Thoughts from the Bath

My usual Saturday evening ritual, at least in cool weather, is to soak in the tub while listening to Selected Shorts on NPR. (I know. I live a wild life.) I use the time to just relax, away from smartphones and computer screens. Sometimes one of the dogs will join me in the bathroom, splashed on the floor like a puddle of breathing fur, but most of the time the current pack all congregates on my bed, as if they’re guarding me from whatever might come through the bedroom and into my bathroom.

So far, their vigilance has paid off, and only my husband has ever come into the room. I’m sure they feel very smug about their track record.

Sometimes in the bath, I plot out the stories I’m working on.

Often, I read.

Last night, however, as I soaked in lavender-scented water and formed castles out of the mounds of bubbles, I let my mind wander and ended up with a stream-of-consciousness that was part life commentary and part idle musing.

It went something like this:

I really need a pedicure. It’s been over a month since I had my toenails done, and hey, this purple polish has pretty good staying power, but really, purple in December? I want to make that chocolate gingerbread again, the one we put the peppermint schnapps frosting on, and I can’t remember where I put the recipe. I just realized; it’s almost Christmas and I haven’t yet used my Christmas mugs. This weird warm weather is freaking me out. I’m so tired of mosquitoes. I promised Deb I’d shoot a picture of her book somewhere in my house. Is that a thing now? I didn’t ask any of my friends to take pictures with my book. Should I have done that. Oh, hey, that quantum relationship thing I wrote for Medium needs to be in the next book; everyone seemed to really like it. What day is tomorrow in MusicAdvent? Oh, right, it began on the first so tomorrow’s the 20th. What letter are we on? Oh, right T. We’re on T. T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t. Oh! that scene in Easy A just popped into my brain.

You get the idea.

Holidailies 2015

 

Buy this Book: The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales From The (Holiday) Tub

The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the (Holiday) Tub

File this under shameless self promotion.

I haven’t posted an entry here in two days, because I’ve been busy editing my book.

MY BOOK

I’ve been part of Holidailies for over a decade now (this is my eleventh year), and I’ve amassed quite a lot of holiday-related content, many of which were designated ‘best of…’ in their years of publication.

You could cull through all of my archives (a decade of archives) to find the best ones, but why, when you can buy my book?

Just in time for Christmas (or Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, whatever – it’s kind of Christmassy though, because that’s my winter holiday of choice) comes The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales From the (Holiday) Tub, and it’s available from Amazon either in paperback or for your kindle.

Here, have a very brief excerpt.

I used to walk my dog, a poodle mix named Taffy, through the packed powder in Georgetown, CO, and then flagrantly disobey my mother’s rules (and common sense), by taking her down near the frigid waters of Clear Creek, to the place behind the post office where the bank was climbable and the sandbars that were islands in the summer became mini-glaciers in the winter.

It was in the curve of that creek that my friends and I would spend hours pretending to be arctic explorers, while Taffy played the alternate parts of either a sled dog or a polar bear.

Afterwards, we’d trudge home (because trudging is really the only way you walk through snow), and I’d de-mat her paws, and we’d cuddle by the fire, while I drank cocoa with tiny marshmallows.

(Somewhat ironically, while people can get the paperback by Monday with Prime shipping, I won’t receive my author copies til after Christmas.)

Holidailies 2015

Never Let Your Bath Water Get Too Cold

Mermaid in Tub Every Saturday night, once the days are cool enough and the sky gets dark early enough, I have an appointment with my bathtub.

I light candles, use scented bubbles, bring a glass of tea, or wine, or just cool water and a book, and I soak for about forty minutes. A self-described bathtub mermaid, I feel like my entire spirit is quenched by my ritual bubble baths. (In summer, I’m in the pool almost every day.)

I don’t exactly bathe alone.

