Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My new motto for living

One of my boys told me that whenever anybody got hurt in our house I'd say "Oh, just rub some dirt on it and get back in the game."

I don't think this is true.  I have no memory of saying anything like that.

But I wish I had.

I actually think this is an awesome approach to life--one I ought to follow myself.  So I'm gonna stitch it on a pillow, put that pillow on my couch, then go outside and rub some dirt on myself.

Monday, September 28, 2015

That which should be banned . . .

Here's the list.  I tried to include everybody's remarks.  If I missed you, I AM SO SORRY.   You can add me to the list of things that should be banned.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Attention my blog friends! I'm crowdsourcing YOU!

Next week is Banned Books Week.

I thought about doing a Trib column on banned books, but then I realized that as much as I hate some books, I don't want any of them to be banned.  So Marg at the bookstore came up with this awesome idea: write a column about stuff I want to ban--like two-year long presidential election cycles, for example.

Any ideas about what we should ban?

I will disclose that the column has been crowdsourced although I won't identify individuals.

I would LOVE your help.  And I will probably write the column on Sunday night, so there's that.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What not to wear

Oh, fashion disasters!  What would I do without you?  You always give me something to write about.

Thank you, fashion disasters!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On our walk this morning

First thing.  A young man approached us in the dark and asked where the methadone clinic is.  Couldn't help him.  But I will say I looked at that kid and thought there but for the grace of God.  Some journeys are full of heartbreak.

Second thing.  We saw a car with a sign on the rear bumper that said "_________ your badge."  Talk about putting a bullseye on your back.  But our question was this:  does the owner of the car even know that the sign is there?  It looked kind of slapdash.

And suddenly I was off with this as a premise for a story.  

Also, I checked the back of my car as soon as we got home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Things I learned about snails while driving to Wyoming with TRQ

As I've noted here before, TRQ is out to clear her land of snails.  So far she's been a) relentless and, thus, b) relatively successful.

But here's what I love about my mother.  She's taken the opportunity to learn about snails while she's busy eliminating them from the face of the planet.  Here are the Snail Facts she shared with me as we drove to Wyoming together this weekend.

1.  Snails can be found on every continent.  (So if you were planning to move to Australia to get away from snails, don't bother.)

2.  Snails can be 4 inches tall and 4 inches long.  (Who knew!  Snails can be pets!)

3.  Except that some snails bite.  (Who knew!  Snails can bite!)

4.  Snails are deaf.  (Which is why they don't come when you call them.)

5. They can, however, see.  (Who knew!  Snails have eyeballs!)

6.  Snails are asexual.  (It's always weird to hear your mother talk about sex.  Even if she's only talking about snail sex.)

7.  Snails can live in the sea.  (Hence, proving that the Sponge Bob cartoon series is scientifically accurate.)

See?  Don't you feel smarter already?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Previous lives . . . of which I've had many

I think I did a version of this as a piece for the memoir book la Louise and I have been working on.  It was fun to write.

Here you go!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

And finally she did it

TRQ, the Coach and I are in Wyoming, visiting TRQ's relation Ava, who's 97 now and living in a nursing home--which is hard for her.  She's always valued her independence.

Anyway.  I've always loved Ava's joie de vivre.  She's the one who went to Wendover for her 90th birthday (everybody gave her quarters), and she's also the one who always had a paperback romance with a bare-chested cowboy on the cover by her bedside.

Which brings me to this.  Ava has a little crush on my dad.  Her eyes light up whenever she sees him and she's always trying to wrangle a proper kiss from him--which he has managed (gracefully) to sidestep in our previous visits.

But this time she kissed him right on the lips.  And he let her.

Well done, Dad.  Well done.

Friday, September 11, 2015

One thing that has never happened to me . . .

This morning when I was outside chatting with Kathy's beautiful daughters, their mother (that would be Kathy) stepped outside in her Sunday best.  Without a break in the conversation, the daughters immediately surrounded their mother and engaged in a little social grooming, i.e. checking for lint and stray hairs and so forth.

Here's the thing about being the mother of sons.  Something like that would never--and I do mean NEVER--happen in our family.  And it was in that moment I realized I have probably been leaving the house for lo these many years, covered with stuff.

