Sunday, April 27, 2008

Debate Tactics

"I'm digging for buried treasure...there used to be pirates, you know," says Riley, digging in the flower beds.

"Not around here though," I replied.

"Yes there were," she argued.

"Well, pirates usually liked to be near the ocean and we aren't near the ocean."

"Yes we are."

"No, not really."

"Let's just say I'm right and move on," she said.

What's In A Name?

"If you want to go outside, you have to let me brush your hair," I said.

"I'm afraid of that," Lucy said.

"Why?"

"Because I'm a bunny and bunnies don't have hair; they have fur," Lucy explained.

"Oh, well, come here and let me brush your fur," I said.

"Name me," Lucy commanded.

"How about Lucy?" I asked.

"No, it's 'Fuzzy,'" she explained.

"Ok, Fuzzy; come here and let me brush your fur,"

"Ok."

A Perfect Day

Last week, I was at a conference in Cleveland. I know, you're jealous, right? But I did get to stay at a fancy hotel and my co-workers and I got the celebrity treatment. But it was a week away from home, which really puts a cloud over things.

I got home Friday night and posted about how good it was to be home, but blogger ate it and I was too tired to even remember what it was I said. I went to bed before the children and slept the sleep of the just.

Yesterday, I got up and got my day started. Riley and I went to the store to get some Diet Coke, without which I wouldn't have been able to get through the day. Here is a list of things I got accomplished:

  1. Finished painting the kitchen
  2. Cleaned the kitchen
  3. Cleaned out the shed
  4. Cleared out the flower beds, with the help of my Mom, Grandma, and Riley
  5. Mowed the lawn...ok, well, the neighbor boy mowed the lawn, trimmed the edges, cleaned up the trimmings
  6. Had a great time hanging out with Elizabeth and Doc

Of course, I'm paying for all that accomplishment today. I'm a bit sore and still kind of sleepy, but the sun is shining and I believe I've got everything I need. I'm also looking forward to Monday to return to work with an amazing team doing worthy and necessary work.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just One More Thing...

As you may have guessed, I have recently become obsessed with “Murder, She Wrote.” I discovered the show during Groundhog’s Day weekend when I was too drunk to sleep. I had a house full of people and didn’t want to turn the TV on, so I browsed the instant (just add water) movies and shows. I had just watched a Columbo episode with Leonard Nimoy as the killer and it really freaked me out. Talk about a cold hearted snake. Nimoy was almost too clinical of a killer. Also, Columbo used the murder weapon found at the scene to crack the shell on his hard boiled egg breakfast. I guess that makes him a hard-boiled detective. Anyway, it was creepy on so many levels, I decided to abandon Columbo and find something else to watch.

Netflix said, that if I enjoyed Columbo, I’d probably enjoy MSW. So, I took the recommendation and settled in to a 5 a.m. viewing. I started with season 1 and boy was it corny. But I remember Doc saying it was a show his mother enjoyed. Sadly, Doc’s mother walked on in 2003. As I watched the show, I felt this sort of warm feeling. My MIL and I didn’t always see eye to eye, which is typical of MIL relationships, I would guess. But watching this show made me remember things I’d forgotten about Mary.

Isn’t memory a funny thing? Some people like to listen to music to bring back the old days. Others might travel back in time through photo albums or journals. I am probably the least nostalgic person I know. I don’t like to relive the past. I prefer to play out the possibilities of my future instead of probing the painful past for memories and rolling them around in my mind like some kind of mental Jolly Rancher. Recently, however, I’ve learned the value of memory. Now that so many of my nearest and dearest have either left town or left this mortal coil, I try to look for memories to tie me to them.

It starts with dreams. I see them in my dreams. If they’ve passed away, I talk to them, but they don’t talk back to me. I cling to those dreams and the feeling that they were nearby again. I also recall what they liked and try to bring whatever it is into my life, even if it’s not really my cup of tea, just so I can be close to that person for a little while. Like watching Murder, She Wrote to bring my MIL back.

The interesting thing with MSW is that, when the show was on the air, I was probably totally outside of the demographic market. I was in high school and college at the time. CBS was in full-blown “Celebrate the Elderly” mode and it didn’t really speak to me. But as I watch now, I get a comforting feeling that I am watching MSW and experiencing some of the same reactions Mary may have had when she watched it.

