Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I just thought of a brilliant quote to explain why I sound so much more intelligent through writing than speaking:

“The words that come from my mind and my mouth come from two entirely separate entities.”

They're back!

"Excuse me?" Cookies called loudly, trying to settle the chattering seals. "Hello? Can we get started?"

"You can't blame them for being excited," Hairy smiled indulgently. "They've been cooped up all summer."

"And whose fault is that?" Cookies scoffed, visibly exasperated. "I told you to keep them entertained when I went off on my semester abroad.

"You just went to the Guest Room," Hairy rolled his eyes. "It's not like you went to England or anything."

"My passport won't let me get that far!" Cookies snapped. "Besides, Pumble is the one who went on a month-long flower tour with his girlfriend."

"Ladybug is not my girlfriend and it was only three weeks and six days," Pumble said defensively. "You're just jealous you didn't get to see the Field of Giant Sunflowers."

"You wouldn't know a sunflower if it bit you," Cookies muttered.

"Flowers don't bite!" Pumble shot back, not being able to resist adding, "Dummy."

"Hey, hey, hey," Hairy said, stepping between them as Cookies launched toward Pumble. "Now listen, we've all had a busy summer and we've kind of dropped off the face of the Earth. Cookies has something that's going to bring us all together though and kick the year off right."

"It is something I learned on my sabbatical," Cookies trilled arrogantly. He narrowed his eyes at Pumble and said, "I actually learned something." Pumble stuck his tongue out at Cookies and lumbered over to the seals, who were still chatting excitedly.

"So how was your summer?" he asked. The seals exploded into squeals and barks, and Pumble listened carefully. "Really, Antarctica?" he asked. "Were the ducks in the Spa ok with that?" The ducks, who were eavesdropping as they paddled about the bathtub in the Spa, erupted in indignant quacks.

"No, we weren't," the first duck sniffed.

"Imagine the nerve of them, trying to steal our spa to turn it into some barren wasteland," sniffed the second duck.

"I thought it was quite clever, actually," the third duck said bashfully. "No one else thought to dump loads of ice cubes into a bathtub to create glaciers." The other two ducks glared at him.

"Hear ye, hear ye!" Cookies bellowed, drawing everyone's attention to him as he extended his wings broadly. "I have an announcement to make! I have come up with a brilliant plan."

Pumble rolled his eyes and sighed heavily. Hairy elbowed him. The seals looked up adoringly.

"We, the animals of the Land of the Flowered Bed"--Cookies paused dramatically--"Will go on a adventure."

The animals looked up at him in confusion. The ducks in the Spa were the first to fire questions at him.

"What kind of adventure?" the first duck quacked.

"How are we going to get there?" the second duck asked.

"Can we be pirates?" the third duck queried hopefully. The other ducks looked at him. "Pirates?" they asked in unison.

"Very good, duckie," Cookies grumbled, obviously distraught the third duck had caught on. "We're going on a treasure hunt."

This announcement set off another series of questions, and Cookies held up his hand to quiet them.

"We're searching for the Rose Sunglasses," he said loudly, flapping his wings to get their attention. "These sunglasses belong to the Girl, and are reported to make the wearer see all the happy and hidden things on Earth. For example, these glasses show you all the mysterious creatures that still lurk about, like unicorns or mermaids."

"How did you find out about these?" Hairy asked.

"I'm brilliant, of course," Cookies said smugly.

"If we have to sit here much longer, can I have some popcorn?"

The seals hopped up and down and barked excitedly. Cookies looked annoyed at their question.
"I don't know where it is!" he snapped. "That's why we have to find it!"

"When are we going to leave?" Hairy asked, pen poised to write it down in his calender.

"Tomorrow at dawn." Cookies spoke formally, delighted at the frenzy that erupted in front of him.

"Tomorrow?" squawked the first duck. "What will we do?"

"What will I wear?" panicked the second duck.

"Does this eye patch look good on me?" the third duck asked, posing with his best pirate face.

The seals clapped and jumped in approval, and the third duck bowed.

"Tomorrow at dawn," Cookies said ominously. "Until then."

To be continued....................

Monday, August 27, 2007

Princess dreams

As the Blonde Duck of the Pond, I've decided I want to be a princess.

Not just any princess mind you--Sleeping Beauty. Ever since I was four, I've had a huge fascination with Sleeping Beauty. When I was little, I had a little kitchen set that was essentially a big plastic cart with a fake stove and oven. Some of my happiest memories are playing with my kitchen and plethora of My Little Ponies scattered across the living room with Sleeping Beauty playing in the background. Even now, that DVD is the first thing I pop in to watch if I've had a bad day.

