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Saturday, November 15, 2014

#EthnicallyAmbiguousPeopleProblems

Daughter and I attended a screening of "Beyond the Lights" a couple nights ago. I had completely forgotten she'd auditioned for a small role (the main character as a child) in the film. Daughter recalled it as the young actress sang a song that was part of the audition. The role was for a biracial girl who can sing. With her mixed heritage and soulful voice (as determined by the unbiased ears of her proud mother), Daughter seemed perfect for the part. But we quickly realized while watching the movie that she was not a good fit. The role called for kinky hair, which was an important plot point. Daughter got that good hurr; her loose curls would not have worked. She even does a spot-on British accent that would have served her well for the one line she would've spoken. But hair is hair. You can't fake that shit; not convincingly. 

We chalked it up to a great reminder that sometimes--no matter how talented you may be--you just don't have the right look for the part. That wasn't the only time Daughter has been asked to audition for a role she isn't right for. She read for the daughter of the main characters in "The Conjuring." Hubs and I laughed when she got the request because the couple is white and their daughter is their biological child. It's based on real people, after all. So a little beige girl up in there would look a tad silly. But Daughter auditioned anyway.

She also auditioned for some movie in which she was to play a younger version of Isabelle Fuhrman's character. If you've seen Ms. Fuhrman in "Orphan" or "The Hunger Games," you know she's white. Like white white. But Daughter auditioned for that, too. What's that? You'd like Daughter to try out for the role of "small Jewish girl" in a Hanukah print ad? She'll be right there!

Daughter always auditions. You never know what may come of it, or what connections you'll make. So, if she gets an invitation to read for the role of a half-girl/half goat with green eyes and a red fro, Daughter will audition.   

Over the summer Daughter auditioned for a role in a much-hyped film releasing next year. They haven't announced who's been cast in "her" role, but the character's family has been announced. The dad looks biracial. The mom is brown. The brother is browner still. Not sure how my little beige child would fit credibly into that family, but "The Cosby Show" got away with it ...

Although she's half black, Daughter almost never gets auditions for black characters. There was that one Church's Chicken TV spot. We drove four hours round trip to discover what I'd already suspected; she was the only butterscotch chip in that chocolate chip cookie. You have to wonder what the casting director was thinking. But, hey, we stopped at our favorite outlet mall on the way home, so the day wasn't a total loss.

Such is the life of an ethnically ambiguous actress. Truth be told, the majority of work she books is Hispanic roles. Hell, if I didn't know better, I'd think she was a Latina. What can you do? Enroll the girl in Spanish lessons, that's what.

Así es la vida!


My ethnically ambiguous future star

Friday, August 29, 2014

Small But Perky

I'm just gonna put it out there: I've been neglecting my blog. But you need to cut me some slack. I've been busy with other creative ventures (insert shameless plug for Mouse Monikers). Life's all about balance, ya know? Lately, it seems as if I'm balancing a stack of plates on my head and both hands, while walking a tight rope. And, let's be honest, I've probably had a couple drinks.

I hate depriving you of my wit, but that's how it has to be for a while. After all, I'm writing a novel AND building a business (insert another shameless plug for Mouse Monikers). On top of that, there are these two kids who keep asking me to feed them and drive them places.

This doesn't make up for my negligence, but I'm gonna leave you with this text convo between Hubs and me this morning. If you're like me--immature with a 13-year-old boy's sense of humor--you'll have a laugh.


Disclaimer: While I'm sure Hubs wasn't expecting me to make our texts public, a writer's spouse gives up all rights to privacy. For reals. It's in the vows. Nothing's off limits. He should've known I'd milk this for all it's worth; that I'd squeeze every last drop of humor out of it.

Speaking of boobies, which I do often (see previous admission of immaturity in paragraph #3), I thought up the breast ... I mean, best ... shirt to wear on my upcoming trip to Disney World. Hubs made me pinky swear not to create this shirt to wear around innocent children. I really don't see the harm since most of the little dears probably can't even read yet. Well, I'm at least sharing it here. Brilliance like this demands to be seen.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Dear Hubs Letter

Dear Hubs,

I've been putting this off because you've been pretty decent to me over the last 16 years. But you're coming home tomorrow night, so this has to be done now.

I've found someone else.

