Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yes, I Gush.

If you have clicked on my profile link you will note that two of my favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  I follow Neil's blog and lately posts have been somewhat sporadic due to his writing project deadlines and such. 

Today's post had two WONDERFUL bits of candy for me. 


From one old friend to another: Terry Pratchett and I met for Sushi in Cardiff the following evening, for Mysterious Reasons That We Are Not Announcing Yet. This is a photograph of us toasting Something Unexplained with champagne.

And Two:

It was a wonderful event, filled with enthusiastic schoolkids, and followed by a signing. I spoke last, and by the time it got to me, Jerry and Karen and Grace had already said everything there was to say, so I talked about the importance of daydreaming and why you should stare out of the window sometimes or actually a lot.  [Emphasis mine.]
**Sigh**  The man is a genius, don't you think?  For more pictures and the rest of his post, please click here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn has arrived. It has?

At 8:09 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22, the autumnal equinox arrived. Autumn was here. The light had noticeably changed starting in mid-August from the bright harsh yellow white to the softer golden tones of fall. Now that it was official, we dared to think of cooler weather ahead. However, we are still dealing with record high temperatures in the mid to upper 100s.

Enough already!

Living in Phoenix is tough for at least eight months of the year. Then we get a few short months of cooler weather and approximately 2 days in January when we can wear a lightweight turtleneck sweater under our winterish weight coat.

I complain. Yeah. I grew up in Minnesota where the weather is the exact opposite. Eight months of shoveling snow just to get to work so you can pay your heating bill. And approximately 2 days of heat where you just want to explode. (Yes, you still need an air conditioner in Minnesota. They have HUMIDITY that will drown you some nights. It’s from those 10,000 lakes.)

There is no point to this blog post, folks. I am just venting as I sit in front of the fan I'm sharing with my laptop to keep us both cool.  Eventually the cooler weather will arrive and I'll be able to open windows again.  Eventually.  Yeah.

Have a great week at work and don’t forget to put up those Halloween decorations!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3 A.M.

Dead time for ghost hunters
I lay awake
Staring at the black ceiling
The black walls
The angry red numbers on the clock
Like ghosts in the night
Sleep slips away
When you look directly at it

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goodbye JB's! We'll Miss You

The background story to this photo montage is found here.

My sincere apologies for the poor photos.  Our camera is on its last legs and needs to be replaced.  That said, here are a few parting pictures of a long-time member of our community:

Friday, September 17, 2010

And another thing...

"Getting old is not for sissies."  
-- Bette Davis US movie actress (1908 - 1989)  

This morning I put on a new bra. It replaced one that had worn out in a particularly embarassing way - a hole in the cup where my nipple poked out - in public - with co-workers present. Yeah.

Anyway, this new bra was purchased because it has a feature that will prevent this from happening ever again. That made me feel very good, not only because I didn't have to worry about that but because it must have happened to enough women before it happened to me that the topic was addressed in the design team meeting someplace.

"Okay team. The next problem we need to discuss is the nipple poke through. How can we improve our product to prevent it? It will sell like hotcakes if we do it right."

So I put it on this morning, secure in knowing I was safe from that embarrassment, only to discover something new. I was facing north but my boobs are now pointing northeast and northwest. Shouldn't they be heading in the same direction I am? Sigh. At least now they are level with the horizon and not pointing at my feet.

I hate gravity.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yesterday’s Coffee

Yesterday’s coffee sits in the bottom of my cup
Cold, murky, slicked with oil
Images of mosquito-infested bogs lined with old trash
Flash behind my eyes
Then the haunts from the day before visit
Ill-chosen words, missteps, opportunity not grasped
A yawn returns the cup
Emptied and rinsed, it waits
For the fresh potential dripping into the pot

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Man on the Corner

The man on the corner tells stories.
He tells stories with sleeve tattoos and the
Open garage door spilling motorcycle parts onto the cement.
He tells stories with his rebel flag waving to rock-a-billy rhythms.
The man on the corner tells stories.
He tells stories with the tall red tool chest and
The smell of old oil mixed with solvent.
He tells stories with the upturned buckets for chairs and
The old milk crate filled with empty bottles of Bud.
The man on the corner tells stories.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


On a package of 8 fun sized Milky Way candy bars, the nutrition label reads:

Serving size 2 bars
Servings per container about 4

[Emphasis mine.]

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

NotebookStories Reviews a Cantelope?

Daycraft sent Nifty some really cool notebooks!  One looks like the outside of a cantelope.  Check out the review at Notebook Stories and enter the giveaway like I did.

Good luck!

Down in the Basement

In 1960, she came in early to go down to the basement to tell Jack about her weekends. He would listen attentively.

In 1961, she spent her morning coffee breaks down in the basement telling Jack the newest office gossip. He would listen attentively.

In 1962, she spent her lunches down in the basement telling Jack of her projects and deadlines. He would listen attentively.

