Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sex Education

When my kids were little we got an old Tennessee Walking Horse Mare. Turns out the fellow had lied about her age and when we got her papers she was 23. I wanted to breed her once or twice so I'd have young horses on the place. Instead of simply paying a stud fee somewhere, I went out and bought a stallion. Yep, really did.

I loaded the kids and the golden retriever in the van, hitched my brand new horse trailer to the back and headed for Oklahoma to buy this young stallion that I hadn't even seen a picture of.

OK so call me crazy.

So I get there and this little horse is so much prettier than how they described him so I'm relieved. We load him up, and head home, a two day drive.

Is this a good place to mention that my dog refused to go to the bathroom in rest areas? By the time we would pull into a campground for the night she'd be sitting with her legs crossed and desperation in her eyes.

We get home and turn Kippy out on the pasture and Donna Rose comes in heat instantly. Lord only knows how long its been since she saw an intact male horse. According to the registry she'd had one colt at age 4.

So Kippy is a young stallion, age 5 and he is ready to go.

My daughter who must have been about ten or so walks up to me and with a look of complete disgust on her face says, "What's that pink thing?" I explained what it was. She says, "Well can't he put it away?" So I explain that he can't make a baby horse if it is put away. She says, "Well I don't like it." End of discussion.

My son who is maybe seven comes up to me and says "What's that?" So I tell him. By now it has occurred to me to use anatomically correct language. He says "Oh" and wanders off. End of discussion.

A few days later one of them asks, "Do they make a baby horse each time they do that?" I told them that it took practice to get it right. End of discussion.

And that's how my kids acquired their sex educations.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rules of Writing # 5

Rule 5. Start as close to the end as possible.


Do butchers have to go to some kind of school to certify for jobs at grocery stores? I think the meat packer at my local grocery must have flunked Poultry Organs 101.

Saturday Sugar bought a tub of chicken livers at the local market. Now what would you expect in such a container? Chicken livers, nu? Of course it did have the required chicken livers but...

This morning I am rushing around, getting ready for work, packing a lunch... I have my head poked in the refrigerator when I see this tub of chicken livers and remember that I was supposed to cook and bring them today as on Tuesdays I teach the same place she does. (I move around, she doesn't.) So one by one, I'm forking these babies out, dredging them in seasoned flour, dropping them in the skillet. I get near the bottom and there is a misplaced organ. A heart to be exact. Now, I'm no biologist, but I do know the difference between a liver and a heart. They look nothing alike.

So it leaves me wondering. Did the local meat packer flunk Poultry Organs 101?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weekends With Momma

This week my weekend arrived a day early. The school where I teach on Fridays was having an in-service day so right after my Writer’s Guild meeting I headed straight to Momma’s getting here around 10 PM.

L_ told me how much better Momma was that day, showed me things she has done around the house, the new package of adult disposable pull ups in the cupboard…

So, middle of the night Momma came out to the living room, not to visit, just to sit. Now granted it was a bright moonlit night. I could see clear across the lake and that is more than I can see today since it has become socked in with fog.

Last weekend Momma started a little singsong thing. My weekend kind of went like…

“Found a penny, found a penny, found a penny, Where’d you find it? On the floor, on the floor, on the floor.” “What are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing?”

”I’m fixing breakfast.”

”Found a penny, found a penny, found a penny…”

This weekend the sing song was back though there was less of it. Today’s theme was “I want to go HOME!” She has spent the day wearing a winter coat. It’s 75 degrees inside!
”It’s getting time to head home.”
”We are spending the night here.”
”I want to go home.”
”L_ will be along later.”
”I don’t know the people who live here.”
”This is the house Daddy built you.”
”I don’t know if the man moved in here or not.”
”You live here with L_.”
”I want to go home.”

