I haven’t answered Q’s for a while and Nova presents some interesting ones…
1. Growing up, what did you want to do professionally when you got older?
The first career I recall wanting was that of a research scientist. I imagined myself in a white lab coat solving all sorts of problems for humanity. This dream began when I started high school and was a lab assistant to my biology teacher. Mostly I washed beakers and illicitly opened the boa constrictor’s cage to pet him. But senior year I didn’t do well in AP chemistry and dropped it in favor of creative writing. Since then I’ve always wanted to write. It would be cool to own a bookshop/bakery/cat café… maybe if I win the lottery!
2. Do you live in the city or state of which you were born?
Neither. I was born in Tarrytown, NY, and now I live in Orange County, CA. I’ve also lived in New Jersey and Chicago.
3. What’s an item that you had as a girl, but isn’t being sold anymore?
Super Spirograph ~ with pins. You can still buy Super Spirograph, but the wheels no longer come with pinholes to anchor a shape to your paper because pins are “too dangerous.” But without them, it’s impossible to create a perfect design. The new sets come with putty instead, which is absurd; I bought a kit with the putty for my girls and it was a total bust. I spent about a zillion fun hours around age 10 creating cool designs and not once did I poke my eye out.
4. Do you prefer pudding, yogurt, custard, or ice cream.
I absolutely love the key lime flavor of yogurt made by Chobani. (Their regular vanilla is great too.) I like to add banana or blueberries to it. Or granola! Theoretically, I like ice cream, especially cookie dough, but I’m usually too cold to enjoy ice cream. Pudding is meh, except for Indian rice pudding. I’m not sure what custard is, lol.
5. What’s one topic of interest you’d like to learn more about?
I’m always interested in learning more about the craft of fiction writing, poetry forms, and English generally.
6. What is a favorite/unique family tradition in your house?
My girls and I had a tradition of going out for pumpkin pancakes in November, but they’re both too far away to do that now, plus the last time I had pumpkin pancakes they weren’t as yummy as I remembered. I don’t really have any traditions these days. I’m single and free and do as I please!
7. If you had one topic to teach to the entire world, what would it be and why?
Get vaccinated, you morons.
8. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I’m extremely OCD about some things and will spend hours pointlessly creating consistency. I just went through all my posts to check for hyphens. Oh, don’t even ask! One of the reasons I eschew punctuation in comments and texting is to force myself to overcome this OCD a little. I’ll let you know if/when it works…
9. What’s one of your life-saving cleaning hacks? [hyphen added!]
Life-saving? Don’t mix bleach and ammonia. If you mean time-saving, then I suggest cleaning as you go and not only when you cook. Keep things tidy all the time so you won’t be overwhelmed with a giant cleanup.
10. What’s one thing you wish you knew before having kids, but didn’t?
That it might have been better to focus them on one non-academic activity rather than bouncing around from lesson to lesson in hopes of giving them a variety of choices. What actually happened is they ended up interested in none of them, while other kids had their one special thing.
11. What is one lesson that life has taught you recently?
I’m less introverted than I thought I was. Just a little less, so let’s not get carried away. I thought I’d have an easy-peasy time during the lockdown in 2020 because “I don’t need people.” Welp, that was wrong…
12. If you could retire and live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I’d buy a nice house in Beverly Hills near my grandchildren so I could see them all the time.
I envy those who can live in the moment without a care for the days ahead because I’ve never been that way, unless a lot of alcohol was involved. Nowadays I rarely if ever drink because it triggers a migraine almost every time. There are many things I don’t do (any longer) because I fear getting an awful migraine that doesn’t respond to meds. I think, if you have any sort of chronic pain condition, you can’t help but worry about the future. You take precautions to try to avoid increased pain. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been trying to eat a higher-protein, lower-sugar diet in hopes of helping my head, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Late last night I felt super achy, so I did some light stretches on my yoga mat with the hope that this morning I’d wake up feeling better. It didn’t work. I guess many people my age have back issues, and some younger folks do too. It changes your priorities. Do I want to have fun today and suffer more tomorrow? Mostly no.
