Thursday, May 23, 2013
I’m on vacation this week. It’s Thursday and so far, it has rained every single day. That’s okay, though. It’s springtime and we need the water.
Just… not so much of it.
I’d promised to contribute some items for a Chinese Auction being held at Happy Horseshoe Campground, to benefit the New Portland Community Library. Some of the donations were large and needed to be transported in the back of my truck, so when the rain stopped briefly and a weak sun tried to penetrate the upper-level clouds, I took advantage of the opportunity to deliver ‘dry goods’ instead of wet.
In my haste (and perhaps in my laziness) I didn’t think my plan through to its logical conclusion. We live in a paradox here at The F.A.R.M. We’re on the side of a hill…but in a bit of a bog, all at the same time. I think this is one of the few places on the planet where water doesn’t run downhill.
I drove to the barn, where the items were stored in the uninhabited hen house. No problem. Perhaps the fact that it’s ‘downhill all the way’ contributed to my lack of foresight. I dug out two wooden armchairs, a filing cabinet and some office supplies and wrestled them out through the confines of the room. The truck loaded, I put it in 4-wheel drive and decided to travel around the front of the rock wall and onto the upper lawn, instead of backing up the way I came.
Bad move. I sunk. And when I tried to back up, I sunk some more…until I was stuck. No forward movement, no backward movement…just dark mud flying.
No one wants to admit they’ve had this type of Bonehead Moment, even when they are accustomed to the practice. I was determined to extricate myself (and more particularly – my truck) from the predicament. I thought about calling my husband at work to ask for advice, but I knew he would worry about it all day long if I did. For another split second I considered calling my neighbor Alan, or my neighbor Herb…or my neighbor Dave, but I discarded those ideas just as quickly. They might not yet have gleaned that I can be a bit of an idiot, and I want to keep the charade going for as long as humanly possible. I reminded myself that I’m a capable woman. I wasn’t going to ask for help if there was any way I could help myself.
I trudged up to the house and put on my old jeans, a raggedy sweatshirt and a pair of boots. Grabbed a pair of work gloves. Rustled though the shed until I found a chain. And then, I went to Lena.
Lena is a goddess, as far as I’m concerned. This 30HP Kubota has saved my bacon more than once. But I was concerned that I might make the situation worse. I was worried that I’d get HER stuck, too… and then where would I be? I could picture Steven’s face if he drove into the dooryard after a hard day’s work and saw not only his wife’s pick-up, but his precious Lena buried in mud. Mud where there was supposed to be grass. Just grass, and no mud or truck or tractor.
But I’m proud. I’m stubborn. Heck, the word ‘desperate’ even comes to mind. I threw the chain in the bucket, climbed aboard, buckled the seat-belt and fired her up. Backed her out and drove gingerly down the hill to a position behind the truck.
I know the movement of a large farm tractor is hardly synonymous with the word ‘gingerly’ but Lena’s good that way. She knew what I needed and tip-toed through that mud.
I got down off the tractor and fastened one end of the chain to the towing towing hitch and hooked the other end to the tractor’s bucket. Started the truck and put it in ‘neutral’. Considered finding a way to bungie-cord the steering wheel in place since I needed to pull the truck back around the corner and the front tires were guaranteed to turn in whatever direction they wanted to (i.e. whatever way I DIDN’T want.) But I decided to give it a whirl, first. See what would happen. If the world came to an end, at least there would be no witnesses to my humiliation.
I climbed back aboard Lena. Started her. Raised the bucket off the ground, put the tractor in 4-low… and backed her up. Gently, easily…yep, even gingerly. She never hesitated. Never groaned under the strain. Her wheels didn’t spin and she yarded that Dodge out of the mud and back onto terra firma like nobody’s business.
Chain off, truck back in the driveway, tractor parked in the shed. I drove the load of donations to my neighbor’s house and zipped back home to survey the damage. Hmmm…. If only mud were green instead of brown, the ruts would hardly show at all.
I used my large feet – perfectly designed for optimum mud-management – to squish the sod down all along the ruts, figuring I’d better take advantage of the fact that it was still soft, wet and easy to manipulate. A few muddy minutes later the damage was negligible.
I made a mistake in judgment but I felt a sense of satisfaction, anyway. I didn’t need to call husband or neighbor to help me – I got out of the jam all by myself. Well, almost by myself. I had Lena to help ease the pain of my Bonehead Moment.
