Freeing the voices in my head

Archive for December, 2011

Have A Crazy New Year!

I’m back!  I slept!  I went grocery shopping!  I’m safely home!  It’s New Year’s Eve!  Indulge in exclamation points!

Oh, come on, you KNOW “Happy New Year” is an oxymoron, right?  So, ditch the “Happy” and go for “Crazy!”  Crazy is so much better.  Suddenly, there’s no longer any pressure to be right or correct or productive.  No one dares ask you to do much of anything because, well, hey, “she’s the crazy one!”

Crazy is much more fun.  Spend a few minutes in a grocery store talking to the produce lady about bananas…  “I only need three; they spoil so quickly.”  “Oh, but they are so good for you,” she told me.  “I wouldn’t know.  They’re for my dog.”  Bananas – 78 cents a pound, the look on that lady’s face – priceless!

Climb the bottom two shelves of the milk department (I’m 5’3″) to reach the last tiny carton of whipping cream.  Not happening (and why are the tiny cartons way up there in the stratosphere?  Men don’t know how to use whipping cream, so why is it up out of a woman’s reach?).  Glance behind you at the muffled laughter as a polite young lady of the Asian persuasion attempts to help you.  Hey, she had the extra two inches we needed to find ANOTHER tiny carton hidden behind mine.  High-five each other to random applause and raised eyebrows…yeah, crazy’s good!

Compliment the cashier.  Today’s girl had a lovely hair style, so I complimented her.  She patted her do, saying, “But I only had time to brush it.”  “Brushing’s good; it’s so smooth and shiny.”  I whipped off my hat.  “I have demented poodle meets light socket hair.  Wanna trade?”  *cackle, snort*  Shuffle away…but, she was laughing!

My apologies for last night’s blog, but I’m feeling much better now!  (Night Court, loved John Astin, loved that show!)  Or maybe the pain pills are finally working…

Have a Crazy – okay – Happy New Year, Everyone!  😀

 

Pain on the Brain

Or, the Brain on Pain? Either way, being in pain pretty much short-circuits any proper brain function.

Another year over, whoop-dee-do, whatever. No resolutions for me; I fail at everything, every day, all day, don’t have to add more, thank you very much.

Two weeks til next dentist appointment; maybe this time they’ll get it right – they have incentive, no more insurance & my bank account is so empty even spiders won’t live there, but the cobwebs look so pretty I don’t think I’ll deposit any more money into it for the bank to steal when I’m not looking. Honestly, I only drive 2 miles down the road for groceries, don’t go anywhere else ‘cept maybe karaoke on Wednesdays once or twice a month, how the hell can my bank account be empty?! No, I’m not agoraphobic (or however the hell ya spell it), I have no problem leaving my house, but, I live in Houston.

That doesn’t explain it? Ah, you’re lucky. I’ve driven in almost every major city of the USA – even Los Angeles & Vegas! I refuse to drive in Houston unless it’s absolutely an emergency. Out here, everyone is on a cell phone and thinks “Green light, stop; Red light, GO!” Very dangerous, scary place…I wanna go home, ah, New York, I miss you. Even Tucson, AZ would be better!

Um, hmmm, stream of ranting thoughts fading. I think the pretty pink pain pills are kicking in, maybe they’ll help me sleep for more than THREE friggin’ hours!

Oh, by the way, all grumpiness aside:
May you all have a Happy New Year! 😀

Plot Footsie

The Tangled Web of B.L.O.G.

