Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adventures with: Disturbie

I have a new friend. He gives me ideas and gets those creative juices going for me. I think he's going to start hanging out with me. A lot.

Meet Disturbie.

Isn't he precious? Yes, it is a "he". I know because he has a penis. (No, that's his belly button in the picture.) This was my cousin's doll when she was a little girl. I thought he was creepy then, but after twenty years of wear and tear, he's downright revolting. I like him now. *smiles*

Why did I name him "Disturbie"? My aunt saw that I had taken a picture of him and told me that it was disturbing. I thought she said, "It is Disturbie." You know, like "Look! It's Chucky!" Well, that's not what she said, but his name is Disturbie now. I think it's a good name for a twenty-plus years old baby doll, and he's going to be moving in with me. I even have one of Bug's doll beds in my room that he's going to sleep in at night. We're going to make stories, even if they aren't always about him.

Gosh, he's just fantastic!

So, I think I've found my muse, even if he's plastic. With a penis. And missing an eyeball.

Sweet Disturbie, we are going to have adventures!

Don't you just want to kiss and love on him? Come on, don't kid yourself. You know you do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adventures with: A Telephone Pole

This summer was a hot one. There was practically no rain for months, and I thought we would never have grass in our yard again. September brought random forest fires throughout my area - some arson - and at one point; I had to evacuate my home. It was terrifying, stressful, and I am immensely glad that it is over. When little sprigs of grass began to reemerge in November, I had to sit on the ground to admire them and thank God that my slice of Louisiana had regained its usual mugginess.

I am not going to blame the rain. I am too glad to have it returned to us to shake my fist at it. I suppose it is an easy enough thing to forget, the danger of driving on a wet road.

I was on time for what I needed to do for work yesterday. It was my turn to buy the daily drinks for Bookboy and I at the library since he was kind enough to buy this poor woman lunch. I had ample time to go to the store and post office before opening the library. I was not in a hurry, and I was not driving fast.(1) I was not on my phone(2), as it was playing Beauty Queens by Libba Bray over my radio for me. I was not distracted. It probably saved my life.

As I rounded one of the corners on windy Highway 168, I watched an 18-wheeler go over the yellow line into my lane. This is a common occurrence on this road; many people avoid driving on it when possible for this very reason. There is only one thing a person can do, and that is to take the ditch. I have done this numerous times because there are discourteous truckers going through Ida and Rodessa quite regularly.

This time was different. Instead of stopping in the shallow ditch, my car began to slide toward the trees on the side of the road.

This is not the location of the accident, but that an example of the roadside flora.

I knew if I went into the trees, things would be bad. Not only are there tall, bendy pine trees, but there are tall, magnificent oak and pecan trees. However, the only way I could miss the trees on my crash course is if I hit a telephone pole.  It is not very often that I have to choose between the lesser of two evils on such an awesome scale. I would have preferred not to hit anything, but there was no way to avoid it. I turned the wheel, and began to spin.

Many people cannot remember anything about their car accidents. I refused to allow myself to lose control of my senses, even though I had relinquished control of the car as I spun toward the telephone pole. I did not indulge myself in lost consciousness as pain enveloped me as my car slammed once, then twice, into the telephone pole. I was convinced that the impact would break my shoulder as pain exploded everywhere, but I stayed in the moment, even as the airbag exploded underneath my chin, throwing my head back. I saw and smelled the smoke rising from the hood of my car even before I stopped. I knew that I was going to have to leave my somewhat-beloved Mazdarotti as soon as the car stopped spinning, despite whatever injury that I might have.

I have heard recounts of other accidents where people say that time completely slows. Mine was over in probably less than five seconds. As soon as the car stopped, I pulled cords to bring my phone to me. It was close, as I believe it was what hit the front of my head during the whirlwind inside of my car. I jumped out, leaving everything else where it had landed because not only was the hood smoking, the airbags were as well. My entire car stank.

I was surprised that the door easily opened. The cords connecting my phone to its charger and my iTrip were wrapped around my seatbelt somehow, so the most difficulty I had was disconnecting from all of that. Once I was outside of my vehicle, I knew that I needed to call for help. I felt completely fine, except for an achy shoulder (I checked - it did not feel broken), so I called my coworker because I knew that he was closest. I then called my aunt & uncle because I would need a ride to work, and they were also close. It was not until my beloved aunt began screeching at me about calling 911 that it occurred to me at all. Why should I? I was uninjured and the 18-wheeler was most assuredly long gone and probably already out of state. I promised my aunt that I would call 911 immediately, just to get off the phone.

Thankfully, the first car to pass by my accident was a good enough Samaritan to stop. They had slowed to look at the accident, and then saw me wandering by the wood-line about a thousand feet behind the car and rushed to me. Luckily, the wonderful man and his children were not on an adrenaline high and had the good sense enough to call 911 for me. I took that opportunity to start ranting to his son (who was very young and driving the car) about not having his seatbelt on, because I was convinced then, as I am now, that it was the only thing that kept me in the car and probably saved my life.(3) The Good Samaritan then had me sit in his car instead of on the fence that I had found because it was still raining and I was shaking like a chihuahua at a pit bull party. More cars came. Bookboy arrived and retrieved my belongings from the car, and my family came to check out the car and me. A childhood friend stood at the front of the car, and kept me talking and distracted from everything. She told me that I should take my earrings out (she knew that I would be going to the hospital, even though I had been trying to convince everyone that it was quite unnecessary). I was able to get one out, but the other was stuck. Apparently, when the airbag hit, one of the French hooks went into my neck. Thank goodness my childhood friend was also a mother (we have iron stomachs, most of us lot) and kindly pulled it out for me. I think that was what bothered me most of all and set me on the path to being convinced that I should seek medical attention.

Once the adrenaline began to wear off, my head began to hurt - badly. My neck was extremely painful (not where the earring was, mind you), and it scared me. Once I began to feel dizzy and queasy, I told my aunt that it was time that I went to the ER. I had called my doctor, but she said that it would not be a good idea for me to go to the office. Duh, Kayla.

