Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just Duckie

After a long day at work, I came home and fixed dinner. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, lost in my own thoughts, I opened up the back patio door. I raised my head and froze, still holding the trash sack in my hand. In front of me stood several white ducks, peering at me curiously.

"Excuse me!" one duck called. "Can you help us find something?"

"Sure, I suppose," I said, dumbfounded.

"Wonderful!" the duck exclaimed. "Do you know where The Pond is?"

"The pond?" I echoed.

"No," the duck said, shaking his bill. "The Pond."

"I'm not quite sure what you mean by The Pond," I said, setting down the trash sack.

The ducks sighed, obviously vexed by my lack of knowledge. "You know," another duck said. "The Pond. The Pond where you, the Blonde Duck, resides."

"Oh!" I cried, immediately understanding. "The Pond!" The ducks nodded enthusiastically. "Well, you're in the Pond."

The ducks looked at me, looked at the yard, and looked back at me. "Excuse me?" one duck said. "This is THE Pond?"

"Well, it's not all of the Pond," I huffed. "There's more inside." The ducks sighed in relief and waddled after me through the house. I gave them a tour. While they enjoyed the Land of the Flowered Bed and the garage where Henry the Lizard lay sleeping, they kept quacking to themselves and gnashing their beaks. We returned to the patio, where they perched on the patio table.

"Well, what did you think?" I asked. The ducks conferred then looked at me.

"We don't like it," one duck said. "It's dull," the second duck said. "I like the Land of the Flowered Bed," the third duck ventured. I smiled and thanked him. He grinned back at me and asked for some tuna.

As I prepared a dish of tuna for the ducks, they discussed their grievances with me.

"The ponds in your pond were quite white and warm," the first duck said. "Or small and metal," the second duck said, nodding enthusiastically. "A bit too yuppie for me," the third duck confessed through loud smacks. "I would feel like I was in a spa."

"Again with the spa," I muttered. As they had traveled all the day to see the Pond, I felt obligated to appease them. "So what would you like to see?" The ducks muttered among each other, than turned to me over their plates of tuna.

"We would like a pond within the Pond," the first duck said. "An outdoor pond, not a big indoor pond," the second duck clarified. "With flowers and frogs!" the third duck said enthusiastically, finishing his tuna. "Some cattails too, if you please."

"You want a pond in the backyard?" I asked. The ducks nodded. "We can do that," I said. The ducks quacked happily. "We would also like a slide," the first duck said. "And a cabana bar with fish juice," the second duck said. "Isn't that a bit yuppie?" the third duck asked anxiously. He was shushed by the other two ducks. Three sets of bright eyes looked up at me expectantly.

"I'll see what we can do," I said, trying not to smile.

"Until then, you can find us in the Spa at the Land of the Flowered Bed," the first duck said, toddling off.

"I hear they serve smores," the second duck said, waddling quickly behind.

"Thank you for the tuna," the third duck said shyly, using his beak to throw away his plate. "When do we get our pond?"

"Soon," I promised. He smiled and waddled away quickly around the corner. I began to clean up the half chewed plates of tuna.

"Blonde Duck?" the third duck asked. I turned to look at him. "It's a very nice Pond," he grinned. I grinned back and finished cleaning up, humming to myself. Here at The Pond, things are just ducky.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Here kitty, kitty

There was a crisis in the Land of the Flowered Bed.

Cookies stared at what was in front of him in complete disbelief. "She's been doing this ALL day?"

"All day," Hairy confirmed, nodding his head.

"Is she not tired of it?" Cookies asked, scratching his feathered head. "Shouldn't she be over this already?"

"Apparently not," Hairy sighed. "She's convinced that this is her true self. I have no idea why. I think it's because she watched Animal Planet all morning." The seal purred in response.

"It's making me hungry," Pumble said, smacking on some toast with honey. "All that activity--it makes a person hungry. Can you imagine moving around that much?" He yawned, honey clinging to both lips. "It makes me sleepy too."

One seal flopped around, barking angrily at the other seal. He barked and clapped his fins like a scolding parent.

"I don't think she's listening," Cookies said gently. "You're just making yourself mad for no reason."

Standing in a circle, they all stared at the seal. The seal who was now wrapping her little seal head around each of their legs, purring like a cat. She pulled herself along with her short front flippers, purring and licking as though she was trying to clean herself. She bounced along, mewing loudly at everyone. Well, she tried to mew. It came out like a strangled garble, which only enraged the other seal, who began barking louder and bouncing up and down angrily.

"I know she's not a cat!" Hairy sighed. "I know she's annoying you. I know this is ridiculous. No, you're not allowed to slap her. That's against the law. What law? Well the non-slapping law. It is too real!"

Cookies stared at the mewing seal, twirling the girl's glasses in his mouth. "Do you suppose she's gone mad?" he asked, his eyes widening in excitement. "Do you think she has Mad Seal disease? We could cut open her brain and study why she's--"

The other seal exploded in a frenzy of barking and rushed to block Cookie's view of the other seal, who rubbed and purred against him. "Fine, have it your way. Deny science what rightfully belongs to it. Anyone can see she's gone perfectly mad!"

