Sunday, July 29, 2012

You called them a what?

This morning I ran down to the grocery store.  As I pulled into the drive lane between two rows of parking spaces I noted a man in a full-size pickup.  There were no vehicles between us.  When I was close enough to actually see him turn his head and look at me - he pulled into the lane, and stopped.  Had I been going a couple of mph faster, I would have struck him dead center.  Remarkably he was still looking at me. 

I have taken to referring to drivers like him as "Dip Squiggles."  Dip is short for Dip Shit.  Squiggles comes from how curse words are portrayed in the comics.  Take a few moments and practice saying Dip Squiggles.  Personally I find it rather hard to say without a smile.  The second my mind focuses on squiggles, I see Calvin and Hobbes, thus putting me in a happy place.

The next term I'd like to share with you comes from how I feel about certain people who won't get off the phone.  The initial phone call begins with "Hey Debi, are you busy?" and me saying yes.  To which the caller says he or she will only keep me for a minute.  I know what you're thinking, and in a manner of speaking you are wrong.  This isn't an issue of the caller droning on and on.  The problem is, he or she persists in calling.  "I know you're working but I forgot to say"  "I have to share this"  "I forgot to ask"  Typically it ends with me not answering the phone. 

My term for this is "diarrhea dialing".  Likewise there is "diarrhea texting."    In other words, I think it's pretty damn shitty of you to keep calling or texting when you know I am working.  These are never crisis calls.  I love talking to my friends but my job is time sensitive.  It also requires a bit of concentration to insure accuracy.  Messing with my livelihood to say you rearranged your plants or to described something your pet did, is not scoring you points.

Staples has an "easy" button.  I want a "give me a break" button.  When activated a message will be sent informing the reciepicant "you are important but I can't deal with you right now."

Originally I used "Clickers" for those people who keep clicking the mouse button without waiting a few seconds for the computer to respond.  You know the type.  You might even be one.  Due to the mindset of a group of people with whom I regularly work, I have expanded upon the definition of a Clicker.

I have spent the better part of this year trying to explain time zones to this group.  To this end I have repeatedly sent them a map of the US with the time zones clearly marked and color coded.  On any given day of the week beginning around 8:30 EDT this group will load orders for the West Coast.  Some time around 10am EDT I begin recieving emails asking how soon the orders will be filled.  Between 11:30 and 1pm EDT the phone call start, followed an hour later by another flurry of emails.   This continues until quitting time, EDT.

Let's back up and look at this situation. 
8:30am EDT is 5:30am PDT   It's safe to say the West Coast crews are still in bed.
10am EDT is 7am PDT   none of the offices are open
11:30am EDT is 8:30am PDT   some of the offices are open, but it still takes time to fill orders

When it dawned on my how often I've been on the phone with this group and heard the words "hold on a second, my computer froze" I realized they are Clickers.  They want, and want it NOW!.  Click. Click. Click.

Oh, almost forgot to mention "Dumb Zippers".  These are people who jump green lights or blatantly run red ones or pull any other stupid stunt while driving that endangers other people's lives.  Obviously "Dumb" is short for Dumb Shit.  "Zipper" is for the final punctuation; the zipping closed of a body bag. 

Needless to say, a Dip Squiggle who is diarrhea dialing or texting stands good odds of becoming a Dumb Zipper. 

Feel free to use and expand upon any of these terms.  If you'd like to suggest a few CLEAN ones, make use of the comment feature. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yes, I am fat

This morning I'm looking at my clothes and then to my suitcase thinking "it would be easier to pack if I wore a smaller size." 

My weight is the first thing people notice.  My weight lends to criticism and snap judgments.  I try to remain polite when people refer to me as lazy or make a point of staring at my plate and then at me with a disdainful expression.  I do not thank them for making me feel bad about the first meal I've had in a day or two, or three.  These people do not know me.  Their remarks and actions are strictly to make them feel superior. 

Once I learned to quit being a sponge and sucking up other people's negative emotions I realized I can be happy with me at any weight. 

You might not think it looking at me now but I've been thru every eating disorder.  Some where along the line I went from starving to be skinny to starving to be fat.  A few years back I enlisted a dietitian and naturopath to assist in learning healthy habits.  Technically my body has been in starvation mode for so long it doesn't know any better.  The result packs on the weight because my body is storing everything it can for fear of when the next meal might be.

Despite everything I know that I should be doing a little voice in my head has been putting up a damn good argument for me not to lose weight.  "You'll be naked!"

