Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
But I don't wish for hungry sharks or to live in a tiny clear fishbowl.
I wish I had a flamingo. He could prance around my yard, a pink beacon of joy.
But, I'd probably have to find him a girlfriend. Then he would have baby flamingos and those babies would have babies and I would become the flamingo queen.
I wish I had a pot bellied pig. He could lay on his belly and snort and wiggle his curly tail. I could feed him leftovers and tie a pink ribbon around his neck.
But, the Babies would be terrified.
I wish I could find some way to pet the donkeys behind our house. I'd like to bring them some treats and brush the dirt off them.
But, with my lock I'd get shot by some crazed farmer with a sawed off shotgun.
I wish I had a baby elephant. Not a big elephant, but a baby elephant. He could spray me with his trunk and wiggle his big, floppy ears.
But, as Libby says, with elephants comes elephant poop.
I wish I had a tail. I could twitch it and twirl it around to indicate my mood. If I was interested in what you were talking about, it could languidly drift from side to side like a cat. If I was happy, it could wag like a dog. And if I was mad, it could stand straight up in the air as I made a dramatic exit.
But, what would I do with my jeans?
I wish I could talk to birds. Better yet, I wish I could argue with birds. I could tell them not to eat french fries off the sidewalk.
But, instead of cute singing I might hear something I'd rather not in their cheeps and chirps.
I wish I had a stable full of horses. I could ride through the Hill Country in the early morning hours and race through open fields. Whenever I wanted, I could smell the rich scent of a horse. I could braid pink ribbons in their tails and watch them graze in the pasture.
But, horses also have poop. And expensive vet bills.
I wish I could sing. I wish when I opened my mouth in song it didn't sound like a dying cat. I wish dogs didn't howl and people didn't cringe. I wish I didn't offend myself.
But if I could sing, how could I torture anyone trapped in a car with me?
I wish I had a bubble with wings. I could crawl in the bubble, pedal so the wings would flap and fly above the city. Not only would I ever have to worry about not getting exercises, but I could soar above miles of crowded traffic. I could weave through clouds and dodge planes.
I see no problems with this one.
But most of all, I wish I was published. I wish my books were in dozens of hands. I wish publishing wasn't so political. I wish that someone would give me a chance and not pass me off as crazy. Or at least give me some constructive criticism.
But I still wish I was a fish.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Two years ago, we left our life as college kids for twenty something DINKS (Double-Income No Kids). Well, it became double-income that October.
We made some new friends, lost some friends and gained a lot of knowledge. We planted some trees and our house became more cozy and comfortable by the day.
This past year, I had my best birthday at 23! Nothing beats bellydancing at a Greek restaurant. And let me tell you, Ben can shake it.
This year, we got our first Christmas tree! We hung a wreath on the door and lit up our tree for the world (fine, the fence out the window) to see. Stockings were hung on the hutch door knobs and merriness was in the air.
This year, we got puppies. We traded clean carpets for stained ones and became intoxicated with two furry creatures that have us wrapped around their little paws. They snuggle with us in the evenings and greet us in the morning. All we see is two white bellies with flailing paws and hyper tongues eager for kisses bouncing up and down at the kitchen each morning.
And things couldn't be better. We may work a lot and spend our evenings on the couch with the puppies instead of out and about, but I couldn't be happier. I love the salmon Sundays, the late night oatmeal cookies and the nights we watch Old Westerns. I love puttering around the yard and taking drives. I even love how your back never stops itching. Darling, after two years you still make me laugh so hard I cry and make my toes tingle with joy. I love you.
After all, it's been 2 years.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The Babies enjoyed frolicking in a new yard. At the picnic, they were passed from person to person. All the little girls rushed over to pat and pet them. Bitty spent most of the picnic propped in a little girl's lap, graciously gracing everyone with her presence. Meanwhile, Bear spent most of his time wuffling and falling asleep on anyone who held him longer than 2 minutes.
Being cute is very tiring.
Luckily, they have recovered fully this morning. The Babies has resumed their favorite activities of fighting on the couch, piddling on the carpet and sprinkling their toys all over the house.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Then, he pulls up. I see the great smile, the stubbly cheeks. We go in and order and sit at the same table we sit at every week. We listen to the TV news woman with way too much make up trashing Hillary Clinton and whine about gas prices. I tell him about work and all my great writing plans. He smiles and cracks jokes, occasionally telling me a story from his job. He gobbles up his sausage and jalapeno kolaches, lining up the empty mustard packets in a straight line.
