Friday, December 31, 2010

Un-resolutions and other Mind Games

Hi there! It's me again.

(Or is it? For all you know, this could be an impostor, hijacking Linda's blog for nefarious purposes, like...oh, hell. It's me. I've just been watching the Twilight Zone marathon. It's affecting my brain.)

Is it just me, or did 2010 go by mind-blowingly fast? Honest to Pete, I feel like a cartoon character in a revolving door. Whoosh! Especially these past few weeks, when I've been have tons of fun with the fam. ZIP! Gone. (Boo-hoo, waaaah, sniffle...) 

Anyhoo, I suppose this must be the obligatory New Year's Resolutions post. Which is kind of a problem for me, because I don't really do resolutions. Sure as taxes, as soon as I make a well-intentioned resolution, something* will plant itself solidly between me and it.

If I resolve to lose weight, high-calorie food will jump into my mouth every time I open it. (Hand to God, people. The food jumps.)

If I resolve organize my woefully cluttered closets, a hundred and ten more urgent tasks will magically present themselves, demanding my immediate attention. (What? Conquering 4-deck Spider Solitaire is urgent.)

If I resolve to write ten new pages of my WIP every day, my characters will laugh in my face and say, "You wish." (Yeah, they can be a-holes. Don't know where they get it from...)

So, I play mind-games with myself instead. I never vow to accomplish anything. I just think--vaguely, like I'm sneaking up on the idea--that it "might be nice" if a certain something were to come about. And then I start to do "just this little bit" toward achieving it.

For instance, I might think, I'll really pig out tomorrow, but today this [insert name of obnoxiously healthy foodstuff here] really looks yummy, so I'll eat it instead of the fourteen cupcakes and two pounds of bacon.

Or, I'll just toss out these two shirts I haven't worn in the past five years. That's all. No major overhauling of the closet. 

And my favorite: I'll add a couple of paragraphs to the WIP, just for grins, something I probably won't even keep. 

Once I start a task, I tend to zone out and just keep going. Get into the Zen of it or something. Continue on autopilot, until something trips me up. Oddly, I usually manage to accomplish quite a bit this way. Especially if I can fool myself that whatever I'm working toward doesn't matter all that much.

If I don't try so know, if I play a little hard to get...then Stuff Gets Done.

I know! Silly, huh? It's like with my daughter's cats. The more you want them to sit on your lap, the more they ignore you. Pretend they don't exist (my son is an expert at this) and they will stick to you like stink on shi--er, like lint on felt.

So, nope. No resolutions here.

How about you? Are you the resolute sort, or do you have a few mind games of your own? Do share. :)

*Granted, it's usually my subconscious. She's such a contrary bitch.

Friday, December 17, 2010

One last Christmas song, then I'm done -- I promise!

NOTICE: I'm about to take a little  blogiday. DD and Son-in-Law are coming for a visit, and bringing their cats! I will be shamelessly enjoying their company.

I'll try to make the rounds to your blogs, but if you don't see me for a while, don't worry. In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be Bach." (You can be Beethoven.)

And, of course, I'll still pop onto Twitter and say inappropriate things whenever I've had an eggnog or two. ;)

But I can't resist leaving you with one final warped Christmas song. First a little background. We've had this stuffed reindeer forever:

It comes out every year...and my family cringes. Because they know I will squeeze it's belly, and it will fill the air with the dulcet strains of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

(Geez, people, how many times do I have to tell you? My taste in Christmas music is warped, okay?)

Only now the batteries are so far gone that it comes out as a garbled, twisted mess. There is no easy way to replace the batteries -- they're sewn in -- so, of course, I haven't even tried. I suppose the manufacturer thought nobody would possibly want this thing to go on forever, so they didn't bother to make it easy.

Ha! Little did they know. Low batteries and garbled music can't stop Super-Annoying Christmas Mom! Bwah-ha-hah!

Fortunately, I found a worthy rendition of the song on YouTube! You lucky b*stards.

The video that goes with this one is priceless, too. Enjoy!

And just be glad you're not close enough for me to squeeze my reindeer at you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For the warped music lovers among you...

Not everybody goes for cheery, sappy Christmas music, like the song I posted on Monday. (Well, I think hippos are cheery, anyway.)

If you're one who finds the perpetually perky rather annoying (or if you have kind of a warped sense of humor, like I do), I have just the album for you:

Yup, this little jewel is the antidote to all that holiday cheer. It's a compilation of some of the most depressing Christmas songs ever, with contributions from various artists. (Good thing, too. I'd hate to think one singer devoted a whole album to this.)

Here's a list of the songs: 

1. Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit
2. Christmas Eve Can Kill You
3. Santa Came Home Drunk
4. Don't Believe in Christmas
5. Lonely Christmas Call
6. Christmas in Vietnam
7. Santa Got a DWI
8. Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?
9. Who Say There Ain't No Santa Claus
10. Christmas in Jail
11. Christmas Spirit
12. Christmas in Prison

We have this album in our Christmas mix. And, okay, yeah. I do giggle whenever I listen to it. Because they are (I told you I was warped.)

So, do you have a favorite sad Christmas song?