A police officer met me at the ER door and took my statement as I waited to be treated. He was a high school friend's father, and it was very comforting to talk to someone I knew. The doctors were unfailingly kind (as always), and one was extremely hot (a nice surprise). I checked out well enough. Nothing was broken, but I did manage to sprain, strain, and tear a good number of muscles. I am also supposed to wear a neck brace for a few days. >.<

Overall, I consider yesterday a win, despite my car losing its fight - and life - to the telephone pole.

Taken by my aunt at the wrecker's location - the fender is still at the site of the wreck

Here are the only injuries that I can post, because you are not seeing my hematoma rainbows on my chest and thighs unless you buy me dinner first.

This is where my neck had been burned and bruised by the airbags

I did not even notice that my thumb was sprained until I had gotten home

There are no words for how grateful I am to be safe and alive today to write this blog post. I have friends who have died from hydroplaning and similar accidents, so I was blessed to walk away from that accident, mostly unscathed, and to come home to my daughter and my family after only two hours in the hospital. I am not saying that I do not hurt - I do, oh, I do - but this is definitely the lesser of two evils.

(1) Please ALWAYS leave early and drive slowly when the roads are wet. I am so glad that this bit of wisdom was drilled into me even before I started driving.

(2) You know not to text or call people while driving, especially when it is raining, right? (Just nod and agree.)

(3) Please buckle up anytime that you are in the car.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adventures with: Bug & the 80s

As my readers know, I am the single mother of a fantastic kindergartner named Bug. The people that know us personally know what a strange creature my child is. Everyone who knows her bombards me with questions, mostly along the lines of, "What has she come up with lately?" Because of her shenanigans, she is a mini-celebrity at the local ER (I am keeping her teenage years in mind by NOT telling you that story).

Ever since she was a baby, she has always had the strangest obsession with stuff from the 80s. For example: her favorite movie is Labyrinth. She is currently on a Pee Wee Herman kick. She has stolen my Rainbow Brite DVDs. The list could go on all day. Anyways, she is convinced that I am going to marry the Goblin King (David Bowie circa 1986), and refuses to believe that he has aged in the past 25 years.

My Husband-to-be

All of this I can handle. It's cute, even. Hell, I wouldn't even mind marrying David Bowie because I respect a man in guyliner, and I wouldn't have to work unless I wanted to. My problem of late is this:

EVERY time we get into the car, my child demands that I play this song. She knows every word. My five year old can sing this song with more emotion and force than most grown people that I know. It is outstanding. I just cannot help but crack up when she belts it out. She is off key through its entirety and she sounds like a munchkin. The song is cheeseball hilarious and she gets pissed when I laugh at her. What can I do?

Heaven help me if she decides to obsess over Bryan Adams.

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update #3

Last night I made the official decision that NaNoWriMo was not for me. I love the "seat of your pants" writing requirements, but I have discovered that it is not my writing style. That is not to say that I am not grateful to have experienced it, because "the little girl" has been born. Shall I explain?

I went in to this project knowing my character. I have known her, researched her, and rolled her around in my brain like you do a fine wine in your mouth when you're tasting its excellence. I could feel her in every inch of my soul, and she wanted out. I knew that NaNoWriMo would be the perfect opportunity to put her to paper.

I was wrong.

In trying to make my daily word goal, I was writing just utter shit that was not beneficial to my character's story. She began to transform into an angsty teenager in love with a guy that is a complete dickwad. My character is strong, extraordinary, and so powerful that she has wrapped herself into a shell of self-hatred for what she is capable of. The teenage girl was not my character, and I don't want to write about her. Yet.

Mixed in with that silly teenager, there have been a few scenes that I wrote about "the little girl". That is the only name that she has right now, and maybe the only one she will have. I don't know yet. I only have about 3k words about her (as apposed to the 18k total), but the quality of those are exponentially better than my YA love story. I had my baby horror novel creeping in around the edges, and it's fitting. Shouldn't that be how horror novels are born? Slinking into other works, taking over the words that are not supposed to be there either, devouring them? I believe so.

I want to write for the same reason that I read. I read because I want to escape from the reality that is my own, and live in another world for just a little while - even if it scares me. I would be humiliated if I created something that I did not want anyone else to read, and no one wanted to visit. I want to make a story that will be worth the escape, even if it is for only one person. Even if it is only for me.

My NaNoWriMo project was not that story. It did, however, give birth to the one that is that story. I am going to write it and maybe one day, you'll get to read it. I hope so.

Thank you everyone for the support so far, but now the real writing is going to start, and I'm going to make it good.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adventures with: Photographs

I found a picture album with a lot of old photos of myself yesterday. It had been heaped into a pile of other things, and I was quite surprised to see them. Many of them I have not seen since before Bug was born.

I'll share one of them with you.

This is one of my favorite pictures of myself. (No, his face is not blacked out in the original photograph.) I was young and pretty, with my hair the shade of red that it's supposed to be. Look at me smiling - I look very happy and in love, don't I?

There is a secret behind the picture. Two nights before this was taken, the guy on the right beat the crap out of me. After an evening of verbal abuse, admissions of cheating on me with multiple other women, and drinking, he decided that I was being disrespectful to him. It started with him dragging me out of a bar and backhanding me in the cab. The highlight of the evening was me bleeding on the sidewalk in front of his cousin's town house. The neighbors called the police and what I remember as a SWAT team trying to haul him off to jail while I hid under his cousin's bed because I felt like I had done something wrong. The night wrapped up with us in a motel room in another state that he made ME pay for because his cousin kicked him out. I woke up that morning with him on the phone with his ex-fiance telling her how much he missed her.

No, you're not reading this incorrectly. That all happened before this picture was taken. The girl in that picture was completely ruled by the guy next to her from the way her makeup is done, to the clothes she is wearing, to the way she is standing. Needless to say, that guy is no longer in the picture, figuratively and literally.