Annoyed, Cookies wondered off to look for a book to read. He was bored with the seals. Hairy stood alone, watching the one seal purr and try to saunter about while the other one hopped and barked angrily.

"Do shut up already," Pumble cried wearily, shoving another cracker in his mouth. "It's almost time for my nap and that darn seal is still carrying on!"

"He may be right," Hairy told the barking seal gently. "If you ignore her, she'll probably stop." The barking seal agreed and sadly followed Hairy to the pillows.

The seal continued to slink about the bedroom, trying to behave like a cat. When she tried to snuggle against Pumble, he shooed her away with a honey covered hand. Offended, she hopped over to Cookies, who tried to give her an X-Ray with a piece of paper and a flash light. Terrorized, she crawled over to Hairy, who gently tried to get her to talk about her feelings and what was bothering her.

Confused, the seal hopped to the kitchen in search of milk. She was sure she would enjoy the milk. After all, cats drank milk, and she was a cat wasn't she? Cats ate fish, and she enjoyed fish. The seal opened the fridge with her tail and hopped into it, knocking the milk over with her stout body. As the milk covered the floor, she happily slid over and began lapping it up with her tongue. After a few laps, she looked up and smacked her mouth. She took a few more tentative licks, than spat. She did not like the milk at all! How could she be a cat if she didn't like milk?

Even more confused, the seal slid over to the patio doors. She would lay in the sun, she thought. Cats like sun. After awhile, the seal hopped back to the room. She was hot, sweaty and covered in sour milk. Barking frantically, she hopped into the pillows looking for the other seal.

"She's back!" Hairy cried, alerting the others. Together, the seals emerged from the pillows barking.

"You're not a cat?" Hairy asked in response to their frenzied barking. "Well that's nice to know. You spilt what! Oh no! I've got to clean it up before they get back!"

"You may want a bath too," Pumble said lazily, holding his nose. "You smell."

"So I don't get to operate?" Cookies asked disappointingly, emerging from the other room with a hammer and screwdriver. "How distressing! I was almost ready."

As Hairy cleaned up the split milk, the seals took a bath in the sink and laid out in the sun to dry. The girl seal leaned her head against the boy and sighed contently. It wasn't so bad being a seal after all. Even if cats were much fuzzier.

Friday, January 26, 2007


The animals in the Land of the Flowered Bed were thrilled. It had finally stopped raining, and sunshine was pouring through the open blinds. Frost was beginning to melt off the leaves, and tufts of green were peeking through. For a few days, at least, a taste of spring was here. It was time to celebrate!

Cookies decided to fix smores and toasted mice, while Pumble set about laying out. He placed a pillow under the window and plopped down on it, his big tummy raising up and down as he snored.

As mayor, Hairy surveyed the scene, smiling. Then he noticed the seals weren't around. He checked under the bed and in the pillows, and they were no where to be found. Suddenly, he heard the sound of water running. Alarmed, he found the seals barking happily and filling up the bathtub with water.

"What are you doing?" Hairy shouted. "You can't get all wet! You'll get us discovered!" The seals barked happily and slid into the water on their bellies, splashing happily in the tub. Hairy clapped his hand over his head as Cookies ran in.

"What are they doing?" Cookies said, confused. "They're going swimming," Hairy replied, gesturing to the seals, who were now doing backstrokes. "They said it was such a nice day, they wanted to go swimming."

"They won't dry," Cookies said, gesturing at the clock with his tongs. "I know," Hairy said. Cookies looked around the bathroom, tapping his feathered chin with his tongs. "You know, this place would be a perfect spa."

"A spa?" Hairy asked in disbelief. "A spa?" Pumble woke out of a dead sleep. "Where? Do they have a chef?"

"Actually, yes," Cookies said, preening. "I am the chef of La Bathroom, the most elegant spa in the Land of the Flowered Bed. We offer freshly baked smores and toasted mice, and will cook anything you like. We have an Olympic sized swimming pool and a hot tub. Discriminating guests will enjoy the masseuse table, where they will be wrapped in white fluffy towels and rubbed down with lotion."

"That sounds wonderful!"Pumble said, now fully awake. "Who do I talk to?"

"Our concierge!" Cookies said with a broad smile. "You, sir, tell the man how much it costs!" Hairy looked at Cookies in confusion, down where his wing was pointing, and back at Cookies.

"Me?" he squeaked. "Yes you," Cookies muttered with impatience. "Get on with it!"

"Um," Hairy stuttered. "We require reservations five minutes in advance, and payments are made in-"

"Cookies," Cookies supplied. "Freshly baked ones."

"Sign me up!" Pumble said, running into the spa. He filled up the sink with hot water and climbed in, sighing with relief. "What a lovely spa," he sighed. The seals splashed about happily, barking and having diving contests with the soap. Cookies brought out fresh smores for everyone, and Hairy later gave the seals massages, where they both fell asleep on the toilet wrapped in a towel. The animals were so relaxed they barely moved when the people came home.

