Thursday, January 31, 2008

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!


The polls are closed and the winner of the most disgusting word(s) contest is Lisa Avila with her submission of 'fecal bag'. Lisa, I need you to contact me with you mailing address so I can send your autographed copy of Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean Them. Congratulations and thanks for playing.

I was quite shocked to be the only one who voted for mucus. *lol* Forty-One people cast votes in the poll and Lisa's entry won with fifteen. Snot blew into second place with nine votes, and phelgm slid in as number three with six. The remaining votes were split among the field.

Again, thanks for playing along, and I'll be hosting another contest in February. I promise this one won't be as disgusting.

Ginger

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Placing a Want Ad


LIVE FRIEND WANTED

Somewhat reclusive author in need of person to visit and engage in actual conversation. Hoping to find someone who speaks semi-intelligently, but I can be flexible. Discussions of anything other than Go Diego Go, Wonder Pets, or Thomas the Train are a definite must. Other taboo subjects include politics, religion and the war in Iraq. No Sponge Bob Squarepants attire, please. Friend is welcome to visit any day of the week; particularly Wednesdays when my grandson’s mother actually assumes the role.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Memories


My grandmother played a very big part in my life. Although she's been gone a number of years, I still think of her with encompassing love, and hope that when my grandson is grown, he tells others what a difference I made in his life. My 'granny' certainly shaped the woman I grew to be. In more ways than one. I think all the French fries, frozen strawberries, and candy bars she bought me when I stayed with her had a big influence on my butt. *lol* My grandfather preceded her in death, so Granny lived with my mother.

January is Granny's birth month, and her birthday brought memories of the day she passed and the loss I felt. I recall going to the funeral, trying to support my mother in her loss, and staying afterwards to sort through Granny's things. Everything smelled of her powder and perfume, and it pained me to see her empty rocking chair with her Bible on the table next to it.

Granny only went to the fourth grade in school, so she struggled with reading and writing. I only received a few letters from her in my lifetime, but they were written in the penmanship and prose of a child. You can imagine my shock when while going through her Bible, I found a piece of paper neatly tucked between the pages. I unfolded the somewhat aged page and read the following she'd written after losing her husband:

Life

In the years and days gone by
We were young and full of joy and fun.
We didn't mind working day by day,
It was good and bad times.
We knew God cared and would take care of us all the time,
And he did.

Some days would be dark and cloudy, but the sun would come out and shine
And we see our way.

And that made time fly by.
Now the Lord has him, and I can hear him say,
"Come on up, it's so nice up here.
I want all my loved ones up here by my side,
in the 'by and by'.

I've framed this 'poem' and keep it where I can see it. Although not written to specific English and punctuation requirements, it still moves me. I see now, that Granny was a writer in her own way. Her inspiration and love live on.

I know there are Angel's among us. The night of her funeral, I was going down stairs to find solace in a bowl of ice cream, and I passed through an overwhelming cloud of her cologne of choice - Bengay. To this day, every time I smell that familiar aroma, I know Granny is near.

Meet Tyler Bishop


Interviewer:
We’re very pleased to have Tyler Bishop with us today. Mr. Bishop is the hero in Ginger’s Simpson’s upcoming release, Sparta Rose. So, Mr. Bishop, welcome to Dishin’ It Out.

TB – “Ty, please. Mr. Bishop was my father. And thanks for the welcome, but I’m here under duress.”

INT - “Really.”

TB –“I have things waiting to be done. Cows need to be moved to another pasture, fences need mendin’ and the longer I dawdle, the more I stand to lose favor with my boss, Ben.”

Int – “Ben? Would that be Ben Fountain, father of the heroine, Ellie Fountain?”

TB – “Yep, that’d be right. There’s another reason I need to get movin’… Ellie. For some reason, that little filly is out to get me. Seems every time I chew the fat with her pa, she gets her nose out of joint. I never met someone so… so…what’s the word I’m looking for? You know, someone who wants to prove they can do everything better than the next feller?”

INT – “Oh, you mean competitive.”

TB – “That’s her in a nutshell. Just wait till you read the story. She even went out, bought a gun and learned to shoot. She’s says it’s because of the polecats next door, threatening to trespass on Ben’s land, but I say different.”

INT – “Really? Why do you think she bought the gun?”

TB – “To try to show me up. She already thinks she can ride and rope as good as any man, and lord knows, she could stand to dress up a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to tell there’s a girl under that big ol’ hat and layer a dust.”

