Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ages ago, my dear uncle known as Bourbon John, taught me the difference between a pessimist and an optimist. The story he told still remains in my head. According to John:
A mother of twin boys was worried because they were so different from each other. She feared there was something wrong with both of them, so she took them to a psychiatrist to see if he could figure out what it was that made them so different. After all, they were twins.
The doctor examined each boy, gave them numerous expensive tests for several weeks before coming to this conclusion.
"Madam, you have one son who is an optimist while the other is a pessimist."
The woman didn't really know what that meant, but she begged the doctor to come up with a cure for both of them. "Please, doctor! Help my sons! Can you do anything for them?"
The doctor scratched his chin and thought for awhile, then abruptly nodded his head. "Yes, madam, I can think of a possible way to cure both boys." And a date was arranged for the next, and supposedly final, appointment.
He arranged two large rooms. The first, he had brought in all the wonderful things a boy could want--new toys, cake and ice cream, balloons, you name it, it was there. Into this, he put the pessimist child.
In the other room, he had a farmer lay down a carpet of horse manure, nothing else. He loaded the optimist into this room.
After two hours, he went back to the first room. It saddened him to find the child sitting on the floor, crying. "What's wrong? You had everything a boy could want in here. You should be happy!"
The boy wiped his snotty nose and replied, "The balloons all popped. The cake wasn't chocolate, the soda pop was flat, and all the toys broke too easily."
The doctor harrumphed and nodded sadly.
Going to the room full of manure, he opened the door and found the optimist child laughing and prancing around the room, searching everywhere. To him, the doctor said, "Child, what could you possibly be glad about? This room is dismal!"
The boy looked up from his search and said simply, "Well, doctor, with all this horse shit on the floor, I figured there had to be a pony in here somewhere."
And that, my friends, is the best definition of optimism and pessimism I've ever heard.
I pass this on to you at the start of the new year.
I hope 2018 is full of manure and you keep on looking for that pony!

Monday, December 11, 2017

This is supposed to be a joyous time of year. All the lights, the magic, the thought of Christ's birth and the renewal of all the delights of my childhood.
These things are all crap to me.

My mother is dying.

She has been in hospital to rehab center to nursing home to hospice in the past two months.

It hurts so much to see her slowly dissolving--fading--losing her Anne and becoming a mindless vegetable. Sometimes she remembers stuff. Most of the time, she doesn't. She's not eating. I think she may be trying to starve herself.

She has a DNR. That means do not resuscitate. In other words, nothing will be done to prolong her life other than making her comfortable with drugs and changing her diaper.

Can you believe a person can slip so far downhill in such a short time?

Her memory is about the same as a goldfish's about now and that hurts. It appears that she can start to say something and before it is out of her mouth, it is gone.

My mother has always been so good to me--to all of us in the family. She never put herself forward, never took from us what she felt belonged to us. She gave up luxuries but made sure we had what we needed and wanted.

And now this wonderful spirit is gone.

The past 97 years she has spent on this Earth are only represented by us.
We'd better now screw up our lives so she can be proud of all we achieve.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


In the rehabilitation center or nursing home, so many people are in bed, sitting in wheelchairs...waiting. They wait for someone to take them to the bathroom. They wait for the meal tray or to go to the dining hall if they can wheel themselves there. They wait to see the doctors. They wait for their loved ones to come visit them.
They wait.
There's another kind of waiting.
The people who are ready to die, but seem to be waiting for someone or something else to visit or happen. Most of them really are just hanging in for fear of disappointing their loved ones and the trouble that their deaths will cause.
But then, I think, there are those who are waiting for a love long passed to come get them.
I think my mother is there now, waiting for my father to come to take her away.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

in college

One day back in the late 60s, I happened to be hitching a ride back to my off campus room from a sorority sister and noticed an open notebook on the floor of her car. The page on display was a series of the word "shit", neatly lined up, row after row.
I guess she was upset about something.
When I commented on it, she smiled and told me that there were many other pages filled just like that one was.
I haven't ever resorted to such a display...though I do write that word at the end of many sentences because, by nature, I have become an angry woman and this is my way of venting.
Now...using the word many, many times...or using it once in full caps...or just using it once, standing alone...which displays the most vehemence?
I can't really say.
It just feels better after I've written it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Down in the dumps