If I zoom out a bit from aches and pains, there are even more things to worry about. My children and grands of course. My friends and coworkers. Work and money. Issues in my immediate neighborhood such as crime and homelessness and traffic. Statewide issues, such as the California recall coming up. Fires, earthquakes, climate change. Covid. Other horrible diseases waiting to emerge, or re-emerge. The entire political mess that this country has been in for a while, maybe forever, but it seems so much worse lately. But that’s what people my age say about everything, isn’t it? We soak our memories in rosewater and start moaning about “the olden days” when things were better. Were they really though? When, exactly, were things great for the average person or the poor person? Those golden, glory days when women weren’t allowed to do anything without a man’s permission? When the air was so thick with smog you couldn’t see the mountains? When it was legal to discriminate against minorities in jobs and housing and education, etc.? For sure, music was better in the old days. Amirite? These kids today…
But to be honest, I don’t worry so much about the “big things.” There isn’t much I can do about any of them, which I suppose is a bad attitude, but whatever. Let young people fight revolutions. Not that I did then either, hah. I mostly worry about myself and how yucky I feel on any given day, what I have to do at work, and if I have enough energy to go grocery shopping or will keep eating tortillas with peanut butter for dinner.
Thanks, Melanie, for another episode of Share Your World. Here are my replies below…
Restrictions are being lifted all over the world. Do you feel it’s safe to go out and mingle in crowds in light of the Pandemic?
“Safe” is a relative term. I’ve been fully vaxed, so I feel OK about going to stores and such without feeling paranoid, but I still wear a mask (I briefly stopped, but numbers are going up again, so I resumed). I feel OK about outside activities, such as eating outdoors with friends, going to outdoor concerts, etc. It seems that most breakthrough cases are from being indoors with a contagious person for a prolonged time, and people are contagious before they show symptoms. There’s no guarantee I won’t catch Covid despite precautions ~ one of my friends is fully vaxed, has been careful, and he caught it from his daughter (also fully vaxed). They didn’t get super sick though, so hopefully I won’t either if I end up with the thing. It’s possible we all may catch it eventually, vaxed or not, but the odds are we will get a much lighter illness if we’ve had the shots. I’d rather NOT get it though, so I am still being careful, which isn’t that hard. Sure, I don’t like masks, but whatever. It also seems that if we all pitch in to keep Covid from multiplying unnecessarily, it may quit mutating, but sadly that’s not going to happen due to a giant pile of stubborn idiots. I don’t understand people who care so little for their own health and that of others that they will defy common sense and refuse to get vaxed and also refuse to wear masks. I feel like they are acting like 5 year old children stomping their feet and declaring they won’t brush their teeth because nyah you’re not the boss of me! I have no respect for them whatsoever.
What are some things that are okay to do occasionally, but definitely not okay to do every day?
Eat junk food, such as cupcakes, candy, fries, etc.
Would you relocate for love (romantic or otherwise)?
Not for romantic love. I suppose it is possible I would totally rearrange my life if one of my daughters needed me to be around in person full-time.
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories (no judgment)?
I guess it depends how you define your terms. Do I believe that government officials (of any/all parties) lie to us, always have, and probably always will? Yep. It’s the nature of the beast. Do I believe that the earth is flat, that we didn’t go to the moon, that Hillary steals children from pizza parlors, etc.? Uh no. LOL
Please share something sweet (take that as you want).
Image credits to Melanie (world) and me (cupcake).
Jennifer Weiner has an interesting op-ed in the NYT celebrating sex education via the romance novel. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read any of Ms. Weiner’s novels and I want to change that soon. I’ve put her memoir Hungry Heart on my wish list and will be grabbing some of her older novels as well. But in the meantime I enjoyed her article in the NYT, even though I didn’t agree with all of it. [PS: I read Hungry Heart since I wrote this and it wasn’t my cup of tea.]
We’re on the same page with the idea that “what goes where” sex ed is necessary but not sufficient for young peeps, and of course they will be curious for more information. They will search for it relentlessly. I definitely agree with Ms. Weiner that romance novels give a woman’s sexual satisfaction equal priority to a man’s. No fantasy duke or pirate or spy or CEO ever forgets to please his heroine in the bedroom (or wherever), multiple times. Ms. Weiner makes a good point that, unlike pr0n, romance novels describe complete scenes, including birth control (in contemporaries), various other awkward moments, and follow-up conversations.
Talking is important!
But romance novels, like so many forms of entertainment, focus mostly on fabulous looking characters with beautiful faces and perfect bodies. These are the kinds of people deserving of soul mates, true love, fantastic sex, and happily ever afters… this is the message insidiously drilled into our minds as soon as we’re able to read a book or watch a movie. Ms. Weiner quotes Jennifer Crusie in her article, and Ms. Crusie has given us plus-size heroines in several of her novels, but still they are gorgeous overweight women with great legs, lips, and hair, not the ordinary fat chicks you find shlumping around the supermarket. This is not to criticize ~ I lurve Ms. Crusie’s novels and they’re among my favorite romances. I am… JUST SAYING.
Point is, there’s a downside to young people (aka women let’s be honest, since young men aren’t going to be reading Crusie, et al) consuming the emotional content of their sex ed via romance novels. I should know. I was one.
