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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Day #225: Scarf It Up

The Story:

Swathed in comfort

I feel confident to face the day.

Nestled in the nook of my neck

I bury my face into your soft recesses.

Like a secret security blanket,

I never want to take you off.

If only I lived in a wintery wonderland

Where you could be a constant companion.

Instead of the humid and sticky tropics

Where you double as a mosquito net most days.

But today we were brought together

By the plunging thermostat and brisk wind.

And I must say- You go great with this grey sweater.

 

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      As a native Floridian, I gleefully admit that I get super excited any time the temperature drops below 60 degrees. Today, with a high of 66, I was almost giddy as I thought of all the wonderful wintery wardrobe options I could bring together in homage to this last brisk day of November. And what wintery outfit would be complete without a super cuddly scarf? I don’t know what it is about them, but in the last several years I have experienced a severe gravitation towards this particular accessory, and now I look for any opportunity to wrap my neck up in one. So, all day I practically pranced around in my monochromatic outfit with a bright pop of color from my pink scarf. So dainty, so girly, so warm and lovely. It was like snuggling in my own little blankey all day, and now dressed for bed, I feel strangely naked without it. Think it’s a bad idea to sleep in a scarf? Yeah… probably.

You said it, hipster kitty, you said it...

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #224: Hat-Trick

The Story:

COME AND SEE…FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY…

THE MANY MAGICAL HATS OF ZIMZABAR!!!

POP ON A DIFFERENT HAT TO BE INSTANTLY TRANSPORTED TO ANOTHER LIFE IN ANOTHER PLACE IN ANOTHER TIME…

Try your hand at Vaudeville...

OR…

Spend your morning fixin' your pickup then load up the boards, surfs up... dude

 

OR…

 

Meet a dark and mysterious stranger as you waltz the night away in Venice at the Masquerade...

 

OR…

 

Play tourist in NYC- hit up a deli, climb a skyscraper, Dominos in the park with some cabbies or play hookie in the subway

 

OR…

 

Stay incognito, slip through the shadows and nab the bad guy as a 'tough as nails' detective

 

OR…

 

Frolic in the powder as a snow bunny... grab your mittens and head for the lift!

OR…

 

Give a tip o the hat to the hipster scene at the hole-in-the-wall music hall only those in 'the know' are privy to...

OR…

 

Sail the seas and gather ye booty... it's the pirates life for ye!

 

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ever have one of those days where you think, “man, I wear a lot of hats!” Not literal hats, of course, the figurative ones are what I’m referring to… Today at work was definitely one of those days for me. Let’s see, in the eight plus hours I was there I was an answering service, an 80-year-old physical therapy patient, a program ambassador, a tour guide, a campus directory, an advisor, an appointment scheduler, a researcher and a storyteller. Yep, just your normal, run-o-the-mill day! I kinda love days like that and the idea led to me playing dress up with some actual hats… so easily amused. 🙂

Love & Squirrels.



Day #223: Who’s That Knockin?

The Story:

The knock on the door jolted her from a semi-conscious state brought on by the dregs of a head cold and too much daytime TV. “Who on earth?” Tamera wondered to herself, still startled. Tamera was one of those private people who hated to be disturbed at home; the feeling wasn’t all that dissimilar to being barged in on while in the ladies room- in Tamera’s mind it was an acute sense of violation. To make matters worse, Tamera was in a particularly uncharacteristic state of dishevelment this morning, haven taken the day off sick from work. Usually impeccably dressed, today Tamera was dressed in nothing more than a ratty t-shirt, underwear and socks, her hair a rat’s nest thanks to a night of restless tossing and turning. At 10:26 in the morning, she had yet to even shower. Surrounded by used tissues and emptied ginger ale cans, Tamera felt as if she had been discovered in the midst of some unsavory act as the visitor knocked a second time, a bit louder than the first.

Having always harbored an inexplicable fear of answering the door (she suspected it traced back to a night in high school when she opened the door for the pizza delivery guy in her favorite pink feety pajamas with duckies only to come face-to-face with her high school crush, there to ask her to the prom… or so she assumed since all he ended up doing was laugh hysterically before leaving and never speaking to her again) Tamera was feeling the all-too familiar sense of terror creep into her chest, making the congestion had been battling for the last several days all the more unbearable. “Maybe if I just close my eyes and will them away, they will eventually go away,” she thought to herself. A third knock convinced her otherwise, it was like they knew she was there.

