Friday, March 29, 2013

Gun Control, Zombie Apocalypse, Or Hype?

I'm a skeptical person.  I started to say cynical, but skeptical is a better word in this case.

Example:  Yesterday I was telling my husband about the local street festival (Belle Chere), in it's 34th year, and how the city was thinking of ending it's run.  The purpose of the festival was to rebuild downtown and draw more people to local shops, but costs for security, cleanup, and other things aren't making it worth keeping the festival alive as downtown has started to flourish...

My first thought was that everyone will flock to the "last" festival and the city will make tons of money and then they will say it's so popular they could never think of getting rid of it.


Well, first it was the Mayan Apocalypse bringing the end of the world, then rumors of antibiotic resistant drugs so the Zombie Apocalypse was inevitable, and now gun control for citizens.

Gun sales have soared, ammunition is unable to be found on shelves, and people are going nuts.

I don't think guns are the problem, but gun manufacturers sure are reaping the benefits.

I mean the car didn't make the drunk driver kill the family.  So will we ban cars next?

What about medications?  Will anti-depressants and anti-psychotics be mandatory for everyone just in case you may lose it and want to murder someone?

Or is all of this sleight of hand?

While everyone who owns a gun, myself included, is panicking about losing the right to have it, what is the government doing behind our protesting backs?

That's what scares me more...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crepe Murder (Love That Phrase)

I read that phrase somewhere and it made me laugh pretty hard.  I didn't even have to see the pictures before I knew exactly what they were talking about...

Crepe Myrtles can be hard to handle, but I trim in the Spring, I certainly don't give them a crew cut, just trim back because I want mine to be a tree.

I get that they are pretty to line a street and the city wants them under control, but whenever I see this.  I weep for the tree.  When the branches shoot out, they come from this ball in the middle of the trunk and looks ridiculous.

It doesn't make stringing Christmas lights easier so what's the point?  You want a bush, plant a boxwood; you want a flowering bush, I'm sure you can find one better than mutilating these poor trees.

What's even worse to my eyes are when the power company cuts trees to fit around a power line.  What the hell is that all about?!?

Unless Chuck Norris played golf through that, it's simply uncalled for and ugly.  Either cut the tree down. or, oh my god what a concept: bury the lines in the ditch.

Bury the lines.  We would no longer deforest to hang those stupid power lines and trees won't have to be mutilated in this fashion.  Add the bonus of not having to worry about frozen lines or storm branches knocking them out...

I have some like this in my front yard after a recent branch murdering and I have to tell you, not only am I pretty ticked off that I have to look at it, but the jerk-offs left the amputated branches for ME to clean up!!

And while destroying my precious flora, they destroyed the ground with their heavy equipment and also left me to pay to fill their holes...

The Trouble With Being A Writer

Everyone is a blogger.  I'm guilty, here I am.

Real writers are egotistical, narcissistic, and sensitive.


I finished my first manuscript ten years ago (on the old 3" hard/floppy disk).  My mother, a voracious reader, loved it.  Now first let me say she didn't love it because she's my mother.  She returned it full of red ink!

Sent it out to every publisher and agent I could find.  Lots of reject letters:  Thank you, not looking for new writers.  Thank you, not for us.  (my favorite) Poor dialogue grammar (that was on purpose, idiot).

Anyway, one day I get this letter touting my writing.  "Couldn't put it down, shared it with everyone.  Want to sign you..."

I was elated, I literally floated the letter to everyone I knew.  Then the phone call came, I was so excited I thought I would throw up.  "We just need $$ for minor expenses, mailing letters out, etc."

Well, I'm sensitive, but I'm not stupid.  Then I get a letter from a state prosecutor investing the scam artists and they had my book.  My only hard copy of it was with them and all the new computers didn't fit the old disks.

I was devastated, humiliated, and beaten.

A few years later I started a children's series that everyone loved, but that never went anywhere either.  Started my second manuscript, but just sort of gave up.

I finally got my book back last year.  And I stare at it every day.  Every Tom, Dick, and untalented Harry out there has a book published and I'm too afraid to try again.  Sure I could self-publish just to have it in print, but it's not the same, it's not the dream.

I'm better than that.