As we munch on our paninis, all we do is smile and laugh. There are no chores here, no puppies causing mischief. The worries of work lay outside the door. In the deli, there are crisp paninis and enormous white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Finally, after a few giggles, we throw our mess away. Normally, we come back home to the puppies. But today, he goes home and I go back to work. A quick kiss and hug and I'm back weaving through traffic and crazy people. But as I dodge speeding trucks and hyped up mothers in minivans, I can still taste the cookie in my mouth and feel my lips beaming.
It happens once a week.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
With the faintest of breeze, I felt two tiny feet touch my blazing skin.
"Isn't it too hot to be flying?" I asked.
"Isn't it too hot to be walking?" The butterfly fluttered his wings. I basked in the tiny burst of wind.
"It is a time of discovery for you," the butterfly observed as we wondered through the cement desert. "It seems you've come to a cross roads of sorts."
"Kind of," I said, trying not to giggle as he crawled up my arm. "No one ever said I had to choose one option."
"But having all your cards on the table is overwhelming," the butterfly chided. "You have to make a move sometime."
"I like the idea of learning before I leap," I said, pushing my hair off my back so he could perch on my shoulder. "I'm not going to be arrogant and say I know everything. There's a lot more I can learn."
"Yes and no," the butterfly said. "Technique, yes. Talent, no. But always remember who it is you write for. Yourself. Don't change everything just to change the invisible voices you think are whispering."
"Very well put," I sighed. "There's just so many variables, you know? Self-publishing has a stigma, small presses have a stigma and you can't get into big houses without an agent and a prayer. Yet I honestly believe this will work out. I know it will, deep in my gut. I have so much I want to do, so much I want to create. Yet I'm standing here screaming to deaf ears."
"Everything has the risk of failure," the butterfly pointed out. "You define your own success. You've spent your life going your own way. Why would you choose to follow the herd now?"
"I just don't want to be shoved into a box with a label," I grumbled.
"People will label you, for that is the only way they can understand you," the butterfly said. "As long as you don't label yourself, your work will be the best it can be."
"I just wish I had a definite answer," I whined. "Something concrete."
"Have faith," the butterfly whispered, his wings brushing against my cheek. "And trust in your faith and love in your work. That is the only concrete you need. Everything else is luck."
With that, he flew away into the stale warm air. I squinted up at the sky, watching as he floated toward the white clouds.
I didn't need to ask when he would return. For I had faith.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Bitty was bored. She longed to be held in the crook of an elbow, chewing on a knuckle or sleeve. Her ears perked up. Someone was stirring. Shoving her nose through the fence, she peered towards Ben's office. She could barely see anything. She heard him rustle around, then plop into his seat. The silence resumed.
Whimpering, Bitty lowered her head and pawed at the gate. To her amazement, her paw didn't brush the plastic links of the gate as it usually did. Instead, it passed through.
Bitty gasped. Was it possible? Was it true? She carefully stuck her head through the plastic. It was true! She could rotate her head without brushing any plastic. Pushing off her back legs, she pushed herself through the hole. She shook herself and began to rush down the hallway to where Ben resided.
"Hello!" she called, trotting through the open doorway. "Excuse me! I'd like to be picked up." She plopped down by the bed. She could see the Blonde Duck snoring above her. Pawing at the covers, she whimpered and called, "I'm very lonely and cold." She shivered to illustrate her point. The Blonde Duck didn't move. Bitty cocked her head and stared up at the bed.
"Excuse me!" she called, irritation creeping into her whimpers. "Did you not hear me? I'd like to be held now. And I'd like some treats. And some new toys to chew on. I've been having to chew on those old ones forever." She turned her head, making sure her jaw quivered and her paw was posed in the most pathetic position. The Blonde Duck snored.
"Now listen here!" Bitty wailed. "All my cuteness is going to waste for nothing. You've got to hold me! As the dominant puppy in this household, I demand you hold me and snuggle me! I'm chewing on your nightgown for this one!"
Suddenly, the light flipped on. "Bitty!" Ben cried. "What are you doing here?" Bitty wagged her tail and whimpered as Ben picked her up.
