Thursday, July 28, 2011


My days off are Thursday and Friday. All week long I look forward to these days with the same enthusiasm that the professional world has for Saturday and Sunday. TGIW!

I earn a wage, not a salary. I punch a time clock and I wear a tiny plastic badge that boasts my name. I have to work weekends. Welcome to the world of the low-level service worker. Wednesdays are my Fridays and Mondays are my Hump Days.

Two things about me keep me from being able to enjoy my days off as I should. The first is that I'm a workaholic. I am happiest when I have something to do. My peace and tranquility have the same stench as my elbow grease. I cannot settle down into a lawn chair with a nice glass of iced tea and watch the neighbors water their lawns. I simply must be productive every moment of every day.

The second is that I'm a bit of a perfectionist. This is not apparent when you walk into my house. There are teenagers living here, and it shows in the housekeeping. These are your typical American teenagers- lazy and self-centered with an false sense of entitlement to a lifestyle that they have neither earned nor inherited. They haven't realized yet that this is not The Brady Bunch, and we do not have a full-time maid.

The house is always a mess, and so I am always on the verge of grinding my teeth into smooth little nubs. I want the house to be perfectly clean all the time, but truth be told, I'd settle for just straightenend up and trash free. If somebody would wash the dishes, or at least wash the dishes that they use...

Ultimately, I'd like to be able to sit at the computer and write for hours and hours uninterrupted by the children. I have to get up very early in the morning to do this, but there is always that nagging voice in the back of my head that 's reminding me that the toilet needs scrubbed or the laundry has been piling up for days. It makes it hard to concentrate on my writing.

I can't concentrate very well right now, as a matter of fact. I went into the kitchen to brew coffee and stepped on a pile of salt that was spilled yesterday and never cleaned up because the dustpan is missing. I stared at the pile for about thirty seconds before I realized what was going on.

I think I ought to wake up the lazy kid who left this here and force him to clean up after himself, but that would create an unharmonious atmosphere in the house. The other kid (or kids) would wake up cranky, and the mood for the day would be "Everybody hate Mom. She's being a bossy bitch." Then I would have to deal with the whining and moaning that comes with the attitude problems.

I decide to leave it til later, after I've had a few cups of coffee and a couple of hours of solitude...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Still Bonkers After All These Years

I've always had a tendency to write "straight from the hip" when it comes to posting on my blog. I feel this is somewhat evident. I like to type directly into the "New Post" page and push the "publish" button without editing. I may or possibly may not go back later and fix things up a bit, rearrange things, make it pretty. This method may make my writing more honest, but it is certainly not thorough- not by a long shot.

My blog doesn't reflect the perfectionist that I am when it comes to writing my novels. I know I will never need an editor. I tediously read and re-read and re-think and revise.  Every flaw you find there is completely intentional. This will probably keep me from ever being published.

Lately, I've been re-reading my posts, and I realize there are quite a few holes where there could be adjectives and adverbs. I've thought to myself more than once that I could have described this with more umph, or that with more clarity. I could have said something else in a completely different way.

I post too many dream blogs. (Of course, I am obligated to write those down. My sanity is dependent on it.) But I have decided to post my dreams in the other blog- to segregate them from my "real blog".

My Twenty Years High School Reunion is coming up, and a handful of those folks already read my blog through Facebook. It makes me smile when somebody tells me they enjoy it. Secretly, I wonder if they think to themselves, "I always knew she was crazy, and this just proves it."

A couple of weeks from now, I'll be seeing some of those old familiar faces, and I hope they'll be happy to see me, rather than whispering about me as I pass by. "Did you read her blog about the blackbirds? That woman is a menace to society!"

I guess I'll know when I get to the gala. If I walk in and everybody in the room takes a collective step backward, I'll have to assume they've been reading.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm Wide Awake Now

This morning I had to take a shower under freezing water. This wouldn't have been so terrible if we had better water pressure in this house, but since we don't, it takes more time to rinse out my long, brown hair. I tried to keep any part of my nicely rounded body that wasn't being actively washed out of the stream of water so I wouldn't freeze to death. Lucky for me, it's a hot sticky summer, so the chilly water wasn't such a shock to my system.
I did look funny, though, with my naked hiney sticking partway out of the shower curtain.

The maintenance guy came by. He's old and mostly deaf, so he brought his wife along to translate. I told her what the problem was, and she told him in that way that only wives have of talking to their husbands.

She yelled it into his good ear.

Then he went about fixing the water heater and left us to talk about the new S.J. Watson novel. (I haven't read it, but she recommends it.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't Try to Find Us

As far as I'm concerned, there are no definite, die-hard, one-size-fits-all rules for dreaming. Each dream is as unique as the dreamer. Some folks say you only dream in black and white, and others claim you can't read in your dreams, but I know both of these are false statements. Some folks say you always know when you're dreaming. Some say they never suspect it until they wake up and sigh with relief.