My economic situation for the past three years has been challenging.  Money, particularly the lack thereof, is a very strong motivator.  If I gained or lost weight I would not be able to replace articles of clothing. 

Thankfully my economic situation is improving.  Hopefully this move will provide a major income boost.  Meanwhile I will be thankful I was taught to take care of my belongings or I'd be looking like some of those people featured in Walmart photos.  Let's see if you'll admit knowing me then! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Freudian Slit?

Every time I get on the Internet there's a blurb about a female entertainer wearing a "daring" outfit.  For a moment let's overlook the fact said outfit was chosen purposefully to attract attention.  That said, does anyone really care? 

Seriously, the impression I get is that the event was so boring the only thing the correspondents could report on was some celebrity's exposed skin.  For heaven's sake, if the reporters gasp and stutter over Miley Cyrus' clothes they best not visit my neighborhood.  I wouldn't want them to die of heart failure when they get an eyeful of what teenage, and pre-teen girls really wear. 

Why is it always a "daring" outfit?  Is "daring" the only word they know?  Would someone please buy them and their editors a thesaurus.  Get them a calendar too.   Underscore the fact the Victorian Era ended well over one hundred years ago.  I don't know; maybe they are trying to bring it back. 

Once upon a time pants on a woman was daring.  The mini skirt was daring.  Cleavage is not daring.  Women have been displaying their ta-tas since Adam and Eve first played "you show me yours and I'll show you mine."  Even in the Victorian Era it was all about the ta-tas. 

A backless gown - oh dear; oh my!  I am so embarrassed.  Apparently these reporters have never seen a woman in a swimsuit.  Who are they trying to kid? 

"Actress flaunted a dress with daring slit".  The garment in question is always a full-length dress.  So, what's the big deal about a bare leg?  The titillating manner in which the headline and accompanying photo captions are written makes me wonder if the reporter was hoping for a glimpse of the actress' unmentionables.  Did they crouch down and peer at the top of the slit from all angles? 

Seriously, every time I see one of these headlines I picture a gang of reporters crawling around the fringe of the red carpet, some with mirrors in their hands, hoping to see some gal's nipple or underwear.  Voyeurism with a paycheck and public forum. 

I wish an actress would flash her ta-tas or hike up her skirt and say "thong, blue, made by Hanes".  Now that would be daring.  That would cause a sensation.  Paramedics would have to be standing by with plenty of oxygen for all the pre-pubescent minded correspondents who will also need a change of underwear.

Then after all the hoopla is said and done these reporters and their editors can be sent back to high school where they might learn what the average American gal wears - and that there are other words in our language than "daring". 

Oh, while we're on the subject allow me to invite all the red carpet and event reporters out to the South, to Walmart where they will get more than an eyeful of skin they never wished to see.  And they'll have an entirely new perspective to the word "daring". 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Believe what you will

Yesterday I received an email that made me sigh and shake my head.  Apparently my weight is not limited to the physical, I weigh heavy on some people's minds too.  Whoever said "out of sight; out of mind" must have led a boring reclusive life.  Obviously he or she did not have my family. 

It used to be that I could be baited into protest of my innocence as to whatever it was thought I had / had not done, or of the label slapped upon me. 

Then I wised up and stopped reacting to frantic people. 

I am comfortable being me.  While basic common courtesy is appreciated, I have no need for other people's acceptance or permission.  I am me. 

Sad to say my initial response to yesterday's email was "here we go again" and I geared up to set the record straight.  However, doing so would be regrettable.  For me it would be a huge step backwards.  I perfer to keep my feet moving forward.

When I prepared to embark upon my sojourn I realized mental baggage had to go.  I had to let go of the codependant doctrine and accept me for who I am.  Applying Feng Shui to my mental house was not that easy.  There were many shadows and echos of fears and resentments.  Odd how comfortable these once had felt even though they were killing me.  I guess it's sort of like hoarding.  I had collected fears and resentments because negative emotion / actions was all that was being offered.

I have been working deligently for several years now to open my mental house to sunlight and fresh air.  The last thing I desire is to fall back into old habits. 

So in response to the email - thank you for thinking of me.  As for the question you raised - please feel free to go with whatever conclusion(s) make you comfortable.  Opinions are subjective.  In actuality judgments reflect the judge.  I will not revisit the past or answer for someone else's point of view.  Been there, done that; I've moved on.

