Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gone to the dogs

Hello Babble fans….a little surprise guest today, Maggie! As my writing buddy, Mag’s contributions often get overlooked, so I thought a little tribute was in order. We’re going to do this canine Barbara Walters style.

Me: Welcome to Babble, Maggie, so glad you could take time from your busy schedule to be with us today.

Maggie: You promised me a bone.

Me: Why don’t you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Maggie: I’m a Labrador; I hoard socks and sticks. Where’s the bone?

Me: Do you have a favorite book?

Maggie: Bobby Flay’s Grill It! There’s meat on the cover.

Me: How do you feel you inspire my work?

Maggie: When you run out of wine I let you rub my belly. How much longer is this going to take? I need to chase my tail.

Me: Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?

Maggie: I prefer BONES! What do I have to do, beg? You know I will.

Me: Do you have any career goals?

Maggie: I’m starting my Hospice training, but the nice trainer-lady with the treats thinks I may still be too young and exuberant. What does that mean? Does it mean I get treats?

Me: Any final thoughts for the nice people?

Maggie: Yeah, dogs rock! Adopt if you can, we’ll love you forever! Oh, one more thing, Mom is not nuts, she’s on deadline and its Weight Watchers weigh in day – makes her loopy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Night Writer

There are tasks best accomplished in the full light of day; beauty treatments, book writing, husband selection. All these and many more require a clear head and full possession of ones faculties.

For instance, show of hands ladies, ever give Prince Charming your cell number somewhere in the vicinity of last call, only to stroll into Starbucks for the first date and find Prince Alarming - cologne drenched, latte-sucking toad? (No honey, not you – this was YEARS ago.)

I have a friend, (no names – she knows), who treated herself to a late night I-Need-A-Change hair coloring escapade; the end result, Ronald McDonald’s love child. Tears were shed, children were frightened.

During one of this week’s unfortunate visits to Insomniaville, I learned a late night lesson; I cannot write after midnight. Here’s what happens.

Verbs become optional around 1:00AM. I sound like a cave dweller.

Character names do not require vowels.

Correct punctuation, although appreciated by the reader, is not something I deem necessary.  “Do we have any muffins!” Apparently, my characters do not ask questions and are very excited about the oversight.

Around 2:00AM my participles become adult film stars, dangling to the point of indecent exposure.

Today’s Babble is a little shout-out to my online writing group. The ladies of cyber space kind enough to point out flaws with humor, errors with grace and above all else, the proper gin to tonic ratio key in strong character development.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The road less graveled

Don’t you just looooove unexpected home repairs; the kind that sneak right up and bite the vacation fund square in the time share? We’ve been having one of those months. No, that’s an understatement – one of those years.

At one point hubby and I were Emmy worthy cast members of the Young and the Debtless. Today, new roof, Everglade-like basement and 6 sprinkler head decapitations later we find ourselves making more and more cameo appearances on  Survivor: Line Of Credit Island.

I don’t like Line of Credit Island; it makes me twitchy.

And Suze Orman keeps scaring me. One, her teeth are alarmingly large, and two, (frustrated sigh) she’s always right. Burning the midnight WIP oil, Maggie and I channel surf. She whimpers a little when I breeze by Animal Planet, but she’s easily pacified with a quick belly rub. Somehow, my surfing routinely comes ashore with Suze. Wedged between Gilligan’s Island and Chuck Norris’s latest calorie burning gadget, there she is – chock full of Chiclets teeth and sound advice. I swear she knows when I’m debating one of Chuck’s gadgets; it’s like she’s speaking directly to me:

“Kathryn, do you NEED the Fatty-Blast-500, or do you WANT it? Assess your priorities.”

OK, she’s right. (Again.) I can ignore one of the other 12 exercise gadgets growing mold in my swampy basement and fore go the Fatty-Blast. Want and Need are always going to be at war in my home, I may want a vacation, but we need a new driveway. I wonder if the Fatty-Blast-500 can break up crumbling asphalt AND cellulite?

Disclaimer: Please forgive any typos or rambling today. The Babbler is loaded with allergy meds!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WIP-ed into shape!

Today the diet begins. (*&@!*)

Like many of my blog-o-sphere friends, I spend a great deal of time sitting, strapped to the laptop, drinking coffee - and yes, snacking. I swear candy corn has addictive properties; it’s not my fault! I’m calling Dr. Oz; he’s all worked up about killer Apple Juice so maybe he can pin obesity on the candy corn gurus while he’s at it?