I can't call it depression as depression is far more serious a condition and it just never goes away. What I am feeling will go away, eventually.
Just not right away.
When I need it to go away.
Somehow, I can't seem to get my ducks in a row. I am a very ducks in a row person. I like things planned--not years in advance--but manageable. Like one, maybe two things per day that I have to absolutely MUST do. Preferably one in the morning, after 10 and one in the afternoon, around 2.
Being stuck with two things happening simultaneously creates problems and makes my stomach hurt.
I have to figure out how to divide myself, like a planeria or something. One of those microscopic life forms that can split in two.
However I try, I just can't manage to do that.
My stomach hurts. I'm exhausted. I'm sad. I'm angry. Those things I can have all at the same time.
I don't want to be like this.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Everything is always about me

Well, isn't it supposed to be?
I mean, why do I write this bloody blog if it isn't to let off steam or comment on something weird I have thought about or witnessed?

I noticed that I had not blogged since late June. It's not that nothing has happened to me since then, it's just that, well, frankly, I've been too sick to write anything other than piddly comments on FB.

I've been hospitalized with Contact Pneumonia. That means that, unlike the other times I've had pneumonia, this one I got from someone else. Possibly from Elyse who picked up the germs at a convention she went to. The kids say that everybody gets sick after cons. I believe them. Everybody here got colds. I got a worse cold.

This pneumonia is the kind that can kill.
Just my luck

We were supposed to be on our way to NC. Instead, we were first at a critical care place then to the emergency room at the local hospital, then upstairs in the ICMU. I think the M stands for the fact that I could walk and didn't need the bedpan, but I am not sure.

Shots in my belly. Antibiotic drip for three days. IV tube in hand as they couldn't find another place it would go. Horrible tasteless-without-salt food that I didn't eat much of. In fact, I dropped 12 pounds.

This wasn't fun. I couldn't walk far, couldn't breathe well, had to do all these things through the night when somebody came in to get blood or give me a shot of Prednisone (sp) or anything else they needed from my body.

I am sort of over this. Still exhausted, still have to stop from walking too fast, still feeling punk.

Then, last night, I got sick again...this time, some virus or something that had me in the toilet for four hours. Not fun. Really not fun.

I have to get better, fast. Herb is having shoulder surgery on 9 11 and he will be out of commission for six weeks at the very least. I gotta be there to help him and maintain the household.

Oh, boy.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Flying down to Rio (Carioca) 1933 (3a)

Flying Down to Rio

1933 was a great year for imaginary relative, Uncle Boris. First, he wrapped up his ape-dance on King Kong, then he drew a pencil mustache on his kisser and danced the carioca with Fred and Ginger in the above named flick.
I didn't know this until I happened to catch this movie on TCM an hour ago and noticed not only Uncle Boris, but his soon to be wife Aunt Ernestine as his dancing partner.
In the first part of the movie, she was a platinum blonde along with  Ginger and the rest of the gypsies. Then, when the movie moved to Rio de Janiero, she either wore a dark wig or dyed her hair. You can see her in the V formation, right in the middle. She's hamming it up with flashing blue eyes and a seductive tilt of her head while all the other dancers are concentrating on remembering the intricate steps.
Ah. It must have been rewarding to appear on screen with such fabulous stars as Gene Raymond (married to Jeanette McDonald), Fred and Ginger and the fabulous Eric Blore who made a handy living by playing various second or third fiddles or butlers or hoteliers. Oh, yeah. The Star? One Delores Del Rio. Supposed to be a Brazilian beauty.
I found it odd that everyone spoke English.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Twerker

My kid invented twerking.
I think.
I'm not exactly sure what twerking is, but I've seen people doing it as a joke on TV. You stick your butt out and wiggle it to music, right? Kinda foul, kinda stupid in an adult.
Cute in a little kid.

My kid--back a long time ago when she was about 4--used to stick out her butt and wiggle it, all the while singing loud and clear "Bacheechala"! She made up the word, made up the move, sang in her beautifully clear, loud voice, and made everybody laugh at her sheer joy.

Fast forward about 25 years. Twerking becomes a vulgar thing. People are doing it, watching dwarf women in Atlanta do it on TV, watching Miley Cyrus thrust out her butt and nearly wiggle it off. Doing it in clubs, too, I understand. (Not being a club person, I can't say for sure.)

