Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category
Time to talk about the recent scandal plaguing the American government. It has come to our attention that They (there really is a “they” now…) have access to everything we do online, with our cell phones and pretty much anything else. They gather all our data–all meaning the data of every citizen using the information highway–and use it for the safety of the country. Safety, of course, being used loosely here.
I’ve asked several people about their thoughts on this. Sadly, no one is surprised. I guess all those threats of the ubiquitous permanent record prepared us well. Also, the people I know are apparently boring, because they’ve all said the same thing: “I’ve got nothing to hide.”
I really need to meet some trouble makers…
I’m sure people will point the finger at President Obama. But let’s get this straight: our rights have been chipped away since September 11, 2001. The minute people were afraid of another attack, we gave the government carte blanche on how they protected us. Except we forgot to demand that we be protected from them.
Also, the President did not do this on his own. Every member of Congress knew this was happening and were fine with it. A few might have been in opposition, but there weren’t enough to keep it from happening.
When no one raised a huge commotion over the requirements to board a plane, we pretty much laid down and said, “do what you will.” For god’s sake, we let these people xray us! You don’t get any more transparent than that! We let them frisk our kids and our elderly. We take our shoes off for them! But I digress…
I have no idea how the spy game works. They are gathering information and it gets filtered. (For more information, watch this.) I think they have a list of keywords that signals a communication needs further attention. (Luckily I just watched Three Days of the Condor so I’ve got an idea of how it works. Of course, now computers scan documents, not book readers.)
So how do we give the government hell? We could all turn off every electronic device we own and go back to local television and pen and paper. I’ve been missing handwritten letters, so that could be a new way to communicate. I would have to start writing checks again and mail in my bills. Heck, I might not want a bank account any more since it’s probably being monitored also. (I wonder if my craft supply addiction has set off any alarms in Spyville?) IBM better start manufacturing electric typewriters again so I can write!
I’m afraid, though, that if we take away the Information Highway, we will leave the Spyville minions with to much time on their hands. They’ll just get into other mischief. They’re like toddlers like that, I’m sure. But we could just overload them with information.
We’ll go about our business, continuing to use our electronics as we do, but with a few added features. For example, instead of signing my emails “hugs,” I will sign them “overthrow.” I will use Al Qaeda as a new curse word when I write. “Al qaeda to hell!” “Al qaeda you!”
Every ten words, I’ll add “methamphetamine” in brackets. You’ll know it’s meaningless, but the government won’t be able to take that chance. I mean, they already want my id when I buy cold medicine because I might be cooking meth in the shed.
Everywhere I go will be Cuba. “I’ve got to run to Cuba and pick up prescriptions.” “Going to Cuba to catch a game!”
If I could get my hands on the actual keyword watch list I would be dangerous. And you could be too. I’ve got time on my hands, I will help you.
If all of us do this, they won’t be able to keep up. They’ll rip their hair our and rend their garments. They will give us back our privacy in a hurry.
This is all I’ve got. The reality is to overwhelming to truly ponder. George Orwell was apparently clairvoyant.
We hear it all the time, blondes have more fun. Well, I’m now blonde and I haven’t been having any fun. I’m just living life and feeling very…exposed.
I decided to go blonde because my grey/white outgrowth (I once worked with a former hairdresser who became quite agitated when I referred to it as “roots” and stressed that it was “outgrowth”) has been disturbing me. Dark reddish hair…with a skunk stripe. Not very attractive, really. When Kelly suggested going blonde, I thought it was brilliant. It would solve the problem.
I had visions of a nice golden cascade of hair. The grey would be camouflaged. I would be lovely.
I do have blonde hair. But it has a yellow tone I wasn’t expecting. Because the hair had been dyed so dark, the previous color had to be lifted. It’s actually a cool color…that would seem appropriate for a starlet or a teenager.
But on me, I just feel exposed. Suddenly, I realize I had been hiding for years. Going grey meant I was invisible. No one pays attention to old women. Then I went dark again and it was still safe.
Now I feel like people are looking at me. Looking. Judging.
Plus, I’m not having fun. My cousin Keri told me I have to make my own fun. Frankly, I’m to tired. And irritable. It’s been a rocky time in KlineLand. Yes, SusieLand might be a sunny happy place, but KlineLand is filled with angst.