Remedial Agents

She entered the Merry Mayhem Club in a black leather jacket, plain white tee shirt and torn jeans, her walk a confident saunter as she strode up to the mahogany bar.  The effect she had on the men was like a diaphoretic hitting their skin – sweat immediately gleamed on every brow.  He had to admit he could feel it, too.  She was Venus walking barefoot across his senses.
He moved over and offered her his spot; his reward a tight smile and brief nod.  Lifting his martini glass, he said, “Good evening.  My name is Bonn, Wayne Bonn, at your service.”
Her lips lifted in a mocking smile and one eyebrow quirked, catching the pun of his code name.  “I’m Jade, ‘Kid’ Jade, and I’ll have whatever that is.”
Bonn nodded.  “Well, ‘Kid’ Jade, I’m honored.  You’re new here?”  He motioned to the barkeep, Gamester.  “Another martini, shaken, not stirred.”
Jade turned her back to the bar, and him, without answering.  She leaned against the wood, a casual pose her narrowed eyes gave lie to as she watched the entrance to the club.  Bonn gently nudged her, offering her the drink, and asked, “Looking for someone?”
“Meeting a few friends.  Thanks for the drink.”  She left it untouched and strolled over to an empty booth in a dark corner.  Gold letters on the back of her jacket read “Top B.L.O.G.”
Chilly condensation dripped through Bonn’s fingers as his smile slipped awry.  “Ah, one of those,” he murmured, tamping down a hint of envy – someday, he would have an elite B.L.O.G. jacket…and more.  Not one to waste liquor, Bonn placed the glass within easy reach for his next round and surreptitiously spied on Jade from his end of the bar.
She slipped off the jacket as a woman marched in, trailed by a man in a sleek black jumpsuit.  “It was mine, you see, I won it fair and square.  I’m allowed to keep it and wear it in public.  We are, after all, the benevolent guardians of this city,” the lovely lady declared.
Ah-ha, Bonn thought, the plot thickens.  He had seen these two at HQ, before the unfortunate karaoke incident at the Abattoir Bar & Grill last week.
The Falcon swept the wing-like folds of his black cape over his shoulders and tugged the hooded mask off his head.  Since the club’s only patrons were B.L.O.G. agents, he could relax within and reveal his face.  “I’m certain it is merely a misunderstanding, Lady O.  I believe you, we all do at HQ, your work is exemplary and you earned the jacket.  It is unfortunate that you brought it from your vault to wear today, but I assure you, we will–”
“—find it!  We are the Tenacious Two, the Holmes at Home of Headquarters, fired up and good to go!  There’s a plot afoot and criminals best be afraid, be very afraid!”  The interruption was less startling than the person spouting it.  She struggled through the door, having trouble with the weight of it, her outlandish garb more fitting for a nursing home than a swanky club.
She limped along behind the other two, her neon-green fuzzy bunny slippers having seen better days.  The bright red pajamas she was wearing were at least two sizes too large and her tattered, faded yellow bathrobe did little to complement her attire.  A frizzy mane of hair that looked akin to a demented poodle’s unfortunate encounter with a light socket shrouded her face.  Bonn suspected the visage beneath was as unpleasant as the rest of her.
Falcon winced and hurried Lady O away from the entrance.  “There is no escaping her.  I used stealth-mode to come meet you, leaving the accouterments of my Sherlocking trade behind.  Not that I believe a magnifying glass or pipe will aid me in this case–”
“—Aw, you don’t play the accouterment or bagpipes, Falcon!”  The interruption brought another wince.
“That’s an accordion and I meant my marvelous Meerschaum smoking pipe, Talon, and no, I don’t play those instruments, I play the violin.  Will you please do something about your appearance?  You’re an embarrassment to the echelon – Marvin will never award you points to win a Top B.L.O.G. jacket when you step out in public like that.”
The odd-bit limped into Bonn’s vicinity and he shuddered away from the grimy fabric of her bathrobe at her next words.  “I got rid of that embarrassing etch last month with Blue’s Bumbrulee Creme!  And, gosh, Falcon, I’m incontinent, um, you know…”
Again the winged one winced and corrected his ditzy sidekick.  “You’re incognito, in disguise, and I’d spank you for sneaking about after me if I could be sure you weren’t wearing Depends just to be truly authentic.”
Talon’s voice grew happier.  “Gee, thanks, Falcon, and yes, you can depend on me, but my Insta-Change power didn’t make me really old – no twisting of the joints, so I don’t have authentic.”
“Arthritis!”  The hiss contained the leashed rage of a raptor intent on ripping apart his prey.
Bonn thought it best to interject before the club found it necessary to change its name to that of the Abattoir Bar down the street.  Quoting Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, he told Talon, “’You’re not a moron.  You’re a case of arrested development.’  And I do believe a spot more training might clear up your problem.”
Talon’s hands shot up to paw under her hair at her face.  “I don’t have any spots!  I used Emma’s Oxy-moron this morning, honest!  She lemme borrow it and it’s legal, so you don’t have a case and can’t arrest me!”  A tiny sob escaped her.
Bonn’s brow climbed up his forehead, but he didn’t bother mentioning her mangling of the acne product’s name.  She was Falcon’s sidekick and it was the super-hero’s job to mend her misguided mind.  He grinned at his winged friend and offered him Jade’s untouched martini.  “I would say you need this more than I.  Your patience is admirable, my good man.”
Falcon downed the drink in one gulp while Talon shuddered beside him.  Bonn, looking concerned, tried to peek under the mass of tangled tresses without touching her. “Whatever is wrong with the woma-um-child?”
She shook all over, her clothes glowing, her skin decidedly as diaphoretic as the menfolk had been earlier at the sight of Jade.  Rivulets of sweat poured off her body as she cried, “I’m tired of living the lie!  I am not an old woman!  I want to be young and pretty again!”  There was a poof of damp fog, smelling of rancid body odor and rotting celery, and Falcon fanned it away with his cape.
Talon the Teen Terror was revealed in her garishly colored costume — red leotard, yellow cape and neon-green boots — Bonn blinked rapidly to clear his watering eyes.  The girl sighed and checked the bar’s mirror for any stray wrinkles, or perhaps zits, on her face.  “Ah, I’m feeling much better now!  Gotta love that Insta-Change!  Maybe Guppa can mix it up into a new product to go with her Migraine Mix!”
Falcon shook his head.  “I’d like to ignore her, but she’s apt to get into more trouble if I do.”
Talon nodded.  “I’m very adept with bubbles!”
Lady O frowned at the girl.  “Er, Falcon, do you think she might have a hearing problem?  It would explain the shouting and all.”
“Nearing Dublin out in the fall?  No, I haven’t been to Ireland!”  With that, Talon trotted off to the rest room.
“She’s exhausting, how do you do it?” Lady O asked.
“Valium is my friend, no, just kidding, her roommate, Emma, usually keeps her in line with duct tape and a hammer.”
“You don’t say?  By the way, I have spotted a jacket much like yours, Lady O,” Bonn said.  “The lethal lovely in the back booth–”
“Kid!”  Lady O hurried over and the men followed.  “You found my jacket?”
Kid Jade hushed them, her eyes hard.  “No, this one’s mine, but I think I know who took yours, Lau-er-Lady.  Why do you all insist on using your code names all the time?”  No one answered, their eyes darting anywhere but her face.  “Fine, whatever.  I’m glad you agreed to meet me here – away from any curious ears at the compound.  Sit down. I’ve been undercover to scope out a thief among us.  Someone is playing a dangerous game.  We need to be detectives and find out the truth.”
All eyes fastened on Bonn.  “What?  Spy, detective, sometimes light-fingered; that describes every B.L.O.G. agent.  It isn’t me.  I’ve been here all day, Gamester can vouch for me.”
Jade shook her head.  “You’re already an excellent agent, no, this person is in the remedial agent program – poor showing across the board, you see – and jealous of the successful elite agents.”  She absently caressed the soft leather of her award jacket.  “I believe he or she is the one behind the theft.  It’s why I was assigned to go undercover in the trainee dorm.  The remedials didn’t know me.”
Bonn saw a slim opening.  “Ah, so you were transferred here from the East Coast B.L.O.G. HG?”
Lady O spoiled his ploy.  “Who could it be?” she moaned before Jade could reply to Bonn.  “I can’t imagine one of our friends stealing it.”
“Now who’s hard of hearing?  It isn’t someone from your elite branch.  You know the kind of misfits they get in the remedial program…”  Jade trailed off as Talon skipped out of the bathroom, waving a black leather jacket.
“I’m a happy wannabe Holmes, for-sleuth, lookit what I found behind the toilet!”
Falcon whispered to Lady O, “We’ll get it dry-cleaned.”
Talon handed the jacket over.  With a happy sigh, Lady O used napkins to touch it as she bundled it into a to-go bag.  From the corner of his eye, Bonn saw a slip of paper fall from the pocket.  As the group stood up, chattering about how to break into the remedial agents’ dormitory to find evidence of covert operations, the double-secret agent palmed the tiny memo.
No need to share the intel just yet.  If he could solve the case, he just might have a chance at a date with Jade, or, at the very least, a shot of nabbing a jacket of his own.

The Tangled Web of B.L.O.G.