The woman I am now would say that I would give up everything I possess in that picture - youth, beauty, clothes, etc. - to never be in that picture again. In a way, I have. I may not be as young or pretty or dress in stylish clothes, but I am now strong enough to break things off with a guy who respects me and treats me kindly (that I also care about) as opposed to being someone to stay with an abusive, hateful twat for a month after he gave me a concussion.

I think being who I am versus who I was is a fair trade.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update #2

I have been a little out of whack lately with NaNoWriMo, but I am getting my game face on. I am going to finish this by the end of the month. I am no longer going to hold myself back or imagine that there are outside forces keeping me from my goal. Anywho, here is my latest:

14943 / 50000 words. 30% done!

I hope to catch up by doing 1k/hour bursts over the next few days. I won't be writing in chronological order anymore so I can just get the scenes out that I believe are important. I'll add all of the fluff later.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adventures with: November

The world is out to get me. The Universe hates me. Murphy's Law is operating to its fullest extent, barring great bodily mutilation or some other incident of excessive horror. Something that cruel would only serve to shut me down completely. The Powers That Be only want me to be irritable, depressed, and insane.

Meet November.

This is what the second to last month in the year holds in store for me annually for as long as I can remember. It is a big nasty ball of Suck, and there is nothing I can do about it. I have grown used to it, and I accept it as part of my life. Is it terrible that Life takes a shit on me for an entire month every year? Absolutely. However, it helps to know that it is going to happen, and I can just resign myself to it. Luckily, I realized that November had set in by the 7th and got the toilet paper handy.

I do not know why I always forget about the coming of November. I swear every year that I will be ready the next time that it hits. That is never the case. I am a die-hard optimist (deep down, ok?) and the month always plays the defenseless and cute card in the beginning. This year, the month started out as easy as it always does. I was able to get some of my NaNoWriMo project done, and all other aspects of my life were in their normal mode of mediocrity. Then November slowly started rolling out the attack.

Last week, I had a law official come into my place of business to question Bookboy and I regarding a crime that was committed at my workplace, in a sense. Thank Bob we were not faced with the Prisoner's Dilemma, as we naturally turned upon each other as soon as the cop walked out of the room. If we had been arrested for a crime (we were not and we have not done anything illegal), we would have been clawing each other's eyes out in order to get a better deal. Yes, we would turn on each other in a heartbeat, but that is the nature of our relationship. We are coworkers. A little backstabbing and self-servicing is demanded. Anyways, in terms of November, that is not so bad. That is something that one could easily expect from April or September.

It was not really until Sunday that I began to see the pattern of terrible that is November. I blogged about Sunday's Gossip issue a few days ago, but that was not the whole of the awful for that day. There was a gross miscommunication between the Gingerman and myself. We are the same in a lot of ways, but we have some major differences in others that make things very difficult for me (and for him because when things are difficult for me, I make life difficult for everyone). That being said, I ended up being very pissed off at him, and I am quite sure that he is completely disgusted with me. I do not know for sure - we have not spoken since then. Even better - my mother called to talk about what was going on with me. Bless her heart for caring, but when I am in the middle of an emotional meltdown, I only want to discuss things with the others involved (and maybe break the noses of the gossipy offenders). Glorious November rolls out the goodness!

It is not paranoia. This is Every. Fucking. Year. No exceptions. Let us head over to Monday so you can see. I ran away from the world to my friend Un-Nicknamed's house on Sunday night. She is mean enough to hold the evils of November at bay - which is also why she is Un-Nicknamed Friend. The terrible got right back on track when I left her house. Bug did not want to go to school and had a complete meltdown when I tried to drop her off that morning. I do not need to go into details. All of the parent readers know and those without children will not understand what I am saying until they are parents. It sucks to put it that way, but that is just how it is. The most I can say is that November was not pulling any punches when my child turned and chased me to my car, tears streaming down her face, begging me not to leave  her there. A tear-stained, snot-nosed child is not the main ingredient to a fantastic day - just so you know. Work was not really memorable except for a patron telling me that I looked like I had "bedroom hair" which translates to "you look like you just got done having sex" (which is never the case in November), but Bug was an emotional terrorist for the evening when I got home. Hooray!

Tuesday was the day November chose to pelt me with paperwork and bills and letters. None of it was anything good. I got a letter from the school board saying that paperwork that I sent in over a month ago was not there and bad things would be happening within two weeks if they did not get it. I got a letter from the DMV stating that my insurance had lapsed and my presence at their fine facility would be required - and soon. Then there was the most fun thing of all - a questionnaire for jury duty. It is November, so I am going to be selected for the pool. That is fairly awful, but if I am summoned for the pool, it will be the fourth time this year. Yes, you read that correctly - FOURTH. Honestly, I have given up. I hope they pick me so I be done with the nonsense. Somehow, I doubt they will so I can be summoned again. And again. And again. And again.

I chose the Ninth of November to be the day to take care of All The Things that was set upon me the day before. I had the foresight to ask Un-Nicknamed Friend (UNF)) to accompany me on my quest against the Evil Paperwork. I am not saying the day was not riddled with greatness. I had a morning coffee date with my favorite mommy friend, and there was much giggling and snark involved. It was a lovely November refueling point, and I paid for it later. After the coffee date, I decided that I would stop by my credit union before meeting up with UNF. I only had to deposit a check into my account, and I wrongfully assumed that November would turn her vindictive eye the other way. Almost immediately upon me sending my deposit slip and check through the drive-thru's Magical Sucking Tube, the teller told me that she would be unable to deposit it without the branch manager's approval. Would I like to go in and speak with the manager? Not particularly, but I resigned myself to it. After half an hour of waiting in the lobby, one of the loan officials invited me into  her office to assist me. She took a quick look at the offending check, and told me that I would have to speak to the branch manager. Apparently, requesting to speak to the branch manager does not really sink in until a person has seen everyone else in the branch first. I imagine that it is like a video game where all other enemies must be defeated before advancing to the Big Boss. After another fifteen minutes, the credit union's Big Boss stepped forth to do battle with me. For whatever reason, sometime in the past few months my credit union decided that it would no longer take perfectly good third party checks unless the person the check was made out to was a member of our credit union. Are you incredibly bored with this description of events? Of course you are. I am bored with writing it. November won and I left with my check. Game Over.

