Category Archives: Miscellaneous Ramblings

Kelly Fries and Friends

My friend Tina was a force to be reckoned with.  She was absolutely opinionated, refused to hold her tongue, got us in trouble on a regular basis and was (excuse my crassness) ‘balls to the wall’.  Now, I’m not saying that I am an angel (even though I am) and that I didn’t get kicked out of some of the seediest bars in PA (those stories are for another time) but Tina had a penchant for being both amazingly loving as well as incredibly irritating.  That girl had a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush and a nun faint but somehow, usually, that made her more endearing.  Her favorite line (which incidentally she had on a shirt, mind you) was “f*ck you, you f*ckin’ f*ckers.”  And somehow, that not only became her traditional response but we all ended up using it on a fairly regular basis.  But still, she was beyond loving.  If you were her friend, she would go rounds with someone she felt slighted you.  That didn’t stop her from being her version of honest with you, though.

We used to go out for a bite to eat, a couple of drinks, and then usually catch a band, most often one of our friends would be playing somewhere nearby.  I would meet the gang for dinner and we would sit around the table, catching up, sharing stories, and just generally being social.  Eventually, everyone would decide to order food.  When the order came to me, it was fairly inevitable that I would simply order French fries.  Time and again, we would all go out and I would order the same thing, French fries.  Eventually, Tina confronted me.

“Why do you always order French fries?  I don’t think I have ever seen you eat anything else.”

Shocked that anyone would notice, I managed to reply that I ordered them because I could never decide on anything else, they put food in my stomach since we were having a drink or two, and mostly, because I really like French fries.

While these reasons are all true, I never did tell her the main reason for my standard order.  Finances.  I simply could not afford to both eat with everyone and still be able to hang out with everyone afterward with an adult beverage in hand.  Simple courtesy.  You sit at a table with people eating, you should eat.  You go to a different venue, social convention dictates that you actually purchase something from that establishment.  So … French fries.  Cheap, easy, filling, and sinfully yummy.  Hey, one’s gotta have one’s vices, na?

It’s pretty clear to me that one’s vices start at a young (or young-ish) age.  For me, one of the first times I ever went out to a diner with friends (sans parental units), I was introduced to what we call ‘kelly fries’.  Now, most people know kelly fries by a different moniker.  Being from a small, rural town, I got to know these ‘sounds disgusting but are sooooo good’ fries only by the term ‘kelly.’  When I left that area, I tried repeatedly to get them served to me but to no avail.  Oh, I’ve had chefs give it a go, but since it wasn’t something done by them before, usually it paled in comparison to my standard.  For anyone who has ever moved, especially to another state, you quickly realize that your favorite comfort foods are regional foods and are notoriously difficult to locate.  Take cheesesteaks, for example.  Living relatively close to Philadelphia, cheesesteaks were everywhere.  Not so much in other parts of the country.  If you don’t believe me, just go ahead and order a cheesesteak in North Carolina or Connecticut.  Let me know how that works out for you.  You’ll get what they call a cheesesteak, but it isn’t anything like the real thing.

But I digress.  I spent years searching through different states to find that elusive cheesesteak, but more importantly, to find KELLY FRIES.  How difficult can it be to find a plate full of French fries with some cheese and gravy on them?  Then I found Canada.  Oh.  My.  Gawd.  They even have a name for it.  Poutine.  Just like Tim Horton’s, the closer you get to Canada, the easier it is to find poutine.  They don’t even care what you call it.  They’ll not only serve it to you, they’ll have it on the menu, for pity’s sake!  If there was ever a discovery that called for the *Snoopy happy dance,* this one fit the bill (yeah, it’s all about the little things).

So, I’m languishing away in Connecticut, no cheesesteaks, no kelly fries, no friends’ bands playing anywhere and out of the blue, one of my best friends insists that I view our friendship on Facebook.  He wanted to remind me how we were so funny a couple of years ago.  Ok, we’re still ridiculously funny, we just don’t manage it nearly as much in publc (and together) than in the past.