A while ago, I did a series of story-type blogs in a writing group.  They were wacky, fun to write, and very well-received.  So many of the good people in that group encouraged me to expand the stories and look into doing more, or possibly try for publication.  Knowing I’m a procrastinator and would never stay focused enough to work on two manuscripts, I put them aside to concentrate on my novel manuscript.  Shortly after that, our computer’s security had issues with MySpace and blocked me from entering.  The computer then crashed, hard drive fried.  I didn’t have printed copies of those stories and assumed they were gone, never to be accessed or found by me again.

Last night, I was checking downloads and found them.  I had forgotten that our son had transferred them to a flash drive and then onto this computer (at least, I’m assuming that’s what happened.  He did try to save everything he could from the old hard drive; I have no idea what he did or how he did it!).  I still like those stories.  I’m going to share them here and hope you like them, too!  😀

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FALCONS DON’T SING

The “Wing” roared through the stormy night, its occupants keeping their eyes peeled for any trouble in the red light district.

“Unholy hot-cross nuns’ buns, O winged one!  Lookit that!”

The blurted cry from the passenger seat startled him and his black-booted foot slipped from the accelerator.  The manual transmission gave an ugly caw as the super-charged car nicknamed the “Wing” lurched to a stop.

With a snarl, the driver glared at his passenger.  “I’m seriously reconsidering taking you on as my sidekick, Tia.  Your penchant for inanity is giving me a migraine.”

The girl wriggled in her seat, trying to claw open her hero-belt.  “Aw, come on, ya gotta call me Talon – it’s an awesome sidekick name!”  She succeeded in fetching a flat tin from her belt, but had torn the Spandex of her bright red costume with the three-inch steel claws on her fingertips.  As she used that hand to hold her leotard together, she handed him the tin and said, “Here, try this: Guppa’s Mega Migraine Mix!  It totally rocks!”

He flinched and the tin fell open in his lap, spilling a pink granular powder all over his sleek black uniform.  “I am not ingesting some headache powder mixed up by B.L.O.G.’s resident mad scientist.   Take those ridiculous claws off before you hurt yourself, and must you always speak in exclamation points?”

Her smile was sunny and clueless.  “I only penchanted this stuff today; I’m sure I haven’t bought any inanity!  But who knows what Doc Guppa puts in that shi-um-stuff!”

He shook his head.  “You mean you purchased this, not penchant, and you can’t buy inanity; I believe you were born with it.”

Her smile grew to a grin.  “Oh, gosh – see, I’m workin’ on not swearin’ so much – dear winged one, you say the sweetest things!”

“Speaking of saying things – and I know I’m going to regret asking – but what brought about this latest outburst of yours?”

She bounced around in her seat, pointing to the bar a block behind them.  “Oh, that!  There’s a bunch of nuns hanging out on the stools, passing time at the Abattoir!  And I’m pretty sure I saw their garters!  Plus, I saw the blue-faced guy, Navish, and his woman, Lady O, hustling our Saber and Kid Jade inside!  What does the ‘O’ stand for?  Is it a dirty word?  The file on her is real thin, so’s the one on Navish!  They didn’t look very happy!”

He rubbed his temples.  “I appreciate your eagle-eyed ability to keep a look-out for nefarious ne’er-do-wells, but just because a man paints his face blue doesn’t mean he is evil.  Their files are thin because they are merely persons of interest who might be suitable for recruitment.   Also, you must learn to be more specific.  Who didn’t look very happy?”

His sidekick shoved open her door.  “The girls, of course!  We have to rescue them!  That blue-faced monster is gonna force them to do something terrifically terrible!”  She slammed the door, ruining her heroic vault to the sidewalk as her canary yellow cape yanked her back against the car.

He wearily exited the driver’s seat and walked around to rescue Tia-er-Talon from the clutches of the cape caught in the passenger door.  “You are making assumptions.  Navish is an old friend.  I know you think he stole the super-speed formula from me because he now has the ability to type out blogs at a phenomenal rate, but we have no evidence.  As for Lady O, you are letting your envy of her cloud your judgment.”

Talon stamped one neon-green clad bootie.  “Nuh-uh!  It’s Tuesday! You know what happens on Tuesdays at that slimy armpit-hole of a bar!  It’ll be a slaughter!  Like a bunch of zombies from Night of the Living Dead!  Or innocent virgins thrown in to be dinner for the Creature from the Black Lagoon!  We have to save them!”

He realized she was right.  “Tuesday?  Those sweet angels must be rescued from such distress!  Onward!”  He took two steps, caught Talon as she bounced off a parking meter, and muttered, “By the way, I’m revoking your television viewing privileges – no more Fright Night Fridays for you.”

They made it into the Abattoir without further mishaps.  By that time, the nuns had sauntered inside, feeling up the crowd and smoking cigars.  “We’re too late!” Talon gasped as they shoved past Island Bronze, Super-Jay and Gamester.  The local agents just shook their heads – their sympathy knotted his stomach; yes, he was trying out yet another side-kick, but it was not his fault that they kept dying on him.  Crime-fighting was a dangerous game and he had yet to convince his superior to stop saddling him with idiots.  “Damn Marvin, I’m sure he hails from another planet.”

The Caftan Cowboy was on the stage, a strangely glowing necklace bouncing against his voluminous caftan.  He stumbled off-stage as Navish and his Lady O urged Saber and Kid Jade into the spotlight.  DJ M’k grinned wickedly as he motioned for them to each grab a microphone, and stroked the beads around his neck.  M’k’s excellent sidekick Boomie began to play.  The karaoke monitor attached to the boombox had a glowing strand of beads draped across the unit’s housing.

The words scrolled across the screen, hypnotizing the innocent girls, their lips forced to move to the beat, their voices rising in off-key harmony.  Our hero thanked his hooded mask for having excellent muffling qualities and leaped forward.  The rest of the crowd slumped in their seats or to the floor, succumbing to the soul-deadening strains of the horrific karaoke standard “Feelings.”   A lone voice – he thought it might have been Ms. Tex – cried, “Freebird!” before fading into a snore.

As he swept the girls beneath the wings of his cape to release them from the siren sleep of the song, Talon plunged onto the stage, tripping over a pick-pocketing nun, and landed on Boomie with a crash.