Monday, May 20, 2013
An Open Letter to the Members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee of the 126th Maine State Legislature:
Dear Senator Cleveland, Representative Hobbins and Esteemed Members of the EUT Committee,
Do you have the right to have input in zoning changes within your community?
If you live in one of Maine’s 433 organized municipalities, you do.
If you live in an Unorganized Territory that was NOT included in the Expedited Permitting Area, you do.
If you live in a Plantation that adopted LURC’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan as your own zoning ordinance – whether inside or outside the EPA – you do.
But if you are one of the less than 1% of Maine residents who were unfortunate enough to live in an Unorganized Territory with terrain coveted by the wind industry and not protected by State Law, you lost your rights in 2008.
Do you enjoy more rights than we do? If you still have the right to ‘have a say’ on how your community is zoned, the answer is ‘yes’. If the answer is ‘yes’, then you surely will support LD616 – the request of five communities (Lexington, Concord and Carrying Place Townships and Pleasant Ridge and Highland Plantations) to have equal rights restored to us. If the answer is ‘yes’ but you intend to vote ‘no’on LD616, then please tell the less-than-1% of Maine citizens why you think you are more deserving than we are. Please speak up. Look us in the eye. And tell us why we were (are) deemed second-class citizens.
Isn’t it time to do what’s right? This decision should be an easy one to make. Please don’t allow corporate lobbyists to cloud the issue. No matter what they say, passage of LD616 will not disallow their projects. It will simply give rural Maine citizens the same rights to self-governance enjoyed by each member of your Committee -- the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee -- as well as 99% of your constituents and fellow Mainers.
It’s time to stop stalling. No more kicking this proverbial can down the road. We’re Mainers and Americans and we’re asking you to do the ethical thing. Integrity and fairness call for a unanimous “Ought to Pass”.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Well, Bee Dazzle has been launched. Classified (I suppose) as a ‘chick lit novella’, Bee is a fun little read that show-cases improvisational writing between two authors who’ve never met.
Saint (my friend and co-author) and I hope that you will honor us by reading this very first in (what’s hoped to be) a long line of ‘a Writers’ Tag’ publications.
To thank you for reading GAG and for supporting my writing efforts over the past few years, I’m starting a new contest. If you’d like to win a dually signed copy of Bee Dazzle (as in…signed to you personally by both the elusive Saint and yours truly) please take a moment to enter.
The rules are simple. There ARE no rules. Well, okay… maybe one or two. All you have to do is guess the first (given) name of the female protagonist in Bee. For the record, her nickname is “Bee”…but that’s not the name her mother put on Bee’s birth certificate.
It’ not easy, so I’ll give you a hint: John Cusack. Heh…..sorry. It’s a legitimate clue but I don’t want to give the answer away too quickly.
If you’ve already read Bee then obviously…you know the answer – and being the ethical sort (as all my readers are!) you won’t enter your ‘guess’. But if you were one of the few who read Bee when I posted it on GAG last year, then there’s still another way you can win. Simply post a ‘review’ of Bee on amazon.com (found at the above link) then let me know (by posting a comment here) that you did…and what your screen name was, if you used one. All those names will be thrown into a hat and one will be drawn to win a second autographed copy.
As always, thanks for reading, for writing, for making me smile and for being my friend.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
In 2001, shortly after I began writing “Observations from The F.A.R.M.”, I composed a column about my son Guy, who was graduating from high school. The article was a bit nostalgic as I reflected on Guy’s wonderful qualities and spoke about the fact that –suddenly and to my dismay – my ‘little boy’ was all grown up.
It saddens me to say that I don’t have a copy of that column. Back then (in the ‘olden days’) I typed my columns and dropped them off at The Irregular… at which time Heidi or Bob would re-type them and format them for the paper. I’m sure I must have kept a copy of the newspaper when that particular story was published (I’m sentimental, that way) but if I did, I’ve since misplaced it.
Nowadays I type “Observations” on my laptop, save a copy of each column to my “Irregular” file and then attach the document to an email and whisk it on its way through the ether to Main Street in Kingfield. Those seasoned (and somewhat spicy) experts at the paper can copy and paste me with little effort or fanfare. Yes, the process is easier and cleaner these days and I’ve got dozens of articles stored on my computer which serve as reminders of the many milestones reached – and experiences survived – here in our little corner of Maine. I’m pleased about that but I can’t help feeling regret that there are several years’ of my columns (my memories) which are – for all intents and purposes – gone.