Sliding of the couch and suppressing the growing urge to cough, Tamera tip-toed through the living room and slinked past the front door and the awaiting intruder on the other side. Trying to sneak a look at who it might be, she silently entered the front room and peered through the blinds. Unable to catch a glimpse of her visitor from her vantage point, Tamera slowly let the blinds fall closed and considered her options. “Do I ignore them, and hope they go away? Or, do I throw on a robe and allow whoever this is to potentially disrupt the day of nothingness I was joyfully anticipating for today?” Letting her curiosity get the better of her, Tamera high-tailed it to her bedroom where she quickly pulled on her winter robe and tying it securely around her waist ran to the front door. Standing there, frozen in anxiety for a few seconds, she finally turned the deadlock and peeked through the opening.

“Tommy!” Tamera exclaimed as she flung the door open, her attempt to wrap her visitor in a bear hug temporarily postponed as a coughing fit overwhelmed her and she doubled over as the hacking racked her body. Wiping the tears of exertion from her eyes, she eventually stood up and smiled at the happy surprise that was her visitor. “When did you get home!” she squeaked and hugged her big brother long and hard, instantly forgetting that minutes ago she had wished him away.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      I’m a hermit. I have always been a very private person, and when it comes to my home, I can be rather, eh… protective? Sure, we’ll go with protective. It’s not that I don’t like having people over, or entertaining, I just like LOTS of warning and plenty of time to prepare (the house and my state of mind) for any kind of visit. So, when someone knocks on my door, and I am not expecting them, I tend to freak out a little, which is what I did today. My immediate reaction to such an event is to instantly hide and hope that whoever it is will just give up and go away. And that is exactly what I was planning on doing today when someone began knocking at my door at 10:30 this morning. Having stayed home from work due to this stupid cold that won’t quit, I had a lovely day of sitting on the couch, drinking ginger ale and napping planned. And then, the knock. I would have just let them bang away all morning, if the knock was not also accompanied by a familiar voice. So, quickly racing to my room to throw on my robe, I returned and opened the door. And there he was, my little bro, James, visiting from California! We ended up spending the day together, just hanging out at my house mostly, and it was really nice to just chill with him- something I haven’t done in years. So for once, I’m very glad I answered my door.

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Me & James

Love & Squirrels.

Day #222: Hambungled

The Story:

“Um, I don’t know, what does the package say?” Hank looked over to his line cook Scooter who was reading one of the tickets that just came in. “Don’t they know what kind of joint this is?” he grumbled to himself and dumped a basket of crawfish on a plate, “Order up!” he screamed through the pickup window. A waitress in a mid-drift and ponytail materialized and giving the surly cook her iciest look collected the plates and disappeared once again into the dining room.

“Hank, there ain’t no package that I can see. Must’ve thrown it out ages ago, I’d wager,” Scooter said and scratched his head absently. Handing the ticket to Hank, Scooter turned back to his green tomatoes, and continued chopping, Hank would just have to figure this one out on his own- that’s why he got the big bucks.

Hank growled deep in his throat and knotted his fingers together behind his head. He knew this day would come, but somehow the knowing made it all the worse. Why the new owners had decided to even put the thing on the menu was beyond him… the menu was fine the way it was, everybody knew the old menu, they liked it. So why change it now? “We need to diversify, silly!” he could still hear the reply of chipmunk-faced Midwesterner Darlene, wife of Dale (ironic enough) and new co-owner of Billy’s Bait Bucket, what had been a fresh fish and crawfish staple in those parts of the Gulf for seventy-five years or more.

“Diversify my ass,” Hank spat and fired up the grill. He’d be damned if the out-of-town idgit who lacked the wit to order something decent from the menu would be the one to stump him in the kitchen. Dealing with the foreign food like he would a decent catfish fillet, Hank went about his task and prepared the dish as best he could, drawing from random memories of seeing it ordered in other restaurants or on TV. By the end of it, Hank was right impressed with himself, it actually looked edible. “Gawersh!” Scooter replied as he watched Hank fling the finished product onto the counter of the pick-window. “Order up!”