INT – “Does she always dress in men’s clothing?”

TB – “Well she did until I invited her to a dance. Ben sort of pushed me into it, but down deep I wanted to go with her. She looked mighty pretty, all fancied up, but instead of the evening turnin’ out like I planned, she went and got herself in trouble again. She should have listened to me about those pesky Bryant boys.”

INT – “What kind of trouble did she get into?”

TB – “I may be greener than most folks you know, but I ain’t about to divulge Ginger’s whole story. Ellie is a real tomboy, and she stays madder than a wet hen at me most times, but I’ll just say, I think she finally realizes there are just times a woman can’t match a man’s strength.”

INT – “Well it sounds like I’ll have to buy my own copy if I want to see how this turns out.”

TB – “You’re right welcome to visit Eternal Press. That’s where Ellie and my story is being released on February 7th. I’m not real savvy when it comes to the Internet, but I wrote this down. *fishes in pocket*. Let’s see, http://www.eternalpress.ca Ain’t got no idea what that means, but Ginger said to share it ya’ll. I thank you for the time, but I best get going. I fear once Sparta Rose debuts, my life is about to change.

INT – “Thank you, Ty, and please visit us again.”

Monday, January 28, 2008

Remember the song, We Are The World?


It seems like forever since a group of artists gathered to try to remind us of what should be obvious. At the time I think we were all greatly moved, but the feeling passed all too quickly. I'd love to make a difference, but I don't know where to start. It seems my days have become all to predictable: Another day, another wrinkle and a new pain. Luckily, I can still count my blessings and laugh at life. But not everyone is so lucky.

Do you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor? Think about it. He gave us one to deal with the stresses of life. He has to have some release once in a while from a world that’s in a huge mess. A clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning...a sudden downpour. People just can’t get along no matter how much they’ve been warned to ‘play nice’. If forty days and forty nights of rain didn’t get the message across, he probably threw up his hands and cried in frustration. I can just hear him now. “For heaven sakes, I drowned everything and gave them a chance to start over.”

Did we? Heck no. We turned all his beautiful work into arteries of blacktop littered with tons of trash, and with the wondrous brain he gave us, we created mechanical devices that belch smoke and gases into the air, turning his pristine blue sky to murky brown. No doubt, he’s wondering why we couldn’t have stuck with the horse-drawn carriages; the most trouble they caused was a little pile of manure here and there. That only helped the flowers and grass to grow.

As I listen to the daily news, I feel the Lord’s pain. His children are engaged in constant war and killing one another. Imagine what that must feel like. I detested my children’s bickering; I can’t picture one taking the life of the other. Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare. We pray for God to end the fighting, but it's not his job. We expect way too many miracles. Instead of being part of the solution, we put all our problems in God's hands. Even a supreme being has limits.

It’s not just in Iraq where war rages. Even our own streets aren’t safe. We fight for turf, designer shoes, and racial slurs. Our children take guns to school to get even with those who bully them. How sad we’ve become. God allows us to make our own choices, and we continue to make bad ones. How we act speaks volumes about us. This morning I followed another car as I drove my grandson to school. A lit cigarette bounced off my windshield and then into the weeds along roadside. Luckily, the grass was drenched with frost and probably drowned the flame. How can people show such little regard for the safety of our land and the people who live nearby when they decide to flick out a burning butt?

My anger is stirred to the point of boiling every time I see someone throw trash out their car window. Our beautiful landscapes are littered with bottles, cans, dirty diapers, and fast food containers. How difficult is it to hold onto your trash until you get home and can throw it where it belongs? Just think if everyone did. Wouldn’t that be grand?

My mother brought me up to take pride in where I live, to value my belongings and never feel ashamed if someone drops by unexpectedly. I used to be anal about dust and rumpled pillows, but I’ve relaxed. Still, you’ll never visit my house and find it filthy. I believe in hygiene, both physically and in my surroundings. I stood in line behind a guy at the market a few days ago and wished he’d shared the concept. I reminded myself that the reward for hard labor is a good healthy sweat. He must be a very hard worker.