Then I learn there is a game icon from one of the Mario games who twerks at his enemies...called Warrio or something like that.

My kid, who originated the move, thinks this is stupid of the character, but hilarious. She's even copied the character in her fan art.

Unfortunately, the character passes gas at his enemies while he twerks at them. I'm afraid, and glad, that this was not in the original version.

Thanks, K.

Monday, April 10, 2017


Said good-bye to two old friends today.
LiveJournal and Myspace (yes, Tom, bye bye) have been deleted.

Back when I first found out about these social media groups, I was contributing daily and reading and making friends. Myspace was first and I think I was able to advertise my two paperback novels quite well because I accumulated over 400 followers. I enjoyed reading about their lives, seeing photos of their pets and kids.
Only two of them transferred over to Facebook. Leaundra, who at the time was stationed in Germany with her Army husband. It took me a couple of months to locate her. Stephe, you were there through my illnesses. Hugs to you both.

Okay, after that, I got a warning from Karyn daughter that Livejournal was doing something weird, that it wanted us to agree to something new from the new owners from the Russian Federation that seemed a little too fishy for me. I've nothing against the Russian people, but their laws and their screwy governing body have no right to use my words in any way. I had two full novellas on LJ that I copied to paper and I intend to put up on Amazon in my own name. The Russkis have no right to them whatsoever.

Only problem is, when I printed out the many pages, the font is about ant-sized and I will have to retype everything. Since I'll be editing at the same time, it will only be tedious.

These stories I wrote when I was undergoing chemotherapy.
The kids say they're horrible!

I think they're highly imaginative, considering I had some pretty vivid dreams back then. And horrible topics, but I was dying, so one can expect a little ugliness.

There are also pages and pages detailing my problem and the medicines I had to take and the desperation I felt. This I did not copy and it is all gone now, unless the Russkis want to publish the pages as examples of how American doctors torture their cancer patients.

No. I cannot forget what happened to me. I cannot help but remember the pain and the tears and prayers. I will always remember the friends who came to cheer me, bring me flowers and pizza and chocolate that I couldn't taste at the time. I will be eternally grateful to Pauline and Sally, Sandy who called nearly every day, Charity and Lois who called or visited. Patt who brought me lunch I couldn't really eat but Herb enjoyed. Out of the innate goodness of their hearts.
There were others: Chris who brought me stuff I could drink. Jennifer who even visited me in the hospital and assisted the nurse who set up my first chemo drip! The doctors and nurses who cared so much to help out someone they didn't know, yet they were gentle and dear. So many others! Such kindness toward ME! What did I do to deserve it?

And my husband who fed me and held me and made love to me even when I was bald and couldn't feel anything but pain in my body. My daughters who helped me even though they were in college and didn't want to go back.

I'm crying now. Remembering this good stuff almost blots out the bad stuff. Almost, but not quite.

Good bye, LiveJournal. Farewell Myspace. May you both rest in peace.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hysterical History

The Horn Book
Back in the day when paper was expensive and little boys had to learn to read somehow other than drawing in the dirt or possessing a slate and stylus, wooden paddles carrying the letters of the alphabet, a catechism and perhaps a few simple drawings were used in place of actual books.
This goes back in history to the 1600s at least, perhaps before that.

These paddles with the letters, etc., were either made of wood or horn...the actual lesson on the front was covered with a thin layer of shaved cattle horn, like a plastic sheet over the lesson, to protect it. Often on the other side was a simple abacus. The child carried this hornbook with him (rarely her) to the teacher's residence. American colonials employed these things and thus our earliest Americans were taught their letters and thus, how to read.

Now, back in my personal history, no, I didn't have a hornbook, but I remember seeing a picture of one in my Jack and Jill magazine. This was far more advanced than just letters, each letter had a small caption in rhyme. The only letter I can remember was for A. The caption read "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." The little picture showed a man, a tree with a serpent in its boughs, a naked woman and an apple. The A might be for Adam, who every young boy must have heard about from his minister or father, and it might stand for Apple. Either way, that poor naked woman, not the snake, was to blame for the downfall of man. The temptress. The whore. The creature with whom Adam would sin and lose paradise.

The woman, founder of Original Sin.

The reason a man must be baptized, to be rid of the sin with which he was marked. To cleanse himself in the Name of God...the good guy in all this.