It’s been thirteen years since Guy graduated from Carrabec High School and now Steven and I have another offspring who is attaining adulthood. Josie-Earl, middle child and Daughter Extraordinaire, will be turning 18 next month and graduating from Carrabec in June. I know these landmark events didn’t sneak up on me. In some ways it seems as if I’ve always had kids underfoot and overhead and invading my personal space. Yes, there have been times when I thought I couldn’t wait until the little darlings grew up and moved out! But then reality hits. They really and truly will do exactly that. Grow up and move out.
As I face the fact that we’ll soon be turning a new page in our lives – a whole new chapter, even – I wonder…and I worry. I wonder if Josie knows how much I love her. And I worry I haven’t done a good enough job showing her how very, very important she is to me. I recognize that I’ve often been too busy. Too distracted. Too impatient. I know that I can’t ever get back all those times when she wanted or needed my undivided attention and I put her off until ‘later’. Now, here it is…later. And she’s a young woman who is about to embark on a life that no longer revolves around her family at The F.A.R.M.
As I look at this beautiful girl and think about all that which makes up the “Essence of Josie”, I feel extreme pride. She’s strong. Kind. Stubborn. Intelligent. She shares an affinity with animals. She appreciates beauty. She loves to learn. She laughs easily. She thinks deeply. She is polite and helpful, charming and witty.
I’ll say it again. Wow.
I often ponder the fates, trying to figure out how I got so lucky. I have three amazing children. Two boys, one girl. Three completely different personalities with diverse interests and talents and strengths. But they are all strong in their own way and that gives me a measure of comfort. I fret when I think about how tough this world is – how difficult and challenging it can be. I’m their mother and it’s my job to protect them from all the ‘scary stuff’. But you see…they aren’t afraid. Josie isn’t afraid. Josie is ready to grab this world by the tail. She is eager to face ‘life’ and the challenges it brings.
My only daughter, Jocelia Caitlin Pease…an amazing young woman. A true woman of substance.
Monday, March 4, 2013
By Eugene Saint and Karen Bessey Pease
The Crazy Lady Down the Road…every place has one. But what transpires when – half-naked in her garden – she meets her new neighbor? When this unwelcome stranger shares a secret about their adjoining properties?
Karen Bessey Pease (aka “Kaz”) and Eugene Saint didn’t have a clue…but they were dying to find out. So they teamed up – and Bee Dazzle was born.
Bee Dazzle is the result of an online game of Writers’ Tag between two authors who have never met. Writers’ Tag is a ‘by the seat of your pants’ approach to writing in which there is no collaboration between the players. They simply start writing… and the next player ‘takes it from there’.
In the case of Bee Dazzle, Kaz wrote an opening post, then Saint read it – in its raw, unedited form – and continued the story as he saw fit. The authors had no predetermined plan and no known story-line or plot. This is authentic improvisation from post to post.
For this particular game, the rules were simple…there were no rules except that the story had to be wrapped up in under 20,000 words. Being somewhat long-winded and loving the ‘sound’ of their own literary voices, Saint and Kaz prescribed to the ‘no rules’ portion of the rules and were able to wind Bee Dazzle down in 22,000 words – give or take a dangling participle or two.
Kaz wasn’t sure about combining her well-honed writing talents with those of an ornery and opinionated curmudgeon from Tennessee – but in the spirit of cooperation (and to give Saint a much-needed ‘leg up’) she agreed to this game of Writers’ Tag. It was a laborious and often aggravating endeavor…but in the end, the results were worth the sacrifice.
Saint – though skeptical of combining his remarkable writing skills with those of an uppity, self-important woman from the hills of western Maine – has again thrown his body on one for the good of the squad. Although he’s spent his entire life avoiding greatness, it has been thrust upon him once more.
While collaborating on this short story was akin to kicking a whale up the beach, reading this soon-to-be “instant classic” should prove much less painful!
If, after reading Bee Dazzle, you discover you enjoy the Tag format of improvisational writing between two authors – strangers with diverse temperaments, areas of expertise and hair styles – then stay tuned for a full-length Tag novel by Saint and Kaz in the near future. If we survive the writing…we promise you’ll love the reading!
