Wednesday, January 30, 2008
But sometimes, I escape.
Today, I burst out of the door at 11:30 a.m. and scurried into a waiting green station wagon. As I walked to the car, I was the picture of a working professional. Black boots, black pants, dress shirt, black jacket. My steps echoed on the stone walkway briskly, a no-nonsense rhythm of purpose and efficiency. Then I opened the door and slid into the car.
Once in car, my strict expression melted into a smile and my curly blond hair became wispy white ringlets. As I kissed my mother hello, I became five again. We headed to a local diner and ordered chicken fingers, mac and cheese, corn and cornbread. At least, I did. My mother substituted her macaroni with carrots and broccoli, truly adult choices.
As we chatted, my cares melted away as I bounced up and down on the black leather booth seat. We talked about puppies, family, horses and dreams as I dipped the world's best chicken strips into thick white gravy. (And I don't even like chicken strips!)
After sharing a few bites of mixed berry cobbler, it was time. With a sigh, I picked up my purse and headed for the door. My hair slowly went from white to blond as we drove back to the office, my feet stopped tapping the floor. By the time my mother had dropped me off, I was back in full-office mode. Looking longingly out the door, I pushed a white streak of hair past my temple.
It was a lovely lunch date.
Monday, January 28, 2008
While looking through the books, I realized there were a few common themes:
- children's books that focused on animals, dancing, princesses, fairy tales and humor
- Books that had talking animals/ fantasy elements/ ghosts
- Madeline L'Engle's book (Adventure stories/ Mysteries/ Fantasy)
- Elizabeth Peters' Egypt series and Jacqueline Kirby books (Mysteries)
- Roald Dahl's funny giants, snozzcumbers and whimsical characters
From this conclusion, I realized that my writing style is predominantly based on funny talking creatures, fairy tales, dancing (I like dancing), adventure stories in other worlds, hilarious female characters with enormous hats and a habit of singing country songs off-key, a prim British female Egyptologist and everything from a girl genius with ESP to a boy who finds a lucky chocolate bar.
And you thought I was simply crazy. Now I'm confused.
For awhile now, I've been struggling how to "define" my writing. I'm not going to wax on and on about how I'm a complicated and person with rich inner depths. Everyone thinks they're complicated. They're normally quite simple and boring. I'm an eccentric, I know I'm eccentric, therefore my writing is eccentric.
But what is eccentric? I've been told I'm a romance author, children's author, women's fiction author, fantasy author, journalist (shudder) and fun. That's all fine and dandy, but what do I tell people when they walk up to me and ask, "What do you write?" Normally, I say humorous women's fiction. However, after looking at the books I've grown up with and the ideas I have, I'm not quite sure if that's correct. It is women's fiction. It's aimed toward women, and I hope women read it. But it's not about single mothers struggling in a cruel world, a woman regaining her strength after cancer or a woman trying to define herself through a relationship.
I'm sorry. I dozed off.
I've been told I write contemporary romances and that I should delve deeper into that field. The problem is that a lot of generic romances bore me. (This is not to offend any of my Invisible Friends!) When I see a plot like this, imagine what goes through my mind:
Francesca is a eighth grade English teacher longing for an adventure. When she meets Scales, the zoo director, she feels a passion she hasn't felt in months. In between frequenting the reptile house and having secret rendezvous in the teacher's lounge, she realizes a old secret might tear them apart. Can Francesca save her new romance--or will it be lost in the jungle of love?
I'm sorry. That noise you just heard was me flinging my ears at the wall. Now I have nothing against romance. My third novel might even be called a romance. To me, it's more, but an agent might decide differently. However, I don't generally deal with a love story being the main focus. It just seems to simple to me. I need a little mystery or some other drama going on. It's fine to read, but I can't write it.
As far as children goes, I can see young adult. I can see that very well. I write about animals, young girls and hidden worlds. Got it.
However, I have no idea what to describe my work as. Right now women's fiction is the safest label. For instance, my second book The Dog's Tale is about a couple falling in love from a dog's point of view. Is it a romance? Well yes, it's a love story. Is it whimsical? Yes, there's a dog with a shoe obsession. Is it an adventure? It's an intriguing romp through East Texas, but there's no hidden diamonds or anything. Is there a mystery? The only mystery is whether Hank and his owner Jake can understand each other when they're having a conversation. Is it a fantasy? There's no dwarfs or elves, but the dog does talk... While I'm delighted my work is different, I know how hard it is to market because it isn't conventional. Also, several of the books I want to start are different. One's an adventure, one's a mystery, one's a YA, a few are women's fiction....the box is a bit crowded.
When it comes down to it, my work revolves around fairies, ponies, West/ ranches, ghosts, talking animals, love stories, relationships between people, mysteries, dolphins and lint gremlins.
So tell me, Invisible Friends, what do you think? What would your vote be if you had describe my style? I'm curious to see your thoughts. Until then, don't look for me in a box or try to fence me in. I'll be outside frolicking with the butterflies and other crazy lunatics.
Friday, January 25, 2008
"Let's take a nap," her dark haired friend stretched sleepily. "We can lay down in the chairs in the next room." The white-blond girl wrinkled her nose. "I want to do something. I'm tired of being cooped up."
"We could make cinnamon rolls," their new friend, a girl with golden wavy hair suggested. Unlike the girl with the wispy blond ringlets, her hair curled in shimmering waves, like liquid gold floating in glass. The dark haired girl snuggled deeper in her grey sweater, drawing her new scarf around her neck. "That's a lovely idea," she agreed, yawning.
The white-haired girl licked her lips. She loved cinnamon rolls. She bounced around the kitchen as her friends set the cinnamon rolls on a pan and turned on the oven. "What are we going to do for 20 minutes?" she asked, twirling on the tile.
"I've got a magazine to read," the golden haired girl offered.
"We can doze and let the cinnamon rolls wake us with their sweet scent," her dark-haired friend smiled.
The girl with the white ringlets thought to herself, tapping her foot against the floor. "I'm going to dance."