My thoughts of his hygiene problem were swept away when the cashier rang up my total. I think I gasped that the few things I bought came to almost $75.00. As long as the cost of gasoline is sky-high, prices of everything else will continue to creep up, too. Everything you buy is delivered by a truck, and the cost of diesel is even higher than gasoline now. Why, I ask myself. For years it was a whole lot cheaper. Just another game that conglomerates are allowed to play. I tried to find a bright spot by thinking that maybe high fuel prices would keep the litterbugs off the street, but alas, as I drove home, I was bombarded by a flying McDonald’s bag and a few French fries. Where’s the pride, people?

Everyone is mindful of the upcoming elections and trying to decide on the right person to lead our nation. In the big scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter who gets elected. Things will never change until we do. The secret to a better life is within each of us. Love, pride, honor, and selflessness… just a few things we need to practice a little more each day. Whether we elect a Republican or Democrat, male or female, no one has the ability to monitor all the little things that need to change to make our world a better place. The candidates can’t even run for office without engaging in character assassination and smear campaigns. What hope can you draw from that?

We all share responsibility to honor the gifts God has given us… to find a way to live shoulder to shoulder with one another in harmony and learn respect for our beautiful world. I’d love to live to see the day. Wouldn’t you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

D is for Discombobulate

In an effort to stir your interest to the blog where I post with six friends from a critique group, I'm sharing a sample. Each week, we take a letter, in sequence, from the alphabet and use it to describe how it applies to our writing or lives. My other blog spot is called Synoptic Storm, and you can find it in my favorite links on the left-hand side of this blog.

D is for Discombobulate

I get discombobulated just trying to spell it. :) Our word this week, taken right out of on-line Merriam Webster's dictionary is:

Main Entry:
dis·com·bob·u·late Listen to the pronunciation of discombobulate
Pronunciation:
\ˌdis-kəm-ˈbä-b(y)ə-ˌlāt\
Function:
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
dis·com·bob·u·lat·ed; dis·com·bob·u·lat·ing
Etymology:
probably alteration of discompose
Date:
circa 1916

: upset confuse
— dis·com·bob·u·la·tion Listen to the pronunciation of discombobulation \-ˌbä-b(y)ə-ˈlā-shən\ noun


There are many things in life I find discombobulating. By far, the most confusing are the various editing and formatting rules used by all the different publishers and agents. Writing a book is very time consuming and requires effort; it's no simple chore. Shopping the manuscript for publication is even harder.

You have to compose a query letter guaranteed to grab the attention of your targeted publisher or agent, create a synopsis that captures the essence of your book in the most precise and detailed light, then determine if your manuscript meets any one of the zillions of extra requirements needed to submit.

Do they want it formatted in 12 point Georgia font, or Times Roman? Single spaced or double...or maybe one and a half? Do they want page numbers in the header or footer? Centered, or perhaps left or right justified? How about those margins--one inch or one and a quarter? Do they allow em-dashes and ellipses? How about gerunds? Do they forbid or allow them? C'mon folks, how about some consistency?

My point is, most people don't engage in multiple submissions. And this is the reason. You can't just print off a copy of your manuscript, query and synopsis and stick them in the mail or attach them via email. You have to make sure each is formatted to meet the nuances of each publisher or agent. In my opinion, writing the book is the easiest part. The rest is totally discombobulating.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to give your animals a pill.


Now, I'm not an authority on these things, but my sister is. She sent me this, and although you may have seen it, I'm compelled to share it so you can have another chuckle:

How To Give A Cat A Pill
1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on to neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How To Give A Dog A Pill
1. Wrap it in bacon.

2. Toss it in the air.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inspired or Conspired?


So, a few days ago, I talked a little about rejection. Since one editor found Sarah's Journey lacking enough sexual tension and frowned on the hero not appearing until the third chapter, I decided to research my options. Maybe I'm going about this all wrong and I should consider marketing this as a western/Americana to focus on the real issues in the story. There is romance, but it's secondary to the lessons learned.

I went to HQ's website and found they have a new Inspirational Historical line. Wow, what a break for me... or so I thought. I downloaded the requirements and my story seemed a perfect fit... until I printed off all the words and scenes forbidden in any manuscript submitted for consideration. My shoulders sagged with disappointment. This meant that Sarah needed a complete overhaul, stripping my story of all the components that made her who she is. Evidently, my story, although not graphic, and certainly tastefully done, would offend some. As I read the list, I felt really sorry for any man married to a woman who won't allow him to say breast, pee or poop. I've written a fun little scene, purposely using words and situations from HQ's no-no list.

