Saturday, April 28, 2012

RE: MS WRITE-NOW (Humor) Oh, Crap(s)! A Family Vacation in Vegas

Oh, Crap(s)!

This entry was a little ditty I wrote when my youngest was still a toddler, but it remains a favorite and appears in my latest book, I'LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU...UNLESS I'M SOMEWHERE ELSE?!

           Vegas. Picture a family who doesn’t drink, smoke, or gamble spending their vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada and you’ve got a recipe for success, don’t you? Right. I don’t know why we didn’t call you and ask you before we booked it either. 

          We were trying to be independent and see where that gets us? In Las Vegas. Not that I don’t love it. It’s just not the place to go during Easter break when all of the other boys, girls and parents have decided to descend upon this desert version of Disneyland in search of that elusive thing we’ve only heard about, but never really experienced infrequently. Family fun.

           In all of our wisdom and, dare I say, packing some false courage, we decided to drive from northern California through Nevada’s fine desert region, staying in Tonopah, Nevada on the way, Tonopah being, I think, Paiute for trailers. And then “Onward, ho!” toward the Las Vegas territories.   
Due to our Las Vegas destination and presence in Nevada, that “ho” part of the statement takes on a new meaning also. As we traveled past perkily painted pink palaces like the “Bunny Ranch,” my daughter screamed out that she wanted to stop and “pet” the bunnies. You and every other cowboy within a sixty-mile radius, missy.

We just put the pedal to the medal and resolutely pressed on, providing some sort of lame excuse like, “the bunnies are sleeping,” which probably wasn‘t entirely untrue, it being before noon.

           We arrived at our hotel tired and parched, but feeling somewhat as though we were pioneers, except for this time we were pioneers in the smoking world. How strange it was to go from “God’s country” to Marlboro country. Who knew that childhood-filled memories imprinted in the mist of the secondhand smoke of my mind would swirl, yea, these many years later. 

         As I achooed my way to our room, I noted that there was a theme park located right inside our building and it dawned on me that there was another reason that this vacation was an odd choice for us. We were staying at “Circus, Circus” and I absolutely detest clowns. In fact, yes, it’s true. They sort of scare me. 

          Why had I not thought of this before I’d booked us into Clown Heaven, where not only were there pictures of clowns everywhere, but live clowns were walking all around the premises, garishly smiling or miming their way into my daily life. I resolutely resolved to be a big girl and have a good time. Next step, the hotel room.

          And that’s when things turned around. As we were led into our room I was dazzled by the fact that it was decorated with my favorite color – purple. The room was actually pretty darned large and as we made our way back downstairs we found a restaurant that provided us with the best meal we’d had in months, mainly because I do most of the cooking.

         Next stop was the pool, where there wasn’t a clown in sight, maybe because their "natural" ensemble doesn’t exactly qualify as pool attire. We frolicked, sunbathed, had iced teas served to us poolside and for the rest of the trip the fun just kept coming. 

        So what’s the moral of the story? As parents accept the fact that we have no idea what will work and what won’t, so just throw some ideas at a metaphorical wall, like so much spaghetti, and see what sticks.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RE: MS WRITE-NOW (Humor) Too Much Saving Time

Too Much Saving Time

(FYI: It’s Daylight Saving Time (without the “s” at the end)

Because I live up in them thar northern California hills I wasn’t so sure this blessed event had occurred as of yet due to the fact that it was still snowing here two weeks ago.   

One week ago it was raining so hard that the windshield wipers for my car, which I fondly call the Hydroplane, valiantly stuttered out their end-of-season-buy-replacement-blades swan song.

Ergo, I only JUST noticed that there was more light in my dayparts.

(Does that sound naughty or is that just me?)

No matter.  I’m now reveling in the bounty that is this Congressionally-sanctioned time switching which provides me with the added bonus of several “able to do it all” hours of light in my day.

The concept of Daylight Saving Time (DST) goes so far back it was first mentioned by that perpetually productive guy, Benjamin Franklin. 

Implementation didn’t occur until World War I and during World War II DST was actually dubbed “War Time,” subsequently re-packaged as the “Daylight Saving Time Energy Act” right around the time The Watergate Hotel became known for its great acoustics.  

As a practice, DST was not known to be consistently applied.  At one point it was discovered that “…on the 35-mile stretch of…Route 2 between Moundsville, W.V., and Steubenville, Ohio, every bus driver and his passengers had to endure seven time changes.”   It took both The Uniform Time Act of 1966 and The Energy Policy Act of 2005 to create a sensible plan of uniformity. 

And you know what?  It still seems to confuse us all.  Be that as it may, I adore Daylight Saving Time.  I view it somewhat as a lovable, though absent too frequently favorite uncle.