"What a lovely spa," Pumble mumbled sleepily. He had spent the day eating smores and sitting in the hot tub, which had to be refilled seven times. Lazily, he draped one lotion covered arm over his cookie covered eyes. "Hairy," he said thoughtfully. "What if you gave me a honey oil treatment tommorow? Or perhaps you could dip me in chocolate? What if we filled the bathtub full of whipped cream, and swam in it? Would you be interested in giving me a chocolate massage?"

His plump ears were met with silence. "Hairy?" he asked. "Hairy?" He looked up to see Hairy and Cookies running down the hallway in terror at that thought. Only the seals were left, who were grinning up at him. "Would you give me a chocolate massage?" he asked the seals. The seals barked and crossed their arms in reply. "Only if we swim in purred salmon and chocolate?" Pumble said, removing his arm from his eyes. He thought a moment, then placed his arm back. "It could work," he said thoughtfully. "It could work. I do loovvveeee chocolate. Even if it's got some salmon in it." The seals licked their lips happily in reply.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Day in the Life of an Artist*

Since I spend the majority of my time being perky, cheerful and happy, I decided to see what it would be like to live in the life of an artist* (pronounce R-Teest). For a day, I would live as the creatively tortured do. I would wail in anguish, shriek in frustration and be glum and dreary. My day would be filled with brilliant ideas and rock-bottom moments in which I hit my knees, screaming toward the heavens, "Why meee?" It was to be an interesting day.

The mood was set when I woke up with a steady, falling rain. The steady, falling rain did not stop until 5 p.m. The skies were grey, as they had been for days. Therefore, I had the perfect environment in which to be an artist.

Driving to work, I encountered masses of people. Apparently, the rain was such a confusing occurrence they all crowded onto the highway I take to work going 20 mph. Sullenly, I drove through the pouring rain, letting the battering raindrops hammer away at my consciousness. I played two slow, depressing John Mayer songs over and over and thought about dark subjects, like global warming. By the time I got to work, my mood matched the sky.

I carefully stepped through the rain, distressed my new boots were getting wet. As an artist, I had to have the proper footwear. The mood in the office was tense and somber. People glided about with vacant looks in their eyes, or scurried around with their heads down muttering to themselves. Walking down the halls, heads would pop out over cubicles and glare suspiciously at you. I wrapped my dark coat further around me as if to ward off their evil looks, and cloaked myself in oblivion. After all, an artist must focus on his creativity.

Throughout the way, I was restless. There was a deep need in my soul to shout, to dance, to laugh. However, the tense air around me cracked with the slightest giggle. I felt as though I was caged in a box. My mind wandered all day, bursting with creativity and having no avenue to take it down. I read depressing song lyrics and slipped slowly into madness. As an artist, I was bound to have maniacal highs and lows.

After a long, depressing day, I finally arrived home. As soon as my hands flipped the light switch, I looked around my silent house. Looking at the bright cheerful items, I couldn't help but smile and feel my spirits lift. The artist scowled and buried deeper inside of me. And by the time Ben came home, I was back.

While being an artist is interesting, I think I like being the Blonde Duck much better. I'm a bit tired of those John Mayer songs.

Invisible Friends-

Stay tuned for a Land of the Flowered Bed story, coming soon! You'll have it by Friday at the latest!


The Happily Cheerful and Delightfully Cute Blonde Duck

Monday, January 22, 2007

Arguing with Birds, part 2

The warm weather on Sunday had encouraged the birds to re-appear. They were not amused that the cold front had returned with a vengeance on Monday morning, and sat shivering and sniping at each other as I walked by.

"That is a bird!"

"It is not a bird!"

"It is so a bird. It's the leader of all the hawks!"

"Look at how big it's tail feathers are. It has to be a bird."

"You are dumber than a bug," their leader said in disgust. "It is not a bird."

"Ask the lady."

"Yes the lady will know."

"What will I know?" I asked, stopping to talk to them. The cold wind whipped around us, and the birds and I both squelched up our shoulders for warmth. The birds buried their heads in their wings, with only their loud beaks protruding.

"Is that a bird or is it a hawk?" one particularly naive bird asked me, eyeballing the wisps of hair blowing around my head. I narrowed my eyes at him as his friend smacked him.

"You dumb bird!" his friend scolded him. "A hawk is a bird!"

"But it's a special bird," the bird countered, still watching my head. "Are those golden worms growing out of your scalp?"

"No, it's hair, and no you can't taste it," I answered before he could say anything else. He looked distressed. I looked around, but I could see no birds other than the ones sitting on the fence.

"I don't see another bird," I said. The birds sighed and shook their heads. "Duh, it's up there," one pointed with his beak. I turned to look at a plane flying in the sky.

"That's a plane!" I said. "That's not a bird!"

"Nuh-uh!" the unintelligent bird argued. "Planes are mechanical birds. It says so on that sign over there."

Their leader sighed heavily. "You idiot!" he cried. "That's just a comparison. A plane is a machine."

