Friday, July 31, 2009

Is Fruit the New Crouton?

Sharon is one of the best cooks I know (another reason why I'd totally marry her if she were a dude). Seriously, she can take something as plain and simple as meatloaf and turn it into a gourmet meal. As a psudo member of her family I've had the privilege of dining at the Beck house on several occasions. I know that no matter what she makes, my taste buds are in for a fantastical journy. Except for when she makes salad.

Here is where Sharon and I differ in our thoughts on what should and should not be in a salad. Apparently a few years ago, Sharon got it into her head that fruit belongs in a salad. Now I realize that the rest of America is on this little kick as well and quite frankly I am not happy about it. What happened to the old days when a garden salad consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and croutons? And if you were feeling a little "saucy" you might add in some chopped peppers, bacon or even cheese. Who thought that it was a good idea to add orange slices to a salad? Raisins? At what point was it okay to put in apples or even cranberries?

What the heck is up with that? Fruit my friends belongs in a fruit salad mixed amongst other fruit. Has the world gone totally mad? So now, when Sharon says I'm making a salad my first question is, "a normal salad or does it have fruit in it?". She always laughs at me and my unwillingness to conform to the up and coming fruit-in-your-salad regime. She has even gone as far as to remind me that technically a tomato is a fruit, so I've actually been eating fruit in my salad my whole life. I don't let her get to me with her little Jedi-mind tricks. Save it sister, I'm not falling for it.

If it walks like a salad, and talks like a salad, then keep the damn fruit out! That's all I'm sayin....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So you're a writer??? A real writer?

On a recent visit to the Bar in My Brain, I gathered with my writing group to ask - What's it take for a writer to feel like a real writer?

My fellow writers raise their hands, jumping up and down, "Pick me! Pick me!" written all over their faces, doing a sitting version of the pee-pee dance so sure they are that they have the right answer.

"An agent!" screams out Kitty Kat.

"No, no, it's a publishing contract!" says Little Miss J as she elbows Miss Kitty off her bar stool.

"You're both wrong," says Marcus Fitticus, adjusting his kilt as he watches the cat fight, which has tumbled onto the floor. Eyebrow raised in amusement as Miss Kitty bites Little Miss J's ear, he continues. "You're not a writer until you walk into B&N and see your book on the shelf. Or in my case, see the empty spot on the shelf where your book should be but it's been sold out and is on back order because they can't keep up with demand." He taps his pipe on the bar, for in my dreams Marcus Fitticus smokes a pipe.

"Everyone knows all great writers must first suffer great suffering before they can be considered real writers. And then only after they're dead are they worth their weight in whiskey." retorts the ghost of Hemingway from his bar stool down the end.

Hot shirtless guy with a smoking body chimes in. "Is it me on the cover, clutching a young damsel such as yourself, bosoms heaving as your hand pushes me away while your eyes say "Come get me!"? Is the what makes you a real writer?" he asks, flexing as he reaches for his beer mug. "That's it, huh?"

Evil Agent is lurking in the back of the room, the glow of her cigarette matching the red glow of her eyes. Imagine Cruella DeVil meets Medusa. I'm being kind. "We all know you're nothing without me, Evil Agent Extraordinaire. Me, and a good critique group. All writers have a good critique group."

I sigh, not just any sigh but the one that clearly says I'll-try-to-explain-while-not-sticking-a-cocktail-stirrer-into-Evil-Agent's-beady-little-eyes (I am an expert at the sigh, just ask TK). "No, no, no and no. That's not it exactly. While yes, all of those things are important - except you Evil Agent - it's not where I was going with this. And you," I say, pointing and winking at hot shirtless guy, "you're in the wrong dream sequence. I'll see you later tonight. Oh, and put a shirt on, PG rated blog you know."

The girls pause in their wrestling to poke their heads up and first, watch shirtless guy walk across the room and out the door as they drool then join in with the other bar flies to ask "So where are you going with this???"

What they didn't know before but do now (because I was kind enough to share with them, oh yeah, I am a giver, after all) is this:

1 - You need a muse. Muse - from the Greek, a goddess or spirit who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. Also tasked with preventing you from killing your characters off in a fiery crash because you hate them after the 3rd rewrite.

2 - You need an editor. Editor - Latin, individual responsible for transforming your literary mess into a best-selling book while performing a careful balance of bruising but not completely crushing your ego.

To be a real writer you need just those two things. Says me. Remember, my blog, my rules.

A muse to inspire you with words of wisdom and whimsy, to sometimes do nothing but sit idly nearby, the reflection of the pool casting an otherworldly blue-ish glow upon her as you bask in her powers of persuasion. She is there to remind you of where you were going when you started this whole thing, to inspire you to continue, to help create the closet alcoholic when the main character becomes too predictable and boring. A muse to text you "I'm reading the scene where stuff happens and OMGosh I'm bawling my frickin' eyes out!" I am proud to say I have a muse. Muse, you know who you are and you totally rock.

An editor is essential, for this is the person who will take your baby, the precious little bundle you've worked so hard to create, and turn it into the shining golden, NYT bestselling book it was always destined to become. Your editor needs to feel like you feel, sleep like you sleep and eat like you eat. Or lie and say she does. She needs to "get you" and be the type of person you would grant Inner Circle status to, if only she lived nearby. You need to become one, or at least one and a half. When your main character's poignant moment of truth arrives, the forlorn lady exuding distress as she lay head in her husband's lap during a pivotal scene, your editor comments "Ok, I thought she was giving him a little lap love, what's with the head in the lap? Ummm, change that!" Yes, oh wise Editor, we are one.

So fellow patrons of the Bar in My Brain, I am now officially a real writer. I have a muse. I have an editor. The rest is sure to follow. For I am a real live honest to goodness writer. A real writer who has a date with a shirtless man. This rounds on me, folks. Gotta go...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guest Bloggers Wanted!!!

Ever want to write a post but never got around to creating your own blog? Or maybe you have already have a blog but would like to expose it to new and unique followers? Perhaps you don't have a blog, don't want one, never do want one and never did but have something on your mind that you need to share with the world and Facebook and Tweeter just aren't cutting it????

Well, now's your chance! Yay you!

From Aug 13th - Aug 22nd we'll be hosting guest bloggers from around the country, and you, yes lucky you, could be one of them!

To be considered, send us your random bits of reality, any topic is ok (as long as it's covered in chocolate, of course!) no later than Friday, August 7th. All blogs are subject to acceptance and approval by the Soulstas of Reality and may be edited for spelling and grammar. Send all entries to sharon(at)sharonkendrew(dot)com.

And remember, we run a PG-13 blog, keep it clean people!

Good luck! Who knew your day was going to take such a delightful upturn, huh?

