Category Archives: Life Moments

On the Rebound

According to Hindu philosophy, animals eventually will reincarnate into people, but only if the animal has no fear of humans. This can only happen if we are kind to them. How many times have we heard someone say that their dog or cat thinks it’s a human? Some Hindus will tell you that that’s because their pet is in fact, ready to be a human in its next life.

I can get behind that.

Last month, we had to say goodbye to our eight-year-old boxer after he sustained a sudden illness. I believe the only thing Moe felt differentiated him from a human, was that he took a heartworm pill every month. I have no doubt he will become a handsome and charming human and will love long walks on the beach. (Think Ryan Reynolds.)

So of course, we knew we’d miss his exuberance when we came in the front door; miss taking him for his daily walk; and miss his goofiness, especially when an exercise ball freaked him out. But as the days and weeks have gone by, I felt his loss is unexpected ways:

Nearly-empty jars of peanut butter get rinsed with water instead of being licked clean before going into the recycling bin.A dog and his peanut butter

Eating popcorn without being watched, feels unnatural.

The mail sits in the mailbox at the end of the cul-de-sac for days at a time now because we no longer go on an evening walk and often just forget to pick it up.

Bringing groceries into the house is anti-climatic because the excitement radiating from this child-with-fur whose waiting for a surprise out of one of the bags, just isn’t there.

The wood floor in the kitchen has an annoying shine because the dried drool marks are gone.

I never thought I’d miss dog farts, nose prints on the glass door, and floating dog hair in the air.

I knew it’d be lonely, but holy crap, I had no idea. The Husband and I work from home, so when he went away for a work trip, I wasn’t fully prepared for the deafening silence. Even a tank full of fish or a lava lamp might have helped. Or dare I say . . . a cat? My neighborhood is full of free range felines and I have found myself keeping a lookout for them. I’ve fallen for a beautiful black one with white paws and green eyes that actually showed me some affection.

I know he’s no good for me. I’m allergic. But would it be so bad to let him come in and walk around? Snuggle a little? I could wash my hands and use a sticky roller on my clothes later . . . I could take an allergy pill. I’m all about protection.

Yes, I’m on the rebound. I’d take in a squirrel if it showed signs of domestication.

I know, just get another dog, right? First of all, it’s too soon. Second, with our son likely leaving the nest in about two years, The Husband and I would like to do some traveling for months at a time, so having a pet wouldn’t be a wise decision.

But . . .

In 2007, Moe picked us out when we came to look at a litter of seven boxer puppies. I believe he did that because he knew we would be his best chance at becoming a human in his next life. There’s no guarantee we won’t get another dog sooner rather than later, because when a dog picks you, you have no choice but to scoop him up and take him home.

 

A Stat Tease

Folsom's 93 by April MooreThis morning, WordPress informed me that my stats were on fire at Folsom’s 93, my other site. Sure enough, the last two days registered quite a jump. I don’t get a lot of traffic at my two sites, so my writer heart was all a flutter when I saw that I had over 500 hits before 10 a.m. Did an exec at the History Channel fall in love with my book? Did Oprah add it to her prized bookshelf? Surely, some influential bigwig is about to make my author dreams come true.

Is it finally my time to break the internet?! *squeals of delight*

No. One of my posts made it onto Reddit. And I immediately knew which one. It appears folks are strangely fascinated with . . .

 kiestering.

And people google it. A lot. Because it regularly shows up as a search term on my analytics All. The. Time. Don’t know what it is? That’s okay, you’re not alone. For as many people who are keenly interested in it, there are twice as many who don’t know what the hell it is. In 2011, fellow writer, Jason Brick, wrote a guest post regarding this very topic, thus, illuminating the blogosphere to the act of hiding contraband up your derriere. Little did I know, it would become one of the most popular posts on the site. If you must

I appreciate the visits of course, but it doesn’t appear a documentary about Folsom prison’s executed men is in the works, nor a spike in Amazon sales. That doesn’t mean the book isn’t as enthralling as keistering. I assure you, it’s even more so. *clutches book to chest*

It goes to show that the interests of the people is vast and varied, so if you are looking for a new book project, might I suggest one on keistering. It’s sure to be a hit.