"Miranda, look!" Ben cried. He bent over the bed, holding Bitty inches away from her face. "Bitty missed you! She came to say hello!"
The Blonde Duck squinted and muttered something unintelligent. Ben laid Bitty down on her stomach and left the room. He returned holding Bear. Both of the puppies curled up on the Blonde Duck's stomach, her arms cradling around them. Bitty's tail thumped against the Blonde Duck's stomach as she chewed the edge of her pajama tank top.
"I'm glad we came to an agreement," she said, chewing happily as Bear wuffled and the Blonde Duck snored. "Now about those new toys...."
Friday, May 16, 2008
"Me too," the second bird said.
"Want to fly to McDonald's?" the third bird asked.
"I'm tired of French fries," the first bird sulked.
"How can you be tired of French Fries?" the second bird asked.
"We always like French Fries!" the third bird said, shocked.
The first bird bugged his eyes out and stared at the ground, ignoring their chatter. "Do you see that?" he asked.
"I don't see anything," the second bird said, squinting his eyes.
"Is it a French Fry?" the third bird asked, hopping excitedly and shaking the tree.
"No, bird brain!" the first bird cried. "It's a donut!"
"What's that?" the second bird asked.
"A French Fry?" The third bird still had not given up hope.
"It's a donut," the first bird replied, realizing he had no idea what a donut was. He crept along the branch and stared down at the sidewalk. The other two birds followed his lead. For several minutes, the birds eyed the donut on the sidewalk.
"What do we do with it?" the second bird asked.
"I'm not sure," the first bird admitted. "I think we eat it."
"Do you think it tastes like a French Fry?" the third bird asked. The first bird smacked him with his wing. They stared at the donut.
"Should we go down there?" the first bird asked.
"What if it's dangerous?" the second bird asked.
"I would like a French Fry," the third bird announced. "Or worm. I'm not in the mood to try something new."
"Maybe we should see if it moves first," the first bird said. Squinting their eyes as hard as they could, they watched the donut. The sun glistened off the warm glaze as it baked on the sidewalk in it's shredded plastic wrapper.
"It didn't move," the first bird observed.
"Maybe it's asleep," the second bird said.
"Maybe it's a French Fry," the third bird said.
"Would you shut up about French fries?" the first bird yelled.
"You shut up!" the third bird said.
"I'm not the one blabbering on about French fries!" the first bird shouted.
"Ooh, there's French Fries?" the third bird asked, looking around hopefully. While the birds argued, a squirrel darted onto the sidewalk and dragged the donut away. The second bird wailed in dismay.
"While you morons were arguing, that squire ll stole our donut!" the second bird cried. "Now we have nothing to eat!"
"It's his fault," the first bird sulked.
"It probably didn't taste good anyway," the third bird sneered. The three birds sat on the branch, each glumly staring at the empty spot on the sidewalk. Not even a glazed crumb remained.
"I'm hungry," the first bird said.
"Me too," the second bird said. "What do you want to eat?"
"I want French fries!" the third bird cried.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Callie turned to the culinary creatures in horror. "My mother's coming! You've got to hide!" she cried.
"Where?" the hippo asked, swishing his tail.
Callie looked around, scanning the kitchen in desperation. "The cookie jar!" she said, grabbing it off the counter and pulling off the lid. "It's perfect!"
The elephant made a noise like a stuck trumpet. Pink bubbles spewed from his trunk. "No!" he shouted.
"Bubbles?" Celia said, momentarily distracted by the pink bubbles floating around her head. She pressed a finger to one as it floated by and dropped it on her tongue.
"Why, it tastes like cotton candy!" Celia cried. "That's amazing!"
"You should see what comes out of the other end," the hippo said, grinning wickedly.
"They taste like bubblegum when I'm nervous," the elephant mumbled.
Callie heard the door creak open. "Darling?" her mother cried. "I'm home!"
"Oh no," Callie gasped. "Quick! Jump in here!" She held out the pockets of her apron and the hippo and elephant jumped inside. She shoved the bowl containing the remaining batter into the oven and hid the baking pan in the dishwasher.
"Don't you do anything magical," the elephant muttered to the hippo. The hippo twitched his tail and grinned.
"Hello darling," Callie's mother said, breezing in and kissing her daughter on her cheek. "Have you been good?"