Why am I bothering with all this history?

Original sin, the Garden of Eden, the denigration of womankind...all lay at the feet of the other sex, the opposite sex. Females. The ruination of GOOD MEN, simply by caring enough for one somehow would lead to eternal damnation.

Women. Soulless creatures. Why, in the early days of the church, women were regarded as not having souls! Women were instruments of the devil, not allowed in church or at religious services during certain times of the month, separated from the righteous males in different areas completely, covered with eternal shame because of Eve's perfidy!

No, wait. I am not sure when women finally obtained souls, or who it was who decided to give them back to women...some kindly old dude, probably, who was convinced by a good woman to change his mind. Hmm. Maybe his saintly mother who never did anything bad made him stop and think that perhaps this soulless theory was wrong. Who can say? I'm sure there's some treatise moldering on a shelf somewhere with the answer. Right now, I can't find it.

But, hey, this idea of women being temptresses, destined to lead good men astray with their wiles and wishes, is not dead. Far from it.

Two major religions still adhere to the idea.
Several minor ones think it is gospel.  Women have always been creatures of the devil, put on Earth to bring their evil to men and destroy their souls, leading them to eternal damnation.

Good idea.

Makes great sense. This is the very reason the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed. This belief, this total misconception, is behind Sharia Law and whatever it is called for the Orthodox Jews...that separate the women, the mothers, daughters, women without male protectors...from men.

The reason our vice president won't eat a meal with any woman other than his wife.
The reason doctors of certain beliefs will not touch a woman to examine her, but rather depend on her husband to tell him what is wrong with her, what her physical complaints are.

Let's take this even further back in time, although it is also practiced to this day--female circumcision. The reasoning behind this primitive practice goes back to women being instruments of the devil. If they cannot experience pleasure during the sex act, they can only procreate, which is the sole reason for their existence on this planet. Hopefully, they will produce more men to be subservient to.

Yes, this is a rant. In Adam's fall, we sinned all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New fake relative

At last, the Hollywood connection!!

Remember the scene in King Kong, the original, not this latest or the one before that or the one before that, but the first, the 1933 version? Okay, the party from the ship lands on Skull Island...Armstrong, the captain (so he can talk to the natives), the hero and Fay Wray. They creep up the beach to see what's going on. The natives are dancing around in front of this giant wall.
The crew from the ship hides behind a clump of weeds to watch.

They witness the natives bowing and scraping while six guys wearing fur on their arms and head shuck and jive in a circle on a dance platform in front of the chief and his buddies.

They get caught. The natives are pissed and that's where the real story begins.

Well, my Hollywood connection comes with the dancer who, in a closer up shot, dips his arms, then raises them...the only one with a full shot where you see the costume.

Yep, that's ol' Uncle Boris. On my mother's side, I think, but who can really say? He's legend in the family.

Moved to the West Coast right after landing on Ellis Island, made his way painfully west doing odd jobs like ditch digging and waiting on tables...inching his way to Hollywoodland. He'd been fascinated by moving pictures in the Old Country and was determined to be a movie star.

Only one problem. He was kinda funny looking. No leading man roles for him, but he was Rondo Hatton's stand-in in several movies after this one time shot in King Kong.

I think, out of all my fake relatives, I like this one the best. He was determined to be in the movies and well, he made it.
Dreams do come true for those who try.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The bad thing about thinking

This morning I remembered what it was like to undergo treatment for lymphoma with chemotherapy.
I sat in a comfortable reclining chair. The nurse pushed aside my sweater to gain access to the port that is still in my body a few inches away from my heart. There is a tube of some kind that extends to my neck and some vein I don't remember there. A big one. Sometimes after all this time, the nurses that flush this port can't get any blood from it, which makes me wonder if it has sealed up. I'd like it out, but that would require surgery and I do not want to go under anesthesia again.

The poison dripped through me. Sometimes I could feel it burning. Sometimes, like the very first time, I could feel it tingling in my pubic region. It was unpleasant, but I stuck it out.
After that very first time, I got terribly sick and vomited into the toilet at home. Herb wouldn't let me stay in the hospital after undergoing a poison drip for 13 hours because he was afraid I'd catch some OTHER disease. So I came home and puked my brains out.
The next day, I got some medicine that relieved the nausea and vomiting. I got it every month because we had good insurance coverage. I doubt I could get it again as it cost about $900 a dose.