Like the good girl I am, I follow this dictate and peruse our past friendship on Facebook.  And, as I’m laughing away at our antics, I come across a very insistent post from me for him to call me.  A demand, really.  As I’m reading this, I’m groaning to myself and wondering what trainwreckedness I’ve gotten into this time so that I have to disturb him at work.  And then I read the rest of the responses.

I insisted he call me because our friend (and fellow llama-lover) Tina died.  And idiotically, one of the first things to go through my mind as I read this post is French fries.  Somehow, the memory of Tina and the memory of our French fry conversation has gotten inexorably tangled up in my mind.  If I wanted to psychoanalyze this, the logical explanation is that just as I’m unable to have kelly fries in an area that just does not have them, I’m unable to have our friendship in a world that just does not have Tina.

But I’m not going to psychoanalyze this.  I’m just going to take it as timely fate that, while French fries and Tina are cohabitating in my memory, my above-mentioned bestie posts an article about putting kelly fries on top of pizza.  With a picture.  And, while I love kelly fries, and I love pizza, I absolutely cannot abide the thought of merging the two.  No thanks, JT.  I’ll take my fries on the side.  With a llama.  In a hat.

~Love Always~

*dedicated to the memory of Tina, may she continue to rest in peace.

llamahat

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Celebrate

May your eyes see the infinite beauty of the heavens which surround the mundane, and may your ears hear the exquisite sounds of the angels as they sing. May your tongue taste the nectar of the gods in the unending banquet set before you, and may your skin feel the gossamer touch of a lover’s breath.

May your life be a treasure trove of individual minutes instead of a rushed frenzy through the hours and the days. May you savor the joy of each small wonder instead of always searching for some ultimate prize. May you learn to love and love to learn.

Every minute and each breath is a gift of light to embrace, a moment in time to either squander or value. Each gaze of your eye and every touch of your hand is a singular joy to relish and honor, to believe in and experience. May you choose to do so with all the love in your heart, second by second and moment by moment.  Live not for today but in today, finding peace and joy from each small miracle set before you.

Boat in raindrop


Unwritten

I’m stymied by circumstances.

I can’t write about my life or my children, my world or my beliefs. I am constrained by silly necessities and the unforeseen upheaval in which I currently find myself. I can’t write in front of the distraction of the television or when certain others are in the same room – even if they are simply playing computer games. It is difficult to sit in a room where so many things should be done – the dishes, the laundry, the removal of disorder.

The urge to write is so strong yet I lack the space, the time, and now it seems, the ability.

There is no friendly coffee shop, no place to both be immersed in people yet alone. There is no space with light and busy people and coffee. There are no chance encounters or random overheard conversations. There is no easy way to transport the now computer as there was with the then computer.

There is the lonely bedroom, often with only the presence a cat who refuses to be quiet. There is the porch, with its uncovered sun glare and view of an wildly un-manicured lawn. There is the dining room with its antique peeling table and frequent interruptions or the basement with its cold, dreary darkness. There is a lack of space that says ‘me,’ a lack of some area with which I can identify and embrace.

I awaken each day to see only a lightening of sky through my small restricted view, yet I never fail to hope and believe. I believe that this day, THIS ONE, will be the day I discover my sanctuary. But each night I retire with the falling darkness and know that I have yet again failed. I fervently pray to find a spot in this new world where I can free my mind, my soul, and my gift.

Yet duty calls and the restrictions are numbing. How much easier to accept instead of fight, to embrace that which is instead of lust after that which cannot be?

Do not misunderstand. I am not unhappy. This new world holds a treasure trove of love, experiences, and ideas. I thank TPTB every day to have this new life, this new world.