- The Soulstas / Sharon and Doreen

Happy Days

I always said I'd never get married again, for so many reasons. However, after seeing this video - I think I might consider it, if only to have a wedding like this one. I can totally see Sharon grooving on down the isle as my maid of honor. I'm thinking these people had a rocking reception!

Wedding Video

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sheriff, there's a dead body over yonder...

Remember when you were little and you'd play dress up? If you were lucky your mom would have saved old bridesmaid dresses, costume jewelry and impossibly high heels for you to parade around in as you put on a show, either solo or with one or two of your good friends. Who would be similarly dressed, of course. Lipstick as red as grandma's smeared across your mouth as you held your pillbox hat on with one hand and held onto the table for balance with the other (those heels still give me trouble!).

A good murder mystery party brings back the same feeling of "Hey kids! Let's put on a show!" with one major difference: we didn't charge Uncle Charlie a quarter to come watch us in the back yard. We also didn't hang mom's good bedspread over the swingset, though I have to admit it made for a mighty fine curtain.

In spite of not having a flowered bedspread curtain showcasing our act, we sure did put on a good show! A lovely woman who runs a local community theatre was kind enough to lend the ladies ball gowns and frippery while the men, well, hmmm, the men. Let me tell you that the men strutted around in their pointy leather cowboy boots that they swear they forgot all about in the back of their closets and gee, when was the last time I wore these, honey? It's been years, why I plum forgot I even had these. Oh suuuuuurrre. And if lying doesn't keep you awake at night, go ahead and tell me another one, pardner.

Here are the highlights of the evening:

The Outlaw Jesse Wales looks innocent all right. Is that him in the Wanted Poster???

Is it me or are big bushy moustaches making a comeback?

Now you listen to me, little lady...

Not to worry, Sheriff Sam is on the case. Or is he asking for a bribe? Hard to tell

Step aside, Sheriff. I'm a Federal Marshal. That's a Federali, a Fed-er-al Em-ploy-yee-ha, the Big Gun. Mucho Marshal at your service.

Keep your hands where I can see 'em!

Every good murder needs a body. He sure looks dead but see what I'm saying about bushy moustaches? Admit it, kinda hot right?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What would you do?

I keep hearing this song on the radio by Nickleback called "If Today Was Your Last Day". (yes I listen to top 40's music, don't judge me) Every time I hear it, it makes me think about what I would do if I knew that my time here on earth was up. So I've made a list of things I would do if today was my last day, not in any particular order.

  1. Tell my mother that I love her and I appreciate everything she has done for me.
  2. Make sure my older sister knew that I don't blame her for her behavior, addiction makes even the sanest of people crazy.
  3. Write each of my siblings a letter, reminiscing a fond memory I have for each one. Remind them to be good to each other.
  4. Thank Sharon & TK for being so good to me and always treating me like part of their family.
  5. Go sky-diving
  6. Kiss the guy I have a crush on
  7. Spend as much time as I can with my boy, doing anything he wanted to do.
  8. Tell everyone that is important to me that I love them
  9. Make several videos for my son to be played on momentous occasions
  10. Forgive Bob the wonder cat for ruining all of my furniture
I'm sure there are other things that I can think of, but I'm rushed as I write this because I should actually be working! Now that I look at my list, most of this stuff I can do now...maybe I will.

What would you do if today was your last day?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Things I Wish I Could Say

Inspired by fellow blogger Sarah J Henry, who reposted a lovely blog by Steph Bowe, I have created my own list of things I've wanted to say to people I know or have known.

Some things I don't say because I will embarass myself. Some I don't say so I won't embarass other people. Mostly it's a little bit of both.

Please don't ask me if I am talking to you. If you think I am, then I probably am.

  1. If just once every so often you thought of me, that would be very nice.
  2. I really adore you but sometimes you smell.
  3. I pray for you.
  4. I wish you took better care of yourself.
  5. I have tried really hard to forgive you but am not there yet.
  6. The eighties are over. I am speaking to you and your hair.
  7. I'm really disappointed that after all I did for you that you can't be happy for me. Not even a little bit.
  8. I wish I could stare at you for hours at a time but I know that would creep you out so I don't.
  9. You used to finish your sentences, now you get lost mid-thought. What happened?
  10. I'm really sorry for the way things ended between us.
  11. Children do not raise themselves. Yes, as a matter of fact, it is your job.
  12. Please stop drinking so much. It makes you a very dull, boring person that repeats every dull, boring thing at least twice. Loudly.
  13. Remember when I said it wasn't you, it was me? I lied, it really was you.
  14. We're really not as close as I'd like us to be.
  15. I miss you so much it hurts.
  16. Being mean doesn't make you more interesting. It just makes you mean.
  17. Please drink more often. You are a very dull, boring person that needs a little something to loosen you up every now and then.
  18. Your children are so very lucky to have you as a parent and are completely clueless about it. They'll figure it out soon enough. I hope.
  19. As much as I like you, please stop flirting with my husband. I know you think it's funny and sometimes it is but mostly it's not.
  20. When you lost your confidence in yourself you really changed. Please change back.
  21. I hope someday you realize how much damage you've done and that when you do, it's not too late to repair it.
  22. When I needed you, you weren't there.
  23. Loosen up, baby! It's all good!
  24. As it turns out you were wrong, you really didn't know better than me.
  25. Yes, your children are great but do you think you can keep an eye on them once in a while?
  26. If I tell you a secret it's between you and me until I decide to share it with others. Or not.
  27. You have always been there when I need you and even sometimes when I didn't. Thank you.
  28. I wish you could've been here to see my children grow up. I know they would've loved you like I did.
  29. If you weren't so bitter and angry your life could be so much better.
  30. I'd like to be friends with you but making new friends as an adult is so hard.
  31. You know what would be awesome? If you showed up somewhere around the time you said you would.
  32. Please stop being so negative. It's your child for Pete's sake, be proud of what they have done and stop focusing on how it doesn't fit into your perfect plan.
  33. Sometimes when I am shopping for clothes, I think about whether or not it's something you would wear because I really like your style.
  34. You missed out on a lifetime of a good thing and that's a shame.
  35. Know what? God does exist and I think no matter what you say, you really do know that.
  36. You are so young and so smart and could do so much better if you just tried.
  37. Don't keep telling people we are friends. We're not. When you decide to return a call, ask me how I am and really care about the answer and stop being a self-centered bitch, we'll talk. Maybe.
  38. I bet if you tried very hard you could find something to talk about other than your job.
  39. I know I'm supposed to be superwoman but I'm not. Lower the bar for me, would you?

What are some things you wish you could say?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do Not Disturb

Yeah, I'm still not feeling myself (wonder if I'm having Ziggy withdrawals?) and can't even begin to tell you how much stuff I have to do today... I promised myself I would focus on the rewrites all day today so if you're looking for me, please stop.