The birds looked at me for confirmation. I nodded. "This is worse than the french fry incident," the bird muttered. He flew off with the other birds following him. "Wait for me!" the dumb bird cried. "I want to say hi to the mechanical bird! Maybe he'll lead us down South!"

"You're going North!" I called after them. Cursing, they turned in their tracks and flew east, still arguing amongst each other. It doesn't pay to argue with birds.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Crime in the Land of the Flowered Bed

Time: 8:08 a.m. January 17, 2007

Location: The Land of the Flowered Bed, on the bed

It was a horrible scene. The seals had buried themselves in the pillows to avoid looking at it, and Pumble was so upset he made a beeline for the ice cream. Cookies and Hairy were left standing at the disaster.

"Well," Hairy said. "I suppose one of us should check it's tags."

"The horror!" Cookies clutched his chest. "Oh the humanity! Who could have done this? Only a monster!"

Hearing the shrieks, the seals trembled more and dove only deeper under the pillows.

"You're scaring them," Hairy scolded, as he grimly surveyed the scene.

"They should be scared," Cookies said ominously. "I'm scared. And nothing scares me." The seals' tails completely disappeared. Hairy made a face at him.

"I'm back," Pumble announced, strolling back in with a ring of chocolate syrup around his mouth. He saw the sight and grimaced. "Haven't you cleaned that up yet? It's making me nauseous just looking at it."

Hairy stepped forward and carefully reached under the victim and checked his tags. After carefully reading them, he carefully relaxed.

"It's a false alarm!" he cried happily.

"What do you mean it's a false alarm?" Cookies said in shock. "Could it be? No one has been murdered? We are safe in our beds at night? We can relax in the knowlege that--"

"YES!" Hairy cried happily. "We're safe! There's not a killer on the loose!"

Barking excitedly, the seals emerged from the pillows.

"Well, then whatever is it?" Pumble demanded.

"Yes, what is it?" Cookies asked anxiously.

Hairy looked at each of them dramatically, then grinned. "It's wool and cashmere!"

"Wool and cashmere!" they all cried excitedly.

"So they didn't skin stuffed animals!" Pumble cried. "It's just a boring ordinary sweater! It's not worthy of investigation!"

"We're safe!" Cookies cried. "They're shearing sheep instead! How glorious! I always knew there had to be another explanation. I was never convinced that a stuffed animal killer was on the loose. Besides, why would he skin the animals and turn their hides into sweaters? That's utterly ridiculous."

"That's why you woke us up with the blood curdling shriek, 'Murder, Murder!" Pumble mimicked.

"Ok, ok," Hairy said, rolling his eyes. "The important thing is that it is a sweater, and that it is made from wool, not from skins. It was just a product of our over-active imaginations."

After they sat around and congratulated each other, they sat still, rather bored.

"Well, there went all the excitement," Pumble muttered. "I'm going to go see what's in the kitchen!"

As the seals played quietly on the floor, Hairy read a magazine on the bed while Cookies perfected his soliloquy. Suddenly, Pumble came racing in the room.

"Guys, you'll never believe it!" he cried dramatically. "Someone stole all the crackers! They're gone! My precious wheat crackers--they're GONE!" Hairy grabbed his magnifying glass and Cookies hurried behind him with his special detective hat. The seals followed, barking excitedly. The next adventure had begun.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Day

The seals were barking enthusiastically, jumping up and down at the window. With their black little noses pressed against the glass, their tails wiggled in delight. It was all they could do not to burst through the window and onto the frosted grass.

"Would you shut up!" Cookies glared, peering out from under the pillow he had wiggled under. "I'm trying to sleep!"

"Why are you sleeping during the day?" asked Pumble. In honor of the snowday, he had dawned a hat and a sweatshirt that was much too large for him. "Be productive. Beeeee productive." He giggled at his own joke.

Cookies stared back indignantly. "Do you think that's funny?" he asked bitingly. "I suppose it's funny to morons and fat people! Is eating all day productive? If expanding your waistline is a national goal, I say you should get a raise. Look at you!"

"Now Cookies," Hairy said kindly. "You're simply cranky because you haven't had your nap. Don't be mean to Pumble. He doesn't critisize your weight. It's time to go to sleep. " Giving one final glare, Cookies collapsed back into the pillows. "Now Pumble," Hairy continued. "Don't feel bad about Cookies. He just makes fun of your weight because he can't insult your sunny personality. He's just a negative person." An indignant squawk came from the pillows, and a few choice words.

Pumble puffed up his chest and replied, "I'm simply pleasantly plump. Besides, have you had these new crackers? They're too die for!"

Terrified no one was listening to their weather report, the seals barked louder and jumped harder, almost falling off the window seal. Hairy rubbed his temples and sighed inwardly.

"That's lovely," he said kindly to the seals. "Thank you for telling us. I appreciate the update." The seals continued to bark and bounce. "No thank you," Hairy said. "I'd rather not go outside. It seems a bit chilly."