I met some nice people every 15 days when I got my treatments. I would just start regaining my sense of taste when I'd lose it all over again. Some nice people came to visit me and brought me flowers and chocolates which I could not eat.
I lost 70 lbs. I have since found most of it again.

People, family, friends, acquaintances, the ladies at the doctors and nurses...all were wonderful to me. I can never thank them enough for all the kindnesses they bestowed on me.

But I cried this morning as I remembered the pain. Your bones ache. Your insides ache. You have little normal senses...things stink or they taste like straw or your body stinks or heats up and burns or freezes, sometimes all at once. You fight. You cry more. You lose your hair, your flesh hangs from your body, you get a tan, you can barely move some days.
And nobody, nobody who has not undergone chemotherapy the exact same way you have--nobody bloody understands what you are going through.

So I cried at memories.
I didn't want to cry, nor did I want to remember.

I do know what I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Ever.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The next list

A few days ago, while feeling particularly sorry for myself, I jotted down all the things wrong with me, physically, that is. Every single little twitch and pain and unnormal thing that's been bothering me.
The list is quite long, and I didn't even mention those biggies that I've been dragging along with me that probably are the causes of these little pains in the butt.

I won't list them here.
There are FIFTEEN things.

Probably, they can be written off with reference to my advancing age and the chemotherapy that saved my life but knocked me for a loop.

But they're all there, annoying me, holding me back, causing me pain and preventing me from living a happy life.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Conference next weekend

Next Friday, St. Patrick's Day, is the first day of the Liberty States Fiction Writers' conference.
I don't do much there...but I did get my hair done so I wouldn't look like a bag lady. The way I figure it, bag ladies are too poor to have their hair done, using whatever funds they may have to sustain themselves with food, etc.
So, I got it done by my friend Debbie. She pulls strands of hair through holes in a little tight fitting cap on my head and bleaches the hell out of it.
Yes, this is the best selfie I have ever taken. Karyn said it is terrible. I think it's rather complimentary!

Monday, March 6, 2017

That day

There comes a time when every single bit of energy and patience--mostly patience--is drained from one's body.
There's a scene in an old movie, Jason and the Argonauts, when on the island of Talos, the giant awakens when someone takes a javelin (actually a pin from a broach) from a tomb/temple. Talos is one of the Titans, only he is a giant bronze statue on top of the tomb.
The men from the Argos have been warned not to take anything but food and water from the island.  So, when one of the dudes, I believe it is Herakles, walks off with this pin he thinks to use as a javelin, the mighty giant comes to some sort of bronze life and goes after the guys from the ship.
Jason--mind you, he's a sort of hero in charge of the search for the Golden Fleece--realizes he can't fight the statue which towers over everyone and everything. But he's clever. He's been told by Hera to look to the giant's ankles. No, this isn't about Achilles, though we all know what was wrong with his ankles. This is about Jason and his need to defeat the bronze Ray Harryheusen Titan.
He scrambles between Talos's bronze sandals and sees a round screw-in plug. After great grunting and exertion, Jason opens up the plug and out pours a river of reddish goo. This stuff is what has powered the living statue and eventually, once it is drained sufficiently, the statue crashes and becomes immobile. The remaining crew of the Argos get back on the ship, except for one young fellow.
Herakles, feeling bad that it was his fault the giant awakened and the rampage happens and this one young guy is missing, decides to remain on the island and search for the kid, thus leaving the crew to carry on to Colcos for the fleece.
Down one hero.
But what I'm referring to mostly is how the huge, mighty bronze colossus gets all the goo drained from it and becomes immobile.
That's me. I am Talos.
I think I need some alone time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

These Liz Taylor as Cleopatra eyebrows

What's with eyebrows on models currently?
Are these exaggerated eyebrows some new craze? Is there some new product that makes eyebrows look as if they are stenciled on?
Remember when people had fits over Brooke Shields' bushy brows?
She survived without them being painted on. Did quite well.
And then there is the Jean Harlow pencil brows. I'm not a eyebrow goes that way naturally and the plucking involved must have been painful.
Unless the brows were shaved with a razor.
Dangerous to say the least.
I think I have to blame the Kardashians. With their generally dark hair, I would guess their faces would look rather naked with trim eyebrows.
Yet another thing to blame those poor girls for.
(It took me several pluckings back in my teen years to shape my eyebrows. I have never had anyone complain about them, after the swelling went down.)
And this photo was taken after the chemo that destroyed my eyebrows and lashes...I'd say nearly a year later judging from the length of my hair. Half an inch every month....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More wonderfully fake relatives

Digging up dead relatives that never existed is a little game I play to make my life seem more worthwhile than it really is.

