February 28, 2008

The Short Form

I can't be arsed to write think of anything to blog that merits more than a Twitter-worth.

I can't create more than six sentences (or, if I'm lucky on the rare every other week or so, 200 words) of quasi-fictional (or even completely made-up) prose.

And to think ... I'm applying to a program where I have to write a novel (which, by the way, I'm procrastinating about because I've convinced myself I won't be accepted ... so much for all that Life Clubby coaching work I do for other people).


Am I succumbing to ADD? Perhaps suffering from the loss of any level of concentration I might have once had?

Or is it just February (which has seemed like an awfully long month ... at least to me, what about you)?

And what's with all the parentheses?

Or are they brackets?

February 23, 2008

Ah, the Weekenders

One of the pleasant aspects of riding the tube on a Saturday afternoon is that you don't have to watch beleaguered early-morning commuters putting on their make-up because they couldn't be arsed to get out of bed fifteen minutes earlier to do it in the privacy of their own bathrooms.

Of course, as with anything there is a trade-off. This afternoon I got a twofer. The first was the twenty-something bloke who quickly negated any cute points by sticking his finger up his nose and digging as if he were working towards a lobotomy. He then withdrew his digit to carefully examine whatever was now beneath his fingernail, twirl it around a bit with this thumb, wipe it on his jeans' leg and then dig again. All this while carrying on a conversation with his mate.

Meanwhile, the guy across from me unwrapped his bagel sandwich while trying to drink a bottle of Pret pomegranate juice. He dribbled a bit of juice, wiped most of it up off of his chin and then tucked into his sandwich. Some lettuce fell onto the seat between his legs. Undaunted, he picked the garnish up off the upholstered cushion (which clearly gets steam cleaned and disinfected every night) and plopped it into his mouth.

Waste not, want not.

February 21, 2008

She Scares Me


February 20, 2008

I Haven't Pimped for Awhile

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Attention writers and readers alike.

If you haven't picked up a copy of this, you're missing quite the collection of flash fiction. More details are here, and it's raising money for an excellent cause. I'm one of the contributors, but don't let that scare you away. There's some amazing work in here.


Here's another good cause. Peach is putting together a collection of writing to benefit War Child.

We would like you to submit (to us at bloggersforcharity@yahoo.co.uk) a written piece about something you've been through from any aspect of your life that you want to share. It can literally be about anything: your relationships, your past, a road not taken, being a parent, an illness or your regrets etc. We've called it "You're Not The Only One" to reflect the camaraderie of blogging.

Go on. Buy a book, get something submitted and then start pimping (no offense, Chelsea).

And, thanks for asking, the swimming sessions are going very well. It's a bit disconcerting to relearn a skill you thought you already knew, but things seem to be going, well, swimmingly.

February 19, 2008

Tuesday 200 — #74

Settling down on Brighton Beach, Mark rocks from side to side, stones shifting to support him. Legs crossed, eyes softly focused beyond the breakers. Cyan mornings are meant to be savored, like weekends in bed with a new lover. Breathe in. Breathe out. One, two, three, four. Two decades of meditation and he still begins by counting. One breath after the other, like waves rolling in, disappearing into parentheses of foam.

Memories of a coastal village he’d unexpectedly visited freshman year. An energy between boys sparking excitement and fear. A used bookstore’s copy of “The Best Little Boy in the World.” Slipping it into his pocket, too ashamed to carry anything about fags to the bulldog behind the till.

Back to the breath. Releasing road trips up the Cape. Sweaty, sandy sex in dunes with men he’d never seen who tasted so familiar. Meeting Ryan that perfect August Tea. New Year’s in the fixer-upper that became a hospice. Scattering Ryan’s ashes in Herring Cove.

One, two …

Meditating tears. Not an ocean, barely a puddle. Just enough to discredit The Cure.

Boys do cry.

It’s ghosts who don’t cry. But sometimes they float into your practice, and beckon you home.

:: :: ::

What's a Tuesday 200?

Last time's Tuesday 200.


February 18, 2008

Oh. Yes. Right. Blogging. What's That?

Well, blimey. Haven't been much for the blogging of late, have I? I guess it's time to post something when even Larry says "you haven't blogged for awhile, is everything okay?"

Yep, everything's okay. Thanks to everybody who sent kind wishes, either in comments or email or elsewhere, about Grandma. I owe lots of people lots of responses and will endeavor to get back to you all over the course of the week.

I'm back in London. The funeralities are over and done with in Skylineville and I think (at least I hope) everyone is settling back into their day-to-day pre-hospice worlds as best as they can. It's been quite a ride, and I know I had it easy compared to those who are there full-time. Bless y'all. There's still a lot of peace to be found and I hope it comes quickly.