In light of that, today's creativity is dedicated to the book and by default, supporting my husband in his pursuit of retiring early and golfing all day. You see, this book is going to change everything. How, you ask?

Here's the sequence of events:
  • I finish rewrites, finally!

  • The agent who has the partial loves the full manuscript and wants me. She wants me bad. Two syllable bad, baa-aad.

  • Another agent, the one I really really like, requests the full. She wants me too.

  • Agent 1 sends me flowers to get me to sign. Agent 2 sends me a big bowl of bing cherries.

  • I sign with Agent 2, since she has read my blog and knows how I feel about bing cherries.

  • Publishers fight for the right to publish my book, we go to a bidding war and Random House wins. Nicholas Sparks, Stephanie Myers, Stephen King and Jodi Picoult all call me to personally offer endorsements of my book.

  • It's published, hits NYT bestseller list in the second week and gets to the Number One spot in week five. Where it stays for 12 more weeks.

  • People everywhere are talking about the book. "Hey, have you read the new SharonK?"

  • I make a few visits to book clubs in between signings on my book tour.

  • The president of the book club TK's ex-creature belongs to asks her to ask me to come speak. They toss her out of the club for refusing. I bring cookies to their meeting and they say things like "We like you so much more than that bitter old hag. Actually, we never did like her."

  • My agent calls, wants to negotiate the film rights. Well, ok, if you must...

  • Ziggy, Moose and TK join me for the European book signing, as the foreign rights were sold some time ago and those Europeans just love me.

  • TK's ex is brought up on assault and battery charges after she punched one of the kid's teachers. Poor Ms. Smith said she heard we were somehow related, and could the ex get me to sign a book for her since I am her absolute favorite author.

  • My publicist says Oprah still wants to feature me as her Book of the Month, even though I won't appear on her show. I still haven't forgiven her for playing favorites during the election. She apologizes profusely. I still say no.

  • TK is playing a lot of golf.

  • Moose doesn't ask for much so I surprise him with a new car. And though it has nothing to do with my book, Sweetie Pie is back in the picture and they're talking serious stuff.

  • Would I like to consult on the movie? Oh, ok. Nick Jonas would be great as the young man in the book. Oh look, filming is during Ziggy's school break, what a coincidence, she'll have to tag along.

  • Book Two is out. Pre-sales put it at the top of the NYT bestseller list. Stephanie Myers texts congrats to me.

  • Doreen, who quit her day job to be my publicist, is named to People Magazine's list of Best Dressed.

  • I take a break from writing Book Three to check up on the kitchen remodel that's going on at our lake house. The big one we bought last year up north.

  • Nick Jonas gives Ziggy a promise ring, assuring me they'll wait til she's done with med school to marry.

  • His parents come over for dinner a lot. We're great friends.

  • Moose and Sweetie Pie get married and buy the house down the street, so my grandchildren will be close by.

  • TK plays in a Pro-Am with Tiger Woods. They win.

  • Reese Witherspoon walks into a hotel lobby and someone says "You look just like SharonK!"

Now do you see why I have to focus on the rewrites today?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gym Membership

David Thorne is my alias - just kidding, but this is pretty funny.

From:Jeff Peters
Date: Wednesday 8 April 2009 10.22am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Membership Renewal

Dear David

This is a friendly reminder to let you know your gym membership expired last week. Your membership is important to us and we would like to take this opportunity to show our appreciation by offering you a 20% discount on your membership renewal. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

All the best, Jeff Peters

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 8 April 2009 1.37pm
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Membership Renewal

Dear Jeff,

Thankyou for your friendly reminder and the kind offer to reduce my membership by twenty percent. I own a calculator but I could not work out how to do percentages on it so have estimated that I save around $372.10 off the normal price of $420.00 - Please confirm that this is correct and I will renew my membership immediately.

Also, do I get a Fitness First sports bag with towel and drinking bottle included in the price? I own my own legwarmers and headband.

Regards, David.

From: Jeff Peters
Date: Thursday 9 April 2009 10.01am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Hello David

How did you come to that amount? Our half year membership fees are actually $460 but with the 20% discount as an existing member your renewing membership fee would be only $368 for the six months saving you almost $100 off the normal price. We are not Fitness First so do not have those bags.

Cheers, Jeff

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 April 2009 10.18am
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Dear Jeff

Do I get free shipping with that?

Regards, David.

From: Jeff Peters
Date: Thursday 9 April 2009 12.48pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Free shipping with what? The $368 covers your membership fees for six months.

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 April 2009 2.26pm
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Dear Jeff

By the power of Greyskull that is a lot of money but I admit to being in desperate need of increasing my body strength. My ten year old child often turns the taps off in the bathroom very tightly and I have to go several days without washing.

I feel bad constantly having to ask the lady from next door to come over and loosen them for me, what with her arthritis and limited wheelchair access to my apartment. To be honest, I originally joined your gym with full intentions of attending every few days but after waiting in vain for someone to offer me steroids, I began to suspect this was not going to happen and the realization that I may have to exercise instead was, quite frankly, horrifying.

My aversion to work, along with the fact one of your employees, Justin, was rather rude, telling me to 'lift this', ''push that' dulled my initial enthusiasm of becoming muscular and I stopped attending.

Regards, David.

From: Jeff Peters
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 9.17am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Hello David

Not sure how to take your email, nobody here would offer you steroids, it is illegal and none of our staff would do this. Justin is one of our most experienced trainers and if you found him rude while he was trying to be helpful and just doing his job then there are plenty of other gyms you could look at joining instead.

Cheers, Jeff

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 10.02am
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Dear Jeff

Yes, I have noticed that there are many gyms in my area. I assume the low qualification requirements of fitness trainers means that there is an over supply of these buffed but essentially otherwise purposeless professionals.

I knew a guy in high school who couldn't talk very well and collected sticks, he used to call the teacher 'mum' and during recess we would give him money to dance. Then sell him sticks to get our money back.

He went on to become a fitness instructor so I view gyms as kind of like those factories that provide a community service by employing people with down syndrome to lick stamps and pack boxes. Except with more Spandex obviously.

Regards, David.

From: Jeff Peters
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 10.32am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Go f$*k yourself.

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 11.38am
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Dear Jeff

I was, at first, quite surprised at your response; one minute you are inviting me to renew my membership and asking me for money, the next insulting me. After doing a little research however, I have learned that mood swings are an expected side effect of steroid abuse.

As another side effect is a reduction in the size of your p#$%, this gives you understandable cause to be an angry person. I have also learnt that Spandex contains carcinogenic properties so this does not bode well for yourself and your shiny friends.

If I woke up one morning and my p#$% was a quarter of the size I would probably take my anger out on those around me as well.