Look, no one ever means for this to happen. It's just one of those things. (Insert two or three more breakup clichés--except "it's not you, it's me." It's definitely you.)

Let's be honest. You had to see this coming. You're always going off on these exotic work vacations without me. Germany, Italy ... Iowa.  Case in point: you're in China right now. The closest I've ever gotten to China is watching "Shanghai Noon" over a plate of La Choy's mini chicken egg rolls. (Have you tried them? Those things are delish!)

I don't want to go on and on (and on and on) about your shortcomings. I'm sure you feel bad enough finding out you've lost the love of your life. I would, however, like to introduce you to my new fella. After all, he's going to be your children's stepdad.

Hubs, Thor. Thor, Hubs.


In case you've been stricken with temporary blindness from all that sightseeing in Beijing, let me explain Thor's appeal. First, he's freakin' hot. Like, ridiculously gorgeous. He might even be an inch or two taller than you. Lest you think I'm with him for purely shallow reasons, here are some of Thor's other attributes:
  • You could bounce a quarter off that ass. Ok, that's shallow, but it needed to be said.
  • He never leaves me. Never. This man stays put. I'll run errands all day, come home and he's standing right where he was when I left. That's dedication right there.
  • He's an attentive listener. I can talk to him for HOURS and he never interrupts me. He just stands there staring at me with those sexy, brooding eyes. Thor understands that sometimes I need to vent. I'm not always looking for him to solve the problem.
  • He carries a hammer all the time, so he must be really handy. I bet he'll tear right through that honey-do list you never seem to have time for.
I think you get the picture.

So, when you (finally) get home tomorrow night, you might want to get yourself a hotel room. Please don't come here looking for a fight. I can't predict what Thor will do. I mean, look at that face. Does he seem like someone you want to cross? I don't think so. Just grab the kids and go.

With warmest regards,

Ivy



Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day. Now Go Get Undressed For Brunch!

Hubs,

It's time for the (sorta-annual) Don't Screw Up My Mother's Day post.

With such an eclectic mix of Mother's Day offerings, you're probably struggling to choose the best way to celebrate me this weekend. I'm usually pretty easygoing. (Shut up. I am so.) But if you drag me to any of the following events, I will throw the mother of all tantrums. 


Zoo Brunch
Now, I'm down to get my Mother's Day grub on, but putting a big-ass elephant on an advertisement for brunch at a zoo doesn't make me feel great about stuffing my face with gluttonous abandon.



Nekkid Brunch
This aptly named restaurant at a nude-y resort wants moms to join them for a delicious, clothing-optional meal. (Why am I suddenly picturing a plate of two hard-boiled eggs and Polish sausage?)


Some of the website copy:

"Beautiful murals fill the wall along the patio." Biggest waste of money ever. Who's going to notice the art with everyone's naughty bits dangling?

"Every direction you look, it's like paradise" ... and an amateur porn shoot.

"Dine inside in air-conditioned comfort" and your nipples will be harder than calculus by the time the check comes.


Medieval Times
If I wanted to watch a battle during dinner, I'd just tell Daughter that Son tweeted excerpts from her journal. For the record, my money's on the girl. I know he's a foot taller, but she fights dirty. #WW3



"Fun" Run
There's nothing fun about running. I've tried it. And what's all this about a runner's high? I never got high. Lost control of my bodily functions? Yes. But high? Not even close. That's just another crackpot conspiracy theory right up there with dead Paul McCartney and a race of elite reptiles secretly controlling humans.


Cooking Class

Hold up. Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to spend my special day preparing my own meal? Remember when we were house hunting and our realtor couldn't seem to find any homes without a kitchen? (Why can't realtors ever stick to your wish list? Do they not want the commission?) Just because we got stuck with a kitchen doesn't mean I make a habit of going in it. Incidentally, I don't enter Son's room either, but for entirely different reasons.


The event description says “BYOB encouraged.” Yeah, because I'd have to be slurry, slurpy drunk to actually pay for the privilege of cooking my own brunch.


Mother/Daughter Pole Dancing Class
What exactly was the thought process behind this? To give girls a marketable skill so they won't have to resort to more cerebral pursuits? Why not get the whole family involved? Dads can show their young sons how to make it rain up in there and how to hold in whiskey farts during lap dances.



