Where’s my brass band?

This is the time of year when non-Philistines try to give up something for Lent. Ok, compared to Ramadan (a month of fasting every day), giving up chocolate or coffee or flossing your teeth for 40 days is for wussies. Just the same, I’d like some kind of reward for my self-deprivation. Continue reading

Butterflies and unicorns


Space abhors a vacuum. I’m on a campaign to keep a more positive outlook. That leaves me with a challenge. When I look at the harsh realities of life, how do I keep from regurgitating the bile of negativity onto the shoes of the innocent reader? Continue reading

We’ll have to see some ID

It’s not easy being in the cool crowd. So many uncool people want to join the club. I once started writing a book called, “Are we on Suck or Blow?” Minds out of the gutters, people. I have skype now, so I can see what you’re thinking. It was intended as a chicken and egg question.

When cool people enter a room, the people around them get a little cooler. So are we sucking all the loser stuff out of the room, or blowing our coolness on others? Modern science has not been able to figure out the cause for this phenomenon. Continue reading

Less bang for your buck

Despite my best wishes for the prosperity of the major health insurance carriers, they don’t return the sentiment. In fact, they seem to be wishing me a lifetime of living under a bridge and eating the Spam that nobody else wants (which pretty much includes all the free world’s supply of this tasty mystery meat product). Continue reading

Not now, I have a headache

I’m not talking about sex. (Disappointed?) I’ve been on the receiving end of an email diatribe, which basically compares me to a baby eating, sociopathic anarchist. Apparently, I’m only one step above snail snot. Who knew?

By the third email, I started getting a headache. By the fifth, I was self-medicating with M&Ms. After that, there may have been talk of burning in hell, or dancing naked in a petting zoo. My eyes had glazed over, so it’s kind of a blur.

Fortunately, I’m an author. That means I’ve seen more rejection than Stevie Wonder at the DMV. I don’t know how I managed to live most of my life trying to make sure that everybody liked me. I was a serial people pleaser – enjoying the thrill of the hunt for people who would walk all over me. But there is hope for even the most hardened of cases. It all boils down to a two-letter word: “no.”

talk-to-the-hand “Talk to the hand” is so overused. If you need a subtle way to refuse someone you might try some of the following:

I have to check the freshness dates on my dairy products

I’m attending the opening of my garage door

I have to answer all my “occupant” letters

I promised to help a friend fold road maps

I’m waiting to see if I’m already a winner

I’m observing National Apathy Week

I love to help my friends when I can, but when you have to say no do they:

a) Accept it graciously and respect your needs and wishes; or

b) Accuse you of ruining their lives, contributing to global warming, and voting straight line Republican?

I’m fortunate to have friends who understand that I have limitations and who like me anyway. You guys are the best! To those who get bent out of shape when I have to say no, tough beans, at least I didn’t vote for Mitt.

Going viral

I know for a fact that there’s something crawling around in my computer, probably evil, pointy toothed clowns. I hate when that happens. I keep getting “Stop Script,” my internet freezes, and I suspect that it’s shrinking my clothes, which would go a long way towards explaining camel toes and muffin tops.

I called up technical support and laid out $300 for them to move my cursor around and work their magic. It wasn’t until much later that I thought, “Mario can see everything inside my computer.” I’ve never met Mario, and although he was nice enough to recommend the two year package, he could be some demented sociopathic computer axe murderer.

Now I’ve let some complete stranger see my secret coconut macaroon recipe. Oh, and that whole identity theft thing. After the fact, but before telling my husband, I looked up reviews for them. I got redirected to “Scammers and Spammers.” Does this mean I’m going to get pop-up ads for Trojan condoms? I could live with that.

Naturally, I went to askleo.com, since Leo is the undisputed authority on all things computery. Leo assured me that the tech support company got a 92% satisfaction rating from some website watchdogs, and that lots of people are soft touches for high pressure sales pitches from Mario and door to door vacuum cleaner sales persons. I’m not the only yahoo out there with a credit card and a fiscal death wish.

The trump card for my husband: this is cheaper than getting a new computer. Ha! I may have reduced a code red situation to a code orange. This means either a) grudging acceptance on his part, or b) the threat of a dirty bomb in the Vatican. With all due respect to the Pope, I’m voting for A.

I haven’t had a stop script message for awhile, and my computer is running much faster, so I guess it was worth it. I’m just waiting to see if my clothes stop shrinking.

I think, therefore I am funny

I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I read a draft of one of my humor blogs I think, “Was I watching a mime walking against the wind when I wrote this?” (Caution: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while watching a mime performance.)

Writers are about as confident as a computer geek in a biker bar. My humor book will be coming out in a few months. Even though it got rave reviews from both a magazine editor and an agent who critiqued it, I shelved it for two years. Now I’m pulling up my pants (don’t ask how they got down), shoveling the dust off (the manuscript, not my pants), and preparing to publish in the hopes that it will find a home on the back of thousands of toilets.

By the way, if you want to see the excellent cover art, you can go to the bookstore link at the top of this page. The artwork was once again done by El Kartun, who did the cover for Box of Rocks and has talent coming out his butt.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I’ll be guest blogging at Blogging Authors, where I’ll share my expertise on the basics of adding humor to your writing. Hope you can all stop by so I don’t look pathetic and lonely. What I didn’t mention in my blog is that crafting humor is hard work. If it were easy to find the humor in cow farts, everybody would be doing it.