I’m looking for ways to have fun. Any suggestions?! Plus I need a new lipstick to go with the new hair…
Lately, I’ve been caught up believing that everyone but me has The Perfect Family. While my family is inundated with problems and angst, other parents tweet their children’s unending stream of age-advanced adorable chatter. Other parents let us know that each of their children has an iPhone and an iPod…and they’re all under 10. The news features stories about tweens who raise funds for deadly illnesses.
Intellectually, I know there is no perfect family. They don’t exist. Each and every family is plagued with something negative. It’s how life works.
Some parents adore their children and abhor each other. Some parents aren’t really happy being parents. Some couples want children and don’t have any. Some families have great relationships with each other, but are forced to live in a car.
That’s why I think bloggers should have an absolute truth day. Weekly–okay monthly–we should vow to share something negative that happened in our homes and how we handled it. We could even open it up for suggestions how others would have handled it.
But I know that won’t happen. For the same reason I enjoy a movie or a book with a happy ending; because I don’t want to focus on the negative or it’s aftermath.
Maybe this is why comedians are often the unhappiest of people. At least that’s the word on the street. They’ve just learned to hide the bad by covering it up with laughter.
But if anyone thinks an absolute truth day would be helpful, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Maybe sometimes it’s just right to address the bad along with the good. Because that’s how life works.
Spring break is winding down. I’ve accomplished quite a bit, which is a nice feeling. Next week things will be back to normal–well as normal as they get in KlineLand.
To ring in the holiday weekend, I share with you my favorite commercial. You read that right…favorite commercial. I even stop fast forwarding just to watch this commercial. This little girl is adorable and I want to see her in more things! Movies! Television! Theater! She is my dream daughter! And the adult in this series of commercials is adorable too. I love the way he interacts with the kids. I love that he’s sitting at the kids’ table!
Enjoy! You’re welcome…
I live in an area of disposable architecture. I must be the only one in the suburbs of Chicago who prefers an aging bungalow to a mass produced McMansion. Because all the houses with character are being torn down and being replaced with something with much less character and charm.
I don’t live in a house with charm. It’s one of about three models in our subdivision. It’s a nice house. It gets the job done, but there are no quirky built-ins or decorative wood work. There was no history here when we moved it; any that exists was created by us.
Growing up I knew a house with character. I was fortunate enough to live next door to my neighborhood’s “haunted house.” It was an eerie, hulking structure. No one lived in it when I was a child, but we played there nearly every day.
The giant pine tree was so big that the interior was a perfect play house. I can still remember the smell of pine sap and remember being covered in it as we tried climbing.
The redbud tree had a perfect branch for sitting in while reading. And if that wasn’t comfortable enough, the large, deep front porch provided a great place for lolling in the shade on a hot summer day. Adding to the mystery of the house was an old bathtub, still enclosed in packing materials. Why was it there? Why was it never installed?
The yard was full of mysterious things. Beautiful peonies dotted the yard in the summer. Bridal wreath bushes provided more rooms for secret meetings as well as head dressings for when we played bride.
The back porch was rickety and dangerous, nothing like the front porch. But we braved it occasionally to peek through the glass to see what was within. We knew from the open windows in front that there was still furniture and pictures hanging. From the back porch we could see the dining table. A side window revealed an ancient erector set, built into some contraption.
When I was in high school, someone moved in and I was able to make friends with him. Now I had access to the inner sanctum! The house had an old, dusty smell. It wasn’t unpleasant. It spoke of abandon and despair, but also of people who loved it enough to have someone in to clean even while it was lreft behind.
The kitchen held mysterious appliances (now I knew it was an early dishwasher!) and gorgeous built-ins that still held dishes and glassware. Old bathrooms contained grooming products from the ladies who formerly lived there. I know there were women because their clothes still hung in bedroom closets. Ancient toys sat unused and unappreciated in other bedrooms.
Up in the attic, paintings from an artist associated with the house were stacked ten deep. Abstract canvases abandoned with everything else.
I loved the house.