This afternoon she picked up her purse, a bag with some belongings, and her Bible and headed out the door. I asked, “Where are you going?” She says, “I’m going outside.” When she didn’t come back in after a bit, I went looking for her. She had walked out her driveway, headed for home. The home she remembers is in Michigan. Heck of a walk! I went out and took her four footed cane to her, gently took her by the arm and turned her around, got her headed back towards the house. I wasn’t dressed for the cold so came back in and watched through the window. She made her way back in and I fixed her supper.

“I want to go home.”
”We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”It’s getting late, we should go home.”

“I want to go home.”
”We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”It’s getting late, we should go home.”

“We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”What I want is to get into that car and head home.”
”This is your home. The home you remember in Michigan doesn’t exist anymore.”
”There’s a disagreement in what constitutes home.”
”We are staying here tonight.”

She’s finally engrossed in a nice old movie. Perhaps by the time it’s over she’ll be ready to go to bed. I know I will!

My Personal Recipe

OK, so I found this over at Jen's. hehehe. Maybe over at another of my blogs I will try it out with one of my other names. Should be fun.

The Recipe For Wamblings

3 parts Enchantment

2 parts Delight

1 part Prosperity

Splash of Allure

Serve over ice

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bad Hair Day

The last week I've had all kinds of problems typing. Well, not all kinds. Mostly just one kind. My "e" didn't want to type. Now have you ever counted how many "e"s you type in a sentence? Sheesh, the little buggers are everywhere!

This morning I decided to vacuum my keyboard. Now I've done that before with the result that my laptop is missing its F9 key. No great loss. I have never used an F9 and am not really sure why they even put them on the keyboard. Seems like they could trade in most of that row for smilies or something really fun like a key that would tell you what everyone within a 100 ft. radius was thinking or show you the latest movie download or maybe turn the monitor into a giant camera. I don't know, seems the geeks could come up with something useful for that useless row of keys.

Anyway, at least when the vacuum cleaner was swallowing keys, it didn't decide to chew up "e". So this time I play it smart. I put a brush attachment on the end of the hose cause while I might not be the brightest star in the universe, neither am I a mental black hole. I start running the vacuum brush across the keyboard and these little hair ends start poking up around the keys. I pull and break them off if they won't come up (which most of them won't) then I vacuum some more. Repeat, repeat, repeat. More bits of hair and even fluff come up and so I keep removing it and vacuuming and removing till finally I don't see any more strange stuff coming up.

Guess what! My "e" works. Fact is the whole keyboard works better.

So now you know what to do if your keyboard gets stubborn. Just make sure you use the brush attachment cause there are worse keys to lose than F9.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


OK so what is the deal?

If I told you how many years I've been married you might be able to figure out that I'm lying about my age when I say I'm 30. Fact is my 31 year old daughter says the math doesn't work for her at all any more.

Suffice it to say I've been married rather a long time. Now you would think that somewhere along the line the husband would have figured out some truths about me.

I don't like ice cream. I didn't like it yesterday and I'm not going to like it tomorrow.

I really can't eat sugar. It makes me sick. I get nasty migraines that require overdoses of Excedrine which causes other problems.

If I say I want one popper or one biscuit then I want ONE popper or ONE biscuit.

I like flowers. I like flowers attached to plants best but I also like cut flowers even though it seems a shame to watch them die.

I have a skewed sense of time. I can have your birthday present bought and wrapped but when the day rolls around I may not make a connection between the date and the significance of the date.

Care to guess what I received for Valentines Day? *pops more Excedrine*

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dust Fairies Take Two

OK, at the recommendation of a good friend I have completely gutted my story beginning. I was relying too much on tell and not enough on show. So here is the first 1015 words of the new version. Let me know what you think. Is it better? Worse? Should I give up and stick to music? (I don't know what to do with the formatting here. In the edit window it shows all the paragraph indentations but the preview window has some paragraphs indented and not others.)

Dust Fairies

Grandfather is dead. His solicitor found me hiding out in Scotland, researching Scottish ancestry for my next book, and generally trying to avoid the media hubbub stemming from Simone’s death.