While I delight in the fact that I never seem to have a “to do” list for long during Daylight Saving Time there is one thing about it I don’t love; resetting every clock and watch (last count 52) I own.  Fifty-two.  Fifty-two?  Is that insane or what?

It’s not that I’m someone who is completely enamored of all things time zone.  I don’t even have those fancy-schmancy clocks that provide a helpful chronometer profiling countries and states to which I’ve never traveled.

Nor do I have a cuckoo clock, grandfather clock, or a clock that shows the phases of the moon.

(In the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that, once upon a time, I did own a wristwatch which showed the phases of the moon.  I loved that thing too, not so much because I could tell folks what lunar phase we were in, but rather because I think moon images are soothing.)

So, my husband is a doer and extremely helpful. 

(Hang on for two minutes.  I’ll connect all of this up, so set your timer.)    

The other day I drove like it was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride when I was running a wee bit late for my exercise class.  I was practically standing on my accelerator, cursing the luck that would have me commuting on a day when a convoy was evidently delivering ALL of the food for northern California at the same time that I needed to be somewhere pronto.  (Harrumph!)

As I screeched up to my class I turned to throw my keys to the valet, only there wasn’t one.  Dang it!

See, this is what happens when you ingest a steady diet of smutty romance novels as a teenager, believing plots that highlight poor girls marrying rich boys.  You start believing you will marry wealth leaving a trail of valets, chefs, and trainers in your wake.

Consequently, I had to get back into my car and park the blasted thing.

As it was, I figured I was at least 15 minutes late to my class.  At this rate I would be practically starting with the cool down.

I rushed in, out of breath, clutching my half-garbed body, my heart and my checkbook.

The owner of the studio smiled at me kindly as she always does as I shakily scribbled my name onto the sign-in sheet.  Phew!  I made it. 

As I turned to launch myself into the class I espied an unfamiliar instructor.  Oh, what now?

My bewildered look must have been hysterical.  Let’s face it, when you spend an inordinate amount of time in life plying the humor trade there’s always a story behind your actions and I’m sure Mary figured this would be a doozy.

Mary’s question, “You know you’re early…really early?  Do you have some errands you can do?” was met with my look that said it all.  Whaaatttt???!!!

As I glanced at the clock I noted I was not just a skosh early, but an entire hour early.  I mumbled something about going next door to the bakery which is my version of an important errand.   

As the heady aroma of naughty, illicit, yummy baked goods hit my hypothalamus it dawned on me what had happened.     

My husband had helpfully re-set my car clock for me, so it was now reflecting the new time.  Because I had blown out of my office paying more attention to the fact that my work-out pants didn’t look so hot with my tank top, I had neglected to note timepiece synchronization.

It just goes to show you, time flies when someone else sets your clock.

Articles I read in my continuing quest to provide my readers with helpful, bite-sized knowledge morsels they can disseminate at their next barbecue.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

RE: MS-WRITE NOW (Humor) It's Taxing!


DUHN-DUHN-DUHN...It's Tax Day!

If you're like me, it's all over, but the crying...and paying!

I'm always amazed at how simple public servants like myself, who cling tenaciously to their lower middle class status, can owe on their taxes. But, hey, I still can't believe I'm not fixin' to celebrate my 30th birthday, so I've got all kinds of denial going on up in here.

In order of this auspicious occasion, I have decided to post the synopsis here for my humorous mystery entitled, K-I-L-L- TV which features a murder that takes place on -- you guessed it! -- tax day.

You can circumvent this little attention-grabber and just go directly to the newly-uploaded-for-your-reading-pleasure Chapter 1 on my website, accessing it by clicking the freshly minted "KILL-TV" tab. The WEBSITE of which I speak is:

And, hey, if you like what you read, why not order this beast? I've got one more kid child to put through college and if I have too many more tax years like this one that's looking more challenging than keeping my hindquarters above sea level with exercise.

It could be that not only will I be yodeling out to my daughter, "Junior college is an efficient use of our time and money this year," but subsequently, "There's nothing wrong with being in junior college four years and then transferring to the college of your dreams."

Ahhh, the American Dream. Not so much elusive as wily. Onward we go to that synopsis I promised.


It’s April Fifteenth. Tax Day. And while this is not, traditionally, a source of merriment for any citizen, K-I-L-L TV adds a new twist to Ben Franklin’s axiom about “death and taxes” by telling the humorously suspenseful tale of news director, Leslie Lloyd.

Fateful timing finds Leslie foraging around for a tape in the television station control room when she notices something is off besides the lights; station manager Lincoln Delaware Bradley III is dead.