There are probably support groups or websites that could help you manage your problem more effectively and picture based books available on the subject for people with limited reading skills. When I am angry I like to listen to music by Linkin Park. The added angst and desire to cut myself works similarly to the way firefighters fight forest fires by burning off sections, effectively canceling each other out and I find myself at peace.

I understand that you guys usually listen to Pet Shop Boys or Frankie Goes to Hollywood so this may be worth a try.

Regards, David.

From: Jeff Peters
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 1.04pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due


From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 1.15pm
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due


From: Jeff Peters
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 1.25pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

Is that you being a smartarse or agreeing not to email me again?

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 April 2009 1.32pm
To: Jeff Peters
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Membership Renewal Due

The middle one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's blog is brought to you by...

Other blogs.

Take a walk on the wild side today and visit our fellow bloggers, whose links can be found on the lower right side of the page.

Little Miss J details a romantic evening at home with her husband. And some exercise equipment.

Writes in the City is stuck in a Time Warp that contains, of all things, weiners.

Sally is celebrating an anniversary with her Ray-Bans over at In Search of Spirit. Wonder what the traditional gift is for 22 years?

Ann and May talk about how our tastes changes as we get older. Great reason to not pierce your face until you're in your 50s.

Have fun visiting and if you find links to other blogs that we should add on our "favorites" list, please let us know!

Friday, July 17, 2009

My $200 bottle of mascara

I swear, I was just going to get mascara. That's it. Normally I don't really wear makeup. A little mascara, some lip gloss and I'm done. So how is it that I walked away from the M.A.C. counter with over $200 worth of makeup? I'm still trying to figure that out.

I ended up going to the M.A.C. counter at Macy's (without the help from my GPS). The sales girl Michelle was very pleasant. I'd say she was in her late 20's. What stood out about her to me was her shoes. I'm a shoe whore, I LOVE shoes...but I can't always wear high heels. Even so, I always appreciate a kick-ass pair of stilettos. Her shoes were leather, laced up her calf. Honestly they kinda looked like hooker shoes, but she totally pulled it off. I was loving them.

So she asks if she can put some make up on me. I was going out to dinner that night so I figured sure why not. She starts applying make-up, showing me how to do it, how to maximize my features blah blah. I have to admit by the time she was finished I looked good. I felt like breaking out into song "I feel pretty, oh so pretty". How could I not purchase the stuff? I looked hot. I figured it was maybe $100 worth of makeup, no biggie.

My new friend Michelle rang me up and told me my total was $230. I was in shock. Was this crap made out of gold or what? I mean I usually buy my limited make-up supplies at CVS, the total usually $15.00 max, clearly I was out of my element here. I rarely spend money on myself
(single motherhood, enough said) so I figured I'd splurge.

I have to admit, I do like how I looked and what the hell, I'm worth it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Inner Winner

I don't buy lottery tickets. I mean sure, I love scratching off that little box, then the other little box then another and another until you reveal the matching cherries. My father was a gambler, I grew up on scratch tickets and unfortunately know the secret - what you've won is always spelled out in letters scattered around the boxes. If you see, say, a P or a B you know you've lost. So on the rare occasion when Santa slips a scratch ticket in my stocking I am careful to scratch only the tiny square, and nothing around it, delaying my joy while thinking ahead to where we'll travel to first with the winnings, and picturing the look of surprise on Moose's face when his new car shows up. Keeping a cautious eye on the lamp nearby, I gauge my surroundings, not wanting to knock anything over when I jump up and shout "I won a million dollars!"

I scratch the last box off with the edge of a dime while the lamp looks at me with scorn, as if to say "I was never really worried, loser".

I buy raffle tickets at every single charity event we go to. Door prizes, fifty-fifty raffles, whatever. I apply fresh lipstick and make sure my zipper is up as the tickets are drawn. I wait eagerly, fingers crossed, knowing my number will be called this time. Then swallow my disappointment when it isn't, extending congratulations to the person sitting next to me while muttering "Fixed!" under my breath. If only 2 tickets are sold and I have 1 of them, I will lose. Every time.

Our town has an incredible event every year called the Festival of Trees. We attend faithfully for years. Local families and businesses decorate amazing, elaborate trees that run from traditional in nature to bright blue trees covered in spa gift certificates or designer handbags. Last year there was a even a huge tree with a full size canoe propped up against it. The idea is you buy tickets in mass quantities and deposit them in the canister in front of the tree you want. Over 100 trees are donated each year and thousands of people visit and buy tickets. My strategy is this - I purchase a boatload of tickets, give half to Ziggy and off we go. Her method hasn't varied over the years - she zig-zags from tree to tree depositing tickets everywhere until she runs out and begs for some of mine. My tickets, she wants some of my precious tickets that I've been hoarding all night. One of which is most definitely a winning ticket. I slap her away and move on.

Oh I used to drop them in here and there, what a lovely tree, isn't that one fun, here a ticket, there a ticket, everywhere a ticket, ticket. But I've learned to play it smart. I carefully study the trees, narrowing my selection down to two or three of the less desirables, avoiding the "popular" trees. Sure, they're not as pretty or sparkly but they're nice enough and I have a better chance of winning one of these. And it's all about the winning. Without seeming too obvious I stake out my trees, not wanting to tip anyone off and draw more attention to them then necessary. I'll confess, I shake a few canisters. I can tell within a slight margin of error how many tickets are in there just by the feel of it in my hand. Once I know which tree I have a better shot at winning I lay all my tickets on that baby, smug in the knowledge that this year will be my year.

The mayor draws the tickets, announcing the names on the last night of the event. I make sure there's a clear path in front of me, shooing away small children that could trip me up, wiping my palms on my leg so my hands aren't sweaty when I shake the mayor's hand, accepting his congratulations while envious neighbors clap politely. The last ticket is drawn and somehow my name is not called. As I leave I pass by the tree, my tree. A sob escapes me as I turn to it one last time. "You know, I loved you," I say to its burned out bulbs and handmade ornaments. "I accepted you for what you are, and it just wasn't enough for you, was it? Was it???" The tree didn't even have the decency to look away.

The Boston Garden is running a Willie Wonka-esque contest today, passing out chocolate bars that contain well, chocolate. But if it's your lucky day your chocolate bar may just have a golden ticket inside. The coveted golden ticket opens the door to concert tickets, season tickets and all kinds of great stuff. We're heading into Boston today because today is my lucky day. I'm going to channel my Inner Winner and come home the proud owner of season tickets to the Celtics and the Bruins. I've picked out my clothes for the day, a tasteful outfit that says I AM A WINNER in a subtle, not too in-your-face way. I'm ready. I've scanned the schedules, making sure I'm free for the first games of the season. I've notified my friends that I'll have several tickets to pass along to them, as I can't possibly go to all sixty games myself. I'm pretty sure I'm in town during the play-offs too.

