Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ride that Zamboni Right into the Playoffs Boston Bruins!

Despite the lockout that happened forcing all of us hockey fans into a world free of pucks and checks for a few months, I’m still a fan. For a few weeks I wondered if I’d get back into it again, if I’d be able to forgive all the crap that happened on both sides. In the end I decided I’m not in it for the money, I don’t fall on either side. I’m just a fan.

I like to watch the guys skate, I like to see what trades happen and who does well on what team and I like the thrill of the rush to the Stanley Cup. What they decide about contracts and all the other hoopla that comes with professional sports these days is not of any concern to me as a spectator. Not really.

So I stuck through the season and they were 40+ of the best games I’ve watched because every single one was like watching the playoffs. Teams for the most part brought their A game just about every night and it was high energy watching it unfold.

Being in Phoenix now we have the Coyotes to root for and I do like to see them do well because I’m a supporter of hockey in the desert. Rink rats and desert rats aren’t really that different. Sadly the playoff hopes for the Coyotes went down the drain in this short season. I just hope it doesn’t get them bought by someone who plans to move them to Canada. We have plenty of Canadian snowbirds here in the Valley, keep the ‘Yotes here and fill the seats!

But my real team of course is the Bruins. They only have a couple games left as I write this post on Friday afternoon. By the time this posts on Tuesday I’ll already know who took the top spot in our division – Boston or Montreal (Update: Stupid Bruins not getting it done!). Since the Habs finished just about dead-last one year ago, I have to scratch my head how they could’ve turned it around so fast this season.

Well, they did sweep the B’s. Much to my chagrin. And the chagrin of the entirety of Bruins Nation.

But by the time this posts, all of that regular season drama will be over and the playoffs will begin in short order for everyone. And most of the injured B’s are back in full force now. Watch out, here we come.

When the Cup Finals finally wrap up its likely going to be in the 110’s around here. I guess it’s just as well the Coyotes are out this season. Water skiing is tough wearing all that padding and the Zamboni wouldn't do as well on Lake Jobing.com Arena.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge Z is for Zamboni

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yardage, Square Footage, and Inches. Oh My!

Now that the wedding spectacular is behind us, Matt and I have some pretty serious priorities for our money. Don’t get me wrong, we still want to get out and have some fun but most of our cash is going to be conserved for home improvement this summer and another wedding (yea!) coming up this fall.

So I’m getting my tape measures and lead pencils ready because in the next few weeks I’m likely going to measure out the entire house and put some plans together. Yesterday I even ordered a couple samples for kitchen renovation. But I must admit that the thought of starting something like this again causes me to get that ever so slight twitch in my forehead vain. Imperceptible to anyone but Matt.

We’ve been here before. We’ve dedicated our entire wallet and free moment to making a house look and function better while living there. Every fiber in my being is nervous to do another major renovation. Every nerve ending perks up, as if I was walking through a power plant, alerting me to tread with extreme caution. But I know the feeling just stems from the residue left after that first failed experiment.

This time will be different for many reasons, primarily because we’re not thinking of leaving this house anytime soon, but also because we have learned from the first time what we should and shouldn’t hire a professional to do.

Flooring, windows & gas plumbing? Yes, a pro will do it all. Ripping down the fireplace, removing the extraneous wall, pulling up carpet, painting and stuff like that? Uh, no. I refuse to pay someone else to do the parts of this I know I’m good at especially if it will save considerable money.

But the pros will definitely come in handy to save me from breaking a hip. I’m not 28 anymore like I was when Matt & I bought our first fixer.

In our youth we did everything with the exception of carpet install, some demo, the electric-to-box connections, and some of the shingle/paint on the higher places of the exterior. And when I say we did everything I really mean everything. Demo of the entire inside including horsehair plaster/lathe on all walls and ceilings. We re-oriented the entire second floor so the bathroom was accessible from both bedrooms. Matt installed all the windows (20 of them) in the middle of the winter in New England. Insulation went in everywhere. Every single one of those 145 pieces of drywall were hung and mudded then painted. And we installed all the floors that weren’t carpeted. Oh yeah, and both bathrooms plus the entire kitchen, a back deck, two doors, and all the landscaping.

Uh, if even a fraction of that needs to be done to this house I’m so hiring someone to do most of it because just thinking back on those days makes me wonder two things:

1. How the hell did Matt and I manage to stay married through all of that insanity? And
2. Putting that kind of undue strain on our relationship again isn’t something I’m really thinking sounds like fun.