As of late my backside has crept to an un-Spanx manageable size. In an effort to curb the madness I’ve started exercising post Day Job and pre fun-for-me writing. Since the kiddos are both up and out of the house by 7:30 (happy dance here), I’ve devised a new, exercise encouraging writing schedule.

7:30: Coffee, water and egg whites (I need cheese.)
8:00: Day Job – Count Blessings. It pays the bills, I like to eat.
11:30: Coffee (fight urge for Candy Corn)
11:45: Edit Day Job articles before sending over to news desk. (AKA – TUMS Nation)
12:00: Exercise! (Explanation point not bolstering enthusiasm)
1:00: Inhale Motrin and groan like Grandmother.
1:30: WIP (Sorry, I forget non-writers, aka sane people follow Babble. WIP = Work in Progress, the book.)
3:00: Kids home. Referee duties begin.
3:30: More wrestling with Candy Corn addiction.
4:00 – 8:00: Homework, dinner, sports practice taxi, run-down tomorrow’s to do list with Hubby & possibly cuddle.
8:30 – Whenever I lose consciousness: Blog, research and WIP.

So there you have it, the chaos that is me! No W.I.P until my A.S.S gets moving! Should keep the creative juices flowing and the pant size shrinking!
(And don't I wish this scale were accurate!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Golden Thong

I attract crazy. I’m not talking quirky with a penchant for eccentricity; I’m talking bona-fide 5 point restraint gonzo.

Monday is deadline day in Day Job Land, and after my stories are turned in and corresponding editors pacified, I like to take a little me time to decompress before the family gets home. Where better to unwind than the library, right; a quiet, peaceful and FREE place to simply enjoy a little solitude?

Um, no; not so much.

I’ve blogged about my love of all things library many times, but yesterday my appreciation for Dewey and his Decimals suffered a severe blow. It wasn’t the libraries fault, but more accurately the icky couple engaged in some serious senior citizen PDA in the reading room


Not age discrimination eww, just plain old eww. Really, smooching in the library? (And I’m talking smooching with a little second base action! And why did I KEEP watching! I have issues.) Aren’t they old enough to get a room somewhere?

Anyway, long story short, I said something to Mary, our pseudo-hippie and clearly Woodstock-impacted librarian and she informs me this is an ongoing issue. Apparently the lovebirds both live with their respective children and meet there on Monday for a romantic rendezvous.

Romeo and Juliet knocked it down a few notches as I passed toward the exit, and out of pure curiosity I looked at the books on the table in front of them: American Heart Association Low Salt Cookbook, Die Broke.

Laughed all the way home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

I remember September 11, 2001 as the day my rose colored glasses splintered into a million shards of disbelief. A day of crying souls, shattered families and sadness so consuming no words can describe its depth. We mourned the loss of lives, loves and our fundamental sense of safety. Thousands directed inconceivable rage toward the gentlest of faiths in desperate efforts to give evil a face, a name; when in fact the cowardly acts of few were solely to blame for the unimaginable tragedy.

Where was I that fateful day? En route home from minnow swim lessons, 1 & 4 year olds snugly strapped into their car seats, blissfully singing along with Barney; completely unaware of the horror unfolding with each passing second. I have never envied my children more.

Where were you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Small minds, small change

 (This is a re-post in light of 50 Cent's recent ignorance.)

Persons of a certain genetic combination are destined for a lifetime of outspokenness, humor and potential trips to the pokey. For instance, an Irish temper and English frankness often result in a controlled, stinging wit. Not only do I fall from just such a fruitful and fabulous family tree; I think it’s safe to say I’m the plumpest peach on the branch. And today, my innately volatile genetics took a turn toward the dark side in a favorite Mommy haunt; Target.

Stupidity, my friends, is a wide spread epidemic. An ugly virus overtaking what appears at first glance to be rational adults, but upon closer examination reveals nothing more than a dim-witted juvenile wrapped in a 40 plus jiggly spray tanned body. (OK – that was mean, but you’ll see….)

I wish this conversation were fictional. I wish Jiggly Target Woman (JTW) was a figment of my over active and often frightening imagination, but no – she exists, and she needed a good smack of common sense - Babble style!

The Scene: NERF toy isle. (Another of Dante’s rings.)
Characters: JTW, JTW Child (no more than 3 yrs old) and little ole’ Me.

JTW: “Would you stop you’re crying! I am not getting you a toy! We’re here for your cousin!”

JTW Child: Escalated screaming and floor fist pummeling. Un-natural oozing amounts of mucus and saliva.

Me: Hidden smile – soooo past this age group, and loving it!

JTW: “Stop that right now! Do you want someone to come by and think you are one of those retards with Autism or something?”

