Hello, y’all. I know it has been ages since my last post. But I do have a good reason for not writing blogs. I wrote my first novel.
On a typical work day as a mental health therapist in 2015, I was sanitizing a key object in play therapy with children: the doll house. Younger children use this to act out their wishes for home, how they feel about home, and sometimes what actually happens in their homes. Yet a story idea hit me like a brick, making me freeze in mid wiping of tiny plastic furniture.
What if what happened in the doll house really happened to an unsuspecting family? Of course, it won’t be tea parties.
Thus Doll House was born. I wrote the backbone of the story during the 2015 National Novel Writing Month and just got all the kinks worked out and the covers created (with the help of my husband). In October of 2016, it became available on Create Space. And just a few days ago became available on Amazon.
I am going through the very tedious job of making it readable for e-book, as I was quite tab and return button happy, along with special characters, in the paper version. And electronic books don’t like those.
I am greatly enjoying my first self publication, as I did not want an editor telling me how a haunted toy should act. I was in Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween weekend with the New England Horror Writers and had a blast signing a few copies.
Now that it is NaNoWriMo 2016, I am back at a laptop typing away at another book. Hopefully a children’s book about an extraordinarily artistic family with some strange powers. And I encourage all writers to find a local NaNoWriMo group for support and write-ins. http://nanowrimo.org/
Thanks for stopping by and sorry for the long delay!
So, summer is winding down, especially with the arrival of daytime temperatures only in the 60’s here in Massachusetts. And I saw the only movie that mattered this summer: Guardians of the Galaxy. Having never read the comic book, or even heard of the comic book until the movie, I had nothing to compare it to and greatly enjoyed the film. Yeah, I know this deletes some of my geek points, but I still have plenty of geek left. Through this experience, I believe I have found the perfect man.
Ladies, meet Groot.
Yeah. Okay. So. He’s a tree.
What makes Groot the perfect man? Let’s start with the physical attributes. He’s tall. Dark. Has compassionate eyes and a great smile. His abilities range from very handy to extraordinary. He can reach all those things on top shelves that my short stature cannot. He can stretch and grow to help you bust out of an intergalactic maximum security prison if needed. He provides shade in the blazing sun and grows his own flowers for you on Valentine’s Day and birthdays. He produces light during power outages. And he speaks only when he needs to. His personality is quite incredible. Groot is friendly to and gentle around children. He is a loyal friend. When others sit around talking and planning, he is doing. And most importantly, Groot would gladly impale anyone that tries to harm those he holds dear to his lively heart.
The most exciting and anticipated weeks of summer drew to a close yesterday when Germany took the World Cup by a narrow 1-0 win over Argentina. Futbol (or as we backwards Americans call it, soccer) is the one team sport I actually enjoy watching. Like the American mis-named football (where the ball is mostly carried by hand), basketball, baseball, and hockey, it does take a team to win it.
In June, columnist Ann Coulter wrote an article blasting soccer, calling it a “sign of the nation’s moral decay.” Although soccer/futbol can be boring, the 2014 World Cup proved many of her points erroneous.
First, Ann claims that individual achievements are no big factor. Along with that, she claims there are no heros. Ann, doubting people, and world, meet Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who holds the record of 16 goals scored in World Cup games. And speaking of Germany, “Super Mario” Goetze, kicked the goal that won Duetschland’s title. This single shot is now called “the goal heard around the world.”
Now, on to us Americans, who are improving their skills in the World’s Game. My man, goalkeeper Tim Howard, earned his own Sweet Sixteen, by blocking 16 shots in a single match from Belgium. This is the most he’s stopped in his career, and the most attempts blocked in the World Cup in a single game since the 1950’s. If Tim hadn’t been such an epic hero, the Belgium-U.S. game would have looked more like the Germany-Brazil stomping.
And lastly on Ann’s point of there being no individual achievements in soccer, yes, there is an MVP award. Lionel Messi of Argentina was awarded with the trophy, along with the Golden Glove award presented to the German tank goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer. Though us Americans will argue that Tim Howard deserved that coveted Glove.
Ann indicates that there are no “humiliations” or major injuries in soccer. Well, if you didn’t pay attention to the matches of the 2014 World Cup, pay attention now. American team captain Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones, midfielder, both sustained broken noses. Jozy Altidore tore his hamstring in the first U.S. match and did not play for the rest of the tournament. Alvaro Pereira of Uruguay took a knee to the head and was knocked out cold, lying unresponsive on the ground. In the final match, Germany’s Christoph Kramer took a jarring hit to the head that sent him spiraling to the ground, and he may have a concussion. He appeared very dazed after bouncing off the opponent’s shoulder and a few minutes later, required assistance off the field. And, oh yeah….
