Ocdbloggergirl's Blog: OCD, Life, and Other Misunderstandings

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

Playing 20 Questions with Jaco, Author of Just Write of Left — July 28, 2011

Playing 20 Questions with Jaco, Author of Just Write of Left

  Ni-hao everyone! I am delighted that my dear friend, Joe Romano, AKA Jaco, agreed to let me  interview him. I want to showcase his blog, Just Write of Left to my thousands of readers.  As you might  have guessed, I am his number 1 fan. 

 

 Kathy Bates Misery

                      “I love Just Write of Left.  A lot. I think you should too.”              
 
 
  Jaco’s writing launches his readers into a beautiful, lyrical, and exotic world of romance. The story he  wrote installments of this month, All Memories are Traces of Tears, is a tale  of a an American in China wounded by his past and the chance encounter that sparks a new love. While the story is fictitious, the scenes are drawn so that you know the author has an intimate knowledge of the China in which he writes. Jaco’s writing gets better with each post, as evidenced in his latest post, drawing the sadness of parting in a poetic vein. Jaco took a month-long, 30 words a day flash fiction challenge from Blogdramedy’s blog and expanded into an engaging, unusual tale. I’m honored to actually have Jaco here on my blog  answering my questions as I try to get an in-depth picture of this man as an author and a person.   I’ve decided to conduct this interview in a 20 questions format to give it that down home Spanish Inquisition feel. Jaco need only use this abbreviation to decline answering one of my painstakingly thought out queries: STFU, which for those of you not versed in internet etiquette, means “Stop! Thanks for understanding.” Without further ado , here’s Jacoooooooooo!
 
 
  1.) Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?       
 
  The truth? Of course.   
 
 
 2.) Perhaps my 10k eager blog readers would like to know why you are called “Jaco. Just Jaco.” To me it’s far more catchy than “Bond. James Bond” and gives you that aura of mystery a blogger worth his salt craves.  
 
Let me begin by saying it’s pronounced Ja koh. Not Jaco as in wacko. Well, I earned the name Jaco later in my musical career. I was a big fan of Jaco Pastoriusthe greatest bass who ever lived. He performed with Weather Report, and later with his Word of Mouth Orchestra. Jaco was to the bass what Hendrix was to the guitar. His technical prowess was unsurpassed. He was better than Charles Mingus in that his compositional skills approached that of Mingus, and his technique took the bass to another level unheard of in the 80?s. I started playing bass late in my career. Toward the end I was playing bass exclusively, and emulated his playing style. My friends started calling me Jaco and it stuck. So I chose that as a pen name. Jaco. Just Jaco. Jaco and nothing more.  
 
 
 3.) Your blog is called Just Write of Left. How did you come up with that name? Me, I just listened to my inner child skipping through my inner field of transcendental daisies, but I understand if you were inspired by more conventional means.  
 
 I was searching for a new name for a blog. I brain stormed a bit and came up with Just Write of Left. Probably not the best name for SEO purposes. But I  liked the play on words, and decided to go with it. I shut down Blogging Perspectives Daily, and moved to this new domain. While I was participating in the BlogShorts Challenge I decided I wanted to write short fiction. I thought the name reflected what I was doing.
 
 
 4.) Please describe for those of my 10k readers who haven’t discovered you yet, what Just Write of Left is about.     
 
 Just Write of Left is a place for me to paint pictures with words. I like to create images with writing. That’s the goal. My blog is my personal art gallery in a sense.
 
 
  5.) What inspired you to start this blog?
 
  I don’t know. I just felt it would be a creative outlet, and I felt it was therapeutic. I needed that. I was recovering from a mean cocaine addiction, and at some point I felt like I wanted to create again. I felt I was well enough to get back to work. 
 
 
 
  6.) Could you tell us a bit more about your genre and niche?  
 
I wanted to try flash fiction, and write noir. After I complete my ongoing All Memories are Traces of Tears series which was born out of the BlogShorts I contributed, I want to write cyberpunk. I’m a big William Gibson fan.
 
 
 7.) What inspired the major themes and storylines in your blog?
 
I’m inspired by the films of  Wong Kar Wai. He is a brilliant film maker from Hong Kong. His films are poetry.  I love the imagery in his films and wanted to create that kind of imagery in my writing. The story lines are based on my experiences of living in mainland China. Mainly fiction revolving around three central characters. All Memories are Traces of Tears is about promise, yearning, the past, and in some ways about impossible love. Some loves are impossible, but they’re loves just the same. Of course the settings for my stories are mainland China, Kowloon, and Hong Kong.            
 
 
 8.) Do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
 
In my day-to-day life? In a sense I guess you could say that. Depends on where I’m spending those days. I find inspiration in human tragedy, the pain of the human condition. I’m inspired by things that really affect me in one way or the other.
 
 
  9.) Do you wear your heart on your post when you write?  
 
Of course. Every post is very  personal. I’ve always been one who not only wears their heart on their sleeve, but wears it like a red jacket.
 
  
10.) The Joe in your stories is gentle and benevolent. Is real life Joe like fictionalized Joe? Are there any ways real Joe is different from fictitious Joe?    
 
 
Not really different. The real life Joe is gentle and caring, but no one is perfect. I have my moments.
 
 
  11.) Where do you see your blog going in the future? Will there be new stories culled from your fascinating life? Personally, I expect a book deal for myself, get on the New York Times Bestseller list, win a Pulitzer, and sell the movie rights to Lifetime Television for Women. “She Wrote Yes: The OCDbloggergirl Story” starring Meredeth Baxter.  
 