But I guess it's the wave of the future and I'm going to have to bite the bullet eventually...

Why I Hate Make-Up Companies

Especially Clinique!

Every time, and I mean EVERY TIME I find a color or product I like, they stop making it.  Going all the way back to the early '90's when my favorite lip pencil ("raisin") was changed.  It was still called "raisin", but the color was putrid.  A lot of money straight into the trash can.

Make-up shouldn't be a fashion trend, it should be what looks good on your skin.  It's not a seasonal thing.  Want to add a trendy lipstick?  Go for it, but keep the classics.  Not everyone looks good in neon pink!!  Especially anyone over the age of twelve.

Chubby stick.  Not the crap they have at the counters now, the old chubby stick, "vanilla brownie", my favorite pencil ever.  Gone!

Look, I don't wear lipstick, it wears off.  I color with a pencil and it stays for hours, so lip pencils are my thing.  Usually Clinique has a good color, suckers me out of more money, then just as quickly, yanks the product away.  

Let's see...right about the time the first one needs replacing!

We aren't dating.  There's no reason to punish me.  I don't even buy for the free gift so stop yanking my colors away like a petulant child!  

Last fall?  A pencil called "cider".  Not exactly the best ever, but I sure like it.  Oh wait, I liked it.

That's because I went to the store to buy another and it was GONE.  And you think putting those little girls in a lab coat makes them an expert?!?  I was dismissed so fast when I asked for it you would have thought I was a homeless person.  

And I was there to spend money!  I would have bought every cider pencil they had.


Excuse me?  Just because I don't need your make-over to turn me into a Caucasian version of a cross between Grace Jones and a drag queen?

I'm done with Clinique.  I only buy their colors anyway.  Elizabeth Arden has better foundations and cleaners so perhaps I'll try their colors because I'm sick and tired of being disappointed when I go to get something I really liked only to be patronized when told they didn't sell that anymore.

Like I'm asking for last year's shoes or God forbid...a sale.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyber-Bullies And One Angry Mom

1. 42% of children have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.
2. Instant messaging is the most commonly used tool for cyber-bullies.
3.  Cyber-bullies are twice as likely to be girls.  (emphasis on this part by me)
4.  More than 1 in 3 young people have been threatened online.

Sources: Yale University, i-SAFE Survey.

My oldest boy is fairly passive until backed into a corner.  It takes a lot to back him in that corner, I've only seen it once, but it wasn't pretty.  

He had this girlfriend, seemed nice, good family, volunteered with the same organization with us, church-goers, all-around I thought it was a good match.  They broke up as kids are prone to do, quite often.

She wanted to go to the Homecoming Dance as a Freshman, he asked her, arrangements were made, then she broke up with him two days before the dance to go with a different guy.  I had to reign in the anger over the money I dished out to care about his feelings first.  As a good mom should.

Months down the road she wanted to get back together and he told her no.  Then the internet-bashing began...

Passive.  Remember I said that?  He closed his Facebook account so he could avoid her, she has started a campaign against him at school so no girl would ever date him and yesterday I find out she's bashing him on Twitter.

He doesn't have an account there, but the fun thing about Twitter is ANYONE can see what you carelessly post in a fit of teen-aged angst.  After reading some of her posts, I've decided it's time to print and bring some to her mother because apparently she is clueless as to what her kid is up to online since most of it is profanity spewed at her.

My son is angry at me for getting involved just by looking into it, but as a parent...

That little potty-mouthed psychopathic sack of hormonal whiny bi-polar rage better back off because Mom's got the reins now and I'm not afraid to take it to the mat!

Monday, March 25, 2013

James Rollins "The Blood Gospel" Book Review

After stumbling across this author's The Devil Colony, I finished that book on a trip and in an airport found another of his books:  The Blood Gospel.  I paid twice what I would have in a bookstore, but the last book was that good, so I scooped this one up!

Another winner.  James Patterson is my favorite author, but he may soon be replaced by James Rollins.  He gets you from the first and keeps you hanging throughout his entire book.

A combination of the supernatural, secret organizations, and religious history, it seems like it wouldn't work, but I had trouble getting anything else done while this book was left unread.