And now… an excerpt from this ‘teaser’ novella written by a man and a woman who have (it’s been said) great “synergy”… which is defined as “the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”
Saint and Kaz have synergy… of that there is no doubt. But do the authors have ‘staying power’? We’ll let you be the judge.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
“Yeah, it’s a memorial. That is to say there’s no one actually buried there. It’s different if there’s an actual body. The State keeps pretty close track of that stuff. For one thing, if there’s someone buried there then future owners of a property have the right to know it. Plus, if someone runs across human remains on a property then they’ll know whether or not they ought to be there. And you can’t just exhume a body, you know — even on your own land. It’s a big deal.
"Memorials are different. I suspect that’s why Winston had the plot constructed way out there overlooking the bog — figuring it would be a long time before anybody would want to build on that site.”
“Ah...I see. And therefore I should marry you. Of course. It makes perfect sense. Duh, me.”
Sunday, February 24, 2013
|Eli and his Ford Explorer February 17, 2013|
We’ve reached another milestone, here at The F.A.R.M.
Our youngest son Eli has just bought his first vehicle. His very own ‘rig’.
It’s a Ford Explorer. Ancient, by most standards… but it has 55,000 less miles than the truck his mother (that’s me!) drives… so I’m a bit envious. Eli’s Explorer has an all-leather interior, electric ‘everything’, a sun (or ‘moon’) roof and – for all intents and purposes – no rust. In my book, that makes it a ‘keeper’.
The dramatics leading up to the purchase were worthy of a smile or two from this woman who has negotiated sales since Time Immemorial. I knew in advance what the Explorer’s seller was asking for the vehicle, but I didn’t tell Eli. I thought it was important that he learn the fine art of ‘negotiation’. He needed to ask what the seller hoped to get for the vehicle and then decide whether or not the Explorer was worth its asking price. And even whether or not he should ‘negotiate’.
Oh, how Eli fretted over those negotiations! He was worried about spending too much… but he was also equally concerned about ‘insulting’ the seller with a bid that would be too low.
“What should I offer, Mum?” he asked.
“What do you think?” I asked, knowing that my techno-savvy teen had been doing his homework…checking out forums and on-line sites about Ford Explorers in advance of any negotiating. Eli is cautious, careful and level-headed. All he lacks is confidence in the grown-up world that is comprised of buying and selling ‘big ticket’ items. To my way of thinking, there was no better time to begin his education than…NOW.
“I have no idea what it’s worth, Eli (and that was the truth). This will be your vehicle so I think it’s important that you find out what its value is.”
Of course, my words were of no help to him, whatsoever. He was desperately fearful of making a decision. He didn’t want to spend all his money but at the same time, he was afraid he’d lose the opportunity to buy a vehicle which had caught his fancy.
In the end, it all worked out. The price was within his comfort zone and his budget. In addition, his Uncle Scott – a ‘mechanic extraordinaire’ – kicked the Explorer’s tires and proclaimed that Eli would be getting a good deal. So now… the Explorer is sitting in our driveway. Unregistered and with its current inspection sticker soon-to-expire. Still, it’s HERE. And it’s HIS.
This vehicle has been the focal point of all Pease Family conversations for the last week or two. Before the purchase, the talk was all about the negotiation process. Now… it’s about all that Eli hopes to do to the Explorer to make it last for many years… and be ‘cool’ while it’s ‘lasting’. A paint job. A new radio. A new dash? (I’ll talk him out of that one.) A custom-made hanger to hold a garbage bag, so that his truck doesn’t resemble mine. Yes, it’s true. Some sort of garbage container for the Explorer is high on Eli’s list of improvements. He has vowed that when someone opens the passenger-side door on HIS truck, not a single Diet Mt. Dew bottle will roll out onto the ground. (Pfffftt! Big deal!)
Speaking of opening doors, Eli has already managed to lock himself in the back seat of his SUV. Heaven only knows why he was sitting there all alone in the first place… maybe he was checking out the legroom? Once inside, the doors wouldn’t open. Heh…I wish I could have seen my six-foot-four-inch-tall son squeezing between the front seats and climbing over the console to free himself. Grinning, I explained the concept of childproof safety locks and assured him that in a year and a half, once he turns 18, they will magically open at his touch. That, combined with becoming ‘of age’ and gaining a vote should make for a stellar day.
Although several decades have passed since I got my own ‘first rig’, I definitely remember the excitement I felt. All at once I no longer had to rely upon my parents’ ‘largesse’ to get myself from Point A to Point B. It was a big deal. And now, Eli is experiencing that same ‘big deal’. It’s a rite of passage. An important part of growing up and learning to be (and being) independent. It’s pretty cool.
