Not-so-Manic Monday

Today I…
– queued social media posts for one of my employers, through the end of the month.
– wrote two articles.
– wrote chapter 41 of a fan-fiction epic I’m writing for fun.
– made chicken soup.
– recorded and submitted two auditions for audio dramas.
– taught the puppy to stand from sit.
– started teaching the puppy DOWN.
– recorded and posted a podcast.

You wouldn’t think such non-physical things would be tiring, and yet they are.

From the Vaults: The Rep

Originally written in August, 2006.

He spends Tuesdays at the Dixon Hotel, drinking cheap whiskey and watching local comics at the weekly open mic night. He thinks he’d like to try, but compared to them he feels old, worn, grey. He still has suits in his closet, and wide ties, though he’s forsaken all in favor of business casual button-downs and khaki pants. Secretly, these clothes make him feel like he’s raided his son’s closet.

He spends Wednesdays at Barley’s, the pub on fourth street, because they serve free hot dogs if you order a beer. He’s partial to Becks these days, but he notices that the younger men, the ones who fit the word ‘guy,’ drink Bud and Coors and Michelob. Then he pretends not to notice.

The highlight of his day are the frequent calls to the office, where he greets the women who work his files with “Hi, beautiful,” and teases them unmercifully. He doesn’t know they talk about him after every call, or tally the number of times each speaks with him.

Thursday, he meets his daughter for a glass of wine. They talk about her husband, her kids, her job. He doesn’t mention his own work, or that he’s been threatened with replacement. They share an hour, catching up, and as he leaves, he kisses her forehead and says, “Bye beautiful.”

On Friday, he wonders if the women in the office know that he thinks of all of them as daughters he’s never met.

From the Vaults: Cotton Candy

The old man’s face glistened with the faint sheen of sweat. Beads of it shimmered at his temples, reflecting the Christmas-light colors of the lights along the midway. He was dressed up, as if for a date, for this occasion, in a short-sleeved cotton shirt, striped in Oxford red, with the collar pressed into crisp points, suspenders, and his best khaki pants, breaking just so across the top of his shoes.

They were old man’s shoes: sturdy brown leather, with steel shanks and rawhide laces. He called them ‘work shoes’ – although the only ‘work’ he still did was to putter in the kitchen or the garden, these days.

A woman in a yellow sun dress and matching sandals, her olive skin smooth despite the greying streaks in her wavy black hair, her dark eyes glowing with contentment, walked beside him, her arm looped through his, her body angled toward him. Her red-tinted lips moved rapidly, but her affectionate nagging was drowned out by the calliope music and the incessant chatter of the little girl with them.

The little girl. The apple of the old couple’s eyes, this child danced around them the way young children do when they’re pumped up on fun, her strawberry braids bobbing in time with her innocent chatter. She halted in front of the cotton candy, watching the hair-net clad women spinning colored sugar into fluffy clouds on paper cones. “Grandpop, may I have some?” she asked. And of course he said yes.

Years later, when the old man was older still, and his work shoes never even visited the garden any more, he would smile into space, remembering the buzzing of mosquitoes, the tinny sound of the carousel’s calliope, and the sticky cotton-candy kisses of a little girl long since grown, who never visited often enough.

From the Vaults: In the Heat of the Night

Originally written sometime in 2005

Twelve-thirty in the morning, and it’s still over ninety degrees outside, the night air calm as death and twice as deep. I’m wearing as little as possible – a strappy red tank top and matching panties – and my hair is pulled up into a messy pony tail-knot-thing on the top of my head. Ugly, but effective, it keeps my hair off my neck at least. I’m trying to read, but it’s too hot to focus, so I just sit in bed and watch the dog sleeping on the floor.

The phone rings, and I answer it in a voice laced with sex, “Hey handsome. Coming home soon?”

The voice on the other end, my husband, my lover, laughs softly, and tells me he’s on the way. “Wait for me in bed,” he says, “I’m ten minutes from home.” I smile into the phone, and say I will.

He doesn’t speak a word to me, when he comes into the bedroom, just strips in the dim light from the stars and the street lamps. He kisses my lips, my neck, then tugs at my shirt. Minutes, and several more pieces of clothing, later, we’re moving together to the beat of the music from the bar down the street.

An hour later, we’re both laying in the bed, sweaty, sated, and sleepy. He whispers something about it being really good, and then, louder, murmurs, “Love you, baby,” and rolls over.