Planetarium Outing


Gazing at the stars from a cushy recliner sounds cool, but it's too risky. Imagine a grown woman busting out laughing when the narrator says, "Astronomers discovered Uranus is full of ice and rock." You know how immature I can be. I can't even look at a map of Thailand without snickering. (Bangkok and Phuket? Seriously?!)


Well, Hubs, I trust I've made it clear what to avoid this Mother's Day weekend. You know me; I'm not one to be demanding. (Shut up. I am not.) Just make sure I'm well fed, well rested and well loved, and we shouldn't have any problems. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Such a Tease

“Go anywhere your mind wants to travel.  Take us there too.”

I said I was only doing one more prompt, but how can I resist a free write?

I know this is the last Trifecta challenge evah, but my mind just wouldn’t allow me to go to a sad place. I’m sailing on a Disney cruise in five days, and Hubs and I renew our vows in a week—nothing but happiness here (and a smidgen of pre-trip stress). Besides, I hate sad goodbyes. Had too many of those in my life.

So, here’s where my mind traveled:

Legs intermingle
Emboldened by drink.
Your hand parts my thighs.
I’m nearing the brink.
I twitter and chirp.
(Laughs)
“Who let in the birds?”

Your fingers plunge and …

I have no more words.
#


To the Trifecta community and the dear, dear friends I’ve made from these challenges:

Thank you for the lovely words you left on my entries over the past year. Sometimes life got in the way of me responding (like last week) but I appreciate your thoughtful, encouraging comments more than I could ever express.


XO

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Writing Process (A Blog Tour)

My amazingly talented friend Kir invited me to take part in a "My Writing Process" blog tour. Each Monday, a new batch of bloggers answers a set of four questions about writing. Today is my turn. Check out Kir's post from last week at kirstenapiccini.com. Prepare to be inspired. She certainly has that effect on me.

What I am working on

I am working on an erotic novel which I hope to develop into a trilogy. (Because don’t all erotic novels come in threes?) Mine is a story of love, loss, friendship and betrayal. The sex in my book furthers the narrative of the various relationships. I would like to think if you deleted all the naughty parts of my book, what remains would still be compelling. I want my characters to be captivating even if they weren’t having hot, sexy sex. But they do have hot, sexy sex.

How my work differs from others of its genre

I’m relying on hearsay to answer this one. Oddly enough, I don’t actually read erotica. And—once I started writing my book—I made a concerted effort not to read books in that genre. I don’t want to be influenced by what someone else has written.

Based on common complaints I’ve heard from erotica-devouring friends, I hope to deliver a series that doesn’t:

  • contain copius grammatical errors
  • dissolve into farfetched scenarios by the final installment
  • feature a woman who is an infuriating doormat

Ouch. That sounded bitchy. Blame my friends.

My book has humor—probably not terribly common in erotic novels. My main character is a snarky, quick-witted and frank narrator. You get to be privy to her uncensored thoughts. And there’s plenty of fun dialogue and comic situations sprinkled among the serious plot stuff and sex scenes. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll burn through batteries.

Why I write what I do

Writing inspiration is everywhere: a phrase uttered on television, the way my dogs' paws smell like corn chips. Strange things. Mundane things. Anything can jumpstart my imagination. Man, I love that rush of inspiration. It's such a high. Writing truly is my drug.

My erotic novel arose out of sheer, unbridled envy. All the hoopla over the Fifty Shades trilogy got to me. For months it seemed every of-age, literate female I encountered recommended the series to me. It dawned on me that writing erotica is right up my alley. I love sex and I have a dirty mind. I can take any discussion down an inappropriate road--just ask my friends ... or my mom.

Also, I wanted to write a novel that’s relatable to women like me. This isn’t a story about 20-something singles. My main characters are full-fledged grownups. They’ve been married and they have children. I want to show that women like that—women like me—can still have steamy, fulfilling sex lives.

How my writing process works

When I get an idea, I have to stop what I’m doing and write it down. I’ve actually pulled into a parking lot to jot down my thoughts. At the beginning of a large writing project, I have a pile of notes written on all sorts of things: ads, bills, my kid’s report card. I use those notes to create an outline of the major plot points.

My next step is to sketch out my characters. The draft I’m currently writing spans several years, so I created a spreadsheet that helps me keep track of characters’ ages at the time of specific plot points. So, as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time planning before ever writing a sentence.