 I’m not sure where my blog is heading. I just want to keep writing. There will be new stories. I have some ideas for future stories in mind.  
 
 
 12.) Growing up, did you want to be a writer? Did you fall in love with the written word?  
 
Well, growing up as an only child I had quite an imagination. I was writing song lyrics and poetry from an early age. I just felt writing was an extension of my musical studies. I’ve always been a ferocious reader so the written word was sustenance.    

 
13.) What made you want to start blogging in the first place? I’m blogging for World Peace.
 
As I said earlier it was a creative outlet. It got me involved, kept my mind occupied. It has helped with my recovery. I haven’t really written about my cocaine addiction, but I think it will surface in my writing at some point.
 
 
    14.) Who influenced your writing the most and why? For example,  I read a lot of cereal boxes during my formative years and it definitely shaped who I am as a writer. Tony the Tiger n’ Tolstoy, know what I mean?  
 
I mentioned Wong Kar Wai. I’ve also been influenced by the short fiction of Liu Yichang. The great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke is another influence, and the work of Charles Bukowski. There are so many. As for the why? It’s because of the images they were able to create.
 
 
15.) What are your main influences  in life? The people, the events, your spirituality, just anything that you feel comfortable sharing.
 
Influences in my life? My parents of course. My girlfriend Xiao Hui. My son Zaid. Music and art have always been a major part of my life. Spirituality? The Qur’an and Islam.  
 
 
16.) What are your other interests besides blogging? Do these interests come into your writing?
 
Astronomy and Cosmology. I’m quite the amateur astronomer. Other interests? Chinese culture. Languages. I studied Arabic for a couple of years. I learned some Mandarin Chinese, and continue to learn Mandarin as I will be returning to China in the very near future. No, I haven't used my other interests, but at some point I'll write them in.  

 
17.) What do you do with blogging ‘trolls’ and their ilk?
 
Blogging trolls. That can be a serious problem. There are more than 70 million blogs in existence. So these people with serious pathological problems just get out there and do what they do. Fortunately. I haven’t had a problem with trolls, not lately anyway. I just try to ignore them.
 
 
 18.When, where, and how do you write the best?
 
I’m always writing. 24 hours a day. But for the sake of actually putting it into a word-processor, early in the morning. I’m usually up at 5 am. I need that quiet time before the distractions of the day just become overbearing. I sit at this huge dining room table in front of my MacBook Pro with a cup of coffee, and a cigarette. I have an idea and I start to formulate it, explore it. With All Memories are Traces of Tears I’m always exploring the characters, developing them. Other times I don’t have a direction  until I start writing. It changes. I just keep writing  until it feels right.
 
 
 19.) What is the meaning of life?
 
 I’m still trying to figure it out, but I can tell you what gives meaning to my life. And that is helping people. Giving something back. That’s what I learned. You have to always give back. So if I can help someone in whatever capacity then I feel like I’m doing something that matters.
 
 
  20.) Do you like Girl Scout cookies? I favor mint chocolate.
 
  Well, it’s funny you asked. Yes, I do. However, I was dismayed to learn they’re not actually made out of Girl Scouts.  
 
 
There you have it, dear readers. Jaco. Just Jaco has just shown us his art and gave us answers to life’s great quandaries. I had always wondered why girl scout cookies were bereft of girl scouts too, but I never knew how to voice my concerns. Be sure to check out Jaco’s excellent fiction blog http://justwriteofleft.com, and if you’re on Twitter I’m sure he’d love to have you on his ship: @jaco223  

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Videolog Update: See Me, Hear Me, Be Me! — June 17, 2011
Miss Muffet: Modern Version Late Thursday’s Poets Rally — April 13, 2011

Miss Muffet: Modern Version Late Thursday’s Poets Rally

Clynotis severus, Female, Austin's Ferry, Tasm...
"Loving You is Easy 'Cause You're Beautiful" Image via Wikipedia

 

Big Ms. Lisa sat on her toilet

after eating pancakes of flour and milk,

When along came a creature just then to meet her

hanging from unseen silk.

She closed her blue orbs,  almost frightened away,

for vision she was partial to everyday.

 

“What the hell was that?” asked Ms. Lisa to her three sisters: Me, Myself, and I.

“Maybe it was an angry bee,” she said to Me, who did not disagree.

“Mighta been a ‘skeeter,” offered Myself, eyeing I.

I said, “It ain’t neither. Wonder if we have some pie?”

 

Ms. Lisa dared to  look herself and what did she see?

A spider in mid air, from the coils of Big Lisa’s big hair.

Ms. Lisa knew what had to be done,

and instead of run she grabbed a book

for the spider to be took.

 

Spider, however, had other desires,

book seat declined, he decided instead to go into its spine.

Ms. Lisa then divined that it takes much time

to free a spider when he otherwise is inclined.

Winning! The Blogoversary Edition Vol. 1 (Excerpts from my first year) — March 28, 2011

Winning! The Blogoversary Edition Vol. 1 (Excerpts from my first year)

Happy Pictures, Images and Photos
Yay! My First Blogoversary! (March 25th, but who's counting?)

I was going to post this on March 25th to commemorate my first year of blogging, but my friend invited me over to hang out, so I guess I’ll do it today. I will list some links and excerpts from the past year that I favored. This is a chance to reminisce or to brush up on my ADHD-style masterpieces. Pay attention. There will be a test!

Here is an excerpt from my very first post, March 25,2010:

In Which Nervous Nelly Explains How OCD Thinking Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

I worry about murderers, carjackers, rapists, etc. causing harm to my mother and sometimes to myself, but mainly to my mother when we are apart. Look at the news, awful things happen ALL THE TIME. But when something awful could have actually happened I was calm and I handled it.