The last time I was in it, it was in such disrepair, I knew it wasn’t long before it was gone. I could see no hope in the plaster and lath walls that let in sunlight. I imagined the snow and rain gaining access to the interior, slowly rotting it away. Maybe like the dreams of the people who once lived there and who abandoned it and all their belongings?!
But I was wrong. I learned that the house had been sold. My first reaction was that it would be torn down. No! It is being lovingly restored by an instructor at Fort Hays State University. He and his students have plans for the structure and they’ve already made progress! It is being chronicled here at http://west17th.tumblr.com.
I am delighted. No, it will never be my house. But it isn’t going to be destroyed. I hope you have as much fun as I am watching the secrets of the house being revealed (this blog is how I found out the sink contraption was a dishwasher!) and the changes being made. In this day of disposable buildings, it is pleasing to find someone willing to re-capture the beauty of a once grand home.
Check out west17 and let me know what you think. What I could have done with the place…
I swore to myself that I would try to keep some of my political thoughts to myself in 2013. It should have been easy. It’s not a big election year. But the imbecile’s are still among us. Today we’re going to talk about Kevin Swanson, a radio host of a right-wing program, Generations Radio.
Apparently, Mr. Swanson failed biology. That’s understandable, because you do not have to understand science to talk. But I think you need science to graduate high school. You did when I graduated eons ago.
What I learned in biology about reproductive health is a woman has a monthly cycle for reproduction. There’s ovulation, which is the release of an egg. If the woman has sexual intercourse, the egg may or may not be fertilized, depending on several different factors. If the egg is fertilized, a baby may or may not result. If the egg is not fertilized, the woman has her period, which washes away all the lining of the uterus which would have aided in the creation of a baby. The unfertilized or unviable fertilization washes on out with the uterine lining. Voila, nothing is left in a healthy woman and the cycle starts all over again.
Now there are several different factors affecting different women in different ways. Sometimes fertilization occurs, but for whatever reasons the zygote (I might have this term wrong) cannot implant and there is no baby-to-be. Sometimes the uterine lining doesn’t wash out of the body and washes back into a woman’s internal organs, resulting in endometriosis. Sometimes the uterine lining doesn’t all wash out and builds up and a woman might require a D&C to get rid of the build up.
But what never ever ever happens is that any unfertilized or fertilized eggs get hung up in the uterus like bats in a cave. This is where Kevin Swanson is bat-shit crazy. Here’s what he has to say on the subject:
I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.
See, he completely failed basic biology and sex education! Because using the birth control pill actually prevents fertilization of released eggs.
And my imagination has never been more fertile! (Get that great pun? Around here that’s known as a Jim joke, but this one is all mine!)
I was picturing Barbie and Ken dolls hanging around in my uterus. Just gripping onto whatever piece of the real estate they needed to remain connected to it. Sort of swinging there like monkeys soaring through the jungle via vines.
Then my sister Jamie told me she was picturing cabbage patch dolls lining her uterus. Which she may or may not still be in possession of. If she doesn’t still have it in her body, I wonder if someone saved it in a jar so we can actually look inside this uterus to see the dead babies awaiting…whatever.
Now I cannot help but picture the birth control pill zapped eggs as bats. They were featured in an episode of Infested I saw recently, so bats are in the forefront of my mind. The bats I’m seeing are hanging by their tiny bat feet in my uterus. I’m not sure what will make them rush out of there like bats in nature, but I’ll be watching for that to happen soon. Maybe it will happen when I have my next pap smear?!
I also cannot stop thinking about the sheer number of whatever might be hanging out in my uterus. Let’s get a little personal. I’ve probably spent around 10 years of my adult life on birth control pills. That’s 120 faux-fertilized eggs I have inside me. Imagine how many of these errant eggs are within the bodies of women who have been on the pill for decades! Yikes!
Seriously, no wonder our country has problems if the people sharing information are such morons. Did Swanson think about what was coming out of his mouth, or did he just spew it? Does he really believe this crap or is he using creative license?
Besides Swanson, who else listening to him believes the same things? That’s what scares me. Because these people are pushing policies that affect the rest of the country. They cannot be allowed a voice any longer.
PS Now I’m picturing the babies as kewpie dolls. Will this madness never end?!