About five minutes later, as Hank was pulling a basket of fries from the fryer, he turned to find Mandy, the head server, tapping her foot impatiently as she waited for him to notice her. Pulling a dissected sandwich from behind her back, Mandy practically flung the plate at him, “Hank, for the love of God, I thought you knew how to cook? What the hell is this? The lady sent it back after cutting into it, didn’t even take a bite. You know why, Hank? I’ll tell you!” Mandy suddenly grabbed Hank’s forefinger and plunged it into the center of the sandwich. “Because, as you can tell, it’s FROZEN! This sandwich is not cooked in the middle, Hank, it’s raw. Now, this lady was very nice and she’s part of a large party and I really need a decent tip after last night, so cook her another one, and this time, make sure it’s actually COOKED!” turning on her heel, Mandy disappeared through the swinging doors before Hank remembered to remove his finger from the frozen mess that was his creation only minutes ago.

Grabbing another frozen patty from the freezer, Scooter handed it to Hank and tried to offer a weak smile of encouragement. Seeing right through Scooter to the hockey puck of meat he now held in his hand, Hank let out a string of curses that would make the devil blush. Feeling a little better, he threw the puck onto the grill and ground his teeth, “who orders a hamburger at a fish joint anyway?”

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Took advantage of another lovely November day in balmy Florida, and met Andy’s family up in Orange City for a relaxed lunch and day of just relaxing. Deciding on a place we could eat lunch outside, we loaded up and drove over to a quaint seafood joint nicely situated on the St. John’s river. Walking in, you knew not to expect a “fine dining” experience, what with the stuffed gators on the walks and moonshine jugs hanging from the ceiling, but then again, we weren’t exactly what you would call “fine dining clientele” either, so it worked out. We were all geared up for the special of the place, Mahi Mahi when come to discover- they’re all out. This threw a wrench in the works for just about all of us, including Andy’s mother who decided to go with a burger, since Mahi wasn’t available. Well, guess this place isn’t accustomed to filling an order that doesn’t call for something that used to swim, because that burger came out, and I swore I heard it ‘moo’. The thing was R.A.W. raw on the inside, and cold as the river behind us. Her peach of a boyfriend was good enough to call our server’s attention to this matter, and took care of ordering her a new sandwich (she shares my hatred of sending back food, even when it deserves it, so I thought it was really nice of her boyfriend to step up and do the dirty work). Unfortunately, her new burger was none the better, completely overcooked this time, as we predicted it would be, but at least it was edible. The entire experience left me wondering, could this have possibly been one of only a few times this cook had been asked to prepare such a ‘rarity’ as a cheeseburger? It certainly appeared to be.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #221: Kobe’s for Your Cold

The Story:

“I swear, this is the best remedy yet. Just trust me, you’ll forget you are even sick,” Didi took the scrap of paper her friend Jen had just scribbled on and read it. Raising an eyebrow, she looked up- a question dangling from her lips when Jen stopped her with a raised hand. “I know what you’re going to say,” Jen continued, “but just try it and if you don’t feel better in a day, then you can come find me and kick my butt, deal?”

Didi nodded her agreement and took another look at the list of instructions scribbled on the discarded coffee sleeve. “Ok, well  I gotta run, but you follow those instructions and then I’ll give you a call tomorrow to see how you’re doin, ok?” Jen grabbed her purse and gave Didi’s shoulder a little squeeze before leaving the coffee shop. Arriving home twenty minutes later, Didi made her way to the couch, shedding her clothes as she went and crawled beneath her grandmother’s quilt. God, she hated being sick and it always happened when it was least convenient- like on her few days off. Nothing to do now but take it easy and try and sleep away the cold.

After twenty minutes of tossing and turning and feeling  utterly miserable, Didi gave up on trying to nap and thought about Jen’s ‘instructions’. Dragging herself off of the couch, Didi wandered over to where she deposited her purse on the kitchen counter and searched through it for the coffee sleeve. Finding it finally, Didi began to read:

“To get over a cold in no time, do all of the following in the order then are listed here:

  • Clean your baseboards throughout the house
  • Hang new pictures in your hallway
  • Tidy up your guest room
  • Put new sheets on your bed
  • Eat two pieces of toast with jam
  • Take a long, hot shower
  • Go to Kobe’s Steakhouse for dinner
  • Mop the kitchen floor

This works, I swear! Feel better, Didi!”

“Well, it’s worth a try,” Didi thought to herself, “I can’t possibly feel any worse”.