Welcome contractors! Come in and look around then please leave your bids at the door. Because the décor and function of the interior of my house is pretty old now. But so am I so you can bet your ass I won't be doing that much work this time around. 

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge Y is for Youth

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Letter Ex

I could see them standing inside the xyst but from where I was down on the lawn below it was impossible to hear what they were saying or even try to read their lips. I was dying inside to know what the outcome was going to be. It had been too many years of agony on his part and she wasn’t in a much better situation. Their collective misery was a recipe for catastrophe. I was afraid the culmination of that chaos was set to diffuse within minutes.

With a look around I decided to see if I could get a better vantage point to maybe sneak a listen. With trepidation in my steps I edged closer to the covered portico where they stood about a foot apart from each other. I took no more than two steps then watched as she stepped backwards from where he was standing. He immediately reciprocated the gesture and took another step toward her. I stood stoic as she took yet another step back. Her motions were definitive and he didn’t mirror them.

Instead, he hung his arms at his sides in a loose manner and I watched his shoulders hunch over ever so slightly as his head dropped into his open, ascending palms. With her attention full on him, I decided to make another approach and took a small sideways step closer to the stone stairs that rose to meet the entrance of the garden path. Neither of them flinched or turned to look at me so I covered a little more ground. They were almost out of view but I assumed I would be at a better listening advantage.

I sat down on the third step from the top but all I heard was silence. Not a peep came from the other side of the long corridor of trees where he and she stood facing each other. I was anxious but didn’t want to make my presence known. After what felt like an hour, with nothing to hear or see, I had to admit defeat in my eavesdropping endeavors. I got up and started to make my way all the way across the lawn, toward the guest quarters, west of the main house and xyst.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge X is for Xyst

The above story is fiction.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wedding Weekend

Charlotte: Carrie, you're right, you have to tell him. But not before the wedding. It's supposed to be my week.
Miranda: It's your day. You get a day, not a week.
That wasn’t entirely the case in our case when D&D made their way to Phoenix last week for their destination wedding at the Grand Canyon!

They flew into Phoenix on Thursday night and the wedding festivities began! Or, more correctly I should say we all crashed after a really long day and in their case after hours of traveling. They got in late night but Friday it would be on like Ping-Pong.

On Friday my mom and sister got to our place and all us gals went out to shop for flowers. For my wedding my mom, aunts and I made all my flowers so I knew I could put together a couple beautiful custom pieces for D&D. With a red, cream and navy palate we ran around Hobby Lobby and picked our favorites.

Before the shower/bachelor/bachelorette/rehearsal party we threw for them at our place on Friday night I plunked my butt in a lawn chair and pulled together the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere.

What do you think? D’s step-dad’s ring was tied into the original bow but I don’t have any up close shots of that. I think my mom took a bunch while I was creating it though so I can’t wait to see those!

We had a fantastic party with family and friends new and old. Lots of nostalgia and lots of new in-jokes made. And you know all that stuff is making it into the scrapbook.

On Saturday morning we all got up and all the girls but mom went to get their hair done. Oh and done it was! The motto of the day became “Just keep smiling no matter how big your hair is!”

We hit the road about eleven, got breakfast, and were on the way to the Canyon by noon. So much awesome scenery. And I was so psyched that my friends could see it all for the first time as we led the way up into northern Arizona!

Now we all know there’s a big temperature difference all the way up there but there’s nothing quite as crazy as watching the temperature fall about fifty degrees from the time we left our house to the time the sun set. Luckily the bride wore boots. Smart cookie that one J

I wasn’t quite as smart…

But it didn’t matter. The ceremony was beautiful! When D was sharing his thoughts with D I’m pretty sure every single one of us choked up a little bit. And she was just as gushy. It was so sweet and the first time in a long time I’ve gotten a little teary at a wedding. The JP was adorable and perfect for marrying them. He did a great job keeping things running smoothly out there at the edge of the Canyon.

Matt was fortunate enough to be placed in charge of the rings, he kept calling himself the Ringbearer. Of course he did. But did he ever do a good job at making sure the rings were where they were supposed to be at the right time. Rings were exchanged and so were some sweet kisses and then I cheered them on at the top of my lungs. “Yeah baby!”