We picked up the promised tickets at the airport in Glasgow and headed for Alderney. It wasn’t till we were settled in the hired car and headed out towards Grandfather’s manor that Jason finally began to spill the thoughts he’d been chewing on since I’d told them.

“Grandfather was rich?”

“I suppose you’d say so.”

“But he never did anything for us.”

“Perhaps not directly, but he did pay for my education.”

“But you haven’t seen him since you were little?”



I took a deep breath. I’d never told them what I remembered of my early life. “There was trouble between Simone and him.”

“Why would he hold that against you, against us? He’s never even seen us.” He turned his face to the window and rode in silence several miles. “What’s wrong with us Mom? Dad, Simone, Grandfather; why don’t they want us?”

Justin grabbed Jason around the neck and rubbed his fist in his hair. “It’s your goofy looks. Folks take one look at you and run the other way.”

Jason grinned and punched his mirror twin in the shoulder as we passed between the gateposts and started up the tree lined drive.

The house appeared deserted. No one answered our ringing of the bell. Justin tried the knob and the door opened easily. The years seemed to melt away as I led the way across the hall, through a parlor turned library and into Grandfather’s study.

The room was even darker than I remembered. Medieval paintings and archaic weapons still graced the walls. There seemed to be even more shelves than I remembered and all were loaded with weapons and pieces of steel armor tucked between leather bound books. A fancy pipe stand atop his roll-top desk held seven pipes, some obviously well used and others decorative.

I sat down in the heavy arm chair and gave myself over to memories, borne on wings of pipe tobacco impregnated leather.


“When I grow up I’m going to be a knight.” Laramie stood in the chair, holding up Sir Teddy so he could also see the painting of Sir George slaying the dragon. “And you,” he looked straight at Larissa, “will be the princess.”

Grandfather leaned back in his desk chair as he tamped tobacco into his pipe and set match to it, drawing air until a thin wisp of smoke ascended like a prayer offered on some heathen alter.

Larissa stretched on tiptoe to reach the worn copy of Castles and Crests from its place on Grandfather’s bookshelf, between Sir Mallory’s Le Morte Darthur and a steel gauntlet. Hugging it to her chest she carried it to Grandfather and laid it in his lap.

Grandfather reached down to the little girl, lifting her up into his lap. Motioning to Laramie to come stand by the chair, he laid the pipe on a little stand on his desk and allowed the book to fall open to its accustomed place. His finger traced lovingly the lines of his family crest.

“This is your heritage, children. The outer shield of Azure was earned by Stanwick in 1056 for his part in putting down the Stoneyford rebellion. Azure is the color of strength and loyalty. The small griffins bespeak valor and vigilance. In 1181 Laird Stanwick of Stoneyford sent eight sons to the aid of Richard the Lionheart, valiant knights every one. This,” his finger lovingly traced the red scarf that crossed the shield, “knight’s scarf is gules to represent military strength. The sons of Laird Stanwick covered themselves in glory. Three gave up their lives in battle for their Duke.”

As Grandfather’s finger moved to the next element, Larissa took up the family history. “The seventh son of Laird Stanwick performed for Duke Richard a task of valor that was rewarded with the Lordship of Ald’ney,” she stumbled over the word, “and the inner green shield of hope, loyalty and love and with the flag of Ald’ney in the corner.”

“Vert, Princess, vert.” Grandfather took up the tale. “The crest of Alderney contains the lion of courage so this symbol was added to the center of the shield. This is your true heritage, little ones, remember it always.”

History lesson over, Grandfather closed the book and laid it on his desk. “Off to play now, Minikins.” Larissa slid from his lap and headed for the nursery, followed closely by her brother.

* * *

The vision was so real that I rose from the chair and turned to follow the children from the room. Only then did it hit me that a bookcase now stood where the door should be. I stepped back into the former sitting room to discover more bookcases where I remembered the primary door to the nursery. One could imagine the door had never been there, that my twin and I had never lived in this house, never spent happy hours together in our large playroom just off the study and parlor.

