could have been nominated for an Academy Award. The flies this morning were the clincher, though I left the plastic bag open in the garbage just in case.

What’s the grossest thing you've done lately? (Sorry if this is lame. I had another question for you, but I've decided to save it till Wednesday.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #17

I was excited about Book Blurb Friday, so I’m posting a wee bit early.  For this meme from Writing in the Buff, Lisa Ricard Claro posts a picture of a fictional book cover.  The challenge is to come up with an accompanying blurb of 150 words or fewer.  I loved this week’s picture the second I saw it.  Yes, it was like a big old carrot dangling in front of me, and yes, I obediently followed…with 122 words. 

And welcome to Susan! Susan, I’d love to see your blog but can’t find it. Am I that technologically challenged? Definitely.

~The Sort of New Adventures of Really, Really Old Christine~
By Steve King

The last time Christine fixed her own dents and chugged her way out of the junkyard, she realized her fenders just couldn’t take much more.  Could it be true?  It was.  Killing young boys just wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. It was time to drive herself down to Boca.  Maybe buy a little garage and play some Mahjong with some Cadillac Coupe de Villes.  

Relax with Steve King’s less scary sequel focusing on Christine’s retirement years, during which her radio plays e-z listening tunes such as:

I Lost My Grille Climbing Blueberry Hill
Highway to Purgatory
Tow Truck to Heaven
Ain’t Killin’ Nothin’ But a Few Hound Dogs
Baby Got Trunk
Come On Baby, Rub My Tires

Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, about a romantic weekend she’s planning: “I’m taking underwear that isn’t gray!”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Senior Sex(less) and the City: #19

The Gargoyle
I had just walked into a single’s dance. At a church, no less. I bet I hadn’t been sitting for two minutes when he swooped in, lurking beside me. “You’re new,” he accused, hunkering down into the chair next to me, uninvited. He was petite and creepily serious. And he fired off a lot of questions, but not the polite kind. Where had I come from? Why was I there at a single’s dance?

He started babbling, and for some reason he blurted out that he used to have dogs, but he didn’t have room for them anymore, so he had to have them all put to sleep. Four of them. He was really upset about it of course! I stared in open-mouthed horror, too many responses warring in my head, and all of them so angry that I finally just turned my back on him. It didn’t keep him from talking, though.

He would dance with me, he said, but he couldn’t. He had filed a worker’s compensation lawsuit for an injury. If he danced, they might take pictures to use against him in court. They send out spies like that.

I’d better watch it, he told me. There were people there who’d take advantage of me. He just wanted to warn me! Some men—not him, of course, because he was just looking out for me—some of those men might pounce right on me. I looked around. My friends were all dancing when I’d come in. He was the only one who even seemed to have noticed my presence. He had a peculiar intensity about him. Why, they might just look at me as another notch on the old belt!

So, why was I there, he demanded again. I tried to look as innocent as a person over 40 can look. Oh, just looking for another notch on the old belt, I shrugged. You know. But not him, of course! I would NEVER take advantage of him, so no worries there! And his injury and all. He was perfectly safe from me for sure!

Then I got up and went to the bathroom because, besides wanting to get away from him, I had to giggle. The look on his face before he retreated into the corners of the room was enough to send me back into the bathroom several times to get the laughter out of my system. Fortunately our table filled up and there was nowhere for him to perch from then on. But I could see him hovering most of the night in the shadows….

Next week: Mr. Name Dropper

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Improper Poll: Best Dad

I will always have a soft spot for Lorne Greene because I used to watch Bonanza with my dad. I remember almost nothing about the show itself other than the fact that Adam always wore a black hat, and if any of the boys fell in love, the girl was doomed to die within an episode or two. My father used to mutter, “Uh oh—she’s a goner” whenever one of the Cartwright boys kissed a girl.

What became memorable for me was the way my father and I would greet each other for the rest of his life, no matter how old I was. “Howdy Paw,” I’d say. And he would respond, “Howdy Lil’ Podner.” He even signed his letters “Love, Paw."