"You want to go outside?" he asked as the seals continued. At their enthusiastic bobbing, he hesitated. "I'm not sure how to get you out there." The two seals erupted into barking and tail pointing. "Well, we can try," Hairy said reluctantly. "I don't think you'll like it--it's a lot colder than you think. Yes, I understand you're Arctic seals, but you have been in the Land of the Flowered Bed, not the Arctic."

The animals crept toward the front door. Even Cookies forgoed his nap to join the expedition. When they reached the door, Cookies flew up and undid the dead bolt and chain. Pumble turned the handle, and cold air blasted through the open door. The seals gingerly hopped onto the concrete, then to the edge of the sidewalk. Once the cold ice hit the seals' tender bellies, they yelped and skidded back onto the concrete, hopping down the hallway. They hopped into the living room, down the hallway, and back to the pillows, where they dove in for warmth. The other animals followed, laughing.

Pumble hoisted himself back up to the bed and began eating his crackers while Cookies returned to his nest of pillows. Hairy sat next to the seals and listened to their muffled barking.

"Yes, it was cold," Hairy said, smiling. "No, I agree. The snow in here is much nicer after all."

Monday, January 15, 2007


Before the wind turned icy and the roads turned slick, I took a walk around in the drizzly grey weather. As I strolled down the slick sidewalk, I saw an earthworm who had crawled up from the ground and was sitting in a patch of clovers. He looked quite confused. He heard my footsteps and looked up at me.

"Excuse me," he said. "Do you have an umbrella?"

"Well, yes I do," I said. "Only I'm afraid it is much too big for you."

"Drat," he said. "Do you know where I could find an umbrella?"

"I'm afraid I don't," I said. "All the umbrellas I know of are for people, not earthworms. Why do you need an umbrella?"

"Why do you need one?" he responded snottily.

"Because it's raining," I said.

"That is precisely the reason I need an umbrella," he said. "I'm quite sensitive to the rain."

"Oh," I said, very confused. "But you live underground. The rain must make it easier for you."

"Easier?" the worm said, sounding annoyed. "Easier? You try trying to crawl through mud with water droplets pounding on your head incessantly. You've got a massive headache, you can't feel where you're going and you're being washed away or drowning in a giant flood. Right, that's a lot EASIER."

"Well how is an umbrella going to help you with all that?" I asked, annoyed as well.

"It will protect my head and help me see." the Earthworm said smugly.

"See?" I asked, staring at the pompous blind worm who was staring up at me.

The worm sighed, as if I was an idiot. "I know where to go because the tiny hairs on my skin sense where the dirt is, where the rocks are and if there's a stick in my way," he said. "I absorb the nutrients in my skin, so I can always tell where I am. The closer I get to buildings, for instance, the worse the nutrients are. As long as I can see, I'm ok. The raindrops throw off my vision."

"Oh," I said. I wasn't quite sure what I was to do with this earthworm. "Would you like an acorn top for a hat?" I asked. "It's not an umbrella, but it would protect your head."

"That's actually a brilliant idea!" the Earthworm cried, looking pleased. "Would you mind getting me one so I could try it?"

I picked up an acorn top of the ground and placed it on his tiny pink head. He beamed up at me.

"This is wonderful!" he said. "I'm so delighted. Am I not the cutest thing you've ever seen?"

"Sure," I said, not wanting to break his wormy little heart. The small pink worm in his over-sized acorn hat then wriggled back into the ground, with only his tail sticking out of the mud.

"Oh!" he cried out over his shoulder. "My name is Ernie by the way. It was nice meeting you giant! I hope to see you again soon! I'll probably need a new hat shortly- spring is coming!"

I grinned. "I'll save you some acorns," I promised. And with that, his little pink tail disappeared into the mud, leaving only silence and a naked acorn in his path.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Letter to My Jetta

Dear 2000 Silver Jetta,

We've had some good times, you and I. We've had some good times, and some bad times. I know I've been hard on you--I've run you into rocks, backed you into trashcans and used your bumper to hurl my parent's recycling bin. My clumsy auto skills have run you up on curbs, taken you over dirt roads with lots of rocks. I nearly burned up your clutch learning to drive, almost stalled you out over hills and ran up your odometer with tons of interstate miles.

We've had some good times, you and I, dear Jetta. Remember all the long drives to Shreveport and Austin, dancing to music and looking at the pretty trees? Remember the leopard seat covers that made you look so pretty? Even if they did squirm around worse than a thong on a big lady's behind, they sure were nice.

You've hauled shameful colorguard poles, semester loads of crap (freshman year was the biggest) and moved me four different times. You've traveled through three different cities, and traveled up and down I-35 dozens of times. No matter how much mud, paper, dirty kleenexes, old food, books, crumbled newspapers, umbrellas I shoved in your interior, you always looked nice to me.

For all the abuse you suffered at my inexperienced hands, you never let me down. You never left me stranded on the side of the road during a rainstorm, or busted out a tire. Tirelessly and loyally, you shuffled me back and forth for seven years.

Dear Jetta, you've been a big part of my life. You were my first car, my first love of automobiles. You took me to my prom and drove me home from my wedding. You took me to college and to my first real job. You've navigated countless cities, driven to countless places and been to four different malls.