Getting right down to the point, I also lost to November with my insurance agency and the DMV, despite having UNF with me. (As a side note, she thought I was in need of medication at the beginning of my November explanation, but after I outlined it all for her, she agreed that I was in trouble until December.) I had to pay a fifty dollar reinstatement fee because of my douchebag, irresponsible agents. Did I have the fifty dollars? Well, hell no. I did not get to deposit my check. UNF was able to cash it at her bank, which everyone is boycotting and bashing right now for 99% reasons. I do not mind them because they can cash a fucking check! Try that one on for size, small business America. I paid the money, and got things done. The only part of all of that where I came close to coming unglued was when I was on the phone with an idiot from the main insurance company who accused me of speaking in riddles when I asked her to tell me the dates of which my coverage had lapsed. I am sorry America, but when my period there is up, I am going back to AIG. They may be crooks in public opinion, but they got shit done when I needed it. Simple questions also do not astound their operators. If small business wants to beat out corporations - hire non-idiots. But this is about November... I will tell you the worst part of the DMV. I had my number, and I asked UNF to hold on to it for me while I went to the restroom. My body is still actively rebelling against the removal of its cousin, Gall Bladder, and my number was called mid-attack. I knew that it was going to happen - it is November.

Yes, I am a big ball of stressed-out crazy. That is only because I do not know what November has in store for me next. I know bad things are going to happen. I am braced for the impact. I look forward to it. I would love for every bad thing that I have left built up for this year and the first part of next year to come at me right now. Why, do you ask? Because it is November and I am ready for it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adventures with: Gossip and Those Who Partake

The past week has been defined by words. Not only have I been surrounded by the words that I am creating for my story, but I have had to face words of others' creation - gossip.

I will be the first person to admit that I delve into the gossip coffers from time to time, making deposits or withdrawals. I will not try to excuse it in any way, but I would never say anything to be intentionally hurtful. There are mainly three ways that I will gossip. In one sense, I am a 70 year old woman trapped into a much younger body - I like to talk about things that happened "back in the day". For instance, sometimes, I will tell stories (which I know to be true) about people that I used to know or date. I exaggerate and weave the stories into silliness that usually makes my audience laugh. The embellishments are obvious, and they're so ludicrous that not only does it not matter, but it makes the truth much more interesting. It is almost always extremely self-deprecating.

Every once in a while - and it is probably one of my biggest failings - I like to people watch. When I people watch, I make jokes. I make up stories about those people and share them with whatever friend is close by. I even save what I see for poems or short stories that you will never read. You may not think it is gossip, and you might be right, but if someone took what I said and passed it on - it could soon be the latest notch in the rumor mill.

I also like to hear gossip, but I can honestly say that when I hear something that is none of my business or something I know absolutely nothing about, I usually won't pass it on. Sometimes, I forget it as soon as the subject is changed. I will enjoy the story told, and then move on with my life. I guess the storyteller/storylover in all of us comes out once in a while, and we wallow in the warm gossipy juices of What Is None Of Our Business.

When it comes to gossip about me, I'm always very shocked by it. I am a very bland person, and my life is probably as interesting as that of the common garden slug. Barring the sudden arrival of Morton's girl, I'm beyond notice. I like it that way. I'm not showy like a snail, carrying my house around like I'm some wannabe turtle. I keep things simple. Why would anyone want to talk about a slug? Who cares if a slug has moved underneath a different leaf or rock. It's just a slug. Right? Now I'm not saying that I'm not important and special and blah blah blah - I'm just saying that there is not much remarkable going on in my neck of the woods. There are much more interesting things to talk about. I will admit that I have had scandals back in my day, but nothing of any significance in the past 2-3 years.

Very recently, someone that I used to know said something extremely hurtful about me to someone who does not know me. Then, through the grapevine, it ended up in the ear of a person who I care about very much. Most people can shrug these things off easily, but not me. I am not a celebrity nor was I ever even popular in school. I have never been a subject of interest. Not only am I unused to people discussing my mediocrity at all, but I am astonished by the fact that I have near-strangers saying one of the most insulting things (about a very private aspect of my life) that I have ever heard about anyone, let alone myself. I have to be honest - I did not know how to deal with it. I am aware that I should just shrug it off and not give another thought to the matter at all, but all I can do is wonder why someone would be so ugly to me. It was intentional, it was malicious, and it was done for reasons beyond my fathoming.

I want this to be a funny post. I want to make jokes about Fraggles, fry cooks, or Lindsay Lohan's short jail term. I want to be beyond the notice of strangers. I want to be able to write. I want to finish NaNoWriMo. I want to be able to get the words out, so I can fuss over them like they are children who have been jumping in mud puddles and clean them up. I want the words that are of my own making, that I get to control, that I get to manipulate into harmless lies that tells stories about people that are only real in my head. I want the hateful words being said to be taken back and forgotten. Most of all, I want to forget how much words can hurt.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update #1

I had a slow writing weekend for various reasons, but I'm getting back on track. I've already written over 1k words today, and I'm only about 2.4k behind where I should be with NaNoWriMo's daily goals. This is my current progress:

9222 / 50000 words. 18% done!


As always, if you want to be my writing buddy and shame me into doing better, here is my Participant Page. :-D

Friday, November 4, 2011


I probably won't blog much, if at all, this month. I'm making my life crazy and following a dream by participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Here's how I'm doing so far:

7132 / 50000 words. 14% done!

I'll be updating this from time to time.

If you're interested, come visit my Participant Page. Be my buddy - I love new friends.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodbye, Porky Baby

It's been just a few weeks since my Skeeter-Waller disappeared, but I have already experienced another loss in my animal family.