In 1963, she spent her afternoon breaks down in the basement telling Jack the latest thing she read in the newspaper. He would listen attentively.

In 1964, she stayed late and went tearfully down to the basement to tell Jack about her fears of endless lonely weekends ahead. He would listen attentively.

In 1965, she went down in the basement to tell Jack that she no longer worked there. She had to say goodbye. He turned to her and opened his arms. She climbed into his embrace.

In 2010, someone else came down to the basement. Jack’s door was opened. She was there. Her grin now as wide as his grin. Shrunken and dry, her mummified remains interwoven into his skeletal grip; she listens attentively.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Corporate America Strikes Again

Today I learned that my favorite restaurant, JBs (a sort-of Denny's) at Christown Mall here in Phoenix is closing on the 16th. Everyone is out of a job.

Super Target, their neighbor in the shopping mall, out-bid the Mom & Pop business for the lease and is going to tear the building down for more parking spaces. The waitress said that Target felt that JB’s was blocking the view of people to see the store. I asked, “What about the new bank on the corner?” She just smiled sadly and shrugged. She’s a single mom with 4 kids. [Insert swear words here.]

How is tearing down - destroying - a business and replacing it with very un-needed parking spaces helping in this economy?  Parking spaces do not provide replacement jobs for these folks.  My neighbors.  My friends.

Do me a huge favor, please?  If you can, tip that service person a bit more than you normally do.  Send out that good karma.  Remember, what you send out to the world returns to you threefold.

Thank you in advance!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How I Use My Notebooks

I’ve noticed that I have a peculiar character trait when it comes to using notebooks. The notebook itself determines how I will use it. I have some wonderful notebooks with the best paper in the world (Clairefontaine) and I have everything in between down to my Wal-Mart 10¢ Back-to-School notebooks (which are now 15¢ each). And I write almost exclusively in fountain pen.

Wal-Mart’s 10¢ Back-to-School notebooks functioned as my journal for years. I bought them by the case. Some of them I covered in fabric to jazz up their appearance. (I carried an army green messenger bag for a purse and the notebooks fit vertically in the back pocket so I could take it everywhere with me. I loved that bag! When the bag wore out, I reluctantly replaced it with a conventional purse and the notebook stayed home. I’ve been searching for another bag just like the messenger bag, but haven’t found a suitable substitute.)

Then I started using Miquelrius notebooks. The paper takes fountain pens beautifully. I used a full-sized Miquelrius notebook for the entire year of 2009 but as its page count wasn’t equal to the whole year I found myself pasting in extra pages and sometimes writing two days on the same page. I purchased a 400 page (200 sheets) notebook (in a close to A5 size) to use for 2010’s journal with the promise of a glorious unfettered year. Unfortunately, this made the notebook too thick and out of frustration of needing a paperback book of the same thickness to balance my writing hand and wrist to write the last third of the page, I junked the book at the end of June.

At the same time I was winding down with the thick Miquelrius, I was using a 10¢ notebook as my “junk writing” receptacle. While I could only use one side of the page due to the extreme show-through (but not bleed-through) of the fountain pens, I found I was unbothered by WHAT I was writing. I grabbed that notebook when I just needed to write down the internal crap or story snippet that popped into the little grey cells. When I scrapped the thick notebook, I turned to the cheap notebook exclusively until it was finished.

This is when I discovered that my local Target has a few Rhodia products. They are usually well abused while still on display due to the bottom-of-the-display-rack positioning and the large population of small children who roam the store unsupervised by their parents. (Another topic for another post - maybe.) Luckily, I found one in pristine condition.

So, now my current journal is an A4-sized staple-bound Rhodia notebook. It has the best paper in the world. It has 96 pages (48 sheets) of smooth writing surface and its larger format allows for larger thoughts and long stories. But, I struggle with my junk writing. I simply cannot put it in this Rhodia notebook. It doesn’t deserve to be filled with that kind of tripe. My regular tripe is bad enough as it is!

Author Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said in her book Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within:
Earlier I suggested that for freewriting, you might use a cheap notebook so you can let loose and be as wordy and rambling as you like.  Journals are just the opposite.  Journals tend to be for an audience, even if that audience is only you years from now.  You take more care in choosing a journal and tend to be more deliberate with what you write on its pages.  I choose journals I like the look and feel of and that have paper - usually unlined - with an appealing texture.
Therefore, I’ve made the decision to return to my 10¢ notebooks to keep my journal and junk writing together in one place.  I know myself well enough to know that keeping seperate notebooks just doesn't work for me.  And I cannot allow those random comments or descriptions or phrases or overheard remarks to be lost.  Who knows when they will work their way into one of my pieces?

Nevertheless, I won’t stop using the Rhodia or other Clairefontaine paper notebooks. There are some things that I write that must be put on great paper.

Update: 09/28/10  The author of InkyBlots agrees!