Sometimes I try to think what Mary might have thought about what was going on. I don’t know. It makes me feel better. In my heart, I know I kept Doc’s parents at arms’ length. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t. Doing things or experiencing things they enjoyed, I feel like I’m opening my heart to them for real. Perhaps, it’s too late and I’m closing the barn door after the horses got away. But you have to close that door at some point, don’t you? Even if the horses never come back.

But now, watching MSW is no longer an exercise in nostalgia for times that never were. But rather I’ve come to really enjoy it. I’ve found a connection to Jessica Fletcher. I’ve also found a role model in her. She’s a successful writer who travels the world and people invite her to become involved in whatever important task they have in front of them. That’s what I want to be. Even more so, though, I like the sweet way that she doesn’t take shit from anyone. She has no problem calling people on their lies in such a way that makes the liar fell like she deeply cares for him or her. It’s remarkable.

I typically prefer to assume if you look me in the eye and say something, that you’re telling me the truth. But as I’ve aged, I know that people can’t be telling the truth all the time. I like to pick my battles, but in the past, I’ve felt unarmed, not able to tell when I was on the business end of a snow job or not. But now, I have developed my instincts and I can tell when someone isn’t being completely honest. I still struggle with the confrontation part, but with Jessica’s help, I think I have gathered a vocabulary for calling bullshit without being mean.

So forgive me if in the very near future, I put my nose where it doesn’t belong or call you on your bullshit. It’s only because I love you and I want to be a part of your life, while we are both still here to enjoy it together.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blog-Ohio Jamboree!



Doc and I decided that the only way we're going to make it to a blogger get together is for us to host one ourselves. So, we're going to. Why don't you save the date and see if you can get here!

BlogOhio Jamboree

"Show Your Wits!"

7:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Mulligan's Pub

Canton, Ohio

Let me know in the comments if you want more information or if you want to rsvp.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Celebrities Who Have Appeared In My Dreams: John Mayer


It was night time and I was standing in the driveway, watching John Mayer move into the house across the street. We were preparing to have a party and invite him over, which I was doing under protest. I think the city had insisted we host it. Elizabeth came over to help and I was complaining bitterly that I had to live in such close proximity to him.

The party started and I watched as he ignored the locals and hung out with his roadies. He drank a lot and then disappeared. We started cleaning up and then were told we had to go to his concert. We had aisle seats about two thirds of the way back from the stage. It was a nice, summer evening, apart, of course, from the music.

At one point during the show, JM staggered down from the stage and was being supported by his roadies. He passed our seats and I followed them out of the amphitheater and into to the grape arbor. I sat down next to him on a trellised bench. He looked terrible. His eyes were sunken and had dark circles. He had snot running down his nose. He was wearing that horrible, green mankini and a Mexican blanket thrown over his shoulders.

“You’re a mess,” I told him.

He nodded.

“I’ve been watching you since you moved in,” I explained putting my hand on his shoulder, “You have got to get a handle on things.”

He leaned in on my shoulder and let me put my arm around him.

“I guess since we’re neighbors, I’ll have look after you.” I told him. It felt like the right thing to do, but I also felt a shiver of dread about facing what I was sure would be a huge pain in the ass.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Stripping Continues

That glue! Argh! It is not coming off very well, even with the help of the steamer. We worked until about 8:30 and are still fighting with it. I'm waiting for the steamer to heat up as I write this. Wish me luck and pray to Jesus that the glue will see the error of it's ways and separate itself from its attachment to material things, namely: the wall.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ok, Y'all...I'm Stripping Today




Yes, I'm taking down the wallpaper in my kitchen. At first glance, it didn't seem to be a big job; I have wood panelling (yes, I know, gag me) that goes up about 4 feet off the floor. There's not much wall to cover. But the wallpaper is turning out to be a bitch to get off. So I consulted my local paint expert, Mark, who let me in on a professional secret: 2 parts hot water, 1 part vinegar, and a capful of Downy and that shit will come right off. You have to scrub it afterwards a couple of times, but it's got to beat the DIF crap I've been using and failing with.

I'll keep you posted throughout the day. I think I can get done in one fell swoop. I've had a Diet Coke and some beef jerky. I've got the tools and the talent. Wish me luck.