Life does go on though, doesn't it? I'm starting up with a group of five Iraqi policemen this week who have beginner to pre-intermediate language skills. That will be fascinating. Almost as fascinating as the five half-hour 1-2-1 sessions I've booked with Stefano, my new Brazilian swim instructor, who'll be getting wet with me this week in order to improve my stroke and endurance. Two goals in mind here ... 1) to work up to at least a triathlon sprint distance and b) to help lose this flab around my middle. And to maybe learn to re-enjoy swimming as a sort of exercise slash meditation. Oh, that's three goals, innit.

Larry's done with garden leave as of tomorrow morning and I will once again become a banking widow. That went fast, eh? Fortunately, I'll have my new south-of-the-border watersports buddy to keep me company, for a week at least. Btw, Swimming Nature sent me his full name and did Google him, finding someone who could be said person on Facebook. If it's him, he's straight and much cuter (perhaps intimidatingly so) than he needs to be. I guess it goes with the territory. If I were only slightly less secure, I'd have needed to drop a stone over the weekend just to get into the water with him. As it is, I opted for ten pounds.

What else? Oh, yes. Lovely to see Gordon (who is the designer of yonder Bob's Yer Uncle) et al at his wee meet-up on Friday, as well as to catch up with my long-lost traveling companion at my new favorite gentlemen's pub (the refurb and flirty bouncers are most refreshing).

I'm headed to Scotland in a month to take an Arvon course — I'm promised by natives that the weather will be dire at best. No internet access but plenty of rain and fog and time to write.

Saw the droolingly excellent Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood this weekend. Liked him better than the film, which I found to be too long and too slow. Still pregnant with hope that the darkies (TWBB and No Country For Old Men) cancel each other out and the perfectly scripted Junoends up drinking both their milkshakes and draining all the votes for Best Picture. I got to see our little independent gem of film again last week, and Paulie Bleeker is still totally boss.

(those of you who haven't seen the films will have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's okay ... I haven't given anything away)

That's about all for now. Regular blogging should be resuming over the course of the week. I might even get a 200 up this week. Or not. Has anybody really missed them?

Oh, and a big howdy-do to the Cougar fans at CougZone. Not sure how or why I got featured in a college sports site, but thanks for the shout out and welcome to BYU (and don't knock the cheese conies until you've tried them!).

And now, with a proverbial bowling pin in my hand, for the the time being at least, "I'm finished."

February 8, 2008

Stupid F*cking Cancer

"I'm just so tired. And I keep on waking up."

That's what Grandma said a couple of days ago. She was weary and ready to go. And so she did, at home, surrounded by all her daughters, about 1:30 this morning.

Ninety-one years is quite a good ride, and everybody who knew Bunny will have their own memories and reasons to be thankful for having her in their life.

So I'll be extending my stay here in Cincinnati for a spell. Which, aside from being able to be here for my mom and sister, will give me lots more blogging fodder in the near future.

And oh my, there's a cornucopia of hilarity (well, except for the dying thing and all) around here lurking around every corner: five-pound pails of lard at Wal-Mart; breakfasts at Bob Evans with way-too-perky waitresses serving way-too-shiny gravy; my stepmom using her cat as a neckwarmer/ventriloquist dummy; the cavalcade of crazy otherwise known as my family (the next few days leading up to the funeral could very well be a series of novels in the making).

Oh, and a big shout out to all the new readers from Fuel My Blog. I suppose there have been more festive times to have been selected as Blog of the Day, but hey ... life's funny that way.

Rest In Peace
Bernice Augusta Reschke Dinse Lampila
January 25, 1917 - February 8, 2008

February 6, 2008

Veiled Intentions


Oh lookie, I've got another little ditty up at Six Sentences.

It Was Twenty Pounds Years Ago Today

The Godmother saw my post yesterday and found pictures from Mardi Gras a couple decades ago.

I especially like the "what a way to spend Easter" t-shirt, lest we not forget Mardi Gras is a religious celebration.

And here we are, then and now.

Time, like a Fat Tuesday parade, marches on.

February 5, 2008

Super Duper Fat Tuesday

baconbox.gifGreetings from Cincinnati Ohio where Ribs are King and bacon comes in a box. I was gobsmacked.

"But it's bacon. In a BOX," I nearly yelled at the Kroger's while my sister stepped away from me as I pleaded we must have it. She said it was not allowed, uh-uh, no way, in her house.

Never fear, there are other culinary delights in my fair home town, once known as Porkopolis (true story) and The Queen City (also true).


Mmmm, what you see above is called two cheese conies with onions and mustard and a five way. It's my staple order at Skyline. Delicious. That poised fork you see in the background belongs to my brother-in-law, as he gets ready to tuck into a four way.

Alas, crap food is not the purpose of this visit. No, as most of you know, I'm here because of the crap cancer taking its toll on Grandma Bunny. I've spent some time with her over the past couple of days, and I'm on the home hospice overnight rota tonight.

She's not doing great, but she looks better than I expected. She's oh so tired, very apologetic for being "not such good company", and, frankly, I think just over it.

Her body is failing, but her heart (the physical organ as well as the emotional core) and brain are still very strong it seems, so there's a bit of a dichotomy. She's got a lot to say, but not much strength to say it with.