For some reason I don't understand, my husband actually buys into the idea I'm a princess. He has been blinded by my fairy godmother's spell and actually thinks I'm a delicate, elegant and dainty creature. While it's true I love to twirl about and talk to baby animals, I am not elegant. All anyone has to do is watch me eat to know that. However, I have several of the requirements necessary of anyone worthy to don a tiara:

1) Blond- Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, the original Little Mermaid, the orginal Beauty (Hans Christian Anderson, people!)

2) Love of baby animals-- Snow White charmed birds. Sleeping Beauty enchanted tiny woodland creatures. Cinderella had her mice. I have puppies, baby birds and any stray creature fortunate enough to stumble along my path (bats included.)

3) Sweet- My mom and husband said it so it's not bragging.

4) Dainty- The nurse at the hospital in Waco called me dainty when I was sick and in crazy mode from being surrounded by the private school anorexics for too long, and I've never forgotten it. I'm dainty!

5) Compassion- Although I may have an acid tongue when it comes to certain political subjects, it's in my nature to try and rescue everyone. Dang it.

6) Generosity- I'm more generous with those I love and people I view to be kind than just "anyone." Unfortunately, a year in the world of media has taught me that some people I show generosity just take advantage of me and stab me in the back. But of course, a real princess would not dwell on such things.

7) Class- You never see Cinderella on a reality T.V. show screaming how Prince Charming cheated on her with her transsexual step-sister. It's called class, people. Not trash.

8) Desire to make the world a better place- One of these days, I will have my singles table at a restaurant, a puppy farm and a way to inspire creativity in children.

9) Married or engagedto a prince- He thinks I'm royalty. He wins!

10) Loyalty- A princess should have loyalty to her family, her country and her duties as a princess. I have all three, although my duties as a princess are quite flexible depending on my mood (doing the dishes is not one of them.)

Princess qualities I do not have:

1) Singing- I sound worse than a cat being drug down the highway with his tail stuck in the car door.

2) Elegance- I can eat a 1/2 pound hamburger drenched in mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, grated cheddar cheese and plenty of grease in a minute and thirty seconds. And have you never seen me attempt to walk in any heel higher than a inch? Put a giraffe on stilts and you'll get the same impression.

3) A real title- It's real in my mind! I really have a castle somewhere, I promise.

4) Grace- It's not my fault that all my dancing consists of mindless wiggling.

5) Spoiled- Wait a minute....

Since I'm not spoiled or demanding in the very least, my darling mother has volunteered to make me a Sleeping Beauty costume like the one I had when I was four for Halloween! I am so excited! I'm going to wear it to work, on Halloween, on Easter, on be a princess, one must look the part, you see.

Until then, I will go about twirling my way around work and lifting my skirts as I climb the stairs, talking softly to the crickets and spiders I pass. A girl has to start somewhere to create her kingdom!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Walking out the door, I saw a small girl with white ringlets running around my front yard with a butterfly net. Wearing only pink- pink shoes, a pink dress, pink bow--she would stand quietly in the center of the yard. Her eyes would follow something I couldn't see. Slowly she would walk up whatever creature she was chasing and throw her net over it, clasping the net closed at the top so the creature couldn't escape. Then, she would place a jar in the net and usher the creature inside, screwing the lid on tightly. Dozens of jars lined the driveway, and I walked over to her.

"What are you doing?" I asked curiously. She shushed me and held a finger to her lips, her tongue sticking out as she concentrated on something in front of her. Slowly, she reached for her net. In one quick swoop, she flung it down to the ground.

"Missed him!" she cursed. "Darn it!" Raising an eyebrow, I watched the curious blond girl creeping around my front yard.

"What are you trying to catch?" I asked, peering at the empty jars. "I don't see anything in there."

"That's because you're not looking," the girl said, as she inspected the tree closely. "If you would look, you'd see something."

I looked at the jars again. Nothing. "I still don't see anything," I said, smiling politely. This child was crazy.

"You're not looking," the girl repeated in a sing-song voice. "If you would look, you could see."

"There's nothing there," I said, losing my temper. "I looked twice!"

"That's because you're trying to see it," the girl said, undisturbed by my frustration. "You have to look for it and want to see it. You just can't see it."

"Right," I muttered, nudging one of the jars with my foot. "Look but not see. Whatever!"

"Don't touch that!" the girl gasped, running over and clutching her jaw. "This is a good one!"

"A good what?"


I stared at her dumbfounded.

"An idea? There's an idea in that jar." The blond girl sighed and shook her head. "Of course there's an idea in there. They're all ideas."

"What does an idea look like?" I asked curiously, staring more intently at the glass jars. All I could see was my own reflection in the glass.

"It depends from idea to idea," the blond girl said loftily. "The good ones look like shimmering butterflies made from pink stardust or a delicate flower. The bad ones can look like a frog or a pile of squiggling worms."