Back in the early spring of this year, my aunt and uncle (who live across the street from me) were given two newborn piglets. A mother razorback was caught in a trap and gave birth as she died. They were sickly and had a hard time thriving in a backyard, as opposed to the open woods with their mother. One of the piglets did not make it, but Porky was a fighter from the very start. They almost lost him as he was not digesting the milk well, but I came up with the suggestion of adding baby cereal to it. It worked, and he started getting healthier.

And started to grow.

Happy Easter, little pig!

I watched him make friends.

Porky & Dottie (a chihuahua)

My aunt and uncle both went out of town for separate jobs over the summer, so his care was left to my cousins and I. Since I was staying at their house while they were gone, I spent a lot of time out back with the Porkman. He loved scraps, and I loved spoiling him rotten. One of his favorite things was being chased in the back with a waterhose. He would pretend to want to run away, but would have to turn around to rush through the spray.
He also loved him some Cheesy Poofs.

Not lame at all, buddy.

After a while, I was the only one who would spend any length of time in the pen with him. He got extremely large very quickly, and had no qualms in knocking someone over in attempted play. He and I always had a bit of an understanding - if he didn't knock me over, I'd sit on his back and scratch his ears while he ate. 
He always glad to see me. As soon as Porky heard me walk outside in the mornings or get out of the car after my evening at work, he would squeal as loud as possible so I would remember that he was back there.
Porky crying for my attention & meeting Lila

Last night, my grandmother told me that my uncle was finally going to have to take care of Porky. By take care of, I mean slaughter. The neighbors were complaining about his size and odor, and he was starting to grow tusks. We contacted several local petting zoos, and some that were out of state. We also contacted some regular zoos to see if anyone would take him. No one was interested. They couldn't get him in the trailer to take him to his destiny, so they wanted me to try. He trusts me, and I couldn't bring myself to put my heart into coaxing him to his death by telling him that "it was alright". I did get to say goodbye, and that meant a lot. Here are some pictures from last night:

I was told to not get in the pen with him so I wouldn't get my work clothes dirty, but how could I resist some last piggy kisses?

Giving me piggy love

He was granted an Eleventh Hour reprieve last night because he knocked my uncle on his ass when he tried to drag him into the trailer. My Porkman is a smart boy and knew that there was nothing for him in the cage.

When I came home tonight, my daughter wanted to know if I was going to go feed my "Porky baby" (yes, I told her that he was my baby, too. All of my animals are.) some apples. My grandmother overheard a snatch of our conversation and mouthed to me across the dinner table that Porky was no longer with us. I had to hide my tears from Bug as we ate. I'm not sure how I'm going to tell her yet, or even if I will at all, since we've experienced so much loss in the past year. I do know that I will not be able to eat meat for a while as I mourn him. I can promise you that I will not eat a bite of him. I understand the beauty of raising your own food, but I'll go to the grocery store before I eat my friend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adventures with: Compartmentalizing

You know those mixed nuts that are so popular during the holiday season? Well, I'm a little bit nuttier than those. Okay, a lot. Something that keeps me from going completely over the top is compartmentalization. I like to take things in my life and put them in pretty little boxes.  I'll illustrate an example of what I do.

Imagine an empty room. That's a person when I first meet them. Completely empty, with no dust no clutter, just a blank slate. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Yes, the carpet is somewhat ugly, but I use my imagination for other things. Like Brad Pitt. Naked. Wearing bunny ears... Wait. What were we talking about? Oh yes, compartmentalization.

Usually, I just pile stuff up in the room and let it just hang out. However, there are some instances that I'm forced to box up some things and put them in the corner. It's just a little thing, nothing major.

See? No big deal. That can be placed in a box, out of the way, in a dark, dusty corner. You can remember it's there, but it's not something that has to affect the room as a whole.

Sometimes I have rooms that look like this:

That can be a friend, family member, or coworker who has strayed off the path a little. S/he is not necessarily a bad person, but you need to take these things aside from the whole. Well, unless it's time for an intervention or something. Anyways, what you're seeing is the boxes in a corner, not the entire room (because I'm lazy). There are so many great and other things standing in front of the boxes. That's why I have the boxes there: I don't want to dwell on the ugly. I don't like to hate, be angry, or hold grudges. I like to just put the bad in a box, and move it out of my way. It's still there, but it doesn't have to change the atmosphere of the room.

Lately, I've had a problem. Instead of boxing up the bad stuff, I've had to compartmentalize some of the good stuff, too. I felt like some things were off-limits, so a special room in my mind started to look like this:

I know that those boxes aren't supposed to be there. The happy stuff is supposed to be floating loose so I can see it, experience it, embrace it, and I've been putting it away.

It threw me off course. When I took the good and the bad out of the room, it was nothing. It was just mediocrity, which left me confused and angry. So last night, I opened a happy box. Today, I ripped up that box to make sure I didn't use it again. I will rip the other ones up, too. The happy should be out, floating around, and making me giggle and sneeze. No more will I hold back the positive with the negative. I will let the positive thrive.

I'd rather close off the room entirely than have everything in boxes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adventures with: International Urban Fantasy Month

The lovely Jaye Wells is hosting a CONTEST over on her blog in honor Urban Fantasy Month. I thought I would share my entry (haikus, no less!) here, or else I'll forget I wrote them at some point.

Randy little Jane
Led off course by Libido
Right into trouble
Inspired by the Jane True series by Nicole Peeler

Druid Atticus
Joined by trusty Oberon
Down at Fraggle Rock
Inspired by the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Red-headed step child
Pity about her mani
Ruined by the graves
Inspired by the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells 

American Gods
Overrun by fame and greed
Hope in the Shadow
Inspired by American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Sweet buxom Sookie
She can read your thoughts with ease
While she bangs the fang
Inspired by the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris 

Mercedes Thompson
Sexy skin walker Native
Glad to fix your Bug
Inspired by the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs 

Brash Rachel Morgan
Sexiest Dead Witch Walking
Lost without her friends
Inspired by The Hollows series by Kim Harrison 

Sorry Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files must wait
On my TBR
Inspired by The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Now head on over to Jaye's blog and show UF some love!