“Boys, help me move this bookcase.” I had to see if the door was really there. Was I ever really that little girl spouting off family history like Justin reciting baseball statistics?

Moving the heavy bookcase away from the wall had been about all that we could do, but behind it was the door, just as I remembered. The oddly shaped door knob was missing, leaving only a hole. The ornately carved trim I remembered around the door had been removed.

I took a deep breath and stepped towards the door. Silently it swung toward me. Startled, I stepped back, frightened by the momentary sense of a lingering presence, beckoning me to enter.

I turned to the boys, tempted to run, but they were already absorbed in Grandfather’s eclectic collection of antiques.

What ghosts waited beyond that door? Two tentative steps and I stood looking into the old playroom. Dust motes floated aimlessly on a stray sunbeam.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I Want A Signed Copy

I'm a member of a writer's guild in my town, joined last July or so after I chanced to see a blip in the paper about a challenge to write everyday and keep track of the words. I sat down that first evening and started my first novel. 1200 words in one swoop. I printed a month calendar off my computer and faithfully recorded my words each day (even when one day was something like 15) Because I couldn't join the guild till their meeting near the end of the month my words never got recorded but you know what? I WON that challenge. The newspaper reported the winner's total and I was hundreds of words over that. If I'd kept up the pace, the novel would be finished by now. Of course I didn't keep it up. I come online and while away hours blogging.

Since then I've started a second novel that I'm finding a little easier to write. Of course, here I sit procrastinating.

Before Christmas I was working on a short piece for a "Writer's Digest" contest. The limit was 1500 words and I ducked under the wire at 1485. I made the mistake of going to read last year's contest winner and wussed out of sending mine. Bad choice. Now maybe it would have gone straight to their round file but...

My friend Marsha sent her entry and yesterday they called her with the good news that she has won 2nd place. I'm betting she can get a book deal from this besides a beautiful check.

Green with envy? Nahhh, she deserves this. OK maybe a little green. Marsha, I want a signed copy of your book when it publishes.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Background Poetry

The story introduced in the post below was inspired by a poem I wrote in '05.


Echoes of laughter fill the old playroom.
Dust motes drift in the sunlight.
The swing-set is rusted, chains broken.
No more do childish voices fill the air.

The rocking chair weeps of abandonment.
The hobby horse pleads to be ridden again.
In the corner a moth eaten bear
Remembers the happiness of a time past.

No more songs fill the air.
No more booboos kissed.
No more childish giggles.
No more lullabies.

But the old clock in the corner
Remembers still the lad and lassie
Who filled this space with squeals and giggles

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dust Faries - feedback please

In December I wrote a short story for a contest and then didn't submit it. Call me all kinds of a fool. I admit to having wussed out after reading the previous year's winner. Anyway, this month there is another contest coming up. The 1500 words of the last one now need to grow to 5000 words. I'm working on a whole different beginning. So if you wouldn't mind reading what I've done so far (this is meant to be the hook not the meat) and letting me know your thoughts, I would appreciate it no end. If the manuscript were in your hands, would you keep reading or would you toss it in the round file? Where do you think the story will go from here? Who knows, I might incorporate your idea into the final story.

I hadn’t been back in the old house since that fateful day when Simone had scooped me into her arms and carried me screaming from the nursery. I remember pounding on her shoulder, screaming “Lar’mie!” as she carried me straight out to the waiting car, away from all I’d known.

It is, perhaps, the very instinct of self preservation that causes memories to fade. Screaming nightmares were replaced with dreams in which I still had a father and brother. Always on the outer edges of the dream was the presence of Grandfather. Even now the scent of pipe tobacco will take me back to his darkly paneled study with the odd collection of obsolete weapons and fanciful paintings mounted on the wall and neatly displayed in the glass fronted cabinet.