I am comfortable being me. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

About Holly

The other night I was watching a show on Animal Planet that showcased the antics of two Boxers.  Between bouts of laughter I would reach over and poke Holly.  "Wow does that look familiar!"  Each time Holly responded with "the look".  Due to her being part Great Dane, Holly has mastered the art of looking down her nose.  Believe me when I say the rest of her personality is all Boxer.

Holly was around 6 months old when we found each other.  She was scared of the dark which made it real interesting to take her out to go potty when we lived in the country where there were no streetlights.  Come evening if Holly and I were at opposite ends of the house with the lights off in between us, Holly refused to cross the dark barrier.  Lucky for Holly, I had spent so many years working night, sleeping days that I have problems sleeping in a dark room.  We sleep with the TV on, sound turned down and have nightlights through the rest of the house.  The latter is for Holly.

I had researched Boxers before deciding to get one.  I understood that they are high energy, very intelligent dogs who are prone to mischief.  Despite all information from breeders and trainers nothing truly prepared me for the "human" antics. 

You know that sound you make when you're exasperated?  The first time Holly puffed out her cheeks and let loose a short, quick exhale I thought I imagined it.  Then she got into practicing it on other people when they weren't paying her attention.  Oh yes, talk about positive reinforcement training.  And it encouraged Holly to mimic other human  actions / reactions. 

Holly was about a year old when she discovered she could dial my cell phone.  At the time I was on a limited minute plan.  Can you say OVERAGES!  I was stumped as to how this was happening.  Of course none of the wonderful people Holly was calling bothered to mention it to me until much later. 

One day I was doing laundry and Mom was at the other end of the house frying chicken.  Holly had been napping in the living room.  I looked up to see her trotting towards me carrying something.  Now her carrying things is not normal so curiosity lead me to ask "what do you have?"  Happily Holly brought me a piece of chicken.  Even though it was a boneless, skinless breast I couldn't imagine Mom giving one to Holly.  In response to "where did you get this?" Holly trotted back to the living room, waited for Mom's back to be turned and slipped into the kitchen to ease another piece from the plate on the counter.  To Holly's way of thinking, she had brought me a piece, she had a piece and we were good.  (I put both pieces in a Ziploc labeled for Holly only and stuck them in the freezer for two weeks.  She does not get rewarded for stealing.)

I know people say we assign human characteristics and qualities to our pets like it's a bad thing. All I have to say in response to that is, if it weren't for these human attributes there would be no guide dogs, no service dogs of any kind.  Holly is my constant companion.  She takes care of me and I take care of her.  It seems only natural we would learn from each other.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Meeting Opportunity

Where are you going?

I don't know; maybe Texas, or New Mexico or straight on to Nevada.  Holly (my dog) and I haven't decided yet.  We may not pick a destination until we're on the road.

What are you going to do when you get there?

The same thing I'm doing here.  The beauty of my job is I can do it anywhere as long as I've got Internet connection.  Plus I'm going to work on getting a novel or two published. 

Why are you doing this?

The simple answer is - because I can, see answer above.  The real reason has more to do with opportunity.  North Carolina has been good to us but it's time to move on.  Sometimes your ship makes it to the dock; sometimes you have to go meet it. 

I hate the planning stage.  Making checklists and ironing out details puts my stomach in knots.  Vacations are different, mainly because those have beginnings and ends.  But then, vacations are also a heck of a lot more stressful as you're trying to cram maximum enjoyment into a set amount of days.  Holly and I have the luxury of "when we get there, we get there". 

A lot of my decisions of late are based upon what I don't wish to regret.  I am actually more afraid of spending my last few years on Earth lamenting what I should have done while I had the health to do them, than I am of setting a course without destination or money. 

It is true; life is a mystery. We don't know what will happen five minutes, six months or a year from now.   As long as I remain open to possibilities, opportunity will happen. 

Prime example: while writing this blog I received a phone call from a potential new client.  We chatted; she emailed a contract and now I have to go fill it out.  There is no guarantee how this will translate into dollars.  It might be a little.  It might prove to be a lot. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

Heaven is

Dad was a Christian.  He believed upon his death he was going to Heaven where he'd spend eternity with God.  On a side note: Dad was also pretty positive he got to the Pearly Gates and St. Peter would hand over the leash of a Basset Hound.  In Dad's Heaven he'd have a woodworking shop.  There'd be a comfortable recliner in a library.  And his Basset would be welcome everywhere.  Perhaps because Mom refused to let Dad have a dog when he retired he figured God provide one.  Dad's Heaven also included trains and rivers like the Columbia on which he could watch boats and ships. 