This isn’t the case for short stories. That’s more of a stream of consciousness thing. And then I revise it and hack it to all hell until it becomes something I can live with.

I try to commit a couple hours a day to my novel. When I start writing, I tend to get carried away, though. I get lost in my story, and my characters refuse to be silenced. They couldn’t care less that clothes need folded, kids need fed and my ass needs to be worked out.

At each new writing session, I review what I last wrote, make any necessary changes, and then I'm off and running again.

*

Now it's my turn to introduce the next stop on your blog tour:

Glynis Rankin is a poet and author of inspirational women's fiction, The Between and Linger and other short stories. Glynis writes at Imaginings of a Nubian Mind. Pay her a visit. You won't be disappointed.

Friend

I retired from Trifecta weeks ago, but when I heard it was closing its doors this month, I thought I would link up once more.

Prior to discovering Trifecta in May 2013, I hadn't participated in an ongoing writing challenge. The prompts gave me a reason to look forward to Monday mornings and helped me overcome apprehension about sharing my fiction. I never placed on any editor-judged challenges, but was recognized during several community-judged challenges. Having fellow writers deem my work worthy of the winners' circle was a much-needed confidence boost. When I start doubting my writing ability, I can look back at those winning entries and remind myself that I must not totally suck.

Through Trifecta, I've connected with some ridiculously talented writers who just happen to be fabulous people. I would love to keep in touch. Look me up on Facebook. I guarantee you I am the only Ivy Daye Magner there.

I will always be grateful to Trifecta for the new friendships and the inspiration to put fingers to keys.

Did you really read all that? Wow. I hope you still have the energy to read my response to this week's prompt:


My tears satisfy your shrouded spite.
Ever eager to entertain my woes;
Astounded your double-edged advice
Flopped ... again.
Sweet lips.
Bitter heart.
While you’re rubbing my back,
Can you pull out that knife?


#
 

The prompt: write exactly 33 words including the include the word "satisfy" as defined below:
SATISFY
a : to make happy : please
b : to gratify to the full : appease
 

 
 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Boxed In

Written for this week's Lillie McFerrin Writes Five Sentence Fiction prompt. Word: FURIOUS


The furious pulse of hail thrashing the window was oddly calming, pulling her out of her muddled head.

He’d whispered midnight assurances into her hair, expertly negotiating the removal of her clothes and inhibitions. From then on he was vague plans, premeditated arguments, and the scowl on her mother’s face.

She never divulged that his practiced ambivalence stimulated her; that she fed off the mayhem of this tilted, insecure relationship. Now he's threatening to ruin it all with that hinged box containing the promise of a new monogram, Sunday night meatloaf and joint checking.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Momentary Lapse (I Should've Cleaned the Toilets Instead)

I am weak. I told myself not to, but I couldn't resist. It taunted me. Enticed me. Reeled me in. I knew it would lead to no good, but I just had to.

I got into a Facebook argument.

I know, I know. Why couldn't I leave it alone? Who cares if someone's status update is ill-informed, ill-conceived, offensive, insensitive, judgmental, short-sighted, egotistical, racist, sexist, anti-SAHM, anti-working mom, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, and/or promotes animal cruelty? I could go on and on and on. But seriously--what good is engaging the poster in a debate? They're only words on a screen. I should've rolled my eyes and scrolled down to see what hilarious meme George Takei just posted.

Opinions are like assholes: Everybody has one and some people's stink more than others'. Your opinion (and--for that matter--your asshole) does not impact my life. Even if your status update or comment blatantly disparages sarcastic, large-breasted, fiscally conservative, socially liberal, 5'4", black, female bloggers who love all things Disney; it's of no consequence to me.

Fingers have been known to type more than mouths would say; in those cases it's not really an authentic debate. Where's the fun in that? And if said argument occurs on their timeline, their friends, family members, ex-coworkers, and that weird neighbor of theirs who yells at himself will all rush to their side. Pack mentality and Internet bravado will always win out. Always.

There are more worthwhile, more fulfilling things I could do with my time than allowing myself to get sucked into a Facebook pissing match. I could deep clean the five toilets in my house. I could root out that ingrown hair on my inner thigh. I could forage through the dog poop in our yard to confirm my suspicion that one of our pooches ate my dangly earring.

