Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Twice in One Day?

Yeah, I know I already posted to this blog today, but I'm posting again. Its mine and well, there you have it. I can do what I want with it.

I really have a bug up my butt right now. I had a conversation with another woman about menopause (something I don't believe in) and it was downright ridiculous. She blamed everything in her life on the dang thing. That's like blaming everything on aliens or unicorns. It doesn't exist!! You are tired because you go out drinking every night. You are gaining weight because, much like me, you sit on on your duff most of the day and eat whatever you feel like. You are getting wrinkles because you're in your forties! Your boobs are drooping because you're in your forties! Stop the madness.

I tried to be delicate at first, but that approach just never works well for me. I may have said something like this:

"Pull your head outta your ass for God's sake! You can't blame all that shit on menopause. It's not real. You're doing it to yourself and Father Time is lending a helping hand. For Christ's sake, shut the hell up."

I don't know if I'll be on her Christmas card list this December.

The bottom line is that I don't believe in menopause. My body and I have an agreement. We're not doing it. Period. End of story. I don't think any woman should have to do it.

Here are other things I don't believe in (We may have covered this before, but it's worth repeating):

 - PMS
 - Valentine's Day
 - Mother's Day
 - Father's Day
 - That marshmallow peeps are a food
 - That people eat candy corn
 - That red wine is bad for you

Okay. I feel better now.

Remember: Menopause is not real. Just Don't Do It!!!

Autumn Dreams

I've always been drawn to stories and movies about the medieval period and Renaissance. Long, flowing gowns with elaborate closures, castles, feasts, art, dance, and learning...Some of my favorite movies involve these images; The Man In The Iron Mask, King Arthur, Braveheart, Robin Hood, and don't forget Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

One of my favorite places on Earth is the Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD. It's one of the biggest I've been to, covering twenty-five wooded acres. They offer costume rentals so that visitors can shed their jeans and t-shirts for period clothing. Vendors sell tankards of beer and wine. Others sell giant smoked turkey legs. There's song and dance, jousting, and magic. Even as an adult, I've often wished that I could live there all year long.

For whatever reason (please enlighten me if you make the connection), autumn always renews this particular fascination. Even though it's hard to tell that Fall has arrived on my little island, I long for castles and gowns just a little bit more this time of year.

I woke from a dream about Minard Castle early this morning. It's on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula and I was there this past June. (I had quite the experience - but that's for another post.) I don't remember much about the dream, but in it, Minard Castle was young again. It was whole and beautiful and I lived there.

As I lay in bed trying to remember the details of the Castle, I felt kinda sad. I wished that I could have lived during the Renaissance, back when Minard Castle was a place of happiness and celebrations. I longed for the romance of that age, Isn't it odd how easy it is to miss something that you never had? I suppose that's because I don't really understand what it was like to live during that time period. I only imagine the parts that I would like.

Castles are not heated, nor do they have indoor plumbing. Ireland gets pretty damn cold and there is nothing romantic about doing one's business in the chamber pot. (And where the hell do you empty it the next morning?) There was no refrigeration during the Renaissance. I don't like warm beer...although that wouldn't be a problem in the winter. A hot shower? Please. You'd be lucky to slide a tub in front of the fire and then hope to convince someone to heat water on the fire while you try to stay warm in your luke-warm water. Food poisoning, STDs, and errant arrows were daily challenges.

Does any of that really sound romantic?

*sigh* Yes. Somehow it really does.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Well Would You?

I stumbled across a powerful thing this morning. Brace yourself.

If the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?

Whoa. Powerful, right?

As tempted as I am to lambaste a couple of donkeys who purposely crapped all over my week, I will refrain. I will keep my speech beautiful in the hopes of becoming more beautiful.

Let's see how long this experiment lasts before I explode and say exactly what I think. Feel free to start a pool and place bets.

Altogether unrelated, I made interesting progress on book three this week. Shots have been fired but I don't know if anyone was killed. The character witnessing the event fled the scene to save his worthless behind. It's a waiting game for all of us. I've no idea what happened inside that concrete house on a canal in Key Largo. Your guess is as good as mine.

Tune in next time. Will I be able to keep my speech beautiful? Will we discover what transpired in that house? Will the anonymous fan who keeps sending me voodoo dolls identify themselves?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bullet Dodged

Whew! I lucked out and dodged that bullet. It could have gone the other way, but fortunately I'm dealing with people who understand the concepts of sarcasm and venting. They are unlike the donkeys at Florida Keys Community College in that respect.