Or, heck, let's not limit it to Christmas. Any sad song will do. It can even be one that actually makes you cry, instead of giggle uncontrollably. (Me, I can giggle and cry at the same time.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Okay, embarrassing confession time:

My all time favorite Christmas song? "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." What can I say? I listened to it when I was a tot, and was hooked for life.

A few years ago I finally got one! Here--I'll drag it out and show you. (Wow. Bet you're glad you checked out my blog today, aren't you?)

I even tried to match the look on the face of the little girl on the album cover. Don't think I quite nailed it. She is, perhaps, more wistful. Or sincere. Maybe more prayerful. She looks, I dunnoh, more concerned than I do. Probably because she doesn't have her hippo yet.

Whatever. I was very concerned for that girl every year when the Christmas music came out of the closet. I worried she wouldn't get her hippo, the way I never got my horse. (I, um, got over it. In case you're wondering.)

Alas, not everyone I know would be happy with a hippo (go figure), so I have to brave the retail jungle. If you never see me again, you'll know I was devoured the Great Big Retail Monster.

I'll leave you the hippo song to remember me by. Feel free to listen to it over and over and over again.

Really. It'll grow on you, I promise.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grimes' Fairy Tales

When my baby brother (Bam-Bam) was quite small (yes, he will always be my "baby" brother) I used to tell him stories. This is when he was so small that he couldn't even enunciate clearly, so his way of saying "once upon a time" was "ponsa ponsa time."

That's how he's ask for a story. He'd say, "Deta (he couldn't say Linda yet, either), ponsa ponsa time?"

So I would begin all the stories I told him with "Ponsa ponsa time..." and go on from there. The stories were mostly silly tales (hey, this is me -- of course they were silly) starring a little boy who looked suspiciously just like Bam-Bam and who, coincidentally, liked to do all the stuff Bam-Bam liked to do.

After TG and I were married, I used to do the same thing for him. (Hey, we were poor. No cable TV. We had to entertain ourselves somehow.) Of course, "Ponsa Ponsa Time" with TG usually involved R-rated stories, and I rarely made it to the end of one without being...interrupted.

Ponsa Ponsa Time continued with my own kids, of course. Their stories contained a lot of elements from real life -- friends, cousins, grandparents, etc. Toys and stuffed animals magically came to life during Ponsa Ponsa Time. (But not in that freaky-scary way. I'm not stupid -- I didn't want my sleep interrupted by nightmares.)

My daughter especially loved the stories about her adventures with Rainbow the Elephant, based on a teething toy she'd had since babyhood.

[Apparently there is now a book called The Rainbow Elephant. Harumph. This just proves my theory that if you think something, somebody out there will pick it up and run with it.]

Anyway, my Rainbow the Elephant had all kinds of exciting adventures. He often ate -- and loved! -- the very fruits and veggies DD was sure she couldn't stand, thus tempting her into at least trying them.

Huh. Imagine that. *blink*

My son was just happy if his stories had pirates. (Why, yes, since you ask, the pirates did use their cutlasses to chop up various fruits and veggies into tasty, bite-sized bits. Nobody ever said storytellers aren't manipulative.)

 What's that you day? You want Ponsa Ponsa Time story, too? Well, okay. Maybe just a short one.

Ponsa ponsa time...

...there was a Badass Blogger who liked nothing better than to laugh, and make others laugh with her. But one day, as she was wandering through the Great Internet Forest, a troll snuck up on her and stole her laugh.

Now, since she was such a badass, our Fearless Blogger didn't get sad or cry. She got royally pissed off. She chased that troll over hill and dale, from site to site, until she finally caught up with it at the Troll Online Forum, where it was trying to trade her laugh for baby goats, because trolls like nothing better than to eat kids.

WELL. Just as that nasty old troll was about to hand over the stolen laugh in exchange for the cutest kid you ever did see, Fearless Blogger jumped on its back and started tickling its earlobes. (Trolls have very ticklish earlobes.) In two shakes of a goat's tail, that troll let loose a monstrous GUFFAW.

Fearless Blogger grabbed that guffaw and swallowed it WHOLE!

(I know! But Fearless Blogger has kind of a big mouth, and can easily manage such feats.)

The nasty old troll, embarrassed to be shown up in such a way at the Online Trolls Forum, turned red and ran away, vowing to eat only fruits and vegetables from then on, to avoid further humiliation.

Once more in possession of her laughter, Fearless Blogger was no longer PO-ed. In fact, she was ecstatic. She gamboled off with the uneaten kids, giggling happily ever after.

The End

Now go on. Get out of here, and go eat some broccoli. Or a nice banana.

Wait a sec...before you leave, tell me. Have you ever been manipulated by a story? Or used one to manipulate someone else? Inquiring minds want to know. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Let's play a game.

From the following, choose either one or the other. (If it doesn't apply to your gender, imagine yourself as the other gender. Or, if that's too kinky, choose on behalf of someone you care about.)

Pretend you MUST choose. No wimping out with, "But I like bo-o-o-o-th..." or "I don't like e-e-e-either..." (Yeah, I can hear that whine in your voice. Nut up and do it already.)

On your mark...get set...GO!

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Flats or heels?

Sweater or sweatshirt?

White cotton or black lace?

Top up or top down?

Facebook or Twitter?