"What about the mediocre ones?" I asked, fascinated. "They look like cheese," the girl answered decisively. She continued to creep around the yard, clutching her net. Staring at the jars, I sighed.

"I don't see them," I sighed. "How do you see them?" The blond girl sighed and sat up from staring through the grass blades. "I look," she said simply. "There's a lot of things that exist in our every day life that people can't see. Particularly adults. But you can see them if you look at them. You just have to be free."

"Free?" I asked in horror.

"Free," she repeated, smiling at me. "Haven't you ever had an idea that was so brilliant that you were filled with passion and fire and wanted to fly throughout the clouds and never touch the ground?"

"Yes, several times," I responded.

"That's free," the girl said, picking at a slug on the sidewalk. "So just think of that idea and you can look, not see." I squeezed my eyes and thought to myself. When I opened them, the jars were bursting with magnificent and ordinary creatures.

"Oh my gosh!" I cried, clutching my chest. "I saw them, I saw them!" The child smiled and I watched as she continued to pounce around my yard.

"What do you do with all these ideas?" I asked, looking at the crowded jars littering my driveway.

"Keep them," the girl said.

"Why are you going to keep them? I asked. She looked up at me, her big blue eyes drilling into my face.

"There's never a bad idea, just poor delivery," she said, with a smile. And with that, she returned to her butterfly net, catching ideas under the late summer sky.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mysterious Creature Sighting 2

This mysterious creature in the bush fascinates me. You see, at first even I was a bit skeptical. It must be the wind, I thought. Your imagination is acting up again. It's a cricket or locus, just a slight of fancy.

Oh no. This thing is REAL. The only question we have to answer is what is the mysterious creature? I have four theories on the subject, all which have different supporting evidence. This is what we know in general so far:

1) The mysterious creature has moved to a new set of bushes closer to the boats.
2) Sometimes a strange rotting/ ripe trash smell accompanies the rustling the creature makes.
3) Even when you throw a multitude of things at the creature (shoes, rocks, sticks, Spaz's shoes) it never emerges or moves. So it has a lot of self control or it's just either dumb. Either one could work.

Theory 1: A mouse

There are several reasons I think it could be a mouse family, or even a bachelor mouse. One, the bushes are quite low to the ground and surrounded by tall brush that is about two feet tall. There's a large field behind my work building, so they could get plenty of food if they traveled across the parking lot to get to it.

Biggest supporting evidence: I once saw a brown blur near my foot that scampered into the grass and disappeared. It was about four or five inches long and about the size of a hot dog bun. It looked fuzzy and made little scurrying noises.

Theory 2: A snake

Now, I do not like snakes. These loathsome venomous creatures fall into my same mental category as alligators and sharks, who I would have no problem extinguishing from the planet. Food chain be damned--you can't tell me the world would not be better without nasty snakes and alligators who eat puppies. Anyway, the brush is tall enough for a snake and the bushes would be a perfect cool, dark spot.

On the side of our parking lot is lots of tall trees and bushes which could provide another hiding spot. The only problem is the snake would have to slither across a parking lot, open field, a parking lot and open sidewalk and through a bunch of machines. Would a snake really be hanging out with all those people and cars around? Regardless, I won't be sticking my hand in the brush or bush to investigate any time soon.

Theory 3: A family of birds

For some reason, these bushes attract birds more than an air-conditioned birdbath. The bushes are dense enough to hide nests, but loose enough for birds to crawl in and out of. The brush holds plenty of tasty bugs and the rain floods out several earthworms from the thin soil during the rain. However, my most compelling reason is the fact that a dove couple is very protective around the edge of the bushes. Perhaps the baby doves are simply rustling to tell me hello and show off their silky brown coats.

Theory 4: A puppy

Fine, don't even listen to me. Yes, I know it's not logical. Yes, I know I'm cracking up. You know, I had a good point but now I'm not going to tell you. So there.

Mysterious creature updates to continue..................

Friday, August 17, 2007

Work Conversations 2

The fun continues at The Pond at work..... For clarification purposes, my paranoid-about-people-knowing-her-nickname-online friend, "Spaz" often characterizes herself as a big fluffy cat. I, as a blond lunatic who characterizes herself as a blond duck, characterizes herself as a Chihuahua who wears a big pink bow, known as the pink Chihuahua in many conversations. Confused yet? You should be. Enjoy, Invisible Friends!

The Blonde Duck (9:30 a.m.) : The pink-bow Chihuahua growls.

Spaz (9:36 a.m.) : The fluffy cat sighs in French and lays her head on her paws. “Le sigh”.

The Blonde Duck (9:44 a.m.) : The pink-bowed Chihuahua looks longingly at the open door and plots her escape.

Spaz (9:46 a.m.) : The fluffy black cat turns over in her sleep, not knowing of her chihuahua friend’s plan.