On the bright side, people are still reading books.
I love Linda Ronstadt and I’m glad Jim chose her for today’s Thursday Inspiration. She’s been one of my favorite singers forever, and I recently learned that she was instrumental (SWIDT?) to the formation and success of the Eagles, which makes her even cooler in my eyes. I’m happy she’s been appropriately honored and awarded for her talents.
Back in Chicago, in 1981, I joined a group for people who wanted to become more confident public speakers. There was a man in this group I liked. One of our assignments was to lip sync a song, and I chose Linda’s “Long Long Time.” Everyone said I did a great job, and I had the feeling that guy was going to ask me out at some point. But I wrecked everything by having an impulsive fling with a jerk in my office who turned out to be engaged. I felt so humiliated by the entire episode that I returned to my previous antisocial state and abandoned the group.
Much later, during my divorce, I dated a married man who supposedly was going to separate from his wife “soon,” but that never happened, and again I felt stupid and betrayed. The baggage I carried with me from this toxic relationship weighed me down too much to be able to form a healthy connection with anyone new for “a long long time.” But finally, in 2016, I thought I was ready.
Wrong. When I fell for a guy that September, it was a complete disaster. Unlike the others, he was unattached, but he was a selfish gas-lighter who kept me off-balance for months. He’d act interested for a week, constantly texting and making plans, then he’d ghost. When he returned, he would blame me for the situation by accusing me of not chasing him or baking cookies or whatever BS. Though I knew it was foolish, I kept hoping we would end up together. I finally grasped the impossibility in the Spring of 2017 and spent over a year sunk in a mild depression, mostly because I’d been so dumb. I had never pined away for anyone in this lovesick way before; generally, once something was over (even with that married man), I moved on immediately and tried to meet someone else. But after this one, I stopped trying completely.
“‘Cause I’ve done everything I know To try and make you mine And I think it’s gonna hurt me For a long long time” ~ LR, 1970 (written by Gary White)
This image was my first post on this blog: March 24, 2011. I titled it “RV in Natural Habitat” or something like that. My coworker had bought us some treats from a food truck and I had to snap a pic before nomming. It was so good! Red velvet is one of my favorite flavors, especially when topped with a luscious swirl of cream cheese frosting. I don’t think I’ve had the occasion to repost this image, so I’m doing it now. When I refreshed my blog last April, I deleted hundreds of images (I had a lot of duplicates because WP doesn’t make it easy to search for things in your media library and it’s sometimes easier just to re-upload them), but all the cupcakes were saved. I’m not going to toss out cupcake photos!
Anyway, this is a review post, but I got tired of posting the same image with my reviews. This is why I’ll never be a rich and famous blogger. I keep wanting to shake things up, but success requires discipline, consistency, and reliability. Or something like that. Now everyone will be all confused by this cupcake image on a review post. Sorry. Remember that my reviews may contain spoilers, so read on at your own risk.
1. The Boyfriend by Daniel Hurst. This 2021 mystery novel was OK. I mean, I liked it and read it straight through, but there was nothing great about it. I disliked the protagonist Adele because she was such a drunken ninny. I wasn’t rooting for her fiancé either, since he was a big boring scold. So I didn’t really care what happened to them, but the mystery of who was murdering Adele’s exes was a solidly entertaining plot. One thing I enjoyed was the British writing style and I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s crisper, I guess. There seems to be a ton of novels from British writers available in the Kindle Unlimited program. Or should I say programme? Ooh, my spellcheck does not like that.
2. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman. This 2009 novel was recommended to me because I read Lippman’s Sunburn and enjoyed it. I didn’t like BB as much as Sunburn. I found the protag Tess smart, funny, and likeable overall, but I just wasn’t that interested in the murder mystery or Tess’s angsting over her career. I’m not necessarily opposed to angst in general, but it simply didn’t grab me here. A review on Amazon called the side characters “cartoons” and that’s pretty accurate, especially regarding Aunt Kitty. But it wasn’t a bad book, and the descriptions of Baltimore were interesting. I would have liked it more if I’d read it first.
3. Footloose, 2011 remake. I know, I know, we all love the 1984 Footloose because of Kevin Bacon. No question that Bacon was incredible as Ren in the original musical. However! There are many things I prefer about the remake. First, the movie begins with the tragedy, which has a greater impact than finding out about it later. We get the immediate visceral punch of those 5 kids being killed in front of our face. This is important because it shows why the town’s parents are motivated to pass a series of draconian laws to try to protect the rest of the kids. Second, the story of Ren’s mom dying of leukemia is a more believable way for Ren to end up in Bomont with his uncle’s family than the original idea of Ren’s mom inexplicably deciding to move there. Third, Julianne Hough was a zillion times better as Ariel than Lori Singer. Fourth, Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell played Ariel’s parents with more depth than John Lithgow and that horribly annoying Dianne Wiest. Fourth, while no one can replace Bacon, Kenny Wormald does a fine job as Ren. Fifth, and most importantly, the remake contains zero Sara Jessica Parker.