His arousal bulged against his jeans. She looked up at him from her crouched position on the floor. "You bastard," she muttered.
He'd bet his last bishop in a chess match that she had on a sexy bra and panties. His attraction with breasts always got him into trouble. Her backside wasn't bad either.
"Crap, I can't do this," he admitted and helped her to her feet.
"Darn." It's only a play, for Heaven sakes. It's not like you're actually going to assault me." She combed her finger through long, sexy hair.
"Hell, I can't help if I'm sexually attracted to you. For Pete's sake, you're such a hottie. Why couldn't they have found some ugly whore to share the part with me?"
"For the love of Mike, you don't need a harlot to recite lines with. Just relax and let the hunger show in your words not in your underwear.
"But what about the part where I have to kiss you below the neck? Or...we have to share a bed and we aren't married?
"Oh my God," If it bothers you that much, then go see Father O'Malley, the priest at St. Michael's. I'm sure he can remove any devil's curse from your soul."
"Oh, Holy cow, all right. Let me step outside for smoke, then'll we'll try it again."
"It's a miracle,! She giggled. I promise not to take my clothes off while you're gone. I'll use the time to go pee."
Christ, Ginny, just when I get my mind cleared, there you go tempting me again."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On Second Thought!

I decided that a few extra pounds don't look that bad after all. I'm sure some of you have seen this, but I keep it around to remind me that being fat is where it's at. I really think her best friend should tell her it's time to give up the bikini and go get a 'Big Mac' and a large order of fries. It worked for me. *lol*

Monday, January 21, 2008

Finally, The anwer to women going to the bathroom in pairs!



My sister sent me this. I don't know the author, but I wish I did. She's hilarious and thinks along the same lines that I do. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't.

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied. Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.

You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the floor!), yank down your pants, and assume " The Stance." In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have known there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck,that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. "Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the toilet seat. It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it 's too late.

Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't know what kind of diseases you could get."

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you needed it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this."

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with public restrooms (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

If the author is out there and wants credit, let me know! You deserve recognition for this adorable piece. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Granny Panties



My friend, Rita, shared a joke today about sayings things you wish you could take back. She reminded me, not of something I'd said, but something that was said TO me. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it wasn't all that funny. :)

I'd worked with a woman for years, and she came in one Monday morning, discussing her recent shopping trip and all the year-end bargains she'd found. While discussing her purchases, the topic turned to the panties she bought. Her dialog went something like this:

"I bought the same panties I've been getting for years. Same size as always, and I got them home, took a shower and put on a pair. I was shocked, absolutely shocked. I checked the label twice to make sure they were my size, but although the tag said they were, they hung on me. They were huge. The legs gapped, the seat sagged, and the waistband was evidently made to fit someone obese. I should have held them up before I bought them. I certainly would have noticed something wrong, because I don't think I've ever seen anything so big in my life."

Without blinking an eye, she turned to me and said. "Do you think you could wear them?"

Although I was taken aback by her comment, I swallowed my pride and quickly responded, "Well, if I can't, I can probably cover my car with them."

The sad ending to the story: They fit me!

Friday, January 18, 2008

AH, THE JOYS OF WRITING


Being an author can mean joy one minute and agony the next. It's not an easy job most of the time. Oh, there's nothing like the feeling of successfully publishing a book and holding that first copy in your hands... looking down at your name and feeling such a sense of accomplishment, Nothing quite compares.

On the other hand, when you write your heart out, complete the manuscript that you think is going to be "it"--the one that makes your mark in the literary world and you get rejected, it's a horrible, defeating feeling. You write in the same style you've always written, but the house to whom you've submitted doesn't like gerunds or adverbs. There isn't enough sexual tension, your characters aren't deep enough, but, oh you've done a great job of avoiding head hopping and your sentence structure is clean. One person can make or break your chance, and that's pretty disheartening.

What happened to panels? Shouldn't more than one person get to choose what's accepted and what's not. We all have such vast opinions. Who is that one person to tell me that my ending wasn't what she expected. Actually, that's what I was shooting for...an ending that no one saw coming. Oh well, it doesn't matter, now I have to decide what to do next.