The Blonde Duck (9:51 a.m.) : The pink-bowed Chihuahua wiggles in excitement. She begins to bounce up and down on her friend like a trampoline. Her plans of escape momentarily forgotten, she bellows, “I have an article you need to read!” (includes link to article in E-mail.)

Spaz (2:58 p.m.) : The pink chihuahua sniffed at the strange object that lay before her. “I don’t think I like this,” she thought to herself. She pushed the thing with her tiny pink nose and sniffed at it again as it made a horrible twang and screeching noise. She barked angrily as the sharp twang pierced through her ears and rattled the tiny bell on her collar.
“It’s a violin,” mewed the fluffy black cat as she turned about on her sill. “A violin?” asked the Chihuahua, “I don’t like violins.”

The Blonde Duck (3:05 p.m.) : “In fact,” the pink Chihuahua announced as she kicked away the offending musical instrument with her back feet, “I don’t like anything new or different. And I really don’t like new people.” She growled at the new dogs that sat in other other cages. The fluffy cat rolled her eyes and stretched lazily. “Try to talk to them. You might like them.” The pink Chihuahua sighed and drug herself over to the cage holding the prim greyhound. She would do anything for her feline friend. “Do you like pink?” she asked the greyhound hopefully, desperate for some kind of common thread. She really wanted to get along with people, deep in her tiny Chihuahua heart. She couldn’t help that most of the people she meant were rude idiots.

“No,” the greyhound sniffed. “I prefer Chardonnay and reading Tolstoy.” The pink Chihuahua growled and barked loudly. “Pretentious puppy!” she shouted angrily. She haughtily pranced back to her fluffy friend, who was basking in the sunlight delicately munching on some cheese. “I don’t like her,” she growled. “I noticed,” the fluffy cat said in an amused tone. The pink Chihuahua’s dislike only grew as several other dogs lumbered over to assist the greyhound with a problem in her cage. Her tiny ears slicked back and she barred her tiny sharp teeth. “I really don’t like her,” she growled to her friend. “ I noticed,” the fluffy cat replied.

Spaz (3:15 p.m.) :“Here,” the cat stretched out her paw with a chunk of cheese. The pink chihuahua rushed over to the morsel and sniffed it before quickly snatching it with her tiny teeth. “You shouldn’t tryyyyy so hard,” she purred as she stretched across her sill, “you should just relaaaaaaax and let things come naturally.” “What do you mean?” asked the chihuahua who’s mouth was now full of cheese and drool, “I AM relaxed!” “Of course you are,” yawned the cat, “of course you are.”

The Blonde Duck (3:27 p.m.) : As the fluffy cat began to doze on the sun-warmed windowsill, the pink Chihuahua decided that now would be the perfect time to try and bake a pie. She had always wanted to bake a pie, and why not now? Work was so trivial and dull. There were much more exciting things in life to be done! She began to investigate the refrigerator. She would open the door, select a Tupperware dish, run to the windowsill where she would deposit it in front of the sleeping fluffy cat. “Guard this,” she ordered bossily.

On and on, she ran from the refrigerator to the windowsill, selecting her key pie ingredients. When she dropped the final dish on the floor, she gasped in alarm. All the Tupperware had been opened and the contents had either obviously been nibbled on or were gone completely.

“What--?” she cried out. The fluffy cat merely licked her face and burped. Smiling sheepishly, she shrugged. “Yum?”

Spaz (3:33 p.m.) : “Will you bring out some milk next?” the cat asked. “All of your treats have left me quite thirsty."

The Blonde Duck (3:45 p.m.) : Grumbling, the pink Chihuahua pranced off to the fridge and brought back a bowl full of milk, leaving a white trail of droplets behind her. She placed it on ground with her teeth with a loud thump! Milk sloshed over the edge of the bowl and splashed onto the cat’s paws. When the pink Chihuahua saw the fluffy cat’s horrified expression as she desperately tried to clean her paws, she laughed. “ I never said I was graceful,” the pink Chihuahua grinned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

E-mail Converation

My buddy at work who requests to remain nameless (referred to as Spaz below) and I spend most of our days at work peppering our droll days with e-mail conversations. As Spaz is a fan of her characterization at the Pond, she began to to refer to herself in third person as "the girl with black pigtails." What follows is an account of our joint tale in a e-mail medium.

Spaz: “I will,” said the girl with the black pig tails. “I will go on a walk with you!” 3:30

The Blonde Duck: Can you do 3:20? I have to do a phone call at 3:30.

Spaz: “I miss the quiet,” the girl with the black pigtails said as she shoved her earphones into her ears…and sighed.

The Blonde Duck: As the girl with black pigtails sighed and grumbled quietly, the spry girl with white blond ringlets climbed her desk like a monkey and began to jump up and down on top of her computer. “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!” she screamed. When it lay in pieces around her, she smiled in satisfaction, delicately sat in her chair and began to eat a cookie.