"Ok," the dark-haired girl shrugged, snuggling against her soft grey sweater. "Dance. Just move the chairs out of the way."
"I'm going to dance out there," the girl insisted, pressing her nose against the glass. She looked at the mist falling from the sky, the miserable grey clouds. The entire world looked wet and grey today, like a child walking home in the rain.
"But it's raining," her blond friend said gently. "You'll be wet and cold."
The girl with white ringlets smiled. "But it's dancing." Without another word to her friends, she took off outside. They watched from the window as she twirled in the rain under her pink umbrella. She spun in the center of puddles, slid along the road and pirouetted through the parking lot.
"She's crazy," the blond girl shook her head. "She'll miss the cinnamon rolls."
"She'll come back for them," the dark-haired girl smiled. She knew her friend. Patiently, she sat at the kitchen table and curled up, leaning her head on her hand. "She's not crazy. She's dancing."
The buzzer rang, and the kitchen door opened. The little blond girl ran in, her thin white ringlets sticking to her head with humidity. She shook the rain off her umbrella and looked hungrily at the pan of cinnamon rolls the other blond girl pulled from the oven.
"You came back," the girl with golden waves said. She set some cinnamon rolls on a plate and handed them to the dark-haired girl. The girl with white ringlets licked her lips, anticipating her own plate.
"She always does," the dark-haired girl smiled. She locked eyes with her fair-headed friend and grinned. "She's addicted to cinnamon rolls and dancing in the rain."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
"What?" I asked, immediately excited. I always like anything scandalous. I hoped it was something scandalous.
"It's National Pie Day!" she cried. "We should get some pie!"
"Hooray!" I cheered. I love pie. It's much better than a scandal.
So we planned to go have some pie. Then Libby came in.
"It's National Pie day!" we cried happily. Libby gasped and stuck out her tongue. I watched her carefully. Libby's tongue is a barometer of fun.
"We should have a pie party!" Libby gasped. "With ice cream and whipped cream! We can have apple pie and pecan pie..."
"And chocolate pie," Beverly added.
"And coconut creme pie!" I cried, drooling. "We must have a pie party!" An e-mail invitation later, Beverly was off to pick up the pies and I was off to pick up the ice cream. By 10:30 a.m., we were buzzing with excitement.
At 1 p.m., we carefully laid the pies out on the table. The apple pie stared up at us with it's golden flaky buttery crust. I struggled to withhold my drool as I cut the pie. Beverly eyeballed the chocolate creme pie.
"Isn't it beautiful?" I cooed, my eyes brimming with tears as I stared down at the apple pie. "Is it not delightful?"
"It is," Libby said hungrily, eyeballing the ice cream. "It looks soo good."
The glorious set-up lastly approximately 30 seconds before we all dove in. Thirty minutes later, we were stuffed with pie, ice cream and licking whipped cream off our lips.
"This was a great pie day," Beverley said, looking in a daze at the table.
"It was," I said, sneaking a few bites of pecan pie. "It was a good pie day."
Monday, January 21, 2008
It will shock you.
It will make you cry.
It might make you laugh.
But it will definitely shock you.
Invisible Friends of the Pond........
I am a hermit obsessed with rednecks and all things meaty and sugary.
What do you mean that's not news? You've always known that I am a reclusive closet redneck-loving woman obsessed with waffles, hamburgers, meatballs and oatmeal cookies?
Well, that doesn't make things exciting at all. You see, it all became crystal clear this weekend. Holed up in the house, I was thrilled to be cleaning on a Friday night. I was delighted to take a break to have barbecue with Mom and Danielle, and I was exhilarated to return back to the house to clean more. Saturday morning, I looked around and realized the house was sparkling clean. I nearly cried in delight. Then I proceeded to spend the day stuffing myself with fish and chips, apple pie, quesidillas created from leftovers of corn tortillas, sirloin steak and refried beans and oatmeal cookies. Now, the oatmeal cookies were not my fault. Ben just happened to bake them and I couldn't leave them sitting there. They looked so lonely.
The evening got even better when I started watching "My Big Fat Redneck Wedding." Holy crap. Here I thought I was setting society on edge by getting married in a barbecue restaurant. If only I had known there were couples in the world who get married on horses, take naked pictures on horses and throw horse poop at each other for fun. I'm not joking. It was better than listening to the Blue Collar Tour. I'm pretty sure one of my relatives will wind up on the show someday. And I couldn't be prouder.
Sunday, I was tickled pink to be bumbling around the house with Ben. I was even happier when we had meatballs and oatmeal cookies together. By Sunday night, my stomach was so extended I looked like one of those orphans in Africa as I laid on the bed, a dazed look and goofy grin on my face. Ben just shook his head.
"What?" I tried to eye him, but I was in a sugar-induced haze. "What's your problem?
"How many cookies did you eat?" he asked. Shifting my eyes, I looked at the ceiling.
"How many?" he asked.
"Four," I muttered.
"Four!" he exclaimed. "That's as many as I ate!"
"Well don't call the kettle black!" I tried to glare but belched instead.
"I'm twice your size," he said, flabbergasted. "And you had more meatballs than I did!"
"They were so tasty...." I tried to justify my gluttony. Ben shook his head and looked at my swollen tummy.
"I swear," he muttered, holding his own bloated stomach. "Sometimes I think I'm Shallow Hall and you're really 400-lbs. You've just managed to trick everyone around you too."
Ignoring him, I flipped on the T.V.
"Honey!" I bellowed. "The redneck show is on again! Come here! You got to see this!"
Alas, my Invisible Friends, I must confess: My name is the Blonde Duck and I am a redneck-obsessed hermit who has the habit of gorging herself on the weekends with meatballs and oatmeal cookies.
They're so good though......do you want one?
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Coddled in the dark wooden bar and restaurant, Ben and I found ourselves with Beverly and her husband, Libby and our staff photographer at a table. The co-owner (Tim) and his wife (Titi) and baby joined us, and chaos and conversation ensued. It was loud, it was noisy and it was crowded. I was delighted. The Blonde Duck, a hermit who despises loud noises and crowds was happy in an Irish Pub. You know it had to be good.