From high school to my twenties, you've been there. And for that, I will always love you. I want to thank you for seven years of dependability and loyal service.

I know it may seem I'm throwing you to the wolves, but I'm not. I can tell you're tired, dear Jetta. I can tell the forty miles a day are wearing on you, that the stop and go traffic is hurting your soul. You're not meant to just shuffle back and forth on a interstate all day long. You're meant to drive. You need someone with adventure and spirit. Right now, I can't give that to you.

This is a sacrifice of love, for both you and I. In the end, we'll both be better for it. You'll find a college student in need, someone who needs a safe, dependable car. Someone that will spend their evenings driving under the stars, your headlights lighting up the night sky. You need that dear Jetta. I want that for you.

So thank you, again. I will always remember you, and what you did for me.


The Blonde Duck

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Election Among Peers in the Land of the Flowered Bed

Hairy the Hedgehog sat glumly on the bed, his furry face between his hands.

"What's wrong, Hairy?" Pumble asked as he smacked on his morning snack of toast and honey. He had already completed his breakfast of biscuits, honey and pollen sprinkles.

"They don't like me," Hairy sighed.

"Who doesn't like you?" Pumble asked as he spewed crumbs out of his mouth onto Hairy's fur.

"The people," Hairy said, brushing the sticky crumbs off his fur.

"What people?" Pumble looked confused.

"The boy and the girl!" Hairy yelled in exasperation.

"Well," Pumble said, looking huffy. "No need to get angry."

"Do not worry if they do not like you," Cookies lectured. "It is much better to be an individual. Be strong. Be wary. Be a lone wolf. You are above the others. They look up to you. And they should dislike you--they should fear you. They should worship you."

Hairy stared at him in horror. "Who are you?" he asked in disgust. "Did Hitler die and put you in his place?"

Cookies looked thoughtful. "No," he said, chewing on a pencil. Cookies loved chewing on pencils and often had to hide the evidence under the bed. "I think it would be an interesting social experiment however. The social repercussions of me acting as a dictator--"

As Cookies droned on, Hairy sighed and buried his face in his arm. He could feel hot tears building behind his eyes. Two fuzzy heads rubbed his sides, barking enthusiastically. He looked at the seals nuzzling him and looking up at him with large eyes, anxiously barking.

"Thank you seals," Hairy managed a watery smile. "I'm glad you think I'm the nicest one here- and the skinniest too! That's very sweet of you. And while I appreciate the fish heads, I think I'll have to pass. They disagree with my stomach."

Pumble sniffed and shoved a third piece of toast in his mouth. "Being skinny is overrated," he mumbled. "Why do you think the people don't like you?"

Hairy placed one arm on each of the seals, whose tails exploded in delighted wiggling at the touch. "Because no one sleeps with me! You're cradled by the girl every night, and the boy likes to use Cookies as a pillow and arm rest. I'm simply shoved to the end of the bed and end up on the floor with the seals every night."

At the seal's wounded expressions and distressed tail wagging, he quickly added, "Not that I don't like it down there." The enthusiastic wiggling started up again. "I just wish that we could all sleep on the bed. We're all important. I just want to feel loved. I just want to feel like someone likes me best, and turns to me for comfort every night." The seals wiggled harder.

Pumble sat thoughtfully, chewing. Cookies, who had long ago realized no one was listening to him, perked up. "What if we gave you an office, a position?"

"An office?" Hairy asked cautiously. "I don't understand."

"What if we elect you something?" Pumble asked enthusiastically. "What if we elect you king or president of the Land of the Flowered Bed?"

"Thank you, but I couldn't be king," Hairy said modestly. "That wouldn't be fair, we're all equals."

"I beg to differ," Cookies said under his breath.

"President than!" Pumble dictated, wiping off his hands.

"Actually, I think I would prefer to be a mayor, or a governor of some sort," Hairy said, a feeling of excitement beginning to swirl in his tummy. "That would be much more comfortable."

"It's settled than!"Cookies said, banging a brush on the dresser like a gavel. "All who vote for Hairy as Mayor of the Land of the Flowered Bed, say aye!"

"Aye!" Pumbles and Cookies yelled. The seals barked and leaped into the air.

"I'm taking that as an aye," Cookies said, smiling at the seals. "It's unanimous! Hairy is now the official mayor of the Land of the Flowered Bed!"

"Hooray!" everyone yelled. The seals clapped their tails and barked in excitement.

That evening, as the people went to bed, Cookies was tucked under the boys arm and Pumble was tucked under the girls. As Hairy began to fight feelings of disappointment, he gasped as he was picked up and tucked in the middle. And that evening, he slept tucked in between the girl and the boy, next to the seals. The seals looked up and giggled to themselves quietly. They could have sworn that Hairy, the new mayor of the Land of the Flowered Bed, was lighting up the dark with his smile.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Friday afternoon, I left my Pond to venture out of my bubble into the world around me for an interview. Normally at work, I prefer to do phone interviews. The office where I work is way out of the way for a lot of things, and I tend to get lost easily. Besides, phone interviews are much faster to do and I can get more stories written. Moving on.