Adventures with: Not Yet

One of my favorite things to tell myself is "not yet". I have so many things that I would like to do, but am I ready? "Not yet", I tell myself.

Here is my official promise to myself:

The time has come, Kayla. All of the "not yet"s that you've been giving yourself are no longer of any value. The time to follow your dreams are at hand. You've always dreamed of writing a book - don't wait for NaNoWriMo. Sit down with your notes, your ideas, and your dreams and START WRITING. Take that first step.  You've worked hard on your degree for many years - chase it at a full run. You owe it to yourself to complete your education. You've promised it to yourself, and you don't want to be someone who breaks promises. Paint! You may not be Picasso, but who was he before he picked up a paintbrush? You're seeing an awesome guy - don't hold back in fear of rejection. As the great Robert A. Heinlein put it, "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." You might lose, but how can you expect everything if you don't give everything?

All of my dreams may not come true, but I don't want it to be because I didn't think I was big enough to reach them. I need to live my life giving myself fully to all that I do. If I don't succeed, I'll try again. I'll start building ladders if my arms aren't long enough. If a dream evaporates, I'll make a new one in its place to chase. I've realized that none of this is going to just fall into my lap. As Rafiki told Simba in the Lion King:

It is time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Adventures with: Lederhosen and Lip Wax

This was a busy weekend for me. I had to get Gingerman through the bar, do battle with a migraine, shuffle work and motherhood, and go to the Red River Revel with Bug & friends. I could tell you about any of that. You would be bored. I was bored writing it (mostly because I was leaving out the best stuff), so I'm skipping to the good parts. That's right, we're going straight to the lederhosen.


Do we all know what lederhosen is? No? Okay, here you go:

Now imagine that you've been seeing someone who you really enjoy for a few months. You've never met anyone really important to said person, except the Best Friend and Best Friend's Spouse. That is where we were in our whatevership last night. After I took Bug to the Revel and then to my mother's apartment, I asked GM if he would like to spend some time with me after his family function. He was agreeable, and I went to pick him up with a friend (who doesn't have a nickname yet).

GM met us outside with a stein in his hand. I was immediately jealous because this man has been bragging about his "wheat" for weeks. He then proceeded to invite us inside after I brought up the fact that he was trying to get in the car with an open container. I. Was. TERRIFIED. Not about the illegal quality of having the beer in the car, but about meeting people! I had just left the Revel, which took up my month's People Quota, and this man wanted me to go into his house! I wasn't at my best by any stretch, but I was glad I took the time to smear a little makeup on after work.

We get inside and EVERYONE is dressed in traditional German garb. GM just had on a lederhosen t-shirt, but everyone else there had on either one of those or lederhosen proper - men and women! And they were dancing to polka music! I hate the early stages of a whatevership, but lederhosen definitely makes meeting folks rather enjoyable. Maybe next year I'll bring an accordion.

Lip Wax

 At the Revel on Saturday, my friend took me a little off to the side. Apparently, the sun was hitting my sweet ginger peach fuzz on my face in that special way that Western women learn young to dread. 

I never had this problem before I had Bug. Yes, I have bushy eyebrows, but I think shaping them is silly. I don't have a unibrow, and even the most groomed of women begrudgingly admit that the shape is not terrible. If I get a wild hair (hardy har har), I'll even do a little plucking. Honestly, I am well-stocked in the chest department, so I doubt very many people even realize that I have eyebrows. Yeah, I said it. Yet the other facial hair slowly turning darker is all Bug's fault. I strongly believe that each time you're forced to yell at your child for something, it turns one little hair follicle black, or brown in my case. I usually just pluck it because I hate waxing, and if it has to be done, I pay someone else to do it. I am a wimp.

I was feeling a little cheap tonight. I remembered that I had a home waxing kit in my bathroom that had been up there since the last time I decided to do something stupid. I ended up chickening out and subjecting the poor children at Guy's Academy to my sweet ginger peach fuzz after I bought it. I'm flattered that they always laugh at my two or three dark hairs, but I digress. (Side note: Why the Hell am I writing this?! Why are you still reading it?!) Anyways, eyebrow waxing is the Most Terrible Awful Thing, and I didn't need to do that. It's been a few months since I've waxed, I'm tired of plucking, I have the goods, so why not wax my own lip?

In case you don't know, there are people out there who say that I am an intelligent woman. You can be the judge on this one. I don't care much for pain, and I know how much I hate waxing. Taking both of those things into consideration, I went ahead and put the hot wax everywhere that needed some touch up work. I slathered it on good and thick, so I couldn't change my mind about it.

I pulled off the first section. I did not feel like an intelligent woman. I felt like a hobbit getting locked in Moria - there was no turning back and the worst was yet to come. Hell, I was feeling as hairy as a hobbit because there's nothing like wax to make you aware of every single follicle.

After the second section, I was cursing Sally Hansen and all things dealing with American female beauty. I have a brain damnit! Why am I pulling off the skin of my face?! I am of Slavic descent, for the most part, and I was crying out for Perun (as he is portrayed in Hammered by Kevin Hearne because he is very fun) to save me from my foolhardiness because he loves a good hairy woman! He didn't. I didn't expect that he would. I was on my own.

I swear to Bob, this whole thing ended with a pair of scissors. I won't go into much details. I'm sure most of you lady-folks know exactly what happened. Or not. I am a bit strange. Either way, it was done. I got all of the wax off of my face, along with most of the offending hair and a good bit of skin. It would've even been okay if my grandmother hadn't burst into laughter when I came into the living room.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bring Skeeter Home

Hi, my name is Skeeter. My mommy calls me Skeeter-Waller, but my friends call me Skeeter-Man.