All-white Christmas lights or multi-colored?

Wine or beer?

Martini or Manhattan?

Hamburger or pizza?

Boots or sneakers?

Frosty or Rudolf?

Hanukkah or Chanukkah (or Hanukah or Chanukah)?

Europe or Australia?

Sheep or cows?

Boxers or briefs?

Thong or granny panties?

Pyramids or Eiffel Tower?

Button-fly or zipper?

Painting or photo?

Fiction or nonfiction?

Ask permission first or apologize after?

Give the truth or take the dare?

Decisive or deliberative?

There.  All finished. That wasn't so bad, was it? 

Now for the part I'm really curious about: 

How tough was that for you? Did you instantly know which to choose, or did you waffle back and forth, mentally begging for more information to help you weigh the options?

Don't worry, this isn't a test. One choice isn't better than the other. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. That's why we have conflicting adages, like...

"He who hesitates is lost."  vs. "Look before you leap."

Because there are times when an immediate decision is essential, and times when a more cautious approach would be prudent. Adage writers like to cover, bases.

Personally, I tend to be more deliberative*.  Oh, I can make a snap judgment when I have to, but I will second guess myself ad nauseum afterward, until I've reassured myself it was the right one. I may *cough* tend to over-analyze things just a tad.

[That raucous laughter you hear in the background is TG opining on my choice of the word "tad." At a guess, he doesn't seem to think it's an adequate descriptor.]

How about you? Are you a LOOKER or a LEAPER?

 P.S. You don't have to tell me everything you chose in the Either/Or. Unless you want to, in which case I'd love to hear. I am trying to correlate the chocolate thing with the kind of underwear people prefer, if you'd care to contribute to my research. My guess is, people who prefer dark chocolate like to wear risque underwear, but I could be wrong.

*Notice my skillful use of the word "deliberative." Sounds better than "wishy-washy," doesn't it? Just as rash and reckless person may prefer to be referred to as "decisive." POV is everything, yes? ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Mulishness

Confession: I am the teensiest bit stubborn.

Okay, maybe "teensiest" is the wrong modifier. Fact is, when I dig in my heels, I can give a mule a run for its money.

Now, stubborn can be good or stupid, depending.


Good stubborn: "I don't care how much you beg me, you are not staying out past curfew on a school night." (Granted, this is from a parental point of view. Stubbornness is an essential attribute in a parent.)

Stupid stubborn: "Sure, I might have the flu, but no way am I going to bed, because the world will fall apart without me." (Trust me, you will fall apart long before the world does.)

There is, of course, a writing tie-in. (What? Like you're surprised.)

Good writing stubborn: I will keep working on this darn book until I get it right. I will keep querying until I find the right agent for me. (I can testify that this pays off.) I will take criticism without throwing a tantrum (publicly), and apply what I learn to my manuscript until I make it the best it can be. And if this book doesn't work, I will apply everything I've learned to the next book. And the one after that.

Stupid writing stubborn: This is how I wrote it, dammit, and this is exactly how it's going to stay, no matter what. These are words my muse fed me, and if people don't "get" it, that's their problem.

See the difference? I mean, there's persevering, and then there's banging your head against a brick wall, thinking eventually you'll bring the wall down. Something's gotta give. Clue: it isn't going to be the wall.

Oh, and there's one more category: Silly Stubborn. If you, say, refuse to see Titanic simply because so many people told you that you just had to see it, and then it becomes kind of a thing not to see it...well, that might be a little silly. (Guilty.)

So, any other mules out there? What kind of stubborn are you? Examples if you have 'em, please. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wanting and Expiration Dates

When I was six, I wanted a pony more than anything in the world.

(Didn't get it.)

When I was ten, I upgraded to wanting a horse.

(Didn't get that, either.)

When I was sixteen, I wanted a Mustang, but got a Pinto.

(I got the Mustang when I was 22. Sadly, it was after they lost their cool body, so, really, it was just another Ford.)

You can see the theme. Yeah, I was kind of a horse nut, but my wants evolved as I aged. I outgrew wanting a pony or a horse. Well, that's not technically true. I outgrew wanting to take care of a pony or a horse. Shoveling horse manure loses some of its cachet when you're a teenager, and the Wonderful World of Dating opens up to you.

It seems some "wants" come with expiration dates. Apparently there is a window of opportunity for wish fulfillment. A Shetland pony when you're fifty isn't going to cut like it would at six.

Same goes with books. The reading material that appeals to you at fifteen isn't necessarily the same as when you're forty. Desires change; tastes evolve. I discovered Gone With The Wind when I was twelve. Read that sucker at least ten times before I was thirteen, and haven't picked it up since. I'm afraid to now. Afraid I'll destroy the magic that surrounds it in my memory.

It's kind of sad to lose the bone-deep want of certain things. Letting go of that part of yourself. I can look back on my childhood and remember how deeply I yearned for my own horse. How crushingly disappointed I was one Christmas morning when I awoke to the sound of whinnying in the living room, and rushed in thinking, Finally!, only to find by baby brother pulling the string of his new "Farmer Says" toy.

But it's almost like it happened to another person. I remember the event, but there's cotton wool buffering the emotions. Which, I suppose, is a good thing.

