Happy New Year to Humans, Cats, and Writer’s blocks!


Created in Microsoft Word
Created in Microsoft Word. 

Writing Avoidance 101


Chapter 1
Clean out the closet: 
 –  Color coordinate clothing and group by season, color, and gradation of wear.
 – Arrange shoes by comfort level and tripping scale: 3-inch heels, 2-inch heels, flat soles, rubber soles, no soul.

Chapter 2
Add extra meals to your day.
 – Dawnfast (before breakfast)
 – Pre-lunch quality control (brunch makeover)
 – Midday food dalliance
 – Late afternoon gorge fest
 – Dinpost Snack (after dinner snack before dessert)
 – Midnight Heartburn Raid

Chapter 3
Go Shopping.
– Buy something, anything to get yourself away from the keyboard. 
Caution: Do not bring a laptop. It will distract you from shopping.

Chapter 4
Take a nap.
 – After breakfast
 – After lunch
 – Before dinner
 – After Dinpost
 – Go to bed.

Chapter 5
Take a head trip.Tahiti is nice this time of year.
 – Please refer to: Why head trips are Cost-Effective? 
Note: Dual headphones with USB port available for head trip shares.

Chapter 6 
Pretend it’s New Year’s Eve (Wait a minute. It is New Year’s Eve!)
– Drink Whiskey or another imbibing liquid and invite over friends.
Caution: Driving and/or writing while intoxicated is prohibited, especially simultaneously. It’s just plain stupid. You’ll get your writing credentials revoked.

Chapter 7
Pretend you’re a best-selling author and throw yourself a book party.
  – Just pull any book off the shelf and cover the author’s picture with a nice photo of yourself. 

Chapter 8
Pretend that you were kidnapped by elves and go to the movies.
 – Leave a tiny ransom note by the dog’s water dish along with a tiny green felt hat.

Chapter 9
Do research on the Internet.
 – You’ll get sucked into the black hole of cyberspace and never set foot on mother earth again.

Chapter 10
Type the same sentence over and over again until you drop.
 – I suck as a writer and have no business in writing anything but emails to friends or letters to editors about neighbors tossing garbage on my lawn for the deer to eat.

Happy New Year! 
Do you have any advice about anything?


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Supermarket Stories: The Legend of Bagger Vince.

Supermarket check out, London January 2005 Aut...Image via Wikipedia

A fictional story based upon my reality.

This is a tribute to people that believe in perfecting a skill that for many may seem irrelevant, the people who we rarely look in the eye when we pass them by. They are the shadow people who add an important element to our society and deserve to have a light shined upon them from time-to-time.

Christmas day eve during the crush of last minute shoppers.

I traveled through the throngs of humanity that mingled in the paper towel aisle with their shopping carts strategically parked dead center, thwarting passage from the right, or left side.

This time the squeaky wheel didn’t work. It just annoyed the hell out of me, grating against my eardrums with each turn of the cart, especially worse when backing up – the inevitable solution to the cart dead-center in the aisle problem. One problem circumvented in the paper towel, facial tissue aisle. Why don’t they call them Kleenex anymore?

Luckily, my cart was already half full at the paper goods juncture of my shopping expedition on Christmas Eve, an expedition I came to believe was likely far worse than negotiating the lushly lined trails of the Amazon with predatory creatures hiding in the foliage. In the supermarket, the predators were easily spotted not hesitating before making a turn at the end of an aisle or cutting someone off at the produce-pass, where the lettuce and carrots forged a salad alliance.

I just needed to scoot down the pet aisle to grab a bucket of cat clumping litter and some doggie treats, which turned out to be trouble free, until I coasted into the check out station. I put on the brakes and waited for the woman in front of me to finish separating her stash into groups of four, each regarded as a separate entity and purchased with a credit card.

As she dealt out the frozen dinners, sack of potatoes, and chips with dip onto the conveyor belt, I noticed the elderly bagger at the end of the ramp eyeing the woman contemptuously. She was so engrossed with adjusting her food groups that she didn’t hear the Bagger say, “Why couldn’t you do this before reaching the register?”