The Art of History

Old photo album

I recently acquired a family photo album that is more of a scrapbook; filled not only with pictures of bygone relatives, but with valuable, written histories, too. With modern technology, I envision worn and weathered photo albums becoming relics. Even albums from when my son was a baby, look dated. So many family histories are lost, and I always find it sad to find decades-old photographs in flea markets; these sepia-tinted orphans that belong in a family. (Of course, finding old photos is my thing.) With Facebook and other online media, your every move can be documented; immortalized for all time. If you’re a celebrity and want to know what you ate for lunch a year ago, just Google.

I’m lucky that my ancestors deemed their lives worthy of commemorating, otherwise, I’m not so sure I would have known I had relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

War record

I was also thrilled to learn that there’s some writer-illustrator genes that go way back.
Frank V. Martinek original drawingsIn the back of the album are original drawings from 1924 by author and cartoonist, Frank V. Martinek. He had married into my crazy family. Martinek was a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and in an effort to educate and help recruit American youth, particularly in the Midwest, Martinek created the comic strip, Don Winslow of the Navy.
Don Winslow of the NavyWinslow was based on a character in novels Martinek had already written. The comic strip ran from 1934 to 1955, and two films were made in the ’40s. Martinek didn’t actually do the illustrating for the comic, but provided all of the stories. Originally created as a propaganda tool, the strip was said to be very popular for its “excellence suspense, and ingenious, spine-joggling situations.” One historian said that Don Winslow is filled with “intrigue, spychasing, beautiful women, and villains with names like Dr. Centaur, the Dwarf, and the Scorpion.”

Don Winslow and the Scorpion's Stronghold

Martinek wrote several books:

Don Winslow and the Navy
Don Winslow Saves the Secret Formula
Don Winslow Breaks the Spy Net
Don Winslow of the Navy and the Great War Plot
Don Winslow Navy Intelligence Ace
Don Winslow U.S.N. in Ceylon
Don Winslow and the Scorpion’s Stronghold
Don Winslow and the Giant Girl Spy (The Better Little Book)
Don Winslow of the Navy and the Secret Enemy Base
Lieutenant Commander Don Winslow U.S.N. (The Big Little Book)
Know Your Man
Face to Face with the Scorpion

You can download Don Winslow of the Navy (1940) for free or read it online. I don’t have any other particular reason for this post, other than to well . . . preserve some history.

Back in the Saddle

CA collageNever underestimate the recharging power of a vacation. We just returned from a 9-day jaunt in northern California and it was spectacular. I feel refreshed and ready to go, especially now that I have a new project underway—this time, a young adult novel. 

Yesterday, I helped out at the Northern Colorado Writers booth at Fort Collins’ New West Fest where I got to chat with people about writing and sell a few books. 

New West Fest, Northern Colorado Writers

We (appropriately) rounded off the weekend with a nice cold What-A-Melon beer from a local brew pub. Who doesn’t love a book photo op?

Bobbing for Watermelons by April J. MooreI’d also like to let you in on a deal.

Baby Shoes: 100 Stories, 100 Authors will be available tomorrow (August 18th) for half price. This is a really great book featuring some amazing authors showcasing their flash fiction chops. I’m honored to be among these authors with my story, “An Affair to Forget.”

Baby Shoes Anthology And finally . . . 

Polish up those manuscripts because the Top of the Mountain Book Award will be underway in about a month. A few guidelines have changed and entrants will now have the opportunity to get their submission critiqued. So keep this contest in mind and check the site mid-September for all the rules.

NCW Top of the Mountain Book Award

Happy writing!

 

 

Parental Instructions Take an Unexpected Turn

It must have been when our son was around 11 or 12 when we’d let him stay home alone while we went out for a night of grownup, childless debauchery. Despite his eyes being glued to the T.V., we felt certain he understood our instructions: Don’t answer the door; Don’t watch [fill in the blank] on Netflix; and Don’t answer the phone unless it’s us. What kind of parents would we be if we didn’t, right? Plus, we’ve always followed up with Love you.

Then, when he started going out with friends, these snippets of parental advice elevated to things like, Make good choices and Be smart. 

Once he got his driver’s license, it forced us to dig into our bag of parent-isms and come up with a new set to accommodate this life milestone. Don’t text, Don’t drink, and Be careful. (Make good choices and Be Smart also carried over because, hey, they can work in any situation.)