I have to say, after starting with a bargain bin leftover in The Devil Colony, I find myself searching for his books when I hit the book stores.  I don't know how he escaped my radar for so long because as an avid reader of pretty much anything, I don't recall coming across his work before.

Although I have read some of his books, I'm not a huge Tom Clancy fan, and I think I grouped James Rollins in the same category, purely based on titles and covers.  That's my only excuse.

Rollins' books flow well and has enough to capture your imagination without dragging you down into too many details.

I highly recommend anything he's written, although I've only ingested two so far.

James Rollins "The Devil Colony" Book Review

I've never heard of James Rollins, but saw this book in a bargain bin.  I have a thing for hardbacks, I'm just not a Nook kind of gal.  I thought I'd give it a try, but didn't have high hopes.

What a surprise!  I couldn't put it down.  Dan Brown has nothing on this guy when it comes to taking a little truth and turning it into a full-blown fiction thinker. I made every excuse I could to spend more time reading this one and I couldn't wait to see what the next turn would bring.

An easy read, nothing too deep or complicated, a good story, and flowed brilliantly.

Great characters, Meriwether Louis' murder, secret organizations, and North American links to the Lost Tribes of Israel all make this a fun and interesting story to keep you coming back for more.

I was watching the History Channel's America Unearthed and they were doing a series on something that paralleled this book and I got so excited because I learned that there were at least two people exploring the same theories.

This book is a cross between National Treasure and sort of an Americanized DaVinci Code

You won't regret this purchase and I look forward to reading more of his work!

Rainy Days And Mondays

So the song goes, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down", but what do you do when it's raining on a Monday?

Well, I start off maudlin and depressed, but I do my best to cheer myself up.  I'm not really a big sunny person to begin with, I have a red hair so I'm usually under a giant hat and slathered in sunscreen all summer.

I find that I always start my Mondays reflecting on things that I can't control:  my weight, things I've done or said wrong, regrets...

This is the wrong way to go about it.  It's not what I haven't done or mistakes I've made, it's what I do with my future and how I should approach the remaining days that will make an impact.  

I'm in mid-life, not the end of it!

I recognize there are some things I'll just never be able to do, like climb up to Macchu Picchu.  After the pulmonary embolisms I had, my lung capacity never returned to 100% so very little oxygen at high altitudes isn't possible.  It's just something I'll have to live with.

I'm OK with that because every day I wake up is a gift, when the doctors told me they didn't know how I was still alive with the clusters of blood clots in both of my lungs.

I know.  Determination laced with a touch of stubborn bitch!

I'm like a weeble-wobble, I'll fall down, but when I bounce

So Monday is upon me, I'm exhausted, blue, and it's cold and rainy outside.  Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger is playing, I'm starting a little chair dancing and singing at the top of my voice, because I'm fearless like that.  I'll sing in the store, dance when music starts, and smile for no reason.

My kids know me as crazy, my husband knows me as beautiful inside and out, Monday knows me as a failed attempt!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

John Sandford's "Bad Blood" Book Review

OK, so it's an older book (2010), but I just came across it.  I like this author so I gave it a go even though it's a book from a series relating to "Virgil Flowers" and I haven't read the rest of them.  He is a state investigator, I'll say, without giving away the story.

Suspenseful.  I'll give it that.  I kept turning the pages and was irritated when interrupted while reading.

The romantic scenes thrown in between the main character and a temporary co-case worker were, to say the least, no Fifty Shades of Grey (I haven't read it but excerpts are everywhere), but I hate those risque scenes and usually skip past them.  In this book's case, I didn't understand half of the euphemisms used and after unsuccessful attempts to work it out with my husband, even tried to Google what he was talking about.

I'm not exactly a prude, but "spurring her down to the quarter pole", left me blank.  I can assume based on the scene what it means, but the exact meaning...? 

Despite these, thankfully brief and vague encounters, the plot was socially disturbing, striking a chord that fascinated the part of me that leans to the macabre.  

It's a good read, flows well, and I may have to search some bargain bins for other Virgil Flowers novels.