I drove down to the interview and discovered no one was in the office. I was early, so I took a seat on the porch and waited. As I sat in the sunshine, I heard a tiny smack on my briefcase. I looked down and saw a ladybug crawling around. Using my finger, I gently scraped her off and she crawled about in the crevices of my hand.

As she inched up my arm, I felt her tiny feet racing up my arm. When she reached the crease of my elbow, she stopped.

"What are you, Giant?" she asked.

"I'm a girl," I answered back. "A person."

I heard a tiny sigh, no more audible than a single raindrop splashing against the ground.

"I didn't ask what your gender was or what kind of creature you were," the ladybug chided me. "I asked what you are."

"Oh," I said, throughly confused. "Well, I suppose I'm a writer. A storyteller."

"Wonderful," the ladybug said, inching her way up to my shoulder. "Tell me a story."

"What would you like the story to be about?" I asked.

"You're the storyteller," she said. "You're supposed to be telling the story to me."

So, I told her about the butterflies, and how they flew in giant clouds, swirling and dancing through the air gracefully, no heavier than a falling leaf.

"That was lovely," the ladybug sighed. "Do you tell all animals such wonderful stories?"

"No," I answered. "Usually, they want to tell me a story."

"Would you tell me another story?" the ladybug asked.

"Of course," I said.

"Not now, of course," the ladybug said. "I must go. But when I return, I'll hear another story."

"When are you coming back?" I asked.

"You'll see," the ladybug said. "You'll see."

And with that, her tiny little wings began beating rapidly and she flew away. As I sat on the porch, I watched her fly into the blue afternoon sky. Somehow, I knew she would be back soon.

The Blonde Duck goes to a Gun Show

Most people have very strong opinions on guns. They either feel as though you should be able to strap them to your side every moment of every day in every possible location, or that only law-enforcement officers should be able to carry them. Even then, those people feel that guns should only be used by law enforcement in the most dire of circumstances. I suppose that they think sunshine and bubbles would work just as well.

Amazingly, I'm in the middle. Guns don't bother me, I see no problem with them and I feel they are a wonderful asset to protect yourself. Now, I think many people have no business messing with guns because they don't understand them or how to use them, and I think all responsible homeowners should have guns unloaded, safety on and put away in their home. That's about as far as my opinions get on guns.

However, after visiting a gun show yesterday with Ben and our friend Bryan, I got a whole new perspective on guns.

As we strolled in to a old convention center, my jaw dropped. There were enough guns, knives and rifles spread on tables to start our own war. There were hand guns and old military guns and Confederate antiques. Until I saw the swastika flags hanging in the corner, I hadn't been that alarmed.

Clutching my purse tightly, I dutifully followed the drooling boys around while we looked at lots of guns. Many traders even had thick blankets they placed over their guns between viewings, so customers wouldn't drool on the gun and ruin the exterior. Surprisingly, several women were selling guns. At first I just thought they were there to give the show a feminine edge. I was wrong. One large woman changed out a cartridge in a gun so fast it had an 18-year-old kid's head spinning. She then explained every nook and cranny of the gun to him and why it would fit perfectly in his hand. I decided she would not be the type of woman I'd like to meet in a dark ally.

When all the guns began to blend together in a black and brown blob, I looked for other things to amuse myself. There it was: the gun traders.

The gun traders were good-ol-boys or shop owners who stared at you as if you were a Democrat from New York ("them folks ain't welcome here" one informed me.) Chewing quietly, they would eyeball you with their arms folded while you looked at their wares. If you struck up a conversation, they would answer back in short, gruff sentences. They weren't exactly friendly folks.

After an hour of smelling homemade salsa (way too many onions), looking at costume jewelry (I don't want to know what truck it fell off of), and examining the selection of literature (Homicide in Texas made me curious, but wary), I was ready to head on back. The boys pulled their tongues back in their heads and discussed plans of shooting this morning, full of excitement. By this point, I was more than happy to enter onto my new adventure: going to the grocery store on a Saturday night. This was an adventure in itself.

So, after listening to discussions of cars for hours and hours and an additional several hours of talking about guns, I think I'm rather burned out. Which is why I plan to spend this Sunday writing and watching Devil Wears Prada. I'm sure there's no guns, cars or swastika flags in there.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Party all night long

When the morning sun peeked through the blinds, the chaos around the room seemed to multiply with each new strand of light. Clothes were strewn on the floor, shoes thrown with abandon near walls and empty glasses littering the nightstand and dresser. A blanket hung halfway to the floor, and pillows were sprinkled liberally about the carpet. Bras decorated door handles.

The seals were passed out on the floor, near the pillows. They hadn't had the energy to crawl over and lay their heads on the fluffy squares, and had collapsed where they had jumped. Cookies the Owl was snoring loudly, entangled in the middle of the hanging blanket. Hairy the Hedgehog was barely peeking over the swirl of covers, and only Pumble's legs emerged from the creases of a pillow.