Our son has never done anything to make us believe he will become a ward of the state; he’s always been responsible, respectful, and trustworthy. But still, we’re parents and it feels weird not saying something. You just have to. You hope that in the unlikely event his friends ask him to take part in a crime spree that’ll spread across several state lines, he’ll say, “You know, my mom said to make good choices. I’m out.” Deep down, we know he’ll do the right thing because for years, we’ve witnessed him doing just that.

Still . . .

After these first six months of being a licensed driver, our son can now finish our parental sentences before we do. It’s generally accompanied by a nod and an eye roll. Fortunately, he has a good sense of humor and often indulges us. Yesterday, as he headed out to meet some friends, I yelled, “Don’t be an asshole!”

My husband, in the midst of eating lunch, nearly choked. Then we all laughed. Our son said that he loved that one the most and asked if it could encompass all the other warnings and instructions. We agreed. (We still say Love you though.)

I told him that I’d put it on a t-shirt, which he wholeheartedly welcomed. 

"Don't Be An Asshole" --Mom

I designed it; I didn’t say I’d actually order it. 

So teach your kids to not be assholes. They may actually hear you. I later received this status update:
Parental Instructions

June Swoon

I grew up as a Cubs fan so I know all about the June Swoon. It’s something my father would say with a sigh as we watched the Cubbies chalk up another loss. Just when we thought they were on their way, in came the slump. My own June Swoon actually started in May, and I’m still trying to weasel out of its grasp.

This is my writing desk, newly painted. I figured since I haven’t been using it, it’d be a fine time to repaint it.

Writing desk I realized, that when I had spent more time at the desk peeling the old paint off of it, than writing, it was time to take a break. The paint-peeling worked as a distraction from the glaring blank screen, but then the ugly desk became a distraction from the writing (at least, that’s what I told myself). I could talk about how peeling the layers of paint was like peeling back the layers of a scene or a character, or blah, blah, blah, but really, sometimes peeling paint is just that: peeling paint. It was also a sign that I need to step away for a little while. So that’s what I’ve done. 

Yesterday, as I got caught up with some podcasts, I scraped, sanded, and painted. And it felt good. It’s still in the garage with its new-desk smell and will eventually be hauled back upstairs. I’ll let it sit pretty for a little while as I work on peeling back my own layers and seeing what’s underneath. (Sorry, I had to do it.)

And it all started with a killer sunset . . .

Kayaking
SunsetDo you ever feel the need to step away from a project? How do you deal with a writing slump?

 

Words & Images Workshop

Kayaks -- April J. Moore

I recently participated in a photography-poetry workshop where we learned how to take photographs (even with a camera phone) and combine finished pieces with works of poetry. I’ll be the first to admit that poetry is not my forte (you can see my previous dismal attempt here). For this workshop, Kerrie Flanagan helped guide us through writing haikus and Cinquains. Turns out there’s a science to this poetry stuff. 

Basic Haiku:
Line 1: Five syllables
Line 2: Seven syllables
Line 3: Five Syllables

Basic Cinquain:
Line 1: Two syllables
Line 2: Four syllables
Line 3: Six syllables
Line 4: Eight syllables
Line 5: Two syllables

This was a great workshop that got me to try something I hadn’t done before. I’ve always loved taking photos, but I never took them much further than my camera phone (which I’ll point out, took all of these photos). And of course, dabbling in poetry—something brand new to me—was fantastic. 

Hold On -- April J. Moore

My child,
who clings to me,
I’ve no arms to pull you;
what any mother longs to do.
Hold on.
                                                     ~ Mother Earth

Canoe -- April J. Moore
Come now,
moment is right.
Smooth, calm, and just like glass.
Bring a paddle so we can then
shatter.

Self Portrait -- April J. Moore

Forget about up,
cast your eyes on something else;
see the world anew.

Toshiba Tears --April J. Moore

Toshiba Tears

Unplugged and marked free.
Still, stories unfold on screens
that no one watches.

Droplets -- April J. Moore

Droplets gather here,
safe upon this ledge of green.
Don’t drip, drizzle, drop!

Suzette McIntyre, our photography instructor and owner of Boardwalk Gallery, put together a wonderful show of everyone’s work. Part of the fun was seeing what everyone had done. If you live in the area and are interested in participating in the next workshop (likely this fall) contact Suzette. Even if you don’t take a class like this, I urge to try this activity on your own; it might spark a new interest you didn’t know was there.
Words & Images reception -- April J. Moore

Words and Images Reception

Words & Images Reception -- April J. MooreIf you’re in the area this Saturday, you ought to swing by Boardwalk Gallery in Windsor from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The show is a culmination of photos taken from during a photography workshop taught by Suzette McIntyre, combined with poetry writing lead by Kerrie Flanagan. I’m excited to show my “body of work” and check out the other works from my fellow classmates. If anything, come for the wine and cheese . . .