Ok, so 3 or 4 years ago we tried out a newly opened Chinese buffet. It was later in the afternoon,  just past lunchtime, so there was only a couple other patrons and they were in another section of the restaurant (this was before  the state made smokers into lepers and my mom could still smoke inside). We were eating, the food was good too, which makes this all the greater a tragedy .  Suddenly, one could hear yelling in the kitchen.  It kept up steady and seemed to stay in the kitchen, so I felt confident  in my safety at grabbing something else. Oh what to get, what to get. Soup? Or a couple of those slivers of cake?

Oh, the possibilities! Oh…….. oh …….oh shit!

The shit had now officially hit the fan.  The argument spilled out near where I happened was, no further than 12 feet. A man was  surrounded by 3 guys and 2 women, and boy,  was he ever pissed.  It was a good thing I don’t speak Chinese,  but some things are universal,  a psychotic rage is distinguishable from someone mildly miffed that he burned the General Tso’s chicken. Psycho Cook then took a soup bowl and smashed it on the floor, but this must have not been cathartic enough, for he soon lunged at another cook.  I remained unnoticed and began to deliberate what to do. I wasn’t panicked I remember, a little nervous and disconcerted, but panicking? No, not really. Would someone else have totally freaked out? I’m not sure . Perhaps they would have the common sense to be scared, not just a little frightened. So I weighed my options, a little list in my brain:

A:) Every woman for herself, haul ass out the door and hope your mother will follow.  But I would never leave my mother if  if any harm could come to her, so scratch that.

B:) Run past the offending party back to my mother. Run, fat girl, run!!! No, that didn’t seem sensible either. Let  the lunging crouching tiger become  aware of  Hidden Dragon here? Not a good idea in my estimation.

C.) Act normal (or fake it in my case since  I ain’t never been normal, just seen the brochure once or twice). Yes this is the best idea. If  I ignore whatever the screaming, striking  cook is doing and act like an unconcerned customer I might have more of  a chance at not attracting the ire of  this poor guy.  Time to not be too particular, so I grab a bit of orange and start back, walking as far away from Psycho Cook ‘n pals as I dared. One of the waitresses sat at the table with my mom kind of hiding out.  The waitress said to us, “I hate Chinese people. All they do is fight.” ( disclaimer: She was Chinese or Malaysian herself, so she could say that I guess). She proceeded to tell us the story of  the restaurant. Appears a few guys got the idea of opening a restaurant together. Too bad that among the angry lot,  one was totally insane and off his meds.  Happens in the best of restaurants.

Meanwhile, the fray  moved more towards the kitchen and another waitress came over. “We got to go now! He threatening to kill people.”

Ever the scrupulous idiot that i am I tried to give them money fast, but they said not to worry about it. Fair enough, but I did manage to give the waitress 10 bucks at least and wouldn’t  take it  back.  This all happened really fast.  One or two of the men stayed with the wigged out chef and everyone else made for the door. When outside several people got into one car and left. The other patrons had already left before hell broke loose.

Safely away my mother and I were like “well…that was….different.”

Princess Rubenesque’s Adventures Downtown

April 30, 2010

The fireworks were beautiful and I think we had the best view we ever had, sitting in our fold-out chairs in clear view of where they were  shot off.  Then we went to the Chinese take-out for some soup. This joint gave birth to the term “seedy.” There’s always interesting people there. Someone opened the door to yell to a patron that their mutual pal is in jail, but she already knew and was cross but seemed to not view it as being as newsworthy as her friends did.

Soup is a rather ritual-oriented meal, especially the robust hot and sour they serve at Seedy China.  The soup is spicy hot and would not do for the average Anglo to gulp down, but it is the best I’ve ever tasted. In case you aren’t fortunate enough to know how to eat a pint of soup the proper way, allow me to school you on the perfect and essential way. You can thank me later for this vital skill.

Please recall, gentle reader, we did not grow up in a sty and must actaccordingly. Unfold your napkin and set it in your lap (if you are lucky like me your stomach is one  large flap and if utilized properly, can act as a ‘paperweight’ for the napkin in your lap).  Take your spoon and begin. Begin from the left and take  sips until you’ve taken a sip by dipping your spoon, working vertically until you’re at the right side of the bowl.  Then put a few of those crisp noodles, at least 3 of them since you really prefer things in 3′s.  Eat the noodles in your soup. Now repeat the entire ritual until you’re done, and if you’re good at it, people won’t even realize you have a ‘strategy’ for eating.

The Dying Swan; or, “That Ain’t Ebola is It?”

April 29, 2011

Once upon a time (like yesterday),  I took a look in the bathroom mirror and my eyes were red, particularly my right eye. Not like  bloodshot-been-opening-my-eyes-too-long-underwater-someone-been-on-a-drunk-red,  much weirder.  A horizontal line seemed to divide my eye in half in the middle,  reddish at the bottom half and normal white on top.

I looked into the eyes of death.

Or something…

My mind began to conjure up what symptom of my imminent death was this.

I had mostly given up my of several years’ obsession with the idea of contracting  AIDS by bizarre means not pertaining to intercourse or needles, so scratch that one for now.

Cancer?  Maybe that’s it, I thought. I always swam in outdoor pools without goggles  due to my high tolerance for chlorine, and I loved looking at the sun’s rays dancing on the pool’s bottom.

So I ask my mother, a retired nurse, what dread disease is this one?

What malady is about to dispatch me, to nail the lid of my coffin, strike me down in the prime of my life?

“Pollen,” said Mother.