While I’m not the owner of an SUV that only has 156,000 miles on it, I can definitely appreciate the excitement of owning one. Bravo, Eli. Stay safe. And…good luck raising the money to insure your new truck. I’m sure you’re looking forward to driving it instead of just sitting in it while parked in the driveway. And figure out those locks, huh? While I’ve always hoped that my children would inherit some of my traits and tendencies, having that type of Bonehead Moment isn’t one of them.
Friday, January 25, 2013
|First 'Proof' Copy of Bee Dazzle...sitting on my laptop|
When I emerged from the New Portland Post Office on Tuesday morning, I was smiling. I’d stopped by on my way to work because I was hoping to receive in the mail a ‘proof’ copy of Bee Dazzle, a novella originally written as a game of Writers’ Tag by my friend Saint and me.
|Saint... and Me|
To my delight the proof copy had arrived – and so had two additional packages; both from Australia. One was sent from Grahame and KK, my friends in New South Wales. It was a Christmas gift and I’d known it was en route – and that it had been…for six weeks. Lord only knows what Aussie Customs agents found ‘interesting’ about a calendar made from photos of Grahame and KK’s luxury resort in Australia’s wine country, but I’ve come to depend on those hard-working and diligent agents to find something – anything – to focus on which will delay shipping packages to and from Maine and Oz.
|Varykino Mudgee in glorious Autumn colors|
The second package was a mystery and even though I was pressed for time, I opened it while sitting in the Post Office parking lot. The return address told me it was from my friend Larry of Russell Island in Brisbane Harbor. The package was comprised of a very large padded envelope and there was a big tear along the back. The bag was squishy. Like there was something made of cloth inside. Was Lal sending me clothing? After all, when he left Maine after his visit in 2010, he gave me his calf-length Australian leather coat, called a “Driza-bone”. Perhaps he hadn’t had room for the coat in his carry-on luggage… or maybe he’d recognized the covetous looks I’d cast in the coat’s direction during the four weeks he was here. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t unheard of for Lal to gift me with something to wear.
|Kaz...in Larry's "Driza-bone" after shooting his cell phone with a 9mm WWI Luger|
My frozen hands worked at tearing through the glue and staples which held down the envelope’s flap. Successful at last, I peered into the gloomy interior of the bag. Whatever it was, it smelled slightly…musty. For all I knew, the package had been subjected to inclement weather for weeks on end –perhaps riding topside on a slow boat to China, via the ‘scenic route’ along the east coast of America.
I reached inside and pulled forth…a kangaroo skin. A kangaroo pelt. A kangaroo rug? I held in my hands the furry hide of an Eastern Gray Kangaroo….long tail, included.
I laughed. In surprise. In dismay. And more than anything else, I laughed because I knew that the gift was sent in an effort to let me share part of Larry’s Australian life and culture. I immediately looked at the tote bag sitting beside me on the truck seat, which sports gifts from Jack in Queensland. A ‘roo scrote pouch’ in the back interior pocket and a desiccated ‘cane toad purse’ (both of which Jack says no self-respecting Aussie kid would be without) attached to the exterior key ring holder.
Yep, I’ve been the recipient of a plethora of Aussie ‘culture’.
Lal is (when sober—which of course is almost always!) a man of few words. The brief note accompanying the gift was short and succinct.
|Ornamental pelt on my upstairs bannster...|
“An eastern gray kangaroo. Don’t add water or it might hop away.” No signature… just those few words penned in his unique scrawl upon a scrap of paper. It was enough. Enough to make me laugh. Enough to make the start of my day one filled with humor and good feeling. I chuckled as I backed my truck out of its parking space and headed west on Route 16 towards Kingfield.
So…I am the owner of a kangaroo pelt. The question remains – what will I do with it? As I’ve shown it to my co-workers and my kids, suggestions have been plentiful. The most popular notion has been to make it into a full-sized apron by attaching a ribbon to the upper ‘neck’ part and tying the front legs around my back. The long tail presented a bit of a dilemma, but again…the majority ruled. If ‘tail’ored properly, that long appendage could contribute to the making of a one-of-a-kind ‘thong’ apron.
At the present time, the pelt is draped over the banister at the top of our stairs. The first night it was folded up atop the table…and our three cats took turns curling up on it. But hides of any kind don’t belong on a kitchen table (nor do cats of any kind) so over the banister it was draped.