Hope to see you there.
Words & Images, Self-portrait -- April J. Moore“Self-Portrait”

 

Blogging A to Z Challenge

A to Z ChallengeI will be participating in my first A to Z Challenge beginning tomorrow, April 1st. I’ll be posting old family photos and writing about how these old memories (some, painfully embarrassing) pertain to writing—which I hope will be of help to all of you. I’m looking forward to checking out the many other bloggers who are participating in this alphabetical challenge. If you’re also a blogger taking part in the challenge, let me know so I can be sure to include you on my blog travels.

Old pictures--April J. MooreBest of luck to everyone who signed  up for the challenge!

An Emotional Laxative: Cathartic Writing

FallingWriting is cathartic; we’ve all heard that, if not experienced its cleansing powers ourselves. I’ve written essays about my late father that will probably never leave my computer, but they had to be written.

I’m once again in need of purgative writing; an emotional laxative, if you will. I think if I “get it out,” I’ll be able to move forward, past a humiliating incident.

About three weeks ago, I fell out of a parked car. That’s right, smacked right down onto the pavement from the height of at least three feet, specifically, from the seat of a Toyota 4-Runner. It was before my son started driving himself to school. He and I would hit the gym before school so that he could practice his indoor climbing skills and I could practice my stair climber skills. (If you knew how uncoordinated I am, you’d understand why I call this a “skill.” Oh, as it turns out, you are about to find out.) Still practicing his driving, my son would then drive us from the gym to school and I’d get out and jump into the driver’s seat. This was our routine. I had on my new workout pants that I thought were pretty snazzy and per my modus operandi, my “gym bag,” an old Eddie Bauer pack with a long strap, sat at my feet. 

This particular morning, we ran a few minutes behind schedule, so the outside of the school was abuzz with kids, parents, and teachers. As he stopped, I swung open the door to jump out. It all happened so quickly; I never stood a chance. Just as another car pulled up behind us in line, I exited the car—knees first. Like an anvil being dropped by Wile E. Coyote, I plummeted to the asphalt, landing on both knees and my left elbow. My chin nearly made contact as well. A baseball bat to the joints, swung by Babe Ruth, would have produced similar results. 

Despite my shock, I stood up quickly, aware of not only the many stunned faces turned toward me, but that the car had begun to roll backward. I yelled to my son to pull the brake, which he promptly did. The girl being dropped off from the car behind us, looked downright confused—Did that lady just fall out of a car?! 

My son came around from the other side, genuine concern on his face. “Are you all right?” I waved him off, wincing. Every movement hurt. I turned to the car and saw the culprit: my gym bag. It hung from the seat lever, threatening to dump its contents: my wallet, phone, and water bottle. I grab the bag and threw it back in the car before walking around to the driver’s side, desperate to not limp. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone, except my son, who gave me a sympathetic look and a wave goodbye. 

Shaking, with two aching knees and a throbbing elbow, I pulled away from the school. My ego also slowly formed a black and blue splotch. It wasn’t until I got home and yanked the delinquent, mischievous bag, that I realized how it had happened. The strap of the bag had gotten wrapped around my foot (or feet—unsure how many appendages were involved) and as I exited the vehicle, I brought the bag with me. It wouldn’t have been so bad to drag the pack with me, but the damn thing, apparently having second thoughts about following me, encircled its strap around the lever underneath the seat, stopping its progression—and mine.

It was like getting clotheslined, but with my feet. Yes, it was that bad.

When I explained to The Husband what had happened, he felt terrible. Later in the day, in an attempt to comfort me with, “You know, in time, you’ll be able to look back—” he chuckled—“and laugh—” I cut him off with a fiery glare. There would be no laughing about this. Ever.

Until now, I had only told one other person about it . . . a friend . . . over text. My knees and elbow still show remnants of bruises, as does my ego, but they’re going away. They also still ache, but that, too, is lessening.

I don’t know if writing about it has been cathartic, but I did manage a chuckle as I wrote about the experience. I guess that means I can laugh about it now—and that’s a good start.