The fault is not in this world so it must be with me.

pen and notebook


Tempted


Ecstasy becomes agony

Gray mist swirls through my mind in a tantalizing vortex
Beckoning, enticing me with a blessed surcease of pain
I am tempted

Hold fast to consciousness, hold fast to you

Sallow skin, icy and trembling in the moonlight
Fighting, losing, the rules have suddenly changed
I am tempted

Break the rules, break the ties that bind

Amaranthine blossoms contrast with the pale canvas of my skin
Receding, fading slowly, only to effloresce again
I am tempted

Discard this reality, discard all sanity

Scarlet on white, my pulse throbs to the cadence of your heart
Enrapturing, torturing me into compliance
I am tempted

Become infinitely more, become infinitely less

Gray mist explodes with a lightning bolt of white
Creating death, creating life, a shift between here and now
Tempted… I am

Reborn


Time Limitations

You think I don’t write about you.  You couldn’t be more wrong. You are on my computer, on bits of  paper, in scenes in my mind, and often in my dreams. I create and recreate you as my hero, my nemesis, the evil lord, and the savior of all the universe. You are my dream, my nightmare, my fantasy, the bane of my existence, and my muse. You will live forever in my writings. You are eternal.

I write long soliloquies to you; epic poems meant for no one else. I spend keyboard time typing monologues, things never to be read by anyone but me. I write long, truthful, insightful letters to you, mental meanderings of the hows and the whats and the whys of all that we experience and all that we are, honest and heartfelt and forever undelivered.

I write of you and I write to you and I write about you. You think I fill my hours with frippery and silliness when all the time I am composing – even while taking care of all those things that require care. I fill my hours with the haves and the needs and the musts and many times I let the sand pass through the hourglass without pressing pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I deliver that which is needed while denying the necessities of my calling. I create in my head even while I should be creating with my fingers. I am and I am not.

I live to dance, to write, to bathe in the sun and revel in the sea. I create love and light and laughter from the beauty and goodness of the world around me. I delight in the brightness of the day, the miracle of the earth, the calmness of the night, and the enormity of the seas. I feel in colors and I recollect in sound. I bring the absolute amazingness of you to the banality of daily existence. I mentally hoard the beauty of each moment in your arms to savor during times of stress or strain, boredom or confusion, sadness or terror. You are my friend, my rock, my lover, and my savior. As trite and contrived as it may sound, you complete me.

You think I don’t write of you when all the time I do little else.

Writing about Sloop

Writing about Sloop


Nirvana

Nirvana: a place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry, and the external world.

 Nirvana
Nirvana. Without consciously thinking so, I guess I’ve been searching for nirvana. I think most of us are searching. And the reality is that my own personal nirvana is different from everyone else’s. What I believe to be the perfect place or lack from worry or pain is vastly different from my best friend’s, or my cousin’s, or the guys with whom I play poker, or the retired gentleman with whom I sit, or yours.

We may share many traits and thoughts and ideals but we have each lived our own unique lives, have our own histories, formed our own opinions and morals and believe our own thoughts. We are each on a different path or at different points along similar paths. What I believe is not necessarily what you believe. What I think is true and right and good you might possibly look at and wonder how I could ever think that.

Obviously, I hope not. I hope we have some shared foundation upon which we can build. I believe in truth. I believe in taking care of people. I believe in doing the best you can with the resources you enjoy.

I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years and I hope that I continue to learn and grow even more. I feel that I have grown as a person, as a friend, and as a lover. I have navigated situations which I would have sworn up, down, and sideways that could never, would never, unequivocally should never, ever happen to me. No, definitely not to me. Life has a way of surprising one, though, doesn’t it?

I attempt to navigate this life and do the best I can for me while maintaining moral integrity. I try to help others and do what I can to make world a better place, if not for everybody, then at least for those with whom I come into contact. I know the world is awful. I know that there is so much pain and suffering and hurt and confusion out there. I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all go away so each of us could achieve our own personal nirvana.

And at the end of the day, I guess that is part of my own nirvana – the absence of pain and suffering, hurt and confusion, angst and worry, not just for myself but for everyone – be it him, or her, or you.