What to do with it? I have two full-sized Aussie flags that haven’t been hung or displayed – for this isn’t Oz and I’m not sure of proper flag ‘protocol’. I have photos of much of the eastern half of Australia… and videos of pythons eating possums or slithering along the tops of pagodas… and books on local Australian history and (often-deadly) flora and fauna…and local maps of specific regions Down Under (so I can find these friends if I ever travel to the South Pacific). I carry Australian money in my bag --bills AND coins -- just in case I ever need it or want to show others what Oz currency looks like. I have autographed novels from best-selling Aussie authors...and Aussie calendars which threaten to confuse me because their weeks begin with Monday on the far left and Sunday on the far right. I have all this and more…but I’ve never agonized (much) about what to do with these treasures.
But a roo rug? Hah! I have no idea what to do with that. If you’ve any suggestions (which don’t include a scenario in which I’m wearing it) I’d love to hear them
You know where to find me. Not Down Under but ‘Up Above’… in Lexington Township, Maine.
|Home....in Lexington Township...Maine|
Thursday, January 10, 2013
|Okay... the published cover will feature Saint's name in the primary position... but this copy is all I've got!|
Within the next few weeks I’ll be the proud author of another published novel. Bee Dazzle is its name and it’s a ‘collaborative effort’ between two writers. I’m one of them. My friend Eugene Saint is the other.
Saint is from Tennessee. Although he and I have been friends for three years, we’ve never met in person. I owe our association to my pal Jack; that Scotsman now living in Australia who has been the springboard for many wonderful long-distance friendships. Jack and Saint ‘met’ on an online authors’ site and after the two men corresponded for awhile, Saint decided to send Jack an autographed copy of his ‘Coming of Age’ novel, The Eggless Club. That was almost four years ago and I didn’t know anything about Saint at that time – but I remember when Jack wrote to me one Saturday to tell me that he spent a good part of his day lazing in the hammock while reading an ‘excellent little book’ sent to him by an American author named Eugene Saint.
Fast-forward a few months to January, 2010. Jack – who always looks out for his pal ‘Kaz’ – emailed, telling me of a website where authors read and critiqued each others’ work. I checked it out and – always doing what Jack advises [except when he’s DEAD WRONG] – I enrolled as a member. Within hours, I got a message from an old guy named ‘Saint’.
“Hi, Karen. Welcome to the site! Hey, some of us have a game of ‘writers’ tag’ going and we’re looking for people to participate. Hope you’ll check it out!”
Well, I checked it out…and then signed up to play.
The rules were simple: There were no rules! One writer composed an opening ‘post’ in the style and genre of their choosing and then ‘tagged’ another player – who would then have to continue the story without any collaboration with the previous writer and without any idea of their intent or vision or plot. I was told that the scheme was to try to write the other players ‘into a corner’ so that they would have to use their skill and imagination to get themselves back out.
That first game –which included 5 other writers – was fun (but rather weird). I quickly realized that Saint was talented, intelligent – and the most wicked sort of troublemaker! He had the ability to make me laugh out loud – even while he aggravated and insulted me. How could I resist such charm?
Saint and I, along with various other writers, participated in several games of Tag but a busy home life and work schedule kept me from ‘playing’ as often as I wanted. Eventually someone suggested a variation to the game: a contest where several teams consisting of only two writers created short stories and let readers choose their favorite ‘Tag’.
Saint and I teamed-up…and Bee Dazzle was born.
We authors all agreed that our own work product in each Tag would remain our personal ‘intellectual’ property. For example: everything I wrote in each collaborative work belonged to me, only – and could be used/re-worked/published by me; exclusive of the others’ contributions.
|Eugene Saint (and Wibby...)|
By the time the site folded, Saint and I were firm (if somewhat adversarial) friends. We decided to use our own bits and pieces of the individual Tags to create original novels. Bee Dazzle – being a short story – seemed like the best choice for a ‘trial run’ at co-writing.
In truth, it’s been a hellish experience. Saint is opinionated, sarcastic…and he thinks he’s ALWAYS RIGHT. On the other hand, I AM always right… but have had to cede him some small concessions due to my desire to keep his blood pressure within life-sustaining range. He has yet to acknowledge the fact that co-authoring with me is good for his image – but I expect that that humble and appropriate homage will be paid to me in due time (i.e., when hell freezes over.)
Bee Dazzle is the result of a light-hearted game in which two authors battled it out in a public forum. I wrote the first ‘post’ but had no idea where it would go from there. I STILL don’t know where it went – but I do know that every time I read this collaborative story…I smile. Sometimes I even laugh out loud.