Even after I knocked over my water in my enthusiasm to talk about The Girls Next Door (have ya'll watched that show? It fascinates me. I don't understand it. I'm intrigued by the entire premise and have all sorts of theories and Titi told me a fascinating one today. But that's another post.) and soaked my lap, I was still happy. A group of Irish dancers took the floor and the sounds of heels tapping against the wooden floor and Celtic violins filled the air. Ben and I split a order of fish and chips and a delicious apple pie. We talked and laughed and shouted over the music.
It was honestly a magical afternoon. With the unseasonably cold air rushing through every time the wooden doors opened and the Irish and Swedish accents burbling around the table, I really couldn't believe we were still in the Pond. I expected leprechauns and Celtic goddesses in long gowns floating in fog to come through the door any moment.
With Titi and Tim's baby* on my lap and apple pie in my belly, I harassed Libby with stories of my dreams and grinned and giggled. And when we finally dragged ourselves away, we left with a smile.
"We should meet them for dinner again," Ben said as we walked down the River Walk. "We could come down during the week or something. And we should bring your parents down. It's the perfect place to entertain."
"It is, it is," I agreed, trying not to run over the pigeons scuttling around. "I think it'd be a lot of fun to hang out with them again. They're great folks!"
"That's just a cool, family type of place," Ben said. "Everybody's holding the baby, everyone brought their husband or kids--just real comfortable, fun and good food."
It was an Irish sort of day.
****This baby was the best baby I have ever seen in my entire life. He did not cry, he did not fuss. He was passed from person to person and was totally content. He did not even scream when Ben looked at him. (All babies are terrified of Ben.) He did not rip my earrings out of my ears. He did not puke, snot or slobber on me. Instead, he sat on my soaked jeans happily and chewed on Ben's keys, cooing happily. If raising a baby in a bar is what it takes to have that kind of well-adjusted child, Ben and I will move our children into Waxy O'Connors.
Friday, January 18, 2008
After enduring his nagging for weeks, Emma has graciously agreed to be interviewed by everyone's favorite insect, the GLUG (Ginormous Lime Green Unusual Gnat.) So get a cup of coffee and settle in--you'll be laughing your head off soon.
The GLUG: Hello! Welcome to my new television show, I am the GLUG. Today our guest is world renowed romantic suspense author Emma Sanders. HELLLOOOO!!!
The GLUG: Tell me about yourself.
I work full time in criminal law, but my passion is writing. I’ve been married for fourteen years to my high school sweetheart, who has always been my biggest support post. We are not only working on my career as a writer, but also in our collision repair shop.
The GLUG: Tell me about your writing style.
My writing style…Well, sometimes it’s polka dotted, and sometimes plaid. Sometimes it wears boots and sometimes it’s sad. In my office, books and papers are strewn all about with references I can’t live without.
Oh, okay, I’ll be serious here. I write romantic suspense, so my romance always has some type of mystery. I tend to gravitate toward adventurous heroes. In my first novel, the hero was a race car driver, in my second a DEA agent who loved to cook and my third loves extreme sporting. They’re also usually intense, charming, or both. I love to utilize setting as a character and write about everyday, but beautiful places.
The GLUG: What inspires you?
Life in general. Someone will tell me something that happened to them and I’m immediately thinking of ways I can make it into a story. Sad, but true. The thing is, I hate telling stories when I’m talking but there’s a part of me that just has to be creating a (fictional) life for someone else, and I can do that in my writing.
The GLUG: Do you think I'm cute?
Uh…well, you have this certain character about you. You’re cuter than a fly. Or a gnat. But not near as pretty as a butterfly.
The GLUG: Can I come to your house?
Only if you want my cats to chase you, torture you, then eat you.
The GLUG: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? How long have you been writing?
I’ve wanted to write since as long as I can remember. I wrote my first story when I was nine after watching the movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun a gazillion times. I wrote a remake of that story, basically. As children, my sister and I “scripted” our own stories and acted them out. I’ve always loved to read, and the desire to write just seemed intrinsic to me. My mom used to share her romance novels with me when I was young. It’d probably be illegal to do that now.
The GLUG: What are the biggest challenges you face as a writer?
Time and energy. After working all day, my brain is in a fog and it’s hard to get motivated to do anything writing related. Sometimes it’s easy to convince myself that this life I have (the mundane, unfulfilling job) is what I’ve got and I must live with it. It’s also easy to get into a mindset that tears you down. Ah but see, that’s why it’s a challenge. Challenges must be overcome.
The GLUG: What do you enjoy most about writing?
When everything is going well and the words just flow without struggle. When I know it’s going in the right direction and I think…”Geez, I’m a wonderful writer! I can’t believe I came up with this all on my own!”
The GLUG: What do you dislike most about writing?
The opposite. The struggle with finding the words, the story idea, the place it’s supposed to go. Finding the time. Yes, that used to be a stupid excuse, but the way things are in my life right now, time and energy are my biggest obstacles, and it’s what I dislike about writing. Because if I didn’t want to write, I wouldn’t have to worry about time or energy. I could waste it doing something else, right?
The GLUG: Do you have a writing schedule?
Not lately, which is something I’m going to get back on. I usually write when in the evenings after work, on my lunch break and on weekends when I can, I can, pretty much everyday. Those days, I wouldn’t beat myself up if I didn’t write, because I knew I would get back to it and make up for it. Lately, it’s an effort, and I’m working on getting back into the swing of things.
The GLUG (beaming): Do you really think I'm cute?
You’re getting cuter the more time I spend with you. The way your wings flap in that certain way…
The GLUG: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are your hobbies? Collections?
I love to read, explore, watch movies, spend time with my hubby and with family and friends. (We love to get together and play dominoes when we can). I love to do craft type activities such as scrapbooking and I love taking pictures. I occasionally enjoy going to a karaoke bar and just watching people sing (especially my dad, who is now a karaoke fiend). I love the outdoors and to discover new adventures. If I could go to Colorado every weekend and hike through the mountains, I would. I recently discovered the joy of skeet shooting (I beat a few men in a contest). Oh, and I love to drink wine.