The greatest thing about these non-existent relatives is that they are surrounded by riches and fame and notoriety, yet they somehow manage to avoid or completely miss the spotlight. Which, when it comes to cleaning ancient toilets or fixing lunch for a gangster, isn't that bad an idea.

But, as it usually does, another one of my fake ancestors came to mind last night when I was trying to fall asleep. History gives him the name Noroaster but we refer to him as the sheep boy.

Good ol' Noroaster made his drachmas tending the sheep of richer Bethlehemenians back in the day. He had plenty of responsibility--watching over the cash crop of lambs and mutton back when the innocent animals were used in sacrifices in the temples that riddled the dry desert towns. By day he would watch them gambol in the field. By night, he would snuggle up with some of the fluffier ones and sleep, vigilantly with one eye open waiting for the occasional lion or panther or sheep rustler. Evidently there were plenty of sheep rustlers back in the day.
The sacrifice business was going pretty good there for awhile. If you wanted to appease the Lord God Yahweh, you killed an innocent lamb and waited for Yahweh to respond. Somehow. I'm willing to bet the temple priests ate lots and lots of lambchops, but I digress.

Noroaster's one misclaim to fame was that one night as he was drifting off to sleep, still with one eye open, he noticed a big hubbub over on the next hill. The sky was filled with fuzzy blurs, blaring trumpets and lovely singing in Latin. Being fairly nearsighted, things were blurry, and he had his ears nestled in the woolly coat of a big ol' mama sheep, so he didn't pick up what exactly was being sung.

He noted the annoyingly bright light of this huge star twinkling over head, but rather than investigate, he snuggled back down, pulled a lamb close to his shoulders and went back to sleep.

Reminds me of the famous line from the movie Endless Summer. (Shoulda been here yesterday, friend. Waves were terrific.) You just missed it.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I won't eat that

A true trial in my life.
This one won't eat this stuff. The other will eat one thing on that imaginary list, but adds more things on her own list.
Personally, I won't eat mangoes, lamb (makes me quite ill) or things that are spicy hot. Peppers, red, green, yellow or chilies--not good. Nasty tasting to me.
So, I can sort of understand why there are certain things my offspring would not and still, in their advanced ages, do not eat.
But really.
One won't eat fish unless it is with chips and fresh. One won't eat sauce on spaghetti but insists on marinara sauce for her mozzarella sticks. One won't eat fruit. One gags at the mere thought of feta cheese, yet yonks down all sorts of cheeses, even smelly ones or oozy ones.
Neither will eat sandwiches.
One hates jelly. The other has to have super salty food.
Can you imagine how difficult it was to feed them when they were babies?
I used to be a good cook. Before the kids came along, I more or less outdid myself nightly. Recipe collections? I have about 50 cookbooks and have used them all. Julia Child. Justin Wilson, Jacques Pepin, Betty Crocker, an assortment of books with recipes from Europe...all of 'em. Seafood, colonial American recipes, southern, Mexican...and about 30 different kinds of cookies at Christmas.
Then the babies came and our food choices went very PLAIN. Sigh. Buttered noodles. Hot dogs (one has to have Kosher beef ones, not the pork and beef ones their father loves) cut into coins. Chicken nuggets, hamburgers with cheese. Toasted cheese. And they insist on yellow American cheese, which I think tastes faker than the white kind.
Now, my husband only has a few things he won't eat. Mixed vegetables and pirogies top his rather short list. He will eat burnt food, too. He makes his own prodigious breakfasts every day, always with some sort of meat included. I don't do meat for breakfast.
Why am I writing about this? Because it is part of my life. In my books and stories, I feed my characters well. One book has a chef as the heroine. Another has all the characters living and working above a restaurant.Nobody starves or diets in my stories!
I enjoy food.
Especially pizza and lobster.
I have determined that I could exist for long periods of time on pizza and/or lobster.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Karyn Hijacks her Mother's Blog to Talk About Cartoons and Empowerment

My mother as a Gem, Tanzanite.