Spaz: The girl with black pigtails’ sighs were interrupted when she heard the “oo-oo-oos” of a monkey in the building. Peering over her cube wall she discovered that it was not a monkey after all, but the last bits of sanity escaping from her friend as she destroyed her desk with pounding feet and slurred howls. They both smiled devilishly as the desk crumbled and the girl with black pigtails licked her teeth in amusement.

The Blonde Duck: As the blond girl filled up a old barrel she found from the warehouse with water from a leaky hose, the girl with the black pigtails tried to recollect when her last tetanus shot was.

Spaz: You know her so well!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fuzzy Velcro Bunnies

By Sunday, the fuzzy velcro bunnies had taken over the house.

"What are you going to name all of them?" Ben asked, watching in amusement. I was too distracted by the tiny masses of wiggling fur to answer right away.

"This one is Fluffy, this one is Kitty, this one is Nutmeg," I said, pointing to the three bunnies attached to my back, wiggling their noses in excitement. "This one is Sweet pea," I indicated the one residing on my chest. "And this one is Tiffany." I pointed to the pure white rabbit residing on my shoulder. Tiffany gave a regal nod to Ben before thrusting her nose haughtily in the air.

"Why Tiffany?" Ben asked. "Because she thinks she's better than everyone else and climbed to the top," I answered with a wry grin. Laughing, he watched as I flounced around the house doing chores. As I bent to mop the floor, Sweet pea gracefully jumped onto my head, settling in amongst my hair as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Fluffy, Kitty and Nutmeg, however, had aligned themselves on my shoulders so I looked like a blond demented scarecrow.

"They just sit there?" Ben asked, flabbergasted. "They don't, you know, fall off?"

"Nope," I said, as the bunnies shook their heads. Fluffy sniffed loudly, as though she was too elegant of a bunny to fall to the ground.

As I put the mop up, the bunnies rearranged themselves on my back and shoulders. Nutmeg took his position in the middle of my back, having appointed himself my unofficial security guard.

"How do they stay on there?" Ben asked in awe as I reached behind my back to give them some carrots.

"Their paws and bellies are sticky, so they can stick to any kind of surface at any angle," I explained, holding my hand out flat as the tiny noses tickled my fingers. "Hey!" I cried, trying to turn around to look at my back. "Don't get orange stains on my shirt!" Tiffany stuck her nose in my ear and sneezed, obviously angry she didn't get her carrot first.

"All right, all right," I grumbled, wiping pathetically at my ear with my shoulder. "I'll get your damn carrot you high maintenance rabbit."

Sweetpea squeaked in protest as Ben lifted her paw and stroked her tiny foot. "Hey!" he cried in amazement. "Their paws aren't sticky...they're more like velcro."

"Their paws change according to what surface they're on," I explained, feeding a annoyed Sweetpea and Tiffany carrots. "For example, if you put Tiffany on the table, her paws would feel like rubber."

Tiffany grunted in protest as Ben lifted her off my shoulder and placed her on the table. After she got settled, he lifted up her paw. "It does feel like rubber!" he whispered in wonder, lifting Tiffany up and setting her on his shoulder. "This is so cool. I bet you're thrilled."

"I am," I said joyfully as I continued my rounds around the house, the four bunnies clinging to my every move. "After all, the only thing better than baby animals is baby animals you can take with you everywhere." The rabbits nodded in agreement and asked for another carrot. It was clear they had taken over my now orange-stained shirt as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lunch time

A small blond girl with white wispy ringlets and a girl with thick black pigtails and red apple cheeks sat at the table in the lunch room. They pulled out their paper sacks and carefully laid out their feasts: 2 sandwiches, an apple for the blond and a peach for the dark haired girl and two cookies.

"What's your sandwich?" the dark haired girl asked the other girl.

"Turkey, ham, cheese and mayonnaise," the blond girl answered, spewing crumbs as she beamed. "I love mayonnaise."

The dark haired girl delicately took a bite of her sandwich and wrinkled her nose. "I hate mayonnaise. I like Tabasco sauce."

"What's that?" the blond girl tore off another bite of sandwich and looked up expectantly, waiting for answer.

"It's like spicy ketchup," the dark hair girl said, sprinkling the Tabasco over her sandwich. "Want some?"

The blond girl pulled her sandwich away and shook her head. "What's your sandwich?"

"Turkey, cheese and avocado." The blond girl nodded, wondering what an avocado was. It sounded exotic. She didn't like things that were exotic.

They ate, enjoying each other's company in the comfortable silence. The blond girl wolfed down her sandwich and bit into her apple ferociously. The dark hair girl delicately finished half of her sandwich, saving the other half for later. She then took small bites of her peach, gently sucking out the juice so it didn't dribble down her chin.