No humiliations in front of millions of people? This year, the host team of Brasil was crushed by the Germans. The German team played with absolute precision, and the sloppy and impulsive Brazilian team was no match for them. This video about sums up the 7-1 score game :
The host nation sadly left the field that day knowing they had let their entire country down, playing on their own home grounds. And they did it in front of millions of people. Then during the final match, a BILLION spectators watched Argentina’s Messi miss his free kick. He was so disappointed that he appeared to not look fans in the eye when accepting his MVP award.
And obviously football is not played with your hands. ITS WHY THE WORLD CORRECTLY CALLS IT FOOTBALL. The absence of being able to catch the ball makes footballers use specific athletic skills to carry it down the field.
Perhaps this comparison to America’s favorite past time will help non-football (soccer) fans understand the excitement: If you enjoy baseball, you find it exciting that people stand in a diamond shaped field and wait for a ball to come their way. You hold your breath once the bat cracks the leather ball, sending it soaring, anticipating that no one will catch it. You stand up and cheer when its a base hit or better yet, a home run.
The same goes for the real football. A defender kicks the ball past forwards, the midfield players pick it up and toggle it around their opponents. Then the correctly shaped ball is kicked to a forward, who skillfully pops it around shark-like defenders. Fans in the stands and at home stand up and clench their fists, heart racing, eyes unblinking and glued to the action. And lastly, the striker succeeds at kicking it past a 6-foot-plus, 200 pound goalkeeper with ninja reflexes. Nothing but Net.
So, you don’t like real football. And I don’t like American football. But don’t, for a second, think that it’s what has “demoralized” me. 😉
When I was about seven years old, I spent Easter weekend at the home of my newly married sister. On that wonderful Sunday, my pre-school aged nephew and I excitedly entered the living area, hoping to find baskets stuffed with Peeps, chocolate and other goodies laying in plastic shredded green grass. But instead, we found a wrecked living room with disarrayed couch cushions, blankets, and decorate pillows laying around.
The story the young adults told us curious children was that my brother-in-law spotted the Easter Bunny in the home and chased him around the room.
This was not met with excitement from us kiddos.
In fact, my first thought was something more like this:
My little nephew and I stood silent for a bit, staring with wide eyes at the damage done by a rabbit large enough to carry around presents for our baskets.
“What color was he?” my nephew asked.
“Oh, multi-colored. He kept changing colors as he ran around.”
A color changing rabbit meant only one thing to this Cold War, Generation X child: Mutated. You mean to tell me that a giant, mutated bunny was in this house?!
Suddenly, this notion was not that scary:
Yep, to me, the Easter Bunny was scarier that a beaten Son of God being brutally crucified and then rising from the grave like some zombie. Okay. Yeah. It sounds silly, but I’ve always been an imaginative child.
I was too young at that time to appreciate that this prank meant to boost our belief in the Easter Bunny actually strengthened my faith. So the cutesy, capitalistic symbol of Easter and I really haven’t experienced a solid relationship. And truthfully, who wants to think of the Lord bloody and broken on a Roman cross when flowers are budding, birds are singing, and baby duckies and bunnies are prancing around? But, hey, the Resurrection is my basis for this Spring Time holiday. Therefore, I never encouraged the belief of a gift giving bunny to my own son. And I only died Easter eggs with him once because it was just such a stinky mess. By the way, Peeps candies are plain gross.
But then this guy came along:
Hecks, yeah!! A six foot tall, speedy, boomerang slinging, Australian accented bad-ass that protects me from evil! Voiced by Hugh Jackman, this Easter Bunny explained that Easter is also about “hope” and “new beginnings.” Therefore, lining up with the Christian belief that one can be “born again.”
So once again, I say thank you to the Easter Bunny for helping to keep my faith strong. 🙂
WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS.
SO IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED A SINGLE EPISODE OF
BREAKING BAD AND PLAN TO,
DON’T READ ANY FURTHER.
I did not watch AMC’s spellbinding show, Breaking Bad, from the year it first aired. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about viewing a show depicting drug manufacturing and use. After seeing advertisements for it while watching The Walking Dead, the Mister and I had heard enough kudos for the show that we watched the DVD’s about two or three seasons in. And tomorrow night, the season wraps up, and all of us Bad-heads are anticipating the end.
