About Karla Telega

I'm a middle aged maven, winner of a Reader Views Award for my humorous mystery, Box of Rocks, and a five year survivor of Southern living. Seriously, you should see the size of some of these spiders!

It’s all in the wrist

I used to juggle tennis balls, and I really sucked at it. That’s a metaphor, by the way, but you probably already guessed that. My desk is a fallout zone of receipts, lists, copies of my book, and a plastic Cootie bug (red, with yellow legs).

I accomplished some amazing stuff this week. I arranged a book signing, passed out flyers and posters, and added fluff and poop to my website (a book trailer and a t-shirt, respectively). I still wonder why anyone other than my mother would want a t-shirt with my book on it (see sidebar), but there are always some whackadoodles out there. For those of you taking anti-psychotics, stay tuned for personalized coffee mugs, ball caps, and condoms (ribbed for her pleasure).

My mother-in-law was planning to visit for the week, but now it’s just turned into one day. Under the circumstances, I don’t feel constrained to clean my closets, vacuum the five o’clock shadow of cat hair off the bedspread, or wash and wax the driveway. Can I prioritize, or what?

Warning: blatant self-promotion ahead

The print copy of Box of Rocks is now on Amazon. Bad news, as of this posting, they don’t have it in stock yet, although they’ll probably release it five minutes after I post this. Good news, you can buy a signed copy now. Click here for the the Adoro Books website. You can email me at info@restaurant-e-guide.com for a specific inscription, otherwise you’ll probably get:

Dear <place your name here>

Congratulations on your <bar mitzvah / birthday / anniversary / successful proctology exam>

Just keep it clean folks. Don’t ask me what I’m wearing (oversized t-shirt and bunny slippers).

So that’s how I’ve been spending my time this week. If you have 26 seconds to spare, check out the cool book trailer that my friend made. I’m expecting it to go viral on You Tube any day now.

I prefer to think of it as underinformed

I’ve never taken an IQ test, but let’s just say that while my sister was joining Mensa, I was joining the bowling league. In school, we didn’t have calculators. A slide rule was standard issue if you wanted to take trigonometry or calculus. I didn’t.

My lack of interest in current events is legendary. My husband reads the newspaper cover to cover every day. He tries to point out those articles that might interest me. Example: “Lakeland, Kansas to outlaw farting in public.” How well he knows me!

Nation’s dentists can’t make teeth any damn whiter. –The Onion

I’m not totally without intellectual stimulation. I’m drawn to jigsaw puzzles like a dog to vomit. (At least, my dog). They teach spatial concepts and pattern recognition, and you just can’t have too many pictures of a fluffy little kitten wearing a red bow.

As for learning new things, I’m still working on a book trailer. Today I’m on the hunt for a cute little dog that I can photograph. So when you read the story on page 26 in the local paper of a woman who got her foot gnawed off at the ankle by a miniature poodle, that’s me.

“News” would imply new things, but there’s a sameness to reporting that just leaves me cold. The other day I was reading Us magazine at the dentist’s. There was an article about Jennifer Lopez (as always). It went into her relationship with Ben Affleck. That was eight years ago, people, let’s move on. At this point, I’m not sure if I could muster enough interest in a story if she had a sex change operation.

It says something that my main source for Current events is The Daily Show, a fake news show on Comedy Central. That Jon Stewart is a cutie. Even so, you’d be waiting a long time if you asked me to name any of the Supreme Court Justices.

If it weren’t for doctors’ waiting rooms, I probably wouldn’t read anything newsworthy. Maybe I can read about J. Lo’s sex change operation today while I’m waiting in the emergency room to get my foot reattached.

When good cucumbers go bad

I have a vegetable bin in my refrigerator, which usually holds half an onion from 3 months ago and a couple shriveled up cloves of garlic. On those odd occasions when I decide to eat healthy foods, I may even put vegetables in it. The problem is that it’s invisible.

I know it was there when I bought the refrigerator. I mentally measured the drawer space to make sure that I could fit a head of cauliflower, a bunch of celery, two turnips, and a zucchini in there at the same time, which just goes to show how delusional I can be.

Today I had to go shopping, because the refrigerator was empty: no strawberry cheesecake, leftover pizza, or cream puffs in sight … and the bin magically appeared. I opened it to find a gelatinous mound of goo that used to be a cucumber.

I know that at my age I should be eating food rich in antioxidants, like blueberries, kale, and chard. When I went to the store, I managed to sail right past the produce section and end up in the frozen food aisle, my nose pressed up against the glass as I pondered whether to get the pound cake or apple pie. It was kind of hard to see past all the smudge prints. I’m pretty sure that the monkey bread I just ate had free radicals swimming in the cinnamon sauce.

Maintaining my post-menopausal weight requires mathematical snacking precision. One can of Diet Coke = one Twinkie. One walk around the lake = half a bag of chips. The fact that I can eat all the chard I want never even enters into the equation, since all the chard I want = zero.