Last night we got a mini-lectures on cleavage. Reclining in her lazy boy, covered in a blanket ("I'm not really cold, but I like the weight"), she told us, with eyes closed, that women are much more seductive in long flowing gowns than the strappy bathing suits that they wear on tv these days. "You all probably disagree with me, but that's my opinion. I used to have a black bathing suit, a one piece, with lace on it. Your grandpa was very fond of that." Rummaging through pictures this morning, I think I found that suit ...

Nice, eh?

And this one is one of my favorites. I reckon It's probably close to twenty years old, but that still makes her around 70 years old. Maybe 65.

I'm looking forward to spending the night with her tonight. It might not be the most raucous Mardi Gras I've ever had, but it very well might be the most special.

Oh, and get out there and vote if you can. I'm not telling you who to vote for, but I'm hoping your candidate might be this one.

February 3, 2008

Fly the Noisy Skies

My flight into Chicago was delayed yesterday so I missed my connection.

That's two-for-two on getting stuck at O'Hare. The friendly people at American Airlines found a space for me on a United flight into Cincinnati, so I only was set back a couple extra hours, which in the grand scheme of things isn't so bad, I suppose.

Being a "rescheduled" passenger is a lot like being Rosa Parks in the sky. I was assigned a seat at the back of the airbus, despite lots of space on the plane. When I asked if I could move up, I was told those were Economy Plus seats.

"But I'm having a heavy flow day," I said. "I've been traveling for twelve hours now and could really use the extra comfort and protection of a plus size."

That got me no where.

Later on, in at least two PA announcements, we were all told that United is thrilled to offer its passengers Economy Plus seating, as long as they pay extra before hand and pre-book the seats. Not only are you closer to the exit and further away from the galley (which means you miss out on the flight attendant's tales of trips to Rio and how "fabulous" the first-class amenity kits are ... "real H20 products, not just the samples like the business-class amenity kits, the flight wasn't crowded so I took a half-dozen extra because I LOVE H20"), but you get up to "five extra inches" of leg room.

I wonder how much extra you have to pay to not sit next to an acne-faced twenty-something who talked into his digital voice recorder while eating three (count 'em, three!) McDonalds burgers after the plane had taken off.

Air travel is so glamorous.

But I made it to Cincinnati, only slightly emotionally scarred, and am now safely ensconced in my sister's house, listening to kd lang, waiting for the kids to wake up, looking at old pictures of my Grandma, and getting ready to go see the old dear.

February 1, 2008

It's a Launch!

Your Messages launched last night, and I was lucky enough to be one of the sixteen contributing readers.

I think it went well, and I was especially flattered when one of the other contributors congratulated me and said, "I wish I had a recording of your reading." Gosh, all those voice-over classes/auditions back in another life might have paid off.

It was wonderful to see Lynne Rees again, and so very good to finally meet Sarah Salway. As I've said before, they created Messages, which was the inspiration for my Tuesday 200s and they also organized the Your Messages project.

The other bonus was meeting so many of the people that collaborated on the project during the month of November. I'd exchanged emails with a few of them, and it's always exciting to put faces to cyber-personas and have an actual conversations. There's tons of great work in this little collection (and in the original book as well).

Bluechrome (yonder publisher) has decided to donate the entire book (not just the profits) to charity, so why not buy a copy? It's all for Kids Company, which is an excellent cause.

Here's what I read ...

(you can click here to see the prompt, as well as the other responses to the original Message)

This is how quickly your life can change …

It's not you, it's me. You got the part. Twins! There's been an accident. You're fired. I just don't think I love you anymore. There’s been a complication. You may kiss the bride. Bingo! Your co-star is Val Kilmer. It’s too late for the epidural. Please hold for the President.

I'm pregnant. They were attempting to buy yellow cake. I lost the baby. You’ve got a letter from the IRS. Sorry son, you’ll have to come with us. We’ve confirmed you on American, Flight 11 out of Boston. It was only a kiss. What do you mean he’s allergic to nuts? And the Oscar goes to. We need to talk. It’s malignant. This is going to hurt me a lot more than you. Oh crap, the condom broke. We find the defendant ...

You've tested positive. I’m sorry, did I wake you? Flight attendants, prepare for emergency landing. And tonight’s final Super Lotto number is. I want you to piss on me. Iceberg! There’s going to be an audit. Fancy a threesome? She’s out of remission. I think I like goats. Code blue. I found a lump. My boss needs a date. Don’t move or I’ll kill you. You'd better sit down.

Good afternoon ma'am, are you the Lance Corporal’s mother? There was an IED. I've met someone. "Baaaa" means no. You don’t understand, I’m a white witch. Do you promise to not get mad? They’ve taken my passport. I have a gun. It’s not your child. What do you mean you enlisted? I heard from the clinic today. Hold on, Mom, the policeman wants to talk to you. The rabbit died. The good news is …

Do you promise not to tell?

I am so very sorry, we did everything we could.