There is one thing I haven't lost my "want" for:

If that ever goes, just shoot me.

How about you? Have any of your wants expired? What did you used to want more than anything in the world, but don't anymore?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ramblings on friendship

[DISCLAIMER: This picture isn't me. Seriously. It's not. Because I'm pretty sure I haven't trained any caterpillars to sit on my eyelids. Okay, carry on reading the post.]

My mom has a friend who always used to say, "Look at your friends with one eye closed." Followed by a wink, of course.

Well, her whole saying was, "Look at your enemies with both eyes open and your friends with one eye closed."

But it's the friends part that intrigues me. To me, it means making allowances for imperfections. Showing a little tolerance if their ideas don't always agree with your own. Focusing on the things you like about them instead of on the stuff you don't.

Now, I know there are some points of contention that just can't be surmounted. For instance, if you're a serial killer, I'm probably not going to overlook that. OTOH, I could possibly be persuaded, given the right circumstances...

 If you have a really nice boat and only kill bad guys, maybe we can talk.

Friends are funny critters. There are categories, I think.

Situational Friends:
The people with whom you share something in common at a given time of your life. Other young parents when your kids are little. Maybe somebody who enjoys knitting "cozies" for everything, the way you do--the one who really gets that no small appliance is complete without a colorful yarn covering. Or even, you know, other people crazy enough to pursue publishing. With these friends, you always have a ready topic of conversation: your common interest, whatever it may be.

Casual Friends:
People whose company you enjoy. Maybe you get together for dinner, and keep up with each other's family.You like them. Hanging out together is always fun.

Close Friends:
These are ones who might as well be family. (And may even be better than family. I mean, you can choose your friends.) The ones you'd call for bail money. You trust them not to post your mug shot on Facebook, no matter how funny it is. They know enough about you to blackmail you a hundred ways to Sunday, and you know they won't, because not only do you trust them, you also have tons of blackmail material on them.

Best Friends:
You take each other for granted, in the best possible way. You know if you ask them for anything, it will be done, if it's humanly possible. They hate the people who are mean to you and love the ones who treat you well. (I married mine.)

Internet Friends:
When I first started getting active online, TG warned me to be wary of people I met online, because there was no way of knowing they were who they claimed to be. "For all you know, that could be a 50-year-old man, sitting there in his underwear, scratching his balls," was the way he put it.

(Yeah, just try to get that image out of your head.)

Well, I've met a few of my internet acquaintances in person by now, and I have to tell you, none of them look like the type to sit in front of a computer scratching their nether regions. In fact, they've pretty much been how they represented themselves on the screen.

Could be I've just been lucky, though.

I know! Let's take a little survey, shall we? How many of y'all are really 50-year-old men, sitting there in your underwear, reading this while you're ratching an itch? Please tell me in the comments.

While you're at it, if you're so inclined, tell me what you have to close one eye to with your friends. Or, if you're feeling introspective (and brave), what they have to close an eye to with you

And here's hoping you look at me with one eye closed. And not just because I squirted you with my fake corsage. ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wherein I get a Very Sweet Blog Award

Last Friday, the lovely Elizabeth Flora Ross did me the honor of making me the very first recipient of this:

Yeah, I know. I don't understand it, either. She thinks I'm a rad read? Huh. There's just no accounting for taste, huh?  

If I've linked it right, when you click on the picture you should be taken to a page on Elizabeth's blog that explains the award. If I haven't linked it right (a distinct possibility), try clicking here instead.  

Anyway, thank you, E. Flora! Very much appreciated. :)  

So, I'm supposed to share what I like about blogging, and what I hope to accomplish through this blog. Hmm...

What I Like about Blogging:

1. Well, in case anyone hasn't noticed, I'm kind of a smartass. (Also a badass. But that's another post.) This blog is the perfect outlet for my smart-assery. 

2. The connection with my blog readers. Seriously, I love getting to know my readers through their comments. It's nice to know I'm not just talking to myself here.

3. I love visiting the blogs of the people who visit me here. I've "met" (cyber-ly speaking) some really cool people here. Your blogs rock, you guys!

4. As much as I oppose discipline in general, blogging on a regular basis does breed a certain amount of writing discipline, always a plus when you're trying to, yannoh, be a writer.

5. I get to be the boss of my blog. What I say goes. OH, THE POWER!!!! Bwah-ha--haaah!!!

What I Hope to Accomplish

Really, I just like making people laugh, or at least smile. If someday (in the bright, shiny future) my books get published, and people who've read my blog remember my name and think, Hey, she's kinda funny. Maybe I'll give her book a try...well, that would be a huge bonus.

I'm also supposed to share a list of my favorite blogs. Gaaah! There are so many I enjoy. I'd be here all day if I tried to list them all. There's Elizabeth's, of course, which you can get to by clicking on the link above. 

Here are some others I read regularly, and am always entertained by:

Suelandia (with amazing pictures of her welded art!)

...and I know I'm forgetting some, because my brain is a sieve sometimes. If I've left you out, please berate me in the comments, and I'll try to do better next time. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Turkey Day Stupor

Limerick #1

On Thanksgiving a woman named Grimes
Lifted a fork to her mouth many times.
So much did she eat,
She decided to cheat
By padding her blog post with rhymes.