Lesson learned. I’m determined to improve my eating habits, so as an after-thought, I picked up a rutabaga on the way to the checkout stand. I honestly don’t know if it has any nutritional value, but at least it won’t turn to mush as fast as a cucumber.

Is it supposed to look like that?

“I’d like it to look kind of like Marie,” I told my friend. After an hour of ratting and teasing and two cans of industrial strength hairspray, she was done. I looked in the mirror in dismay. “Actually, I meant Marie Osmond, not Marie Antoinette.”

My mom used to tease her hair until it reached a cruising altitude of small aircraft. She would then spray enough Aqua Net so that you needed a gas mask and Haz-Mat suit to enter the bathroom.

Yesterday, I rooted around under my sink, not sure of what I would find. I knew that I had bought hairspray sometime during the Reagan administration, but had the can followed me around the country, finding its way home after having been tossed in a dumpster somewhere outside Glen Burnie, Maryland?

There it was, waiting patiently to turn my hair into the texture of cotton candy and leave it crackling to the touch. Since my book came out Thursday, I wanted to be prepared in case the paparazzi ambushed me in the dry goods aisle at Wal-Mart.

Oddly, there were no tabloid hounds, so I had put on mascara and lacquered my hair for nothing. Man, I hate when that happens. It’s probably just as well since nobody was telling me how cute I looked. My daughter asked, “Is that the look you were going for?”

I think I’ll steer clear of hairspray in the future. I made the mistake of breathing in while spraying, and my nose hairs are still standing at attention. Freebasing shampoo is really not a viable option, so it may be some time before my cilia are smooth and silky again.

This morning I woke up with a square head, from having my hair smooshed against the pillow. That’s not the look I was going for.

24 hours and counting

Within the next 24 hours, my first book will be up and available as an ebook on Amazon. The book will especially appeal to those of us who go to the store for a Glade plug-in (Spring Bouquet) and come back with everything but. Only slightly more terrifying than a senior moment is the sure knowledge that your house is now going to smell like unwashed feet.

Box of Rocks is a humorous murder mystery, whose main characters are fifty-somethings, searching for adventure, meaning, and underwear that doesn’t leave a panty line. Aren’t we all? Right now I have an advanced release copy sitting on my desk (so pretty!), and it will be out in paperback within the next couple weeks (sooner than I thought).

Not only will I be able to offer readers an enjoyable story, but I might get to occasionally visit the steak end of the meat counter. There aren’t that many good tripe recipes out there. Unfortunately, authordom is about as good of a get rich quick scheme as creating gift baskets with cactus plants and balloon animals. Try the saguaro/bunny combo.

Want a taste? Please enjoy this brief excerpt from the book.

Extricating the fallen man was a comedy of errors. Apparently the shaft was too narrow for a stretcher. They lowered a man down who rigged a harness around the victim, but as they attempted to raise him, the limp body kept banging into protruding rocks, dumping stones and dirt onto the EMT waiting 20 feet below. With dead weight on the other end, the rope slipped twice from the fingers of the other EMT. “Hey, guys. Could I get a hand over here?”

The space between the fence and lip of the pit was too narrow for more than one man, so they strung the end of the rope over the fence and Jonathan, Mike, and Bobby joined in on the macabre tug of war.

The victim was wearing only thermal underwear. When he finally reached the top, he was flopped over like a rag doll, and his long johns had snagged on several rocks and a protruding tree root, dragging the underwear to pool around his knees. He emerged from the pit with his backside exposed to the sky in an impressive full moon.


Remembering your username FOR DUMMIES

It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I just want to learn the basics of HTML so I can <h1> Be less dumber on the subject </h1>. That meant cruising the thousands of Dummies books to find just the right one. There among the idiot books was one titled, “Computers for Seniors FOR DUMMIES”. I’m trying to imagine what this would look like.

Chapter one: Your computer

If you are still using a Commodore, it’s time to trade up.

Chapter Two: Choosing a user name

Your name should be more than two letters, but less than the Oxford English Dictionary, Volume 11.

Tip: Try the virtual “pin your name to your shirt” app for senior moments.

Chapter Three: Adjusting the volume

Unfortunately, most computer speakers are not powerful enough to adjust the volume so you can hear it across the room.

Warning: Your neighbors will still hear it, but at least their ears won’t be bleeding.

I wonder if young people even buy the DUMMIES books. I imagine the majority of idiot book readers already eat bran and take naps between chapters, so creating a special book for the youth challenged discriminates against the two seniors who actually know what a bitmap is.

Technical stuff: “Plug and play” does not refer to Viagra, a box of Wheaties, and a cheap motel.

I won’t bother with the “Part of Tens” on my HTML book, since by the time I reach six, I’ll have already forgotten one through three. But I look forward to expanding my technological horizons. If I’d known the technical stuff above, we could have avoided that whole embarrassing incident at Best Buy.


