Saturday, December 31, 2005

How Come Our Special Place is Never Where We Are?

I really should be in bed. It's 2 a.m. and I'm starting to get philosophical. Not a good sign.

I was going through my email (don't even let me begin to tell you how that's all screwed up because of adware...ahhh...another story for another time) and in my writing group, they were talking about wanting to be in certain places and one of the members asked why is it that our special place is never where we are?

Quite an interesting subject.

When I was young, I traveled a great deal. When I married, my husband and I traveled somewhat. But, for the last twenty years, I have stayed in the same area. It's not the kind of area I envision my dream place to be, but if that is so, why have I stayed here?

There is a big wide world out there with loads of possible destinations in which to hang up my hat, but why is it that I've given up on the hope of ever getting there?

I think it's my age. I'd love to live somewhere else but do you realize what that would involve? Relocating is not for the faint of heart. Or is that feint? I don't know, but I do know that I've become somewhat "settled" in my boomer chick life, and besides that, my special place changes so much that just settling for where I am now seems to be my non-intentional destination to hang that proverbial hat.

Just last year, I wanted to live in the mountains of Tennessee. Last week, I was actually contemplating moving to Las Vegas. What is going on here?

Hm...let's see...mountains, desert, mountains, desert.

Now you see why I've stayed in the same place for the last twenty years? I can't make up my mind!

I think, though, that people envision these special places to live as a means of an escape. It's nice to think of wonderful places to live and we let our imagination take us there, but is that the way life really is? Is the grass really greener on the other side?

I don't know. I'll probably stay here for the rest of my life, dreaming of places to live, but you know, I think the real truth of the matter is we're never happy with where we are and that's why we travel to different places, trying new things out and the end results are we are never satisfied. Never happy. Once we get to our dream destination, it's never really the same as we envisioned it, is it?

Well, it's time to nod off for the night. Night John Boy.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Am Getting Soooo Psyched

Christmas is FINALLY over and now I can turn my attention to this trip to Las Vegas coming up.

I have no idea what will be on our agenda but one of the highlights will be in traveling to the California state border and maybe even take a trip to one of the cities within the state, who knows.

I was looking up on Mapquest.com for which towns I would be traveling through to get to the border and it seems to me that Spring Valley is the first one. That's a picture of it over to the right. Isn't it simply breathtaking?

Look at that sky. Look at those mountains!!!

Anyway, I've not been blogging the past few days because I've been working my butt off, plus exploring ways to make my own ebook cover. My ebook "How to Find and Keep Your Soul Mate" is in dire need of a new cover, so I checked out this program called RealDrawPro. It's tricky. Not bad once I get used to all the gizmos and thingamabobs. I still can't figure out a few things but I'm going back in and try.

I was playing around with it and I came up with a cover that will do until I can get one better made. It's to the right there somewhere. How do you like it? If you want to see a better picture of it, go here.

I'm also in the process of writing a free ebook with soul mate facts...sort of a freebie to give away when someone buys my other one. I'll need a cover for that, too...groan....

I still haven't heard from this agent for my hen lit book. It's been one month, eighteen days, twelve hours, fifty-five minutes and thirteen seconds, but then again, who's counting?

And I'm just about done with my non-fiction relationship book, "Are You My Soul Mate? Demystifying and Identifying the Soul Mate Relationship." Kinda neat title, huh?

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Party's Over...

The stockings are emptied and the turkey carcass bares a slight resemblance to the beautiful bird it once was and I am pooped.

It was a nice Christmas, but I'm sure glad it's over. Time to get back to work!

I've already got a few things brewing in my head on what I want to accomplish in the next few months. The soul mate how to book will be finished and I'm going to get back into my hen lits.

Also, in my writing group, we're talking about doing up some ebooks to give away for promotion starting with Valentine's Day. We're already talking about a Christmas ebook for next year. I already know how to put together an ebook so that shouldn't be any problem and I look at this as a great way to show everyone what a great writer's group I have. I'm so proud of'em.

Anyway, I've got to do something to keep my mind off waiting for word from this agent. Still haven't heard anything. It's been one month, fifteen days, five hours, twenty minutes and thirty-two seconds, but, hey, who's counting?