The brilliance of this show is depicted from the memorable first scene, in which Walter White’s khakis float onto a New Mexico dirt road. What happened here? How did someone’s trousers end up flying around a perfectly blue sky? We gotta watch this.
So then you have to watch the rest of the firs episode to find out how chemistry teacher Walter White end up cooking methamphetamine in the desert with one of his previous students. That’s what cancer and an inadequate American health care system do to a middle class man. Well, then you’re strapped in for a wild ride that passes by Bryan Cranston in whitie-tighties, a gun-toting 12-year old, tarantulas, and an exploding tortoise and wheelchair. The truth is, Breaking Bad holds the most memorable and some of the most shocking moments every captured on television.
As I say good-bye to Walter, Skylar, Walt Jr., Jesse and pretty blue meth, here are some of the moments burned into my memory.
The melting bath tub. Well, Walter and Jesse are faced with the problem of needing to kill their first enemy and dispose of the body. Walter puts his chemistry knowledge to more excellent use and concocts acid to melt away the body. Except Jesse does not wait until Walter get plastic barrels for the body parts. He puts the body and acid in his bath tub. The chemicals eat through the floor and, well….
The ATM machine incident. A couple of whacked out addicts rob Skinny Pete, and Jesse has to get the money back and also prove he’s not to be messed with. So he tracks them down to this horrid house that’s completely trashed and in disarray, but has an ATM machine that the nasty couple stole. The man keeps calling the woman a ‘skank’ while he’s trying to open the safe. She gets sick of it and….
Jesse earns himself quite the reputation as a man who squashes people with ATM’s.
There was an episode in this current season where I fell asleep, and the Mister watched all of it. He was very forthcoming about how I may not want to see the turd face, Todd, shoot an innocent kid. To this day, I haven’t watched it.
Skylar goes off people. There have been a couple of times Mrs. White has needed to put people in their place. The first being when her brother-in-law claims that family needs to support Skylar’s kleptomaniac sister during her time of need. Skylar reminds him that she is 40 years old and pregnant, her husband has cancer and is rarely home, and the hot water heater is on the fritz, yet “Yes, let’s support my spoiled bitch sister.” My other favorite Skylar explosion is when she repeatedly squeals at her chatterbox sister, Marie, to “Shut up! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!” several times. This has supposedly been turned into a ringtone.
You tell ’em, Mrs. White.
Gus’ last scene. What did all this damage at a nursing home?
Mr. White saves Jesse’s butt by running a couple of guys over.
Two airplanes collide in the sky, dumping debris into the White’s swimming pool and scattering body parts all over the neighborhood.
Walter is often in his underwear or completely naked.
Eighty million dollar empire.
Many other Bad images and moments graced the television screen over the past few years. And I know you have your own also that can be added to this list. But one thing is for certain, we will remember Walter White.
Fulfilling my society-assigned role of gatherer has never been a task I enjoy. I don’t think anyone actually likes grocery shopping, especially on the weekends. Yet there is something about the grocery store that just makes people turn stupid.
When I miss the opportunity to grocery shop during the work day, I am forced to go when everyone else does, on Saturday or Sunday. Yet, I have found that later Saturday afternoon is a bit less crowded and therefore not the frustrating, teeth grinding experience it normally is. But for many reasons, the last misadventure to the local Market Basket was a particularly anxiety and anger provoking time for me.
Let’s start with the parking lot, before I even get inside the store. I deal with people driving with the brake on to find the absolute nearest parking spot. People, please do not stop while turning into the lanes, make the dang turn and get out of my way and don’t block everyone else that is trying to leave or park. Pedestrians, kindly focus on crossing the street and not your cell phones. Again, get out of the way.
I treat the aisles of stores like I do these American roads: stay to the right side and stop at the end of lanes to avoid colliding with another shopper. So I roll my cart on the right side of the aisle, grabbing what I need, pulling myself well out of the way when I need to look for or compare items. Yet, many people wonder in haphazard directions and leave their carts in the middle of the aisle. I now move carts without checking with their owners or simply bump them while passing, no apologies. When entering the dairy section, about three people tried to go in the same direction and one person did not seem to know where she was going. At this point, I stopped the cart and kindly asked “Where is everyone going?” which made people start moving. By now, I was taking deep breaths and gripping the cart handle quite hard.
I really, really craved some Pilgrim’s Captain Morgan spiced chicken wings, which I bought and rather enjoyed a few weeks ago. But for some reason, it is no longer stocked or carried. Sigh, can’t people keep the cool stuff in stock? Nope. Had to settle for the same old, same old chicken. Another deep breath, squeezed the eyes shut and clamped my jaw tight to keep from shouting obscenities at grocers just trying to do their job.