Silence fell, except for a few snores, and the Singing Nuns Gang dashed away.  DJ M’k blinked off the evil trance as our hero went around tearing glowing rosaries off of the patrons.  Talon shook her finger at him.  “Even I know better than to accept gifts from smokin’ hot nuns who hang out in bars!  You really gotta find a different cover career until we nail this singing nun gang!”

A black-gloved hand patted her shoulder.  “Our work here is done, Talon.  The birds have flown the coop.  Off we go to the next…um, M’k, what are the other bars that have karaoke on Tuesdays?”

And so it goes, the Winged Wonder, our beloved Falcon, and his Teen Talon fly through the night to save our wallets (and souls) from garter-slung nuns!

(With apologies to all comic book creators and fans!  I couldn’t resist!  Some names have been changed to protect not-so-innocent ME!) 😀

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(With very few changes, this is the original blog that started the madness.  I may flesh it out or I may not.   As it is, I fear losing them to another computer accident and will probably continue posting them!  *wicked cackling*…)

My Best Christmas Gift

Kinda sounds like one of those “What I did on My Christmas Vacation” reports we used to be forced to do in school, right?  Do they torment kids like that these days?  I could rehash a few for you.  “I got phew-ammonia and puked in the hamster cage.”  No?  Okay, how about the time we drove home from Endicott, NY to Schenectady, NY inna blizzard and Daddy hit a deer?  The deer was fine, got up and walked away, but we spent Christmas night inna ditch?  Mmm, nope…ooo, I know!  We survived the Ice Storm of ’63!  Or was it ’68?  Anyway, we went sledding on cookie sheets down the frozen drift – from my brother’s second-story bedroom window to the street!

And no, I didn’t see the Christmas Star or an angel…  My Christmas Star is a man.  He’s a Merchant Marine – civilian sailors, the guys on oil tankers, dredges, tug boats, non-military (most of the time) – and my husband.  His work schedule was often unpredictable.  He could be out for three months, home for one, or be called back to the ship after only a week home.  Holidays had to be as fluid as the ocean.  Quite often, our kids’ best Christmas gift was a phone call from Daddy, full of static and short because ship to shore calls were extremely expensive.  (This was twenty-plus years ago – long before computers, cell phones, all the toys that we take for granted today.)

Yet, somehow, Randy managed to make Christmas special.  His voice lifted our spirits and reminded us we were loved.  When he could, he would mail a letter or card.  A few times, he shopped early and hid the presents, just in case he wouldn’t be home on Christmas morning.  He once hid them under a huge pile of clothes I was supposed to wash and then take to the Salvation Army store.  He forgot to tell me they were there.  I was busy and never got around to doing that laundry.  We found those gifts three months after Christmas.

One year, when we lived in upstate New York near Syracuse, Randy’s ship was dredging sand along the East Coast.  Normal people would ask why we didn’t go visit for a day or why he couldn’t drive home for a weekend.  “New York City’s only four hours away.  Why don’t you take the kids down to the Port there and visit him?”  Hmm, sorry, no, it doesn’t work that way.  Merchant mariners may not be military, but they operate along the same guidelines.  I could explain it to you, but this is a blog, not a book.

And, yes, it was depressing knowing he was that close and we couldn’t be together.  My little sister and her husband visited us that year.  I had people I loved in my house, their sweet toddler was a living doll our little girl was enjoying babying and our boys were teaching naughty tricks to, we had laughter, presents, good food, and, I was lonely.  My husband wasn’t overseas that year, he was in the same state, and we couldn’t have him with us.  He hadn’t even been able to call us, which pissed me off because he could have used normal phone connections instead of a marine operator.

The weather was lovely – fresh snow, cold but not frigid, and a sunny Christmas morning.  My sister and I were making French toast for breakfast, still in our pajamas and robes because in my house, no one gets dressed in real clothes until noon on Christmas Day.  Christine’s husband looked out the window and asked, “Do you know anyone who drives a white van?”

“No.  Why?”

Jeff pointed outside.  “He’s in your driveway.”

At eight o’clock on Christmas morning, after being up until dawn wrapping gifts, I had the brain function and curiosity of a dust bunny.  Christine had helped me, but managed to be a chirping chickadee – god, how I hate morning people.  She was also more of a city girl than I and instantly alarmed at the sight of a plain, unmarked, paneled white van skulking up my driveway (visions of kidnappers dancing in her head).  “Where are the kids?  Call the police.  Jeff,” she prodded her husband, “is your gun in the car?  Put on your boots, chase him away!”

I yawned.  “Sweetie, Chief Willy lives two houses down and is probably still asleep.  It’s a small town, everybody knows everybody else.  They’re someone’s relatives, using my driveway to turn around.”  I flipped the bread in the pan and heard Jeff say, “Huh, he parked.  He’s getting out!”  Dear Jeff, the most open, honest, heart-on-his-sleeve guy, and I heard the lift in his voice.  Something had just made him very happy and Christine squealed with joy.

I whipped around and ran to the window.  By that time, the driver had the back of the van open.  Jeff scrambled to shove his feet in his boots as the driver unloaded boxes and bags.  I knew the curve of that strong back, the tilt of that beloved head…I beat Jeff out the door, dashing through the snow in my slippers, and was caught up in a hug that nearly crushed my ribs before I crashed into the side of the van.  I have no memory of going back inside the house, I think he carried me because my feet were turning blue and Jeff carried all the gifts.  I do remember that kiss – one that hurls fireworks down into your stomach and buckles your knees, a kiss that requires your love to hold you upright because you no longer have any bones in your body.

The ship had been put in dry-dock for a quick repair at New York City Harbor.  The captain gave Randy 24 hours off the clock, just enough time…  Randy asked if he could borrow the port captain’s van to make a trip home.  He stopped at a 24-hour Kmart outside the city and bought what he could with the cash he had.

After the excitement of kids climbing all over Daddy and ripping into the gifts he’d brought, we settled into the rest of the day and enjoyed our Christmas feast.  In the afternoon, my sweet sister and her dear hubby giggled and winked and bundled up children.  “We’re taking them to the park to go sledding!” they called out.  I think Randy and I were upstairs before the back door slammed shut.

Cuddled together, beginning to hear the happy voices of our loved ones returning home, Randy whispered, “I didn’t get you a gift.  I’m sorry.”

“Silly man, I have the best gift of all, right here.”