Ooooh, I have a new pet. It's a virtual pet, but I figured that I needed a mascot to give me good luck. It's Fluffy. From the Sisterhood book. That the agent will just love and send me an acceptance letter for. Or phone call. Or email. Or pigeon, doesn't matter.



my pet!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my dear friends who have stuck by me throughout the year. It is because of you I feel that I'm not alone in this big cyber-world and that there are friends out there whom I've never met, yet we share a bond whether it is through writing, talking about our crazy families or just having someone to tell our troubles to. We laugh and cry with each other and build each other up when we're down. It's simply amazing.

I won't bore you with silly little things like telling you how much I care about you or even telling you how much you mean to me, but oh what the heck, I really do. Sniff....sniff...

But, while we're all snuggled up to our families tonight, let's reflect on what a great gift life is and thank our creator for letting us become a part of a world where believe it or not, there is indeed happiness and hope. All we have to do is open our eyes.

I wish every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday and don't forget...

I love all of you and hope that the new year brings you joy, happiness, and above all, peace and good tidings. Of course, that book contract wouldn't be so bad either. *wink*

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Deflated, Decharged and Over the Hill

I thought I'd never admit it. In the words of Bunny Whimpelton, one of the protags in my hen lit book, "Some baby boomers we are, huh? We're deflated, decharged and over the hill."

Exactly my words (no pun intended).

I've been honked at, trampled on, cursed at and this is before I get out of the driveway.

I'm talking about those luntics that we commonly call "Last Minute Shoppers." I know because I'm out there.

I will admit I'm not the fastest driver out there, nor am I the wellest as I've been nursing a cold which wants soooo badly to turn into bronchitis, but I'm a trooper, and well, I needed a few more things for under the Christmas tree.

Last minute stuff. Stuff like what no one tells me they want until the last minute stuff.

"I would love a new, bigger bird cage for Floyd" kind of stuff.

Ack.

So, my daughter and I head out yesterday, thinking that the last minute shoppers will wait until Christmas Eve just before the stores shut down to show their frustrated, angry faces, but nooooo...they're early. Early Last Minute Shoppers who don't want to be out there on the roads any more than I did.

You have to understand our destination. Salisbury, Maryland, is a somewhat small city. No backups unless you hit rush hour which wasn't until hours from the time I hit it, yet you would think we were in the middle of NY City. And they were crazy! They were zipping in and out, growing impatient with my gotta-abide-by-the-speed-limit-driving and where I am nursing a cold-almost-pneumonia, I was tired before we even got out of the car.

Inside the stores was a nightmare. I will spare you the gory details. Go out there right now and look into these people's eyes. They're downright sinister-looking.

I believe this is called last-minute-shopping-anxiety. You have one thing to get and they had this 'I'll be damned if the certain store I knew it was in didn't have it so I'm searching through every damn store all over the city to find it kinda look'. Last minute shopping at its best.

Today I feel like a mack truck has run over me. And I have so much to do. Clean. Wrap presents. Clean. Wrap presents.

Merry Christmas everyone and hope you weren't one of those I flicked off in the mall for butting in front of me. I don't know what came over me. I'm really a nice person. Honest.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Send in the...NUTCRACKERS

Yikes, five days until Christmas. Anyone out there in BlogLand ready?

Speaking of Christmas, in my writing group, where we talk about just anything, we were talking about how clowns were absolutely the scariest things and it reminded me of a story about when my Used-to-Be-Adopted-Daughter (long story) first moved in with me. She's out there on her own now but I'll never forget the night I learned the one thing she was most fearful of - NUTCRACKERS.

I have loved nutcrackers from as far back as I can remember, but it was only in the last few years I seriously started collecting them. I'm not sure how many I have but it's enough to make you sit up and take notice when you come into my living room at Christmas time.

I've got all kinds from the usual to the unusual. I've even got a Goldilocks and a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Not half as scary as clowns and they sure light up the living room.

At Christmas, I take them out of the attic and line the taller ones in front of the Christmas tree and the smaller ones on top of my computer table and my bookcase. I don't even know why they intrigue me so, but I just love them all.

However, my Used-to-Be-Adopted Daughter never shared my love for nutcrackers and found them akin to Chuckie Dolls, and I'm not talking about the Rugrats.

When she first moved in here, she had to sleep on the sofa right beside the Christmas tree. As she didn't want to make a scene, she casually asked me if I could turn the nutcrackers facing the wall so that they would not be staring at her.

I thought it was hilarious, but as she was already traumatized, I did it.

Granted, she was 22-years-old, but if I had an army of clowns staring at me while I was trying to go to sleep, I would have nightmares for a year.