If you asked me Dad's version of Heaven sounded a lot like Southwest Washington.  But hey, it worked for him.  Who am I to say if he was right or wrong? 

A few years later when Mom died I arranged her funeral.  Those attending were commanded to wear their most colorful outfits, think Hawaiian print, and to dress casual.  When the officiating pastor remarked he'd feel more comfortable in a suit, I strongly suggested he be wearing new/clean underwear.  Absolutely no one attending the service was to wear somber colors, black or white.  We didn't care if he was a pastor; the suit would have to go.

Mother was an artist.  Traditionally one wears black and white to gallery openings so not to compete with the paintings.  Mourners then don all the color they can for the funeral to celebrate the artist's life.  During her latter years Mom lost the ability to distinguish color.  Her world was reduced to shades of gray.  This was another good reason for the colorful send off.  Mom knew when she got to Heaven there'd be a fully stocked art studio waiting for her.

I buried my brother in a brand new pair of bib overalls and a t-shirt emblazoned with a smart-mouth comment symbolic to his sense of humor.  We made sure there were certain things in his pockets.  Blame Led Zeppelin and the song Stairway to Heaven.  Allow me to misquote "when he gets there he knows the stores will be closed."  My brother had often said that would be his luck.  Therefore we sent him off with everything but the rum to go with the Coke.  I sort of figure if rum is available in his Heaven it's far better quality than what we've got here.

This morning a very dear friend passed away.  Larry once told me his version of Heaven was pretty simplistic.  Heaven is where all animals are safe, happy and well tended.  Years ago some preacher tried telling him Heaven didn't have animals.  Larry said if that was the case, then he didn't want to go there.  How can it be a "better place" without dogs and cats?  Larry knew when he got to Heaven all his pets that preceded him would be waiting.

If Heaven is what we make of it, then Larry went to the same Heaven as my dad.  They're probably out walking their dogs along the riverbank.  In a bit they'll kick back in the library with cookies and milk, their dogs sleeping alongside their chairs.  

For all his years of service in animal rescue, delivering pet food to outlying communities through all kinds of weather so no animal would go hungry, and taking in "just one more" I am certain God came through for Larry. 

Welcome to Heaven,  my friend.  All critters are safe and well-loved.  Enjoy eternity.  Just don't forget the squeaky toy.

Larry 1937 to 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Four years ago I was in the middle of writing a sci-fi when my brain went blank.  Three days into watching the cursor blink on the screen, I kicked back in my office, stared out the window and cranked up volume on the speakers.  My Rhapsody play list included a bit of everything but opera and spirituals.  Douglas Spotted Eagle, Tom Petty and Buffalo Springfield; then came the opening strains of Alan Parson's "Turn of a Friendly Card". 

I love this song.  So naturally I'm singing along and suddenly the question popped into my head.  Anyone with a creative mind be you writer, chef or chainsaw artist knows this question.  For most of us it begins "what if". 

A few hours later I had written the first chapter of DESERT.  Then I figuratively put it on the shelf and went back to writing the sci-fi.  Problem solved; I was a happy camper.  The words were flowing faster than I could type.  People around me breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Life was normal once again. 

Months later with the sci-fi completed I returned to this lonely chapter to inquire of female lead "how did you get yourself into that predicament?"  Remembering the song that sparked the idea I set the playback to loop and started writing. 

Now after all the rewrites and head-banging-on-keyboard editing DESERT is being shopped to literary agents.  I find this a very frustrating process.  Allow me to clarify that statement.  I realize this is my debut novel and I've a lot to learn about the industry.  However, there is one question that has popped up that, to borrow a Southern term, is killing me. 

"What makes me uniquely qualified to write this novel?" 

 IF I had written a non-fiction, I would thoroughly understand the question. DESERT is fiction. 

My mother was an artist. She has sold paintings in all of the Americas, Europe and Japan. Believe me, Mom would have gone ballistic had someone asked what qualified her to paint a picture. Even back when she was first forging a name, pity the person who voiced that question. Easily it would have taken the police riot squad, National Guard and a dozen sanitation trucks to deal with Mom going nuclear. And even though she's been dead nine years we'd still be hearing about it.

To be asked how I'm qualified to write makes me feel like instead of the synopsis I should send: high school and college report cards; Mensa test scores showing eligibility and affidavits from my proofreaders. 