 

 

 

 

 

Blame It On The Drill

Throb, throb, thump, thump, twinge…ow, damn!  Rinse.  Spit.  Repeat.  Sigh.  Kick off covers, shove cats and dogs to the side as quietly as possible, get out of bed.  No, it’s not a failed love-making session.  It’s my teeth.  They ache.  We both had major dental work done today.  He is out cold, meds working fine.  I am awake, painfully aware that my teeth are throbbing just enough to toll through my head like a dirge.  Since taking more meds is not advisable, I am here, airing grumpiness at you in an attempt to cheer myself up and forget my thumping teeth.

Blame it on the drill.  Everything went well and the dentist gave me a CD player with headphones to wear during the drilling.  But I had to keep the music soft enough to hear him if he spoke to me.  As the drilling continued – “Just a bit more.” – Twang! – “Oh, yes, cracked teeth are very sensitive, hang on.” – I nudged the volume up.  That’s when I actually heard the music they had kindly offered me.

“All the sinners shall fall down, and we march upon their souls.  Oh, praise the righteousness of God, and beat the holy drum…”  Well, something like that, anyway.  It was set on Repeat.  I’m a trained singer with a neat little quirk: I can hear a song once and begin singing along with it before it ends.  It’s also a writing quirk: I speak lines along with movies and TV episodes I’ve never seen and get it right.  I’m not psychic (although some would argue that; I’m just an energy-worker).  It’s just that when you write and sing all your life, you know how most melodies and phrasings of words will go together.  I may have the lyrics slightly skewed in this case – that drill was hard to drown out.

I used to be Catholic, am sorta Christian (The sweetest compliment I ever got was from a dear friend – a Christian who is everything a Christian should be – he said, “You’re a Christian Witch, how cool is that?”  I love you, John!), and I have eclectic tastes in music.  But please don’t bombard me with martial religious music when you are hurting me.  I might retaliate and flog you with my purse.  As any man knows, a woman’s purse is a lethal weapon – it weighs a ton, has sharp pointy things sticking out of it (because the zipper’s broken), and strange lotions in tubes that never stay closed, thus dripping odious fumes everywhere.

Anyway, I have a point here.  You do?  Shut up, girls.  It’s 4 am, you can’t sleep, why aren’t you writing about US?  The characters from my manuscript are alive and kicking.  They fuss at me if I don’t work on my manuscript for a couple of days.  Ignore them, please…I’m trying to.  Dontcha love when they are so alive in your head that they become real?  Nah, me either…

WordPress advised me to find a Focus for my Blog.  Yeah, right, the only time I focus is when ordered to – Ballet recital.  “Focus, Eileen,” our dance instructor growled at me.  I did, gave an impeccable performance, found out later I had a temp of 104, was in bed for all of Christmas break with pneumonia, never went back to ballet class…  “Focus, Eileen, and push!”  Right, doc, pushed so hard, our newborn baby girl went flying off the table.  Good catch there, midwife, you should sign with the Giants.  Um, maybe focusing is NOT a good idea for me.

Gack, so, okay, I don’t have a point, maybe, sorta, kinda…I’m freeing the voices in my head tonight.  The whine of that drill and lyrics of that doleful song are rampaging around; singing “Jingle Bells” will sometimes drive an endlessly looping song out of my head.  It’s not working…

Oh, look!  It’s that time!  I can safely take more meds!  Yay!  G’night, all!  😀

Red Car, Blue Car

I did it again today.  I have a legitimate excuse because I’m running about on two hours of sleep, a middling-to-high fever, not much solid food in the past two days, but I HAD to get some Christmas shopping done.  I’m using the mind over matter method of healing – I do NOT have bronchitis, there is no money for doctors (After the fiasco last year, I’ve vowed to go to a doctor or hospital again only if I’m DEAD!), it’s Christmas, stupid Body, so, behave!  Except excuses don’t wash; I done this before when healthy, rested and normal.

I tried to get into the wrong car.

I love cars.  So does hubby.  Our respective Love affairs began in our teens.  Randy (hubby) lucked into the Pink Lady, a 1964 pastel pink Thunderbird with white vinyl roof.  Sweet car for a 1970s high school kid and bought with money he earned working two jobs while still making Honor Roll every semester in school.  My dad worked at a car dealership and got me my first car.  It was a 1971 LTD Ford station wagon, seven feet long, a lumbering hunk of metal, and, important for Dad, rated a safe family car.  In 1976, the Black Beast got me and my best friend cross-country and back, was our shelter when the tent we brought turned out to be rotted through from the previous year’s banana food fight, but I gladly traded it for the first car I fell in love with – a 1969 Buick Skylark Sport Coupe, gold with a rag top, 350 horsepower V-8 engine, and automatic stick.  Lark could do 120 mph down the Thruway, her engine singing a solid middle C the whole time, but we only tried that once, honest!  She had over 200,000 miles on her and ran great when we gave her to my mechanically-challenged mother.  Lark died the next month, never to run again.

We grew up, married, went through more cars, and knew we had “made it” when we bought a Lexus.  Very nice, dependable car and at 99,000 miles the only thing wrong with Beauty was the power control or computer thing died for the driver’s window.  (Yes, I named all our cars.)  The kids enjoyed our largesse and their dad’s quirk of getting a different car every three years.  Brian received a 1965 emerald green Mustang.  “Needs work, runs good!”  Ripped upholstery, a steering wheel that might (and did!) come off while you were driving, cracked windshield, manual steering, manual brakes – Yikes!  But, ah, when you hit the gas, the Green Bitch GROWLED her way out into the world.  Me and a ton of steel roaring down I-10 at 75 mph; you betcha nobody got in our way!

This past year, we traded in two cars (yeah, bonus checks helped).  Hubby got a silver Dodge Challenger, loaded, powerful, great car.  A bit intimidating to me – it was a lot bigger than my sweet little Baby – a blue G37 Infiniti.  I loved my car, I knew how everything worked and could program the GPS.  And then, he saw IT online and said, “You like Audis, right?”  Oh no!  I hurried into the office.  “Yes, I like Audis.  No, you cannot trade my Infiniti for one!”  (He got our younger son an older Audi A8, black, of course – Jim rarely acknowledges any other color – 200,000 miles, running great, full of luxury; I like that car, too, but…)  I stamped my foot, I pouted, I got in the passenger seat of my baby and allowed hubby to take us to the Audi dealership.  We (Baby and I) were doomed.