*********






3:18 pm: I've got one wall in the entry way clear. That formula works! I wish Poor George were here to help me peel the wallpaper off; it's just like peeling sunburnt skin! And only one injury: a barked knuckle:

********

5:48 p.m.: Elizabeth arrived with the steamer! Huzzah! We'll be done in no time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Why I’m Behind Madonna’s Decision to Remake and Star in Casablanca

Like you, I was appalled by the idea that anyone would remake what is virtually a perfect movie, let alone that it was Madonna and that she wanted to play the part of Ilsa in the remake. I mean, my God! She’s 30 years older than Ingid Bergman was when she made the film. I thought maybe Madonna might be more appropriately cast as the signer in Rick’s CafĂ©. That would be a nice cameo. Then let someone like Kiera Knightly or Miranda Cosgrove play the part of Ilsa.

This really bugged me. I first heard about it last week or the week before. It struck me as something I needed to blog about, but, as you all know, I’ve been struggling with malaise vis a vis my blog. So I let it stew. As my thoughts about this proposed abomination boiled on the back burner, it started to seem less like a bad idea, a moral outrage, and more like an interesting experiment.

First of all, Madonna has a knack for adopting accents. I’m sure she could pull off Der Deutsche in a heartbeat. She’s also got the body of an East German Olympiad, sinewy and taught. So, on screen, she should look and sound German, no problem.

Also, Ilsa has been around the block a few times. She was married, she had a fling with Rick, she went back to her husband when she realized he was still alive, she reunited with Rick and thought about going back to him. I think Madonna has the life experience to portray someone with these types of tendencies.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to hear her reinterpret the sound track? I loved her music that had Indian influences (Ray of Light). I’d be really keen to hear Madonna ala Morocco. I’m sure it would be awesome.

And finally, for some reason, the movie “Sunset Boulevard” keeps coming to my mind when I think of Madonna remaking Casablanca. This is truly a Norma Desmond move. And, if the fates intervene and Madonna is not physically stopped by the film police, I will be sitting in the middle of the row, two-thirds of the way back in the theater, the optimal viewing location (I will, of course, have the theater to myself), with my popcorn and twizzlers, thinking, “Bring it on!”

If this is made, it will be the train wreck of the century! But then again, aren’t all of her movies (except of course for Desperately Seeking Susan, which is genius, and the only movie she’s been in where she probably had no creative control) train wreck’s of the century?

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Have To Get Air Supply Off My iPod

I got their Greatest Hits CD from the library, under the influence of a blow to the head by nostalgia. One of my very first concerts ever was Air Supply. I saw them with my parents at the Front Row Theater in Akron. The Front Row, now defunct, was an interesting place to see a concert. The circular stage was in the center of the theater and rows of seats radiated out. The novelty of this place was that the stage revolved so that everyone could have a “Front Row” view of the band.

It was also a bit of a fancy theater; people got dressed up to go to concerts there. I was probably 10 years old when I put on a dress, tights, and patent leather shoes to ride 45 minutes with my parents to see Air Supply in concert. I was so psyched! Air Supply was on MTV and I was going to see them. It was a very grown-up evening for me. We got a program. I got a button. My Dad walked up the aisle to the stage’s edge and took pictures. It was awesome.

I look back at that evening, though, and scratch my head. What was it about Air Supply? Why would we want to go see them? And what was a 10 year-old doing being psyched by such a concert? Because I was definitely psyched. But, have you listened to the lyrics? Check them out…

I’m all out of love. I’m so lost without you. I know you were right, believing for so long. I 'm all out of love, what am I without you? I can't be too late to say that I was so wrong.

Or worse, here is a small sample of a truly bizarre song. If you get a moment, find the lyrics and read them in their entirety. Kooky, I tell you. But I’ll supply you with the kookiest, to save you some time.

I can make the run or stumble, I can make the final block; And I can make every tackle, at the sound of the whistle, I can make all the stadiums rock. [oh, really? Who do they think they are, Styx?] I can make tonight forever, Or I can make it disappear by the dawn; And I can make you every promise that has ever been made, And I can make all your demons be gone. But I’m never gonna make it without you, Do you really want to see me crawl? And I’m never gonna make it like you do, Making love out of nothing at all.

I just don’t understand what they mean by the last line. What does that mean? Can someone explain it to me please? “And I’m never gonna make it like you do, Making love out of nothing at all.” Does that mean she fakes it? I don’t know. It’s making my neck hurt, frankly, trying to figure this out. But, the bottom line is, why would my 10-year-old self be engaged by their music? It’s obviously aimed at adults who have mortgages. Perhaps my habit of listening to music and hearing the vocals as just another instrument is the key. I’m often surprised by the content of lyrics well after I’ve been snagged by a song’s hook [coughjohnmayercough].