The Various Trials of Nervous Nelly, from a Visit with her Therapist to Nearly Being Locked in a Cemetary Overnight

Apparently, the good people of Rich White Cemetery in their good sense, believe a decent cemetery should expel all living patrons by 5pm sharp regardless of time of year.  But the fun part is locking the gates without a glimpse for suckers who failed to read closing time upon entering. I wasn’t too concerned, though, since I  had my cell phone, not to say that would be too fun a call to make to the cops. I suggest we walk around, that surely somewhere remained unlocked, especially since I saw a not-so-paranormal-looking couple  just a few minutes ago walking.

Two gates locked, we’re padlocked in Perdition. We  keep walking until a third gate. This one looks a tad different and I walk up to it, a side entrance and the damn thing opens like the pearly gates to Glory.  Mama walks back to our ghetto fabulous classic 1994 Mazda MPV, me waiting so no one locks this gate on us.  I look at this gorgeous azalea I remember from last year, a dark red-purple flower about the size of a common magenta azalea but much darker, so awesome. I take a peep at the graves near the gate, all the while keeping my eye on said gate. No one, not St. Peter, not the devil, not a grounds keeper, is gonna lock that damn gate without me at least screaming loud enough to wake the dead.

Safely delivered from captivity, we go downtown to have a look at the teabagger rally, I mean the Tea Party,  that has gone on all day. We listen to Sean Hannity on the radio waxing rhapsodic about the noble Tea Party activists nationwide and Reagan this, Reagan that. Every time I listen to Hannity, I tend to think if he could dig up Reagan and marry him he would, anti-gay marriage or no.

So the noble tea folk are down at the federal courthouse at the river. Good for them, I suppose, since the joy of being American is the ability to protest for what you believe.  It’s WASP Party 2010 downtown and rather fun to look at as long as you recall everyone is entitled to believe as they like, that is until I see this one woman and I have my What the Flying Fuck?! moment of the day. She has this sign, “Obama, Go Back to Kenya. I Will Buy the Plane Ticket!”  Now, I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like some racist saying no more than “Go back to Africa.”  Sure, I get the whole Birther rumor popular among some people. But honestly? Honestly. Could Obama be from Kenya and a closet Muslim? Could I be an Ethiopian albino  and  a closet Hare Krishna? Anything is possible, but probable? Um no.  She has a right to her opinion and I have the right to think she’s plumb ignorant with a limited touch on reality.

Unfortunately, it seems I favor quite a few excerpts from my first 2 months. I know these aren’t literary masterpieces, but they were my first efforts. I think I got better at not rambling so much as I went on. I hope those of you who weren’t here from the first like this, and my first dear readers like “Lisa in Review.”

Do y’all like this and should I continue this base self-aggrandizement? Am I just being redundant?

Upcoming junk

  • I gotta do a book review on a book I got from bloggingforbooks.org. Hey, I was like, “Eh, what the hell? Free book! (I enjoyed it too, but don’t worry I’m not becoming a book blogger except every now and then).
  • Retrieve my stupid political post from Rejectionville and post it here. It’s a moot point now anyway, but whatever.
  • Finish my damn Christmas Post (once I get my netbook back from the pawn shop).
  • Do more OCD; less tangenty, boringy stuff.
  • Still want to write more of my memoirs, thrill a minute.
  • Answer my comments much faster.

I love you all and thank you for everything. Y’all don’t even know how much you mean to me and how you’ve helped me,

Lisa

PS, If anyone dislikes this color let me know or even the font.

Poetry Pot Luck: “Everyday” — January 31, 2011

Poetry Pot Luck: “Everyday”

Amorous Anathema
Image via Wikipedia "Ooooh a book...Perhaps filled with gems of poesy...Eh, not really.

Quiet quelled by ringing in the ears,

a cat mews,

children’s voices outside play,

Next door a mother yells her dismay.

Upstairs the man has a partner

for amorous pursuits again.

Time ticks away,

the sun sets another day.

Just like everyday.

Every single day.

A Day of The Life of Lisa, as Written by Guest Blogger Jane Austen — December 28, 2010

A Day of The Life of Lisa, as Written by Guest Blogger Jane Austen

 

This basically happened like I wrote it except I needed to change the dialogue to the jist of what was said. Anyway, enjoy!Gane Austen
Jane Austen, celebrated early 19th century author, now guest blogger.

 

 

 

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady who wishes to send off an item bartered on eBay must be in want of packaging tape. Ah, this lamentably was the state of affairs and such a deprivation could not be borne.

Our lady, a Rubenesque spinster of three-and-thirty years, suggested to her mother a scheme of going to the shop down the way post-haste, for it was a week until Christmas and the best of couriers could not always send the required article in time. Fearing the wrath of an angry gentleman who had placed his custom and faith upon her, the lady commenced in her carriage, her good lady mother as chaperone. The mother, sullen, melancholy, and hinting  her disapprobation at her, said, ” Make certain, daughter, that you buy something sweet for the time we feel peckish.”

Our lady fresh from her visit to the Family Dollar

 

The establishment frequented by all the ton of the neighbourhood and surrounding villages was called the Family Dollar and carried sundry  items for sale. This mainly consisted of treasures imported from the orient, a plethora of genuine plastics molded into dishes and playthings for children, plus toiletries designed to cover smallpox scars and other maladies of ladies in need of the refinery.

The lady’s mother had her filial daughter go inside without her guiding  hand, confident that she would find no disgrace within its doors. Nay, no disgrace indeed as our lady meandered the aisles of the store plucking up the tape, chocolate mint patties, and some sort of Christmas mint that once dissolved took on a consistency like gum. Looking at the cookies without her mother to advise which to procure, as her mother’s dark mood seemingly prevented her from issuing any hint of preference, she selected a large package of vanilla sandwich cookies with cream.