Hubby liked a white four-door Audi A6.  We test drove it and, eh, blah…mind you, I was still pouting, determined to hold tightly to my sporty blue darling.  And I loathe white cars.  The silver two-door A2 was almost identical to my G37, so why trade into the same kind of car?  We stood outside, me caressing Baby’s hood while the salesman tried to tempt us (me) into buying something.  Key in hand, other hand on driver door, casual and relaxed, hubby said, “Where’s the red A4 that was online?”  He grinned at me.

Yep, truly screwed.  The bastar-er-sweet man knows me well.  Hit my visual buttons – colors, jewel tones, dark, luscious blues, greens, reds…I sighed in relief when the salesman answered, “That’s out on a test drive.  Would you like to wait?  We have coffee and cookies – oh, here it comes!”

She purred into the lot with a tight turn and flirty swing, bold, sassy, gorgeous.  Her grill was a saucy grin, her slanted headlights sporting tiny under-liner lights.  Baby was adorable, SHE was sensual, glam-rock haughty, and I clenched my fists, knowing I was beyond tempted by this bright red siren with her flash and class.  “It’s a four-door, it might be too big for me, I don’t need a big car, I don’t want–”

“Let’s test drive it,” the traitor insisted.

The dealer drove us to a park with a long road that looped back around to the main highway.  It reminded me of a racetrack – perfect to prove a big four-door couldn’t maneuver as well as Baby.  I sat in the back when hubby drove, pretending I wasn’t impressed with the comfy seats, the smooth ride, the fact that I wasn’t getting sick (I usually get motion-sick in the back seat of cars).  When my turn came, I drove her like the men did – hit fifty-five and owned that curving loop.

I giggled.  And tried to stop giggling.  Giggled some more.  She was fun!  She was so much fun to drive that I knew I had screwed us out of getting any kind of discount.  No one giggles on a test drive, and the daughter of a MANAGER of a CAR DEALERSHIP should know better!  But…I giggled.

Parting with Baby was difficult; I had to sit in her for awhile, but my eyes kept straying to Ms. Luxury-Plus-Muscle-Plus-Prestige sitting next my little Infiniti.  I wouldn’t have to worry about a Texas Edition Dually pick up driven by some ignorant drunk trying to run my placid blue sweetie off the road anymore – how can you ignore a bright red bitch of a car that screams MONEY and CLASS?

We bought her.  We got her home and discovered a few things.  The new Audi came with THREE books, a CD and a DVD.  Another book and CD were sent to us in the mail a few days later.  Two of the books explain the Navigation System (GPS).  We still haven’t figured it out six months later.  None of the manuals, CDs, DVDs, whatever – nothing contains any info on how to set the clock!  I hate Daylight Savings Time; now I have a moment of fear as I think I’m an hour late until I remember the Red Queen won’t tell me how to change her clock over!

Love is never perfect.

Today’s Christmas shopping went well and as my body floated out of the store on a puddle of fever-sweat, I was happy to be done.  I took a deep breath and focused.  Shopping was easy, getting out of the parking lot, through the traffic and home was gonna be Hell.  The parking lot was mayhem and I hurried across it, eyes darting about because here in Texas, parking lots are as dangerous as the roads.  Folk out here climb in their pick-em-ups, vans, or Stupid Useless Vehicles, jam their phones to their ears and race off – all without looking to see where they’re going or who might be in their way.  Two said vehicles were in jousting positions, revving their engines, their supah-mom drivers waiting to do battle over my parking space.

I grabbed the door handle, juggling my bags, cursing the fact that the remote key in my purse wasn’t unlocking the door…oh.  I lifted my gaze from the blue Infiniti’s door and sheepishly trotted over to my big red bitchin’ Audi.  Horns honked in frustration behind me.  I ignored them and slammed my door shut.  Silence.  Push the start button and with a muted purr and silken whisper – as if she knew I wasn’t at my best yet forgave me for still loving small blue Infinitis – Queenie got me safely home.

Still, you were right, Body.  Today, we should have stayed in bed.

Eating Alien Breastoids

I can’t sleep, I’m hungry, I miss the kids (I don’t care if they’re all grown into adults, they’re still our kids and I miss them), which woke up memories…including the one where Brian gave a particular vegetable a new name.  Our oldest son is a bit of a clown, fine, a lot of  a clown.  Goofy, charming, generous…wait, this blog is about food.

There are some foods hubby and I don’t like and will not cook.  We refused to be proper parents and force our children to eat such foods.  We were pretty lenient parents and had only a few rules:  Everyone sits at the table as a family for dinner, no phone calls (Telemarketers who often called during dinner were subjected to verbal repartee, depending on who answered the phone and how far dinner had progressed.  Let me mention here, we do not drink alcohol.  The best way to avoid a second call from any telemarketer was to have Brian take over.  He had two spiels: He would ask personal questions, starting with “Hi, how are you?  Do you live in America?  Did you have a bowel movement today?  Did it float or sink before you flushed it…Hello, hello?”  Or, he would simply say, with a trembling voice, “My daddy/mommy is DEAD!  Thank you SO much for reminding me!” Click.), and – where was I?  Oh yeah, the rules: You must at least taste one bite of something before announcing you don’t like it.  We ended up having some interesting times involving food.  And some odd conversations, usually instigated by one of the kids.  Here are some foods I’ve tasted and refuse to allow in my house…

Brussels Sprouts: Who decided these weird green balls were food?  They’re innocent enough until you plop them in water and start to cook ’em.  I’m sorry, but I will not eat something that smells like month-old rancid gym socks that the dog pooped on!

Cabbage:  Fine eaten raw, but when cooked, see reference to Brussels Sprouts.

Escargot: Nope, you can’t fool me with a fancy French name and lots of garlic.  Those are snails, probably the same ones that were crawling on the Cabbage…

Calamari:  Another fancy name – Italian, this time, but these are small squids, dipped in batter so they can be disguised as fried clams.  Strange rubbery texture and I always think those tiny sucker pads are gonna attach themselves to my throat on the way down.  And, of course, I always flash on Kirk Douglas battling the giant squid in that movie…and you wonder why I dislike swimming in murky water?