I just have a feeling, today's going to be my day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Road Nazi

I am geographically challenged. I have been all my life. It's part of my charm I think, or so I tell myself. My friends think it's funny. It usually takes me many trips before I can actually make it to a destination on my own.

I'm the butt of every one's jokes when they get the call from me. "I'm lost", or "how do I get to that place again?" (even though I've been there two or three times). The conversation goes something like this.

"Hey, how do you get to Macy's in Burlington again?"

"What? You've been there like 3 times already!"

"Yeah, it's me you're talking to"

"Right good point, go Rte 93 to Rte 95 to exit 32A and take a right off the ramp, go a mile and it's on your right, Retard."

So last year, I did what any geographically challenged person should do, and bought a GPS. Problem solved right? Wrong.

I think I'm the only person on the planet who still gets lost even with a GPS. My problem here is that sometimes I don't trust the Road Nazi (that's what I call the voice on my GPS). She's kind of a bitch in her British accent, barking off orders. I can't help it, I have an issue with someone telling me what to do. Don't worry, I'm talking it through with my therapist.

Yesterday was no exception. On my quest for the perfect mascara I was looking for a M.A.C store. I was told by a co-worker that I would find the ultimate mascara there. I looked them up on the web (I've got nothing better to do at work) and found the nearest location. A few towns over, no problem I can go at lunch and be back in an hour.

So I plug the address into my GPS, and the Road Nazi starts demanding that I go straight and in 1.2 miles take exit 40. Sometimes I think she likes to mess with me, because I swear she brought me to the wrong place. She was telling me to take a left on a road that wasn't even a road. It was a strip mall. I turn around, and she says in her condescending tone "recalculating". I hate her.

She kept telling me to go into the strip mall, the mall with NO
M.A.C store. By now, I'm annoyed and have about 20 minutes before I have to get back to work - so I gave up.

When I got back to work I called the
M.A.C store and they gave me directions. Apparently I should have gone right when the Road Nazi told me to go left. So now my GPS is totally playing head games with me.

No wonder I have trust issues.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Be afraid... be very afraid

I have to admit Doreen is making me a little nervous. Sure, she's my BFF and all but seriously, between you and I, that woman does have just a teensy bit of evil in her. Which ordinarily contributes to her wittiness and ability to keep me laughing.

But after last weekend, I'm watching my back and I'd appreciate if you would watch it for me too.

Ok here's the thing and I'll try to make my long story sort of short. Or not really long but more medium-ish long. I agreed to host a luau at my home on Sunday for a lovely group of ladies from our church (allow me to interject that our church rocks, Crossroads Baptist) and as the youth group had recently had a Hawaiian themed gathering the decorations were a-plenty. After Doreen and I cooked a fabulous dinner for the family we set about luau-ifying Beck House to get everyone in the proper festive mood.

We're no slackers here, my friends. We're talking purple fish netting on the walls, life size palm trees and hundreds of leis. If it stood still, we decorated it. Not even the dog was spared.
I'm not sure we ever found our way to the bottom of the boxes, we ran out of energy before we ran out of decorations. We even found flowered hair accessories. Which we wore. All night.

Which brings me to what happened later. In and of itself it was harmless fun and yes, maybe a little kooky but we're like that. Doreen needed to run to B&N for a book and well, who am I to pass up a trip to the book store? So off we go, Hawaiian headdresses in place. En route to the store I decide I'm going to take mine off. If I'm going to be noticed let's pretend it's because I look hot in my sweaty t-shirt and shorts, not because I'm slightly retarded and wearing a ridiculous flowered lei in my hair at the local strip mall on a Saturday night. I remove it, fully expecting Miss Doreen to DARE me to wear it. You know, the famous "I bet you to... fill-in-the-blank-with-something-you-must-do-or-break-the-seven-year-run-where-neither-of-us-have-ever-turned-down-a-bet" thing. I figured hey, I'll just take it off, she'll dare me to wear it to the store, easy-peasy my betting turn is over and I remain unscathed. And even better it would now be my turn to dare her to do something dumb.
I take it off my head and wait. I wait. I wait some more. I'm thinking, c'mon Doreen, dare me! Dare me and get it over with. She says nothing. I say, again, "I am so not going to wear this." She tells me to stop being a baby and just wear the darn thing. So I do because I always cave to peer pressure.

It's a real testimony to how strange our society has become that no one gave us a double take. NO ONE. By the time we were at the register I was chatting extra long with the cashier, knowing she'd have to notice and admire the delicate white flowers of my headdress. She couldn't help but smile the way you do when you admire someone but are also a bit jealous.
Then she'd inquire, "Some party must be dull and boring until you two get there. I bet you're off somewhere fun and exciting tonight?" She would eagerly await our replies, happy to live vicariously through two fun-loving crazy ladies like me and D. And perhaps ask for my autograph. Nope, nada. She didn't even tell me to enjoy my book. And also, besides that, no one told me I looked hot in my sweaty t-shirt either. That kinda hurt.

We leave the bookstore somewhat deflated. We commiserate over chocolate almond fudge ice creams which does make me feel a little bit better. It's too late for a dare now so as chocolate dribbles down the front of my t-shirt and onto my shorts I casually mention how surprised I am that she didn't dare me to wear the floral headpiece.

She said, and I quote, "Oh I knew you'd wear it anyway. Besides, I have your next dare all planned out. And it is a good one. A very, very good one. One you won't soon forget, and neither will anyone else." Then in her sexy, raspy, evil way she laughs, "Mwah ha ha, mwah ha ha."
I haven't slept since.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hierarchy of Friendship

Social hierarchy has been around since biblical times, and is still observed to this very day. I imagine the first order of hierarchy went something like this:

  • God

  • Jesus

  • Disciples

In the early 1800's, the ranking for royal circles were as follows:

  • King

  • Duke

  • Earl

  • Viscount

  • Baron

  • Lord

Even today our government has its own hierarchy:

  • President

  • Vice President

  • Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • President Pro Tempore of the Senate

  • Secretary of State

  • Secretary of Treasury

  • Secretary of Defense

  • Attorney General

  • Secretary of Interior

  • Secretary of Agriculture

  • Secretary of Commerce
So, with centuries of historical hierarchy, it stands to reason that we would have our own social hierarchy. A hierarchy of friendship, as I like to call it. I love my friends, I have many friends, some are ever present in my life, some fade away and then resurface, all important to me on one level or another. The thing about friendship hierarchy is that a friend's status can change, they can move up and down the "social ladder", it's a sliding scale really. Here is how we've (Sharon & I) deemed the social structure of our friendship hierarchy. Agree, disagree, hate it or love it. It doesn't matter, it's about us and this is our world - you're just a visitor here.