Which brings me to the next point of why grocery shopping makes my chest tighten with anxiety: where is (insert needed item here)? Protein meal bars for lunch one example. Commonly, they are located next to the granola bars on the cereal aisle. This makes perfect sense. But wait, the brand I want are not here. An inquiry with the young stock gentleman teaches me that they are on row 9 with health and beauty. What?! There’s FOOD stocked on the same shelves as deodorant, zit cream and feminine hygiene products? GROSS! Does this make a lick of sense? Now I shake my head, tremble and gain control of my breathing.
I continue my duty of gathering food for my family, weaving around people stocking the shelves. It seems that no matter what time of day I shop, workers are always refilling the shelves, with one cart full of the item and another holding the item’s empty boxes. And I feel bad, or like a pesky bee as I ask for a product or reach by them while they are busy. I realize they are simply performing a much-needed job for society and don’t like bothering them, even though they don’t seem to mind.
And lastly, the produce section. This area takes patience, as we must hold, squeeze, examine, or smell the fruits and veggies to guarantee we are getting the food in its best condition. But let us recap the situation: shoppers blocking the aisle, workers stocking the shelves, people needing time to inspect the produce, plus grocery carts and people stumbling over the upturned rugs that keep the floor of the produce aisle dry. And I just need a couple more things before I am done and can blow this crazy joint! I eyed the ripening bananas, unable to reach them. Heart pounded, chest compressed and did not allow needed air to flow into the lungs. Fingers circled around the cart handle in a death grip. I part my lips, ready to threaten maiming of limbs if I didn’t get my damn bananas.
But instead, I feel it from deep inside, rumbling into my throat: a growl. Perhaps others heard it. Perhaps God himself parted the Red Sea of humans. For the way spot in front of the awesome fruit cleared.
Now that I have my groceries, all appears good; I breathe normally and my heart rate is contained. Until the boy filling my grocery bags cannot lift one from the belt. It is too heavy.
“If it’s too heavy for you to lift, then its too heavy for me,” I have to obviously point out to this youth, who made no attempt to rearrange my groceries and heaved it into my cart.
“I am assuming you have a husband or something at home that can help you,” he replies.
I narrowed my eyes at him and imagined suffocating him with a plastic bag.
Okay, I think to myself as I rearrange the groceries after getting to my Beetle. But then I realize I have to keep stopping my grocery cart from rolling away or into the car while trying to pack my trunk. Because these darn Yankees put a grocery store at the top of a fairly inclined hill.
When finally making it into the sanctuary of my Beetle, I leaned my head almost to the steering wheel and swallow all my frustrations so I don’t commit vehicular manslaughter on the mere two-mile trip back home.
My son’s “Winter” band concert was earlier this week. Not a “Christmas” concert, or even a “Holiday” concert. following the band’s few carols, the large chorus sang some tunes. We had a White Christmas, the girls asked Santa, Baby for some expensive material things, and they also belted out a creative Nightmare Before Christmas medley. There was also a Hanukkah song, with a surprising solo from my son’s friend that I did not even know could sing.
But no Silent Night, heralding angels, or Little Star of Bethlehem leading Three Kings or even a Little Drummer Boy to a stable in a manger where a baby was born to a virgin. Don’t worry, this Southern Fried Cristian woman is not offended that her God was not included in a high school musical.
But it did get me wondering if we are heading towards the South Park episode where a few people were offended by religious symbols, which resulted in no holiday decorations and a crappy school play. Yet, it brings me comfort to remember all the reasons I celebrate this crazy holiday. During this season, I grieve past losses, make sure everyone else is pleased, have crying spells, and often lose my mind. So reminding myself that Christmas is much more than presents and decorations keeps me grounded.
So, I’d like to challenge everyone who ridicules the 75 percent of the world who believes in a “higher power” or spends the holidays in the realms of faith, belief and hope. Before you try to take Christ out of Christmas or question a menorah, I’d like to know something.
Why do you celebrate the holidays? What do you do? Put up a tree for no sentimental reason? Spend a ton of money on a bunch of gifts or get yourself in debt? Tolerate a dysfunctional family because you feel obliged to do so during the holidays? Encourage your children to believe in a fat white guy that somehow squashes himself down the chimney to give them gifts?
But I guess we all have our own individual reasons for celebrating this time of year. So whether you celebrate the birth of a savior, remember eight miraculous nights, burn a yule log, or send yourself into an early grave pleasing everyone else just for the sake that media says you should: Happy Holidays, y’all.