"You know what?" the blond girl said, tiny flecks of apple spewing from her smiling mouth.

"What?" The dark haired girl smiled. She wasn't disgusted by her friend's crude table manners, she was amused.

"You're my bestest friend," the blond girl said, quickly patting the other girls hand before jerking it away again. She turned bright red as she looked down at the table, concentrating on clutching her apple.

The dark hair girl smiled and patted the blond girls arm in a comforting gesture. "You're my bestest friend," she said, her dark eyes shining. "Well at school anyway. I have a bestest friend at home too. But you're my bestest school friend."

The blond girl's dark blue eyes sparkled in happiness. She'd never had a bestest friend before, even if it was a bestest school friend. She looked outside at the bright sunshine, and decided her cookie could wait.

"Do you wanna play hide and seek before we eat our cookies?"

"Sure," the girl said, carefully putting her wrapped cookie in her bag. The blond girl shoved her bag into her backpack and flew outside. "Meet you there!"

For an hour, they laughed and talked as they basted in the hot sunshine. When the sweat began to run down their backs and pool on their scalp, they knew it was time to go. Climbing in the car, they drove back to work. In silence, they parked and walked into the building slowly, dreading the moment they reached the door. For once they reached the door, the joy would be gone. At least, until lunch time came again.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A mysterious being

There is a boat repair place behind the building where I work. On my daily walks, I pass the parking lot full of boats, weeds and various stray dogs. Normally, my walks are pretty dull and consist of important activities such as daydreaming, cloud gazing and searching for my ever elusive butterflies. However, lately I've had a much more important task at hand: The Quest to find the Mysterious Beast.

The Mysterious Beast lives in the overgrown sunflowers and weeds that clutter the far left corner of the boat lot behind the tall chain link fence. Among abandoned trailers and sheds stuffed with rusty parts and old buckets, a group of sunflowers and tall green weeds entwined with a large green bush have staked out their claim.

Normally, the bush is still when I walk past it. However, every day for the past week the bush had shuddered and shaken the moment I pass.

Thinking it must be a stray kitten or dog, I threw a few rocks into the bush. Nothing. The bush remained still. It was only when I began to walk past that it would shake violently again, as if a creature was escaping.

For the last three days, I've repeated this process with no avail. No matter how many rocks I throw or crackers I leave outside the fence, the Mysterious Beast will not emerge. Shouting doesn't startle it, sticks can't find it and the barbed wire strung across the fence prevents me from climbing over and telling the Mysterious Beast exactly what I think of it's rude manners. If you're going to shake and shiver at me, at least have the cajones to show yourself.

While I search for ways to find the Beast, I've been trying to figure out what it could possibly be. Is it a mother cat hiding her kittens? Is it a confused squirrel who thinks the bush is a tree? Is it a toad or frog seeking refuge from the sun and boat lot workers with large trucks?

Perhaps it's something really mystical, like a fairy or gnome. No matter what it is, I won't rest until I flush out the Mysterious Beast. It's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bellydancing Queen

Bellydancing +Greek food= 1 Happy Blonde Duck!

Last Friday, Ben took me to a restaurant he'd gone to with his co-workers called It's Greek to Me. Not a connoisseur of Greek food, I was expecting essentially a hamburger with cucumber laced mayonnaise in a fat tortilla. What I got however was the experience of a lifetime.

"Come on," the Invisible Friends cry impatiently. "Quit all this foreshadowing dramatic crap and get on with the tale!"

If you say so.

Stepping into the restaurant, a menu with tiny stick on plastic letters and ancient posters advertising gyros from the 1980s lined the wallpapered covered walls. Small tables were scattered throughout the room and covered with plastic tablecloths and folded up paper towels for napkins. The restaurant was straight out of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." I liked the place already.

A tall thin man with a heavy accent instructed us to sit down as his wife bustled around the kitchen, cooking. We were handed a menu featuring a photo of him and his wife and given drinks.

When I opened the menu and saw spinach pies for appetizers, I almost died in happiness. I hadn't had a spinach pie since my mother and I frequented Olga's at the mall in the fourth grade. After 13 years of longing for the tasty combination of spinach, cheese and flaky pastry, I was long overdue for a spinach pie. So of course, I ordered one and a gyro.

The spinach pie was flaky, tasty and perfect. It was over too soon, and even tearing through the gyro like a deranged hyena left me longing for more. As I contemplated the repercussions of ordering another spinach pie, a tall blond woman dressed in a long blue velvet cloak and carrying a golden sword walked through the door.

"Oh my God," Ben groused under his breath. "It's one of those Harry Potter freaks!"

"No," I argued, my eyes shining in excitement. "It's a bellydancer!"