I have  standing date, you see, with NPR’s show Selected Shorts, in which actors from stage and screen read short stories. Because I prefer fiction to non-fiction, I actually like Selected Shorts better than The Moth, even though I’ve always kind of wanted to be part of a storytelling group.

My bath habit is more than just something I enjoy. It’s a form of meditation for me. It’s a way for me to recharge my creative juices at the same time that I’m letting a clay masque rejuvenate my skin. It’s the one place where I feel like time can stop and my brain, which is constantly spinning, can rest.

I’m really bad at sleeping, but I’m great at taking baths.

I’ve missed my Saturday date for two weeks in a row now. Thanksgiving weekend, we had a guest-puppy with explosive poo issues, and his crate was in my bathroom. Then we had ants for a week, a result of a lot of rain, and over this weekend I was ill (I’m still dealing with this stupid cold/sinus thing) and too miserable to even consider soaking in the tub.

I’ve resolved that this coming Saturday, I’m having my bubble bath no matter who is in my house or what is going on in the world.

After all, even bathtub mermaids their limits.

Holidailies 2015

Audio: The Bathtub Mermaid on Crayons

I climbed the stairs to my studio to record lines for an audio drama, and ended up working on a podcast as well.
Actually, first I recorded new opening and closing bits for my podcast so I finally have a general template for easy, easy production.
Then I riffed on crayons in a personal essay. I’m not sure what the exact schedule of the podcast is going to be, but probably around the first and fifteenth of every month. It works for me, I think to do it regularly, but not to the point of it being a stressful project.

Listen to On Crayons: http://www.bathtubmermaid.com/2015/09/tbm-1509-16-on-crayons/

It’s that time…

Mermaid Lounge It’s that time again. That time of year when I join the insanity known as The Dog Days of Podcasting, and commit to doing a podcast a day for thirty consecutive days.

This year’s project began on Tuesday (which, coincidentally, was my last day of The 100 Day Project), and continues through September 4th, and you can find my stuff at The Bathtub Mermaid, but I’m also in iTunes. (There should be an itunes link in the collection of social media icons in my sidebar.)

In previous years I’ve had oodles of essays and flash fiction to share, but I’ve been busy on other projects this year, so I’m mixing it up with interviews, creative non-fiction pieces written earlier this summer, and pieces inspired by the 100 notecards currently adorning the front and sides of my refrigerator.

The things is, my creativity always wanes in July, but my birthday is in August, and as soon as the calendar page flipped, I was inspired again.

So watch out – and listen to my Tales from the Tub – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Welcome Autumn

autumn coffee

Autumn has always been my favorite season, and even though it doesn’t technically begin until tomorrow night, I wrote about it for Sunday Brunch over at All Things Girl this week. You can read it THERE or you can listen to it on my podcast HERE.

I’ve been a bit off-kilter this last week, staying up too late writing, waiting for updates from my parents who live in La Paz, BCS, Mexico and weathered Hurricane Odile last weekend (they still don’t have power, but Los Cabos is nearly flattened, so it’s all relative).

I pre-ordered the new iPhone 6 plus and it arrived on Friday, and I’m already in love, but I spent a good chunk of yesterday downgrading my iPad Air away from iOS 8 because iOS 8 breaks Audiobus, which means that podcasting apps don’t work.

I have lines to record for two different projects, but my voice is icky. Tomorrow is my studio day. Someone hold me to it.

It’s hard to believe September has just zoomed by and we’re almost into October.

I love fall.

Also? I’m ready for the mosquitoes to die.

DDoP: Fairy Dust

Originally Written: June, 2008
Inspiration Word: fairy dust (I think)
Inspired By: Becca Rowan

She stopped in the village square, intrigued by the array of market stalls, all offering things never seen for sale in her own home town.

“Inspiration, just five dollars!” one of the peddlers called, holding up a glass bottle adorned with vines and flowers.

She was tempted, but was fairly certain that it was just an empty jar, however beautiful.