  • BFF: A BFF is bestowed as the highest honor. You totally get each other. You can have more than one BFF, most people do. With the great power of a BFF, comes great responsibility. A BFF is that person who knows EVERYTHING about you, all your secrets - good and bad. You share a bond of trust, you're always in a judge-free zone when you're with your BFF. You talk to each other at least once a day, emails and texts are frequent. Your BFF has seen you through the worst of times and is genuinely happy for you in the best of times. She wipes away the tears (and sometimes snot - yeah it's gross but a BFF would totally do it), she'll hold your hair back while you vomit and pick you up when you have fallen down. She's the person you think of first when you have good news to share, she's the one you can always count on. Always.

  • Inner Circle: Other slang terms include posse, peeps or my crew. The inner circle consists of your BFF of course, but not every person in your inner circle is necessarily a BFF. Yes it is a little complicated, try to keep up. The inner circle includes people you trust, just not enough to know where the bodies are buried. People who you know very well, who have your best interests at heart. These are the people that you include when having say, a small dinner party. They are the ones you invite to "exclusive" events. They are fun, and you truly enjoy their company. Inner circle friends, all respect each other. They may not be as close with each other as they are with one or two members of the inner circle - but they all tend to get along. It's an exclusive membership, the inner circle, and sometimes on rare occasions even inner circle friends can be demoted to fringe friends.

  • Fringe Friends: Fringe friends are people who are not quite in the "inner circle", but they are still around for social events. You invite them to larger parties, or group nights out. You may on occasion have a drink with a fringe friend without your inner circle friends present. These are the friends that you moderately trust, you wouldn't tell them certain things about your life because you're not quite sure if they would share this information with their "inner circle". So unless you want other people to know your business, you refrain from any in depth or personal knowledge sharing with your fringe friends. That does not make these friends unlikeable by any means and in many cases fringe friends have been known to penetrate the inner circle. It just takes time to prove themselves worthy.

  • Oldies but Goodies: These are the friends that you've known forever, at one time or another they may have been a BFF. They are the friends that you have known since childhood or perhaps a good friend who has moved away. I love my oldie but goodie friends. My friend Kathy and I see each other maybe once or twice a year. We always mean to keep in touch but life takes over and before you know it, months have gone by. But no matter how much time has past, when we do get together - it's like it was only yesterday that we spoke. We fall easily into conversation and spend hours playing "catch up". I have other friends who also fall into this category. Although, thanks to facebook I do keep in contact with my OBG's more so now than ever before. OBG's rock.

  • One of us: Every once in a while, Sharon and I will come across a person and say "she's one of us!". This simply means that they have the making of a potential inner circle ranking or even a BFF. Most of the time, we don't even know these people. For example, there is a blogger Little Ms. J. She writes a kick-ass blog. Her shit cracks me up. Seriously people you must read her stuff...she'll crack you up too. If she doesn't, well then there is just something wrong with you. "She's one of us". I don't know Little Ms. J personally, but I'm confident that she has BFF potential. Another example, Sharon was telling me about her friend Linda who lives in CT. How they met, things they've done...and she ended it with, "you'll love her, she's one of us". Those were the magic words that told me all I really needed to know about Linda. I knew that I'd like her, and I when I met her it was clear - she was truly "one of us"!

  • Hanger Friends: I wasn't sure if I was going to mention this level of "friend" and I use the term loosely. But I really felt I needed to include them as they are part of the hierarchy. Hangers are people who have an agenda of their own. They aren't really your friends, and the only reason you give them the time of day is usually because they "hang" onto someone whose hierarchy ranking is higher than they could ever hope for. You don't trust hangers, especially with your husband or boyfriend. They are annoying little gnats that you're always trying to avoid and usually deserve a smack-down at one point or another (even if it is just a mental assault all in my head, I'm too old for smack-downs). The sound of a hanger's voice makes you cringe. Honestly, you hate them - yes I said it, hate. You tolerate them for as long as possible for the sake of your higher ranked friend but eventually, when you've had all you can take - you simply disallow the hanger to be included in anything. Otherwise, the hanger could end up being one of the bodies that you've buried (with the help of your BFF of course). Little Ms J wrote a great blog about a girl named Molly, a true "hanger"...yeah LMJ really is so one of us.
Right or wrong, that's how we see it. The hierarchy of friendship. I didn't invent the concept of hierarchy, I just roll with it. In one social circle I'm a BFF, in another I could be a fringe friend, and I'm totally cool with that. The rankings fluctuate but one thing is for sure, I love and appreciate my friends, no matter where they rank.

Except for the hangers, you know who you are.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quinn Cummings, Guest Blogger here today!!!

Quinn Cummings, author, inventor, mother, fellow blogger and in a previous life, actress and agent. And while that’s quite an impressive mini-bio it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning she’s my new Best Friend. Second BFF, after Doreen of course.

Recently Quinn and I sat down over triple soy half decaf extra grande lattes with a dusting of Guatemalan nutmeg to talk about her new book and well, life in general. And me. Honestly, the girl likes to talk a lot about me. (Ok, ok, confession: I was sipping coffee from Dunkins here at home while Quinn was in sunny LA, drinking iced chai tea in her pajamas, emails bridging the distance. Whatever. We were together in spirit.)

Fortunate for you, I am able to share some of our girl-chat with you today.

Me: I've just returned from a jaunt to Barnes & Noble where I picked up your book, "Notes from the Underwire". In spite of my repeated assurances to everyone that I was, in fact, your new BFF, they made me pay for it anyway. And it was so worth it! While my nose is still deep in the folds absorbing that new book smell, I have to take my face out of it for a moment to tell everyone out there: If you haven't had the opportunity to read it yet, you MUST! And I'm not just saying that because we're BFF's either.

Quinn: Thank you so much. So you don't want the other half of my heart necklace?

Me: That would be awesome, did you get my name engraved? Know what else is awesome? Your book. I love the stories you have shared about your relationship with Alice and found myself laughing and cringing right along with you. How was your relationship with your mom similar? How was it different?

Quinn: I'm fanatic about telling her the truth, which I think is very much how I was brought up. We laugh a lot; my mom and I did that. But my mother had to work for financial reasons and I'm home with her a lot more in any given week. Not better, not worse, not cheerleading for Team Stay at Home Mom, but it's very different.

Me: What was the biggest life lesson you learned from your mom that you hope to pass on to Alice?

Quinn: My mother told me often that my talent was very nice but it was something I couldn't help, it was a gift from God, but she took as much pride in my being punctual, professional and courteous. She was right; the arts are full of badly-behaved moderately talented people and very few make it the distance, because too many people are all too happy to see them fall.