Limerick #2

If you're feeling the slightest bit frownie
Try eating a chocolate-y brownie
If it's ever so chewy,
And spiked with Kahlu-y,
Your frownie will turn upside-downie.

Okay, I admit it. I'm writing this on Thursday (i.e., Thanksgiving) evening. Well, I'm kind of writing it. Mostly, I'm watching stuff like this on the Discovery Channel with my family:

Because watching people shoot pumpkins from various pieces of homemade machinery just seems like the thing to do after sharing a scrumptious meal with people you love.

Oh, and I found some more hand turkeys. I think these a pretty awesome:

So, yeah. Had a great meal (turkey, two kinds of dressing, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean casserole, squash casserole, chunky cranberry sauce, jellied cranberry sauce, corn pudding, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and Kahlua brownies...and I'm probably forgetting some stuff) with 21 people ranging in age from 88 down to 2. I can't begin to describe how much fun it was, so I won't. I'll just say that in our family, this is everyone's favorite meal of the year.

Hope your day was as awesome as mine. :)

And now I will return to my post turkey stupor...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An inspirational (and short) Thanksgiving message

[I don't blog on Thursdays, so this is a day early. Unless you're reading it a day late, in which case it is right on time.]

For all my writing buddies participating in NaNo this month, here's a little Thanksgiving inspiration for you:

If you're working on a mystery or a police procedural, you might find this helpful:

And for those of you who long for the good old days, a little holiday nostalgia:

(Come on. You made a hand turkey when you were a kid, didn't you? If not, try it now. It's fun!)

Finally, if you just come here for the cheap laughs (you know who you are):

 To all of you who celebrate it, a Very Happy Thanksgiving. May you eat until you're uncomfortably full, drink until you say something inappropriate, and laugh until you wish you were wearing depends. :)

To all of you who don't (or who, like the Canadians, have already celebrated), heck, load up on the goodies anyway. Occasional overindulgence is good for you, and the contrast makes you feel even more virtuous on the days you behave. ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010


 Truly, I love ALL of the entries. I now have a bunch of good ideas to employ on any future wormy days. So thanks! You all rock.

However, I did have to narrow it down, because I do not have an endless supply of gummy worms. So, because she wrote a limerick incorporating my new animal theme from last Monday (llamas), because she sucked up to me mentioned visiting my blog, because I identify with her tendency to overuse commas, AND because I am myself too lazy to jog, I give you the WINNER...

Bess Weatherby!

Check out Bess's blog here.

 I picture a herd of green llammas
Wearing purple-striped pink lace pajamas
Then I visit your blog
(Too lazy for a jog)
or write poems with too many commas. 

(Yes, I took the liberty of illustrating her limerick. The pajamas are not quite as she described, but hey, they're llamas. In pajamas. Cut me some slack.)

Here's what Bess has won for her poetic effort:

Yes, two, count e'm, TWO kinds of GUMMY WORMS, original and Sour Brite Crawlers. Yum!

And, as promised, a book straight off my bookshelves: Galileo's Daughter (which is actually more about Galileo than his daughter, but whatever) by Dava Sobel. The reason I chose this book, apart from it being the winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, is...well, to be honest, I have two copies of it. (What? It's hard to give away a book you only have one copy of when you're a bibliomaniac like me.)

Bess, if you'll email me your address at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send your prize ASAP. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bam-Bam, the Fish, and the Universe

My dad died when I was twelve and my baby brother was three.

(Relax. This isn't going to be a maudlin post.)

My older brothers and I did our best to help Mom with, oh, let's call him "Bam-Bam." Because that's what we did call him. See, he had this little wooden hammer, and was not bashful about using it...but that's not really germane to this story.

One of my dad's favorite pastimes was fishing. We'd go to the lake in the summer, and stay for a few days or a week, depending on how much time off Dad could get. He would spend every spare second down on the dock, fishing. My older brothers spent their fair share of time there with him, proudly holding their rods. (Heh-heh.)

I'd join them sometimes, mainly to watch. And *cough* possibly to make a lot of noise, trying to scare the fish away before they were hooked. (Yeah, imagine how popular I was with the menfolk.) What can I say? I was a soft-hearted twerp. Besides, the worms were icky. I couldn't bear to squish them onto the hooks myself, and even when my dad did it for me, it still freaked me out. I mean, eew. Worm guts.

So I spent most of my time in the camp's rec room, playing ping-pong and drinking Delaware Punch (the only non-carbonated beverage in the soda machine. Oh, and reading, of course. Good times.

Bam-Bam wasn't old enough for any quality dock time before Dad died, but he'd heard stories. When he was about six, he got it into his head that he wanted to go fishing, just like his daddy. My other brothers were busy doing teenage boy things, and Mom didn't fish, so I figured it was up to me.

Trouble was, I still couldn't stand to, you know...

 Which was really fine, because I sure as heck didn't want to deal with... actual fish.

See, what I had in mind was a nice afternoon bonding with my baby brother while he dangled a worm-less hook in the water. Pretending to fish. After all, just holding the pole was the important part. (Honest to God, I tried to come up with a way to not make that sound like a double entendre, but I don't think there is one.) Anyway, no worm, no possibility I'd have to deal with a fish, right?