Collections? Well, I used to collect tea pots, but haven’t done that in a while. I should start doing that again. I guess you could say I collect books.
The GLUG: Are you a reader as well as a writer? What do you enjoy reading?
I love to read, so much that I could let it intrude on my writing time. I enjoy reading just about anything, including non-fiction. Romance, of course, as long as it isn’t the mushy romance where they fall in love in the second chapter. Mysteries, women’s fiction, mainstream novels.
The GLUG: What is one piece of advice you'd like to share with other writers?
Oh, I love to give advice if someone asks me. But one piece of advice? Hmm…I’d have to say to not let yourself get discouraged with your pursuit of writing, but also to allow yourself some downtime, away from writing. Just as you would take a vacation in your full time job, allow a vacation from writing once in a while.
The GLUG: What's your dream vacation?
A week or two in Hawaii.
The GLUG: Can I go?
Well, you could, but you’d either get squished in my luggage, some terrified woman on the plane would swat at you and eventually kill you with that magazine all airlines carry, or (if you rode on the wings) you’d get squashed by something else or the wind would be so terrible you’d flutter to who knows where.
The GLUG: Who is your biggest supporter? How does he/she support you?
My husband. He believes in me, gives me the space and quiet time I need (and it’s not because he just likes to watch TV… it’s not!), and he brainstorms with me (after much caterwauling from me).
The GLUG: What frustrates you about writing?
Having those brilliant ideas come to me at work when I can’t sneak online and send myself an email.
The GLUG: Why did you decide to write in this genre?
That’s an easy one. I loved reading romance, and knew I wanted to eventually make things work out for two people. But I always thought I’d go with contemporary romance until I got infatuated with Sandra Brown and her romantic suspense novels. I became a romantic suspense junkie and knew I’d never be happy writing anything else. Not only is the “how” of falling in love a mystery, but the stuff that happens in a suspense, those clues you have to solve, are what I love!
The GLUG: How did Holding Fast come to you? One Wrong Move? Tell me about the writing process of those novels.
The premise of Holding Fast actually came to me probably ten years before it was complete. I pretty much invent characters before I have a plot, and I had the two characters and their back stories worked out in my head long ago. Back then, race-car heroes were not hot, and I thought they were (laughing.) I wanted to do something different. Unfortunately, by the time I finally decided to get serious about writing it and someone finally accepted, race-car heroes are everywhere now. But the idea…I worked out the characters and the plot eventually followed.
In One Wrong Move, the heroine was already decided. She was a secondary character in Holding Fast, so I just had to create her hero and plot. After a long talk session with her, she told me her ideal man and ideal situation. No, really, it took some brainstorming. Characters usually always come first for me, but it happened, and it was a lot easier the second time around. Scenes would come into my mind and I’d patch them later, piecing them into my novel like a puzzle.
The GLUG: Do you have any tasty leaves I can eat? I'm really hungry.
I have some catnip. Will that work?
The GLUG: What message do you want your reader to receive?
A message? I want my reader to immense himself/herself in the book and enjoy it so much that he/she buys everything I ever write. I want them to experience the feelings of greatness that I experience when I read my favorite novels, over and over again. I want them to eagerly await my next book like I do my favorite author. I want them to enjoy a moment of pleasure as they unwind from the stresses of everyday life.
The GLUG: What's the favorite response from a reader you've ever gotten?
It was exciting to dread my first review only to receive a recommended read.
The GLUG: How do you continue to find inspiration?
Writing friends. Without them, I don’t know what I’d do. Sometimes, the writing world is lonely and scarce. Or at least, it feels that way. When you put your heart into your blog, for instance, and only get 2 comments a month, it can be a bummer. It’s easy to ask yourself, “Why bother?” Or when you wait and wait to hear back from a potential agent only to get a reject, it’s easy to sometimes wonder why you do this. I could be gardening! Or planning my next meal! Or…something!
Of course, deep inside me, I find self-motivation. I’m usually very motivated and rarely need outside sources to inspire me when I’m absorbed in something I love. I do it because I love it. I enjoy it.
The GLUG: What are your plans for future work?
More stories, of course!
The GLUG: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing career?
I hope one day to quit my day job so I can write full time.
The GLUG: What advice would you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up! I know, it’s long been said over and over again, but it really is true. If you love what you’re doing, keep doing it. Don’t do it for money, fame, or success. Do it because you love it and can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.
The GLUG: What's the one book you'd love to write but could never publish?
I don’t know. I guess if I really loved to write a book that much, I’d try to get it published.
The GLUG: If I turn to the left, do I look greener than on my right side?
A little, but it could be that large zit on your cheek.
The GLUG: Am I your favorite insect?
Of course you are!
Check out Emma's blog at www.emmasanders.blogspot.com for more about this wonderful author!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I'd like to thank my parents, in-laws, Libby and Beverly and friends for all their support. I'd like to thank Ben for his support and the puppies he'll owe me soon.
And I owe a big thanks to Emma for interviewing me! How kind! How thoughtful! How swell!
Stay tuned tomorrow! Her big interview with the GLUG will debut tomorrow! It's delightful, charming and absolutely hilarious. She gives me a run for my money. Come back, ya'll--ya hear!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
"What do you mean, what's wrong with it?" I scowled.
"Your eye," Libby said, peering closer. I sighed, knowing what was coming.
"Dude, it's going nuts."
"Why is it doing that?"
"I have no idea. It started this morning and didn't stop. I think I'm stressed out or not getting enough sleep."
"Do you feel stressed out?"
"No. But obviously my eye does." Libby laughed as my eye fluttered up and down.
"My mom thinks it's eye strain," I sighed. "I was reading without my glasses last night. I wanted to read for five minutes...and five minutes turned into forty five...."
"And twitch," Libby supplied helpfully.
"Twitching," I agreed.