Do as ye will, an it harm none.

You are loved.


50 Awesome Moments Only Writers Would Understand

I’ve done almost every single one of these.


Outside the box

Caught in a maelstrom.

Unarmed in the midst of a firestorm.  I’ve no ammo, no shelter, no weaponry.  Surviving on wits alone, calculating the odds of remaining unscathed.  But there is no unscathed.  Already the impact of it all has left its mark, rendered some of my best assets defunct.

The path before me is blurry from the smoke of a thousand shots, a hundred bombs, the haze of death and dying.  Future prospects lie before me, mocking with their epic possibilities.  A wrong move now will affect not only my existence but the lives of those around me.

Leave no man behind.  This edict runs incessantly through my mind.  Protect the poor, the weak, and those in need.  Leave no man behind.  Sacrifice yourself, or parts of yourself, for others in need.  Do not assign limitations to saving a life.

Help, serve, heal, protect.  Maintain honor.  Give, do, be, fight.  Figure it out.  Conquer the maze.  Think outside the box to reach the outside of the box.  Save them.  Save them all.

There must be a way.  There must.

Failure is not an option.

graves


Quaaludes and Time Management

And she’s off …

Breaking out of the gate like a turtle on ‘ludes, she is unfocused this month and it’s provable.

How is it provable?  Read on …

Consider this, the word ‘ludes’ is a word heard from a quasi-misspent childhood but (brace yourself, I’m going to change POV just to make the writing easier) as a writer, I wanted to make sure that I was using a sedative for my drug reference.  So I looked up ludes.  The search for ludes brought me the information that it is the short form of Quaaludes, which I knew but had no clue how to spell.

The history is fairly fascinating.

Quaaludes are the street name for Methaqualone, a sedative-hypnotic drug and the date-rape drug of the ‘70s and ‘80s.  The drug would reduce inhibitions for five to eight hours and when taken with alcohol, the results become unpredictable but usually producing sedation and memory blackouts.  Not only was it eventually banned in the United States, in 1984 it was classified as what the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency considers a ‘Schedule I’ drug.  *sigh* A Schedule I drug, of course.

“What the hell is a ‘Schedule I’ drug!??”  And more research takes place.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies drugs into five schedules.  The determination of where a drug lies is based upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.  A Schedule I drug is at the top of the list and considered the most dangerous.  It has a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.

And because none of this is the point of this writing, I’m going to skip telling you what else in on the list of Schedule I drugs.  However, I believe I am going to write an article about all this (considering I’ve already done the research) and if you want to be shocked at what is on the list, I will be linking the article to here.

But I digress.  The word I was looking for was, and is, ludes – which is short for Quaaludes which is short for Methaqualone. 

Where was I?

Oh, yes, coming out of the gate, unfocused, not getting a lot of work done.  What have I done?  I plowed through the first 3000 words of my 50,000 word novel that I’m writing for NaNoWriMo this month.  Although that sounds awesome, today is the 7th, so I’m about five days behind.  I set up a new foodie blog, posted recipes for bubble tea and pumpkin soufflé, created more recipes, took photos and have yet to post the new ones online.  I managed to write an article for another site I’ll be posting on, you can view it here.  I’m very excited about this one and will probably be dropping my account with Examiner.  I can’t stand Examiner, anyway, because it is all sensationalism, quickie articles, and soft porn.  I can’t believe the advertisements that end up associated with my articles.  Good riddance.

What else have I done?  I went to Rochester for a couple of days to ostensibly get some work done while he was in a Science convention.  It was a bit of a rocky start as I was unable to focus on anything before leaving.  I’m not good at being able to work knowing I’ll have to pack up at a moment’s notice.  I like to know that I’m going to have X amount of time so I can immerse myself in a project.  So I did a lot of puttering without being really productive.  We got there in time to sleep.  This began a number of days where I was out of my element and unschooled in the fine art of multi-day conferences.  I think I understand the nature of the beast now and have a basis for future reference.  Additionally, I believe I now know how he handles conference time management and will be better prepared to manage my own time.  It was a learning curve and I pretty much failed.  The positive thought is that I will never make the same mistakes again.