The woman sat down at a table across the restaurant and thumbed through a book of CDs. Pushing play, she shed her cloak and began to wriggle and writhe across the room in a beaded bustier and long skirt. Even in her early 50s, she had the grace and agility that some of us never achieve.

I watched her in rapt attention as Ben stared at her openly. "You're not going to go up there and dance with her, are you?" he asked in terror. I could see him imagining my overexcited hips knocking plates off tables and forever banning us from the delicious restaurant.

I put his worries at ease by smiling and saying, "If she asks me to, sure!" His eyes bugged out in fear. The woman began to ask women around the restaurant to dance, starting with an older woman and then pulling a young pregnant woman and me up to the open floor. I was so excited to dance I knocked my umbrella and purse, sending them flying across the floor and Ben jumping to retrieve them. It was worth it. I got to dance.

The woman showed me how to slither and wiggle across the floor seductively, her hips moving like liquid waves. Ignoring everyone around us, I concentrated on copying her moves perfectly. When the song was over and all the diners (all 7 of them) applauded, she gave me and the pregnant woman a brochure and recommended we take a beginning class.

Floating home, I immediately turned the TV to the exercise channel and began to perfect my bellydancing moves, much to Ben's amusement.

"So you really like bellydancing?"

"I love it!" I said, my eyes shining as I plastered the brochure to his face. "Look! I could take lessons and quit my job and become a professional bellydancer!"

Ben looked over the brochure and grinned at me. "Do you want to take lessons for your birthday?"

I wiggled in pure excitement and joy. Not only do I have a new food obsession, but I'm going to be a professional bellydancer (after zero lessons too)! Watch for me to wiggle your way! I'll be the goofy looking blond in the pink sparkles.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Itty and Bitty

The rain began to pelt the grass softly as two tiny toads, no bigger than a thimble, squirmed in the grass.

"Mommmmm!" one whined. "We're not going to go far!"

"We're just going to go to the fence," the second toad whined.

Buttercup the toad, Queen of the Flowerbed, pursed her lips and thought for what seemed like an eternity.

"Ok, but just the fence," she cautioned. "If it starts raining very hard, come straight back. And remember, don't eat the black spiders with the red hourglasses or big brown ones. Those are bad. Stick to gnats and flies."

"We know, Mom," the tiny toads groaned impatiently, bouncing up and down in the damp soil as the rain fell around them. With a great nod, the two toads bounced out of the garden into the vast world of the Front Yard.

"I'm going to the bush," the first toad, Itty, announced. "I found some delicious gnats over there last time." He licked his lips as he spoke.

"Forget food," the second toad, Bitty, said scornfully. "I'm seeing how fast I can get to the fence. I made it in two minutes last time. I want to beat it."

"Suit yourself," Itty said. The two toads hopped in separate directions on their individual quests. As Itty climbed onto the pebbles surrounding the bush, he heard a great rumbling noise.

"That thunder is getting really loud," he said to himself as his tongue lashed against the green leaves, capturing tiny gnats and retracting quickly into his mouth. As he happily lapped up the gnats, he heard a great booming noise behind him. He turned to see a giant nose breathing heavily next to him.

"AHH!" Itty screamed. "It's the Toad King!" He began to hop away as quickly as his tiny feet could. He wasn't sure what the Toad King did, but he was pretty sure he didn't want to know.

"Awwwwww," the voice cooed. "Look, it's a little frog!"

"Let me see!" a shrill voice cried. "Aww, they're sooo CUTEEEE!"

Itty clapped his webbed fingers over his ears. "That is an obnoxious voice!" he cursed to himself.

"Tell me about it," a deep voice said dryly. Itty looked up to see a lizard clinging to the wall.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"Henry the lizard," the lizard replied. "Those are the Giants. They don't do anything. They just bob and weave and shout a lot."

"Oh," Itty said, secretly disappointed it wasn't the Toad King. He waited until the Giants were gone, then hopped quickly back to the garden.

Meanwhile, Bitty was hopping as fast as he could to the fence. Unfortunately, the rain had made the grass so slick he spent more time sliding to the ground than he did hopping. Still, he hopped on, determined to beat his time of two minutes.

Suddenly, Bitty saw a gigantic flesh colored hand sliding toward him in the grass.

"The Toad King!" he cried in terror, quickly hopping to the ground and hiding in the grass. He wasn't entirely sure what the Toad King did, but he didn't want to know. The hand brushed over the grass a few times until it revealed Bitty's spot. Bitty stayed frozen to the ground for a split second, than hopped out of the grass and sprung under a collection of weeds next to the brick of the house.

"See?" a loud voice boomed. "There's the other frog!"

"He's so CUTTTTEEEEE!!" an excruciatingly piercing voice squealed. Bitty covered his ears with his webbed fingers. "That's obnoxious," he scowled.

"Tell me about it," a dry voice said from the brick wall. Bitty turned to see a lizard slowly crawling across the wall.