Ha. Hahahahahahaha. HA! <--Hysterical Hindsight Laughter

So, what do you suppose happened the very first time Bam-Bam dropped that hook in the water, and jerked it back out in his sheer enthusiasm for the activity?

That's right. He hooked a fish. Through its back.

There, dangling from Bam-Bam's fishing line, was a four-inch, silver-gray fish who was suddenly having a very bad day.

Picture it: you are the Einstein of fishes, much too smart to snap at a worm on a hook. No, you'd rather starve than place your mouth on any strangely still, hook-shaped worms. Because you know better. And then out of nowhere comes a freakin' worm-free hook, speeding through the water above you, and before you can wiggle your tail and swim away you are suspended in front of a six-year-old human boy shrieking, "Can we eat it? Huh? Can we eat it?"

Like I said. Bad day for the fish. (And me--I had to *shudder* take the hook out.) But Best Day Ever for my baby brother, even though I had to explain to him that we had to throw the fish back because it was too small to keep. Didn't matter to him. He'd caught his fish.

There's a lesson in there somewhere. Something about never taking anything for granted. Or about how life can surprise you in the damndest ways. Or how, even when the odds are against you, things sometimes work out. Or perhaps how point of view is everything (think of the fish). Take your pick. Me, I just look back on it and laugh.

How about you? Has life handed you any small surprises? How'd they work out for you?

P.S. Speaking of worms, there's still time to enter my SAVE THE WORMS contest. Have you saved a worm today?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Save the WORMS! (It's a Contest!!)

"Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm gonna eat some worms..."

You know that song, right? I found a video of it on YouTube, but I'm sparing you, because it's kind of gross.

Ever have one of those days? I do. Not often, but every now and then. Usually for no good reason. If you happen to be leaning in the wormy direction already (*cough* hormones *cough*), it doesn't take much you push you over the edge into reading every random happening as a personal slight.

And this is NOT a good thing, people.

Especially for the worm.

 So I've decided to launch a SAVE THE WORMS campaign. I'm making a list of things that get me out of worm-eating moods. Maybe the list will help my fellow wannabe worm-eaters through their low moments, too.


~ Eat ice cream instead. Because, really, it tastes so much better than worms. Or so I imagine. And nothing anchors those rose-colored glasses firmly into place like a good cone.

~ Read--or better yet, write--a limerick. Say, like...

If you're considering the eating of worms
Take care, for they surely have germs
They're also quite squiggle-y,
Slimy, gooey, and wiggle-y
And likely to give you the squirms.

(Hey, it's early. My limerick muscles aren't entirely awake. But you get the idea.)

~ Pick up an old favorite, and escape into another world for a while.

~ Get out and move. Because it's hard to feel like eating worms when you're sweating. Oh, and take a friend.

~ Listen to an obnoxious song. Because it's better to get an ear worm than to eat a real worm.

~Force yourself to smile. Research shows the physical act of using your smile muscles actually releases some sort of endorphins in the brain, and you will feel better.

 (If you're still frowning in spite of your best efforts, stand on your head. It will look like a smile to the rest of us, and keep us entertained besides.)

Care to contribute to my SAVE THE WORMS campaign? Just let me know, in the comments, what you do to keep yourself from eating worms when you're feeling down.

Best answer will win you a--you guessed it!--bag of...

...GUMMY WORMS!! Yum. :) Oh, and a grab-bag book from my overstuffed bookshelves. The title will be a surprise. Are you feeling lucky today? Huh? Are you?

As always, winner will be selected by me on a purely subjective basis. Make me laugh, people. Move me to tears. Impress the hell out of me with your wackily creative ideas. (Bonus points if it's in limerick form. Or haiku. Or rhymes in any way whatsoever. Or is strictly conversational prose. See how easy I am?)

In case of a tie, TG will be the official tie-breaker. Contest will close Sunday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. East Coast Time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

llinda does llamas (wait--that doesn't sound quite right...)

Okay, this one is for Elizabeth Ryann, who commented on Twitter that I seem to have a thing for camels. (Not necessarily so. Camels just lend themselves to Wednesday posts. You know, because it's Hump Day.) Still, she thought maybe it was time to give another animal some blog time, and suggested a llamas might be good fodder for a Monday post.

Since I am ever accommodating, I give you...


Llamas are CUTE:

Come on. Who can resist that face? Don't you just want to snuggle up with it, and let it nibble on your ears?

Llamas are also talented, as evidenced by this llama's uncanny ability to do celebrity impressions:

Llamas are even portable. Though they may not be the world's best car passengers...

Llamas are sometimes forgetful. For instance, this one forgot where it lleft its llegs (and its ears):

But llamas are still handy to have around if you ever need an excuse (and you know how fond I am of excuses):

And best of all, you can play dress-up with your llama:

If you enjoyed this llittle llesson about llamas, please tell me in the comments. If you didn't, please lleave a comment blaming Elizabeth.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The trouble with being an avid reader... that you get conditioned to enjoying things vicariously. Honestly, if I can do something in my head, it's almost as good as doing it real life. Why expend the actual physical energy when the payoff from just reading about it is so satisfying?