Taking these items to the cash register, our  lady was assailed by the sounds of the music peculiar to certain sects of religion. This genre, aptly titled “Christian Pop,” seldom reached the tender regions of her soul as the lyrics and music intended. Instead of invoking all the comforts of religion, she oft, when not spared , chose to dissect the lyrics of such songs as though they were written by lovestruck poets for their would-be paramours. This song, however, was in a somewhat different strain, invoking the Lord thus:

Jesus is just all right with me, Jesus is just all right…

La! But an older lady, finding such a ditty insufferable, called attention to the young man attending the till. “I say, boy, this music you play upon yonder radio device, is that your personal preference?”

“Nay, madame,” said the young man. “Rather ’tis the preference of the lady proprietors.”

“I see,” spoke the lady with consternation. “You should play something soothing.”

“Ah, the ladies grew weary of the station that plays the Christmas music for the entirety of the season.”

“But that’s what the customers wish to hear whilst shopping, and they should think of the customers!” punctuated that lady.

You’d think they were playing the unexpurgated works of Eminem to hear her speak. A pretty thing this, thought our lady as she rushed from the edifice. She could not help, aversion to such music notwithstanding, how unpleasant were the manners of that lady.

An example of a carriage

 

Later, our lady and her mother arrived at the post office, and once more the spinster was left to her own devices as her mother waited. Soon our lady was amid a bustle of humanity all converging in a final frantic bid to send parcels for arrival by Yuletide.

She was waited upon by a lady who could be surly to some, but never to the spinster. “Is there anything fragile, liquid, perishable , or potentially hazardous inside, Madame?”

“Well…” said our lady, thinking back to a most helpful posting upon the wall sometime ago listing items that were foolhardy to send via courier, “the ___ has batteries inside.”

“No, ’tis fine and proper. What sort of ___is it?”

A ___ from the 80s, Madame,” said our lady.

“Oh, those I do recollect and my child possessed one that___.”

“Ah,  indeed! I mark those, though many a year has passed betwixt then and now.”

“Please tell your mother Merry Christmas from me,” said the lady post office attendant.

Our lady counted out the change from a purse and thought uncharitably, Nay, not I, not now as my mother has declared she hates Christmas,  which makes me hold the  hold the holiday with similar malevolence, The spinster, acting like a hussy, could maintain a strong petulance at times, a nasty flaw to her being a genteel lady.

She was so immersed in thought that our lady almost forgot to return appropriate holiday greetings herself. “Thank you, I shall tell her…Oh dear! And Merry Christmas to you, Madame. I fear that my mind is a soupcon addled today.”

It is perhaps diverting to look at our spinster and note that despite a peculiar air hinting at wishing to sink  into the floor beneath her rather than look another in the eye, she twice or thrice was complimented on her exceeding good manners in the past. It seems that some ladies and gentleman are taciturn when services were rendered inside the office. This compliment pleased our spinster in no uncertain terms.

The end of the day’s activities was nigh, but alas, the mother had lost her reading spectacles a couple of days previous and there seemed no way of finding the lost article. Despite her mother’s seasonal surliness, her most dutiful daughter did not wish to see that grand dame deprived of such creature comforts. Our lady bade the carriage to go to the shop where excellently crafted spectacles could be had, The Dollar General. As her good lady mother sought a perfect pair to match the strength of her weakened eyes, our lady perused the aisles, passing a gentleman in the stationary and place where books grace store shelves the final time.

Soon a young lady from that more southern clime came before them with a brood of children. The young lady spoke in the rapid tongue impossible to learn  in finishing school book or by her dear teacher originally from Philadelphia town. Suddenly the gentleman in the aisle with her growled in a low voice, “Speak English goddamnit.”

What a fine gentleman! our lady thought as she disembarked for home. Mayhap he is a lord or an earl. Such command that can even instruct mothers and innocent babes the correct dispensation of the queen’s English. No doubt a man of the best of stock whose kind manners condescended to make foreigners feel so at home in ours, the most welcoming of lands. Such a portly stature and the pungent scent of smoke from the best of cigarettes. La!  This is the sort of man I should wish to marry!

This delicate nicety, indispensable among genteel ladies when greeting potential suitors, is called "The Bird"

 



Red Letter Days a la Norman Rockwell — December 11, 2010

Red Letter Days a la Norman Rockwell

Divine providence mandates that every year my mother’s birthday falls the same week as Thanksgiving, so that is where I begin this heartwarming tale.

I think this 400 mg of Luvox, 100 mg over the maximum dose for elephants, is helping me  in my excesses. I think. I know it can’t be I’m more sensible now, shit no.  Common sense and I have never been bedfellows, so I must believe this gigantic dose is keeping me from my usual holiday rituals of spending every damn spare penny on my mother. I love buying gifts: Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Kwanza gifts, Rosh Hashonah gifts  – I’m down for it. But by miracle or pharmaceutical, this year I decided I’d wait until the day before my mother’s birthday to buy for my mom in the idea of seeing what my budget will allow. Way too sensible for me.  Definitely the drugs or Jesus is about to gallop through on his white steed, take your pick. I’m more inclined to believe the former because I know me and my compulsive generosity, a good thing and a bad thing. Anyhow, my newfound austerity might have worked for our good if we didn’t need a damn car battery! Yes, our car battery decided to give up the ghost. We always end up at the pawn shop twice each month, three times if you count bailing my stuff out at the beginning of the month. Part of the money I got on a loan from my netbook went to pay for the car battery, around 90 bucks, plus we now contend with a $250.00 car payment since we had to get rid of the transmission failing ghetto van in September, around the time of the great kidney debacle. Anyway, poor mouthing over for a second or two, all I could afford my mom this year for her birthday was a $5.98 chocolate fudge cake from Wal-Mart.