Me: Speaking of writing, which post on my blog was your favorite and why? (Ok, just kidding. No not really)

Quinn: Oh, that one where you...said stuff! It was great! Really, hysterical. Also, I cried. The sordid truth is that I've been very light on reading first-person confessional blogs lately, because my writing-voice has a nasty habit of taking on the flavor of whatever I read. It's like literary tofu. I'm safest with pictures of cats captioned in pidgin English but really, aren't we all?

Me: During our conversation, you’ve said several really nice things to me. Thank you, you’re so sweet! What's the nicest thing a person ever said to you as a child? As an adult?

Quinn: There was an interview Tom Shayles did about me when I was a kid where he noted that, all things considered, I was a pretty normal little kid. Considering how weird I had seemed in every interview up until then, I remember being pleased. Now I like when I find someone who, commenting about my blog, describes me as "You know, a pretty normal person." When you're a former child actor, normal is a very big deal.

Me: So if you could either act or write, which one would you choose? What if you never had an audience to perform for or to read your writing, would you still choose the same?

Quinn: I wrote for several months before I got a hit counter or, as I refer to it, "The outer manifestation of my inner worth." During those months, I tended to assume no one was reading the blog, because I'm Eeyore-ish like that, and yet I kept doing it, because it pleased me and it made Consort laugh when he corrected my punctuation. I loved the bit of acting which comes between "Action" and "Cut," but I disliked the rest, and the actual acting part of the acting life is statistically insignificant. I've already spent more hours in happy pursuit of writing than I did acting.

Me: When writing your book, was there anything that you considered taking out before publication? Or was there anything that was removed that you regret deleting?

Quinn: I thought long and hard before I added in "Like a Tattoo on Your Butt," because I was concerned people would think it was an attack on my mom. She made a difficult decision about keeping a health situation secret because, among other reasons, she was afraid she would get fired for being sick. Anyone feels like judging her, they can answer to me. Anything I removed was for the best.

Me: Some people remove the nuts from their brownies. As my BFF, you know I prefer my brownies with nuts. Are you more of a "with nuts" kind of person, or "without"?

Quinn: See, nuts are perfect because then you can pretend you're only eating the brownie for the Omega-3's in the walnuts. That’s why I'd eat my weight in pesto with a clear and happy conscience, not to mention a wide and copious butt.

Me: If your book was a fine wine, would it be deep and peppery? Fruity and light? Would it go well with chocolate or brownies? How would you describe it?

Quinn: I'd like to think I was very drinkable and that I have a stronger kick than you'd expect. Also, oaky. I've always like that wine term and it would please me to be oaky.

Me: Since you’re not getting the hint that I’d like snacks and a beverage, let’s talk more about your book. Writers and actors everywhere talk about their "amazing journey"; it's become the catchphrase of our time (and one I despise). Without using the words "amazing" or "journey", tell me what led you to write about your, um, amazing journey.

Quinn: The kid who just sailed around the world before he turned eighteen is allowed to discuss his amazing journey. My book is a bunch of stuff. I like to think I probably have the same amount of embarrassing incidents as other people but am blessed with a nearly eidetic memory for my own petty humiliations and a lack of the genetic material which tells you when you're defaming everyone who shares your last name.

Me: You mentioned previously that "normal is a very big deal". Based on your book, that seems quite an accomplishment when living in LA. What do you do to stay normal?

Quinn: I live my life. Yesterday was publication day, which was exciting. But the kid still needed to get her hair trimmed and the dog had to have an antibiotic hidden in butter. It's hard to feel fancy when you're slipping a pill into a butter-pocket.

Me: Oh I know the feeling, girlfriend. I do the same for my husband’s sleeping pills. When he’s not sleeping, TK frequently steps up on his soap box (as written about in my blog) when it comes to certain political practices. I can get heated up when I discuss family issues. What gets you up on your soap box? And what does it take to bring you back down?

Quinn: People walking dogs who are abundantly unneutered make me start mumbling under my breath like a crazy person. Dude (and it's usually a man walking him), the world doesn't need another red-nosed pit, lop those off.

Me: Know what keeps me up at night? I think the next generation is suffering from many things but mostly, I worry about their lack of good ad slogans. We grew up wondering how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, wondering where the beef was and what we would do for a Klondike Bar. If you had only one catchy slogan used to sum up your life so far, what would it be? Would it be the same if you had to print it on t-shirts and hats and wear it until your dying day?

Quinn: I've always had a fondness for "Exit, pursued by a bear." It covers both my general lifetime unease and will, I suspect, also end up being my obit.

Me: That’s great, maybe a title for your next book? I confess that while I have not finished “Notes from the Underwire” yet, I did skim through the second half to ensure there was a "happily ever after" ending. Imagine my disappointment when one glaringly obvious fact became, well, glaringly obvious. I see that you forgot to mention me. Was that intentional? I mean, will there be a sequel featuring me? Or did I just ruin the surprise by asking that?

Quinn: It's like this. First, I stalk you. Then, I live behind your trash cans for a while. Then, I write about you. Now please stop bothering me; I'm weaving hair I found on your hairbrush into an ankle bracelet.

Quinn, thank you for being such a good sport and joining me on the blog today! Quinn's book "Notes from the Underwire" is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere else really cool books by really cool people are sold.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Moose is on the Loose

Moose, noun

1. a large, long-headed mammal, Alces alces, of the deer family, having circumpolar distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, the male of which has enormous palmate antlers.

2. (initial capital letter) a member of a fraternal and benevolent organization (Loyal Order of Moose).

3. oldest offspring of SharonK, male in persuasion, elusive, tends to dwell in cave when in the home environment, occasionally appearing for meals and beverages.

Everyone knows about Ziggy, my youngest, and well, definitely the bubblier of my offspring. I love them equally but don't talk about Moose nearly as much, he's scarce around these parts. Therefore he just doesn't give me quite as much material.

y Moose (definition #3 in case you weren't sure), while he does have some of those personality quirks that are singular to the male species, is for the most part, a good kid.

Don't get me wrong, we've had our moments. Raising a boy-child as a young single mom was akin to joining the circus and having to be the ringleader, lion tamer and tight-rope walker all in one.

Refusing to study French because "the teacher is a loser" (failed the class, you showed him, didn't you Moose?), late night phone calls for a ride home (twice), underage drinking (remind me to tell you how happy he was when I found a case of beer in the house and emptied every single can down the sink) and in spite of the fact he's turning 23 in a few weeks, he has yet to master the skills necessary to bring the empty trash barrels back up the driveway. Yeah, we're still working on that one. But I wouldn't trade him if I could. (Trust me, there is a very strict no return policy)

Here are some fun facts about Moose:

He travels in small packs and socialize with animals similarly named - Theodopolis, Crookie, The Juice, J-Rod, Captain, Fresh and Goose.