My mom went right to work arranging all of us and corralling everyone into some beautiful photos right on the wall of the canyon. We all had to scramble a few rocks to get the right shot. Which cracked up the bride and groom.

Then the sun set and everyone clustered together to conserve as much heat as possible. Holy crap! Thank goodness for heated seats in the Jetta.

Dinner was going to be at El Tovar and so we got there just on time, happened to find parking in the teeny lot and got right up to the host who promptly told us “Can you please come back in eight minutes?” Apparently they run a pretty tight ship around that place. Not five minutes. Not ten. But eight. Sir, yes Sir!

We did as instructed and finally were seated for dinner. Service was wonderful but the prep time was slow. I guess that’s what happens in a fancy restaurant though when you have a party of eight. The food was yummy, we all took pictures and I was instructed I had to give a toast. Which I did, rambling on from the heart for a minute or two. And this time it was the bride who said “Don’t make me cry!”

We did a little after-party back at their room but the cigarettes and wine ran dry and the time ticked away quickly so before we knew it we were heading back to our own room at one in the morning.

“Maybe I shouldn’t be walking out here all by myself?” – Wendy announced as we all started discussing the mountain lion signs we saw dotting the main road to the wedding site. It sure is quiet at night out in the dark woods. We talked loud and stomped our feet to seem as big as possible. Sorry Canyon goers we may have woken up but it was for survival.

The next morning was breakfast and by Sunday night we were all back at our respective homes. D&D were staying with us, D’s dad and step-mom were in a hotel in Phoenix and mom and Wendy headed back home to get ready for the work week ahead.

We spent the next couple days doing virtually nothing and then D&D were off for their real honeymoon on Wednesday. It was a whirlwind week, a blast and even though I’m glad to have my house back to just me so I can work and stuff I definitely miss them already!

Congratulations guys, I love you!

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge W is for Wedding

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Possible V Posts

Very late and very short – What this post will be by the time I finish writing it because I’m out of preloaded posts now.

VW – Matt’s car did pretty great on the way up and back to the Canyon for the wedding (tomorrow’s post!).

Variety – The musical selection on my iPod/iTunes/Pandora. It just played Matchbox 20 and Ani Difranco, then busted right into Soundgarden, Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, and Air Supply. Yup. Because that’s how I roll. By the end of the day I’ll have heard every Nineties grunge/Alt band, most of the Adult Contemporary from the Seventies and Eighties, a big handful of solo female folk, and probably a healthy smattering of current pop.

Vampires – I’d love to write about this topic but you already know that if you’ve been hanging around here for a while. My favorite vampire type stuff is here, here, and here, if you’re interested in some extra credit feel free to peruse these earlier stories.

VHS Tapes – Yes I still have some as well as a VCR. I’m pretty sure the VCR is on its last leg though as it keeps losing time regardless of how many times we re-set the thing. We’ll watch them until we can’t anymore then add the whole kit and caboodle to the yard sale pile in the garage.

Vacillate – One of my favorite words of all time. Phonetically it sounds exactly like what the definition is, if that makes any sense.

Vacation – The reason I’m so behind on pre-written posts, comments, exercise, Blog Tour promotion, and quitting smoking. Time to complete at least four of those five things. Later.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge V is for Vagaries

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

All but Useless

Here in Arizona one might think the umbrella is a totally useless piece of junk cluttering up a closet. Most of the time I’d be inclined to agree but there are definitely times during the year when we are truly in need of a sturdy working umbrella.

You like our early seventies tile? Hot right?

Monsoon season is just around the corner and I don’t know about you but I’d prefer not to get stuck out walking across the mall parking lot or something when this is coming down.

On the road back from Tucson, yes that is a line of rain.

The winds before it are what bring in stuff like this.

It was right about this moment Matt asked what I was thinking getting out to take pictures.

And then usually, if we’re very lucky, the rain, thunder, and lightning are close behind. That’s what makes stuff like this happen.

Very early but same pattern. April of this year.

It’s raining mud! (You should’ve seen Matt’s car just from his drive home.) But despite the gross factor of the falling clay, the rain brings the temperature back down from the 110+ range to something more reasonable like 95. Trust me in the middle of July in Phoenix 95 does feel cool.

Lots of people here use their umbrellas in the middle of the day too. That sun can really beat down on you and an umbrella will keep those dangerous rays from sneaking under your skin to cause any permanent damage. Plus you won’t go ruining your white T-shirts with cheap sunscreen stains.