The other night I had a dream that was as real to me as the keyboard under my fingertips. I could see every vivid color, every slinking shadow, every trick of the light from the corner of my eye. I could smell every tantalizing aroma, and every acrid odor. I could taste the honeyed kisses on my lips and feel the liquid heat and the sharp cold and the rubbery floor under my feet. I could read the love notes written on cerulean paper and the words across the window backlit by a periwinkle sky. I could hear every baby's cry.

It was the baby's cry that woke me. I was startled by it because I realized in the dream that I was hearing a sound that came from the depths of my real house. I sat up and stared into the darkness, confused by the heavy silence. I struggled to hear the cry again. Lyric, my grandson must have awakened, turned over, and gone back to sleep. I waited, stretching that part of my mind out to him, that mother's intuition that strengthens with the addition of grandchildren. He didn't make another sound, but the shuffling I heard from the kitchen, just off my bedroom, worried me.
I threw the sheet back and ventured out.

In the space beside the refrigerator, I found her.

A small, blond-haired, blue-eyed child, malnourished and dirty, as if she'd been sleeping wrapped in newspaper under a bridge.

I was shocked to see her there. My hand automatically covered my mouth to keep myself from scaring the poor urchin with my gasps of horror. I reached for her, but she curled into the space between the fridge and the wall. It took quite a bit of coaxing to convince her I wasn't going to hurt her, or eat her. She stared at me with those giant sapphire eyes, unblinking.

Who had left this girl here? Had they been in my home? Were they still here? Or had she simply wandered in the back door, which is often left unlocked for the ones who return home late?

I carried her in my arms like a baby as I searched the house. She must have been at least two years old, but I thought she was closer to three. She was all knees and elbows. She might not have eaten for days.

Content with my cursory search of the house which yielded no invaders, I fed the child.
Not too much, I thought to myself. Her stomach might revolt and she'd end up puking it all up.

I read once that after the Jews were rescued from concentration camps in WWII, many became ill or died because they had become accustomed to starvation, and the sudden nourishment was too much of a shock to their skeletal bodies. I didn't want that to happen to my new little friend.

I gave her a bath next, wondering if I should call the police or social services. Somebody was missing their child. Surely they had reported it. But on the other hand, this child was a skinny sack of blood and bones. She had scrapes and bruises. She had a look in her eyes that said she'd been through hell.

Whoever'd had her hadn't bothered to take very good care of her. Why should I attempt to return her?

I dressed her in one of my daughter's shirts which fit her like a dress. She smiled and patted her hands down the front of it. She was starting to feel more comfortable with me. I guess she'd decided I wasn't hungry enough to feed on human toddlers.

When I turned her around to brush her hair, I found the note. Actually, it was a tattoo. I rubbed my hand across it a few times trying to get the ink off her skin, but it remained etched into her permanently.
Her brothers had done this to her. My blood boiled and my skin heated with with growing fury. Why would they scar her like this? How could they defile her this way? What were they trying to prove?

Please, save our sister. Don't try to find us. Our mother will hurt her again.

And suddenly, I knew exactly who this child was. I could see her mother's face. I could feel her brothers' desparate love. I could taste the bile in my throat as the realization of this tiny angel's life unfolded in front of me.

I wrapped my arms around her and sobbed into her soft, freshly washed hair. She cried with me.

It was the baby's cry that woke me.

It was the most realistic dream I've ever had.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thumpers- a not so fictional story.

We let the demons in.
We might as well have slit our wrists to dye the carpet red, we were so accomodating. We invited them to sit comfortably in the parlor and offered them iced tea.
Nevermind that it was laced with incrimination. It had no effect on them whatsoever. They greedily drank down the poison, wiped their mouths and politely asked for more.
While we whispered secretively in the kitchen, they were perusing our family photographs, taking stock, making plans.
While we were arranging petit fours on a tray, they were drugging the dog and conferring with the cat.
By the time we returned, tray in hand, smiles pasted across our faces, they had returned to their seats on the cushioned sofa, skirts pulled down to cover their scandalous knees.
We knew what they were. We knew they were there, not to kill us, but to destroy us just the same. We knew they would do it so skillfully, and quietly that we might not even notice the bombs they'd planted.
We looked at one another, raising our eyebrows in acknowledgement.
At that moment, we both understood that we would not go down without a fight.
So what do you do with a group of skirt-wearing, kitten-petting, bible-thumping demons?
You invite them into the parlor and offer them cake and tea.