He was quickly admonished by the cashier twenty-years his junior with a sharp look and an, “Oh, Vince.”

Ah, it was whom I had thought. Bagger Vince; the most cantankerous, yet meticulous bagger the Stop & Shop had in their packaging arsenal. They keep him in mothballs and take him out at the busiest times because Bagger Vince can pack a bag like no other.

As the line behind me started growing longer, Bagger Vince became increasingly irritated. I could tell because he started a monologue about the perils of last minute shopping.

“Don’t’ they know that it’s Christmas Eve?” he grumbled.

The cashier just rolled her eyes.

The woman continued counting her food groups and moving them around like a shell game.

“Why do people wait until the last minute to shop? Vince lamented. “They had all week to do this.”

The cashier took the card from the woman and swiped it in anger. Food group number one had completed a round. It was now Vince’s turn to take the reigns. Approaching the counter with grace and ease, he removed a plastic bag and gently loaded it, pushing and prodding then slipping items in with the adeptness of a surgeon, before lowering the bag into the cart.

Food group number two was now ready for processing.

“It’s Christmas Eve for Christ’s sake,” Vince said incredulously.

The cashier swiped the card and let the food group 2 items roll into Bagger Vince’s corner, where he once again performed his bagging virtuosity with style and grace.

Food group 3 followed and then food group 4 with eggs, meat, chicken, and produce.

“Pack the chicken and meats separately, please,” the woman piped.

Vince just glanced at her with a look of disgust in the lack of trust that was exhibited by this obviously naïve shopper, unaware of the reputation that preceded him.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Vince, as his finished bagging and gingerly stacking the four separate bags of food groups harmoniously side-by-side in the cart.

The woman nodded and pushed the cart away, while Vince watched then scratched his head and turned my way.

“Why do you suppose people wait until the last minute?” he asked.

“People are busy.”

“Why did you wait?” he prodded.

“I was sick all week.”

“Ah,” he said. “Well, I guess you had a reason.”

I smiled and admired the finesse of his movements, as he filled my cart of plenty into the ten plus bags with just enough room and weight to make them manageable.

“Thank you,” I said, as I pulled away, catching the twinkle in his light gray eyes.

“You are welcome,” he responded with a smile. “You had a reason, and I can live with that.”

Then Bagger Vince turned to receive the next items that slid his way on the conveyor belt.

His last words, “Why do people wait until the last minute,” caught my ear, while I guided the cart toward the door.

I don’t know I thought. I just don’t know. At least, be comforted by the fact that you can handle anything they push your way.

“Good night, Bagger Vince,” I said, proud that I had shared a moment with a legend, the folk hero bagger of the Stop & Shop mega-size food store.

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Squirrels go nuts for the snap, crackle, pop of Christmas lights! They’re tasty and fat-free!

Two out of three squirrels prefer Christmas lights to nuts.

I wasn’t going to post today, until an article about squirrels eating Christmas lights piqued my interest. The article aptly entitled, “Squirrels chew up Fredericton’s Christmas lights,” hooked my brain as soon as it associated the word squirrel with chew and then Christmas lights. While reading the article, I learned something new about squirrels and the fact that they like to chomp on frosty LED lights in much the same way that humans like to chomp on frozen Bon Bons.

Bruce McCormack, general manager of Downtown Fredericton, in New Brunswick, Canada, where the squirrels feast on the festival of lights, explained the problem to a CBC News correspondent.

“They seem to be very, very hungry and they like plastic and they like the LED lights and that’s all. We just can’t fight them anymore.”

As if a squirrel munching on Christmas lights isn’t enough to make you scratch your head, in Mr. McCormack’s continuing observation of the furry filament feeders, he discovered that the squirrels have an aversion to the red LED lights.

R, G, and B LEDs [7].

“It’s fun to watch the squirrels. They’ll come out … and they go up and they perch themselves in that tree and they gnaw away at the lights — but not the red ones.”

Apparently, the city tried to save the lights, as well as to cure the squirrels of their eating disorder, by ordering larger bulbs, assuming that the squirrels would have no interest in eating anything four-times the size of a nut. Well, they were wrong. The squirrels love them. And so now I ask. Who and/or what are the real nuts here?

