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. ;)