I have to admit to a certain morbid curiosity prompting me to acquiesce to the solicitor’s demand that the reading of the will take place in Grandfather’s study. Grandfather who had paid for my expensive private schooling yet refused all these years to see my mother or me. I still struggle to reconcile my faded memories with the reality I’ve lived.

No doubt you saw the news reports of Simone ChardonnĂ©e’s murder. The story made the front cover of People Magazine and was featured on Entertainment Tonight. It wasn’t so hard, shielding my boys from the news. They barely knew their grandmother and were too young to have seen any of her movies.

She never would let me call her “Mother”. A growing daughter simply didn’t fit with her self image of the forever young “French” actress. I spent my years at boarding schools where I received occasional letters and extravagant birthday gifts.

The tickets were waiting for us at the airline counter, as promised. I was surprised that this Grandfather who had refused to even see me would have mentioned my boys in his will; provided for them to travel to his home.

The house appeared deserted. No one answered our ringing of the bell. Jason tried the knob and the door opened easily. The years seemed to melt away as I led the way across the hall, through a parlor turned library and into Grandfather’s study.

The room was even darker than I remembered. I sat down in the heavy arm chair and gave myself over to memories, borne on wings of pipe tobacco impregnated leather.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Meet Momma

Momma is 90 years old. When she can’t remember something she will say “Well I am in my nineties you know.” She can rattle off her birth date but can’t tell you that today is Saturday. I’m considerably younger, having been their “Oh my God, how did this happen at our age?” child.

Momma has the kind of dementia that is caused by mini-strokes. From time to time she will complain of headache or dizziness and later we will realize that yet another hole has been punched in her brain.

Daddy used to say, “You know, your mother’s getting Alzheimer’s.” At the time it seemed a lot like the pot calling the kettle black. We lost him four years ago to this same disease.

Nearly every weekend I come over on Friday nights to stay with Momma and give her primary caregiver a break. It used to be really hard on me. Now I just accept that pieces of her are gone.

She has lived in this house since 1973 (you do the math, I’m too tired). Daddy built it for us the year we moved to Tennessee. Today she looked around the house and said, “This is a nice house.” I allowed that it was. She said, “I was thinking about making this my home.” I agreed that was a good idea. She said, “There’s R_ and W_ on the wall and T_ and C_ and their kids, and I don’t know who those people are.” She pointed at other pictures. Now how is it that she sees a picture on the wall and knows my name but looks at me and says, “I know I should know you but I can’t think of your name.” Do I look that different than I did in the picture? I mean, sure I’ve cut off my hair so now it falls softly around my face but I’m still skinny, still wear glasses, still have ears for Pete’s sake. A few minutes later she says, “It’s getting time we should be heading home.” I say, “I thought we were going to stay here.” She says, “I figured on going home tonight.” Someone inside my head screams, “This is home.” She says, “Maybe I could just take this book home with me to read and bring it back when I'm done.” I say, “Why don’t you read it while you’re here?” She says, “I can’t get through it all today.” I say, “Well, we’re going to spend the night so you can read more of it tomorrow.”

One thing I’ve finally learned. She can no longer come into my world so I have to cross over into hers. Her pets are all here, the dog, cats, fish, parakeets; yet she is not home. Home is someplace in Michigan where she lived in her youth.

OK, so for a humor blog, this isn’t very funny. But you know, I find I have to laugh. Not at her but at the absurdity of it all. You come into this world with nothing but potential. You learn, you grow, you keep looking to the future when you’ll have time to enjoy all the fruits of your labors. You grow old, you forget your accomplishments, you become a child again, minus the potential. Through it all, may you always be surrounded by people who love you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Last Monday was our annual Winter Recital. Cruel teacher that I am, I actually expect my students to practice their violins over Christmas break and reinforce that expectation with a January recital.