“Could you put a rose on it, please?” I ask.

“What color?’

My mother is with me and she picks yellow. Later she says, “I wasn’t really thinking what color would be prettiest on the cake, just that I like yellow flowers.” Well, whatever works, and it looked pretty nice. Not Prince William/ Kate Middleton cake fit for royal weddings nice, but nice all the same.

Would you like something written on it?” asks the young woman running the bakery.

Eh, what the hell. ” Um, ‘Happy Birthday, Mom,’ please.”

When we get home, we hunt down leftover candles from the ghosts of birthdays past. ” One will be fine,” says Mom.

Oh helllll no. “No, one of each color,” I, Queen of Evening and Fairness Rituals, have spoken. Yes, it seems unfair to use only one, when there are other colors too.  But sparing the feelings of birthday candles is normal. Extra added bonus: Mom didn’t even burn herself when lighting the candles on the microscopic cake. I’m sure her wish will come true now!

Look closely and you might see my mom's birthday cake.

“Is that edible?” asks Mom, picking up a little square that has “fudge” written on it, or is it just advertising that the cake is made of something akin to fudge? I take the paper-thin square from mom and pop it into my mouth. Uh oh, it is a little piece of fudge and I feel a tiny pang of guilt go down with the tiny piece of chocolate,  Oh well, she gets the piece of cake with the rose on it.

And it’s a fine cake, extremely tasty, the best non-ice cream cake I’ve about ever had and officially I lost “The World’s Worst Daughter” award….until I woke up in the middle of the night with a craving and finished the cake for her. I’m the sort of person who will give the last of anything to my mom without batting an eye….BUT. But if it’s the middle of the night and I’m alone, buh-bye chocolate, hello gluttony.

Now for Thanksgiving. The day before, the kind woman directly across from us in the next building  asks my mother if she likes sweet potato pie, and Mom, without thinking, told her the truth.

“Oh,” replied the woman. As Mama continues her gardening, it suddenly strikes her that the woman wanted to make her a sweet potato pie. Uh oh, what now? So off she goes to the woman’s apartment and knocks on the sliding glass door. “Did you say sweet potato pie or sweet potato vines? I was thinking you said sweet potato vines and it occurred to me you might have said sweet potato pie.” Elegant save, Mom. Wonder if the woman believed her?

“I thought you might have misunderstood me,” said the woman.  Faux pas averted, though I was mortified by my mom’s mishap even more than she was. We came home from my therapist and it was time to collect the pie. I went over too. The therapist wants me to try to be more sociable, so this is a great opportunity to carpe diem or whatever.

I’m certain the woman thought, There’s that weird girl, but we made a quick and polite acquaintance, Mama only managing to embarrass me once. I recently noticed the woman and her husband’s friendship with a squirrel, which filled me with apprehension for both the squirrel and Phillippe, my cat. I wasn’t concerned for my other two cats, Oscar and Dondee are both a bit too small to catch more than a lizard or tiny bird if  they’re lucky, but Phil Jr. is an ardent squirrel eater, alas. I can’t blame him, but murdering beasties is his instinct, not mine. For instance, several days ago, Babee Dondee got out into the hall, went into the laundry room, and knocked over a water bug onto it’s back. Flailing and miserable, it couldn’t right itself and Dondee left it alone. No one to see me around, I gently tap it with my shoe until it’s turned over again. I hate those things but it wasn’t in my apartment and it can’t help it’s a water bug, can it? Blame Kafka or karma, but really, it’s one of my OCD quirks and I have no desire to lose that one.

My mother mentions the squirrel, whom the couple  named Charlie, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t start talking about Phillippe’s love of squirrels and eventually  ended the conversation with an “If Phillippe ever does get him please don’t kill our cat!” Basically, she said since Charlie was an older squirrel she doubted Phil could get him and how he refuses to be a house cat (Mom didn’t mention he vengefully pisses in her bed should he not be at liberty to come and go as he pleases 24/7), giving her request at the end to not murder the kitty.

Embarrass me! But it was promised the woman wouldn’t, because she’s afraid of cats. A cat chased her when she was a child and somehow her sister fell down the stairs we later find out. She isn’t the first person I’ve known scared of cats either. Ain’t phobias grand?

Who'd be afraid of this cat? "Take me to your leader, humanoid."

 

So, we have some sweet potato pie and it isn’t so bad at all. To me, however, sweet potato pie will remain pumpkin pie’s sinewy bastard cousin…but it is extremely appreciated all the same.

The next day is Thanksgiving, and it is decided we will have a picnic at the arboretum since we can’t go to The Golden Corral for Thanksgiving, which is a buffet.With what money we have left from having to get a damn car battery for the damn car, we get Swanson’s Hungry Man Turkey and Dressing  dinners. Lucky they were buy one, get one or we’d have to split one. We also got some cranberry sauce and a salad which was basically lettuce, cheese,  and salad dressing, hee.

