Saturday, June 23, 2007


After months of cold and rainy weather, we are finally coming up to summer and BBQ season.

Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity, as it's the only type of cooking a 'real' man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:


1) The woman buys the food.

2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.

3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:


More routine....

5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.

6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.

Important again:


More routine....

8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.

9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.

11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why Do Women...

(This giggle was sent to me this morning by my sister. Thanks, Val.)

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of
women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn,
you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.
Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman
leaving the stall.

You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has
been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the
modern "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but
empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but
there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck,
(Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down
your pants, and assume " The Stance."

In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd
love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or
lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you
discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can
hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the
seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the
one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck,
that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same
time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way
possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work. The door
hits your head, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of
the toilet. "Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your
precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your
footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT. It is
wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.
Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life
form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not
that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your
mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her
bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear,
"You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get."

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so
confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose
against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that
covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush
somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the
empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too. At this
point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet
seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in
your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic
sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk
past the line of women, still waiting. You are no longer able to smile
politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a
piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you
NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's
hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this." As you exit,
you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men's
restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse
hanging around your neck?"


This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restrooms
(rest?? you've got to be kidding!). It finally explains to the men
what really does take us so long. It also answers the age-old question about why women go to the restroom in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

If I'm going to get my "Woman's Card" revoked for spilling a secret, I blame Val. Take hers !

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Inspiration, Part II

Do you remember talking about inspiration? Well there I was, searching and researching today when I ran across these: Chinese Scholar’s Mountain, and Chinese Scholar’s Wood and Stones (Spirit Stones). Seems long before the computer came, writers were also looking for inspiration and didn’t want to (or perhaps couldn‘t afford to) leave home to find it. So they used the next best thing.

Chinese Scholar Stone or Scholar Mountain were created sometime in the 18th century. Normally made of jade, or in rare instances malachite, they were made for Chinese scholars who were constantly cooped up in small study spaces. The scholar would place the stone on his desk to help envision himself in nature. The carvings in the stone (below), though not easily seen here, depict a scholar attended by two figures, picnicking and heading towards a pagoda retreat. The other side of the stone features an ox, which stands for enlightenment, and pine trees, which represent long life. This particular one is carved out of malachite, making it especially rare.

Cherished and collected for centuries, Chinese "Scholar's Rocks" or "Spirit Stones" (gongshi) are as varied as Nature herself. Strange or fantastic stones (guai shi) are used in classical Chinese gardens as necessary counterpoints to the trees, bushes, flowers, and water. Throughout the centuries, scholars, nobles and officials have graced their offices and studies with smaller versions of these "fantastic stones," both to provide the essence (or qi) of the element earth, and to serve as a unique focal point for study and meditation. These small spirit stones were hand-selected in China, and set on wood stands to hold their highly individual shapes.

So if you’ve been wondering if that odd what’s-it on your desk makes you slightly “weird,” not to worry. You’re in very good company.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Literary Mary - Writing Forums

Just to say, I'm a proud member of Literary Mary.

"So what is Literary Mary?" you ask.

I'm glad you asked.

Literary Mary is a friendly and unique forum for writers and artists, built by writers and artists. When you register, you are in complete control of your account and work, both of which you can delete for publication purposes as you see fit. It's our goal to create an atmosphere where people can post their work among friends for critique and feedback while those who would like to hang onto first rights can do so without risk. We also have forums for uploading spoken word or songs and forums for sharing your photographs or pretty much any other visual art. And that's not all. Just a few of this forums super features include:--

* An excellent and very approachable staff.
* Mad-skills-talented members from beginners to the published.
* Enough threads to more than satisfy writers of all walks, tastes and genres (including an Erotica thread which is age restricted and viewable by members only, and a *Secret Bonus Track* thread which is another members only thread similar to a Workshop--meaning first rights are protected in both Erotica and Bonus threads).
* A monthly members only newsletter.
* Seasonal Featured Work---the crème de la crème as chosen by the members in the categories of Poetry, Fiction, and Erotica).
* Lyrics and Music
* Debate
* Chat Forum
And much more.

So if you're a writer, artist, musician or avid reader, check out Literary Mary.