The first rule in a survival situation is: don’t panic. I told myself this as I watched the sun shining on my wet skin. Beads of perspiration ran down my neck and pooled maddeningly in my eyes. I leaned back and tried to slow my breathing. There I was, heat index of 110 degrees, surrounded by sand, nothing to drink … rrr rrr rrr rrr, the damn truck still wouldn’t start.

I pictured myself in the Serengeti, 20 pounds thinner and wearing one of those cute little khaki safari outfits. Hey, it’s my fantasy. The illusion would have been perfect if not for the throngs of happy beach-goers, public toilets, and cold showers only a few feet away.

The problem is that my husband can fix practically anything, which means that he won’t ask for help until our bleached bones are discovered by a local Boy Scout troop; maybe not even then.

By now I knew the drill.

  • Kick the tires
  • Raise the hood
  • Swear
  • Crank the engine
  • Repeat

Apparently, the only cure for a vapor lock is time. I’ve cleaned the attic in August, been cooped up for eight hours with six teenage girls in a mini-van, survived hot flashes and night sweats, and had my parents walk in on me and my boyfriend in the bathtub. I can take the heat.

Even so, about an hour into the exercise I considered secretly calling AAA while my sweetie was swearing at the engine, or stripping down to stand under the outdoor shower until the police came to haul me away to an air conditioned jail cell. The latter would probably bring faster results, with the added bonus of free publicity in the local paper’s crime beat.

Finally, the truck turned over and we were able to return to our nice air-conditioned motorhome … just in time for my husband to try to replace a fan belt on the RV using only twine, pocket lint, and leftover hot dog buns.

While I was picturing myself on the Serengeti, he was reliving episodes of MacGyver. I guess we all need our fantasies. My next one will involve an igloo and tap-dancing penguins. A greater chance of hypothermia, but no risk of public nudity.

Old dogs, new tricks

We’ve spent the last two days visiting with some old friends who live in the wilderness of North Carolina. I may be youth impaired and set in my ways, but I can be taught. I’ve learned:

  • If the trees next to the trail are shaking violently when there’s no wind, run like hell. The consequences of noncompliance are becoming an afternoon snack for passing bears, or picking boar tusks out of your butt.
  • Don’t poke your face up to a hole in the ground to see if something is inside unless you’re into body piercing with venomous fangs.
  • Close the roof vents in the motor home at the first drop of rain. There are no circumstances under which you would want a wading pool in your bed.

As with all vacations, something has to go wrong. I assumed it would be my vintage motorhome, but instead it was my vintage knee. Hiking to the showers requires bug spray, patience, and heavy narcotics.

Visiting old friends makes up for a lot of potential maiming from wild creatures. A joy ride used to involve a Fiat Spider with the top down. Now we rocket through the campground at two miles an hour in a golf cart. It’s not the best conveyance for escaping said boars and bears.

As we gossip catch up on news and kvetch, I remind myself that I’m supposed to be taking the moral high ground. “Live and let live,” I think to myself charitably as I squash every spider within a six mile radius. Everybody knows that charity doesn’t apply to eight-legged creatures from hell. It barely applies to my friend’s catty, back-stabbing neighbors. Guess I need to work on my moral high ground.

Today, we’ll say our tearful goodbyes, trust to the gods of RVs, and get back on the road, heading for the beach. I’m thinking that golf carts will not be useful in trying to outrun sharks. Time will tell.

SPF Deep fried

My husband’s a beach person, and I’m a mountain girl, so tomorrow we’re going to the beach. When he announced his intention, I thought wistfully of woodland trails and sparkling waterfalls, then said, “OK”, because I’m a wuss.

This means I have to shave my legs and “bikini zone”, which is a total misnomer since I’ll be squeezing my fat ass into an exact replica of the one-piece bathing suit my grandma used to wear. I had to get one with a steel reinforced bra section to lock my tray tables in an upright position.

I can look forward to:

  • Parking myself under a hole in the ozone layer
  • Counting the grains of sand stuck to my sweaty thighs
  • Fighting off the black flies prevalent on the Outer Banks
  • Watching the age spots appear on my arms

The latter is similar to watching paint dry, except that a good high quality paint doesn’t last as long as an age spot.

I’ll be swimming in a body of water rife with icky stuff, like horseshoe crabs, jelly fish, skates, and unidentified things that bump into my legs, which by the way, are easily mistaken as slim jims to passing sharks. Reading a good book is problematic, as it keeps slipping out of my slimy sunscreened hands.

My husband spent the last few days getting our vintage motorhome roadworthy. Much of his time was spent gluing the roof back together and cleaning out nests built by small rodents. The refrigerator’s broken, but I’m assured that all we have to do is pull it out and shake it vigorously to get the ammonia and water mixed back together. How do they know this stuff, and who came up with the idea? Did someone actually decide one day to shake a refrigerator to see if they could make it work?

In spite of my griping, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time alone with my honey, and approximately 3,000,000,000 sand fleas. For those of you who love the beach, you’ll be stuck at your thankless jobs while I’m under-appreciating your dream vacation. I’ll bring you back some sand fleas.