So I am publicly vowing to stop getting into Facebook arguments ... unless someone suggests Chris Hemsworth is not the absolute hottest man on this planet. Don't go there. I will virtually tear you apart.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Pieces

Dozens of white clay baskets lined the art room shelves. I had etched tiny tulips—Mother’s favorite—into mine. Throughout the week, we glazed our baskets and Ms. Huck fired them.

I put my masterpiece in a glitter-adorned paper sack and carefully placed it in the bottom of my locker. I was convinced Mother would come back once she saw the beautiful basket I made for her.

The night Mother left, we’d eaten tater tot casserole. (It’s funny the little details you recall.) After dinner, Mother shooed Cass, Gigi and me outside. She didn’t make us put on shoes, and we reveled in the rare opportunity to run around the backyard barefoot. We picked mulberries, transporting them in our shirts. Mother and Daddy were still at the dinner table as we padded by. I was relieved they were too engrossed in conversation to yell at us for our berry-stained clothes and feet.

Mother was gone the next morning.

Two weeks would pass before we saw her again. Mother’s Day. She was meeting us at the Dairy Queen and we were spending the afternoon with her. I chose a nice shirt for Daddy, ironed Cass and Gigi’s dresses and fixed their ponytails. In the car, I held the paper bag gingerly in my lap.

Mother came alone. Mr. Morris had taken his kids to visit their grandmother. She mashed us into a teary, four-person embrace. Mother looked the same, but smelled different. Fresh peaches. She and Daddy hugged like reluctant acquaintances. They talked outside as we finished our cones. Daddy waved goodbye sporting the desolate expression that had become his trademark.

Mother’s new home was bigger and had a pool. We swam, ate lunch on her manicured lawn and watched a movie. Although it was her special day, Mother gave us gifts: a giggling baby doll for Cass, a purple stuffed bear for Gigi, and a Barbie styling head for me. I presented her with the clay basket. Mother gushed, displacing a marble statue to showcase my creation on her mantel.

Cass and Gigi fell asleep as Mother drove us home. She and Daddy carried them into bed. Mother stayed for coffee. For those brief minutes, all the puzzle pieces were in place.

Then Mother left.

Over the next three years, we saw less and less of her. Mr. Morris’s children lived with their mother and had access to ours every other weekend. Meanwhile, I shopped for my first bra with Mrs. Devereux, our neighbor. When Gigi started losing teeth, Mother wasn’t there with her supply of silver dollars, so the tooth fairy switched to bills. Cass eventually stopped screaming for Mother whenever she awoke from a nightmare.

Daddy dated some, but nothing ever came of it. His heart wasn’t his to give. Once Mother and Mr. Morris got engaged, Daddy resigned himself to a life alone. I resigned myself to having one parent who wasn’t there and one who was there but wasn’t. I bandaged the boo-boos, packed the lunches and kept the little ones quiet while Daddy slept, which was often.

When Daddy burst into my room that night, he spoke in excited gasps. Mother was coming home. He was leaving to get her and I was to quickly tidy up his room. There wasn’t time for questions.

I was waiting in the living room when they came in. Daddy supported Mother, whose every step brought pained grunts. She held one arm to her chest protectively. Even in the darkness I could see the discoloration on her face. They walked past me and headed to their ... his ... bedroom.

“There was an accident,” Daddy vaguely offered over breakfast. Mother was still sleeping. Cass and Gigi raced down the hall, book bags bouncing wildly against their backs.

“Why is she here?” I whispered. The younger girls weren’t aware Mother had returned. We’ll talk later, his eyes said.

The school day blurred by. I told no one of Mother’s sudden reappearance. Why would I? I seldom mentioned the woman who’d reduced herself to birthday checks, extravagant Christmas gifts and five-minute phone calls.

My bus dropped me off a half hour before Cass and Gigi’s. Mother was sitting by the picture window wearing Daddy’s pajama top, her legs underneath a quilt.

“Hi, sweetie,” she chirped warmly, as she should’ve after every school day for too many months to count.

I sat at the far end of the couch, scrutinizing her blackened eye and the gash in her cheek.

“What happened to you?”

Daddy, who’d taken a personal day, brought her hot tea. They exchanged a glance.

“I had an accident.”

“Bullshit.”

“Rachel!” Daddy scolded.