In a final note, the squirrel images you see were created in Microsoft Word by using different shapes and then grouping them together. Okay. Maybe I do have too much time on my hands, but I think it looks pretty cool. What do you think too much time or pretty cool?

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Merry Christmas! Waxing Poetic.

Snow Cat

White clumps of snow weighing down tree branches.

We’ve got snow here in the northeast and the temperature is in the low twenties, a perfect atmosphere for the Christmas and Holiday celebrations ahead. Whether standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a warm circle of friends, or huddled with family on a couch in front of the television, watching a favorite holiday movie, this is a time for enjoying the company of those who we love and cherish and are thankful to have in our lives every day of the year.

Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy Holiday!

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Office Noir

clean cubicle seen from North I have taken thi...

When daydreams become nightmares.

White walls surround my office workspace that gives way to a gaping hole, opening to a corridor. If I turn 360 degrees in my chair, I see nothing but a wall calendar that is always a month behind. To the right of my office, lies a faux reception area with no receptionist (that might be me, but not officially), a plant, and a tiny table with just one chair.

The President, Publisher, and the VPs, there are five of them, dwell down the hall in the inner workplace universe, while my office exists in the outer universe.

I rely upon my powers of observation and instinct to alert me when the others approach.

The slamming of the door in the reception area offers a clue. Will it be a deliveryman, the President, or a VP intruder? The hard smack of leather soles against carpeting thickens the plot. Men of means wear leather soles. UPS and Fed Ex drivers are rubber-soled warriors, who travel quickly in and out of doors.

Footsteps  of the Mahatma

These footsteps are slow and deliberate. As they near my office, I detect the scent of Paco Rabanne, not eau de armpit that wafts from the sweat-stained shirts of workingmen.

I can now identify the intruder, as a dark suit with a shiny baldhead passes my cluttered space filled with stacks of unfiled papers and magazines strewn across the floor, as if by an angry child.

It is the President, the sovereign leader of the hall, reception area, and twelve offices. “Good meeting,” he blurts out, and then races down the corridor.

I am indifferent to his subdued enthusiasm and listen for the sound of footsteps to grow softer then disappear.

Yet, all is not right with the office universe. Soon a new sound will replace the old one. I prepare for the coming onslaught. Seconds later, a dial tone from a speakerphone, set to loud, echoes down the corridor. The sovereign leader has reached his office and is likely checking his messages, a slight reprieve, providing me with a moment of bliss before the next intrusion jars my senses.

The intrusion I speak of is the intercom buzzer, similar to the buzzer heard at basketball games when a player sinks a shot. However, I do not share the same passion of a devoted fan when I hear “baaaarrrr.” The sound is so disturbing, so menacing, and far more offensive than the blare of a ringing phone I fear one day my ears will bleed.

Then it happens, the dreaded “baaaarrr” sound. I startle, regain my composure, and utter a, “Yes,” in a somewhat amiable tone.

“Sorry,” Leader exclaims. “Meant to dial “9.”

I disengage the phone and accidentally kick the vertical safety board wedged between the bottom of my desk and floor, a brace for the two wobbly desk legs at the end of the return.

The board moves slightly, but I lodge it back in place before the computer and files crash to the floor — a phenomena that occurred once when the UPS man blindly tossed a box of magazines into my office, knocking the board off kilter, collapsing the wobbly legs, and leaving the desk at a forty-five degree angle.

After the incident, box tossing was outlawed in the office, along with boxing, box bowling, and my favorite, box ball.

I turn and glare at the intercom button that I am convinced was designed with the sole purpose of driving me insane, insane, insane. I unplug the phone and drop it into the trash can on top of a memo to the staff regarding the ongoing problem of missing phones.

Do you have a dark work story to share?

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WTF Friday: Stand-up Comedian/Cashier

I love a good laugh, especially after hauling around a cart, with one stuck wheel, filled with perishables (short-shelf lifers) and canned goods (long-shelf lifers).