If I were a young girl I would want all the Monster High stuff. Books, videos, dolls, clothes, scooters, bikes…I’d want it all! I love the Monster High dolls and haven’t ever gotten one as an adult!
If I were a young woman with long hair again, I would want all those funky curling irons. When I was a girl, we had round curling irons. You wanted spiral curls, you got a perm. You wanted kinks, you slept in wet braids. We told stories about girls wanting straight hair and getting it on an ironing board with an iron. Now they have curling irons and other styling tools that do all these things! Big barrels. Small barrels. Multi barrels. Spiral barrels. Tapered barrels. Think of all the things I could be doing with my hair if I were still 21!
If I were a young mother, I would want the infant monitor with the high definition video camera. Peace of mind! Nothing on television? You’d have a great show being produced and recorded in your own home of your own child!
If I were super handy, I’d want some word working tools. Sometimes the urge to build something sweeps over me…then I shove it under the carpet. A lathe, a table saw, a router. I’d finally get the built-ins I want!
If I were super athletic, I would want all the fitness accessories that go with my iphone. Heart monitors, GPS, and distance apps. High tech exercise is the way to go!
Luckily, I am none of these things and my Christmas list is non-existent this year. I have no idea what to ask for or what I want. Nothing is grabbing me at all. So I’ll just dream about the things all the other Susies want! How about you? What do you want this Christmas? Or what do your alter egos want?
The December doldrums have set in. There’s something about this time of year that just gets to me. I know I’m not alone, but that only makes me feel marginally better. If I know this feeling is coming, why can’t I get over it?!
For parents, this time of year is riddled with guilty feelings.
- Am I buying my kids to much?
- Am I buying them to little?
- Will they become little brats demanding material things, never realizing the true meaning of the season?
- How can I teach lessons that things are not what makes you happy when the tree is surrounded by presents?
- If I don’t deck the halls with every Christmas decoration available, am I robbing your kids of the Christmas experience?
- If I think that the Holiday Store at the elementary school is the biggest waste of money and refuse to participate, does this make me a bad parent?
- If I think Elf on The Shelf is a scam and don’t want to participate, are my kids missing out?
- If I don’t make ten different kinds of Christmas cookies because I try not to have a lot of junk food around, will my kids turn into junk food junkies?
See all the angst the season produces for me?! And this is only the tip of the ice berg. Questions like these run through my mind constantly during the month of December. Add in Aaron’s birthday on December 5th, and I am a simpering ball of pathetic trying to be a decent parent.
Yes, my only aspiration is “decent.” I know I can’t be perfect. I’m just hoping that none of my kids pens a Mommy-Dearest type tome during my lifetime. With my luck one of them will and it will be all about how I sucked as a holiday mom.
Anyone else feel this way?!
I grew up reading long series of books. Did I say reading? Make that devouring. Third grade was spent in Narnia, fourth in Mallory Towers. All of the Oz books – including the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson – tottered in a stack by my bed. I copied the maps of Moomin Valley. I knew Middle Earth as well as, and perhaps better than, my own town.
So it was very natural to me to write a series. I loved the characters and friendships that were created in books like The Valley and The Mountain of Adventure, and I wanted to have the same sort of thing in mine–a group of kids who would have perilous adventures and yet remain kids throughout. They would perform acts of derring-do, yet at the same time they would squabble and perhaps even develop romantic feelings for each other.
When I read books in a great series, it was like putting on a comfy robe or huddling under a warm blanket. I knew the people in the books and I had a fair idea of what the writer had in store for them.
Characters and adventure, then, drove a series for me. Either there was a group of kids – in the case of the Adventure stories, two boy and two girls – or there was fevered action, as in the Narnia books.
My Crown Phoenix books started around the scene of Miriam, an orphan, reading a book in a large house. She was soon joined by two boys: Simon (with whom Miriam argued mightily) and Neil, Simon’s friend.
Miriam’s governess, Mana, acted as a guide to the three of them. She was dependable and a bit magic at the same time, but her position was hampered by being a woman of color in Edwardian society.