In spite of the thousands of dollars invested in his beautiful teeth, he frequently objects when I ask him to show his friends what mommy bought him.

ave dweller in his home environment, Moose becomes almost unrecognizable when at his place of employment. Warm, welcoming and helpful, he morphs into a cordial, intelligent young man who is capable of speaking in full sentences. He offers help - get this! - without being asked three times. Sometimes without even being asked at all.

I don't believe I can do anything to embarrass him. I try, I really do.

Hobbies include sister-tormenting, texting and sleeping.

I'm not going to lie, Moose is not the neatest creature. Oh, except after he's had a party that wasn't supposed to happen. When we come home and the house is cleaner than when we left it, that's one thing. But when the toilet paper holder that was broken before we left is now fixed, we know there's been a party. In this day and age of digital, you'd think the kids would take pictures of the house before so they'd know how it should look after. Amateurs.

When we were younger we couldn't wait to get out of our parent's houses, out on our own, living the grown up life. Moose and his friends, they're all perfectly content to stay at home and live with mom and dad until... I have no idea. Which makes me wonder - does this make us better parents than our parents were? Or worse?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The daughter I've always wanted

I have a fifteen year old son that I love with all my heart. I refer to him as "the boy", but it is with affection that I do so. He is my one and only child, the love of my life...but I always wanted a girl too. The boy was the first "boy" born into my family. I had two nieces before he was born, I loved buying them girly clothes, braiding their hair and painting their nails and even after my son was born, I thought for sure my next child was going to be a girl. Well, there was no child #2 so it turns out it is just me and my boy. I'm really okay with that, besides I do have a daughter by proxy.

Enter Ziggy. If I had a daughter, I'd want her to be just like her. I really love spending time with the Zigster. She makes me laugh. I also have so much fun teasing her :) She's a great sport, she laughs along with me. She makes fun of her mother (Sharon)and me because she doesn't get us (nor does she want to) when we are being silly. She has the best sense of humor, and since I'm not her mother the things I do to try to embarrass her make her laugh. If it were Sharon doing the same thing, she'd be horrified.

We recently went to the movies a few nights ago. It started to get chilly before we left. I did not bring a jacket and since Sharon is like a size 2 - and I am not - she let me borrow a Pashmina. When we got to the theater and took our seats (Ziggy was sitting next to me) I wrapped the Pashmina around my head and across my face. I asked Ziggy if she minded if I sat like that through the whole movie. After the movie, while walking to the parking lot, I broke out in song and danced my way over to the car, using the Pashmina as a prop to my dancing routine. Ziggy ran to the car as fast as she could.

Ziggy will take the time to explain her reality TV shows to me. She sings with me in the car to Michael Jackson's PYT. She laughs when I act silly and helps me move furniture around when her parents are out of town.

Best of all, I know that when she marries Nick Jonas - she'll invite me to the wedding.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Name is Sharon. And I'm an Addict.

I listened with heart pounding, eyes fixed on a distant spot on the wall. Half-listened really. My lips moved silently, practicing the words I had practiced so many times before. My turn was coming. I could pass with a wave off, as usual. Or I could speak. I had been here many times, sitting among the addicts of the the inner circle, or the Circle of Lost Souls, as I like to call it. As I glanced nervously around the room my mouth went dry as I recognized a few faces from previous weeks. Tonight, I would speak and these people, my fellow addicts, were here to listen and encourage.

Over in the far corner sat John, picking at his nails as if the most fascinating thing in the room could be found beneath them, and quite possibly in his little world, that very well may be true. His addiction so gross I won't even go into it. Unless you email me and ask. Let's just say if he was slicing the meat behind the deli counter I'd be a vegetarian.

Oops, I just remembered, I'm not supposed to talk about the others at the meetings, privacy and all that but... well, whatever. Margie double oops, let's call her Barbie, stood abruptly, waving her arms about as she introduced herself, her voice projecting around the room, out the door and down the hall to the Parents without Parameters meeting. She always does this, I know now, since she's addicted to being the center of attention. Several meetings ago (my first night here) they asked her to leave. Ok forced her to leave. Bodily. She wasn't happy but hey, she was the one who stood on a table, showing off her new belly tattoo (of a teapot, since you asked) and sang "I'm a Little Teapot" (yeah, did the dance thing, too) while Brad um, Brian, was tearfully recounting how he celebrated his one year anniversary of being addiction free (picks lint, monkey-like off of strangers. I believe he eats it too. Excuse me, ate it. Past tense. Addiction free now). Anyway, I hear they're dating.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Here it comes. My turn, if I choose to speak. Which I do. Will do. Choose to, that is. Our leader, or our "Angel of Addiction" as he is known, makes eye contact, waiting for the slight shake of my head he's come to expect from me. I nod ever so slightly as his eyes widen. I take a deep breath, my chest heaving as I rise from my seat so forcefully the chair falls back, hitting the bright tile floor with a clatter. Grrrreat, now I have everyone's attention. Even Marge's. Barbie's.

I exhale quickly, my voice cracking as I begin to speak. "For years I've fought the idea, the very notion of my addiction. I didn't have a problem. I could stop."

Angel of Addiction: "Let it out! Let it all out!"

I imagined gospel music, a chorus of large-lunged women singing behind me -"Oooohhh! Oooohhhh! Oooohhhh Oooohhh!"

I warmed to the speech I had been practicing for weeks, no wait, months. I paced around the room, hands waving over my head, my voice strong and loud."I could quit at any time, if I wanted. I just didn't want to, is all. Didn't. Want. To. You ever feel that feeling, my friends? Even when my family held the intervention last fall, I couldn't see it. Could. Not. See. It. Oh yeah. It was their problem, I told myself, not mine."

Woman to my right: "Ha! Tol' myself the same thing, mhhm hmmm."

"My friends, I was in denial."

Murmurs of empathy, a "Tell it, girl!" from the back.

I strutted around the Circle of Lost Souls, singing along with the gospel girls in my mind. "No sir, I was not funky like a monkey!"

"No you weren't, nuh-uh."

"I wasn't chillin' like a villain!"

Heads shook in agreement, "Not you, no chillin' for you."

"Know what I was? I was denyin' like a, well, like something that rhymes with denyin' but isn't a good thing. A bad thing. A bad thing that rhymes with denyin'."

"Mmhhm hmmm, she was denyin' alright."

I froze, dropping my head in shame as my moment had arrived, the gospel girls in my head humming their encouragement to me. Clearing my throat, I looked up, my tear filled eyes meeting each and every pair of eyes around the circle. Except for Bill's uh, Bob's, but only because one eye was focused on the ceiling and the other eye, well I think it was looking out the window but I couldn't be sure. "But now, I can deny no longer." I drew a deep breath again and exhaled slowly, the words rushing out of my mouth, unwilling to be contained any longer.

"My name is SharonK and I'm addicted to movie theatre popcorn."

Don't judge me.