“It’s OK, Ben.” Mother lifted the cup with her good arm, and then reconsidered. She delicately ran her fingers across her swollen lip.

They never told me the truth, but I overheard snippets about charges and restraining orders. In the days that followed, a truck brought Mother’s essentials and delivered the rest of her possessions to a storage unit to be sorted out later. One morning I noticed the clay basket on our mantel. I knocked it to the floor. Mother never asked about it. She just picked up the pieces.

She threw herself into the mommy role, enrolling Gigi in gymnastics and hosting a lavish party when Cass turned nine (the same age I was when Mother left). When I started my period, she bought me feminine products and took me out for a celebratory dinner. It did feel good to be taken care of.

The night Mother left again, I was reading under my blanket with a flashlight. Creaky floorboards ratted her out. We met in the hallway; I was the only thing standing between her and whatever she wasn’t getting from us.

“What should I tell Cass and Gigi?” The words burned my throat.

Mother reached out to caress my face. I surprised us both by letting her. She silently bent to grab her duffle.

And then Mother left me to pick up the pieces.


#
 
I wrote this 1000-word piece for the It Takes Two writing contest hosted by Write on Edge and Bannerwing. 
 
The details:

“It takes two to make an accident.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

  • 1000 word limit, all genres of creative writing are welcome.
  • linky is open until Friday, February 21, at 11:55pm Pacific
  • Use the Fitzgerald quote above as an opening/closing line or draw inspiration from it, your choice.
  • Community voting opens 2/22 and closes 2/28 at 11:55pm Pacific.
  • Community and editorial choice winners will be announced on Write on Edge and Bannerwing Books on Monday, March 3, 2014.
  • All entries must be original work, only published on your personal blog/website, and by entering you give Write on Edge and Bannerwing Books permission to reprint your entry in Precipice, Volume III‘s print and digital formats, as well as permission to edit for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A (Passive-Aggressive) Letter to My Dear Hubs

Hey, Babe!

I bet you're having a fantastic time in Italy. I know you're "working" and you go there as often as most people go to Publix, but you're enjoying yourself at least a little bit, right? Gosh, I sure hope so. One of my Facebook ads this morning asked me if I needed a trip to Italy. Everyone's a freakin' comedian these days.

Speaking of Facebook, I saw the photo you posted last night. That spaghetti and Chianti looked sublime. Makes me feel less guilty about you missing out on the Arby's feast we have planned for tonight.

The kids are fine. They still can't find any of the twelve wastebaskets in the house, nor have they figured out what that mystical lever on the toilet tank does. But, otherwise, they're peachy. School finally resumed Tuesday after a week off for Snowmageddon 2014 and Monday's scheduled holiday. It's a good thing, too. All that forced togetherness had me wondering how much I could get on the black market for a curly-haired Instagram addict and a tall, skinny kid who eats more than all the morbidly obese toddlers on Maury combined.

As we were leaving for school this morning, I noticed a bike on our neighbors' front lawn.

Me: "Is that your bike?"
Son: "No."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Son: "I'm not 100% sure."
Me: "THEN GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GO LOOOOOOK!"
Son: "Oh, OK."

The punchline: Daughter put Son's bike in our innocent neighbors' yard in retaliation for Son putting her iPod on top of my car. Isn't that hilarious? I laughed at an unnaturally high volume for a full minute. Those little jokesters of ours!

They both had soccer practice Monday night. Drop offs at 7:00 and 7:30 at two different fields went smoothly. In between the 8:00 and 9:00 pick-up times, I sat in my car eating leftover, lukewarm Pizza Hut and wondering if you were sleeping well all alone in your quiet hotel room.

Oh, I had to buy daughter new cleats because she inherited your giant feet. Did you know the poor dear can't play well unless she's wearing cute, overly-priced shoes?

Our three Yorkshire Terrorists are living up to their nickname. Old, senile Sassy is still pissing in the house every chance she gets. She stepped up her game today by taking a dump in the living room. And the pups (hmmm ... maybe if we quit calling our 2-year-old dogs "puppies," they'd quit behaving like puppies) are still absconding with everything that isn't nailed down. Socks, hair bows, expensive American Doll accessories, important papers--anything that fits through the pet door. By the look of the backyard, our goal of starting our own landfill is coming along great.