"Oh yes," Callie said, edging in front of the oven. Her mother sniffed the air. "Have you been baking? Is the oven on?" She reached for the oven door and Callie plastered herself against it.
"It's a surprise," Callie blurted out, hoping her smile looked innocent. With the elephant and hippo squirming in her apron pocket, she really was sorry she had ever tried cooking.
"Oh, a surprise," her mother smiled. " You didn't use the big oven, did you? Remember, no cooking when I'm not at home! There could be a fire or you could burn yourself..."
"I know." Callie smiled so wide she could swear her molars showed. Her mother rumpled her hair.
"Why don't you clean up your mess?" her mother said. "Then we'll take a walk and go swing at the park."
"Great!" Callie smiled so hard her cheeks stretched. She waited until her mother left the kitchen. Then she rushed over to the warm oven and gasped. Three new creatures stared up at her from the bowl.
"Hello!" a purple kangaroo cried.
"Do you have any leaves?" a caramel giraffe inquired.
"Hello!" a green moose shouted. "Do you have a fridge? It's stifling in here!"
Callie stared silently at the creatures. The hippo and elephant peeked over the edge of her apron. The elephant blew his trunk, and pink bubbles filled the kitchen.
At that moment, Callie knew that her life would never be the same again.
Monday, May 12, 2008
We interrupt our normally scheduled post for a dose of unbearable cuteness. If you have heart problems, an aversion to the super-cute or are under 4 feet tall, we recommend you not read this post. Please return on Wednesday for the conclusion of Bubblegum Kisses.
The Blonde Duck
P.S. We will not be held responsible for stretched out cheeks and giddy feelings in one's tummy.
Bear has a new friend.
Most of the time, it looks like the dolphin is nothing but a giant chew toy.
But in reality, this dolphin is Bear's new best friend. He goes everywhere with him.
He goes to the kitchen.
He goes to my office.
He's even dragged him into the bathroom. No matter where I go, I hear the pitter patter of little feet behind me and turn to see Bear and his dolphin trotting behind me.
Bear offers protection to his dolphin friend. He won't let Bitty chew or maim him.
In return, the dolphin lets him chew on his tail.
After all, what are friends for?
Friday, May 09, 2008
"One, two, three," she counted, dragging the spoon through the sticky material. Her mother was going to be so proud of her. She would never guess Callie had thought to make her a surprise. The play kitchen her grandmother had bought her had come in handy.
"Four, five, six..." The spoon was getting harder to drag, and her legs were beginning to hurt from standing on her tiptoes. She thought about lifting the bowl to the floor, but was worried she would drop it. Biting her lip with determination, her small arms strained against the thick goo.
"Seven, eight, nine and ten!" She wiped her brow, leaving behind a few crumbs stuck to her brow. Cooking was hard work. Maybe she didn't want to be a chef after all. She hopped off her step stool and pulled out a baking pan. She sprayed it with non-stick spray and turned on the oven, just like her mother taught her. Grabbing a bag of candy from the pantry, she climbed back on the step stool. As she was reaching up to the bowl, the bottom of the bag of candy in her hand burst open. Colorful candy poured into her bowl.
"Oh no!" Callie cried. "My creation is ruined." She looked at the clock. It was two thirty. Her mother would be back any minute.
"Oh well," she said, stirring the rainbow-colored goo. She shrugged and began to drop chunks of the mixture onto the pan. "Maybe it will taste better." She slid the pan in the oven and waited patiently for fifteen minutes. Well, not very patiently. She had a little candy to pass the time.
When the oven buzzer dinged, she rushed over with the pink potholders her mother had given her. She opened the oven door and gasped.
"Who are you?"
What had started out as simple caramels had turned into a blue elephant and a pink hippopotamus.
"Hello!" the elephant cried, hopping off the pan.
"How do you do?" the hippopotamus said politely.
"How did you get in the oven?" Callie asked.
"I don't know," the elephant shrugged. "I suppose you created us. Although who can say who really creates everything?"
Callie wasn't sure what to do. She had never baked an elephant or hippo before. "Am I supposed to eat you?" she asked.
"Are we supposed to eat you?" the hippo shot back.
"Of course not," Callie said. "That's ridiculous."
"But it's not ridiculous to eat us?" the elephant asked.
"No," Callie said. "You're candy. You're supposed to eat candy."