But, one night, after she had gone to sleep, I did something that will probably cause me to have bad karma the rest of my life.

I took the tall nutcrackers and lined them in front of her, facing her, so that when she woke up, they'd be staring straight at her.

When she awoke the next morning, an army of nutcrackers greeted her and I've never heard a scream so loud in all my life.

Needless to say, her stay at my house only lasted a couple years but it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Happy Birthday, Dallas!

There comes a time in a person's life when they find someone that touches them so and that someone just so happens to be celebrating a birthday today. His name is Dallas but he goes by FTS. I'm not even sure if Dallas is his real name...he's so secretive. But while he may be secretive about his identity, he's not secretive about the love he has for mankind as shown through his many blog postings I have read in the short time I have known him.

I'm not even sure how I found his blog, but am I so glad I did. I was astounded at the number of people who faithfully read it. And I can understand why.

FTS, or Dallas, or whatever, writes with the true humor spirit. I swear he must be channeling the great humorists who have seen better humorous times and is up above beaming down humorous thoughts into his little Dallas head. But, whatever or wherever it comes from, he's got it.

After I commented a few times on his blog, I was itching to email to tell him how great a humorist he was. I write humor, also, and have started many, many books on the subject and one day they'll actually, if the humor publishing gods are with me, be published, but I didn't want Dallas, FTS, Whatever, to slip away without me telling him how great he was.

He took it like a true blue hero. And started.

I'm not even sure how far he's come on it, but he's started on a book that is going to make Dave Barry look like that guy on American's Funniest Videos that isn't funny (can't blame him, though, blame the writers).

But, anyway, it's his birthday today and I would greatly appreciate it (you won't be sorry once you get there) if you'd go over to his blog and wish him a Happy Birthday. Tell'em Dorothy sent you and while you're there ask him how his book is coming. Gotta keep the little guy going. Especially when he'd rather cook sweaters in his microwave.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Having a Celebrity Moment

"You're the one who wrote the soul mate book, aren't you?"

I was minding my own business, trying to watch the Grinch save Christmas and waiting for my relief to come relieve me of my boredom so that I could finally go home and get some real work done and the words "soul mate book" alerted me to the fact that someone out there in Realityville was talking to me.

Just as they were about to get the good part where Cindy Lou was trying to talk the Grinch into coming to Whoville to accept his "Cheer" Award, someone stepped closer and said, "It is you. I recognize your picture on the back."

Well, hel-lo, I was experiencing a celebrity moment and didn't even realize it.

"My book?" I asked, keeping one eye on this weird person and another on Cindy Lou.

"Yes, my boyfriend gave it to me."

Well, that was neat and all that being as my damn book isn't in any bookstore in any land outside of Whoville.

"Uh, may I ask you where he bought it from?"

"I have no idea," she said. "But, I love it. I've almost read all the stories and my boyfriend and I are definitely soul mates."

Well, for fear of being Grouch unpolitically correct, I said to hell with the Grinch and focused on this girl who I had never seen in all my life. This was the first time that anyone where I live (not counting family, friends and those other poor souls that I begged to buy the book) has ever walked up to me, out of the blue and recognized my picture from the back of a book that has been out for over a year.

And, you know what?

I was at a loss for words.

I mean, how do celebrities handle this? Do you say thank you and bore them to tears with all your upcoming books so that you'll have an instant sale when they are released? How do you handle this?

I did thank her. And scribbled my website down on a torn piece of paper. Why in the hell did I do that anyway?

Because I couldn't think of anything else to do.

I'm not used to anyone coming up to me out of the blue like that and I was totally unprepared.

At booksignings, you're prepared. But, not while trying to watch the Grinch on the company's television. And not after you have resigned yourself to the fact that your book will not be on any bookshelf unless you do it by consignment which I absolutely am not going to do. I would rather sell them by hand and make more profit.

So, anyway, after she left, I really felt good. Someone had recognized me from the back of a book. A book that someone had bought them as a gift. A book that took three years of my life to put together. A book that is so special to me that I'll probably put it in my will to put a copy in my coffin with me.

Lord even knows where he bought it, but it's driving me insane trying to figure it out.

After she left, I sighed and sat back down to finish the Grinch and escape back to Whoville. Gotta love that green guy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I Found My Dream Ornament!!!

Okay, here it is!