Which is the primary reason I just picked up some bleach this week. It isn’t my preferred method, not as environmentally friendly as I’d like it to be but certainly effective. And it helps me from purchasing more new white clothing which probably has a bigger impact to produce than my small bit of bleach going down the drain.

At least I’m going with that tradeoff for now.

Anyway, as far as the umbrella goes, I’m really posting the picture today for my mom because we talked weeks ago about u is for umbrella and I didn’t want to let her down.

How else can we stay dry during these summer months in the desert.

All photos taken by me

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge U is for Useless

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Too Many Topics

As I’ve been writing most of these posts way ahead of time I haven’t had the benefit of going through the whole day for inspiration on the letter at hand. It has forced me to think a lot more about what I want to say and how I want to say it.

So when I get to a day like today with a letter of such commonality it ends up leaving me blank. Because there’s just too many topics for T.

T! The letter T! It’s so easy, just pick anything and it probably has a T involved.

Tristan Prettyman (who’s singing on my Pandora right now)
Toasty temperatures
Totally unrealistic character traits

And so many more I don’t have time (Time!) to go through the dictionary to document them all. So why can’t I just get one of those topics up there as my quick blast creative writing assignment and tell you all about it?

I could tell you how I like to sip a cup of iced tea in these toasty temperatures while listening to Tristan Prettyman and spinning a top.

But that would pretty much be bullshit. I’m not much for iced tea, don’t own a top and really have to be in the mood to listen to Tristan. Even when it is toasty outside.

After my “Blue Shirt” experiment the other day I know that those particular topics above would have a different feeling, resonance, vibe for everyone who reads them. Someone might not know who Tristan Prettyman is and wouldn’t think to write about her. Maybe someone else has never traveled outside their hometown so that would be their travel story. What tale might be told related to tongs?

I think I’ve just been writing so many posts per day at this point I feel like maybe I’ve run out of interesting stories to tell. Or something like that. I’m still rambling on so clearly it hasn’t taken too much of a toll. But I seem to be struggling right now because I’m actually looking forward to getting back to working on my fiction.

Only six more posts though and this challenge is in the bag. Then I can get back to torturing my beta readers with totally unbelievable character traits.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge T is for Topics

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Fear

We’ve all heard the saying “One step forward, two steps back” and know it’s a convenient theory for why sometimes setbacks appear in our lives. It’s like we’re saying ‘oh well, I really tried but now I’m even further behind’ so we can then absolve ourselves of not venturing further forward.

Are setbacks real? Is there such a thing as writer’s block? Or are devices like this simply a manifestation of fear? A fear of the unknown that exists past our comfort zones. But isn’t it true that once we step a little out of that zone we become comfortable with that newness eventually too?

I like to think so. Because I’ve never seen it proven otherwise.

As a baby I couldn’t crawl, walk, run, speak, spell, carry on a conversation. But I could learn. And as soon as I learned I was trying the new thing in question. As a kid we rarely have fear. We’ll talk to anyone because everyone could be a new friend. We tell people we want to be something grand and fantastic when we grow up because we don’t know anything that could stand in our way of becoming that thing.

As we start to get older there are more roadblocks placed in our way – no you can’t use the car Friday night, you aren’t going to be Valedictorian, I’m sorry but we hired another candidate – so we start to let go of those early innocent dreams of grandeur. But do we have to accept the roadblocks or can we jump over them to get where we want to be?

I think there are times where we have to listen to our inner voice, the one that most of us ignore after we get used to hearing the word no, and allow the early dreams to flood back in. When what we want is buried so deep inside us that it becomes a passion to pursue it and we find ourselves drawn back to it over and over again it’s hard to ignore no matter how many people say we can’t.

Call it a dream or call me easily fooled but I believe that I can overcome my own setbacks by venturing out of the comfort zone I’ve established to get exactly what I want. Because writers block is nothing but fear and I’m tired of being afraid of writing what I really want to say.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge S is for Setbacks

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Road Trip Birthday Style

Matt’s birthday was a couple weeks ago and I’d asked him weeks before what he wanted to do. His response was something to the effect of “Eh, I don’t know.” Of course it was. The guy who never wants for anything married the girl with no creativity when it comes to planning things like birthday celebrations.