There was a very good chance that my decision to exercise my freedom of speech, coupled with the whisperings of vindictive FL Keys Community College scoundrels, would put to rest my chances of being hired by a local law enforcement agency. I met with senior leaders last week and am very, very happy to say that all is well. I hope to be able to make an official announcement regarding my new adventure in the next week or two. Suffice to say, you won't be reading about them in this here blog. No sirree, Bob.

Until that new chapter begins, I have a lot of writing to do. Book #3 is at a critical point and I'm struggling to tie together a few loose ends. Some of the characters aren't acting the way I thought they would and it's wreaking havoc with my ability to manage the plot. Don't you hate it when your characters get a mind of their own and do things that you never saw coming? Sometimes it's great but other times it's a total shit storm. That's where I find myself.

There are two characters in particular that need to have their ears boxed. I can't keep either of them in check. Just when I think I know what's going on, they jump off the deep end and drag me along behind them. No warning. Just...Bang!

Put down the phone. There's no reason to involve men in white coats, at least not yet. Let me finish the damn book first.

I'm still searching for a title. I love the sound of "Tropical Illusion" but it doesn't fit. Ditto for "Tropical Depression". It'll come to me eventually, but until then, please feel free to offer your suggestions. If I use your title, I'll take full credit for the idea and you'll get nothing. Oh stop! You'll get something. A free book, a mention in the dedication...perhaps a character fashioned after you.

Thanks to the anonymous reader who sent a voodoo doll. It's lovely and sits on my desk looking at me while I write. The likeness is ... frightening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ravioli Are Like Books

I tried my hand at ravioli today. First time ever. I don't own one of those fancy-schmancy stand mixers with a dough hook attachment. Nor did my kitchen come equipped with a pasta roller. But hey, the Mommas in the old days didn't have those and they made pasta every day. I decided to go old school. I mixed the pasta by hand and then I rolled it out.

I used my mother-in-law's wooden rolling pin. The handles fell off years and years ago, but I just can't part with the damn thing. It's a real pain in the ass to use. Picture it; a rolling pin without handles! Whenever Doug threatens to throw it away, I hide it. I don't want a new shiny one. I never met Doug's mother and using her well-used wooden roller makes me feel like maybe we'd have been friends.

I learned a lot of things today. Making ravioli is therapeutic. For those of you who don't like to cook, what that really means is that making those cheese-stuffed little babies can be frustrating as hell. The experience makes you forget all of the other things you were pissed off about before you started to mix pasta dough. When someone tells you that an activity is "therapeutic", that's what they really mean. Now you know.

I also learned that flour gets everywhere when I make pasta. I mean everywhere. Boozy and Bear's coats were sprinkled with a nice dusting and my iphone has chunks of it stuck inside the protective case. (Don't tell Doug I touched my phone with dirty hands. He'll take it away from me.) Anyway, I should probably put down a drop cloth the next time I decide to engage in another therapeutic kitchen activity.

You know what else I learned? Ravioli are a lot like books. You have to keep practicing before they get really good. What's more is that you can put different things inside them - just like books. They don't all have to be filled with the same kinds of things. Ravioli can be scary - that would be one filled with peas or carrots if you ask me. They can be romantic - doesn't rosemary lemon ricotta sound romantic? They can be mysterious. Clean out the fridge and use whatever you have.

Ravioli are like books. I like to devour both.

See what happens when I have too much time on my hands?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Say What?

I heard myself talking yesterday and I sounded so much like my mother that it scared me. I mean, she's probably a wonderful person (just kidding, Mom), but I don't want to be her. Being me is scary enough without going full-blown Joan. Come on now.

I think the word that caused me the most concern was "supper". When I was a kid, we ate supper. When I moved out and started to create my own circus, I ate dinner instead. It tasted better. It doesn't sound so "I grew up on farm". Am I right? In spite of almost thirty years of effort, I rambled on to my daughter about what I was making for supper. Thankfully, she was in teenage mode and not listening, because I know she would have questioned my mental stability. She knows that word is gauche.

That brush with doom got me thinking about other words and phrases that I've worked very hard to eliminate from my vocabulary. I think I was afraid that using those words would somehow turn me back into the Patti Anne from a small farm in Brockport.

Here are just a few that come to mind:
"Nuts to you!" - I can see Mom's face as she says this.

"fella" - do I need to say anymore?