At this point the adventures began to kick in. A pair of thorough villains showed up. I love the dichotomy of beauty and badness, so the woman, Barbara, was breathtakingly lovely and utterly evil at the same time. The three children were separated: Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and put on the train called The Night Watchman Express, headed to a dire end.
Neil took off for the island of Lampala to have his own series of adventures. There he met Riki, a very skinny girl who was immature and what I would call “a pain in the butt.” Eventually, however, they became friends.
As I wrote the books, two things happened at once. The action advanced, but at the same time the characters grew up. Miriam flourished under Mana’s teaching. Simon realized that beauty can be a dangerous thing. Neil found that acting in an irresponsible manner is sometimes the best thing to do. And Riki – well, she will always be Riki. Still, she did learn to be a bit more polite. Neil had a great deal to do with that.
Perhaps it is a bit of an indulgence for an author to write a series. We have the luxury of not having to give all the backstory, since readers (hopefully) will have read them all along the way. At the same time, we do have to provide enough guidelines for those who pick up a book in the middle of the series, as well as enough story in one single book to make it satisfying.
I am close to finishing the final book of the lot, and won’t I be sorry when it’s complete! I’ll have to leave my mythical island, Lampala, as well as all the characters I’ve learned to love. I’ll miss them in the way you would miss a friend who moves away when you are very young – you wish you could see them again, but you know you probably never will.
Happy Halloween everyone! Here’s a short story for you! I’d love some feedback!
The house glittered and glowed in the twilight. JoElle hugged herself, smiling in the waning light. On the front walk, outside the wrought iron fence that surrounded the property, she knew the house was impressive. Smugly, she knew that, once again, her Halloween party would be The One people talked about.
In their small town, the Peterson’s annual Halloween party was legendary. Babysitters were booked months in advance. Costumes were planned months ahead of time. Trick or treating ended earlier for the children of the attendees. Everyone wanted to be involved in the Halloween party hosted at the town’s sole haunted house.
The Peterson’s house isn’t really haunted. But years of abandoned vacancy fueled the imaginations of children and adults alike. Teenagers brave enough to explore the vacant house often fled with stories of specters and sprites, fueled by friends and adrenaline. Neighbors saw flickering lights in the empty house, but shook their heads and found other explanations that made better sense.
That all changed when the Peterson’s moved in and made the house their own. Once the house had been renovated in a way meant to capture the historic charm of the old Victorian, JoElle immediately began planning the first Halloween party. Both of the Peterson’s were tickled at the thought of hosting a Halloween party in a house once believed to be haunted.
JoElle hugged herself once more, then hurried up the front walk. Ever the conscientious hostess, she rapidly scanned the vast yard, looking for decorations not lit up perfectly or that had shifted in the strong breeze that sprung up earlier in the day.
At the bottom of the large porch, she turned to get a view of the yard from another vantage point. Satisfied, she turned. Lifting the long skirts of her sexy witch costume, she ran up the steps.
Absently patting a scarecrow seated right inside the front door, she slipped into the brightly lit house to make one more round before the guests arrived.
After a quick tour through the first floor, JoElle stopped in the entrance hall to study herself in the huge mirror. The perky witch’s hat sat atop her curls, not detracting from the corseted focus of her chest. In case the tight corset was to subtle, she reached into the bureau under the mirror and took out the shimmer powder to apply to her cleavage. Tonight was not a time to be shy.
Guests arrived in groups, laughing and prepared for fun. After all, the Peterson’s had never failed before.
The first hour flew by as JoElle greeted guests and prodded the catering staff to keep up. She laughed and flirted. Husbands couldn’t help it when their gazes were drawn to her chest. Wives didn’t worry because it was JoElle Peterson, who was harmless.
“Where’s Ted?” guest after guest asked.
JoElle wrinkled her adorable nose and sighed each and every time, “Can you believe he had to travel for business on Halloween? Apparently, corporate America doesn’t understand how important this holiday is to some of us!” Tinkling laughter trailed after her as she moved to the next group.
“It’s a shame Ted’s missing this great party!” more than one guest pined, quickly forgetting their absent host when something or someone else caught their attention.
JoElle made one last trip to the kitchen to check on the caterers. After giving last minute instructions and telling them what a great job they were doing, she left with a glass of champagne. After absently patting the scarecrow seated right outside the kitchen door, she took a long drink and moved into the sea of bodies filling her first floor to capacity.