So with no ideas from him or me I figured we’d end up just doing dinner and a movie or something. 42 opened that Friday and he’s definitely a baseball guy. It seemed pretty likely we’d end up at that after a steak somewhere.

That was until I started writing again every day. When I blog I like to play Pandora or iTunes or some other music. It’s my favorite way to get inspired. Why I didn’t just think of that for planning Matt’s celebration in the first place is beyond me. But then I clicked to shuffle and the Barry Manilow station was still selected.

And then “Just Once” by James Ingram came on. I started laughing immediately and had a full twelve-year flashback of all the road trips we used to take. In the early days neither of us had a CD player in our cars let alone an iPod dock (um, yeah it was 1999, wtf was an iPod?). So when we traveled we were at the mercy of the local radio selections.

It’s pretty safe to say we heard our fair share of James Ingram over the years. And damn if I won’t car dance to just about anything. So when it came on that day I knew a birthday road trip was in order.

We ended up coastal, in Ventura. Enjoy!

Matt wanted to veer off the highway by way of Eagle Mountain. What, no tumbleweeds?

Sadly however we were denied access and had to take that long lonely road back to the freeway.
We drove for about 190 more miles and hit two walls...

A wall of traffic and a wall of smog. Welcome to Los Angeles!

Random road trip adventures are so us. Eating his birthday dinner in a diner while on a road trip is also so us.
Matt had biscuits and gravy and I had a corned beef reuben.
Both pretty good but I wouldn't say they were worthy of this...

Though the '50's be-bop wall-mounted jukeboxes were pretty cool.
Exhausted from the eight hours in the car we made out way back to the hotel and crashed.
And nothing would keep us from the beach the next day!
Up and out early we rode the PCH up to Santa Barbara and cruised around taking loads of photos of interesting architecture and the ocean.

Despite it being April the coast felt more like June gloom than sunshine spring.
But we didn't care, it was all about having some salty wind in our hair, seaglass hunting, and relaxing.

Couldn't be a better spot to stop and have some lunch.
Sadly we couldn't stay too long after that, our drive back was still looming ahead.
So we packed up and I assumed that would be the end of the photos...

Boy was I wrong! When the clouds finally cleared all we could see was the mountains in the distance.
And then I started seeing some dust around the wind farm.
And then we started seeing some dust cross the road.
I wasn't too nervous, we'd been through dust storms in Phoenix.
Everything was cool...right?

Nope, not so much. I've not driven in weather so freaky ever in my life.
This is SO US!
Now I know why they say you shouldn't drive in a dust storm.
I'd prefer not to do that again.
It cleared up just in time for the sun to set and the stars to come out.

And the lazy moon laying on her back pushed us all the way home.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge R is for Road Trip

Friday, April 19, 2013

“Well, the truth of the matter is, I don't report to a Commissioner…”

“I report to a committee. Some of whom are appointed, some elected, and the rest co-opted on a bi-annual basis. It's a quorum, so to speak.”

It hit me when I was reading GalleyCat the other day and came across an article titled “Best Quora Answer of the Year that I’d left a very important movie off my favorite laugh and quote list. I mean, So I Married an Axe Murderer is the quote movie of all time around our house. It made me wonder why I had forgotten to include it. Perhaps the lines have just become so ingrained in our daily use it’s like they were always there.

However, as far as I know it’s the only movie to use the word quorum.

Which of course is the perfect word for today’s post.

Perhaps this is cheating using a movie title that has nothing to do with the letter Q but hey, I included the article too and that really makes use of the Q.

So the article was about the winner who responded to this question: What does the first day of a 5+ year prison sentence feel like?

And for those interested, the Quora response in question was awarded during the annual Shorty Awards. I’d never heard of the award before so it seemed smart to look them up. Turns out it’s the social media content awards. Unfortunately blogs aren’t included unless they’re posted on Tumblr. Here’s the info. Despite the lack of Blogger or Wordpress to make the cut, the awards sound pretty interesting.

Strangely I had never heard the word quora before. Then as I was typing this up in MS Word I got the little red squiggle beneath the word indicating a misspelling. Suggestions included quota, quire, and quorum among others. I couldn’t get any results on dictionary.com either. Seemed strange.

I wondered if quora was the plural of quorum because quorums didn’t sound right. But Word didn’t say it was a misspelling so that furthered my confusion. So does anyone know what a quora actually is? It might be good to know in case I ever want to enter the contest someday. Someday if I ever decide to use Tumblr.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to “turn off the Bay city Rollers, the game’s about to begin!”