I lie there in the bed and listen to the sound of his breathing and the dogs, mingling in the darkness. I close my eyes, then open them, and stare at the moon, shining through the frame formed by the patio doors. Moonlight always seems so cool and serene, that for a moment I wish I could reach out and capture the glow, bathe in it.

Contemplating this, I fall asleep, or at least, I think I do, because the next time I look at the clock it’s blinking 6:00 in insistant red digits, and the air is, if not cooler, at least not as thick.

From the Vaults: The Gravity of the Situation

Originally written for The Alchera Project, November, 2005

Deanna isn’t a novice at singing, really, though she feels like one as this is her first Christmas concert that involves an actual church. Oh, sure, she sang with school choirs, had solos, made her entrance into community theatre at the tender age of ten, but somehow, standing with the other choristers in the cold sanctuary, the music is different, her heart is different.

The mood is broken when the puffy-haired woman next to her opens her mouth. Sure, Martha is a sweet old woman, sort of grandmotherly, and not a little dotty, but some people just should not be able to sing. The notes she offers forth with a flourish are not known to human kind. (Deanna wonders, idly if Martha is perhaps an alien, attempting to communicate, or an exiled mermaid, unable to produce melodious sounds unless under several feet of water.)

Midway through the verse, the director stops the choir, and asks each section to sing their part. When he gets to the altos, he pauses near Martha and makes a face that, thankfully, the woman utterly fails to see, so focussed is she on singing the correct words, if not the correct notes. He glances past her at Deanna, and the two exchange a look, acknowledging the gravity of the situation.

The next week at rehearsal, Martha is positioned at the end of the row, where the microphone cannot pick up her graceless warbling.

Sleep Patterns

I’ve never been very good at sleeping. I either feel like it’s so much wasted time, or I’m afraid of what my imagination will run on the movie screen of my mind, so I avoid it, or I’m so exhausted and cranky that I cannot get enough of it.

Last night, I took melatonin way too late. Today, I was a zombie.

But I was a zombie with incredibly vivid dreams, who woke to make dinner, spend time with my husband, and still get a blog post in under the wire.

Tonight? I’m hoping to be in bed by 1 AM.



We had leftover deli turkey, the kind with peppercorns and sundried tomatoes, and zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach that had to be used.

I found a recipe for frittata that used all those vegetables, and replaced the called-for bacon with the turkey.

It said to only use three cloves of garlic. I laughed.

I chopped, stirred, cracked, blended, and poured.

It’s in the oven now.

I’ve loved the concept of breakfast for dinner since I was a little girl. (To this day, I only go to IHOP at night, but only ever order breakfast foods.)

Comment if you want the recipe…

Leo Rising (Happy Birthday to Me)

I asked the universe (and my mother) to send me a storm for my birthday. I woke yesterday to thunder, lightning, and torrential rain, which subsided into a steady, soaking rain around noon, and lingered throughout the day.

I love it when nature cooperates with my desires.

Turning forty-four was easy and fun, filled with laughter, good friends, good food, and special gifts: goodies from Lush and a bracelet from Fuzzy, flowers and plants from two of my favorite people, and a non-fiction book from my aunt that I’d never have chosen, but will enjoy.

Happy Birthday to Me, indeed.

By the Numbers

My blog-friend Michael (aka WarriorPoet(2)) died last year, a veteran who fell, not to gunfire or missile blasts, but to cancer, at too young an age.

We used to challenge each other with memes and prompts over on OpenDiary, which also died, just a few months ago, of neglect, mostly – not by the participants but by the site owner who had moved on to other things.

I found this meme while sifting through archives, and thought I’d share it here.

10 words you like in your own language:
brilliant, decadent, fractious, glower, nostalgic, susurration, overzealous, tintinnabulation, zesty, zoetrope,

9 words you like in other languages:
allegro, attraversiamo, ciao, guacala, joyeux, melange, noir, pianissimo, scocciare

8 city names that are fun to say:
Albequerque, Boise, Carcassone, Istanbul, Marrakech, Tehachapi, Tuolomne, Waxahachie

7 words that make you uncomfortable:
autistic, cloaca, can’t, death, fear, truth, war

6 words that relate to your job:
creative, emotional, internal, nebulous, scary, undisciplined

5 words that describe someone you love greatly:
affectionate, forgiving, loyal, silly, understanding

4 words you would use to describe yourself:
improvisational, mercurial, sarcastic, vivacious

3 words that describe your pet:
canine, clingy, quartet

2 words that describe your higher power:
divine spark

1 word to end with:

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