[EXCEPTION: This does not, I repeat, not, apply to certain activities of the, um, romantic sort. If you get my drift. *cough* Some things you really have to be there for.]

My agency sistah, Tawna Fenske, recently did a hilarious post about her trip to the hardware store. It got me thinking about some of my trips to the hardware store with TG (which I fully expect will be more entertaining in the future, now that I know what kind of double-entendre packaging to look for). On our last trip to Home Depot we bought a chainsaw, with which to rid our yard of all the winter damage. (Sadly, that was one activity we could not leave in the virtual realm.)

[Stick with here. There is a connection.] 

Anyway, while we were there at the Home Improvement Mecca, we also perused the kitchen and bath aisles, as is our wont to do on these impromptu "dates," drooling over fixtures and cabinets (not literally; I mean, that would be gross), debating which we might choose once we get around to actually updating our house. We do the same thing when we go to Ikea, or Lowe's, or anyplace with cabinets. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon, and since our tastes are similar, we mostly agree on style.

The only trouble is, just looking is enough to scratch the refurbishing itch. We never seem to feel a pressing need to follow through with the actual implementation of our ideas.

Well, to be fair, if TG had more free time, he would do it. But theater is a harsh and demanding mistress. (Hmm. Are you imagining black leather, stiletto heels, and whips? Yeah, me too.) And I'm a tool klutz, so I can't do it on my own. Ergo, lots of projects go on our "Later" list.

I'm the same way with other people's pets now, too. Since our last, officially-truly-ours pet died, I haven't exactly rushed out to replace him. At first it was because I was too traumatized by the loss. We'd had  Clancy-cat for so long it was hard to imagine life with a subtitute. (More about Clancy here.) But if I'm honest--which I try to be at least 97.8% of the time--I've gotten pretty used to not being responsible for the care, feeding, and poop-cleaning-up of another being. We have a part-time cat who drops by daily for treats and a cuddle, and that, along with occasional visits to Cute Overload, satisfies the pet urge in both of us.*

How about you guys? Anything you'd just as soon experience vicariously? Or are you the Everything** Has To Be Real type? Do share. Inquiring minds want to know.

*For now. Though TG is lobbying heavily for an English bulldog, which, in his head, he has already named "Fugly." I've warned him not to expect a little Fugly under the Christmas tree this year, or any year before he retires and can follow Fugly around on walks himself, plastic bag in hand. Because I ain't picking up Fugly poop.

**Well, except, you know, murder and stuff like that. I'm going to assume you don't want to experience that firsthand.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A little Hump Day NaNo-spiration

I know getting over all those word count humps isn't easy...

And the first draft you wind up with might be in serious need of a makeover...

But hang in there!  Every desert has an oasis...

You will get there! And when you do, you'll find me already there, along with all the other lazy gits not participating, three drinks ahead of you and toasting your success...

Yup. You're going to have some catching up to do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rationalizations R Us Redux

A while back I did a post about my extraordinary ability to rationalize anything.

Now, I'm not generally one to toot my own horn (stop laughing), but I am rather adept at coming up with good excuses. If you doubt this, check out my recent NaNoWriMo post for a list of 10 excellent reasons I'm not participating.

Anyway, I figure November, the gateway to the Holiday Season, is prime time for rationalizing. Who doesn't need a good excuse this time of year?

Here a few freebies for you:

Having trouble getting motivated for the day job? 

~Try telling your boss you're taking a day off to "fortify your immune system" so a nasty flu bug won't keep you from work later, when s/he needs you more. You're only staying home for the good of the company. (Hey, this is not a lie. Sleep is the best way to fortify your immune system. Just sleep when ditch work, and you're golden.)

Can't bear the thought of another Thanksgiving with the in-laws? 

~Try telling your spouse that this is the year you feel yourself on the edge of cracking, and that, in the interest of maintaining harmonious familial relations beyond Turkey Day, you will graciously volunteer to feign illness *cough* just this once. Then stay home, order take-out, and sip wine in a bubble bath. For the sake of the family

Prospect of holiday shopping getting you down? 

~De-commercialization, anyone? You know, the true meaning of any holiday lies in the...yadda-yadda-yadda. You'll have to work on perfecting your sincere face to pull this one off, and if you have  young children...well, good luck. But, really, isn't their long term moral development more important than their excited little faces at gift-opening time?

Don't want to work yourself to a frazzle baking all those holiday goodies this year?

~Honestly, isn't it your civic duty to stimulate the economy and help keep professional bakers employed?

Sick and tired of pre-holiday dieting just so you can enjoy those December parties guilt-free? 

~Carrying a few extra pounds helps stave off osteoporosis. Wearing too-tight clothing for a little while is a small price to pay to prevent a future hip fracture.

Can't keep up with your blog roll?

~Copy the following, and paste it into every blog you visit today:

Wow! What a brilliant and insightful post. You rock! *

So, I am officially open for special requests. Have a situation you need a good rationalization for? Ask away. I will do my best to help. 

*Just so you know, this will cease to be amusing after about the third time somebody pastes that into MY comments... ;)

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Sordid Criminal Past

WARNING: The following post contains such words as "h*t p*le" and "t!t" and "chickensh!t" and "bad*ss." Read at your own peril.