Me: Jaw hits floor. Anger hits ceiling.

JTW Child: Louder, longer more in need of Super Nanny.

Me: (And here’s where it gets ugly.) “Excuse me JTW, I know you’ve got your hands full, (proof in the screaming Satan spawn), and God knows I remember that age, but as a mother of a child with a special needs I find that remark not only offensive but very hurtful.” (Yes, those exact words; go me! Truth? I wanted to grab the nearest Wiffle Bat and go PiƱata on her.)

JTW: Eye roll and smirk; no response, no remorse, no apology.

Me: “I’ll leave you alone, but I thought you should know how uneducated those remarks make you sound.”

JTW: “Go mind your own business; stupid (female dog - potty mouth version).”

Me: (Must keep Irish side on leash.) “Have you heard the expression an apple never falls far from the tree? (Blank, hateful stare.) Well, you may want to scoop up your spoiled little McIntosh before he smashes his skull into the tile enough to become as small minded as his mother.”

 And…I left, quickly. Kind of ran, actually. Yes, I know that was risky. JTW could have a hit the appliance isle for a sharp cheese grater and jumped me in the parking lot, but it felt good.

A personal plea, and one I’m sure those with an intelligent and compassionate soul already fully comprehend. Not all disabilities present with visual cues, not all struggles come with simple to follow definitions. Tolerance, education and a kind heart – that’s all it takes to rid the world of JTW’s. (And the occasional Wiffle bat.)

*Disclosure: JTW was not a Target employee or in any way linked to the store. Please do not sue me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Twitter Thanks!

Hello Babble fans! Tonight I’ve got a little musical treat on tap. After my first official week of Tweeting, I’ve completely lost track of those followers I simply must thank, so I thought I’d take a minute and recognize their warm welcome in song. Keep in mind I have absolutely no musical training. (There was no need to mention that – you’ll see soon enough.)
It helps the song flow by singing along. Go ahead, belt it out - you know you want to!

Newbie Tweeter Anthem
(To the tune of God Bless America.)

Goooood bless my Twitter friends,
Aaaa - cross the globe,
I won’t stalk you,
Or mock you,
But I might mis-tweet now and again.

From the authors,
To the artists,
To the Mommies, drenched in drooooool,
Goooood bless my Twitter friends,
I think you’re all coooool.

Thaaaank God for cyber help,
Lost and confused,
What are hash tags?
Are they like trash bags?
I still don’t have even a clue.

Do I follow,
If I’m followed?
Is it considered, mean or ruuuuude?
Iiiiiii was raised Cath-O-Lic,
We obey allllll ruuuuules.

Gooooo away Twitter freaks,
Scammers with greed,
Don’t invite me,
To your site please,
I’m not buying crap that I’ll never need.

No free Botox,
No Viagra,
No investments, in your shaaaaams,
Goooooo away Twitter freaks,
I follow humaaaans.

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Let the grilling begin!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pride and Pretentiousness

Writers are like ice cream; flavorful, varied and the majority - full of nuts. As a proud member of the macadamia enhanced, I regard my critique partners as manna from Heaven, each more talented than the next - with one disturbing exception.

Oh, the shivers this man brings me. (And not in a shirtless, yummy Hugh Jackman way.) No, this particular member of my online writer’s group routinely feels the need to tout his publishing success, (translation: one article in The New Yorker circa 1986) as the benchmark we, the mere mortals of cyber-lit world can only hope to one day attain. For now, let’s refer to him as Tolstoy; pretty much sums up the ego.

Tolstoy claims to be a tenured English professor; although for all we know he could be Inmate #432 at Rikers Island. Profession aside, his condescending attitude defeats the group’s mission: offering insightful feedback and constructive criticism to aspiring writers in an encouraging environment. (We share snack ideas, too. Tolstoy hates that! And Writegirl221 – I made the Heath Bar Brownies – can I get an Amen! Thx!)

For instance, I started today’s post with a simile. Tolstoy would gag in admonishment at the obviously pedestrian lead approach. Gag away big guy; it’s the first week of school, you’re lucky I remember punctuation. (Sometimes I just want to grab his goofy ascot and twist, HARD. OK – no idea if he wears an ascot, but that’s how I picture him.)

Bottom line, if your support system offers more hurt than help – writer or real world – make a change. And if one bad apple spoils the pie – time to vote him or her off the island! Oh, and no worries, Tolstoy won’t read this. “Blogs are an outlet for undereducated, narcissistic type personalities craving attention.” (Admit it – you hate him now, too?!)