Thursday, June 11, 2015

Death and strawberries

    Stephen's wallet was stolen outside of Tucson; we lost six hours to police reports and paperwork. But we could still make it - barely.
    We drove around the clock in six-hour shifts, no motels necessary. My cash barely covered gas, so we scrimped on food. For days we are only convenience store bean burritos. In self defense I bought an air freshener, which made the car smell like strawberries. Well, strawberries and death.
    The Reekmobile rolled into Philly with two hours to spare. I even had time to air my dress out before I walked down the aisle. We both appreciated that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Amy's Apology

    "I didn't mean to hurt anyone, much less kill them. Sure, I knew the cookies were expired, but really - who cares about those dates? It's not like an expired Thin Mint will kill you...
    "Try telling that to the parents. They went for me likes sharks scenting blood in the water. I barely got away with my life.
    "But all of that is behind me. I've served my time, done my community service.
    "So please forgive me, but I can't buy any cookies from your troop. It's just too risky - and I need to move on."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tell the committee a little bit about yourself...

    "Hi! I'm Dylan Markos. I'm birds. An expert on them, I mean. Geez, this is more awkward than I expected.
    "Anyway, this expedition would let me study modern birds' ancestors, which ... well, you know all that, right? I passed the initial screening, after all.
    "This video is supposed to, what? Help you weed out the whackos? You probably got a lot of those. I mean, you have to be a little crazy to sign up for a one-way back through time. Not me, of course. I'm perfectly normal. I'm nervous and terrified and excited, but normal.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Only Zombies Get The Blues

    Mommy's eyes were blue this morning. But I got her first, like Benji said, before I got him, too.
    It's quiet here with everyone gone. But it's worse when they come back. I hope I got it right. I don't want to see them again. Not like we saw Daddy and Mrs. Wilton and the mailman. Never like that.
    It's dark now that I got the lights. I don't need them - I already know what I'll see.
    Because my eyes were blue in the mirror tonight ... and there's nobody left to get me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Look! I'm using my degree! (sort of)

Yeah, so I've been kind of quiet recently, and there are lots of reasons for that, most of which I won't bother to go into here.  Suffice it to say, August kind of sucked for a lot of reasons, and my font of writing awesomeness dried up for a while.  I'm trying to prime the pump and get it going again, so don't worry - I'll be back in gear again soon.  

One reason I've been away - a good reason, for once - is that my duties at work have been expanded to include writing ad copy for the shop's website and online store.  This allows me to engage in two of my many passions: gushing about yarns I love, and overusing exclamation points and elipses:
Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal is a luscious fingering weight wool with just enough cashmere to make it something special.  A tweedy single-ply, this yarn is both lofty (read: warm) and easy to work with.  Try a versatile neutral like Snowdrift, which has a cream base and touches of blue and yellow in the tweedy bits ... or go for the wilder Blackberry with its black base and flashes of bright primary colors.  And check out the pattern support Debbie Bliss has provided - you can use Fine Donegal to make beautiful garments, accessories, and more!
Between coming in early to write before the customers arrive, designing and writing up patterns for the store, and joining a gym so that I don't turn into a cautionary tale about the health effects of too much sedentary crafting, finding time to write anything for myself has been a challenge.  Oh, and Erika also roped me in to making some tutorials, too, which mainly demonstrate why I was always more interested in radio than in television:

We're going to have to work on her camera skills, I think, if she wants these to reach a wider audience.

At any rate, school is back in session, and I'm settling in a routine with work and the gym, so hopefully I'll get back in the saddle again soon.  One good motivator is the writing conference I'm attending, um, tomorrow (gulp!).  This will be a first for me, and I'm excited to see what it's all about.  I'm also psyched to meet some actual agents and editors in the flesh - it will be nice to know that they really exist, and not just in my dreams!  Trying to get started as a writer can seem like throwing lots of time and mental effort down into a deep well, waiting for an echo that never comes.  Maybe this conference will be the push I need to start getting responses and feedback and (one day) maybe even a contract.  Stranger things have happened!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Prompt: explain why no one hits the bottom

Today I learned that an acquaintance of mine committed suicide last week. According to third-hand sources, the anti-smoking meds she was taking have some pretty serious side effects ... like, for example, suicidal thoughts and attempts. So someone who, only a few days earlier was picturing herself as having enough of a future that she ordered expensive yarn from Germany, instead threw herself off a bridge three days before the yarn arrived. She was a wife, and a mother, and a daughter, and a sister. She was funny, and smart, and determined, and a great knitter. She was 46. She will be missed deeply, and by many, many more people than she ever could have imagined.

