Saturday, November 28, 2015

NaBloPoMo #28: Get your scare on

I want to share a short scary film with you tonight. It's not just any scary film, but one that a friend and former colleague from my university days co-stars in. I used to think Brady was pretty menacing when I'd see him stalk into his classroom the first day of school with a baseball bat slung over his shoulder. He's something like 8 feet tall, and I'm pretty sure nobody would have messed with him even if he didn't have a bat. I hear he stopped carrying it because somebody thought he was intimidating. What?

He's also a horror writer, which I suspect means whatever is inside his head is pretty scary too. (His book is Back Roads and Frontal Lobes. You should buy it.) However, in this film, which is based on an HP Lovecraft story, he's subtly terrifying. I wouldn't want to meet him in an abandoned house.

Now that you've watched the film, I'd also like to mention that I had not watched this movie before I wrote my post last night about looking up at the ceiling when a drop of blood fell on the counter. I felt an unpleasant shiver go through my entire body when I saw the end of the film, along with a slight sense of justification for having looked at the ceiling first.

Friday, November 27, 2015

NaBloPoMo #27: Not tonight, honey, I've got an aneurysm

I experimented last week with a thing other bloggers do called "If you and I were having a glass of wine...." One reader said he didn't like it, because it seemed too clunky or contrived. But I decided I do like it, because it makes me feel like I'm actually writing to someone and not sending my words out into the black void of space. So I'm going to use it sometimes. Like tonight.

If you and I were having a glass splitting a bottle of wine, I would tell you that I was going to go out tonight, but I had to stay home instead. I rarely get headaches, but tonight my head felt like it had an ax stuck in it. And as the night progressed, because I so rarely get headaches, I became convinced that I was just seconds away from dying of a brain aneurysm. And don't try to tell me the thought wouldn't have crossed your mind, because ..... well, we're all a little bit crazy. Right? Right?

I put 911 on speed dial just in case the aneurysm burst slowly.

I stayed home, and I took a long hot lavender- scented bubble bath, because what better place to die than in a big old claw-foot bathtub? I mean, yes, it would be embarrassing to be found naked in a tub of cold water tomorrow, but I'd be dead! I would not give one fuck about how fat my corpse looked or whether my house was clean enough or even whether my bed was made. (It was. Of course.)

As you've probably guessed, I didn't die in the tub. But I did get hungry, so after my bath I poured a glass of wine and opened the bag of lime tortilla chips, because if I was going to die, I could at least die with something delicious in my mouth. As I pulled the top of the bag apart with a pop, I saw something hit the countertop. I leaned over and looked. A drop of blood? Could that really be a drop of blood?

I looked up at the ceiling, because that seemed to be the most logical place it could have come from. Nope. The ceiling was pristine white. And then I remembered I might be dying of an aneurysm, so I felt under my nostrils. Nope. No blood there. Hmmm. If this were a movie, I would probably already be dead, and not of an aneurysm.

I couldn't think of any place else a drop of blood could have some from, so after I stared at it for a while, I decided to just leave the room. Always a good way to deal with a mysterious drop of blood. I grabbed a white paper napkin, picked up my bowl of chips, started to pick up my glass of wine and noticed more blood on the napkin. I looked left to right. Still all alone in the kitchen.

Finally I looked down at my hands and noticed more blood right where you'd expect to see blood. On the back of the index finger I'd cut open the day before while I was cutting up sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. The liquid bandage I'd brushed on earlier in the day had peeled off in the bath water, and it was bleeding. Not the ceiling. Not the aneurysm. Not even a ghost. A cut on my finger.

Didn't I feel foolish?

If we were sharing a bottle of wine, I'd tell you I can't drink another glass tonight, because I'm going to bed now. But I would be glad to finish this bottle and even open a second fresh one tomorrow night, because I do have several things I wanted to tell you, but later, when I don't have an ax in my head. (Which is how this would end if it were a movie.)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NaBloPoMo #26: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

There. Writing that took most of the energy I had left. I'm grateful for the day though. It was an unusual Thanksgiving here, partly because I didn't invite a houseful of people. In fact, for the first time in so many years I can't count, we only needed my dining room table, because it was just the kids and me. Six people. We had a wonderful dinner with lots of laughter, and the only spill was a glass of water and the blood from the 2 fingers I tried to chop off.

In fact, at one point Coraline led the entire table in a rousing rendition of "Rolling Down to Old Maui" (listen below), and I started to say to Montana that I wished I had a video of that to post in opposition to all the memes on Facebook about how awful Thanksgiving and families are ...  but then Elvira knocked over a glass of water and blamed it on Coraline, and I didn't get to even finish saying that until much later when it was no longer relevant.

We also ate several hours later than usual, because Montana and Drake had a wedding to go to. On Thanksgiving Day. The best holiday of the year. What? Who does that? But it was fine. We roll with shit like that here. For the first time ever I didn't have to clean my house or get up at the asscrack of dawn to put the turkey in the roaster and start the rolls. I cooked a lot of food, but I had all day .... OK, all week really. Because T-day dinner takes at least 4 days to prepare and about an hour to eat.

Monday was shopping day. I caught myself looking at the 22-pound turkeys and realized I didn't need to cook a bird the size of a 3-year-old this year. So I found one that was 13 pounds. Who knew they even grew turkeys that small? Practically an egg.