First I have to dust off my feelings and remind myself that everyone gets rejections. Even the big dogs have binders of them. I don't. I've had the good fortune to have all except one story accepted on first try, so this was a bitter pill. The only other rejection I received was on my debut/swan song Erotica. The reason given: my heroine had an affair and some readers might find that offensive. This from a publisher who offers sex with werewolves, aliens, shifters and mummies, and most likely in any bodily orifice available, but something that happens every day in real life is offensive. Really? I'm pretty turned off by intimacy between a hairy beast with drippings fangs. Give me a choice of cheating or boffing an alien, and I have an affair any day. *lol* Luckily, my second query resulted in a contract, but as I said, Searchers was my one and only Erotica. They're just too hard to write. How many ways can you describe genitalia?

So, as I search through submission guidelines for a new place to submit my manuscript, I try to remain positive, knowing this story will please someone, somewhere. It's just tedious weeding through the jungle to find that one person who'll be in the right frame of mind when he/she reads my synopsis. Sometimes, being an author is like an mosquito bite you have a hard time scratching. It's annoying until you find the right way to contort yourself just enough to quell the itch. I sometimes have a hard time explaining why I continue to try to establish myself as an author, and answers aren't always forthcoming, especially if I'm stressed and tired. I usually fall back on the real reason I keep typing away... because I love what I do, and I can't wait to see where I'll travel with the characters in my next novel or story.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Today would have been my father's eighty-fourth birthday. He passed away twenty-three years ago at the age of sixty-one; one year younger than I am right now. I still miss him, although not quite as painfully because the years have healed the hurt, but there will always be a hole in my heart that his love used to fill.

For so many reasons, I wish he was here today. Mainly, so I could tell him all the things I didn't have a chance to before he died. I'd like him to meet my 'new' husband, know my grandson, and see how his grandsons grew up to be fine men. I'd like to spend just one more day with him so I could tell him what a great father he was and how being his daughter has shaped my life in so many positive ways. I see his influence in my children and I'm proud that his traits will carry on. I know he felt he was a failure when he died because society was so tough on him, but in the minds of all four of his children, there isn't a better father to be had than ours. I'm thankful every day for the time I had him in my life.

HONESTLY!

Some people get so testy over nothing. I signaled for heavens sake, and I had the right of way. Talk about tailgating! That's the last time I'm riding my scooter to the store, milk or no milk. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

SPAM


I know I've written about my SPAM mail before, but it just bugs the heck out of me. Why are people allowed to send anything at all to every mailbox they can reach? It
raises my hackles every time I go in and see over 600 emails that I have no interest in receiving. You'd think at least they would have to target their audience appropriately. I'm doubly annoyed when some manage to sneak past my SPAM filter and make it into my inbox. Lately, yahoo has been sending my regular mail to SPAM so I forced to weed through it. Hence this venting blog. :)

This is a sampling of what I deleted:

WANT TO SLIM DOWN IN TWO DAYS?
Of course, I do, but I'm sure if it was possible the United States wouldn't have the obesity statistics reported. No, I don't want to lop off a limb or take a diurectic that removes all my fluids to lose 20 pounds, nor do I want to do what the next email offered...

CLEANSE YOUR COLON.

I saw about five of these in the mix. Why is someone concerned with my colon and its level of cleanliness. I rather consider this way to personal to discuss with someone I've never met. How about you?

FOOT PATCH - DETOX YOUR BODY WHILE YOU SLEEP.
Maybe if I wore the patch people wouldn't be so concerned with my colon. Egads, there's a sucker born every minute, but I refuse to be one of them.

CREDIT ANALYZER - NEVER MAKE ANOTHER CREDIT CARD PAYMENT
Wow, this one appeals to me, but do I believe it? Hell no. If you never make another payment, you're credit will be analyzed automatically. You'll become the next topic of a country music song... lose you house, your car, your guitar... Why pay someone to help you find your way to bankruptcy?

INCREASE THE LENGTH OF YOUR PENIS

Ain't got one. How many people named Ginger do you suppose do? Okay, Ginger Baker was a drummer for Cream, but other than him...

INCREASE THE WIDTH OF YOUR PENIS
Still ain't got one. I'm happy with the one I borrow from time to time. :)

PREMIER BANK CARD - INSTANT APPROVAL

Why not. If I use credit analyzer advertised above and never have to pay again... Right!

EHARMONY CONNECTIONS
Shouldn't these go to single people. I doubt my husband would appreciate me trying to find a match while he's still around.

PERFECT LITTER - GET A WEEK WEEK SUPPLY

Don't have cat, and if it pertains to trash, I don't want any of that either. We make enough around here. Can't imagine what I'd do with two weeks of free kitty litter, but it gives me something to blog about.