I'd say worth the buy if looking into it!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Body Armor For A Broken Heart

I have often wondered why we, as humans, have no protection against a broken heart.  I have had mine broken so many times, it's like that lamp you glued back together...  After a while, there is so much glue residue, the pieces no longer fit and your heart is never really whole again.

Speaking from a woman's perspective, we tend to binge eat when we are sad.  Ice cream, chocolates, sweets in general.  Men will just get drunk and focus on the hangover rather than what upset them.

There is a scientific study that proves that certain foods, especially chocolate, produces a chemical in the brain that makes you happy; gives the feeling of euphoria.  

I think my switch is broken.

But I was thinking about it this morning as I was testing the limits of my pant seams, why I can't seem to get a handle on it when I'm usually an upbeat, funny person.

Then it hits me, like a frying pan upside the head.  Body armor.

Broken heart?  Eat fatty things, build a fatter body and voila!  You now have a self-made armor suit to help protect against another broken heart.

Well, physically speaking that is, because it doesn't seem to block the mental aspect of it except in the extreme short term.

Depression can be linked to a broken heart eight times out of ten and that broken heart can be caused by many things.  The callousness of a partner, betrayal of a friend, or loss of a loved one.  When these things happen we want the pain to stop and we reach for our smithy tools.

Our head yells, "Stop it!  We don't need that!", but our heart mourns, "It will fill the cracks enough to function again."

A seed, a nut, comes in a hard protective shell that prevents the tender parts from being damaged before it has a chance to blossom.  We are not equipped in the same way as other things in Nature and so...

Bring on the chocolate, (unless you have the writing skills and voice of Adele or Taylor Swift) just make sure you nibble while on a treadmill or people will know your secret of inner turmoil and you don't want to buy a new wardrobe to fit your new armor.

Speaking of, I'm off to the mall for bigger jeans!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mother Smother Should Be A Named Disorder

Have you ever known someone with that natural mothering instinct?  They have it so bad they mother adults as well as kids, besides their own, plus a few strangers thrown in?  

We all know this person.  Constantly bossing people around, dressing them properly, correcting them, or giving advice.  At the same time, they get bent out of shape if you don't heed them.

I equate them to a mother duck.  Always making that noise (wack-wack-wack), but fall out of line and the quacking speeds up and gets louder until you do what they want just to make it stop!

Smothering you, until you simply can't stand it anymore.  I think it's no coincidence that the word "smothering" includes the word "mother".

I've known many of them over the years and they amuse me.  Sometimes on a bad day I have to smack my head on the wall before answering the phone because I am always trying to calm them down because a duckling didn't fall into line and their MOCD (Mothering Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) has pushed them over the edge.

I agree with that statement and I'm guilty of giving advice, too.  But when I'm asked, "How come you aren't wearing the sweater I gave you?" My first instinct is to say because it's ugly.  

I have a bit of a mean streak. 

I usually refrain and respond with, "I just wore it the other day, it's in the wash."  Because quite frankly, I wear what I want, I'm an adult.

These people can't help their over-mothering urges.  I've watched some of them for years and it gnaws at them like cancer to try if they try and hold back.  I can't think of a drug to cure it so the only thing left is for their victims to be a little patient and understanding.

But I think I may start a campaign to get this listed as a real disorder so perhaps we can get these people some help.  They would certainly be happier and stress free if they weren't worrying about everyone else around them.  

If Zoloft can help with regular OCD, despite being primarily an antidepressant, sure something (wine) can calm these Smother Mothers down...

Indeed Sir Fleming.  Indeed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When I Grow Up...

I'm in my forties and I have had about twenty different careers.  OK, not so much "different" as much as diverse.

I started out as a model in my teens.  I did the pageant circuit, got a few crowns, did a little runway and magazine ads, stuff to make my mom happy, before I got bored.

My first hard job, I was a fireman.  Firewoman?  The guys wouldn't let me do much except direct traffic and make coffee, which I didn't drink at the time.  After the first pot of sludge, they didn't ask again. I got to drive the truck a few times, but mostly, just directed traffic, although I did get an offer to pose for a calendar.

I quit.