I am a little over a year old, and I am lost. Being lost makes me angry.

I haven't been home since Tuesday morning, so if you see me around town, please bring me home. Email Kayla (my owner) if you find me. Her email is kbeck (at) shreve-lib (dot) org .

I will be eternally grateful.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Adventures with: What I’ve Learned Since High School

During the month of September, the high school I attended held its annual Homecoming game. There was also a reunion, but I’m much too young for any of that nonsense. Anyway, I was in a midst of a migraine, so I missed the whole shebang. Instead of giving commentary on “Adventures with: High School Reunions”, I give you the things I’ve learned since high school.

1.)  It is NOT the best time of your life, unless you peak at age 16. (If you did, sorry. No, really, I am.) High school is horrible. You stink, your hormones are raging, and you have to be around other stinking, hormone-driven teenagers. How can that be fun at all? You’re subjected to bullies, peer pressure, getting into a good college, being in the right clique, wearing the right clothes, etc. I mean, who really enjoys that except for the before stated peakers? Below is me as a teenager. No, I was not a peaker (thank Bob!).

This was taken with a 35mm camera, so it does not fully capture the freckles and auburn hair. *shudders* Yes, I did not exactly have an easy time.

2.) It is okay to be a dork. (Yay!) I gave up any attempt at being cool when I was in grade school. I preferred books to real people and situations. I did not like brushing my hair or wearing makeup. Instead of trying to fit in with the cool crowd, I made some extra money by charging them to do their homework. Did they like me? Sure, but only as much as you would like guy who changes the oil in your car. Did I care? Nope. I used the money to buy my books. I also accepted Cuban cigars as payment, as I developed a taste for them in middle school. Yes, I was the smart kid with the cash, smoking Cuban cigars. All I needed was a Hugh Hefner robe.

I did find my “dorky” niche, though. I joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and followed it all the way to presidency of our school’s chapter my senior year. I even got to go to the National Competition in Orlando, Florida. Is going to Disney World worth being a dork? As Mickey Mouse would say – “You betcha!”

I’m not doing much with myself now, but as a side note, most of my fellow dorks are VERY successful individuals. I’m talking doctors, lawyers, and such.

3.) You get your high school crush. I don’t know how this works out for the guys, but I can tell you ladies that if you don’t get your guy then, you can have him later. The trick to this is, you send him a private message on Facebook and somewhere in the message insinuate that you did indeed have a crush on him. Since he’s probably the guy who peaked in high school and is going through a messy divorce with his wife, he will cling to you like white on rice. So go ahead – get you some. Then you better run like hell and get that restraining order. What is the moral of this story? You can totally tell all of your high school friends, “Hey, did I ever tell you that I slept with Johnny McCool?” Just don’t get mad when they hassle you about his getting syphilis from Janet Fastly in the 11th grade.

So, children young and old, that is what I’ve learned. Life does get better, being yourself is golden, and yes, I slept with the captain of the baseball team. I just won’t tell you from which year. ;-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adventures with: C-3PO

It doesn’t look like very much, does it? It looks like a harmless, little mobile device. I am hesitant to call it a “smartphone”, but it obviously is since it is plotting to kill me.

 Did that catch you off guard? Well, you better believe me when I say that this phone is capable of Shenanigans on an epic scale. Would you like an example?

My phone does not like being plugged into particular outlets. I mean, the charger itself is fine, but depending on where it is in the world (not just my house), it jumps on the crazy train. I bet when I walk out of the room, my phone suddenly gets this message on its screen:

It lacks thumbs and/or a jaw, so it’s having a difficult time killing me. However, it’s finding new and exciting ways to make my life interesting. For example, yesterday it decided to go through various text messages from an ex and send them to the last few people I’ve spoken with. This is including the Gingerman. Awkward much? Oh yes. (As if things aren’t already awkward enough there…) Tonight, it decided to do the same thing with a message that I posted on Facebook. In the midst of a discussion about the superior genetics of the fellow “baby mama” and I, the phone begins a new plan of action.

 Since that probably won’t work, it’s decided to piss off all of my friends. *sigh* Stupid phone…

Yes, I named my phone after a character on Star Wars. It's a droid and so is C-3PO. Sue me. Well, not you, George Lucas. *looks around anxiously*

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adventures with: Dating

What frightens you? Heights? Snakes? Spiders? All of the above? Some of those scare me, too. One thing that downright terrifies me is DATING. Yes, I am being completely serious for once. Hell, even writing a blog post about dating frightens me, as this has been written, rewritten, edited, and reedited since the first of the month.

Some of you who read this may not know me as well as some of the people with whom I have personal connections. In case you haven't noticed this about me (and you'd have to be a simpleton not to), I am very socially awkward. I wouldn't say that I'm backwards or anything, but I don't take social cues well. For me, being around people means my complete concentration on my setting and struggling with the great question of "How do I not fuck this up?" This is around just the people that I know. Getting to know someone is like terror about normal interactions times ten. (Or one hundred - it depends on the day.)

Imagine the horrors that dating holds for me. Regardless, I keep on doing it.

I know what you're thinking by now - if you're still reading. You're asking, "When is this bitch going to start trying to be funny again?" How about right now? Does that work for you Mr. Impatient-Wants-It-All-Right-Now. Yeah, I said "Mr." You're the ones that say "now now now now now now". Aren't you? Huh? Huh? Huh?

I'll walk you through what dating is like for me.

1. Meeting someone

I know it's the first stage, but I don't get past this part very often. I give off this vibe that says "She's a little crazy, sir. She's not entirely in this reality. She will also eat you for lunch because she's a aloof, snobby bitch." I don't know where it comes from. I'm not that bad. Hey! I'm not!  I will admit that I have a look on my face that is speculative, at best. I always feel like a guy that is interested in me is either playing some horrible practical joke or is too dumb to breathe. I'm yet to be mistaken. Except for the breathing part, but they are pretty damn dumb. For the most part, the ones who do introduce themselves to me are adrenaline junkies who want to climb Mount Everest (no fat or short jokes, please).