You might be aware of this cartoon show, Steven Universe, that airs on Cartoon Network. It involves a magical race of sentient stones called Gems who appear as women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. This has captured my heart, as a fat woman in her late 20s. For the first time ever, I have seen a character in a show who is fat portrayed as beautiful and well-loved. Rose Quartz, who is all at once a mother, a fierce warrior, a rebel, a savior, a healer, who understands and loves humans but who is also confused by them every step of the way, betrayed her home planet to defend the Earth from invasion and colonization thousands of years ago. She eventually fell in love with a human man named Greg, and after working hard to understand and love each other, they had a son named Steven. Giving birth to Steven effectively ended Rose's life, but she wanted him to live and love on Earth as a human being--something she valued incredibly. Rose is eight feet tall. Rose is portayed as huge in all respects--she looks soft and strong simultaneously. Her hair is a mountain of billowing pink curls. She radiates love. She is flawed and complex and spectacular.

The thing that has captured me about Steven Universe is the incredible diversity in the characters. Each of the gems we meet is wildly different from the next. There are short, hefty gems like Amethyst, who was created on Earth and is half as tall but just as charismatic as other gems of her same class. There is Garnet, a fusion gem who is both stoic and emotional, brave and frightened, secretive and open. Pearl is a former servant who was at one time a total renegade--political rebel and intergalactic outlaw. On Earth, she is motherly, anxiety-ridden, and uptight. We see soldiers, like Jasper, and technicians like Peridot. Each Gem is, if you forgive the pun, multi-faceted. They have flaws and prejudices to overcome. They have weaknesses and strengths. They feel limited, not good enough, and scared at times. At others, they feel invincible and cunning. Chances are, there is someone like you on Steven Universe. Even if there isn't someone like you, there could be. Steven Universe is a show in which you, the person you are right now, could very well exist. You, with your fears and you foibles, your ugliness and your beauty--you could exist in this world.

Rose Quartz is someone I like to think I have a few things in common with, but she's not me. She made choices I don't know if I would make. She said things I don't know if I would say. But a Gem like me could exist, because a Gem a little bit like me already does. When I was growing up, I fell in love with the show Sailor Moon because there were so many girls on it who were super heroes! And they were realistic--they got scared sometimes! They had to pull themselves together! There was even one girl, Sailor Jupiter, who couldn't find a uniform that would fit her at her new school. I couldn't find shit to fit me when I was growing up. Granted, it was because Jupiter was too tall, which isn't the same as being fat, but I didn't really have any chubby characters to look up to as a little plus-sized girl crying in the JC Penney's junior section. Everyone on Sailor Moon was beautiful--pale skin, slender, with long legs and perfect hair. It was easy to identify with their characteristics, but not so much with their appearances. With Steven Universe, the human occupants of the town are incredibly diverse in all ways, and the magical girls are just as diverse. I couldn't exist in Sailor Moon, not really. But I could live in Steven's world. In his universe. Someone like me could be something special.

and if i did exist there, this is what i'd be. peace out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The errant hair

Checking out my face in the mirror this morning, I was startled and alarmed to see a 1/4 inch long black hair sprouting from the side of my upper lip.
To my horror, I reached for my trusty tweezers, prepared to pluck it, get rid of the that's all I need. Black hairs growing out of my face, right where people can see them!
Well, people like me, probably one of the only people who looks at my face.

I stepped away from the mirror, heartbroken.
Yes, it had come to this. Hairs growing on my face where they didn't belong.

Any small hope I had possessed of a trace of the face I used to wear...gone.

Were there more? Was this the first of a plague of uglies that would guarantee old age and lack of face pride?

I did step back toward the mirror. After all, I am very nearsighted and a sink's distance away is a foot too much. Grasping that tweezer in my right hand, I leaned in to examine the gross hair.

And blew it away with my breath!

It proved to be an eyelash!


Monday, January 16, 2017

March 4, 1841

On this date, according to the way-back machine of my memory for history, William Henry Harrison, ol' Tippecanoe, became president of the United States. He was a war hero and a territorial administrator and knew what it meant to be president, right when the country was starting to fall apart by halfsies due to differences of opinion north and south.

But he also knew how to have a good time,  apparently.