A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Slightly modified

We nuke ’em and pack ’em back into their paper boxes to keep ’em warm and over the river and through the woods to the arboretum we go (incidentally my grandparents are buried in a cemetery in walking distance  behind the arboretum). The weather was cloudy with a couple drops of rain here and there, but warm and we found a  small picnic table. As we ate two couples passed by our scene of Rockwellesque domestic tranquillity. I’m sure it warmed their hearts and I’m always glad to to be a help to  humankind. Soon we were reenacting the First Thanksgiving too and our Indian came to the table to share our repast.  Our Indian was a a little orange and white cat whose tag said “Monkey.” we were glad he came to visit, just like being home. He hopped onto the bench next to me and I petted him. I had done ate all my turkey, so my mom gave him a bit, to which he turned up his feline nose.  Afterward,  we walked the arboretum and their lovely rose garden, which is always blooming no matter what time of year, and past the Japanese-themed garden, whose miniature tea house a local mystery writer used as the murder scene in one of her novels (it was a good book too).

Then off home we returned, me driving, and I didn’t even run over anyone, go figure.

 

This is my favorite song to begin the holidays:



Mediocre Poetry: The Apartment Complex — November 11, 2010

Mediocre Poetry: The Apartment Complex

Richard Milhous Nixon
Good Times! Image via Wikipedia

OK…So this was meant for http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com, but too late. So y’all can laud or pan it or whatever, dear readers.  Buildings was this weeks theme.

 

Once upon a time, before ever I was born,

you were erected a little after 1971.

Brick and morter, cement and wood,

until one day there you stood,

13 buildings are lucky if an architect is in a good mood.

 

200 apartments that were state of the art back in the days when Nixon was not a crook,

splash in a pool built in the days before diving boards were took.

Snack bar, volley ball, n’ tennis,

Sit on your terrace without  fearing a menace.

 

But that was in 1972,

now the owners don’t know what to do.

Buildings age, wood rots,

but the staff cares not a lot.

One lives here because the rent is cheap,

lucky you if you don’t meet up with one of your creeps.

 

A Mexican man who spills his beer can down from his balcony,

A drag queen who owes me money,

Wife beaters and folks who can’t read,

a friendly ‘ex-rapist,’

drug dealers who meet the people’s need.

Some people have killed themselves here instead,

Guess it’s cheaper than moving,

but you don’t fill me with that kind of dread.

Apartment  complex of mine, I love you and hate you at the same time.

 

When I first saw you I knew you were just right  for me.

Unlike the house we had owned, no rats in the attic roamed.

The terrace was enough outdoor space without a lawn to mow.

Finally a pool within 50 feet of me not made of plastic, you know?

and a  few nice neighbors to balance  the plethora of trash,

no one’s  too nosy, they let us do what we wish without being rash,

my hoarding* or Mom’s gardening,

letting our cats roam ,

this is the perfect place for eccentrics  to  have friends but be left sometimes alone.

Apartment Complex, intellectual purgatory, I call you home.

—————-
Now playing: Too Short – Ghetto ’cause you know, this be the ‘hood.
via FoxyTunes

 

Catz in da Hood

* No I’m not as bad as Hoarders, or that short story I wrote, or those two guys in Harlem in the 1940s.

The Hourglass of Life — September 16, 2010

The Hourglass of Life

Greeting Card Valentine 1899
Image via Wikipedia

 

Craptastic poetry time again. Here is my second poem for http://magpietales.blogspot.com . What happened to last week’s  offering? The dang thing became a story and didn’t get it finished in time. It was kinda lame anywho, filled with melodrama and ‘archetypal characters.’ I wrote a crappy story in college with the  “archetypal characters ,blah, blah…..story told over and over…blech, blech….but good pacing” written on it. This story would’ve got a similar review, but I’ll drag it out someday when finished (sadly, my college one has been lost, but it was bad).   I also did poetry and had to learn to stop writing greeting card stuff.  This poem ain’t greeting card material unless Hallmark wants to open a  “Go On and Die Already” division.  

 

                                          Depressing much?                                                                                                                                     

   

The Hourglass of Life 

   

Into the world a baby comes, 

The Hourglass of Life is set. 

A game of chance has just begun, 

a time for Fate to place her bet. 

   

The baby is kept safe, 

only a few grains  of sand are suffered to drop. 

Lucky as some hearts  flutter and others stop.   

   

From baby to toddler, from toddler to child, 

the sands flow gently, death decides not to attack the mild. 

Life is safe, the sands won’t stop 

for the foolish teen becoming an adult. 

   

For the adult waiting for old age, 

the hourglass is now sitting on a stage, 

the sand is speeding up, 

 but not the adult. 

   

The end looms ahead.  

The last grain seeps through 

while the old heart stops ,  

for another the process  begins anew. 

Morally Bankrupt; or, I Really Wanted That Barbie Doll — September 4, 2010

Morally Bankrupt; or, I Really Wanted That Barbie Doll

So we’re back to my regular sort of post. I sometimes worry that I will one day not be able to come up with something or will totally end up never writing another humorous word again. I don’t even set out with ideas for humor in my posts for the most part. I just fall into it and lots of times I am not sure how it will be received. Maybe tonight is the night I lose my ability to make mundane incidents humorous or interesting. But they say write for yourself and it’ll all come out OK, so we’ll see how I like it .  Say, we should keep a tally on what I think about the direction this post is going,  It’ll be like the director’s commentary version of  a film on DVD. Morally Bankrupt -The Director’s Commentary. What the hay, why don’t y’all have a capital time as well? Take a sip of your favorite 40 oz. malt liquor beverage each time I say something that could be remotely construed as humor, regardless if it’s truly funny or no. Or if alcoholic beverages aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps take a puff from  the blunt you must smoke in order to truly understand my very deep writing. Or if neither  tickle your fancy, might I suggest a sip of  Wal-Mart brand add-to-water fruit punch like I’m drinking. It all works just fine in a drinking game I’m sure. Let’s begin!