HEY-WANNA SEE MY PICS
No, I'm pretty sure I don't. I think these are the emails that lead to kiddy porn showing up on your computer.

CAREERS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

This might be the only one of interest, but only if I don't pay my credit card bill, become a bigamist, or accidentally look at pictures that implant porn on my computer.

I could go on and on and on. The titles are so ridiculous, and I wish we could write back and tell the idiots who sent them to stop, but I imagine they are just people like you and me who are trying to work from home and make a buck. With gasoline, food, clothes, and everything else costing so much these days, who can really blame them. I feel a tad sorry for them when I think about it in that way, but I feel sorrier for me being their target. If you're out there, reading this, I don't have a penis. Get over it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

Benefit of the Doubt! That's what's missing from the world today. Email, blogging, media coverage--to much left to interpretation, and the end result is usually negative. People taking comments out of context, readings things into them, adding tone that isn't there, and creating a negative image of the comment's owner that isn't true. I'm as guilty as most since I've been offended via email when no offense was ever intended. The idea is to extend BOTD or ask the person for clarification before condemning them.

This morning as I watched TV, I was particularly angered by the rhetoric between Rev. Al Sharpton and another person with regard to civil rights. The issue--a news person, while covering a golf tournament on television made a comment that, in my opinion, was meant to compliment Tiger Woods. "He's so good, the only way to beat him is to lynch him." That may not be exact, but it's close enough.

Somehow this became a racial slur because of the term 'lynch'. Where is the benefit of the doubt? Doubt that the woman, under the stress of reporting on national television, actually realized she'd chosen a word that would raise the hackles of hate mongers? Do we really think she's stupid enough to jeopardize her job in that way? She knows Tiger Woods and he was in no way offended, but because her remark was viewed as racist, she has been suspended. Good grief people, what has happened to freedom of speech? I doubt people even think about race when Tiger Woods plays. His talent is amazing and he's a role model for so many.

How can a man with Reverend as a title spew such hatred and find so many mole hills to build into mountains? My question has nothing to do with his race, but rather his dynamic personality and penchant for stirring such unrest in the world. I'm puzzled how a man of God can be so negative.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

NO LEFT TURNS


I received this today from a friend. Although I like to try to be 'original' on my blog, this is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. I want to be him when I grow up. :)

It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.


My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never
saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

'In those days,' he told me when he was in his 90s, 'to drive a car you had to do things
with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I
decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.'

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman,
chimed in:'Oh, bull----!' she said. 'He hit a horse.'

'Well,' my father said, 'there was that, too.'

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray
1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd
ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. 'No one in the family
drives,' my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, 'But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll
get one.' It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in
1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts
department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my
parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't
make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's
idea. 'Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?' I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my
father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother
either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would
walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests 'Father Fast' and 'Father Slow.'

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: 'The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.'

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, 'Do you want to know the secret of a long life?'

'I guess so,' I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

'No left turns,' he said.

'What?' I asked.

'No left turns,' he repeated. 'Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.'

'What?' I said again.

'No left turns,' he said. 'Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot
safer. So we always make three rights.'

'You're kidding!' I said, and I turned to my mother for support 'No,' she said, 'your father is
right. We make three rights. It works.' But then she added: 'Except when your father loses count.'

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

'Loses count?' I asked.

'Yes,' my father admitted, 'that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again.'

I couldn't resist. 'Do you ever go for 11?' I asked.

'No,' he said ' If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week.'

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few
years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have
a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father
would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times
what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and
sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had
the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, 'You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.' At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, 'You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer.'

'You're probably right,' I said.

'Why would you say that?' He countered, somewhat irritated.

'Because you're 102 years old,' I said.

'Yes,' he said, 'you're right.' He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the
night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:

'I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet'

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

'I want you to know,' he said, clearly and lucidly, 'that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.'

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. '

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.'

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Clarification

I just wanted to clarify the intent of my post "Why Do Friends Hurt Friends?" It was not to express discontent with two people who became dear friends in my life, because after the whole ugly experience, I realize they were faced with their own futures and finances. They did what was best for them at the time, with no intention of hurting me. I miss our relationships and the fun times we shared, I just wish someone hadn't ruined them, or more importantly, I wish I hadn't allowed someone to ruin them.