What qualifies a person to write fiction?  The obvious answer is imagination. 

Help me out here.  How would you, or did you, answer this question? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Zombies on the Roof

I fixed a bite to eat, grilled swiss cheese and ham sandwich, steamed asparagus and a lovely salad.  D*O*G of course was shadowing my every move around the kitchen and then into the living room.  The human has food.  No sooner than I got settled and the television on than Tommy, the cat, leapt to the right arm of my chair.  This action prompted Holly, my dog, to close in on my right knee allegedly to keep an eye on the cat.  In reality she was scoping out the plate to see if there was anything she wanted.  

You know it's like to eat with three sets of eyes intent on the movement of the fork?  Each of them practicing mental telepathy to convince me to share least they waste away in hunger. 

The dogs are worried the cat will help himself to something off the plate for he is closer.  D*O*G who had been sitting on my left foot runs out of tolerance for the cat and launches an attack.  Now I have the cat on the back of the chair trying to reach around to snag a bite before I get it.  My dog temporarily has retreated to the other side of the ottoman.  However, as she has decided she WILL get part of my sandwich she is doing her best to maintain eye contact.

And then the aliens arrived.  Brilliant flashes of light followed by rolling booms announced their descent into Earth's atmosphere.  Window panes rattled.  The whole house shook.  D*O*G ran in circles barking.  Holly stood up, looked around and took up position in front of but not facing me.  Meanwhile Tommy dropped back down onto the arm of the chair and tried to act like he was not pressing up against me for protection.

More aliens arrived.  One of their ships hit something. The crackling of the impact made all four of us wince.  D*O*G took off racing around the house barking shrilly.  Despite not having claws, Tommy had a death gripe on the arm of the chair.  Curious of what got hit, I set my plate on the breakfast bar and went to look out the windows.  About this time D*O*G determined he needed to go outside to fight the invaders.

I tried telling D*O*G it was lightning and thunder, right over head.  I told him he didn't want any part of what was going on outside.  But he's too short to see out the windows so he wasn't convinced.  He was positive we were under attack. 

Huge raindrops began to fall.  What looked like a solid wall of water marched through the development.  In no time we were encased in hazy gray darkness.  A thousand mini hammers pounded on the roof.  D*O*G tried enlisting Holly to go out with him to repel the aliens.  Her attitude was "mom has ham and swiss cheese; the aliens will have to wait". 

Most often storms like this are accompanied by strong wind.  This one was different.  There was hardly any wind thus making it very slow moving.  My gosh can it rain in North Carolina!  Hey, I'm from Oregon.  I know about rain.  But out here it rains hard and fast sort of like Oregon's coastal squalls.  My cell phone began chirping with National Weather Service alerts for flash floods.  Apparently D*O*G believed the alerts were a call to arms.  Since Holly, who is tall enough to see out the windows declined his recruiting efforts, D*O*G turned his attention to Tommy.

Lightning flashed.  Thunder boomed.  The house shook.  Windows and pictures rattled.  D*O*G and Tommy ran back and forth between the entrance hall and dining room, one barking and the other making clicking noises.  Holly and I just watched them.

A bit later I stretched out on the bed to read with Holly at my feet.  Having worn himself out, Tommy curled up next to me for a nap.  Finally D*O*G came into the bedroom and flopped on the floor.  For a few minutes, inside at least, it was quiet. 

I do not know what Tommy said to D*O*G but suddenly they were off racing around the house again.  A new sound caught my attention.  Figuring I'd best see what those two were getting into I stepped into the hall.  Two black bodies came rushing by.  Tommy missed the turn the slammed into the leg of an occasional table.  As I bent to see if he was ok my eyes caught a glimpse out the window.

Oh dear; the aliens have unleashed zombie hordes.  They marched acrossed the lawn and onto the roof.  The din of their assault was incredible.  Holly poked her head out of the bedroom to say "this doesn't sound good.  Maybe I should help D*O*G mount a counter attack."

First I took Holly to a window and said "do you see what that is?  You don't want any part of it."  Then I opened the blinds in D*O*G's room and put him up on the bed so he could see.  I swear I saw that dog's eyes grow wide.  "That is hail.  It will hurt you.  There are no zombies on the roof."  Tommy didn't believe me.  He hid under a quilt.  D*O*G remained standing on the bed growling under his breath.  I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me either.

I am pleased to report we suffered no damge during the alien attack.  The zombies failed to make it through the roof.