Now I’m not sure what the deal is here but it seems this dead man who was neither a president of the United States nor canonized by the Church has still merited a federal holiday. Sure he had a dream. I had a dream. Sadly I woke up and the chocolate disappeared uneaten but hey, I had a dream. I have touched the lives of *shrugs* dozens at least. I’ve been teaching more than 20 years at anywhere from a low of two students that first year to close to forty on my really busy years so I’m sure I must have touched the lives of several. Is anyone making a holiday in my name? Lets close the banks and schools and celebrate Wamblings day the fifth Tuesday of February every year. Yeah, I know. But then my chances of getting another day weren’t any better.

Anyway, the Monday before the recital I had the pianist come for an hour and a half to practice with the students. Care to guess how many showed up? Three out of thirty! Anyone want to figure out the percentage there? Hey, I never claimed to be a mathematician.

So Monday we had the recital. My students range from knee high to taller than a double bass. OK I’m not sure about that exactly since I’ve never measured any of them against a double bass. What I can say for certain is that they range in age from younger than me to older than me.

A few arrived early so they could practice with the pianist. The one playing the most advanced piece couldn’t get there early so completely winged it and aside from obvious nerves translating into “baroque vibrato” he made a good job of it. While one four year old girl was playing a toddler came on stage, stood beside her a few notes than wandered off to stand squarely in front of the video camera. I really hope the performer didn’t think people were laughing at her.

The important thing is no one crashed and burned. Sure and no one was perfect either but then, I don’t expect perfection. I only expect each student to get up there and do the very best they can in that moment in time.

It seems that during the reception following the recital some of the parents were wondering why I didn’t get up there and play too. ARE THEY NUTS?

Friday, February 1, 2008


I love my computer. Most of my friends live in my computer. I spend hours visiting my friends inside my computer. OK so since it is a laptop, my friends must all be a lot thinner than me but I don't hold that against them.

I like e-mail. I like it a lot. I have e-mail accounts for all my different moods and personalities. Heck, some of my e-mail accounts have their own e-mail accounts. I was trying to count e-mail accounts the other day. You see, I had way too many passwords so even if I could remember my e-mail sign in, remembering my password was pretty iffy. To fix this problem I've been trying to get all my e-mail accounts to accept the idea of a single password.

My different personalities (nah I'm not crazy, it's the folks that can't carry on intelligent conversations with themselves who are crazy) have (as near as I can figure out) at least 5 gmail accounts. Don't tell gmail, cause I think you're only supposed to have one. We have two hot mail accounts but I'm pretty sure one of them doesn't count since I promptly lost any memory of its password. Then there is Yahoo... two work related accounts, two alter ego accounts, two for variations on my real name.

I still have my first ever Yahoo e-mail account. I like to think of it as Spam Central. I go there occasionally just in case anyone actually has sent me something I want to read. I have a few relatives who only have that address since they love to send forwards to the whole world with all the addresses displayed. On my rare visits I spend several hours reading the "subject" and hitting the delete button. No I don't want to add inches to my... I don't even have a ... I don't want a ... If I had a ... I wouldn't want it bigger. I have a husband and he does have a ... but I don't want that bigger either. All these years he was so proud of being well endowed and then I got a bad case of that honesty that seems to attend middle age (who me? OMG!) and informed him that I like girls better. OK so that might not have been the world's smartest move. While we're on the subject though I also don't think we need any Viagra at my house. So there should be somewhere you could inform the spamming world that they are wasting their time and effort sending these messages to your inbox because you are simply going to delete them unread.

Then there is my newest real name e-mail account. I've never sent it to anyone. It has a 360 blog attached to it but the address is unpublished. So, I ask you, how does this unpublished, family friendly email account that no one has, that is attached to a family friendly 360 account get all these offline messages from gals wanting to connect? Sheesh, they even think my name is actually the alter ego name I put on the e-mail account rather than the real life name I used on the 360. Explain that one if you can. And I'm curious. Do they think Webit is a boy or a girl?