My regret is that, at the time, I didn't express how I felt...that I walked away and gave up everything I'd worked so hard to earn. If something similar happened today, I would handle it very differently. That was my point. Don't act like everything is okay when it isn't. If someone you care about does something that upsets you, they deserve to know. You can't fix something if you don't know it's broken.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Ging

SOMEBODY GET ME A CHAIN SAW


Isn't there a bible passage that says 'cut off thy offending limb'? There was a time when movement on the bed meant something romantic. Well, that ship sailed and now I've discovered I sleep with a person who suffers from terminal foot jiggling. Not only does he do while he's awake, it continues during sleep. Intermittent at times, it's mostly a constant sensation.

I can sleep in the bed and barely disturb the covers; he, on the other hand, works to free his enclosed foot... the one trapped beneath the blanket and spread, and he yanks and pulls until he's untucked every piece of fabric from beneath the mattress. All in pursuit of FOOT JIGGLING. Oh, my gosh. I need help. The rings under my eyes match the clouds outside right now. Dark and puffy!

I thought the snores were the worse, but this is driving me nuts. Oh, just kidding about the title. I really wouldn't cut off his foot but I am thinking of alternatives. *lol*

Monday, January 7, 2008

Why Do Friends Hurt Friends?


This is a question that pops into my mind from time-to-time, like today when a new friend of mine shared her upset with one her friends who is doing something for herself although she realizes it must be painful to others. I advised my new pal, that rather than sit back and accept what she finds so upsetting, to speak out and let the person know how she feels. It's so much easier to tell others what to do than to do it yourself. Her post brought to mind a past experience I had... one I wish I'd dealt with very differently because it affects my life, even today. For cathartic reasons, I choose to share. Sometimes people deserve to know something about them is broken so they can fix it.

I won't go into great detail because of legality, but let's just say that I was once wrongfully accused of being something I'm totally against--a racist. I never had an opportunity to confront my accuser, so the question still burns in my mind--what did I ever do to you that warranted such a hurtful and harmful statement? I raised my children with a stern hand when it came to racists jokes and remarks. I've gone through my life treating people like I want to be treated, and I've always had a lot of friends. So to think that one person that I worked with for many years suddenly saw monetary gain over friendship amazes me.

It didn't just affect my friendship with her, it changed how I viewed my other co-workers--the other two who were sued along with me. I wasn't as strong as they were. I couldn't turn the other cheek and work shoulder-to-shoulder with someone who had besmirched my good name. I even had the backing of a doctor who said it was affecting my health, but my employer was more intimidated by the lawsuit then they were concerned in finding an alternative workspace for me. The friends I thought should have stood beside me, didn't and I walked away feeling and looking the fool and wondering why over twenty years of dedication and hard work didn't count for anything. For years, I'd planned other people's retirement parties, and the one I hoped for never came, at least from the office I'd given so much of myself to.

Although I changed to another job, the unhappiness continued to plague me. Constant questions about why I'd left my previous job went unanswered because I was warned not to discuss the suit. Eventually, my health failed and I had to retire. Needless to say, my pension is not what I'd planned on, and on payday each month, I wish I had possessed a stronger backbone. Today I would have told my friends of my disappointment in their lack of support for me. It might not have changed anything, but I'd feel satisfied that they know how I felt. I wouldn't have let one person steal my future from me, or fill the final days of my dying best friend with unwarranted stress. I feel like things were left unsettled between us. I still miss my teammate and best bud. She was my best audience and laughed at even my crummiest attempts at humor. I hope she knows how much I loved her, and still do.

I'm happy to say that this experience didn't dim my believe in human nature. I still detest people who judge others for any reason, and I will speak up against unfairness. It takes age to make you stronger, I guess. I'm constantly reminded of how things should be when I drop my grandson off at his kindergarten class. His best friend is black, and they hug each other hello and goodbye. They don't see colors...they see friendship, and that's the way it should be. Everyone should look at the world through Kindergarten eyes.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Presenting My NEW Cover



I can't tell you how excited I am to finally have a cover for Sparta Rose that I love and KNOW I'll be able to keep. It's been a long and disappointing trail to get to this point, but all I can say is, IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT. Thank you, Enspiren.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Breaking News: Diets Don't Work


Aren't you sick of hearing your doctor tell you to lose weight? I swear I want to punch him. God knows I've done everything possible to be a thin person... it just isn't in the cards for me. If there is a diet out there, I'll bet I've been on it. I've done pills, shots, stomach stapling, even tried Overeaters Anonymous but just couldn't deal with dumping my love of fattening food off on God. There comes a time when you have to accept responsibility for your own bad habits.