Don't worry: our vow renewal plans are going swimmingly. My seamstress is soooooo creative. She's doing all sorts of things I never even imagined (or asked for). You won't see my dress until we're on the beach celebrating 15 years of wedded bliss. But I think I'll be just as surprised as you are by the finished product.

I don't want to give you the impression things are all bad. Why just an hour ago, I received an email from a lovely gentleman who apparently met me on some beach. Now he wants to give me a cut of $18 mil in unclaimed funds that his deceased customer left behind. No strings attached! I don't know why he picked me. After seeing me in a swimsuit, he probably realized how desperately I need lipo and laser hair removal. Anyway, I better go so I can email him our bank account information.

Ciao, mi amore!

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Love, No Tears, No Pain, Etc.

This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge is to come up with 33 words about love gone wrong; however, the piece cannot include the following words:

love, sad, tears, wept, heart, pain

Here are my 33:

Whispers yell
Rumors swell

My past sin
Your chagrin

Passion wanes
Our knot strains

Your mistrust
Breeds my lust

"Lock the door,
Paramour"

You suspect
I deflect

And you stay
While I stray

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Complicated

I realize I haven’t been very attentive lately. And when I did finally see you the other night, all I did was criticize you. I felt shitty about that. I just didn’t like some of the stuff I saw. You were pretty messed up. I felt it was my duty to straighten you out.

We’ve hit some rough patches, but I think we should ride this thing out. I promise to keep a more open mind and try not to be so disparaging.

You know at one point I actually thought about bringing someone else in to … um … spice things up. I‘m too possessive, though. The thought of anyone else touching you freaks me out. That doesn't mean I won’t pass you around like Thanksgiving yams when I’m finished with you. (Haha!) But right now, let’s keep this between us.

Look, it won’t always be good. Some days I will lavish attention on you. And then weeks might go by without any word from me. Not a single word. It’s not as if I’m trying to neglect you. I do have other stuff going on and people who depend on me. I have a family, remember? I refuse to feel guilty about that. It doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about you. I think about you all the time.

I guess I’m a little gun shy. My track record up to this point hasn’t exactly been stellar. I won't manipulate history: It was me, not them. I take full responsibility. We’d be going along great and—all of a sudden—I’d lose interest. Either that or something felt off, and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I bailed.

I want this time to be different because I think you’re the one. I’m not just saying that. It’s going to take more than a little writer’s block to make me quit on you. So, as-yet-untitled first draft, my schedule is wide open today. How about we spend a couple hours between your sheets?



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This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge: The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "manipulate" as defined below:

MANIPULATE
to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose : to doctor


Word count: 333

Monday, January 27, 2014

Study Break

This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge is to come up with 33 words inspired by this photo:


http://foter.com/photo/or/

 
I pose near the glass, thin arms flexed.
Will she ever look up from that text?
I’m all substance—no style.
But if I make her smile,
Who knows what could transpire next?


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I initially wrote a different limerick for this prompt. It was dark. Really dark. What does it say about me that I looked at this innocent photo and immediately went to such a macabre place? If I'm ever wrongfully accused of murdering someone (which I'm 97% certain I would never do), could such posts be used against me during my trial? I wouldn't survive prison. I talk a good game, but I'm basically soft and girly.

You know what? I'm posting it anyway. Here is "Finals Week":


She studied in vain for a test.
Watching her stirred the urge I’d repressed.
As my teeth tore her skin,
Her blood dripped from my chin.
There once was a girl named Celeste.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

(In)Discretion

The message had been vague. An industry type. I’ve been personal assistant to a well-known TV producer (closeted queen) and, most recently, an Oscar-winning costume designer (Oxy addict). But don’t expect any tell-all books from me. I have a reputation for being discreet. Plus, I can’t spell worth a damn.

I opted for my ivory Dolce pantsuit—a castoff disguised as a Christmas bonus from the costumer. The meeting was held in a rented Burbank office. Interviewing with a third party is typical, as these clients are far too busy for such minutiae. The burnt-orange man in the summer sweater barely looked up as he detailed the job.

“He works all hours and likes to have somebody on hand. Are you OK with a live-in position?” Without waiting for my answer, he went on. “Truth is, he’s lonely. But I didn’t say that.”