Booths offering warm nuts brushed shoulders with other booths offering half measures of imagination and ambition.

At the booth where fairy dust was sold, she could not resist, and traded $20 for a heavy cut-velvet bag.

Deep inside, possibilities glittered.

Listen: Bathtub Mermaid: Fairy Dust

DDoP: Pictophone

Originally written: June, 2008
Inspiration word: Pictophone
Inspired by: Clay Robeson

Random sentences inspiring even more random drawings, which lead to other sentences, or just the connection between word and image in the slideshow of our own brains? Which is more real? More creative?

The answer? Both. And neither. To see a picture and be inspired is magic whether you share the results or not. To find a poem in a photograph, a novel in a portrait, a scandalous love story in the naturally occurring vignette of two people in the park…this is what the creative spark provides.

Whether with verbal pointillism or a game of pictophone, we connect the dots.

Listen: Bathtub Mermaid: Pictophone

Her Name is Jane

Jane Honda

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my first episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Her Name is Jane

We took her home on Tuesday evening, after a morning of testing, a discussion over a lunch of comfort food, and even using our “phone a friend’ option.

I said, “We should flip a coin.”

He said, “You know if we did that I’d insist that we flip it several times in a row, and then graph the responses.”

I said, “Three times is enough.”

We called our regular mechanic.

The manager said, “I like Subarus; they run forever. Get the 2015 Forester.”

The lead technician said, “I like Hondas; they run forever. Get the 2014 CR-V.”

After we hung up, he admitted that the manager’s first response was actually, “Buy whichever car the missus likes better.”
Smart man, that garage manager.

We called the dealer of the car we’d chosen, only to find that someone else was doing paperwork on it. “We have another one that meets all your specs,” he said, “but it’s got a navigational system, which means it’s $1,400 more expensive.”

He’d already tried to get us to consider a less expensive model than what we were considering, after listening to our needs and wants.
We bought the more expensive version.

Her name is Jane.

Jane Honda.

Post-Christmas Pajama Day Blues

reading in bed

Sometimes, I have pajama days.

Often on those days, I never bother to get dressed in “real” clothes, but because I work from home, I still get stuff done.

Other times, I turn everything off, and don’t even pretend to work.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling exhausted and dehydrated. “I’m writing a book review, and going back to bed,” I told my husband and our housemate. “I’m taking a sick day.”

I’m not actually SICK-sick; there’s nothing contagious. I’m just a little sinussy, overtired, dehydrated, crabby, and Marco the foster-pup is driving my allergies crazy, which is odd, because I’m not typically allergic to dogs.

I just needed a pajama day.

I spent yesterday sleeping and cuddling animals (yes, even Marco) and reading a mystery novel that I thought I was supposed to review on Monday (but I actually have another week for) and did I mention sleeping? Sadly, though, it was fitful sleep. I was too hot, too cold, had to use the bathroom, was incredibly thirsty, wash, rinse, repeat.

I woke up this morning feeling worse. “You’re going to have to be responsible for your own lunch,” I told my husband. “I’m writing this book spotlight that is due in an hour, and going back to bed.”

Except I didn’t quite go back to sleep. Instead, I made myself an omelet, read some more of that mystery novel (it doesn’t usually take me more than a day to read anything, so I know I’m feeling sluggish even if I’m not actually sick.), and watched some bad TV.

Then I took a bath.

Never underestimate the restorative properties of a really good steep in a tub full of bubble bath.

I didn’t read, or anything. Just closed my eyes, and steeped. Brewed. Marinated.

Then I washed my hair. I don’t often wash my hair in the tub, but sometimes it’s easier to just do it while I’m there. And sometimes washing it in the tub gives it extra body; don’t ask me why.

I’m not depressed or anything.
I don’t even feel blah – I just feel really depleted.

Here’s to a long weekend with tea and books and dogs.

And just a few more pajama days.

Image credit: abhishek4383 / 123RF Stock Photo