Liver:  My mother, aunt and older sister were Registered Nurses, yet they ate Liver.  Bile and other nasty body shit passes through or is stored in the Liver (that’s what the child-me believed – I think I spent most of Biology class trying to save the frogs from being dissected and didn’t really absorb much else – anyway, I still believe the Liver is a poop organ).  Pile on all the onions you want, I know there’s liver in there somewhere, nope, never, not gonna eat some critter’s stored poop, thank you very much!

Um, gee, I’m no longer hungry.  There were some strange-looking foods I liked and inflicted upon, er, cooked for my family.  Fried pizza dough – yeah, I know most people call them fritters, but in my birth family (mostly Italian), it was fried pizza dough.  Pull chunks of dough off the main ball and plop them in a deep pan half full of hot oil (We didn’t have deep fryers back then).  When one side was golden brown and the dough had puffed up, you carefully turned it over with tongs to fry the other side.  Only took a minute or so, then you drained them on paper towels, tossed one or two into a paper bag half full of confectioner’s sugar, shake a few times, remove, eat.  Oh, heaven!  Sunday mornings, often at Aunt Harriet and Uncle Fred’s house, eating his homemade bread and her fried pizza dough…odd, I don’t remember eating anything else on those mornings…like eggs or bacon…  Imagine my shock to get a fritter at the state fair, with a tiny bit of butter melting on it?  I was offended and asked, “Where’s the confectioner’s sugar?  It HAS to be covered in it!”  Sacrilege!  I promptly threw it away, uneaten.

There was a dish I loved and it was fun to eat, too!  Stuffed Artichokes.  I decided to introduce my meat-potatoes-and-salad family to this wonderful dish.  Yes, our children ate salad.  When we’d go to Mickey D’s for lunch, they’d get Harpy, erm, happy Meals and I’d get a salad.  Guess who ended up nibbling on fake fried chicken bits (I know they’re fake – even the dog won’t eat ’em!) while the kids chowed down on greens?

I took the artichokes out of the fridge and set them on the counter.  I chopped off the stems as straight as possible so they’d sit nicely upright in the pot.  Across the counter, in the dining area, our two adorable elementary school children and their demonic preteen brother were attempting to finish their homework before clearing the table for dinner.  Brian jumped up and asked, “What are those things?”

“Artichokes.  They’re a vegetable.”  I’m sure some eye-rolling occurred because, like, duh, yeah, they’re GREEN, Mom!

With a gleam in his eyes, Brian grabbed two of them and placed them in strategic positions on his chest.  He danced around the kitchen, singing, “Look, we’re eating Alien Breastoids!”  I hung my head, wondering why I married the class clown, who then imparted HIS weird genes to our oldest son…

That first experiment didn’t go well.  The kids liked the stuffing, but not the whole pull the leaf free, bite down, scrape the surface with your teeth, chew, swallow routine  (You don’t eat the entire leaf, at least not with this dish.).  To them, it was a tedious way to receive a bit of a part of the artichoke, and they refused to touch the heart.  I got to enjoy four artichokes that night, and the kids did at least TASTE the dish, so it was a small success.

Many years later, I decided to cook artichokes again.  Almost adults, the kids now had tasted them elsewhere – in restaurants, at friends’ homes – and liked them.  I giggled and said, “We’re eating Alien Breastoids tonight!”  Silence, blank or mortified stares…not one of them remembered that first experience with artichokes…

I don’t cook much anymore, it’s too embarrassing…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stuffed Artichokes

6 whole artichokes
1-2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Snip off the pointed tips of artichoke leaves, and cut off the stems.  Wash and drain.  Holding artichoke firmly by base, firmly rap the top of it on a hard surface; this will open it so it can be stuffed.
In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, cheeses, oregano, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, salt and pepper; mix well.
Press about 1/2 cup of stuffing into each artichoke, trying to fill in each leaf.  Tightly pack stuffed artichokes together in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add enough water to reach half way up artichokes and add 3 tablespoons oil.
Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until leaves pull out easily.

Stumble…Thud!

I don’t know what to write, if I’ll write more, do a real blog post today.

You see, I was proofing and polishing a part of my manuscript, an intense scene where the villain had a woman strapped to a chair.  Now, he had to make sure she could not move her hands or mouth, speak or articulate any words at all.  I used three paragraphs describing this, carefully crafting how he used duct tape around her jaw and over her head, across and around her throat…

I snort at movies  that show a captive gagged with one piece of tape or cloth.  So stupid.  It’s easy to make a lot of loud noises, including articulate words, that way.  Believe me, I know (and you really don’t want to know why I know).  There are so many moving parts, so many ways we express speech and sound, so if you want your captive to be absolutely silent, you have to stop all those parts from moving.

A ball of cloth shoved down the throat, the classic taping of the lips, something tied around the mouth – done?  Nope.  Hold that jaw still by wrapping the head like a mummy.  Now?  Nope, sorry, you’ve got vocal chords to contend with, so you need to wrap something around your captive’s neck, almost to the point of choking him/her.  There…oops, those lungs and diaphragm can still vibrate, sending out sound.  Tape ’em up tight, like you would tape up broken ribs.  Ahhh….

And then, it hit me.  This particular villain wouldn’t bother with all that.  It’s okay for his captive to make sounds, but he cannot let her speak or make words.  So, I trashed all three paragraphs, throwing off the rhythm of the rest of the chapter, and had my villain just eat her tongue.  After all, he IS a cannibal…

You Did What?!

I’m on my laptop for a few hours here until hubby finishes playing on the desktop.  I’ve been whispering and mumbling to it…Randy (hubby, who is definitely a Mr. Grumpy before his second cup of coffee) is pouring that second cup and notes, “Who are you talking to?”

“My laptop.”  He rolls his eyes and slouches back into the office.  It’s okay – in just a bit, he’ll saunter back out here to the kitchen, lean over the table and share morning kisses.  Oddly enough, I was the grump in the morning for years.  Not anymore and not by my choice; kind of difficult to sleep in when a 90 pound boxer leaps on top of you whimpering to go outside NOW!  Also difficult to be mad about it.  He’s a big, clumsy, goof of a dog and full of joy.  Boxers really are the clowns of dog breeds.

Anyway, my point here is that I don’t write much on my laptop.  The poor thing is over two years old, needs updates that stupid Norton Anti-virus keeps blocking, had a defective battery from day one, is an irregular – great price but when we got it home, we found out why.  The battery for one and the fact that the keyboard is deep bronze-colored while the keys are black.  Impossible to see in most light, and it’s been forty-some years since my high school touch-typing class.  I stuck white sticker letters on it, but half of ’em have fallen off.  Having been a professional proof-reader, I do go through my writings, but if there are mistakes today, I’m blaming the laptop!