So don’t leave me hanging; has writing about a humiliating experience ever help you move forward? 

Wearing Stories on My Sleeve

Inked LadyPen and ink; needle and ink. They both tell stories. I love art and writing, so it’s no wonder I love tattoos. JC Lynne wrote a great post at The Writing Bug last week about the author persona, and if writers need one in order to sell books. Lynne, who’s also an inked lady, was encouraged by her husband to take on the “badass tattooed writer” persona. She argued that her persona should be that she “wrote a good book.” I agree.

I can’t say that I’m a badass because of tattoos; I just like them. Each one I have has special meaning and tells a story, and frankly, doesn’t have anything to do with persona—at least, I don’t think so. Does an author’s tattoos tell readers the type and even quality of what they write? In addition to lots of other topics, I’ve written about executions, prisons, and women’s fiction, but hell, whatever gets a reader’s attention, I’m all right with that. (Although I’d rather it be from my writing.)

After I got my sleeve, a family member told me that she didn’t like it when women got tattoos of—and I quote—“skulls and dead things,” on their arms. I’m pretty sure the only place she’s seen such tattoos on women was maybe once on an episode of “Law & Order.” She was relieved I didn’t, as if that meant I’d start skinning rabbits in my backyard and displaying their skulls on sticks.   

Anyway, that’s really beside the point . . . I think. Whatever I have inked on my skin, whether it’s an owl or dead things, I don’t want to be judged by my cover. Who does? But I like telling stories on paper and on my skin, where I can truly wear my heart (and stories) on my sleeve. 

“I’ve just sucked one year of your life away.”

You know that scene from The Princess Bride, when Wesley is in the Pit of Despair? And then Prince Humperdink sucks a year of his life away?
Pit of DespairThat’s exactly what switching host providers for this site did to me. And that’s the second time I’ve done this process; I switched another site over last year, and lost a year of my life then, so I am officially . . . two years older. You’d think, after the first time, I would have learned, but I must have repressed it, or somehow forgot the pain. It must be like childbirth; you forget the pain and then go and do it all over again.

Anyway, what’s done is done. Right now, my “baby” is a little ugly and needs some tlc. I should be able to manage the rest without too many labor pains. Thanks for sticking with me.

My Space

My Space -- April J. MooreA fellow writer recently asked me what I need to write. I need to channel Stephen King or Ivan Doig and write as often and as well as they do. But alas, that ain’t gonna happen. For now, I’ll take my little rituals and little space in our guest room and click-clack away. Notice the space heater . . . this is Colorado and The Husband and I are on opposite ends of the thermometer. I keep my room at a roasty-toasty temp and no one can tell me to turn it down. (It also keeps anyone from bugging me while up I’m here writing.) I found a table at a flea market, painted it, and wedged it in the corner. On the oppose wall, is a closet full of supplies and books.

Books -- April J. Moore
On my crookedly hung bulletin board (I have no idea how I managed that), I have notes, a picture my niece drew, a newspaper photograph I’d like to paint someday, and various little things. (Yes, that’s me on the Big Wheels.)
My Space -- April J. MooreThese are a few things that I don’t necessarily need to have in order to write, but they make me smile: a ceramic bird I received after my father passed, my prayer flags from the Shambhala Center, and the creepy, faceless figurine called the “Angel of Hope.”
MySpace -- April J. MooreI don’t know that I really need anything other than a pencil (mechanical, please) and paper, in order to write, but this space works for me. It’s peaceful and allows me to do what I love. The rest is up to me.

Do you have any writing rituals? What do you need to be a productive writer?

#OneOfThoseParents

Driving

My son got his driver’s license yesterday. He asked me not to post a picture on Facebook with the caption, “Yikes! We have a new driver on the roads, look out!” In fact, he wanted absolutely no FB documentation whatsoever. He didn’t, however, say anything about not posting here. He doesn’t read my diatribes—he gets enough of them verbally. 

So what does all this mean? That I’m one of those parents who has to share everything about my kid and his milestones? 

Well, yeah.

Hey, I’ve earned it. Being a parent is hard and sometimes it’s important to document that we haven’t strangled these beautiful life-sucking miracles yet—we’re doing something right. What did those moms of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s do? They had to pick up the phone. “I have a whole list of people to call. Besides, you’ll see your friends at school tomorrow.” They carried brag books and did scrapbooks. Do parent still do those? (I got as far as his first haircut.) 