For all of our sakes, I wish there was some way that people who jumped off of bridges would somehow get a do-over. Some way that they would automatically bungee back up to the bridge deck, step back from the edge, and get help. Or a giant safety net would deploy automatically when brain sensors located in the drop zone detected regret or fear. Or something.

In honor of Nora, today's prompt is this: one (unfortunately fictional) bridge, which was previously a popular spot to commit suicide, hasn't had a recorded fatality in five years. Describe why.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Prompt: Today my daughter told me her underwear was malfunctioning. Discuss.


I was young, in maybe second or third grade.  Keep in mind, this was back in the VERY early '80s, when fashions for young ladies were not quite as casual - or comfortable - as they are today.  Think polyester turtlenecks and corduroys ... and plaid, lots of really ugly plaid.

Anyway, I had this red turtleneck shirt that I wore a lot.  It was mostly comfortable, once I managed to squeeze the too-tight neck over my head (which inevitably squished my plastic-framed glasses down on my nose so hard I saw stars, because I never remembered to take them off before I started).  The sleeves were almost long enough if I hunched my shoulders just right, and if I didn't, well, that just allowed them to ride up enough to show off my awesome Mickey Mouse watch.  But no matter how groovy it was, the most notable feature of this shirt wasn't its color, or its neck, or its sleeves - it was the snap crotch.

Yes, this shirt had a crotch... with snaps.

See, back in my day, mothers were somewhat obsessive about the whole "keep your shirt tucked in" thing. They were always telling kids to tuck in their shirt, only slobs go around with their clothing untucked - were you raised in a barn? In the interest of making shirts that would stay tucked, no matter what, someone invented the snap-crotch turtleneck.  You'd put it on like a regular shirt, then fasten the two or three metal snaps that were on the flap that came between your legs.  It was sort of a onesie for the elementary school set, if you can imagine that.

Given that I was tall for my age (see comment about sleeve length above), wearing snap-crotch shirts was inherently fraught with danger.  I had my choice between hunching over to keep from embedding the snaps in my delicate regions, or standing up straight and hoping the snaps didn't let loose and send one of my overstretched shirttails flapping up in the air.  Yes, that actually happened.  I'm sure one of my friends on Facebook will be happy to confirm that for you.

By far the worst part of wearing a snap-crotch shirt was the fact that I generally forgot how much extra time was required to deal with it during bathroom trips.  Inevitably, the snaps would get stuck just when you were really hoping they'd come undone, and trying to get them fastened again was a nightmare of awkward maneuvers and mis-matched snaps.  Add to that the fact that I tended to try to "wait it out" rather than raise my hand and walk past all the other students to the bathroom, and it was sort of a recipe for disaster.  There were a lot of near-misses, but only one trip was truly horrifying.

I don't know what had possessed me that morning, but I had somehow managed to snap up my shirt before I put on my underwear.  But I didn't realize it, or else I forgot all about it in my hour of need.  So when I finally got desperate enough to use the bathroom, I slammed the stall door, threw down my corduroy pants and Underoos, and sat down to business, forgetting all about the snap crotch I hadn't bothered to undo.

I noticed something was wrong almost immediately, but being only seven or eight years old, I had neither the presence of mind nor the control of my bladder required to prevent this disaster.  So, smack in the middle of my school day, I peed all over the bottom of my shirt.  It soaked in almost immediately and began slowly wicking its way up my body, like some sort of ammonia-scented nightmare.

My mind has somehow blocked out what must have followed - the embarrassed hiding in the bathroom until another student was sent to fetch me, the cringing attempts to wring out the tails of my shirt, the whispered consultation through the crack in the door, the summoning of the teacher, the call to the office for a plastic bag and a fresh shirt, the teasing of my classmates who could only imagine what I had been through but teased me about it nonetheless.  It's horrible and cringe-inducing enough in my imagination - thank goodness I don't have to actually relive the memories.

I do know, however, that snap-crotch turtlenecks were no longer a staple of my wardrobe after that incident ... and now, thirty years later, I NEVER tuck in my turtlenecks, no matter how sloppy it makes me look.  There are some sacrifices for fashion that are just too much to bear.