"down cellar" - this means basement. Fortunately, these don't exist in the Keys so I never have to worry about this little doozie slipping out. (See what I did there? Doozie is another, but I've started using it again.)

"pocketbook" - Doug still says this. I can't make him stop.

"Hankie" - my Dad never left the house without at least one in his pocket. Doug doesn't either, but at least he calls it a handkerchief. I pretend I don't see it so that I don't have to call it anything.

"Tureen Supper" - this was some sort of church affair, held at the Parish Center. A bunch of old ladies who smelled like moth balls brought casseroles of jello or beans or...hell, I don't know. I'm probably the only one that harbors any memory of this phrase. It makes me nauseous to say it out loud.

"coolots" - this is what my family called shorts that looked like a skirt. That's not what wikipedia says. Big surprise. My parents made up meanings and words to fit their needs and my brothers and I learned it as if it was the right way to talk.

"Giving him the business", now that's one that I still use. Remember that football game probably ffifteen or twenty years ago...it had to be a Dolphins/Bills game. John Madden and Pat Summeral were the announcers (God, I miss them.) One player roughed up another and the ref called a penalty. I still hear Madden saying he'd been given the penalty for "giving him the business" and he pantomimed having someone in a headlock and punching him in the head. Am I the only one who remembers that fantastic moment?!? It was classic Madden and because he used that phrase, I allow myself to use it as well. I encourage you to give it try if it's not already part of your repertoire.

Funny business, this language thing. I think everyone agrees that music has the ability to transport you to another place and time. Certain songs can take you back to a particular age and you remember who you were with, how you felt, who you were in love with, etc. Words and phrases also have that ability. My accidental uttering of "supper" started a landslide of memories that just kept coming. It was unexpected and overwhelming.

Do you say tadpole or pollywog?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Deal With It

I can't hold my tongue any longer. I just can't! It's not in my nature and well, there you have it.

This little piece of virtual real estate is mine. I should be free to post whatever, whenever...but as we learned last month, there are people who get grossly offended when others voice opinions that differ from their own. Grow the hell up and move on.

Since my tangle with the prez of the local college (thanks to my back-stabbing former co-worker) (Do I sound bitter? I am.), I've removed all of the posts about "the incident" and the ensuing drama. That alone was painful to do. Since then, I've avoided posting altogether. I've written posts and then deleted them without publishing because I didn't want to hurt my chances to be hired by another agency. The self-censorship is making me crazy. I write. It's what I do to blow off steam and stay on a semi-even keel. I can't stop doing it just because my blog is being monitored.

I just reread that paragraph and it makes me sound like a full-blown nut job. The truth is that I have been asked about the comments posted here by a potential employer. Although the offending posts have been removed, I find myself having to explain/defend them. I suppose I might as well put them back up. The horse is already out of the barn, right?

Maybe being unemployed for five weeks has made me insensitive. Just kidding. Those of you who've read my books know that I've been insensitive for at least a year...maybe two.

Here's the rub: I still worry about my recruits and their well-being. They contact me on occasion to check in and to let me know that they're okay. I know that my instructors are doing everything within their power to make sure my kids get what they need so that they can graduate on time, but I still worry. The responsibility is no longer mine, but I'm having difficulty letting go. A few weeks ago, I received a letter from the college indicating that I'd been fired for insubordination and unprofessional behavior. I was accused of trying to sabotage the program. The program that I worked so hard to improve/grow! It was a bitter pill to swallow. In fact, I haven't managed to do so yet.

Then things got even crazier. After receiving the hate letter, the college called me. To ask for help.

Excuse me? You want my help? 

Are you shaking your head at the audacity of those donkeys? I listened to the voice mail twice to be sure that I'd understood it correctly. Yep. We need your help. Please call.

Um...is anyone else confused?

Phew! I feel better. Just putting these thoughts (and complaints) into electrons makes me feel better. I suppose that doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but that's how it works for me. Now that I've gotten all of this negative crap outta my skull, I can move on to more positive things.

Take, for example, my two very funny and intelligent children. They are the greatest things I've ever accomplished and I adore them. They are proof that I am not a total jackass.

Then there's Halloween. It's only 57 days away, you know. You'd better get busy.

Let's not forget book number three, which still doesn't have a title. During my days of censorship, the book suffered too. Now that I've thrown caution to the wind and am blogging again, it's happily moving forward once again.

Ahhh.... it's good to be back. Did you miss me?