"You know what the good thing is?" Libby said happily.
"What?" I sighed. "That all I need is an eye patch and parrot and a tendency to growl 'Arrrrr' at folks who pass by?"
"Well, that's one way to deal with it," Libby grinned. "But I was going to say that now you're officially crazy. You drool accidentally, babble, giggle to yourself, write stories about Ginourmous Lime Green Unusual Gnats...and now your eye is twitching. It's a sign, don't you think? You're officially crazy. "
I didn't say anything for a moment. I simply glared.
"You think this is funny, don't you Libby?"
"I sure do, Twitchy."
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"Hello!" I greeted her. "What's up?"
"Whatcha doing?" she asked me.
"What are you doing later?" she asked coyly.
"Cleaning." (I have a very simple life on the weekends.)
"Well, I was thinking about coming over and bringing Miss C." My eyes began to twitch and I started to hyperventilate.
"Miss C? The puppy?"
"The one and only!"
"I'll see you in five minutes," I said abruptly, hanging up the phone. I wasn't going to prolong her departure with any unnecessary courtesies like goodbye or anything.
Jumping happily, I scurried into Ben's office and tapped him on the shoulder. "The puppy's coming! The puppy's coming!" I hissed. Ben ignored me and pointed to the earbud in the ear. I scurried around the house, frantically trying to pick up things. Then I sat in the middle of the room and stared at the door. It didn't ring. I looked out the window. There was no car in the driveway. I looked at my phone. It was silent. I looked at my watch. It had been three minutes.
"This is going to take awhile," I muttered to myself.
By the time Libby finally showed up an hour later, I had mopped and swept the front hallway and bathroom, mopped the kitchen, dusted and washed the windows. I had pulled out the wrapping paper she wanted to borrow and photos to give her. I had danced around the living room, eaten lunch and read three chapters of a book. The whole time I fluttered around the house, I kept sneaking looks toward the door. Nothing. I looked at my phone. Silent. I'd peek out the window. The driveway was empty.
Finally, Libby pulled into the drive with a whimpering Miss C in tow! Miss C immediately bolted out of the car, prancing in the dead grass happily.
"Hello!" I cooed, ignoring Libby and flopping on the driveway to stare at the dog. "How are you? I like you! You're so cute and tiny and I want one!"
Libby said something, but I didn't pay much attention. I was in a dog coma. We went into the house where Miss C proceeded to investigate our house. I chased after her, pleading, "Please let me hug and kiss and love you and pet you!" Libby rolled her eyes and followed after me. For awhile, our house looked like a circus.
While I had tackled Miss C to the floor and was rubbing her belly, Ben stumbled out into the living room.
"Hello," he said, looking confused at the tiny dog prancing around his foot. He looked down and saw he was only wearing boxers and a shirt. "Be right back," he said abruptly, disappearing to the back. He came back and proceeded to steal Miss C's attention. I was not amused. This was all about me, after all.
"Let's take her outside," Libby said. The dog howled happily, and I howled along in agreement. We scampered down the sidewalk and to the neighborhood behind ours. I showed Libby where the goats live and Miss C showed us where all the dog poop was. We passed one house where an older couple were getting into a car.
"Oh, how cute!" the older man cooed, bending down to pet Miss C. "Who is this puppy? What's her name?"
Libby patiently answered his questions, and Miss C patiently sniffed his yard. We scurried on back to the house and Miss C explored the living room a little more. Finally, I realized Libby was there and hugged her goodbye as she left armed with bows, wrapping paper and pictures.
The last thing I saw was Miss C hopping into Libby's lap as she drove down the street waving goodbye. I grinned and walked back into the house. I had to figure out a way to extract Chihuahuas from Ben. If he was distracted, there was a good chance he'd agree. I peeked my head in. He was on the phone. Beaming, I called out in my sweetest voice.
"Hey baby? I had the greatest idea...."
Monday, January 14, 2008
I hate shoes. I hate shopping for shoes. Once I find a shoe that is acceptable, I usually adore it, serenade it and wear it until the sole splits and threads spew out the sides. Over Christmas, Mom bought me three adorable pair of shoes. Two for work, one for dancing/ going out. I was delighted.
I was not so delighted to realize that my beloved tennis shoes were on their last leg. I had ignored their holes, their shredded sides, the grungy laces. After a few blisters and calluses, I realized it was time to give up the fight. I needed to buy new running shoes.
Armed with a credit card and a scowl, I marched into Academy with Mom. I picked a new sports bra, new sweat pants for Ben and took a deep breath. With all the bravery I could muster, I stormed into the shoe department. Chaos and small children screeching made me wince, but I forged on. I selected four different running shoes (all pink, of course) and found a bench on the fray of the chaos. Mom opened boxes and pulled batches of paper out so I could try on the shoes faster.
With each pair of shoes, I had a certain inspection process. I would walk, bounce and run spasticially up and down the aisles. After two pairs, a strange woman plopped down on the bench a few feet from me. Growling, I hurried through the third pair. On the fourth pair, another woman and her redneck spawn stole my seat. Fuming, I grabbed the two pairs in the yes pile and dragged mom to a bench on the opposite side of the shoe section.
"Stupid children," I muttered as I jerked one of each pair on my feet for the final test. "Stupid redneck women. Stealing my seat. How tacky is that?"
Mom looked at socks, smartly ignoring my ranting. I hemmed and hawed over the two shoes, finally selecting a pair of pale pink, silver and white Nikes. They were so cute!
Hugging my shoes to my chest, I headed with Mom to the movie theatre where we saw Enchanted.
I was delighted. As my 7 things said, I hate movies with sad endings. This movie was charming! It had all the requirements of a Blonde Duck movie: a princess; pretty dresses; charming romantic lead; humor; several dance scenes and a nice kiss at the end. Classy, romantic, funny! I was thrilled! I was charmed! I wanted to wear a pretty dress and go to a ball in my new pink shoes. I twirled my way home and demanding Ben treat me like the princess my pink shoes proclaimed me to be. He too, ignored me wisely.