I’m sure the proud parent pandemic dates back to prehistoric times when cave women depicted their stick-figure offspring making their first mammoth kill, or riding on the back of a velociraptor. Ha! Just kidding . . . (like they were able to tame those dinosaurs enough to ride one). Geesh.

I digress.

Bottom line: I’m proud. I’m in awe. I’m scared shitless. This is also the start of my perpetually anxious existence for the next two to three to four years. Should you begin to see irrational, manic, and depressive writings that borderline horrific—particularly late at night—you’ll know why.

So bear with me and go easy on parents like me; we spent a lot of time molding and shaping these helpless little forms into responsible, intelligent young adults—and teaching them to drive stick. Surviving that, is my personal milestone. 

Colorado Gives Day

ColoradoGivesDayToday is Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour event that encourages us to celebrate and increase philanthropy throughout Colorado. There are thousands of non-profit organizations who dedicate their lives to improving the world around them; and they could use some help. From the arts to fighting hunger and homelessness to animal-related causes, there’s bound to be something you could feel good about lending a helping hand. I encourage you to check out opportunities in your area that you can donate either your time or dollars to. Even a small act of kindness can make a huge impact.

Baby’s Growing Up

Me and Connor

My friend Jim over at Speaking of Adventure, had a great post today about encouraging your kids to (safely) be adventurous. It’s as if he wrote it just for me. My son is turning 16 next week and has spent the last year and a half doing a lot indoor and outdoor climbing. He asked for a crash pad for his birthday. Why couldn’t he have asked for an industrial-strength bubble? I’ve been wanting to get one of those for him for years. But a crash pad? Is he trying to kill me?! For those of you unfamiliar with this injurious-sounding item, it’s a large, thick cushion climbers place at the base of a large rock so if they fall while bouldering, they hopefully land on this life-saving pillow and not the ground. (He doesn’t know this, but he’s getting a matching helmet, too.) He’s a smart kid; I don’t so much worry about him being stupid. After all, if you can’t trust your kid to make wise decisions, then you don’t trust your parenting. It’s still hard to let some slack out of the leash—it’s those out-of-our-hands elements that we can’t control that get me panicky. 

We’ve all heard it: “Watch out, they grow up fast.” I know. But don’t roll your eyes because it’s true. My little dude, who was born 6 weeks early at 4 lbs, 7 oz, just surpassed me in height (I’m nearly 5’10”) and outweighs me too. (That, I’m okay with.) How did this happen? Do you parents know that book, Love You Forever?

Love You ForeverYep, that’s the one. To this day, I can’t read (or even think about) this book without getting choked up. A parent recently told me that this book creeps her out. Excuse me? After I judged her for being an emotionless, rotten parent . . . well, not really, but maybe a little, I realized that I probably traumatized my son more by constantly reading him “the book that makes mommy cry.” Anyhow, if you know and love this book, you understand where I’m coming from. 

Now, I haven’t even gotten to the driver’s license part yet. In Colorado, you have to have a permit for a full year; he got his in January, so we have some time. Little does he know, he’s getting a AAA membership. Woo-hoo! (Yes, it’s more for me than it is for him.) 

I guess the bottom line is that I can’t be that crash pad forever. Jim nailed it when he said, “Parents do not want to see their children get hurt, but we know that young people must struggle some and maybe get bruised so as to become resilient for the adventures, and misadventures, that life will surely bring them.” So if I can’t pace the bottom of the boulder with arms stretched out, ready to catch him, then I’ll at least be there cheering him on (with plenty of band aides and hugs, just in case).

Mom Jeans or Butt Bling . . . How Do I Choose?

It’s been over a year since I bought new jeans and it was time for a new pair. I rank this type of endeavor with bathing suit shopping, and well, getting a pap smear. It doesn’t help that even in a city of 155,000, our shopping options are limited, especially since our mall is in the midst of renovations. It is what it is. But surely, there’s enough decent denim to cover this 37-year-old derriere. After a four-store excursion, this is what I’ve learned about my current options in my city:

MOM JEANS
Mom jeansFeaturing the high waist, roomy thighs and tapered leg. Fantastic. These would be perfect with my Rudolph Christmas sweater.

THE FADE OUT
Fade OutNot only does it look like you sat on a light table for days, you also get to have these fabulous faux creases, showcasing that you sat on a light table for days. I don’t know about you, but I just love having these particular areas showcased.