2. Getting Asked Out

This isn't always the same as meeting someone. Most guys cut and run after getting a taste of what I have to offer. I don't really try to mask the crazy anymore. To do so would be false advertisement - I live in my own little world and I like it here. I also have the Bug, who I schedule my life around to make it convenient for her. If a man can't work around her hours, I don't want to work into his.

3. Going Out

This part is often fraught with Shenanigans. Here's an example from a quasi-date that I went on recently. Gingerman decided that he wanted to take me out to a bar. It only took two months because he's a busy man. Too busy for me? Of course, but I'm a sucker for being put on the back-burner. I'm a frycook like that. Anyways, back to the Shenanigans. We walked into the bar and sat down. I was scoping out the draft selection, when I caught a glance of the bartender. I was thinking to myself, "Wow, that girl looks really familiar." I smiled at Gingerman and was about to say something to him (I was blocking out whatever he was saying because I had too many things processing at once: beer selection; bartender; Life, the Universe & Everything) when all of a sudden my blood ran cold. I told him that we had to leave. Right. Then. I didn't even explain to him what was going on as I dragged him bodily out of the door (that was a feat in itself because he's much bigger than I am).

Why did I drag him out, do you ask? Well, the bartender - we'll call her Carmen for the story's purpose - used to be one of my best friends. We met through a mutual friend who I worked with at Bass Pro back in the day. I had just turned twenty-one and I enjoyed partying as often as possible. She did, too. Her husband liked to have her out of the house, so he financed our field trips. He was significantly older than Carmen, who was significantly older than me. He was a grandfatherly type who liked to dote on pretty young girls, and hoo boy were we. Carmen and I were pretty inseparable until I started having trouble with the Italian that I was dating. In the midst of one of Italian and my fights, he admitted to me that he had been getting b.j.s on the sly from Carmen. I called her to confront her about it because I knew it as soon as he admitted it. I'd seen her naked and he knew something only nudity would prove. What I did next, I am not proud of. Her husband answered the phone and wanted to know what the Hell I was doing, calling the house so late. My red-haired and betrayed woman temperament caused me to fill him in on everything. EVERYTHING. After I finished my confessional, he informed me that Carmen had just called him from the jail because she had been picked up for driving while intoxicated. He decided that she could stay there and think about what she'd done. Of course, things were ugly between us after she spent the holiday weekend sitting in jail. There was also an incident shortly afterward where she got a steaming hot chili cheese hot dog smashed in her face, resulting in second-degree burns. I didn't do it, but I would have if I had gotten to it first. We hadn't seen each other since.

Imagine trying to explain this to a man who wants to be called Master Dr. Gingerman (it's a joke) because of his massive education and he's from a good family. Here is me, former frycook from the southeast of Hell, practically dragging him out of bar to avoid an asswhooping. (Carmen went from being a pampered housewife to someone working at a sleazy bar - yeah, I would've deserved it.) I can honestly say that it's never happened before, but I was a bit of a tramp in my early twenties, so I can't exactly guarantee that it won't happen again. See why dating is terrifying? You can't take me anywhere!

4. Relationship

I don't mind this part as much as the other. I like the consistency of knowing where I stand. I don't get to this part very often, even though I've only dragged a guy out of a bar once. Once guys see my quirks, they're either too damn dumb to care that I'm odd, or they're too busy banging the next one to mind.


I guess you can see now why dating is a little scary. Now I have to throw in the possibility of my past coming up to bite me in the ass (or kick it), in addition to my insecurities about being different than everyone else. So it's hard, scary work to find someone who sees me for what I am - a former frycook with a past, who isn't scared to drag a grown man out of a bar.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adventures with: Names

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet." William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

My name is Kayla. I don’t have a middle name – and if I did, it wouldn’t be any of your damn business! I like my name. I wasn’t picked on too badly because of it. It was always half-hearted because there’s not much the icky boy-creatures could do with it and all of the girls were named Brooke, Rachel or Ashley. The extent of the teasing was:

My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble
Kayla! Kayla! My boyfriend’s back!

I was an introvert, so my lack of reaction didn’t do too much to inspire their brainwaves. Plus, what can you do with Kayla Beck? There are three syllables of mediocrity. I did get a few cool points when the musical act Beck became popular in the 1990s, but the name has been otherwise “meh”.

It was almost not like that. My mother was a teenager when she got pregnant with me. The sperm donor is a less than savory character, so we’ll pretend that he wasn’t around. Oh, wait… Anyways, my mother had these lovely prenatal hormonal fantasies about naming me:

Sharla Shantel

What sort of person would I have been if I had been saddled with that name? In all honesty, there was a good chance that it could have been:

Sharla Shantel Oplotnik

So no, Shakespeare, a rose would not have been as sweet under that name. I would have been teased in school. I would have become a stripper. I would not have embraced being White Trash personified as I have now. Okay, I’m not the literal personification of White Trash, but I still check People of Walmart (dot) com for my picture from time to time. One must be diligent in saving her good name.

Luckily, my grandmother was present at my birth and she was not a spawn-ridden teenager. She was, however, a great lover of the soap opera Days of Our Lives. Kayla and Steven were in the midst of their great love affair. Thankfully, my grandmother was able to strongarm the sperm donor into agreeing that my name should indeed be Kayla. As a consolation prize, the middle name is the same as my mother’s and my father’s – and probably half of everyone else in America.

I am Kayla and I rock the Beck. I rock the mispronunciations. I rock the Kay, KayKay, Kaylou, and Becky.

I do not rock the soap opera lifestyle and I avoid guys named Steven (and Stephen) like the plague now. I’m pretty sure they’re all worthless bastards. It’s all in the name.

**Disclaimer: Just because that was almost MY name does not mean that I assume that anyone else in the world who may have that name would want to or have the ability to shake their ladybits on stage for money. Or be as awesome as I would have been. True story. 11/8/2012