Coaxing me out of my $1200/month shithole wasn’t hard. And I understand lonely. I’m a parentless only child. My father sold his first novel and moved us here from Ohio when I was ten. Within a year, he’d performed the clichéd disappearing act with some surgically enhanced starlet. My mom succumbed to breast cancer a few years back—shortly after my college graduation. Oh, and I haven’t had a decent date since Bush No. 2 was in office.


*

The gates part before I announce my name to the box. As I step out of my car, the main house’s enormous, ornate doors fling open.

“You’re a vile, decrepit, shitstain of a man!”

A surprisingly refined-looking woman in a quaint peasant blouse bursts out. She furiously shakes a leather satchel, littering the ground with yellow papers.

“Good luck, girly,” the woman scoffs, dropping the bag at my feet.

I watch her speed through the closing gates before turning toward the house. A handsome, gray-haired man in a stately monogrammed bathrobe appears in the doorway. After surveying the paper trail, he shrugs and grins sheepishly.

“Hello, Erica,” he says.

“Hello, Dad.”

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This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge: The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "quaint" as defined below:

QUAINT
a: unusual or different in character or appearance: ODD
b: pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar <a quaint phrase>


Word count: 333

Monday, January 13, 2014

At First Sight

This week's Trifecta challenge is to write a 33-word follow-up to this snippet:

The first time I saw. . .
The piece should be exactly 38 words, and all words must be one syllable each.



The first time I saw you, I fell hard.

Big feet, red face, head cone shaped.

You were just right.

Now here you are ...

Huge feet, peach fuzz, your dad’s bowed legs.

You are just right.

My son.


As my first born turns 14 this week, I wonder what happened to that chubby little boy who arrived on his due date (albeit after 24 hours of labor). Now he's all legs and I can count his ribs. Sigh. In a flash, I went from picking him up to looking up at him. 
 
Fortunately, he hasn't completely changed ...



 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Whenever, Wherever, However

Sunlight streams into our bedroom via discount curtains I've been meaning to replace. It’s Saturday morning. He’s already awake, reading emails about budget constraints, delivery deadlines, or whatever. The workaholic ditches his iPhone once he notices my newly conscious state.

“Come snuggle.”

He pats the void between us—the one very recently occupied by a wild-haired toddler. I slide over, taking my place inside his warm arm.

“How come she never wakes up when you carry her back to bed?” I ask.

“Well, I’m a ninja, so ...”

I smile at his silliness. I smile at the sensation of his words reverberating from his chest to my cheek. I smile because I know what his snuggle invitations mean. After nine years, I’m onto his schemes. And I’m a willing accomplice. We are thieves, stealing little moments between potty accidents, toy battles and nightmares featuring vague monsters.

As usual, my feet are ice. But he doesn’t flinch when my frigid toes breach his soft leg hairs. His hand is on my ass. It’ll end up there several more times today. (A quick slap if we pass each other in the kitchen preparing tonight’s kid-friendly cuisine. A little squeeze while we retreat down the hall, having tucked each child under a Disney-themed bedspread.)

I’m covered neck to ankle in flannel pajamas older than our oldest offspring, yet I shiver when his lips sweep my forehead. As I stretch to nuzzle his neck, I feel him growing against my hip. 

“The door?”

“Already locked,” he declares.

I love that he assumed we’d have sex this morning. I love that he’s in the mood although he spent the greater part of last night with tiny feet in his back.

Once upon a time, we had sex like freshly paroled ex-cons. Nowadays we take it whenever, wherever and however we can get it—which occasionally amounts to quickies in obscure parking lots before relieving the sitter. Sometimes we’re too damn exhausted for anything beyond snuggling.

But not this morning.
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This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge: The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "whatever" as defined below:

WHATEVER
(adverb) Used to show that something is not important


Word count: 333


Friday, January 3, 2014

Ferbie and Grinch: A Bromance

Here's what happens when you combine a dog-tired Yorkie, a Grinch plush, and a healthy dose of post-holiday cleaning procrastination.
 
Grinch's expression could have one questioning his motives,
but his intentions are strictly platonic.



Grinch is going to have a bad case
of dead arm after this spoon fest.


Snuggle buddies!


        
Grinch demonstrating how Daughter sleeps with (or on) me.
 
Photos used with permission from Ferbie, our Yorkshire Terrier.
Well, he didn't exactly say yes; but he didn't say no either.