Anyway, since I put their greatest hits CD on my iTunes and then synched my iPod (It’s a shuffle named Twiggy), I’ve enjoyed the occasional blast from the past from Air Supply, mingled amongst the likes of Sergio Mendez, the Black Eyed Peas, Blake Lewis, Dolly Parton, and the Old Crow Medicine Show. But whenever I hook up the iTunes to my car stereo, which the kids and I call “listening to rock and roll,” they complained loudly whenever any Air Supply tune came up. “That’s not rock and roll, Mommy…skip it!” I always comply, of course. I must maintain my cred as a rock and roll momma.

And now when I listen to my iPod at work, Air Supply comes up, I start grinding my teeth. It’s like…remember when Wendy’s started using “Blister in the Sun” for their add campaign and you were all like, “Whaaaaa?? The Violent Femmes on mainstream TV…awesome!” and then they kept playing it and then the band got in a fight saying Gordon Gano sold the rights without consulting the other two and then you’re pissed because your favorite fringe group had just sold out to a fast food restaurant and now when you hear that song it just cheeses you off instead of sending a thrill up your spine that something very special has just floated over the airwaves? It’s kind of like that. A little bit of shame and a shitload of annoyance.
Therefore, Air Supply delenda est. Toot sweet.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Letters from Cabot Cove

Hello Dear,

It’s a cloudy and rainy day here in Cabot Cove. I’ve just ended a very productive morning of writing my next novel, The Corpse Stands Alone. Sherriff Tupper is on his way over for a cup of coffee and I thought I’d take a moment to check in on you.

How are you?

You look well. How long has it been since we’ve seen each other? I remember somebody died…but I knew you didn’t do it. You’re so pure and good. Didn’t we luck out finding that duck in Dr. Walldrop’s closet? If we hadn’t, your goose would have been cooked! Ah, those were the days.
I’m looking forward very much to my upcoming trip to Iraq with the USO. I will be travelling with my niece, Julie. You remember Julie, don’t you? She is a national twirling champ. Anyway, she’ll need me there to replace sequins and put my homemade aloe tincture on her burns after her “Flames of Freedom” act. I also plan on handing out free autographed copies of my last number one best seller, Major Dead, to our fighting boys so far from home.

Oh, here’s Amos! I’ll wind this up for now. Please write soon. I’ll keep you posted from the front. I’m sure to run into the dashing Michael Hagarty that close to the war and he always makes things interesting.
Fondly,
Jessica

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April Is Poetry Month

Did you know? My friend Roy sent me a poem about poems that I'd like to share:

The Principal Reason for Being

"The principle of sufficient reason states that anything that happens does so for a definite reason. It is usually attributed to Gottfried Leibniz..."
—Wikipedia


No one wants to ignore Leibniz altogether, but it's clear things happen
without a reason or cause: a ray of sunlight falls on one blade of grass
as opposed to another because it just does. Light is its own rehearsal.
The nature of Illumination is always up for grabs. Sure, there are laws,
first principles, those who search for such things, but where a sunbeam
falls is about Accident or Chance. By definition, Accident isn't a cause.
It's an explanation standing in for one. As such, it's the contradiction
of the assertion made by Leibniz. You are here without a reason—
except that two people fucked. Love may be fictious; fucking isn't.
You could say: Fucking is the reason I'm on this planet. However,
All Things for a Reason implies God. A First Cause. And a few
absolutes on the order of: The principal reason for Being is to fuck.
Maybe I'm telling you those things you know without being told.
But isn't that what poems do: offer reasons? isn't that Poetry?
What better reason than poetry to keep blogging?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm going to kill this blog.



It's been 3.5 years and I'm devoid of good ideas for this blog (see previous post). I'm sure I could continue to report the awesomeness of my kids, my observations of the world, my dreams of celebrities. But, in the words of Lili Von Shtupp: I'm tired. I'd also like to spend more time writing my novel and figuring out how to make money as an editor (my true passion is correcting other people).


I do plan on continuing on at Culture of Beer; I've received approval from the boss over there to be a regular contributor. I may also revive Poor Man's Telepathy. But when I come here to write, all I hear is:


I'm tired,

Tired of playing the game

Ain't it a crying shame

I'm so tired

God dammit I'm exhausted


It won't be an instant death. In fact, if anyone would like to guest host for me for awhile, we might be able to breath new life into this place. Just let me know in the comments or email me at greenpearl42 at yahoo dot com.
Peace out, my friends...I'll be at the bar, if you need me.