Brad Martin reminded himself to smile. It wasn’t easy as person after person asked after his wife, Catherine. When he told them, they were quick to pat his arm and offer condolences for Catherine’s mother, making promises to get in touch with her when she returned. That’s when Brad told his closest friends he didn’t think she would be back.
There was more shoulder patting and more condolences, but no one was really surprised. The Martin’s marriage had been on the rocks for ages. But the Halloween party wasn’t time for sad news, so no one dwelled on Catherine’s defection.
Brad caught JoElle’s eye after a round of shoulder patting and lifted his glass in a silent toast. She nodded back and lifted her champagne flute.
“JoElle, you’ve out done yourself this year!” Ally Carlisle sidled up to her neighbor and shook her head. “How do you do it? You must start planning this party as soon as we all leave!”
“Sometimes it seems that way!” JoElle bumped shoulders with Ally. Pointing with a long, glittery fingernail across the room, she asked, “Did you notice what’s new this year?”
Ally’s eyes widened and she turned her back to the crowd. “I noticed that Catherine Martin isn’t here. Someone told me she’s probably gone for good. They just can’t make it work,” she sighed dramatically.
“I know, I heard that too. But I meant, what’s new with my decorations!”
The older, rounder woman elbowed her, “I’d like to have Brad decorating my house. My, he’s handsome. Do you think he’s into the geriatric thing?”
JoElle laughed, “He is handsome.”
“I guess your eyes are full of your handsome husband. So sad he can’t be here tonight.” The pout was out of place on a milk maid’s face.
“I know. He’s really sorry he’s missing this.” JoElle smiled, barely able to mask her frustration at not having her question answered. Trying again she asked if the year’s new decorations had been spotted.
Ally spun around once and then stopped, a broad grin covering her face, “The scarecrows, of course. His and hers! A matching pair! I checked them out and I have to tell you they are exquisite. Where did you get them?”
“You know I never reveal my sources!” JoElle teased before moving off to find a dance partner.
People ate. They drank. They checked out the multitude of Halloween-themed decorations that filled the house. Upstairs rooms were lit by candlelight and soft, haunting music was piped throughout the house. From candles that dripped blood to “finger” sandwiches, the Halloween-theme was evident.
Joelle was the perfect hostess, ensuring that her guests were well fed and that drinks were plentiful. She made her way around the room, time and time again. And even though it seemed like she was concentrating on the people present, she was keeping a close eye on the scarecrows which were the year’s central decorations.
She stopped breathing for a millisecond each time someone bent closer to study them. The curious poked and prodded, then laughed as they declared how life-like they were.
The grandfather clock in the foyer donged twelve o’clock, signaling the end of All Hallow’s Eve. Responsible party guests finished plates of food and took one last gulp of drinks. Murmurs about working the next day and getting kids off to school replaced the laughter and tinkling of glasses.
JoElle positioned herself next to the front door and said good bye to each guest.
“Ted will be so sorry he missed this!” she assured more than one departing guest. “Of course I’ll give him your best!”
When the last person was hugged and thanked, she closed the heavy front door and leaned against it. Wearily, she pulled the hat from her head and shook loose her curls. Bone tired from preparation and hostessing, she found the conclusion of another Halloween party bittersweet. Thoughts of a bubble bath and long soak gave her the energy to move away from the door.
A movement from the dining room made her gasp. Then she sighed, “Bob.”
“Nice party.” He swirled the ice cubes in his glass, mesmerized by the amber liquid within.
“Perfect party,” she corrected.
Leaning against the door jamb, he absently patted the head of the scarecrow, still focused on the contents of his glass. “They were missed.”
“They were,” she agreed, knowing that he referred to their absent spouses.
After he drained his glass and pushed himself away from the doorway, he squatted next to the scarecrow and studied it closely. Eyes and mouth had been drawn with crude stitches. Bright blush brought color to the waxen complexion. Straw hair had been tightly sewn on to the head.
“Do you think anyone knows?” He straightened, finally looking directly at her.
“I don’t think anyone has a clue.”