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge Q is for Quorum

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Procrastinating Projects

Or more aptly named - Projects for Procrastinating! Its already quarter of my workout and I’m just sitting down to write this post now because I’ve been taking care of all kinds of random stuff this morning. All those projects that ended up coming to light when I cleaned the office up the other day. And who was I trying to fool? I’m not about to put them in the garage or they’ll never get done. So today was make headway on projects day.

I finally finished pulling the inserts out of all the bottle caps I’ve been collecting for the past two years. I’ve got a few plans for these involving boiling, spray painting, hole punching, linking, and/or magnetizing. For now I’m just glad to have all those inserts pulled out. It was slow and tedious but all part of the process. I’ll post some pictures when I get them all done up.

A couple years ago I inherited a whole bunch of wooden hangers from my Gram’s place. Since being in Arizona I started noticing them drying out a bit and it was raising the grain. Not cool especially since I usually use them for my nicer items and I don’t need those snagging. So I sanded them down and used some of my satin poly on hand to smooth them out. They’ll dry overnight and I’ll put the final coat on tomorrow or the next day.

The guest room is finally sorted and appropriate stuff moved in while other stuff was moved out to the garage or other places. While doing that it forced me to reorganize the front hall closet too. Not a lot to do there but it’s nice to be able to just reach in and grab something now.

I hemmed the super cool pair of stretchy jeans I bought a couple weeks ago because they were about four inches too long on me. Story of my life. I’ve gotten good at hemming jeans over the years. I also bleached out the bottom of the hem so it looks a little more naturally hemmed. It turned out okay but I think it went a little further than I would’ve ideally liked. It isn’t white or anything so I’m sure it’ll be fine. And I’m going to wear them regardless because they’re so super comfy!

Then of course there was some laundry and dishes I’d been putting off dealing with. Sadly those can only build up so long and something has to be done. Unlike dust. That shit can pile up until next September for all I care. And if Matt wasn’t around to care about it I guarantee you it probably would pile up.

There are just some things I still feel fully comfortable deferring. 

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge P is for Procrastinating

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Overdue Books

Nope, not the kind I have to return to the library. In fact I haven’t stepped foot into a library since we moved to the house other than to try to vote last November. Why? I simply have far too many books on my bookshelf that need to be read right now to even consider taking one out.

I’m a slow reader. Painfully slow in fact. Because of that it takes me years to catch up with what’s hot right now. I never seem to get ahead to keep up with the trends. Oh well. Because of that I have some really old books on my shelf that need to be read like asap.

Two friends from the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers wrote and released books last year and I’m in possession of both. Those are at the top of my priority list for must reads.

The first is Words Falling Like Water by Sonya Vaughn, the other CrossRoads by Lori Hicks. I’m really interested in both of their stories and to experience their writing styles because both ladies are fun and sweet people.

In addition to those novels I have Poisoned Pins and Tickled to Death by Joan Hess, Three Cups of Tea by Mortenson and Relin, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, Faithful Place by Tana French, Brain by Robin Cook, and Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy.

Not to mention my sister just told me she’s got a boatload of mystery/suspense/crime books for me to paw through as well.

It’s going to be a busy summer.

In the spirit of that, I think I’ll go read.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge O is for Overdue

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How Do I Even Begin to Title A Post Like This?

Why does this have to be the new normal? Why did any bombs ever go off in the first place, any bomb, anywhere. I mean what does all of it say about human nature and the need for attention. Someone with something to say feels the need to say it like this? It makes no sense to me how and why that’s reasonable. But then again, for as self-proclaimed crazy as I am I’m not mentally unstable enough to ever understand the motivations of evil. I just don’t get maliciousness, something designed to do nothing more than hurt. Be that hurt physical or mental.

And I don’t live in Boston anymore but today I hurt in both ways as if I had been standing right there. Because I HAD been standing right there about a billion times in my life. Parking close by to go to the ice cream truck what feels like 50 years ago. Walking up to Tower Records the back way because Newbury was always so packed. Watching my cousin cross the finish line in his running of the Boston Marathon when I was a kid. And who knows what else. I probably have photos taken right there during a day I was skipping school and needed to get the hell out of Arlington.