But I’ll never admit that to Saint. It’s bad enough that he thinks he’s God’s gift to the literary world. It simply wouldn’t do for him to know that he’s been an amazing gift to me, as well.
Bee Dazzle has been type-cast in the “Chick Lit” genre –which tickles ME…but which must irritate poor old Saint! A ‘google’ search defines Chick Lit as “smart, fun fiction for and/or about women of all ages…revolv(ing) around jobs, children, motherhood, romance, fame…friendship…and much more, usually with a touch of humor thrown in.”
Our novel was an ‘off the cuff’ endeavor but it surely fits within the confines of the ‘Chick Lit’ definition. I can live with that. As ornery as Saint is, I suspect that he can, too.
We hope you’ll agree…because we surely can’t!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
|Single-shot of Earth taken from 22,369 miles away by Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.|
So… here we are. We’ve survived the infamous and much-anticipated Mayan “End Date”, which coincided with our winter solstice. Despite the alignment of our sun between earth and the center of the Milky Way, we haven’t experienced a reversal of our magnetic poles. No drifting asteroid or off-kilter planet has collided with the earth. We’re not experiencing a nuclear winter. We don’t even have much snow on the ground. It seems the “Apocalypse of 2012” had more ‘woof’ than ‘poof!’
A friend asked me last month what I was going to be doing on December 21st. I looked at the calendar, saw the date came on a Friday and said “I’ll be at work.”
“Seriously?” he asked. “You’re going to spend what could be your last day on earth… working?”
Ever patient and practical, I explained.
“Ah, but you see – if December 21st isn’t my last day on earth, I want to have a job to go to on Monday morning. The End of the World is merely a supposition. If I ditch work based solely on frenzied conjecture, becoming unemployed is a certainty!”
I’m not much of a gambler, it seems. (And I really don’t talk like that, either. ‘Frenzied conjecture’? Forgive me, please…)
Of course, there have been grumblings about all sorts of man-made disasters that might signal the End Times – or at least, very Rough Times. I’ve heard predictions that the stock market is going to crash… and that the banking industry will follow. That the current Middle East conflicts will evolve into world war. That America will soon become a police state, a socialist state, a fascist state. The catastrophes envisioned by some people are endless.
All of these scenarios are possible. Some may even be probable. There is no guarantee that our lives will move forward with predictability or that they will improve as time goes by. That’s what we hope for, of course…but history has shown that we humans and the earth which sustains us have a tendency for going through periods of great upheaval. Sustained boredom is not an option, here on Planet Earth.
But what is the benefit of worrying constantly about all things ‘doom’ and ‘gloom’? I believe an individual’s quality of life suffers immensely when he concentrates too much on ‘what ifs’, especially when they are pessimistic or depressing.
So I’ve decided to look to the future and approach 2013 with a positive attitude. The year will have several milestones in it and I’d rather look forward to those than dread possible calamities.
|Guy, Josie-Earl and Eli, Thanksgiving 2012|
Our son Guy will turn thirty. Daughter Josie-Earl will be graduating from Carrabec High School. Our boy Eli will (we hope) get his driver’s license. Steven and I are going to celebrate our 20th anniversary. And I will turn fifty. That’s right; in 2013 I will turn fifty. Years old. The ‘Big Five-Oh’. Yay….
I’m trying to look at my September birthday with optimism rather than dread. For just as no one knows if there is imminent disaster on the earth’s horizon, so I don’t know if turning fifty will be the big ‘downer’ I expect it will be. The great thing about it is that I have some power over how I approach this landmark birthday. I can be bummed out and discouraged and act like I’m ‘middle-aged’ – or I can do things to make my 50th year one to be remembered with happiness and a sense of accomplishment.
I’ve decided to go skydiving to celebrate my half-century mark. By writing this publicly I’m setting the plan in stone…which is exactly how I imagine I’ll drop – like a stone. I’m not particularly scared of heights but I am petrified of falling. When I cross the Onawa Trestle, the center of which rises 157 feet above the stream bed below, I practically have to crawl on my hands and knees. Even standing several feet away from the edge I can convince myself that I’m going to fall and I get dizzy with vertigo. It’s rather silly but I can’t help it. I’m terrified of falling.