Unfortunately, our alliterative heroine was known to disagree with the head honcho publicly, loudly and frequently. The fact that Leslie and Lincoln had one humdinger of an argument a mere day’s worth of hours before Lincoln’s death doesn’t escape anyone’s attention, least of all the police.

As if that isn’t enough, Leslie’s husband, that rat-bastard Bob, is leaving her, her income taxes haven’t been filed, and she’s in desperate need of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting—or ten.

An unexpected diversion in the form of a love connection with policeman, Jared Stanford, provides a welcome breather, even as a veritable Lombard Street of plot twists threaten to send her careening into a metaphorical wall representing her future.

The song title chapter headings set the tone for the intrigue as we get a closer look at Leslie’s life, friends and struggle to stay on top in the uncompromising world of broadcast journalism, as her

story plays non-stop on every station, including K-I-L-L TV.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

RE: MS-WRITE NOW (Humor) Batteries Not Included (Rated AAA)

Batteries Not Included (Rated AAA)
I’m staring at my non-functioning flashlight for the fourth time in as many months, wondering why I never seem able to get ahead on this whole stocking up on batteries deal.

So, how about if we talk about batteries for a few minutes?

Now, I don’t want to lead you astray and make you think this is one of those naughty columns that will get you all hot and bothered. My suppositions are usually bookended between “information” and “How weird is that?” Pretty tame stuff.

I engage in these combination observational/query-ational activities mainly because it beats doing all of the things I should be doing like paying bills, making money to pay bills, or making sure I don’t make more bills.

Now, lest your mind go somewhere a wee bit too kinky we’re just discussing batteries here. That’s all. No double entendres, no hyperlinks to some sort of We-Are-Waiting-To-Turn-You-On dot com website.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of batteries we need and why do we need more than one size? All right. You know what? I’ll give that one to you.

When I began this piece I knew I would run the risk of turning out a piece of writing that was filled with innuendo, allusion and insinuation, but I can see I had no reason for concern. I think this is going really well so far because we have a great opportunity for discussion and scrutiny. (Hey, is it just me or does that word, “scrutiny” just look nasty, like the word “moist?”)

I know it may seem I’ve wandered off topic, but I think I can get us back on track by addressing the whole size issue.

It seems like the larger they are the more of them you need. We are really going to have to fight the urge to yodel out, “That’s what she said!” at this juncture, aren’t we?

Again, I’m talking about batteries. Help me out. Let’s concentrate, shall we?

Why is it that the whole battery lettering series thing begins with an “A,” followed by “AA,” and an ensuing “AAA?”

Was the first “A” battery so positively received by the masses that a stuttering “A” system was introduced launching into “AA” and “AAA?”

Quite frankly, I don’t get the battery lettering logic at all. I mean, would it have sounded any odder to query with, “Do we have any B’s?” rather than inquiring, “Got a “triple A?” Was the originator of this clever system afraid that we would ask for bees and then we would be chased by them when others misunderstood and presented us with honey bees?

Or maybe there was a first Inventor Type who decided not to mess with a good thing, but then along came Inventor Type Number Two who might have asserted, “Hey, dumb bunny (this is thrown in as a nod to Easter weekend when I’m posting this), you need to move along the alphabet scale! Pick another letter and it doesn’t have to be a vowel.”

That’s when the battery folks must have added the “C” and “D” batteries into the series.

(I'm guessing that, subsequently, Inventor Type Number One began working on the educational grading system of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, oops E’s sound weird, we’ll go with “F’s.”)

Couldn’t the bra lettering lady have helped this industry out, assuring them that the consumer really could handle consecutive lettering? Therefore, you can actually begin with the first letter of the alphabet and still experience the fun of double and triple lettering; therefore, preserving your ability to expand into 25 other available letters. (Or if you don’t use all of the other letters, then don't skip any letters.)

And while we’re on this subject, why do we need more of the larger ones which, let’s be honest, are terrible in the endurance department? Uh-oh. Out of context I can certainly see what type of message this might be sending. Not exactly the one I intended.

Boy, is it just me, or is this whole double entendre thing getting worse? Let me try again.

Think functionality. Think weather. Stormy, unpredictable, tempestuous and steamy weather that makes the power go out. Focus! That’s when you require a flashlight in order to see, don't you?

Unfortunately, power outages mean darkness and so you must feel your way toward the desk where you keep the batteries. You then play the drawer version of hide and go seek, searching for those slick, solid, cylindrical cartridges…batteries.

You know, this trying not to be suggestive thing may be a lost cause. We can all agree I was never able to get the whole thing up and running, so I’ll just cut to the chase and be done with it.

Plugging things in is so much better.