Other than that, I did get to do a bunch of research, scheduled some upcoming events, reinjured my knee, and sprained my index finger somehow.  I saw the High Falls of Rochester which took an amazing amount of figuring out how to get from here to there but on the way back, got to watch a falcon having lunch in the park.  This explained the preponderance of pigeon feathers in the area.  If I can get him to upload some of the pictures or video, I’ll come back and post them here.

I’m off, I have to edit and refine my Goldilocks article and now I am itching to post those recipes and write a Hub about Quaaludes.  After that, I need to go over to Vermont to complain about how the internet guy, who should have been here “anytime between 8-12” yesterday, never showed.  Because he didn’t show yesterday, I’m still using the ‘new’ world which has always been sucky and has now decided to arbitrarily shut itself off every one to two hours.

Typing this seems to have helped me refocus.  Therefore, my dear, I guess I have you to thank.  Without you, and this blog, I would still be flailing wildly and being unproductive as hell.  So, again, I thank you.

As soon as I’m done staring at the incredibly interesting clouds, my newly organized thoughts and I are going to get something done.  I hope your day is productive and peaceful.

unfocused in the past


Coffee and Coincidence

I’m sitting in my local coffee shop listening to some insanely good basement music, drinking coffee, and wondering what I should write now.  I began the day with one of my infamous odd coincidences.  I’ve finished with some pressing work and have more to do but I’m taking the time to write yet another blog post.

I find it amusing that I was again drinking coffee on the way to get coffee.  When I laughingly mentioned my predilection for a pre-coffee coffee to a new acquaintance the other day, he replied that it sounded like a great post.  That little conversation stuck with me.

This morning I posted my double coffee idiocy as an update on my FB account.

Not five minutes after posting this tidbit of information on my social network, I walk into the coffee shop.  The same gentleman from the bakery with whom I had coffee post conversation happens to be sitting at the table next to the one I acquired.

How’s that for coincidence?

Amusements aside, I settle down to get some actual work done and almost immediately my favorite table becomes available.  I quickly jump tables and become immersed in my work and my internet time.

I’m one of those people that get lost in their work.  I’m completely interruptible when I’m working (don’t let the show of fangs and the low growls scare you off) yet I am mostly oblivious to my surroundings.  If the words are flowing sluggishly, I can cease typing and provide my full attention to someone or something.  If the words are pouring forth like flood waters heading downstream, I’ll still be able to give attention to something else, perhaps just not a full hundred percent.  Try not to be overly surprised if I should continue typing at the same time we are conversing.  I’ve found that I can hear and process information during these times, I just may not actually remember it until later.

(Note to all ya’ll.  If this happens to you, a nudging reminder after an episode such as described wouldn’t be an awful idea.)

And I apologize in advance.  I don’t know if I can completely describe the urgency of some words.  The words begin flowing through my head, in the correct order, with the precise vocabulary and particular grammar and it needs to be written down, typed, saved and it must be done right then, and just so.  The words are an insistent toddler tugging at my sleeve for attention.  It is possible to delay that attention; it just doesn’t tend to be either productive or conclusive.  Something is invariably lost in the delay.  It looks blankly at me with the incomprehension of the toddler who has forgotten what she wanted.  It smiles and hugs me, shrugs its shoulders and skips away, already involved with something else.hair3

That being said, there are a number of those counterfeit toddlers yanking at my sleeve, poking me with their insistent little fingers, hopping from foot-to-foot in the urgent child dance of impatience.

I’ll go care for my toddlers for a bit and then maybe I’ll see you on the other side.  They’re jumping up and down, ganging up on me, and attempting to overwhelm me right now.  Wish me luck.

Peace.