After my surgery, I went to a support group to help me deal with becoming suddenly thin. Everyone there claimed to be fat because of various reasons. Some were abused as a child, others were victims of assault, ME...I admitted I was there because my elbow bent to my mouth much too easily... and frequently. I didn't go again after that because it was clear I didn't fit in. I had no one to blame but myself.

I lost a hundred pounds from the surgery, and shortly after that, another two hundred and fifty when my husband decided he liked Jack Daniels better than me. So I wouldn't say that the surgery was a complete loss, but now what I do. Here I am, fifteen years after the surgery with a stomach that holds a fraction of what it used to. I don't eat bread, pasta, rice or french fries...no more hamburgers and hotdogs, and I've gained weight. How fair does that sound? I think calories drift in the air and I swallow them. Is air fattening?

Of course the Doctor tells me all I can do now is exercise. Sure thing. I'll get right on it. I didn't exercise when I was thirty, forty or fifty. I highly doubt that I'm going to become physically active at sixty-two. Besides, after you lose a hundred pounds, the stuff that held up your skin disappeared. In a short-sleeved blouse on a breezy day, I could hurt myself with all that stuff flapping around. Or even injure somebody else.

Did I mention that I was even hypnotized once for weight loss once? Let me quote a portion of my book, Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean Them:

I went to the doctor just knowing he couldn't hypnotize me. Even when he said my neck was starting to feel like melting wax and the only thing I could see was my chest, I still didn't think he could do it. When I rolled out on his examining table like a garden hose, I doubted his ability. There I was, sprawled out, flat on my back, eyes unable to open, and I couldn't have moved if someone yelled 'snake'. I still didn't believe he could do it. You think I would have gotten a hint.

Well, the doctor hypnotized me and told me everything I ate, that I shouldn't, would taste like caster oil... but once I got brave enough to eat a handful of chips, it was all over. He lied. They still tasted like chips.

So my friends, don't waste your money. Hypnosis is a crock. The only thing I lost in that deal was seventy-five bucks. There just isn't an easy answer. I guess I'll give up my dream of being a runway model. *lol*

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The "Most Disgusting Poll" is Up

Okay, the words have poured in. Well, maybe that's not exactly an apt description, but I've closed nominations and posted the words a few people find most offensive. You'll find them listed in the left-hand column. Please cast your vote because the lucky winner is going to get an autographed copy of Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean Them, suitable for one sitting in the powder room. :)

Remember, this was an idea that popped up from the disgusting things we're exposed to on TV.

Two entries didn't make the poll but warrant 'honorable mention'. Someone thought that rural was hard to say and sounded bad, while someone found the incorrect usage of your and you're highly annoying. I admit to being one that makes that mistake though I try to keep from it. Spell checker just doesn't catch those things, dang it. *lol*

Muse It Up

If you enjoy my blog, or perhaps another that you've viewed, I invite you to let the blogger know you appreciate their efforts. I received this email this morning with the information you need to cast a vote.

Ginger, just a reminder that the voting polls are now open so begin promoting and bugging your friends to vote for your blog on the Muse Peer Awards.

All they have to do is send me an email to museitupeditor@yahoo.ca with WRITER'S BLOG on the subject heading and the name and blog's link and I'll keep track.

Good luck. here's the link to the awards site again:
Muse It Up
http://www.museitupclub.tripod.com/themuseperawards

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy, Happy


I"m still reeling that it's been eight years since we all sat and chewed our nails over what would happen in 2000. I think that was the last time I stayed up to welcome in a new year. All I know is that watching the ball drop last night in NYC via Dick Clark's Rocking New Years Eve party, was not all that uplifting. I couldn't believe how he'd aged, and his speech was seriously altered because of his stroke. I think there comes a time when people need to hang up their 'famous' hat and retire. I've admired him for years and followed his career, but seriously... I went to bed more depressed than inspired.

Although 2007 was no productive as far as my writing career, I did see progress in Spencer, and that's far more important. I'm looking forward to two new releases this year, and hopefully the signing of a new contract for Sarah's Journey, but that remains to be seen.

I've got some interesting ideas planned for my blogging year, so I hope you'll stay tuned and join in the fun. Don't forget to scroll down and enter you choice of the most 'repulsive' word.

Hope you have a wonderful day. Be back tomorrow. :)

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