It doesn't look EXACTLY like the one I bought but it's the closest I could find on the internet. What this is is a lady from the Red Hat Society. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. My book-to-be has three women, in their fifty-something stages of life, who break bad, do the impossible and live to tell their story. She's kind of cute, isn't she?

I hung her up, said my wish and now it's up to the creator up above to determine whether I deserve it or not. I've done my part. There's nothing more I can do.

The Sisterhood Girls want to go to NY. Please, God, let them have their wish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The War on Christmas Continues...

Hi, I'm Frannie Foxworthy, standing here at the North Pole with the one and only Santa Claus just days before Christmas when he makes his yearly pilgrimage delivering toys to all the kids in the world. He has granted Foxworthy News this special interview because he has a message he wants to tell the world and you're about to hear that message right now.

"Mr. Claus, thank you so much for granting us an interview right in the middle of peak season. I know you are quite busy right now, but can you tell us why you contacted us and what is this message you want us to hear?"

"Thank you, Frannie, and welcome to my corner of the world. As you can see in the background, my elves are gearing up for my yearly visit to all those good little girls and boys who are waiting for me to visit them, but I have a problem."

"What's that Mr. Claus?"

"I'm afraid I can't make it."

"What do you mean, you can't make it?"

"Well, you see, I was going through this famous tale someone wrote about me called 'The Night Before Christmas'."

"I love that story, Santa!"

"I'm sure you do, as well as I. This story has been told to generations after generations of children, but I'm afraid it's all about to come to an end."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm afraid I've gotten word that the President has outlawed saying 'Merry Christmas' because it offends a certain part of the world. And when I shout, 'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night,' I'm being politically-incorrect. And if Santa is being politically-incorrect, then I just can't set a good example for the children of the world anymore."

"But, Santa, you've been doing this for generations and generations!"

"I know, but the world has changed. Before you know it, they'll outlaw me even, saying that I represent something that some part of the world doesn't believe in anymore. I don't want to offend those who don't believe and I certainly can't be politically-incorrect. I may not be what some people think I am, but I'm certainly not a hyprocrit.

"So, I'm getting out before it comes to that."

"But, what about the children? What about when they get up and there's no presents under the Christmas tree for them?"

"Don't you see, Franny? Eventually, they're going to change the name altogether anyway. The Christ in Christmas offends a certain percentage of the population and the President must keep those votes, too. It's all about politics, don't you see that?"

"You mean you think that one day there won't be a Christmas?"

"Oh, there will be a Christmas, but the name will change. I'm not sure what they're going to call it. They've got top brass talking about it now but it's all top secret."

"But, what will you do, Santa, if you can't do what you've been doing for thousands of years?"

"Maybe it's time I gave it a rest. Before long, they'll outlaw me, too, so I'm thinking of a new vocation."

"New vocation?"

"Yeah, I'm thinking about going back to school and making something of myself. Try out a profession where I'll make lots of money and can buy all those material possessions that I've been painstakenly making by hand. See what's it's like to have things handed to me instead of making them myself. Receiving instead of giving. It's a new concept that I'm not sure whether I'm going to like or not, but as they say, you can't fight city hall."

"I don't know what to say, Santa."

"You don't have to say anything. Santa knows what you are thinking and I know what the rest of the world is thinking. Maybe I'll become a psychic, who knows. But, Ms. Foxworthy, I do want to say this. All this crap about the holidays is getting on my nerves and I've had it. People aren't happy unless they change this, change that, but who am I? A lowly pilgrim just trying to make the children happy. My world doesn't exist anymore. I'm not sure what the new world is going to be like, but I have a choice. I can either join it or not. I have no choice. Even though we live in a democratic age, our choices are being squashed like a June bug. So, I believe I need to hang up the suit and put Rudolf out to pasture because there is no need for me anymore."

"Santa?"

"Yes?"

"Can I still believe in you?"

"Of course you can."

Santa got real low and whispered into my ear out of the earshot of the microphone and said, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

(Please feel free to post a link to this article on your blog or wherever else you'd like to help us to save Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Don't Come Near Me When I've Had a Rejection

Can I rant a little?

I had one bummer of a night last night.

First of all, that morning, I found out a contest I had entered and just knew that there was a good chance I'd at least place, announced their finalists and my name wasn't on the list. It wasn't like I wasn't prepared for the blow because I had heard that they'd already contacted the finalists days ago and I thought for some ungodly reason, my email from them got eaten up in cyberspace. No such luck.