This morning, still on a Enchanted high (I discovered the music videos on YouTube and have been playing them non stop. Don't judge me.), I hit the gym in gear fit for a princess. I was wearing a pink Eskimo Joe shirt, shorts, purple socks and my new pink shoes. As I ran on the treadmill, feeling like I was flying on air, I hummed to myself:
"Little pink shoes, little pink shoes. Little pink shoes, little pink shoes."
Monday: 7 things about me (I was tagged by Emma) and a loving tribute to my new pink shoes and new obsession.
Tuesday: The story of Libby and Miss C.
Wednesday: Something clever, witty, delightful and hilarious.
Friday: Emma Sanders' Interview with the GLUG! (Trust me, it's HILARIOUS!)
So, in honor of Emma ( http://www.emmasanders.blogspot.com) --my seven things:
1) I have a really bad habit of performing my own music videos along to CMT or VH1 in the morning while I'm getting dressed in looking in the mirror. It's really quite pathetic.
2) I'm convinced I'm a princess. No one else seems to realize this yet.
3) When I sing, dogs howl.
4) I despise any movies that don't have a happy ending. A real happy ending. None of this--mature-adult-they're-really-miserable-but-it-has-artistic-meaning-happy-ending. If there's no puppies, sunshine and true love kisses at the end, you can bet I'll be mad.
5) I wanted to be a lawyer when I was growing up. I once went to a debate camp where we had to argue mock cases and an attorney told me I had a lot of promise.
Now, I wonder if perhaps he meant to give his card to another child.
6) My favorite comic in the Sunday paper is "Mutts."
7) I have only read one Harry Potter book. I skimmed it one day while working at the cash register at a toy store. I've never had the desire to read another one. Now it's simply out of principle and hard-headiness.
1) Nobody Girl. http://www.nobodygirl219.blogspot.com/
2) Mommy Prof.
3) But Wait! There's More.....
4) The GLUG
5) Pumble the Bee
6) The babies
7) Ace the Dog
Saturday, January 12, 2008
and how I love thee.
Your buttery buns are crisp and chewy,
making the first bite exquisite.
When I taste the cheese and meat you hold,
it is truly a treat.
The bacon is crisp,
the mayo is creamy.
Whether it's cheddar or American,
I'm a happy duckie.
However, let's not forget the true star,
the beef is by far the most important part.
With just the right thickness and the proper seasoning,
I do believe a patty has stolen my heart.
Forget those greasy burgers,
Those half-raw excuses topped with watery tomatoes.
Forget the flavorless cheese, wilted lettuce and nasty onions,
And remember what a real hamburger is about.
Crispy bacon that crunches with every bite,
Cheese that is a perfect accompaniment--not too sharp, not too trite.
Beef thick enough to sink your teeth into
that drips with flavor and delight.
Add two toasted buns,
no sesame seeds please--
And you've got the perfect bacon cheeseburger
Just for me.
Friday, January 11, 2008
When he spoke, it was in slow motion. She narrowed his eyes as if her stare alone could deflect his hateful words. She saw his smug grin and her blood boiled.
"This isn't over," she said, gritting her teeth.
"Sure it is," he smiled. "It was over before it began."
"Elle Woods didn't give up," the girl said, raising her chin definitely. Her eyes never left his, not even to glace at the gun at his side.
"You can't even do the bend and snap right," he jeered. The girl smiled. Within an instant, her gun was twirling in her hand.
"Guess you don't know everything," she said, smiling broadly. Clumsily, he grunted and pointed his gun at her. She stood unwavering, watching him carefully.
"You really are a moron," she taunted. "Thinking you own the town. You may be able to upset others, but you're not messing with me."
"I own everything," the man boasted. His eyes glistened with greed. He licked the corner's of his fat little mouth. She grimaced. The only thing more revolting than the man's physical appearance was his personality.
"You don't own me," she said. She cocked her gun and pointed it straight towards his heart. Her friends and family cheered.
"The sheriff will throw you in jail," he said nervously, his eyes darting around. The sheriff had long run off, knowing it was a battle he couldn't win.
"The law's on my side," she said calmly. The man stared into the barrel of her gun and looked at her eyes. He found no sympathy there. Her eyes were as hard as the bullet headed for his heart.
Humiliated, the man shoved his gun into his holster and backed away, raising his hands.
"I'll get you," he sneered, backing away alone. "I'll get you yet. You can't run away from me. I own the town. This is just a draw."
"Nope," the girl said, keeping her gun pointed at him. "This is a win. This is where the bad guys ride away." She watched as the man licked his fat little lips nervously and scuttled away, his face burning. She turned to her friends and family and smiled.
"I knew it would be all right," the girl smiled. "Elle Woods told me so."
"But what if he comes back?" her friend asked nervously. The girl grimly raised her weapon.
"I'll be ready," she said. "To win. Not draw."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
We wandered to the subdivision behind ours and explored the empty fields. Our subdivision backs up to farm roads and older homes with horses and livestock. One of the main reasons I chose our house was that there were horses down the road (Priorities, people.)
At first, there wasn't anything too exciting. A tall chain link fixed intertwined with barbed wire, cute little birds that hopped across the ground, lots of dust and junk people had dumped out there. We were walking along the edge of the fence about to turn back when I heard it. Stopping in my tracks, I craned my ear to the right.
"Did you hear that?" I asked Ben, who was chattering on about the mulch piles behind the fence.
"Probably some kid," Ben dismissed. The tiny bleat grew a little louder. Barreling down towards the slope near the sound, I howled, "It's a cow! Hello cows!"
I reached the fence and hopped excitedly. They weren't cows. They were goats!
"Hello, goats!" I called ecstatically. "How are you?"
The goats stared at me and continued to gnaw on whatever they were chewing. Ben peered through the fence. "Are they eating cans?" he asked hopefully.
"Not yet,"I said confidently. "Besides, goats don't eat cans. They eat the paper off them." I had become a goat expert in the 30 seconds I'd been around them.