After giving a two hour inaugural speech in the freezing cold, coatless and hatless so that the people could get a good look at the man he was, he went on to attend three inaugural balls and dance the night away.

A month later, he was dead from pneumonia and we got our first Vice President President, John Tyler.

Originally, inaugurations were held in the spring, early March when the weather was supposed to be better. Warmer. Less likely to rain. (It wasn't April, after all.)

But it didn't work out that way. Ol' Tippecanoe crapped out on us.

He probably would have been an apt president, back when things were a tad easier than they are now.

But he died.

Ignominiously...because he was vain about his appearance and liked to party.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Death series, 2

The word "viking" means to roam. So if you are roving around the seas and oceans of the planet, you could say you were viking. Not necessarily A Viking. Truth.
The Vikings put their deaders in boats, set them on fire and pushed the whole thing into the fjord.
They didn't.
If they put every Viking who died into their boats, the fjords would be a lot shallower than they are, that's for sure!
Let me explain. Only a few Vikings actually owned boats. They took a long time to make out of very scarce wood, so it was a crap idea to dispose of the dead in a dragon boat. Only a chieftain might get shoved into the fjord on his boat if he had died in glorious battle! And I'm sure his sons and daughters regretted losing the boat!
Yes. What they did do on foreign soil was form the outline of a ship with rocks around the buried body. Sometimes. Not all the time. Vikings hung around what is modern day Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The territories were flexible, to be sure. The land available for farming in Scandinavia was little but precious. Farming around rock ship shapes would have been hard. And the Vikings were farmers first, rovers second. After the planting, in spring, they'd go out to plunder or look for more land. Their wives and thralls (they kept slaves) would take care of business on the farm.
They didn't pillage and rape constantly. They farmed. They built ships. They traded pilfered goods all over the world, practically.
The Norse made it into the Mediterranean, stopped off in Sicily, worked for the break-away Orthodox after the Great Schism as bodyguards. They took over France, most of England, Greenland, Iceland and a few parts of North America.
Now, here's something few people know: Viking chieftains had to be physically perfect. If their faces were misshapen or scarred or missing bits, they could not rule. Leadership was more or less a beauty and strength contest.
Scandinavians are not all blond with blue eyes, either. Sorry to burst that bubble!
The Valhalla business is part of their legend. A warrior died in battle, he'd go to Valhalla, which wasn't a heaven where they floated around on clouds and had a good time. Valhalla was for heroes (if you died a good death in battle you were a hero) where they would sit at long tables, eat and drink forever and fight your friends for the fun of it. Valkyries would pick up your body on the field where you fell and bring you to Valhalla where you'd be whole again (without holes leastways) and you'd eat and drink and fight forever.
If you were a Star Trek fan, the Klingons had much the same attitude about life. Going into battle was for them "a good day to die".
So it was for the Vikings, as long as the crops had been planted and your old lady was back on your land, taking care of business.
 This is NOT THOR, it is Baldur.
This is a Berserker, only they didn't have wings on their helmets.

Monday, January 2, 2017

First post of the year Series 1

Let's talk about death.
Let's go way back to my least favorite folks from antiquity: the Egyptians.
They had some strange ways of dealing with death. First of all, they figured there was an afterlife. Some of the lucky ones got mummified. Their guts and parts likely to rot were removed, jarred like we can tomatoes in August, and stuff was put into the empty cavity to dry out the flesh so it didn't rot.
Their belief was, this shell of a person, minus brain, even, would ascend on a big boat to someplace above and they'd have another cool existence there.
It got even better for pharaohs and queens. While their guts and bits were removed and jarred, they had huge tombs dug in the sand and/or (if they were really lucky) they already had tombs constructed while they were know them as pyramids.
They had their slaves killed  and slipped into the tombs to care for them in the afterlife. Their cats bought it, too. Their gold, their riches, all slipped into the sarcophagus with their mummified bodies for people to dig up later.
Oh. Yeah. About that later stuff. The kings and such who had tombs constructed by slaves over their lifetimes made sure nobody could find the way out after their bodies were put down. Everybody who worked on the construction, who knew the secret passages to get out while building...they got offed and buried along with the main corpse.
Neat. All at once. Good-bye everybody!
Well, hell.
Now, I want you all to go back and view Karloff's original The Mummy.
Sweet dreams!