In the end, those were our last words to one other. And that’s fine. Somehow those words said it all.

Who was your favorite TV dad?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #16

It’s time again for Book Blurb Friday!  Each week, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing inthe Buff posts a picture of a fictional book cover.  The challenge is to come up with an accompanying blurb of 150 words or fewer.  This week’s blurb has been whittled down to 150 words (not counting the title).  Happy weekend!

~Worth a Chocolate Mint~
by Candace Barr
Dr. Cheri Van Illa was considered one of the country’s foremost experts in language and communication, called in to help determine what it was the alien wanted.

She had been prepped, vaccinated and briefed all week. She knew he was humanoid, but what they hadn’t told her was that he was possibly the most gorgeous creature in the Milky Way with skin like milk chocolate and eyes a soft mocha that glowed under the rich, dark semi-sweet curls of his lashes. His hair was the palest green.

Her heart pounded as he wasted no time approaching her. His hand reached out and brushed her hipbone, then disappeared inside her pocket and withdrew the candy bar she’d brought back from her last study in France. She’d been saving it for her lunch.

Just before she tackled him to the ground, she heard herself scream, “NOT…THE…CHOCOLATE!!!”

Hadn’t his people heard of PMS?

Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae. ~Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not So Glad Topic That Keeps Rearing Its Ugly…Feet

My post about shoe gluing made me realize that maybe it was time once again to try to replace the precious B.U.S.es (butt-ugly shoes; thank you, Sioux, for giving them such an appropriate name in the comment section of this post). Although they were so very comfortable, there have to be other comfortable shoes in the world, right?

I was hoping the replacement I got would do double-time. Couldn’t cute also be comfortable? The box said they could. These were sort of gladiator-style shoes with incredibly soft soles made of suede that feel like they have memory foam underneath. Ahhhh.

Yet…I knew the straps on them felt a little tight, but they would loosen up, right?

Ha. My gladiators are at war with my feet. They are vicious opponents. They grab hold of my toes and keep them bound into submission like slaves to their torturous leather straps that cut like whips. At the end of the first day I wore them, I emancipated my feet while still in the school parking lot and let out a small scream of horror. My feet had been lashed, slashed, gashed and mashed in such horrible ways that the sight of them scared me a little bit.

The next day I was limping. I’m too old to have shoe-wars. My dearest Butt Uglies, I embrace you yet again…but not too hard because you’re falling apart. Pass the glue.

My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they go, where they've been. ~Forrest Gump

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Improper Poll: See Jane

Remember those little storage boxes shaped like books that were popular a few years ago? I’m not making fun of them, mind you (have one myself), but I once saw one whose title was “Jane Eyer.” So not only was it a fake book presumably designed to make its owner appear well read, but this was a misspelled fake book. That name still makes me giggle, because I always want to picture this alternate Jane as a be-monocled female Mad-Eye Moody. Or maybe a female Sherlock Holmes complete with magnifying glass.

I thought of that this week because my daughter and I went to see the newest Jane Eyre movie. I hadn’t read the book until college, but she recently read it in high school. So when we discovered that the movie was still playing at a theatre across town, we went for it.

It was playing in the wealthy part of town. The very wealthy, old-money part. The perky girl who sold us tickets also sold concessions. Would we care for a nosh? The gelato was delicious! And for drinks, might she recommend an “Arnold Palmer?”

My daughter and I exchanged looks that said, “No guzzling of Slushies and Whoppers and greasy popcorn tubs here! They nosh! On gelato and mysterious drinks with cocktail names!!! Golfer cocktails!!!”

As we settled in the very back of the small theatre with our noshes, I realized there was nothing but a sea of white hair ahead of us. Not only was my daughter obviously the youngest person in there, I was probably second youngest. And they didn’t talk before the movie, let alone during. Also, no one had bothered to take our tickets. In fact, there was no security whatsoever. Who keeps people from sneaking in? Then we realized: There is no such thing as gangs of hoodlums waiting to sneak into Jane Eyre!!