BLINGY BOTTOMS
Blingy Bottom

As you can see, these are the most readily available option. Some even sport both fading and bling! I jokingly asked the sales guy if a pair of marshaling wands come with a purchase of these. Blank look. “You know, those handheld illuminated beacons airport signalers use to guide planes? These are like airport landing strips.” Ah, I then got the courtesy laugh and he politely pointed me to where I’d find the mom jeans. Poor guy, he’s just trying to pay for school.

Seriously, these are my options? I may be a 37-year-old wife and mother, but do I really have to be relegated to Lee comfort fit?! I don’t understand these trends in women’s jeans. Perhaps if I had two Boca chick’n nuggets for an ass (I’m a vegan after all), I might be able to get away with this, but even then, should I? Maybe for some women, their butt is so small, they need to bring attention to it; I’ve never had that problem. I fall in the range of size 6-10 (depending on the brand—and that’s a whole other blog post), so I most certainly don’t need jeans designed by a Las Vegas showgirl. Frankly, I think any woman, no matter what size she is, should never wear butt bling over the age of 18. (And I’m not even old fashioned; I have an arm full of tattoos.) But hell, if you can pull it off, more power to ya. For me, it’s a trend I’m all for boycotting. Sure, I could pay $80-$150 for less flashy designer duds, but I find that utterly ridiculous.

So I left these stores empty-handed and almost without my phone. Did you know you’re not allowed to take pictures inside Macy’s? Well, you’re not. My jeans are out there; I’ve found them before and I’ll find them again—with or without marshaling wands.

Butt BlingUgh.

Bowling Balls: They’re Not Just for Bowling

While traveling home along Horsetooth Road (yes, that’s a real street name, not to mention the name of a very distinguishing landmark in Fort Collins), a route I take everyday, I spotted the elusive, once thought to be extinct, bowling ball mailbox.

Bowling Ball mailbox post

This isn’t the one, because it’s ill-advisable to slam the breaks, whip out a camera phone and take what would undoubtedly be a blurry picture of something. This will have to do. (It’s the idea that counts, right)? Incorporating the pins are certainly something I hadn’t seen before. And why hadn’t I seen that particular mailbox before? More importantly perhaps, how in the world did this concept even come about? I had another four minutes on my commute to ponder this and lo and behold, I drove passed Chipper’s Lanes not thirty seconds after spotting these striking spheres. (Ooh . . . great bowling team name)! Maybe the bowling ball mailbox belongs to the house that belongs to the owner that the bowling alley belongs to. If not, the homeowner must be thrilled to live in walking distance to the place of his/her’s favorite pastime. (Clearly, it’s their favorite pastime as evidenced by the bowling ball shrine at the end of their driveway).

Obviously, this is a dying trend because I haven’t seen these on Pinterest. Upcycled bowling balls? Repurposed bowling balls? Do bowling balls go bad? Wear out? There’s a use for just about anything, such as making baby clothes out of wire hangers and building a three bedroom house (to code!) out of empty toilet paper rolls. (I swear I saw those on Pinterest . . . should have pinned them).

What is the point to this, you ask? There really isn’t one, as far as I can tell, except to send this question out into the cyber void . . . Who came up with stacking bowling balls to create a mailbox post? I know you’re all more interested in hearing about the 8th Annual Northern Colorado Writers Conference, but there is so much to tell and I’m working on sifting through all the fun moments and putting together that post. Not a bowling ball post. Until then, enjoy this other creative alternative for using bowling balls.

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The possibilities are seemingly endless.

I salute you, UPS Man

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I just took this picture. Seriously, I just picked up my camera, pointed it at my backyard and  . . . click! . . . here you go. This is a *little bit* of a freak spring snow storm here in Northern Colorado. We typically get most of our snow in March, but the snow gods decided to put it off until April 15 and it hasn’t let up too much since. When it’s all said and done (hopefully by tomorrow) we should have accumulated a little over 2 feet.

So I have to give a shout out to my local UPS guy who braved the storm and delivered my box of new postcards and business cards that I recently ordered. (He must have known I was ignoring all my other tasks today by sitting at my computer thinking about what my next blog post would be). I also think it was the one and only time he couldn’t wear his little brown shorts. Anyway, I have the NCW Conference next week and unfortunately, I’m not able to get any reader copies of my book by then, so these post cards will have to do.