Wish me luck as I put the finishing touches on a book replete with pathos, angst, drama, and hilarity, and noticeably free of mimes.

P.S. Graphics on this blog are used by permission. If you copy them, they will shoot me.

I like my stuff

Every time I moved, I would open a box of my crappy old stuff and feel like it was Christmas morning. “Oh look, the can of olives I bought in 1992!” (Shut up! It has sentimental value.) I’d really like to simplify my life, but you’ll have to pry that olive can out of my cold, dead fingers.

Once you kick the kids out of the nest, change the locks, and hire a bouncer to watch the front door, it’s time to consider downsizing. Do you really need to clean four toilets, six closets, and a double car garage? Why are you saving the size six jeans that stopped fitting about the time you started hot flashes?

I’m not suggesting that you move to the country and can your own pickles (dill spears). I just think there are so many things we can do without and still be happy. If you save your used candy bar wrappers, there’s no hope for you. Just sayin’.

The problem with this theory is that I really like my stuff. How can I part with the Christmas cookie cutters, the funky smelling old linens, the tarnished silver (plate), and all the duplicate toenail clippers? I’ve got a leg up on some people, since my fine china has the word “Dixie” stamped on it.

I try to will myself into living more simply. I may as well resolve not to snore or sleep with my mouth hanging open. Wanting it doesn’t stop me from being a candidate for a ridiculous you-tube video when I’m napping on the couch. What I need is a concrete plan.

For starters, I could do without:

Spammers, twenty pounds, rude customer service representatives, trips to the mall, elevator music, and horseradish. I’m already well on my way towards a simpler lifestyle. I’m open to suggestions on what else to eliminate. I don’t have all the answers, but at least I have my olives.

Giving them the business

For personal reasons (don’t ask) I’ve decided to strike out on my own business-wise, so I’m flogging my company, Tart Cookies back to life. This involves a whole lot of red tape, creating new accounts, and designing a logo that doesn’t look like a third grader’s rendition of two giraffes copulating (and you thought they were reading National Geographic for the stimulating articles).

Since I can’t afford pot roast, I thought I’d look into grants for small businesses. The internet tells me that the government is throwing free money at anyone with a pulse. I thought I’d look into it now, since the end of the Mayan calendar is just around the corner. (It’s also the reason that I’m not currently looking for a parking spot at the mall.)

For a modest fee, a team of experts will guide me through the process with no guarantees that I’ll get the grant. This smacks strongly of “bend over and take it in the rear.” I know that trying to find a grant on my own would take me into the next millennium (assuming the world doesn’t end), so I’ll start my business the old fashioned way—hemorrhaging money like a gaping chest wound.

They say you’ve got to spend money to make money. Done and done. In less than a month, my fledgling business has spent $250 and made $16. I love it when a plan comes together.

Still, I have full artistic license up the wazoo. I can write about vegetarian cannibals and rise or fall depending on my writing and marketing skills. Fortunately, I have a dear friend who works as my marketing director. I pay her in Three Musketeer bars and empty promises. She researches advertising, sets up gigs for me, and nags me about having my business cards handy at all times. I kind of suck at all the above, so I’m truly blessed to have her on my team. (Hee hee, I have a team.)

I’ve re-published Box of Rocks under my own label, and hope to have my humor book out in February or March. Wish me luck, and you can send contributions to hopelessoptimist.com.

Sew what?

I had alluded in an earlier post to the fact that it couldn’t get much crazier at Casa de Telega unless I woke up to find a goat in the bathtub eating the shower curtain. (No goats were harmed in the making of this analogy, and it was an ugly shower curtain anyway.)

A couple weeks ago, my daughter was stepping over a baby gate used to keep her dogs in the kitchen. She tripped and took a header onto the kitchen floor. She refused the breathalyzer, but there was an open container (box) of cheap red wine in the refrigerator. Coincidence? I’m not a doctor, but even I know that your shoulder shouldn’t be touching your elbow.

So she’s spending most of her days trying to find a position that doesn’t cause weeping and gnashing of teeth, and wondering in retrospect if she was wise to cancel her health insurance. Naturally, her thoughts immediately turned to mending—her clothes, not her shoulder.

She called and asked if I could bring my sewing basket to fix a rip in the lining of her husband’s leather jacket. This would involve sewing on my part. I have a pair of flannel jammies with a rip in the crotch. My philosophy: as long as you’re wearing clean underwear and your junk isn’t hanging out, you’re golden.

Since a ripped jacket lining is not cause for an indecent exposure arrest, this project seemed especially unworthy of my time. I left the sewing basket on her porch, rang the bell, and sprinted away.

When I broke my shoulder a few years ago, my daughter was there for me. She babysat me while my husband was at work. At no time did I ask her to do any sewing. What an idiot! Had I known that a broken shoulder was a free ticket to getting my jammies mended, I wouldn’t have had to change my underwear as often. Don’t get all uppity. Changing underwear with a broken shoulder requires a building permit and a licensed plumber. (Check Angie’s List before hiring Carl’s House of Hoses.)

Is it being selfish to refuse to squint until my eyes bleed while trying to thread a needle? It really all comes down to self-preservation. I can’t afford to be visually impaired in a house full of baby gates.