What an amazing experience. The movie, of course, was wonderful. How could it not be, in a peaceful, cool theatre on a hot summer afternoon where we were so thoroughly tucked away from the real world beneath this cushy-thick layer of delightfulness?

Anyway. In honor of Jane Eyre and all of those white haired gangs of ladies who viewed her movie with us (The Jane-Eyers?), this week’s question will be only ever so slightly improper:

Have you run across any fun misspellings lately?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Blurb Friday Saturday (?!) #15

First of all, let me thank Sandra Davies for telling me that Firefox is somehow responsible for my inability to see pictures! She is absolutely right—if I go in through Internet Explorer, pictures appear out of nowhere. Amazing.

Speaking of pictures, I am VERY late getting finished with my Book Blurb Friday from Writing in the Buff! Each week Lisa Ricard Claro posts a pretend book cover, and we are asked to write an accompanying blurb of 150 words or less. I got overwhelmed this week while my muse went on vacation, but at least it’s a short one at only 87 words. Hope you have a great weekend!


An alcoholic mother.

A woman aching to give her dying husband one last taste of normal life.

A young paraplegic who broke his spine in a simple game of backyard football.

A teenager who decided to rough up an old man just to take his beer.

All are linked by one thing: Each drinks a simple can of beer, and each makes a toast before taking that first swig.

But is it really a simple can of beer? Especially when it always makes that toast come true?

Be careful what you wish for.  ~Anonymous

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Your thoughts and prayers meant so much when I thought our dog had been stricken by a stroke a month or two ago! Here’s an update. According to the vet, this was an inner ear problem sometimes called Canine Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome. He said there are several causes, and if it was due to something less insidious than a brain tumor, Buddy should recover fully within 14 days. Our beloved dog did recover, but it took a little longer than 14 days and he continues to have some residual effects. Does that mean it’s a brain tumor? I sure hope not.

In the meantime, we’ve all adjusted to this new way of being. Buddy is very old (15 and counting) no matter how you look at it. He still carries his head to the side. He occasionally stumbles and bumps into things. Sometimes he falls over when he shakes his head; he’s learned to stand next to us, and we’ve learned to reach out and steady him. In fact, we’ve steadied him so many times that he does what we call The Swoon: He’ll lean in to be scratched and just fall over if you’re not paying attention. He can no longer run without careening into things. He’s almost completely deaf and has been medicated for arthritis for some time. He has cataracts and one of those eyelid tumors that dogs get. The vet said it was too risky to do surgery at Buddy’s age, but it’s getting very close to touching his eyeball. What options will he have when that happens? I don’t know. I just pray whatever choices we make will be the ones he would make for himself.

Other than that, he seems quite happy and has actually earned himself some perks. He got so thin for a while that I started adding special canned food made for arthritic dogs mixed in with his kibble, and he loves it. I’ve elevated his dishes and moved the whole “dish throne” into the dining room because the rug in there is easier on his limbs and helps keep him from slipping. We joke that the dog is the only one in our house who actually dines in the dining room.

He has a bed in a very unattractive and inconvenient place right now: in the middle of everything. But when I move it to clean, Buddy stands in the spot and gives me The Pitiful Look until I put it all back. I figure his heart’s desire is to be in the midst of all of us, and this helps him to be there in comfort. He’s earned it.

He can still go in and outside and has learned to maneuver the two stairs again. This was the most important improvement of all. Carrying a sixty-pound dog down brick stairs is just not fun for any of the involved parties.

He still often whines, barks, and paces in the night for no apparent reason, but I hear that’s all part of extreme dog aging. Once my son got home from college for the summer, he started taking over so I could get enough sleep to function at work the next day. It helped immensely.

Like any care-givers, we are taking it one day at a time. We’re grateful for each one. And as always, we’re grateful for all of your prayers and good wishes!