Long-shelf lifers are typically heavier than short-shelf lifers and weigh down the cart. One long-shelf item, a 48-pack of beer, elicited a wry comment from the cashier when I started to check out.

As the bright silver-colored carton glided along the conveyor belt, the glare from the package forced the male cashier to shield his eyes, before gazing at me with a cold-calculating stare.

“Hitting the booze I see,” he mumbled underneath his breath.

“What did you say?”

“You must be confusing me with someone else,” he said.

By now, I knew my face had turned all thirty-six variations of red on the color spectrum. “It’s a 48-pack, not a 96-pack,” I blurted. “And it’s only light beer.” Nicely played, I thought, realizing I just had an, “I’m rubber and your glue” moment. That’s it! Keep giving him more ammo to fire my way.

He cocked his head, as his lips curved into a 38-caliber grin. “Do you think I should ask you for I.D?” he said.

I narrowed my eyes while glaring at him, which further deepened the lines that stretched across my forehead, like ancient cryptic markings.

What an a-hole. Even someone looking down at me from a bird’s eye view, could clearly see I was over twenty-one, even the bird.

“It’s your call,” I said, and grabbed a can of LYSOL, my weapon of choice for eradicating germs. I pulled off the cap and thought, go ahead. Make my day.

He licked his lips, as the color drained from his face. “Do you have a card?”

“What kind of card?” I pressed, while glaring at him with the razor sharp penetration of a Ginzo knife. Could this be the moment when I’m IDed and then categorized in the supermarket database, as “almost, but not quite dead?”

His eyes averted my gaze. “Your store card.”

“Oh. But of course,” I grumbled, put down the LYSOL and dug through my purse for the store key tag card amid dental floss containers, broken pens, and expired coupons, While I searched, I heard a distinct clicking sound emanating from behind the register. I turned to see an increasingly fidgety cashier tap his pen against the check out counter rack. Impatience was not another of his virtues, along with disrespecting the elderly.

After I located the key ring, I tossed it onto the conveyor belt for processing.

He crossed his arms against his chest and waited for the key ring to reach him. Then he swiped the card on the register, and plopped it onto the platform on the other side. I would have to wait just as he did.

As soon as I reached the other side, and stepped beneath the overhead light, I swiped my credit card in the machine several times to no avail.

Once again, he looked at me with contempt.

“You’re swiping the wrong side,” he said.

“Right!” I replied, then swiped it again, and waited while the elderly gentleman bagger educated me on the finer points of packing produce.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

“Here,” said the cashier, as he thrusted into my hand a foot long receipt with bonus coupons I’d forget to use.

With a grunt, I gave the cart one last push, then stopped at the sound of the cashier clearing his throat.

“Oh,” he said, while flashing a grin. “Have a nice day!”

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Thank You Very Much Thurs or More Stuff that Makes My Head Explode.

The Daily Dribbles

Disclaimer: Some of these points have been slightly embellished to add greater comedic effect.

Thank You Very Much!

To my pharmacologist for prescribing a medication that accelerated my heart rate so fast the EKG machine caught fire during the test.
Thank you very much.

To the Red Cross for routinely draining my son of blood to put into bottled drinks for Vampires or other unknown entities hooked on my son’s blood.
Thank you very much.

To my pharmacist for tapping me on the shoulder at a recent rock concert in NYC, and then saying in an incredibly creepy voice, “Guess who I am?”
Thank you very much.

To my mother for sending me the same ads for jobs I responded to days earlier, thus reminding me I never heard back from the employer.
Thank you very much.

To my husband and son for piling dishes in the sink that resembled a piece of modern art I could admire for hours, before spending an equal amount of time disassembling it.
Thank you very much.

To my garbage removal service for not removing the overly-stuffed recycling bin last week, which resulted in my having to drag two overly-stuffed recycling bins to the end of the driveway this week.
Thank you very much.

To my dogs for disemboweling another pillow, and then scattering the entrails in a debris field across the lawn.
Thank you very much.

To the twenty-something male cashier at the supermarket who thought it would be hilarious to card me the last time I bought beer.
Thank you very much.

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