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Pretty snazzy, huh? (Front and back) I keep fearing that as I read them, I’m going to discover a typo—no matter how many times I went over them before clicking the all-powerful and no-going-back order button. Now lets hope I get rid of them all before the release date in July. And it looks like I’m be returning to prison July 20th with an initial signing at the Folsom Prison Museum, that sits just outside the prison. I think, however, I’ll stay on the outside of the prison walls this time. That is of course, if I make it through this blizzard.

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Gladys the Badass

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At 3 a.m. yesterday morning, we woke up to some guy trying to get into our garage. He wasn’t quiet about it either. Initially, we thought it could be raccoon or other furry “friends.” My husband has a storied history of battling squirrels who continually taunt him outside his home office window. In fact, he watches a lot from his office window, earning him the moniker from our neighbor friends, of “Gladys” (as in Gladys Kravitz, the see-all neighbor from the t.v. show, Bewitched). Of course, it’s all in fun. This, however, was not fun. Our Chevy pickup has been broken into twice before (nothing inside to take), but the assailants were pretty stealthy about it. Not this one. So my quiet and reserved computer engineer husband, had had enough. Gladys was pissed off. I couldn’t resist writing a little ditty about what happened next:  (Poetry’s not my forte, so I apologize if the alliteration is off–and for the two cuss words. Sorry, Mom).

Rudely awakened from a peaceful slumber,

not a minute passed the witching hour.

A bang, a crash . . . (man, I hope we’re not outnumbered).

Hit the lights, turn up the power.

Hey! Don’t we have a dog?

Where’s the snarl? Where’s the growl?

Curled upon his pillow, he’s sleeping like a log.

Wake up! There’s something on the prowl!

 .

A peek outside shows someone’s there,

sneaking, lurking, in our truck.

Hurry! Dress and cover up your underwear!

Quickly clad, out the door, hey . . . what the fuck?!

 .

This mild-mannered man of mine,

who’s only battled flickers and squirrels,

ready now for car thieve swine.

Full of gumption and drive, sans deferral.

He sprang into action and just missed a fist.

Then swiftly grabbed him by his coat,

down he went, the ground he kissed.

But there was no time to cheer or gloat.

 .

During a scuffle of words and punches,

he saw the man was drunk or high,

most-likely looking for cash a’ bunches,

But instead ticked off this shy, computer guy.

 .

The suspect broke loose and ran amok,

cussing and stumbling down the street.

Run, run you stupid schmuck,

Here come the city’s top elite.

Uniforms canvased, searched, and swept,

but found no visible trace.

He sneaked, slinked and away he crept,

Forcing the cops, to give up the chase.

 .

We returned to the house all pumped and wound up,

greeted by Fido, now alert and awake.

Well, you’re no help, you oblivious pup.

You can kiss good-bye that T-bone steak.

 .

Who knew this nerd of computers and code,

could unleash such fists of fury.

Unafraid, he seemed in action mode,

But now admits, it’s kinda blurry.

 .

Unaccustomed to vigilante work,

his muscles and joints felt angry and sore.

But he has no regrets of going berserk;

message sent: don’t fuck with Mr. Moore.

 .

Needless to say, it took a while for our heart rates to normalize and in retrospect, it may not have been the smartest thing to do. The man could have had a weapon. We were lucky. My husband said that he just reacted, figuring that after 38 years of never fighting, it was time for a throw down . . . and he hoped the squirrels were watching.

I said whhhaaat?!

Back in October, I made this ridiculous statement regarding a new project:

“Since I’ve already started the book, I’m obviously not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to certainly write like I am. My goal is to reach the halfway mark by Christmas.

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Clearly, I was still on the writer’s retreat high when I wrote that. The really sad and disgusting part is that I’ve only written about another 1000 words . . . at the most. 

So what have I been doing that’s so important that I couldn’t meet my goal? Well . . .take a look:

Barely surviving a climb out of a canyon . . .

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Drinking wine . . .

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 Getting caught in a tornado . . .

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Drinking something else . . .

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Finding out what happens when you accidentally leave taper candles in a sunny window . . .

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Finding out what happens when you leave for a week visiting family . . .

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and drinking more wine . . .

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As you can see, I’ve obviously been too busy to write. With all of these adventures, including a battle with a Shake Weight-riding, Christmas light-chewing squirrel on our front porch . . .

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 . . . you’d think I’d have at least something to write about.