(Cut! Here’s where I yelled cut because it was 2:30 am and I yearned for the comfort of  my pillow. Pretty lame movie so far, isn’t it? Bet you’re wishing you rented Twilight instead.

But anyway, ACTION!)

It’s Sunday and I decide I will spend much of the afternoon at the pool….You know, before a hurricane sweeps us all away later this week, or worse, makes it impossible to use the pool from debris. For breakfast, my mother is preparing a new end of the month masterpiece of cookery: Pancakes made exclusively of  flour and water, garnished with margarine and homemade brown sugar syrup -apparently we’re out of Aunt Jemima too. While not exactly IHOP, it does  very well when you’re craving something sweet and semi-tasty at the end of the month.

(CUT! That ain’t nothing, really in the annals of  Budget Living. Mama smoked her last cigarette last night, so this morning she took tiny bits of tobacco that fell out  into the pack and started chewing them in her mouth. She said that it tastes terrible, but you get a tad of nicotine. It reminds me of this woman I used to know named Candy who lived in a trailer park……and had no compunction to pick up cigarette butts off the ground to smoke. Um yuck, but I didn’t share this recollection with Mama or remarked “could she get more ghetto/trailer if she tried?” I deemed that since she’d been several hours without chaising ‘Puff the Magic Pall Malls Dragon’ that I would keep such observations to myself.)

(Back again, really should try to start blogging earlier in the day, so that it doesn’t take a week to write something. Exhaustion and my penchant for becoming distracted work against me, plus I’ve always been the slowest at any damn thing imaginable, but oh well. Y’all got other blogs to read as you anticipate my next words, right? Oh and hurray, first of the month passed. Cigarettes and other vital hurricane supplies got. I didn’t figure this hurricane would amount to anything.  I was sitting out on my lounge this evening and the wind picked up -so I adjourned to the covered patio in the hopes of not being whacked in the head. Though who knows? My head is indeed somewhat addled to begin with, so perhaps being bonked on the head by  a stray pine tree branch just might be the cure for knocking my brain cells into place. But anyway, back to the ‘film.’ ACTION!)

Yeah, Sunday. Pool. There. While I’m bobbing about in the deep end, I listen to a curious conversation. I believe the woman’s original aim was to sit in her floating lounger and read, but it didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Horny Ex-Con. He set her as his object and talked and talked. There is one thing to be said about being a bit less than comely, and that is that such crap seldom happens to you. In fact, the only guy I ever had trouble with was a drunk, simple-seeming Mexican fellow with one reddened cheek (punched or skin condition?). He kept advancing on me and tried to mess with me, to which I screamed in the most hateful voice I could muster, “Leave me the hell alone!” and left the pool.

Mr. Horny Ex-Con proceeds to relate how his life has gone “since he got out as he put it.  He says that he spent nearly a decade in prison and there were plenty of homosexuals and guys who did the homosexual thing while in prison, but no rape because everyone from particular states looked out for their own. That was interesting to know , so it wasn’t Oz, but he never said what he did to merit 10 years in prison. Somehow I doubt it was jaywalking, especially if he’s the roommate of who I think he is, who’s an “Evil One” indeed.

I nearly laughed when I heard him say, “All the women I’ve met since I got out in March have turned out to be lesbians.” Bwhaaaaaaaaaaaaah ! I think just about any girl would suddenly claim to a sapphic bent if he was talking to them. Not that he was ugly, no he ain’t, but what the hell do you do to go to prison for 10 freaking years? The woman was finally spared his wooing by his admission that he needed to pee. Did Romeo and Cyrano have such hurdles to overcome as a full bladder at an inopportune time? I sometimes think that I’m not missing much by no one dying of love for me or lusting after me from my observations on these matters.

Now to my hideous lack of morality, my great sin almost committed. I would have done it too had a couple of variables not interfered with my depravity. Really, it is pretty bad. So here’s my confession:

Some little girl left her Barbie doll at the pool and did not come back for it by closing time. So I approach the Pool Matron and say, “Um PM, do you know whose Barbie is that?” She doesn’t know.

“Do you think it would be OK if I take….Oh, nevermind.” Pool Matron’s little son grabbed the coveted Barbie. “I just thought I might…..since it’d been there all day….and the pool being closed tomorrow….but maybe someone will come back for it.”

So the little boy and his mother spared me from what in retrospect can only be conceived by me as sorta-kinda-maybe stealing. Now, to be fair to me a little, I recall last year Pool Matron saying she threw stuff away that got left behind, so with that logic, I’d hoped to have that pretty black Barbie doll (I love ethnic dolls the best, so sue me).

I consider myself a moral to beyond moral sort of woman, so my mind began the deserved attack upon me as soon as I left the pool. “Thief! Stealer of children’s playthings! YOU SUCK!!!”

My only solace is I looked at the pool the next morning and the near-purloined Barbie was not to be seen. I bet Pool Matron’s kids took her home that night. At least it wasn’t me.

I nearly had a similar temptation a few weeks beforehand. I was still cross at the little rat bastard that took my goggles after I specifically asked him to return them when he was done. Well, someone left goggles at the pool overnight. The next day I saw they were still there, and I thought to myself, perhaps if they are still here by the end of the day it would be OK to take them and the person who left them won’t come back. So I borrow them for a set of laps, then returned them to where they sat. By the end of the day they were gone, but sort of doubt that they were restored to their rightful owner. But at least it wasn’t me lest the  poor soul who lost them came back. I am not a believer in “Finders Keepers,” but it seems as though I need to remind myself. I’m not happy.

(Cut! That’s a wrap!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiKPZRFnIIM&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAX37IIJ4O0&feature=channel

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