Friday, June 01, 2007

What's in a Name?

Summer is finally here, and because of it, I decided to invade the produce section and corner the market on all things fruit. I’m a huge fruit fan. In fact, I could easily become a very bad fruitarian, were it not for my love of poached eggs and veggies (mainly spinach) and if I only had a decent memory. But I don’t. You see, one needs a decent memory to remember to take vitamins and supplements to replace those missing from such a radical dietary change. Since I don’t happen to possess one, I’d likely die of malnutrition or some related issue. (Perhaps I should have invaded the fish a la brain food section instead.)

You know, trying something new is a lot like trying a new author or genre (and yes, my thoughts always go back to writing). At least, it is for me. Either I love it or I put it down—there seems no middle ground. But anyway, back to the fruit... thing.

Funny that adults will try almost anything, but kids won’t eat anything that doesn’t look right, or rather, doesn’t look right after it’s cooked. Take broccoli. Or spinach. Or turnips. Or, horror of horrors, Brussels Sprouts. Heck, take me and mushrooms for instance. I still remember the sight of my first cooked mushroom. Pan-fried slugs, I thought. No way am I eating that, I thought. Mom’s finally flipped out. After mom served it numerous times, always with the threat that I’d “never leave the table” until I try it (and after an hour each time of making gag noises and facial expressions that would make Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes proud—ones that made my mom beg me to go outside), I finally tried one—just one. See, a kid has to build up to these things as dramatically and as vocally as possible, and that means letting your audience (the same one who’d inadvertently turned herself into a captive audience via my captivity; after all, someone had to actually watch me eat the mushroom you know) wait. Let the suspense mount. Let the battle of wills play out. David and Goliath, good and evil, unknown veggie and kid. The mushroom was excellent by the way. A little cold though.

So as I was saying, I loaded up on all things fruit: Red Delicious apples, huge oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon... and low and behold, what did I come across, but this:

I know—revolting, isn’t it. You betcha. It’s so ugly it almost screamed to be looked at it and then dared you to look away. Sort of like a car accident. Almost... alien, really. Okay, so that’s a bit of a stretch. But never in my life had I seen anything that so reminded me of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” or maybe a pod from the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” before, especially not for sale in the produce section of my lowly supermarket. Heck, I half expected it to start singing or maybe crawling toward me. I did... until a very well dressed, middle-aged woman wandered over with a plastic bag in hand and started going through the stack of them.

“I just love these!” she said to no one in particular, holding one up like she was an archeologist who’d just unearthed the long lost Egyptian “Book of the Living.” Obviously, I wasn’t seeing what she was seeing. “Don’t you?”

“What it is?” I asked, still partly expecting a tongue or harpoon-like appendage to fire out the top and adhere to her face.

“It’s Dragon Fruit!”

Okay then, so that name made sense. I mean, it definitely looked like something a dragon might eat. Or lay. Or... something. And the name certainly intrigued me. Then again, an intriguing title or a well-known author has often influenced my reading choices. And that very thing has disappointed me more than not, too. Same with fruit... which made me wonder if perhaps they (whoever ‘they’ are) purposely gave the hideous-looking thing a good name in order to sell it to those of us whose pallets lean toward something at least slightly aesthetically pleasing. (Prime example: I will not eat liver. End of discussion.)

“You should try one!” she said, shoving the precious what’s-it in the bag and depositing it in my cart. “Just peal off the red. The flesh inside is white-ish grey, sweet, and really seedy.”

I didn’t want to eat any of it, and I certainly didn’t want it in my cart. “Okay,” I said. “And thanks.”

“Remember—don’t eat the red.”

For a moment, I thought to ask what would happen if I did, but let it drop. Besides, my eyes were glued to the “thing” now in my cart and my mind was stuck on three key words (flesh, white-ish and grey), which to me sounded about as appealing as raw squid (no knock against raw squid lovers intended).

For those of you dying to know what it tasted like, I’m not going to tell you, anymore than I’d tell you about a novel you’ve just purchased or an author you’ve just heard about. What I will say from one writer to another, however, is never to be afraid to try new styles, new genres, new voices. New... things. You never know. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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