(Oh, come on. This is me. How bad can it really be?)

Even before my walk on the wild side as an almost-gunrunner in Ireland, I had already dipped briefly into a life of crime. Difficult though it will be for you to believe it:

I am an international smuggler.

There. *bites knuckle* I've said it. Think of me what you will. But it's not my fault! I was young. I was impetuous.  

I was Double-Dog Dared.

And we've already seen what depths I will stoop to when dared, haven't we? So you can hardly be surprised to learn that this behavioral tendency has its roots in my murky past.

It was my junior year of college, and I was studying abroad in Stockholm. (TG says he studied a broad in college, too--several, in *waggles eyebrows*) Over spring break a group of us international students went Russia. We stayed five days in Moscow and four in St. Petersburg. Since we were tagging along with a high school study group, you'd think we couldn't manage to get into much trouble, wouldn't you?

Yeah, you'd think that. But you'd be wrong.

Listen, all I can say is, it's not that tough for five college girls to ditch one harried high school chaperone, who was naturally way more concerned with keeping tabs on his underage charges than on those of us who were supposed to be "mature." The poor man may even have been under the impression we would actually help him ride herd on the teenagers.

[Pause for interlude of hysterical laughter.]

Shortly after we arrived in Moscow (getting there was a harrowing experience in itself--I'm not sure how it is today, but back then there was a good reason Aeroflot was commonly known as "Aeroflop" *shudders*), one of our motley crew of college girls--let's call her TUNS (short for "Thinks Up Naughty Stuff")--decided it would be fun to take a cab to the nearest fancy restaurant and dine spectacularly on caviar and vodka.

Well, the only thing was, the exchange rate from Swedish crowns to Russian rubles was not so great. None of us poor college students could afford it.

"Ha!" says Tuns. "No problem. I know a guy..."

Know a guy she did. He was a Pole (as in from Poland, not a staff, and quite classically handsome, if physical considerations are important to you) from our International Swedish language class. He happened to be visiting his Russian cousin at the same time as our trip.

What a coincidence! I'm sure the timing of his trip had nothing to do with the fact that Tuns had been seeing him on the sly back in Sweden. He was married to a Swedish woman, purely, he assured us all, to gain residency. Didn't stop him from trying to date me, Tuns, and every other American girl in our language class. I think he had aspirations of U.S. citizenship. Tuns had no intention of marrying him, even if he did divorce his Swedish wife, but she couldn't see why that should stop her from letting him *cough* try to persuade her.

Long story short (or is it already too late for that?), Hot Pole's [Heh-heh. I said "Hot Pole."] Russian cousin was a taxi driver who dabbled in, um, unofficial currency exchange. Apparently, this sort of "moonlighting" was quite common then. Might still be, for all I know. He gave us an exchange rate approximately ten times better than the official one, assuring us that "nobody really minded" as long as we didn't try to take any Russian currency out of the country with us. We'd have to spend it all while we were there.

This did not strike us as an especially bad hardship. *blink*

Russian Cousin also said he could give us a very good rate on a cab ride to a nice restaurant. So five of us girls, plus Hot Pole (heh), squeezed into (heh-heh) a tee-niny cab, built to hold three passengers, tops.

Have I mentioned this was March, and that this particular March in Moscow was colder than the proverbial witch', bosom? (Bosom is better than tit, right? I'm working on my restraint.) With four-foot snowbanks along the sides of the roads? Also, apparently it's illegal for taxi drivers to over-stuff their cabs, drive without their meters on, and then not report the income to whoever the Russian equivalent to Uncle Sam is?

Yeah. Well, it is, it is, and it is. So we spent the whole cab ride caroming around icy streets, avoiding cop cars, and finally wound up slamming head-on into a snowbank. Fun stuff.

To give Russian Cousin his due, he did get us to the restaurant...after we all helped dig is car out of the snow. And the restaurant was spectacular. The food was amazing, the wait staff so attentive we felt like celebrities, and the vodka flowed freely enough that none of us felt our whiplash.

But back to the main point of this post. After lots more antics along those lines, one of them involving all of us getting kicked out of Lenin's tomb for inappropriate laughter (what? he looked like a reject from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum), we found we had some rubles left over as we packed to head back to Sweden.

Tuns told us the rubles would make wonderful mementos of our trip to Russia, and that she fully intended to take hers with her. Went so far as to say if we didn't do the same, we'd be chickenshits, and she would spend the rest of the semester clucking at us whenever she passed us in the hall.

Then she did it. She double-dog dared us.

What choice did we have? The other girls stuffed rubles in their bras, but I thought that seemed too obvious. So I pried open my dental floss case, folded up my 5-ruble bill really small, crammed it beneath the wound-up white thread, and closed the case back up, good as new. Squeezed a small blob of toothpaste on the outside case for authenticity's sake, and to discourage any official who happened to rifle through my bags from actually touching it. (I thought that was a rather clever touch.)

Then I proceeded to have heart palpitations until we were safely through airport security. No one checked any of our bags, but I didn't breathe easily until we were back on Swedish soil. Badass though I am, I don't think I'm cut out for a life of crime.

How about you guys? Have you ever broken an international law? Do share in the comments. I swear your secret is safe with me.