So, of all days, BF and I were going Christmas shopping that night. On the way, he asked me why I was so quiet and I replied with "nothing" and tried to change the mood.

I was doing a pretty good job of hiding the fact that something I wanted so bad was just not going to happen, that is, until BF stopped at that nutrition store they have in the mall.

It got to be sooooo boring, so I told him I was going to the bookstore which was right across from this store and to meet me there when he finished.

I went in the bookstore and gazed at what books was on the shelves by people I either knew or knew of, but then that also got boring. I mean, we had been shopping for a couple of hours by that time and all I had to show for it was a toothbrush with my daughter's name on it. I was impatient and wanted to get things done and get the hell out of there and back to my house where I could sulk in complete privacy.

As BF was nowhere to be found, I went back to the nutrition store and he was gone. I went back to the bookstore and no BF. By that time, smoke was starting to pour out of my ears that even the worse hot flash couldn't touch. I mean, think about it, it's Christmas so you can imagine how many people were in the mall that night. As we both don't have cell phones, finding BF again was probably going to be almost impossible.

I started freaking. Do I go back to the car? Do I go to customer service and have him paged?

I walked and walked the mall. Up and down. Peeking in every store, cussing under my breath, vowing to kill him slowly when or if I ever did find him. Meanwhile, time was running out and I wasn't going to go home with one lonely personalized toothbrush.

And then, I saw him. At a freaking vendor in the middle of the mall with some guy trying to sell him some kind of pillow thing you put on your neck for aches and pains. Doesn't he realize to avoid contact with those people, that they'll grab you and insist and insist until you just have to walk away?

Nooooooo.

So, I find him and I want to wring his neck, but he's going, "Hey, honey, look at these, aren't they cool?"

"Fine, they're cool," I said, "Buy the freaking things and let's get outta here."

But, no, it didn't stop there. All he had to do was buy the things and we could finish our shopping and go home where I could pout, scream and do whatever it took to get over my rejection, not to mention the fact that shopping with your BF or anyone of the opposite gender is going to turn normal, healthy hairs into a nice shade of ugly grey the more you do it.

"Put this on your shoulder," he said.

"I've seen'em, I've had'em on my shoulder, I want to get outta here."

"But look at this!" he said.

He had some strange concoction in his hand. The closest I can come to describing it is it looks like a big spider with steel legs that you place on top of your head and by raising it up and down, it massages your head.

That's when the beady-eyed little foreign dude made his appearance.

Before I had time to say to BF, "I'm ready to go," the beady-eyed little foreign dude was pulling at the barrettes in my hair saying, "Take these off."

Do whaaaat?

"Take these off and I show you how it works."

Like hell I was. I kept resisting and he kept insisting.

"Take these off."

"No!"

"Take these off."

"NO!!!!!!!"

"Take these off."

Weeeell...by that time, something happened inside of me. I became what I never wanted to become this season....the typical Christmas shopper who had had enough of Christmas, enough of ho-ho-hoing around and I screamed at him.

"YOU'RE THE REASON WHY I SMOKE!"

I stomped off, leaving BF yelling for me to come back and I high-tailed it to the nearest exit and huffed and puffed away.

And vowed next year, I was doing all my shopping online.

I walked back into the mall and sat down in one of those chairs where you put in a dollar and they massage you (now that's ingenuity in the making...no beady-eyed foreign dudes involved) and I fumed away.

Finally, BF walks over to me and says, "He talked me into $80 worth of stuff, but you ought to see all these neat things..."

It served him right. I hope the little foreign dude took every last dime of his and we could finally go home.

I hope your Christmas shopping is done because, take it from me, it's a madhouse out there.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Anxiety Syndrome or Where Did Christmas Go?

Well, it hit.

Two weeks left to do my Christmas shopping and my list to buy for Christmas goodies isn't even complete yet. Not only that, I have yet to find my dream ornament.

And I'm panicking.

I have no idea what happened. I started early, but did I start too early?

By now, the Christmas-decorated yards are looking a little passe and I'm ignoring the guy ringing the bell at the Salvation Army set-up they have in front of all the local stores with disdain. My dream tree, while still beautiful, sits in the corner and I haven't oohed and aahed at it for a week now. My heart is pounding because I haven't finished my Christmas shopping and I feel that time and money is running out.

Why couldn't I have finished the shopping last month anyway?

Nooooo...I just had to have that Christmas experience of going out among the masses of shoving, impatient and rude last minute shoppers. Where is my brain?