So right now my head and heart ache like I’m still living there. I haven’t felt this kind of world-weighted sadness in a long time. You all know the last time it was like this. We all felt it when all at once our country had a shock wave cross it like none before.

I understand that there are people in this world who live with the reality of this kind of experience on an almost daily basis. I also understand that some people think because of that it’s tough to justify being so sad and shocked by these events in Boston but let me just say this. I don’t live in those other countries. I live here in the United States and for the first twenty-eight years of my life I was completely sheltered from any thought of living in that type of environment.

War? The last war I remember hearing about was Vietnam, something from our parent’s generation. Though we grew up with the inklings of unrest in the Middle East, with Desert Storm it was over almost as quickly as it began. We moved on. We partied, loved, rocked and rolled our way through the Nineties and early Millennium like there was never a sad thing to experience.

And then it was taken away. The innocence, or perhaps ignorance, of a nation that became so trusting and open. We had been free, we went where we wanted, did what we wanted, loved who we wanted. Then in one fail swoop our literal and proverbial freedom was ripped right out from under us at a little after 9:00 on Tuesday September 11, 2001.

But as a nation we bounced back from it all. Countless people were able to lend support to New York in their time of need. Countless Bostonians made their way to NYC to do anything they could to help sort out the rubble whether it was physical piles or the mental marbles rolling around in everyone’s head while they tried to make sense out of something so destructive happening in their backyard for the first time in, well frankly, forever.

Before 9/11 there were plenty of random attacks – Timothy McVeigh in OKC, the ’93 WTC bombing, Columbine, etc. – but the sheer force with which 9/11 hit us all was enough to press the reset button. Whoa, these people were coordinated and knew exactly what they were doing. They planned for months and our ig-nocent nation was shown its inner vulnerability.

But that happened almost twelve years ago now and I think we all thought we were headed back to some level of normalcy. Hundreds of events have happened between 9/11 and the Boston bombing. Planes went back into the air, the subway stations stopped patting down everyone who went through a turnstile, cursory bag checks at sporting events were all but laughable, knitting needles were allowed in a personal bag inside an aircraft.

And then the force of two bombs shook us all again in an instant.

And forgive me if I sound ig-nocent but the fact of it happening at all forces me to ask the question – why? I know I’ll never get answers. And asking a question only begets another question when it comes to senseless acts of aggression.

Thankfully, just like the last time, this shocking wave of misery will eventually dissipate and I’ll be back to living without feeling like I have to retreat into a corner out of some kind of world-weighted fear. But until then I imagine my inner self won’t stop asking for answers even though I know I will never really have any that satisfy my soul.

Nothing in Particular Just a Little of Everything

I’m feeling random right now. Feeling kind of basic too though. This is going to probably become a broken thought process type of post. About everything and Nothing. Stream of consciousness. My own self-contained, self-proclaimed, meme. I can feel your enthusiasm through the monitor.

So I started taking on the role of grocery shopper in our family because honestly I don’t get out much as a writer so for a day or two every week I get to at least interact with other humans in the real world. It’s a total Catch-22 though – I hate grocery shopping. It is quite possibly my least favorite type of shopping. Except maybe for landscape stuff. Yeah, that’s all Matt’s department.

Anyway, the grocery shopping. The reason I dislike it is because it seems no matter what time of day, which day of the week, and/or who is shopping, navigating those places becomes a blood sport. Something I can’t ignore in the grocery store is people’s sudden lack of desire to adhere to any type of personal space.

Ever notice in the checkout line people have to be right next to their own groceries? As if the cashier is going to accidentally put 10-20 of their items into the bag of the person in front of them. They have to stand guard to protect their foodstuffs. This sadly forces those people up the ass of the person in front of them because grocery stores place the pin-pad thingie right at the end of the belt. And out the window goes all personal space.

The one store I’ve been to that gets it right is Target. The machines are past the cashier at ours so the paying customer and the produce bodyguard behind them never have to crash.

I can’t be the only one irritated by this practice, am I?

So the truth is that I’m actually writing this post on April 9, 2013, the day that ‘H’ posted. I wrote that one on the seventh after attending the Coyotes game the day before. But this one, letter ‘N’, isn’t even due to post for another seven days.

Does that mean I’m writing for a future that you’ll be reading when its already the past? Whoa. Okay, I kind of freaked myself out with that question. Never mind, I just hope you’re enjoying it.