So I’ll jump, instead. From a few thousand feet above the earth. Am I afraid to? Absolutely! I’m petrified! But it’s kind of funny… I’m not nearly as worried about skydiving as I am about chickening out. I have this awful dread that I’ll get to the open door of that airplane and I’ll change my mind. Vehemently. Maybe even violently. That I’ll plant my feet, embed my nails in the fuselage and refuse to budge. Yep, I’m far more fearful of acting cowardly about the whole ‘step out into nothing’ scenario than I am of plummeting to earth with nothing but a swatch of wispy silk to break my fall.
To protect me from myself, I’ve asked several friends if they’d like to go skydiving with me. I’ve even asked them if they’d volunteer to push me out. I’ve accepted their ready agreements with delight and relief – sure that they only wish to save me from myself and will receive no pleasure from the pushing.
What else will I do to celebrate my 50th? I haven’t decided yet. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I’ve decided to jump out of an airplane while it’s in the air. But one thing that will make the year special is that I think I’ll be able to enjoy another visit from Larry, one of my good friends in Australia. When I asked Larry if he’d like to go skydiving with me he said, “Nah.” There was no hesitation whatsoever in his response. But he did volunteer his girlfriend Deb for the excursion. He even promised to talk her into giving me a little push if I needed it. What a pal.
We made it through the year 2012. Some of it was good; parts of it were not-so-good. Since life is unpredictable, 2013 will likely be the same but I’m determined to make the most of it. I’ll challenge myself to overcome one of my life-long fears. And when I land back on terra firma I’ll be exuberant. Proud of myself. Full of exhilaration at my accomplishment. And with luck, those friends I grab in panic on my way out of the plane will land safely beside me.
Friday, October 26, 2012
|Just one of the delightful 'poo' themed gifts I've received from Dozy.|
Well, she did it again. My amazing friend Dozy-- that intrepid shopper from Down Under-- managed to find me the perfect souvenirs while on her most recent African safari.
You might remember that Dozy is the gal pal who has sent me oodles of exotic… um… ‘manure’. Yes, there’s a story, there. After all, no one would gift a friend with defecation without good reason, right? If you don’t know the history behind Dozy’s sh**ty gift-giving habits, I invite you to read “Sisterhood of the Traveling Poo” at the link below. Trust me-- it will all make perfect sense!
The phone rang this evening and I answered it in the bedroom, where I was working at my computer. Since the TV was on and my husband and daughter were also chatting behind me, I took the phone downstairs to the kitchen so that I could hear. I spied a package on the counter and I grinned. A carton with Dozy’s unique handwriting on it! It had to be a box of poop!
Yep. And not just a little bit, either.
I couldn’t wait to open the box so I put the phone down, grabbed a knife and sliced through the packing tape. There were four individually wrapped parcels in the box. The first contained a soft and beautiful scarf from South Africa. There was nothing crappy about that gift—it was lovely.
|Josie models scarf from South Africa|
|blank pooper just waiting for pen and ink|
The next item was wrapped in a sheet of foam. It was chunky. Heavy. I cackled nervously—wondering what large African animal Dozy had followed behind with her pooper-scooper in hand. I was still chatting with my friend, trying to hold the phone between shoulder and ear while I hefted the package and unrolled the wrapper.
|Dung beetle rolling dung ball-made in Zimbabwe|
And there in the palm of my hand was… a dung beetle. A BIG one! And not just the bug, mind you! My beetle came with its very own massive ball of dung clutched between its hind legs. What a load of crap!
And what a WOMAN! Dozy’d found the perfect African gift. And THIS TIME I knew better than to try to eat the dung beetle, too. (Yes, that’s a story for another day…)
But there was one more tissue-wrapped bundle. I couldn’t imagine what it was. The delivery slip on her box listed three items (and please note Dozy’s expert word-smithing): “Scarf, ornament…stationery”. Check, check…and check.
I tore off the wrapping paper-- and there it was, in all its glory. The real deal. Authentic. Pure. Straight from the African elephant…to me.
A pop-top pack of pachyderm poop.
|Genuine elephant dung from South African|
Perfect. And very grassy. Quite interesting, in fact. For now, though, I’ll resist the urge to pop the top and inspect it further, knowing that my acute anticipation will only enhance the experience, later on.
Dozy has certainly outdone herself. I can’t begin to imagine what gift I can find for her that will compare to these treasures. Still, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a comparable souvenir …and hope that when I find ‘that certain something’ it will give her as many grins and chuckles as she’s sent my way.
What a gal! Thank you, Dozy-dear. You are the absolute BEST. Sending s**tloads of love back atcha!
|African gifts from my friend Dozy|