Ben rolled his eyes and pointed. "Are those ponies?" he asked. Looking where his finger was, I beamed and hopped up in down.
"Donkeys!" I shrieked. "They're donkeys!"
"Oh," Ben replied mildly.
"Hello donkeys!" I bellowed. "How are you?"
The donkeys looked at me suspiciously. They wandered closer. I nearly peed myself in excitement.
"Hello!!!" I cried cheerfully, wishing I could climb over the fence and pet them. The donkeys got as close as the thorny bushes wrapped around the fence would allow, staring at us curiously. I hopped and cheered and called out, "Hello donkeys!" repeatedly. Ben just grinned.
"Let's head back," he said.
"I need to feed the donkeys," I said, planting my feet into the grass.
"We don't have anything to feed the donkeys," Ben pointed out.
"Oh." I was stumped.
"We'll feed them next time," Ben promised, trying to steer me away from the donkeys. I waved frantically at them. "Byyyeee donkies! Byyyeee goats! We'll come back and feed you!"
"What do donkeys eat?" Ben asked. "Bread?"
"Sure," I nodded. I was an expert on donkeys. "And carrots. And apples."
"They sure are cute," Ben said, grinning as we headed back to the sidewalk. "Who knew there were donkeys right behind our house?"
Now that I know, I'm going back. A lot. And I'm taking bread with me!
Monday, January 07, 2008
He was adorable. Ignoring the chaos in the store, I leaned my head down. His tiny little tongue licked my nose enthusiastically. After we were properly introduced, he nestled in my hands and huddled in the empty hollow of my collarbone. I leaned my chin gently on his head. He nuzzled up to me and occasionally kissed my lips.
"I want one of you so bad," I cooed softly to him. He sneezed in agreement. "Two puppies," I whispered. "We're going to get two puppies."
The puppy delicately began to chew on my thumb. As I gently spoke and cooed to him, all the stress from writing melted away. The rejection, worry and general ups-and-downs of trying to get published evaporated with one of his tiny kisses. He smiled up at me, and I smiled back.
I laid my cheek against his head and imagined two puppies prancing about my kitchen. I imagined them stumbling across the carpet, begging at the table and leaping through the grass. I thought of the tiny muddy footprints on the kitchen floor, the terrified looks of shame after accidents and the soft sighs of contentment inches from my ear. Leaning down, the puppy licked my cheek, gently nibbling my earlobe. I giggled and kissed him again and again.
"It's time," Ben told me gently, his eyes misting a bit. He wanted the puppy even more than I did. He wanted it so bad he couldn't bear to touch it. Unable to part, I lifted him to my cheek for one last hit of hot puppy breath.
"As soon as I get published," I whispered, "And build up my freelancing, I can have you and a friend. Wouldn't you like that?"
The puppy yawned sleepily and licked his lips. All he wanted was some kibble and a nice blanket to curl up in. Reluctantly, I handed him over to the apathetic pet store employee. On the way home, I lifted my shirt to my nose and inhaled his sweet puppy scent. We pulled into the garage and went in the house. I went straight to my laptop and began to write.
With every word, I dreamt about puppies. I knew the more pages I finished, the sooner they would come.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Since the weather's back to 70 degrees, a winter standard in the Pond, the ice cream store had been bum rushed. There were pregnant wives sulking at tables while their husbands patiently retrieved their ever-changing order, young couples, high school couples, high school kids, exhausted parents with chirping babies and frat boys who looked like they'd rather be drunk. But standing in front of us were the real winners. They were Ben's favorite: the Ultra-Nerds.
Now, anyone who reads this has figured out I'm beyond nerdom. I'm just crazy. Ben is what you would affectionately call a nerd. My father was a nerd (he's got pocket protectors to prove it. Seriously.) Besides Libby, all my friends were nerds. Our dogs will probably be nerds. Our kids will probably be nerds unless they get some kind of rare cool gene. We're just a nerd kind of group.
But these people-- these people topped it all. They were Ultra-Nerds.
The Ultra-Nerds are like Nerds exposed to radiation. There were two boys and a girl. The creatures in front of us were drooling, giggling enormously tall and skinny specimens. One was singing along to "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" as it blared from the speakers without a shred of irony. The other began to sing along, pretending to perform with squelched up facial expressions and arms flinging wildly. The girl, wearing her hair twisted up and a Transiberian Orchestra t-shirt, made a face. Obviously, she was too cool for bothering to care about popular music or shampoo. The trio giggled, snorted and talked about Star Wars and computers and all sorts of Ultra- Nerd things.
Personally, I thought they were kind of cute. These were the kind of guys you'd want your sister to date because you knew the worst they would try was to re-wire her computer. They looked like the kind of guys you could talk to or trust to watch your dog. Grinning at their goofiness, I looked at Ben.
Ben was not amused. In fact, Ben looked horrified. It didn't help matters when a husky guy moved closely behind him with his girlfriend and began making out. By that point, Ben's eyeball looked like it was going to pop out of his face. I laughed my butt off.
"Has no one here in Texas heard of personal space?" he hissed, moving closer to me. He glared at the moron behind him. The guy looked like a football player who had one too many concussions. He just sat staring at the ice cream with his mouth gaped open and lower lip sticking out dumbly. "Then there's those three." He nodded to the nerds.
"I think they're cute," I giggled. One nerd began to wheeze as he laughed loudly and awkwardly. He sounded like an asthmatic donkey. "You know, you and John and Kurt acted the same way."
From the expression on Ben's face, you would have thought I had insulted his mother. He stared at me in shock and resentment. "We never acted like that!"
"You did so!" I countered. The nerds gave their orders. The girl behind the counter asked them how many tickets they needed.
"We did not act like that," Ben said frostily, his eyes boring into my skull.
"She's paying!" the two male nerds cried gleefully. They cackled as the girl handed cash to the girl behind the counter. Ben's mouth gaped open.
"Chivalry is dead," he muttered.
Outside, munching on our ice cream, Ben was still not amused.