Joined the military and became a meteorologist.  Traveled the world, got to shoot a weapon and prove I was better than a lot of the men.  Many handed me the gun and stood behind me.  I sort of enjoyed that, but it was a double-edged sword:  I got away with murder because the guys liked me and I got harassed a lot because the guys liked me.  That was fun for seven years overall, I enjoyed it, and had a pretty good knack at actually predicting the weather, but then I got married and had a baby.

I was a mom for a bit, before adding to that...working in a pharmacy.  That sucked and my kid hated daycare.  So that lasted about, oh let's see, two weeks.

I pretty much never shut up in real life and talk so much that to get from A to B, I take thirty-seven tangents and sixteen different stories in between.  So I started writing.  That, I actually liked.  Once I got started, a book actually flowed out of me, then a children's series, then another book started...then I got tired of sitting still for so long.  I realized I wrote mostly at night when I didn't sleep and eventually was just tired all the time.

I began taking pictures to fill my time.

Then, enter Mrs. Volunteer and Advocate.  I volunteered so much at my kids school, they actually gave me an office.  I had articles printed in the paper fighting school closures, and various things that annoyed me, and after a heated speech from a podium, the school board offered me a job.  A paying one.

That lasted half a semester doing accounting for a school, when a child nutritionist position for the district opened up.  Nobody ever says, "I want to grow up to be a lunch lady", but better pay and benefits...I was making more than working in a department store and I kept the same hours as my kids.  Actually got off two hours before school ended which left time for errands!

Then we moved.  Back to volunteer.  On a volunteer committee and a fundraiser for American Cancer Society.  As a survivor, I got tired of "talking about it" and went back to writing.

Sports writer, freelance.  My husband is a sports writer so sometimes I would submit stuff under his name when he encouraged me to start out on my own which I think translated to "get out of my office".  My articles, under a pseudonym, got picked up around the country and I started getting accolades for my work when someone accused me of plagiarism.  Since I write satire, I was a little confused how my disturbing thoughts and sarcasm could ever be construed as belonging to someone else, but whatever.  Sports photography, here I come...

That was ok, but then I really wanted to work for National Geographic (even as a kid), but to apply for a position, they wanted me to pay them for submitting each of my photos for review.  What?!?

Second book still in the works when my godfather goes on book tour and ends up asking me opinions on his work so much I feel more like an editor.  

I'm sure I've skipped over some jobs, but those are some highlights.

Back to volunteering.  Now for an animal rescue group.  I work on the cat team, but also as their official photographer.  I was asked to shoot the calendar they want to use for their fundraiser because they love my pictures of my pets.  (this is Brady)

All the while still wanting to work on my second book, or at the very least, publish the first one!

So I'm bouncing photos off my cousin yesterday and chatting via messenger, when she says, "Ever think of doing your own calendar?"

I just laughed.  

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fear Of Tragedy With Age

It seems my friends are always sharing their new fears that are cropping up lately.  Nothing so silly as a zombie apocalypse.  Even my husband has these irrational thoughts about fiery car crashes on the way to work or the cats eating him while he sleeps.

I understand fear after suffering a tragedy of it repeating itself.  Like not wanting to fly after 9-11, or not wanting to drive after a car accident.  I even have fears of death when I get a cramp in a body part because I suffered multiple blood clots that were overlooked and nearly killed me.

Where does this stem from?  As we get older does our mortality seem more real than when we are young?  And some of the fears people share seem ridiculous to me.

I was invincible in my twenties.  Looking back I wonder what I could possibly have been thinking.  I poked Death in the eyes quite a few times and laughed.

Now I wear a bubble suit in my own house.  Granted, I did fall off a chair and break my neck a couple of years ago.

I don't stand on chairs any more.

I watch the whites of peoples eyes grow on take-off, white knuckled on the arm rest.  I watch people double-check seat belts.  I also notice the jump if you accidentally sneak up on someone or how fast a head turns down a dark street at a noise.

Perhaps becoming parents has us afraid of leaving our children alone? I fear for my oldest son because he has special needs and who would take care of him properly?

Sometimes I think it's purely life passing us so fast that we're afraid to miss out on anything, that desire to do more, the mid-life sports car...

I try to tell everyone that when we hit 40, that's the halfway point.  Meaning the hard part is over and it's all down hill and easy from here.

I think I made it worse...

My Zimbio
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