"How do you know we're candy?" the elephant asked.
"What else could you be?" Callie asked.
"An elephant," the elphant replied.
"A hippotomus," the hippo said. "Do you have any tea? I would dearly love some tea."
Callie automatically began to make him a cup of tea. "What am I supposed to do with you?" she asked.
"You don't have to do anything with us," the elephant said. "Just think of us as friends."
"Or pests," the hippo said, smiling widely.
Callie handed the hippo his tea. Just as she was about to ask another question, she heard her mother's key in the door...
To be continued.....
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I'd like to thank the academy....the legions of editors and agents who have believed in me--never mind. Sorry about that, Invisible Friends.
In all seriousness, I am honored to have received such an award. Marie has always said such kind things about me and given me such wonderful encouragement. She is a true inspiration and uses her cheerful nature and endless creativity to bring joy to others' lives. (To see what she wrote about me, go to www.ayearatoakcottage.blogspot.com .)
As Marie requested, I am now going to choose five other bloggers to bestow this award upon. Considering I spend most of my days talking to insects, stuffed animals and my two chihuahuas, this might be more difficult then it looks.
The rules are:
1. Nominate 5 blogs which haven't had this award before
2. each of the blogs must have a purpose
3. the nominated blogs must make a link back to this page
4. the logo from the award must be put on their blog and it must link back to this blog!Well, I can't do number 4 because I'm not that computer savvy. So go to http://www.ayearatoakcottage.blogspot.com. Go anyway. Marie made this amazing peanut butter torte yesterday that I'm still drooling over.
The nominations go to....
1) Emma Sanders! Emma is always trying to improve the writing community and works hard to connect writers to each other. She's personally listened to me whine and read more of my dreadful work than I care to mention. And she likes pie as much as I do. How can you go wrong?
2) Allie at Allie's Musings! (http://allieboniface.blogspot.com.) Allie is a determined writer who has had novels published with Wild Rose Press. She blogs almost daily about life as a romance writer and things going on in the industry.
3) Leespea at But Wait, there's more! (http://leesepea.wordpress.com.) Leespea is a teacher who always manages to find humor in her days teaching junior high students, or "Squirrels." She always manages to make me laugh! And what greater purpose could there be than teaching our future?
4) Posie Gets Cozy. (http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com.) Alicia Paulson is an artist who makes wonderful, delicate charming creations. She designs whimsical handbags, gifts and more. Ya'll have to stop by. She's written a few books and is absolutely inspirational.
5) Cuteoverload.com. They'll never post this award, but they're too cute not to include.
Marie, thanks again. The rest of ya'll, congradulations! Look for a new, exciting, whimsical tale Friday!
Monday, May 05, 2008
Something strange has occurred in the Pond.
It is wet and cold and it slides across the tile. They can bat it with their little paws. For some reason, the mysterious object keeps sliding under chairs, the stove and the hutch. The Blonde Duck often has to rescue the object when this occurs.
Suddenly, two mysterious objects are on the floor! Bitty inspects hers carefully. Can she eat it? Does she even want to eat it? Maybe she should roll on it.
Having rammed his own mysterious object behind the trash can, Bear skips over and steals Bittys'. With a quick bat of his paw, the mysterious object is now bouncing around the kitchen like a hockey puck. Bitty is not amused.
Bear is considering trying out for doggie soccer. He's decided Bittys' mysterious object is much nicer than his own.
Bitty is not amused.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Olga's had pita-like sandwiches that weren't pitas and not tortillas. It was this sweet flat bread that made you almost cry when it was gone. I always got the Club Olga with turkey, cheese and bacon and split a spinach pie (spinach and cheese in a flaky pastry) with my mom.
I mourned when Olga's left, and not just for the bread and spinach pies. I mourned for the lost lunches with my Mom in a charming cafe in the quiet early hours of a mall. Out of nostalgia, I searched for Olga's on the Internet and found a recipe for the sweet bread! I'm planning on trying it out soon. Maybe I can even create a mini-Olga's in my own kitchen.
As food prices go up in the US and journalists go into a frenzy reporting everyone's going to starve, it's nice to be able to hold on to the simple things. When the world is crazy outside, the scent of muffins baking in the oven or a loaf of bread in the bread machine soothes the soul.
Just like an Olga lunch with Mom.