Well, now I'm having it and wishing that I could have had it last month instead.

Tonight, we are going out to try to finish. In the cold. With the mobs of shoppers who are going to be pushing and shoving. I have things to get and it's going to be a mad rush to try to find them before I a) lose my mind, b) buy something that is too overpriced because I want to get the hell out of there and c) completely hate Christmas altogether.

Oh, yeah, here's the clincher. I got an irate email from someone this morning blasting me for my views on being allowed to say Merry Christmas. I tried to explain to her that Christmas started out as a religious holiday anyway and what's the fuss all about, but she insisted that Yule was first. What's this Yule? She's pagan, so I figure it has to do with something to do with it. I don't know. I'm religious-challenged, I guess.

So, my day is going swiftly. Hope yours is going better than mine and hope you don't get Christmas Anxiety Syndrome. Can we trade lives?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Search for the Dream Ornament & The Perfect Punk

I have two weeks left to find that ornament I need to buy to represent what dream I want to happen and yesterday's search ended up zilch. If you are confused on what in the heck I am talking about, click here. Don't you just hate it when you walk in on a movie that's half over and you don't know what in the heck is going on? That link will explain.

I've got to find that ornament. I know what the dream is; I just have to find an ornament to represent it. More than anything in the upcoming year besides good health, a lob cabin in the mountains and do nothing but write, I wish for a book I have written to be snatched up by a dream agent who will find me a top NY publisher. Heh. Hey, this is my dream!

I took my son and daughter Christmas shopping yesterday, fully intending on buying their Christmas clothes (I can't buy for them for I take the easy way out..here's the credit card, have a field day) and finding my dream ornament.

Found the Christmas clothes but the dream ornament has yet to surface.

The crowd wasn't bad, though, and our spirits couldn't have been in better sync with one another as my daughter, son and I ploughed through a few department stores and the mall, stopping at Texas Road House for a steak and baked potatoe dinner. Ymmm.

I bought jeans, bought shirts, bought underwear, bought shoes, but didn't buy my ornament.

Oh, I could have if I wanted to plunk down eleven bucks for a personalized ornament, and I really did give that one some thought. I could put my book's name on it! But, eleven bucks for an ornament sent my pocketbook to trembling. I'd put it through enough stress already.

After we finished shopping, we went out to eat at Texas Road House where my Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be (long story) and her step-sister was already in the restaurant.

My Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be walked over to us and I have no idea how this happened, perhaps we were all giddy from the Christmas shopping, but someone came up with the perfect plan to "punk" Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be's step-sister.

Now, you have to know Texas Road House. If it's anyone's birthday, the whole staff comes out of the back, clapping and marching in unison until they get to the victim's - oops, birthday person's - table, then they take the overhead light and shine it in the victim's - oops again, birthday person's - face, then go into this ear pitching, hee-haw sort of birthday song. Then, they walk away, leaving the person completely red-faced, vowing that whoever told them it was their birthday would not walk out of the restaurant with both of their legs. Or arms. Or whatever else they could chop off.

Now, the thing was, it wasn't even Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be's step-sister's birthday.

Okay, you get the picture. It was the perfect punk. It's bad enough to have this happen to you on your birthday, but when it isn't, well, I wouldn't want to be the person doing the punking, I'll tell you that.

My Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be went back to her table and when our waitress came over to check on us, my daughter oh-so-innocently said, "I don't mean to be a bother, but do you remember the girl who was sitting here with us? Well, it's her step-sister's birthday and I know how you all hate doing that hee-haw thing you do, but could you?"

The waitress got that oh-another-victim! gleam in her eye and said sure.

We waited. My daughter gave my Adopted-Daughter-Used-To-Be the thumbs up.

We waited and waited.

Sure enough, we heard the clapping. It started off faintly, then as it got closer to us, we knew it was...SHOWDOWN.

My daughter, son and I were dying, trying to keep a straight face, but we couldn't.

They all hee-hawed over to their table, and the girl? She went, "But, my birthday isn't until July!"

Didn't matter. They didn't believe her.

It was the perfect punk. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it. The girl wanted to die.

But, she took it like a trooper. It was the perfect ending for a perfect night.

I never did get my ornament. But, seeing the expression on that girl's face was the next best thing.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Strange Encounter of the Santa Kind

When I was a young kid, even after I "found" out on my own about the possibility that there might not be a Santa Claus, my mother, on the other hand, insisted that there was and for many years, I had to pretend just to keep her happy.