OK, that’s it for now. I’ll have more reviews soon because I am constantly reading books and watching movies. I love writing blog posts, but I’m not so much into working on my “real” writing at the moment. I don’t even know why I call it “real” writing since my fiction and poetry right here have a much larger audience than the stuff I put up on Amazon, which is basically ignored by the entire world. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve lost interest in posting poetry on Twitter because that too is ignored even though I’ve put a fair effort into liking and retweeting other poets. Last year, during the lockdown lonelies, I returned to Facebook, but it’s been a huge disappointment. Well, of course! It hasn’t changed (except maybe for the worse), but I have. I can’t bear all the hostility and anger there. People are just looking for fights on the daily even when you freaking AGREE with them. No one is interested in WRITING, not even the so-called writers; they all just want to spout their opinions about current events, as if their words are somehow unique or will make a difference.
I am upset about it. I’ve lost friends, old and new, because I couldn’t bear the way they treated others or “trolled” for fun. Other people I can barely stand and have muted them so as not to see their nasty words. I’m reduced to making posts about songs and cats to avoid hosting ugly arguments and probably will stop interacting completely. FB’s only real usefulness is for coordinating events, if that ~ it appears we’re heading back toward doing nothing in person again, sadly. I was right to delete FB from my life for 2 years and shouldn’t have gone back. My daughters (along with many of you) are smarter and though they have FB accounts, they rarely say a word or interact with anyone. That is clearly the way to go.
Hopefully, my day will get better from here. Thank you all for making this blog community a nice place.
Oh Persephone! It isn’t true What they say about me. I want the best for you— Please don’t be deceived By their entreaties; I’ve prepared a feast. Come eat! Drink some wine; Forget about your time In the sunshine. The endless night Reveals your beauty, Twisted like mine, Belonging to no other. Your selfish mother Would destroy our love, Just to have you with her Above. While I care only for your heart And will treasure you forever Here in the dark. There’s no reason to flee, Dearest Persephone.
[Written in 2017, so now it’s been over 16 years.}
Please excuse my lack of bloggery… I was busy attending my daughter’s wedding.
I seem to be out of writing mode, which will change shortly as I’ve rejoined a great prompt group that meets weekly, plus September always motivates me. I’m a student at heart. New school year, crisp notebook, let’s go!
But in the meantime, I wanted to say something, so I decided to turn to my trusty old Ultrablog archives. Apparently I said nothing 10 years ago (hard to believe), so I went back 12 (I don’t like elevens). Twelve years ago I was married, had two children living with me, and for some bizarre reason went to see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.
Now, if you had asked me point-blank an hour ago, Paula, did you ever see the Dukes of Hazzard movie? I would have said no and I would have probably even denied knowing there existed a Dukes of Hazzard movie. But archives do not lie! And if Google Drive says I saw a movie, then I saw it. I suppose in the scheme of things that forgetting the Dukes is no great loss. I hope I don’t forget anything important however, such as a sub-thread from Game of Thrones.
I said I liked the movie except for Burt Reynolds being miscast as Boss Hogg. I also said the TV Roscoe was funnier and I was disappointed that “Boots” played over the credits at the end and we didn’t get to see the sexy car wash scene. I have no idea what I meant by that. The Nancy Sinatra song? Wha? I suppose I could look all that up, but someone will know, so I’m not going to bother.
I really miss when my online writing friends blogged instead of blopped on Facebook. FB is junk food for writers ~ and not even the good junk food like tacos or Oreos, but the worst junk food like those skinny yucky pretzels. You can sit there for hours and eat a million of them and you’ll never be satisfied, only thirstier and thirstier.
I thought it was going to be a beautiful dalliance, the kind you see in old black and white movies, brief but romantic, full of champagne, sunsets, and beach walks. At first, it was somewhat like that with a few fancy dinners and upscale venues. But soon it morphed into a measly taco and soda with a tumble afterwards at a cheap motel. It’s funny how I kept lowering my expectations because I felt invested in that handful of sparkling memories and a dreamy cloud of vague hopes, while trying not to notice that the present moments were rushed and tawdry. An insidious disrespect for each other began to creep into our conversations, since we both knew what we were doing was wrong. Instead of a love story, our relationship turned into one of those DTMA columns I read from Dan Savage.