The critters of the Land of the Flowered Bed had a party. The night had flown by as they danced around to old 90's rock songs and painted each other's faces. Pumble and Hairy had watched movies while Cookies baked (what else?) cookies and popped a bag of popcorn. The seals had a fencing lesson on top of The Blonde Duck as she slept, using her snores to count the rhythm.

"You have to move your hips!" Pumble shouted, as he munched on honey and crackers. He tapped a hanger along to the beat as the seals tried to mambo on their tails. "And one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four...."

"How do you suppose this works?" Hairy asked confused, as he punched the remote. "The buttons were working, but now we're stuck on this movie channel. I prefer not to watch Lifetime movies. Where did Animal Planet go?"

"Now listen, you ruffians, I've baked you some cookies and you better eat them!" Cookies the Owl glared. "I even made fish taco appetizers for you flopping mammals like you requested. That took a long time, so I want you to savor--" he broke off as the seals happily scooped the tacos in their mouths and swallowed them, barking enthusiastically. "Why do I even bother?" he sighed dramatically as he swooped off the the kitchen to make more.

There was a brief intermission as the Blonde Duck went to work and then Ben came home to slept. Then it roared into action again.

"This is the best party ever!" Pumble yelled over the roar of the white-noise machine and music. Hairy had burned a new mix CD.

"It's great!" Hairy yelled back.

"Who wants more cookies?" Cookies yelled, presenting the group with peanut butter and honey cookies. The seals barked in excitement and bounced toward the plate, sweeping the cookies off with their tails. "Share, you feisty mammals," Cookies scolded. The one thing that put Cookies in a good mood was baking, and it only made the party that much better.

Suddenly, an alarm sounded and Ben began to stir. The animals quickly scarfed down their cookies and returned to their proper places. Pumble was pounding his chest to stop the indigestion when the Blonde Duck walked through the door.

Ben sat up sleepily and surveyed the disaster around him.

"This room is a wreck!" he said, narrowing his eyes.

"Well, you must have trashed," clucked the Blonde Duck. "Did you have a party with the animals?"

"Oh yea," Ben said sarcastically. "We partied all night long."

When the door shut, Hairy poked up his head mischievously from the covers. "I know we did!"

The animals giggled and the seals flipped and clapped their fins. When Ben jerked the door open to see what the noise was, Pumble was laying in a pile of pillows and Hairy was entangled in the covers. Cookies was caught between the blanket and bed, and the seals were on the floor.

Ben shrugged and shut the door, barely hearing the faint sound of giggles behind him. After all, it was a lovely party.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years at The Pond

Dear Invisible Friends,

Normally, I never make New Year's Resolutions. However, many of our friends at The Pond, including Henry the Lizard and other favorites, have demanded that I post their resolutions, in hopes they will actually follow them. So while you're eating black eyed peas and watching over-played footage of news and entertainment events (too much Britney Spears) over the past year, I hope you enjoy reading. Happy New Years, and here's looking forward to many more adventures in The Pond!

Yours Always,

The Blonde Duck

*** For New Invisible Friends, see previous entries to meet The Pond. Not like there are any new Invisible Friends, but I can pretend. It is after all, a world of puppy dogs and sunshine.

The Blonde Duck
"I want to get my book published and turn into a marketing frenzy!"


Pumble the Bee
"Find a way to write wheat crackers on the grocery store list. Do you know how much effort it is to climb up on that cabinet? It's like four feet off the ground? Fly up there you say? Do you know how much energy that would require? I need a nap just thinking about it."

Cookies the Owl
"Go away!"

Hairy the Hedgehog
"I would like to find a nice wooden bristle hair brush. You see, it's quite hard to pick burs and tangles from such thick fur as mine. It takes me an hour and a half to get ready in the morning!"

The Water Cooler Ants
"We would like to find a way to refine mind control techniques so the salespeople would bring more donuts and drop a few, instead of buying tacos from the sketchy taco truck that comes to the office. We like donuts."

The Argumentative Birds
"We would like to quit eating McDonald French Fries and grow fangs. If we had fangs, we could be really intimidating. Have you ever seen a bird with fangs? It's seriously scary. No, I'm not eating a French fry. I'm eating a tater tot. It's scarier, really."

The Butterflies
"We would like the nice pink bush on the patio to come back. It was quite tasty."

The Menopausal Ghost that haunts my office
"For God's sake, some one please buy me an air conditioner. It's STIFLING in here!"

The Noisy Cricket
"I'd love it if everyone left me the hell alone. Bite me!"

The Flying Pigs
"May we sample your lush green grass? It looks ever so tasty. Thanks so much."

Ace the Chihuahua
"To continue my domination of the Koerner household."

Arthur the ????
"I think I'll lay here awhile, thanks. The nice man with treats is coming soon."

Henry the Lizard
"Good God, that giant has come back! She's interrupted my winter slumber to coo and bellow things at me in some kind of weird language! At least I'm in the cement forest now. Thank God she's gone--all that shouting has given me a terrible headache."