This went on until I was a full-fledged teenager.

However, Santa meant that someone would be bringing me whatever my heart desired and there was comfort in that. My step-father was in the army and while I don't remember being poor, I do remember that whatever my heart desired didn't happen and I knew that at least I could count on one person to give it to me, or at least I could wish for it to happen.

Santa was magical back in those days.

I would create long lists to leave out on the coffee table alongside his cookies and milk every Christmas Eve. As we had no chimney for him to climb down, I'd make sure the door was unlocked before I went to bed (thank goodness we didn't have much crime back then).

Even though the kids in the neighborhood insisted there was no Santa, I still believed, for to lose that belief meant that my dream Christmas list was only going to sit on the coffee table and be completely ignored by my parents (who the kids said was the real santa) who only gave me things they thought I needed like things to develop my intelligence instead of fun things like shoe skates and dolls that wet in their pants.

Before Christmas arrived, we heard there was going to be a television show where kids could come on and tell Santa what they wanted. Aha, I said, now's my chance to find out if Santa really existed and, if so, tell him all the things I wanted that year.

When we got to the studio, the line of kids was humongous. I was really young and the crowd intimidated me, not to mention I was about to go on live T.V.

By the time it was my turn to sit on Santa's lap, I froze. The cameras were aimed at me and all of a sudden I found myself sitting on Santa's lap with millions of people watching me and monitoring my every word. For some ungodly reason, my Christmas list disappeared from my memory banks.

"And what do you want Santa to bring you this year?"

I could hear this fat man in the red suit saying something to me and I just sat there with beads of perspiration dripping down onto my frilly little dress that Mama bought me just for the ocassion.

Santa repeated, "Little girl, what would you like Santa to bring you this Christmas?"

I knew I had to say something. His breath was right in my face and the cameras were rolling and my parents and everyone else on God's green earth was staring at me, waiting for me to respond and I thought I was going to die, but somehow, some way, these words came out:

"A baby doll."

Hell, I thought. Well, back then hell wasn't allowed in my vocabulary, but I was thinking it.

It reminded me of that kid in that Christmas movie they play every year when all he wants is this BB gun and the words just wouldn't come out no matter how hard he tried.

Santa smiled and said, "What else would you like?"

"A baby doll."

"Yes, I can see what I can do, but what else would you like?"

"A baby doll."

Santa saw that he was getting nowhere with me, so he nodded, then gave me a candy cane and told me to have a Merry Christmas.

I got out of his lap, took my stroll down the ramp, and fell completely on my toosh in front of everyone. I was humiliated beyond my wildest dreams. In front of millions of people. Completely mortified was a bit of an understatement.

When I got home, I panicked. I had one chance and I blew it. I sulked for days, wondering if there was going to be ONE gift under the tree - a doll baby - and that all the rest of the kids in the neighborhood would be getting so much more and I'd be getting a stupid doll baby because that's all I could muster up the strength to say.

Christmas morning came and I peeked into the living room. My note was gone. The cookies and milk were gone. I crept over to the tree and there was my doll baby. I picked her up and there was a note attached to her little blanket. I read it and it said,

"Here is your Christmas wish. Because you were not selfish, I
decided to give you a bit more than you asked for this year. I only wish
that more kids would follow in your example and I will hope that you can teach
these kids that Christmas is all about the spirit of giving and not
receiving. You have been a good girl and I'll see you next year!
Love, Santa."


I'll never forget that Christmas. Sometimes our gifts in life comes to us whether we ask for them or not. But I learned a lesson that Christmas. Never, ever, ever, let anyone ever, ever, ever talk me into going on T.V. again, no matter what's at stake.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Christmas Experience

Well, I'm going out tonight to find my dream ornaments and do a little Christmas shopping. Brave soul, aren't I? I could have had it done back in November, but then I'd be missing out on THE EXPERIENCE and I certainly want to be Christmas-politically-correct as I've managed (forced) myself to do over the years.

The experience has come in all sorts of shapes over the years from sheer joy to downright nausea, but I'm happy to say I've lived through fifty of them so far and have come away unscathed. It's a brutal world out there and nothing compares to the Christmas gift-buying season except maybe a nuclear attack. Not that I'd want to find out what that was like.

If I had to narrow it down to which Christmas buying season I liked the best, it would have to be the time when I was living in Ft. Ord, California, and it was Christmas Eve and for some ungodly reason back then it was Christmas-politcally-correct to put the dang tree up on Christmas Eve and not months before like it is custom now.