What a wretched lot of old shriveled creatures we shall be by-and-by. Never mind—the uglier we get in the eyes of others, the lovelier we shall be to each other; that has always been my firm faith about friendship. ~George Eliot

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jarred Back to Reality

Last night I jumped out of bed thinking we’d had an earthquake. But when I consulted with my son, who usually feels them, he didn’t know what I was talking about. Had I dreamed it? After all, this felt different from the usual ones our area experiences—it was more of a roll than a jiggle. So I stayed awake for a while wondering what my subconscious mind was trying to tell me. Earthquake symbolism...hmmm!  Makes sense when you figure that our lives have been “shaken up” a bit with my daughter’s recent graduation!

Then this morning I heard we really did have one, a 4.2.  Oh.  So much for my dream analysis. Thanks to Jules for asking how we're doing!  You are very sweet.  Fortunately I don't think anything even fell over.

I don't have any earthquake quotes, so here's a line from a song that I like:
Some will fall in love with life and drink it from a fountain/
That is pouring like and avalanche coming down the mountain. ~Butthole Surfers, “Jingle of a Dog’s Collar”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Improper Poll: Secretly Watching

My daughter’s high school graduation was this weekend. And what do graduations remind me of, you ask? Or, more probably, you don’t…but I’m going to tell you anyway, although can you tell I am putting this off? Okay. Here goes. I used to be addicted to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

It’s true. This was the TV show version, which I discovered—as I’ve discovered most of my great TV loves—in syndication. It used to be aired late at night in my area on Saturday nights. My children were younger then, so I was overwhelmingly busy most days and evenings, yet had nothing to do on weekend nights.

For one thing, the casting director for that show must’ve had the most wonderful taste in men. Even the supposed nerds were hot. And how can you not love a little high school girl who calmly kicks vampire butt like that? Buffy was the ultimate liberated woman. She was feminine, smart, calm and powerful. She loved and respected men—just not the ones who attacked her, from whom she took not an ounce of grief. In retrospect, Buffy helped inspire me to do a little real-life-vampire ass-kicking (or out-kicking)…and for that, I will be eternally grateful. Even the name is wonderful: “Buffy!”…snort…. If by chance you’ve never seen the Buffy/Twilight Remix, it’s worth a look (and I am not a Twilight-hater, either). Go Buffy.

Do you have a show you’ve secretly loved but are a bit embarrassed to claim?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #14

Once again, it’s Book Blurb Friday! I find this meme from Writing in the Buff so very addictive—not only because I enjoy the writing exercise, but because it’s so much fun to read all of the different and creative takes on one picture. Each week, Lisa Ricard Claro posts the pretend cover of a book. Our job is to write an accompanying blurb in 150 words or fewer. I apologize in advance to Kay Davies for taking liberties with her beautiful picture. I believe it’s 138 words this week.

~ Pepé: Les Premières Années de le Pew~
par Guy de Malpewsscent
(forward by Victor Pughgo)

We think we know the jovial Pepé Le Pew, but what was his life like before he became an actor for Warner Brothers? This shocking biography details Pepé’s lonely early years and his little-known dreams of a career in law enforcement.  Few knew that such a cloud of angst hung over Pepé at being treated as a social outcast due to his “problème d'odeur.”

Follow his frustrating attempts to earn a Master’s degree in horticulture while living in a small Paris flat where even the pelargoniums swooned beneath his putrescent paw.

And finally, see him pursue one unrequited love after another before eventually moving to the United States and finally coming out about his secret, cross-species attraction to..les chats.

“Heartbreaking” ~Elle Magazine
“Ou la la!” ~French Quarterly

Welcome to Jabblog, Sara, Kay Davies and Karen Lange! (If I ever leave anyone out, I apologize.  I can't see some of my followers in Firefox and have to switch to Internet Explorer.  It's very weird!)

Despair seems to afflict only those whose relation to life is a serious and potentially responsible one.~ from “Mockingbird Years” by Emily Fox Gordon