And also with my skirt on backwards.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Things people say to you that you wish you could follow up on . . .

So I do a lot of my grocery shopping at the downtown Smith's, which has a wide-ranging clientele.  I mean, you see every kind there--from elderly couple missionaries to guys doing drug deals in the parking lot.  Humanity on display!

Anyway, early this morning a nice-looking young woman walked out of the store, carrying a big box of doughnuts that I assumed she was taking to work because she was dressed like someone who spends her days in an office.  As we passed one another she looked at me and said, "The world better watch out because I am going to start standing up for myself."

I can't remember the last time a stranger carrying a box of doughnuts said this to me.  And, seriously, I want to know her story.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

You should not be allowed to keep a diary when you're 13 and female

Because when you read that diary later you want to go shoot yourself.  At least your thirteen year-old self.

I pulled out my old diary last night and read what I wrote when I was reading the book Exodus by Leon Uris, because back when I was a teenager the whole YA thing hardly existed.  So you read bestsellers.

Anyway, during my seventh-grade year I stumbled onto the novel Exodus and was very intrigued by the sex scene where the hero undresses the heroine and kisses her breasts.


And because I as so young and inexperienced (and also because it was the late 60's when married couples on TV slept in separate beds) I somehow got the idea this was something only people who lived in Israel did.

Lucky Israelis.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Where in the world is that text my dad just sent me?

So the Coach called awhile ago.

HIM:   Did you get that text I sent you?

ME:     No!  You sent me a text?

HIM:    I did.  It took me ten minutes to write.

ME:      And somehow I didn't get it!

HIM:     Where did it go?

ME:       To some person who's surprised you're texting them, no doubt.

Then I went on to tell him I once sent a text to a son with whom I'd had words.  It was an apology text.  And it simply said.  "I love you, dude."

I received a response immediately.  It said, "Thank you.  I love you, too.  Although I have absolutely no idea who you are."

Maybe my dad sent his text to that guy, as well?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Speaking of butts

Not that we were . . .

But I'm sending you to Louise's blog to read all about them.

You're welcome.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Writing is a strange, funny business

Last weekend I attended a retreat with other writers.  Some of them were rockstars in the business with movie deals and titles on the New York Times Bestsellers List.  (Did I do the capitalization thing correctly there?).  Others had published one book.  Others were somewhere in between.

I fretted about going.  Would I walk away feeling bad about my writing life, especially when compared to other authors who are a lot more prolific--and, yes--successful than I am?

But here was my surprising takeaway.  No matter where you are as a writer on your writer's journey, you can find something to feel bad about if you choose to.

--You can feel bad that you aren't making money, even if you write the kinds of books that win prizes.

--You can feel bad that you aren't winning prizes, even if you write the kinds of books that make money.

--You can feel bad that your debut novel didn't earn out its advance and so now publishers are unwilling to take you on.

--You can feel bad if you've had a relatively long career but still have to pitch your new manuscript like you've never been published before.

--You can feel bad if you read reviews on Goodreads and people say you suck.

What interested me was how many writers there kept saying they wanted to find a way back to the joy they used to feel when they wrote.  I didn't expect to hear that, since some of these people are the very ones living the Writer's Dream.

My point?  Or points?

--It's easy to feel isolated in all kinds of ways when you write, and when you feel isolated, you start imagining that someone somewhere is doing everything a whole lot better than you are.  And they probably have cuter shoes than you do, too.

--It's human nature to want what you don't have.

I walked away Saturday feeling . . . okay.  And committed to the idea that first and foremost, a writer's life should bring you at least a little satisfaction.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Taming of the Shrew

So TRQ called yesterday to say she and the Coach had seen the afore-mentioned play.

ME:  What did you think of it?

TRQ:  Well, I did laugh a lot . . .

ME:  But?

TRQ:  Gah.  It made me really uncomfortable.

Not that she really said "gah."  But you get the idea.  And I said to her ODDLY, I JUST SUBMITTED A COLUMN ABOUT THAT VERY THING.

It's right here.  You can see it for yourself!