Onward!

Last night I mentioned I’m a coward.  Not entirely true.  I can be brave and have been, but there are some things I just can’t face.  My flight impulse kicks in (and my fight impulse kicks me in the butt about it later) and I run or hide.

I enjoy scary movies, rollercoasters, trying new things.  I loved sky-diving – we sat on the floor of a tiny stripped down puddle jumper of a plane, the only seat was for the pilot.  Being total newbies, we all went tandem (strapped to an instructor – I got the hunky six-foot-five Swedish guy, oh my!), except for our son-in-law Charlie.  He was a hot wire power lineman and convinced the instructor to let him jump solo.  That’s a memory I cherish – Charlie, whooping and hollering with glee as he drifted down to a perfect landing.

I loved stepping out onto the strut, feeling the wind trying to whip me away, I loved the free-fall, whooshing faster than I’d ever gone, I loved the incredible view after the chutes opened and we drifted to the ground.  My BODY did NOT love the drifting.  It protested by dry-heaving all the way down.  Swedish guy said, “Tuck your nose into the neck of your shirt so you don’t vomit on us!”

We landed with me laughing between dry-heaves.  Swedish guy swiftly unbuckled my gear and pointed out the bathroom.  I made it there in time.  Hey, better than Brian!  Our oldest son came down laughing, too, looking fine.  He took two steps and graced the desert with his breakfast.

Was that bravery?  I’m not afraid of heights, airplanes, high winds, or hunky Swedes, so I don’t think so, but other people do.

I watch some scary movies, crouched back in my seat, trying to muffle gasps and screams, but fully watching.  Other scary movies are peeked at through the fan of my hands or merely listened to from the floor of the car after I’ve slid down from my seat to hunker under the dashboard.  Just ask Melissa Crandall!  Ah, darlin’, we went to the drive-in, can’t remember the movie.  “It’s Alive?”  Or was it the remake of “The Thing” with Kurt Russell?  Good movie, but lots of parts I couldn’t watch.  I will never watch or even listen to the original “Exorcist” movie again – too disturbing on too many levels, scared the shit outta me!

The first “Alien” movie – awesome!  We walked out to the car laughing and chatting about our favorite parts…and checked every nook and cranny to make sure no “face-huggers” leaped out at us.  I turned on every light in the apartment and left them on, still couldn’t go to sleep.  The phone rang, yep, girlfriend was in the same state of delicious fear.

Now, I have never seen the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and don’t want to.  The trailer freaked me out.  One: Chainsaws – loud, dangerous, noisy, did I mention loud?  Two: deformed, masked, crazy mutant guy.  Three: Women portrayed as blonde bimbos just lying there screaming.  Add the very real childhood memory of having someone leap out of the dark to do god-knows-what to you and, yeah, you’ve hit some of my Fear buttons.

When we first moved to Tucson, AZ, Old Tucson Studios went all out for Halloween.  (My fav holiday, then Christmas, but the rest of ’em, eh.)  By that time, the sound-stage had burned down and the place was mostly an amusement park.  I’m not sure, but I think the last movie filmed there was “Geronimo.”  It was still a wonderful place to experience and the Halloween theme/party of “Nightfall” was a blast!

The three kids were teenagers by then and not used to the desert climate.  In October, it can be hot during the day, but when the sun goes down, it gets cold!  I was the only one with a  jacket because I’m always cold, and I shared it with our daughter – stylishly dressed in the teen girl uniform of short shorts and a tiny tee my mom (and husband!) would have called lingerie!  Our sons were a bit better off in jeans and T-shirts, gallantly doing their best to imitate their father – who seems to have stone skin – but they were rubbing at their arms.

We still had fun; only noticing the cold when we had to stand in line for a show or ride.  Then, one of those rotten, er, sweet kids saw the “Fun House.”

“Let’s go in there.  We’ll take our time and warm up.”

Okay, I could do the fun house; I hadn’t been in one since my own teen years, but sure, I’m game (Husband, wise man that he is, declined and waited outside).  I don’t mind the swaying, dipping floors or the spinning tunnel you have to walk through, and I don’t freak out about spiders and cobwebs.  The crazy mirrors are funny; I like the one that makes me look tall and skinny!  But.  I hate the dark inside buildings, hate flashing lights and creepy fingers brushing across my skin.  I was getting a little freaked.

Then we stepped out of the dark corridor into a wide-open, empty area that looked like the inside of a black canvas circus tent.  It was well-lit, too.  I stepped to the fore with a smile.  “Oh, looks like we’re at the exit.”  Indeed, we could see an open tent flap across the space.  Now, remember, I’ve never been in this kind of “fun” house, and the kids are behind me.  I can’t see the boys smirking and our girl rolling her eyes…

We got to the center of that space and…ROAARRR!!!  “Yarrrgghhh!!!”  From behind a curtain, a screaming masked mutant seven feet tall (Hey, I was scared!) and wielding a huge growling chainsaw leaped at us, at me!  I shrieked, reached behind me, and THREW the first child I grabbed at the monster.  Then, I ran.

The chainsaw was silenced, allowing a lot of very loud laughter to billow out of that tent.  I cowered behind my husband, only just realizing I had sacrificed my youngest son to save myself.  What kind of horrible mother does that?!  The three of them strolled out of that tent with the unmasked mutant, laughing their asses off.  The man clapped my husband on the shoulder, saying, “That is something I’ve never seen!  Sure wish someone coulda got a picture!”  He walked away while the kids gleefully revealed my terrible sin.  “She just tossed Jim to him!  Good thing there’s no chain on the saw!”  Oh. My. God.  I apologized profusely to my baby boy (who, at thirteen, stood almost as tall as his dad and was built like a football quarterback) and he laughed it off.  I was mortified, shaking, riding the guilt train for the rest of the night, and, hoping, oh dear god, hoping, this incident would NOT be a story repeated for years to come.

But, it is.  They all tell it and the listener always stares at me and says, “You did WHAT?!”  Sigh.  I can laugh it about now and share it, but, yep, there’s your proof — I’m sometimes brave and daring, but I didn’t just run from the monster – I gave him my beloved son to save my own ass!  Yep, so, sometimes, I’m a coward to the core.