"Who are you?" he asked suspiciously. The lizard rolled his eyes and sighed. "Henry the lizard. I just told you this. Those are Giants. I'm Henry. You're a frog."

"Toad," Bitty corrected. Secretly, he was disappointed it wasn't the Toad King.

"Whatever," Henry said. Bitty waited until the Giants walked away, then hopped quickly back to the garden where he found Itty and Buttercup waiting for him. He told them of his adventure, and found that Itty had seen the Giants too.

"There's only one thing I don't understand," Bitty said, as he dined on gnats.

"What?" Itty said, munching on a cricket shin.

"Who's Henry the Lizard? And why don't the Giants think he's cute?"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A dog's day

A large yellow dog and a large black dog lay outside the office door in the shade next to a punch bowl full of water.

"Hot today," the first dog remarked.

"Yup," the second dog replied.

"Too bad the rain stopped," the first dog continued.

"Nope," the second dog said, shaking his head as drool dropped from his tongue to the ground. It evaporated almost immediately. "Too many mosquitoes."

"True," the first dog conceded. "But it was cooler."

"True," the second dog agreed.

After a moment of silence, the first dog rolled over and lied his head next the bowl. "So what are you doing today?"

"Chasing squirrels," the black dog said, yawning. "Slim pickings today. Not many trees round here without fences."

"I hear ya," the first dog said sympathetically. "I'm supposed to be looking for rabbits, and I tell ya, there just ain't much moving from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ya know? Except the damn bugs."

"I know," the second dog said, shaking his head. "It's a shame."

Another minute or so later, the first dog looked up into the sky. "Anything else you got to do today?"

"Nope," the second dog said sleepily, his eyes shutting. "Too damn hot to get any work done. Feels like we're laying on the surface of Mercury."

"Yup," the first dog said. He looked at a rock and started to get up, than sat back down. The second dog looked at him. "Thought it was a rabbit," he explained.

The second dog nodded.

After another few minutes, the dog stretched and stood up. "Wanna go get something to eat? Thinkin' of that rabbit made me hungry."

"Sure," the second dog said, shaking himself awake. "Maybe we'll find some mud or water to roll in and cool down."

They trotted down the street, the sun beating down on them.

"It's hot," the first dog said, his tongue dripping.

"Yup," said the second dog, panting heavily.

"You still hungry?" the first dog asked.

"Nope," said the second dog. "Too hot."

"Wanna go back?" asked the first dog.

"Yup," said the second dog. They trotted back to the doorway and laid under the shade.

"It's a dog's day," the first dog said.

"Yup," the second dog said.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


As I scampered across the soft grass, butterflies burst from the flowers around me while gnats and flies swirled about in a panic. My skirt swished and fluttered in soft ripples as my legs propelled me across the lawn.

"Come on!" I yelled, as he shook his head and smiled. "You go ahead."

Running into the warm summer evening, I ignored my itching feet and focused on the crunchy grass beneath them that tickled my toes and warmed my heart. My hands brushed against the trees as I ran through the field around the pond's edge.

"There!" I yelled, pointing. The ducks quacked in protest, nonetheless waddling forward to see what I was pointing at.

"What?" he squinted his eyes, unable to see in the deepening dusk.

"Wait for it," I whispered, sticking my tongue between my teeth in a mischievous grin. Suddenly, tiny bursts of golden light began a symphony in the air around us. Swirling through the air, the lightening bugs gently circled around our area. One duck quacked crankily when one flew by his head, another tried to eat him.

"This is it?" he asked, clearly trying not to smile. "This was the marvelous occasion? The most spectacular thing of all time? The end all and be all of amazement?"

Grinning at him, I fed the ducks some bread as I shook my head. "Not even close. Wait a minute."

He looked around worriedly. "It's getting dark, and the turtles have gone. We'll have to go home soon."

Ignoring him, I climbed on a large reddish brown rock and kicked off my shoes. And waited.

"Girl, we should go home," he said, absently swatting at the ducks who nibbled his fingers and loudly protested for more bread.

"Almost," I said, my toes tingling in anticipation. The ducks grew louder, pushing against his legs and pulling at his shorts with their curious beaks.

"Girl, I think we should"--

"Now!" I cried, and began to twirl. Pirouetting on the walk, a swirl of light burst around me as the tiny lightning bugs twirled in their own orbits. Spiraling from my head to my toes, my skirt burst into a small star burst as it spun around me, gently folding and swaying with my every move. As the stars emerged and the lightening bugs tightened their glorious dance, I twirled from the last burst of dusk to the falling of night.

Slowly, the lightening bugs dissipated like tiny stars over the water, fading into the night. Sliding my feet into my shoes, I took his hand and smiled at his hanging jaw.

"And that"-- I said decisively, "That is how you twirl."