My office has stayed relatively clean and organized since this challenge started, which makes me pretty happy. I went on a tear the day I set out to organize my space and ended up doing so much more than just the one room. It felt good to get some stuff into the right spot in the house or at least out of bad spots in the house.

The exercise bike is definitely getting some good use since we bought it. I can’t say I’m on it every day but probably 3 days a week and then two others I’m doing another workout of some sort. Haven’t lost any weight yet but really can’t expect Biggest Loser type numbers or anything, I only have fifteen to lose. Of course that’s a double edged sword because it’s a small number, which is nice, but it’s always those last few that are toughest to shed.

I’ll get there, I know this for fact in my head that if I keep working hard I’ll achieve my goals, but my least virtuous trait is my extreme lack of patience.  

Patience is boring and I hate to be bored. Truth.

Hmm, yeah I think that's it.

I guess Nothing really became something huh? 600+ words of some kind of something. You’re welcome.

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge N is for Nothing

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Movie is better than the Book?

Although it will come out sounding awful and all of my Author friends will deny knowing me after I say it I’m just going to come right out and say that I’m much more apt to see the movie than read the book. There. I feel so much better just for getting that off my chest.

I think visually, even when I write I’m envisioning the scene in my head and how it will play out. But it isn’t just the characters I can see. I see the setting around them, little chotchkies surrounding the characters, the color of a car they’re riding in, the use of lighting and color to evoke emotions, and any host of other tricks a film director might employ to evoke a specific emotion. And I’ve been told that my books read like a movie sometimes. That’s pretty cool.

One of the first movies I ever saw was “On Golden Pond” and no I wasn’t nearly close to old enough to grasp the overall concept of the movie at the time. I was probably around eight years old.

My mom and aunt had taken my sister and me to the drive-in. Yes, I’m that old. Sort of. Anyway, we were supposed to stay up for the first movie, crash out in the backseat, then mom and my aunt would watch the second movie in peace. I want to say the opener was “Snow White” but my mom can weigh in on that one. It barely left an impression but still, after it was over there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to sleep.

Are you kidding? I mean I was a kid in a car watching movies. It was, like, the coolest thing I’d ever experienced to that moment of my young life and I wanted it to last as long as possible. My sister was out like a light. Long before the first movie even ended I think. I hardly made a peep while I watched, with wide eyes, the grown-up movie from the backseat.

From that moment on I was hooked on movies. I loved how big everything was, it really added to the whole concept of a fantasy world when the actors were ten feet tall. It's true that "On Golden Pond" wasn't originally a book but let's just say in the years following my viewing of that movie, nine times out of ten I saw the movie before (if ever) reading the book. Not for a lack of imagination but simply for enjoying someone else’s take on what it would look like instead of just relying on my own.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that not only am I a big time movie quoter but I have an array of categories for when I’ll enjoy specific movies. With some flicks you just have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them ya know?

Movies for when I’m sewing/crafting
Sixteen Candles
Almost Famous
Can’t Hardly Wait
St. Elmo’s Fire
High Fidelity
The Breakfast Club

Movies for when I need to laugh and quote
Old School
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Legally Blonde
Drop Dead Gorgeous
The Ref
Just Friends
America’s Sweethearts
Napoleon Dynamite
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Movies for when I’m in a music mood
Spice World
Dazed and Confused
Reality Bites
200 Cigarettes
Almost Famous
School of Rock

Movies for days when all I do is think
Chasing Amy
Girl, Interrupted
Fight Club
American History-X
Love, Actually
Leaving Las Vegas
Stand By Me
The Crow

Movies for when I need adventure and excitement
The Goonies
Indiana Jones (first three)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
X-Men (all)
The Bourne - original trilogy
Groundhog Day
Back to the Future Trilogy

Movies for nostalgia
9 to 5
Better Off Dead
Say Anything…in fact
Pretty much any movie John Cusack made before 1994
And for that matter, every movie Sean Astin made before 1994
Glory Daze
Practical Magic
An Affair to Remember
Dazed and Confused
Forces of Nature
It Could Happen to You

Movies I hated after reading (and loving) the book
Pet Sematary
OK, pretty much everything written by King then adapted for the screen except…

Movies I loved after reading (and loving) the book
The Shining
Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Movies for when I’m in a Sports mood
Fever Pitch
Major League
Rookie of the Year
Jerry Maguire

Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge M is for Movies