"I can't believe this!" he fumed. "I had the lower 50% of America standing behind me with his mouth gaping open when he wasn't all over his girlfriend, then I had the super nerds in front of me who were squealing like girls!" Laughing so hard I bent over, I nearly spit out my ice cream when Ben screeched, "We did not act like that! We were so much cooler than that! These guys were using spoons to play lightsabers!"
"You and your friends used to talk about taking over the world and the type of government you would implement," I reminded him, smacking happily on my peanut butter ice cream. I love peanut butter ice cream.
"Yes, well"-- Ben stuttered. He narrowed his eyes and glared at me. "We were not like that! How dare you say that!"
"You guys would giggle like that," I countered.
"But these guys don't even know what a girl is!" Ben exploded. "They're scared of girls! They'll probably be 40 before they ever get a girlfriend! They're like ha ha ha ha ha boobies!"
I laughed so hard I almost choked on my ice cream. He still hasn't forgiven me for saying that. Such is the consequences when you have an encounter with the most elusive creature of all--the Ultra Nerds.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Luckily for me, the GLUG has been nagging for his own daytime talk show for awhile. He feels that the Pond is sadly lacking in celebrities and that he is the perfect candidate. So I agreed to let him interview me as a trial run for Emma's interview. The disastrous results will make you shudder, giggle and pee your pants with laughter. Don't say I didn't warn you!
The GLUG: HELLLO!! How are you?
The Blonde Duck: Are you going to shout the whole time?
The GLUG: I'm not shouting, I'm talking. Besides you can't argue with me. I'm the star.
The Blonde Duck: Right.
The GLUG: (staring at a computer screen and pretending it's a camera monitor.) HELLO WORLD! Today we're interviewing the industrious Blonde Duck who is known for her.....er....what are you known for?
The Blonde Duck (annoyed): My blog. And my short stories. And my published magazine pieces and newspaper features.
The GLUG: Yes, but what about your book?
The Blonde Duck: Which book?
The GLUG: The published one. The one people would know about.
The Blonde Duck (through gritted teeth): I haven't found a publisher yet.
The GLUG (smiles knowingly): Sure you haven't. So tell me what you write.
The Blonde Duck: I write humorous women's fiction and children's fiction.
The GLUG: And what is that?
The Blonde Duck: It's fun, whimsical stories about everything from people to animals. I talk about maniacal brides, talking dogs, shouting green bugs....
The GLUG: Can I read it anywhere?
The Blonde Duck: On the blog. And I'll have a Web site soon.
The GLUG: Right. You know what I realized?
The Blonde Duck: What?
The GLUG: You're very boring.
The Blonde Duck: I'm not boring!
The GLUG: You are too! You're not shaving your head or on crack or anything interesting! Boring!
The Blonde Duck: Well you're not either! That makes you boring too.
The GLUG: I can't be boring.
The Blonde Duck: And why not?
The GLUG: Because I'm the Ginormous Lime Green Unusual Gnat! I'm the most interesting thing around.
The Blonde Duck: I wish I would have never created you.
The GLUG: I'm going to go interview Libby. She's much more exciting.
The Blonde Duck: How am I not exciting? I've got ducks living in my bath tub, flying pigs in my yard and I dance constantly. I have a peanut butter addiction! Does that do it for you?
The GLUG: Yes, but Libby's fabulous. She always has cute shoes. You wear the same shoes every day. They're not green. I need someone with green shoes.
The Blonde Duck: Libby doesn't wear green shoes either!
The GLUG: Well, I'm colorblind. (Stares at the monitor) Stay tuned after the commercial break! We're going to interview the fabulous Libby about where she gets her shoes.
The Blonde Duck (huffing): Stupid bug.
The GLUG: That's GLUG to you!
Hopefully, my next interview will go much better. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
But now, for your enjoyment, the New Year Resolutions of 2008:
The Blond Duck
Is there a rain dance to get a book published? I'd do a rain dance wearing a leopard print swimsuit and hot pink cowboy boots to get my book published! Well, I'd probably wear that anyway.
I vow for 2008 to spend as much time in my house as possible. Don't make me do stuff.
Pumble the Bee
After successfully gorging myself during Thanksgiving, I vow to lose half a pound. What do you mean? That's a lot for a bee! Hey, if you're not going to finish that ice cream, can I have it?
Hairy the Hedgehog
I'd like to get some kind of semblance of order in the Land of the Flowered Bed.
Cookies the Owl
I'm going to do everything I can to create chaos and drama for Hairy. I'm going to go flood the Spa right now.
The Seals have decided they'd like to go swimming every day. They'd like to know if anyone has a pool they can borrow. One without ducks.
Ace the Dog
I'd like to fly to the North Pole and personally give the Monstrous Brown thing to Santa. It's getting bigger every day and my head is not a punching bag! I have a soft spot!
Charlie the Dog (otherwise known as Monstrous Brown Thing)
Lick lick chew chew nom nom nom nom nom.
The Flying Pigs
If we could, please, may we sample your grass? I know we asked for this last year, but it's so tasty....
The Ducks at the Spa
"I want my Pond!" the first duck snapped.
"A big pond!" the second duck screeched.
"Actually, if it's not too much trouble, some nachos would be lovely," the third duck said kindly.
Treats? Are those treats?
We're going to go on a walk. Really, we promise. But it's soooo cooold and we're starviinngggg...we're wasting away.....we might be able to make it if we have a bite of that pink cookie...just a small bite....
I want Pumble to commit already! Come on, it's been a year! Ring before spring and all that.
The Argumentative Birds
To define what a french fry is. That's not it.
To become the most beloved Ginourmous Lime Green Unusual Gnat there ever was!
You know what we want.
The Blond Spider
I dearly wish to be blond! Oh please, just for one day!
Henry the Lizard
All I want is for the Giant to stop shrieking and hopping whenever she sees me. Do you know how obnoxious that is?
Fuzzy the Spider
I'd like someone to bring me bugs like those nice people did. Big ones, please.
The Fuzzy Christmas Duck
I don't want to go skiing anymore. I feel quite windblown.
Happy New Year from the Pond!