The grocery store was kind of a zoo, but I just kept smiling and eating free samples and reminding myself that the privilege of having access to all that food far outweighs the asshole who parks his cart sideways and then walks halfway down the aisle to look for Jello, or presses up against me from behind trying to get to the free samples, or says "excuse me" and tries to push my cart out of the way with his cart when I obviously can't go anywhere .... Oh, wait. That was only that one guy. Asshole.

Filling my tank for $135/gallon made it all worthwhile.

Tuesday I prepared the pumpkin. It took both the oven and my biggest pot to cook the whole thing, and it made close to 3 gallons of pumpkin puree. I could have made at least a dozen pies with all that, but it will freeze, and we'll have pumpkin pie in the summer too. And next Thanksgiving. And maybe the one after that. It might actually last that long .... and did I mention I have a few other pumpkins too. OK, I might have over-invested in pumpkins this year. I get excited about pie.

Oh, and I put the frozen solid rock of turkey ball in a salt brine in my roaster. I've never done that before, but I'm sold now. The turkey thawed in the brine on my counter, and it was the best turkey I've made .... maybe ever. Even the year I killed my own.

Wednesday and Thursday .... well, you know how it goes. Peeling, chopping, rinsing, mixing, sauteing, baking, roasting, making a dozen trips to the compost, and running and unloading the dishwasher over and over. This is the 5th Thanksgiving I've written about here. I don't know how much more I can say about the food. It's delicious. I ate way too much, and I have leftovers. The idea of them makes me sick, but I know that won't last. I'll be eating hearty again tomorrow.

How was your Thanksgiving? Any good stories come out of the day?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo #24: Distractions

"Tomorrow's full moon is a special one, called a Mourning Moon, fyi.
'According to Pagan traditions, the Mourning Moon is meant to signify a time of evolution. As this moon rises in the sky, it is recommended that we let go of the baggage we’ve been holding on to. We must cleanse ourselves as we reflect on this year’s happenings. Specifically, we must let go of anything that’s weighing us down before the new year begins.'"  ~~ Facebook post

Dog shaming
All writers complain about how hard it is to put their butts in the chair and write. Many writers complain about all the things they do to avoid putting their butts in the chair and writing. I suspect I may be the queen of procrastination though, and my muse Dolores will testify. She's about ready to fire my ass. So this is my post of shame. It's the reticulated version of dog shaming, only I'm not going to put a sign in front of a photo of myself, because last time I looked I am not a fucking dog, although for some reason I bought a dog a year ago tomorrow, and he's just one more distraction from writing.

Here, in no particular order, are the things I do when I should be writing.

  1. Watch Netflix. Currently mainlining The Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. Because I didn't get enough of that particular brand of hell the first time around. It's a lot more interesting for women who are rich, gorgeous, thin and sophisticated than it is for real people like me. So far the only parallel is that the sex is disappointing, even if the characters don't know it. PiV only, which we all know isn't going to get the job done.
  2. Read other people's books. And articles. And other people's blogs. I read a lot.
  3. Yoga.
  4. Drink wine and gobble self-hatred any food I've sworn not to eat: chocolate, potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, bread. 
  5. Scroll through Facesuck, rarely stopping to read anything. No offense. How much shit about Donald Trump can one person read, anyway? Shut the fuck up about him already.
  6. Message with friends ... on fucking Facesuck.
  7. Write clever status updates on Facebook, and then check every 30 seconds for comments. If you only knew me by my Facebook, you'd think my life was perfect. It's not. Today I opened my recycle dumpster and saw smelled that someone had not only dumped a bunch of beer cans and trash, he'd also thrown up in there. Thanks a lot, asshole.
  8. Sex. Think about sex.
  9. Take Crow Cocker to the dog park. In my defense, I do get some exercise there too. And exercise is supposed to stimulate creativity. I'm not sure if picking up 3 dog shits with a little plastic bag over my hand every time we go helps though.
  10. Clean the kitchen.
  11. Play my guitar.
  12. Play my piano. I should be a concert pianist by now.
  13. Play with my purple microphone.
  14. Karaoke.
  15. Go to open mics. Just to listen and drink pear sangria. Not to play. And not to pick up married men, although if I were so inclined, that too could be a distraction.
  16. Dote on my granddaughter. She's with me a lot, and honestly, it's hard to switch gears to writing about vaginas after I get her to bed at 10 or 10:30.
  17. Cook.
  18. Travel.
  19. Nap. I dearly love a power nap in the afternoon. I rarely get 8 hours of sleep, so I can justify naps on those days when I can catch one. Hell, I can justify a nap if I slept 9 hours. I'm a fucking adult. I do what I want.
  20. Parties, at my house or at other people's houses. I can't say no to a party.
  21. Cruise Amazon and put things on my wish list. Sometimes I even buy some shit, and then I'm excited when I get a package in the mail, because I've usually forgotten what I ordered. Like that zucchini spiralizer I so desperately wanted. Still haven't used that.
  22. Sit on the porch and rock and think about what I should be writing.
  23. Go out with friends and make notes on cocktail napkins about shit I could write about. I've got a stack big enough to be a fire hazard.
I could probably make this list longer, but I've made my point. Stephen King claims he writes 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Obviously he under-reports his hours. The man must have made a deal at the crossroads he's so prolific. I, on the other hand ..... I am not Stephen King. And so far, the devil is just as disinterested in me as I am in him.

I really love writing, so this list makes me kind of sad, because I really love doing most of the things I listed here too. What are your distractions? Do they prevent you from going after a big dream? Can I borrow a couple? I can always use one or two more.