Well, we're all there, my mother, sister, step-dad and I, and we're putting up the tree in true Americana style and lo and behold my mother shouts, "These lights aren't working!"

She throws the old lights down on the floor and tells me to grab my coat, we're going to the store.

I don't think there were malls back then, and by that time, only one department store was open that late and god help them if they were out of lights.

My step-dad stayed back, watching my sibling, and my mother and I took off on foot across this big field on the way to this store. I'm not sure why we didn't drive; maybe the car was broke down or something. And Lord only help us if someone tried to jump us, but I figure back then it wasn't a problem like it is now.

Well, we take off. The stars are out which helps lead the way. My mother and I trekking across this field of bramble bushes on our way to get these lights before my sibling nodded off.

It was magical.

I'll never forget the peacefulness that overcame me even at seven years old. My mother and I talked about a lot of things, but the one thing that stood up was the fact that she told me I walked like I was pigeon-toed. After she told me that, I made a conscious effort to walk straight, but it didn't work.

But, if you could have been there, it was as if God was leading the way, making sure we accomplished our mission without any harm. It was, after all, Christmas Eve, and even thieves must have been gathered around their own Christmas trees that night because it was only my mother and I. Together. No one else.

I think back to that journey many times over my life. What was it that made that memory stand out and others disappear? Was it the fact it was Christmas Eve and the next day was Christmas, the most joyous of all holidays?

Maybe. But, I think the real answer lies in the fact that on that starry, starry night, the spirits of both my mother and I were in sync. It was a bonding moment and I am so glad I wasn't deprived of this memory.

But, also, I found out when I grew older and had children of my own, most Christmas Eves were spent exhausted, putting together toys, throwing things in stockings and collapsing in bed at 4 a.m. in the morning.

This season I'm going to bring all that back. My kids are older and I don't have to stay up all night putting together toys and stuffing stockings (I buy bags now and have them filled to the brim in appropriate hiding places). Everything is going to be in order and I'm going to take them for a walk under the starry sky and hope I create a memory for them, too.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blast From My Past - Another Karmic Soul Mate Found!

This is just the most incredible thing. I got home from work tonight and found an email from an internet friend, Kathy Holmes. While I feel she's more than an internet friend, I never would have even guessed what exciting news she had for me, which only goes to prove she's my soul sister for life (that's her and her snazzy red mustang in the picture to the right)!

After reading my post from yesterday in which I told the story of my need to have some closure after my mother's death and coming to terms with never having a "real" family after leaving my homeland, California, she gave me some startling news.

Seems her dad was stationed at Ft. Ord, too, the very place I used to live when I had a "real" family! This has to be over forty years ago!

While this may not seem all that big a deal to anyone else, you have to understand how long I've been looking for my lost family and friends from my homeland, California. As I was a young child when I left, I don't have but first names of people and that led me nowhere. I'd put my old school (Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Burbank) in Google and try to find out anything about my past and that even turned up fruitless. I'm not even sure why this is all so important to me. Is it my age? Do other boomer chicks find themselves looking up their past like it's so very important to them?

So, anyway, let me tell you how all this ties in with Kathy. It's funny how you can relate to some people and with others there's just nothing there, and then something happens like it did tonight, which leaves you completely dumbfounded.

I never knew Kathy before meeting her in the chick lit group on the internet. For some odd reason, I clicked with her. I knew she came from California, but I didn't think that was it. I knew she and I both wrote hen lit and was encouraging each other all the way, but there was still more that neither her or I really understood. I would joke that she's my soul sister, but I felt that it was because we seemed so alike and, also, I felt like there was some weird spiritual communication with her, as if I have known her all my life.

And, omg, I find out of all the people in the world, and not being able to find one person from my past, I find out that she was at the same army base as I was when we were kids! Did we play with each other? Did we happen to see each other in passing and perhaps smile at each other and then go on our way? And is this why we feel this bond now? It's crazy, isn't it???

Well, I'm just beside myself. I actually have found part of my past. Incredible. Simply incredible. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together.

But, wait, there's more. She was so enthralled by my post yesterday that she wants my story for a book about fatherless daughters. Her agent has given the nod, so she's going to be starting on that in January. And she wants me story. By the way, if anyone has a fatherless daughter experience and wants to share it with her, click here and you can read all about it.

Life is surely incredible, isn't it?