The following day, Didi dialed up her friend Jen, excited to confirm that she was feeling a good deal better, thanks to her advice. “See, I told you! It’s a miracle worker!” Jen squealed, delighted her friend was feeling better.

“Tell me though, how did you discover this remedy?” Didi finally asked as they were about to hang up the phone.

“It’s something my mother passed on to me. She said that washing the baseboards helps with the drainage, kneeling over and all that, then as you stand to hang up your pictures it will fall right out of your nose. By tidying up your guestroom, you mentally are reassured that should you need someone to come take care of you, their room is prepared. Eating two pieces of toast and jam, well, I think my mom just liked jam or maybe it had to do with the vitiamin C, who knows. Taking a long hot shower helps with the aches and pains, and opens up your sinuses. Then a large dinner with a lot of distraction and tons of birthdays reminds you of the fun of life, and keeps you from fixating on your own problems and feeling ill. And finally, mopping the kitchen floor is just good housekeeping, she always said. Plus it tires you out for a good night’s sleep,” Jen concluded, with a chuckle.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Still sick… kinda hoped I would wake up good as new, oh well.  I didn’t really have time to dwell on feeling like death warmed over however, as we were expecting company, Andy’s sister, mom, and his mom’s boyfriend Casey were all coming over before the group of us headed out for dinner to celebrate the holidays and  Casey’s birthday. So the afternoon was spent gussying up the place, cleaning, mopping, vacuuming the whole shebang. It actually worked out though, cause it didn’t give me any time to lay around and feel sorry for myself. Plus, I got to have an awesome dinner with some awesome people at THE birthday place, Kobe’s Steakhouse. Good day… now to get over this cold.

Because who wouldn't feel better after 'the onion volcano'?

Love & Squirrels.

Day #220: It Starts in the Throat

The Story:

 

Shards of broken glass

Swallowed quickly and digested slowly

 

A constant flood flowing in the recesses

Choking, its thick malignancy a telling symptom of what’s to come

 

A refusal to acquiesce, to let it win

You charge ahead with your plans and ignore the unrelenting signs

 

Frolicking in the waves and basking in the sun

It’s easy for the mind to forget, but your body presses on

 

And now that the day has expired and night ascends

What you tried to put off has returned- as it tends to do

 

Acknowledgement is not enough, it’s hungry for more

So you try to feed it- tea and honey, ginger ale, buttered noodles, elderberry lozenges

 

Weak from your attempts, you know what you must do now

So you pull up the blanket and close your eyes

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      How can I feel positively on top of the world one day, and the next- BAM! I’m slammed down to earth with a cold, or at least the beginning of one. It didn’t even wait until I had my full night of sleep, but chose instead to rip me from my dreams with a devil of a sore throat. It’s only gotten worse as the day progressed, despite my best efforts to rid myself of it. Drinking a glass of Emergen-C, popping a Zicam, drinking tons of tea, water, Sprite, Ginger Ale, spending the day in the sun and the surf at our favorite dog beach, two hours of peaceful napping on the couch, nothing is really working. And now, I have a stuffy nose and headache, oh joy. So, this lil gal is calling it a night, after a quick meal of buttered noodles I’m off to bed. I hate being sick.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #219: What a Bunch of Characters!

The Story:

“Okay everyone, let’s run through the character list one more time, I want to make sure we have them right before we start thinking about who we want to get to play them,” Scott picked up his script and drained the last of his coffee. “Where do these writers come up with this stuff?” he thought to himself as he reviewed the white board with each character name scrawled haphazardly across it. He had been in movie production for sixteen years and even now it baffled him how off-the-wall some of the characters were that came down the pipe. The table of department heads flanking Scott all waited for him to begin.

“Ok, let’s take a look, who do we got first?” Scott barked at his assistant Cindy who was waiting by the white board, marker at the ready.

That's great, Cindy... now can we get back to work?

“Crystal Rivers, four-year-old daughter of Dorothy Rivers,” Cindy recited from her notes.

“Right, ok Crystal is the daughter of our leading lady and they want her to be doll-like, petite, blonde hair, pale skin, the works. But this kid has to have a very deep, throaty voice, something that would make strangers do a double-take or mistake her for a boy over the phone. Now, I don’t want something over the top or campy, just oddly deep. Maybe she just has a low voice, maybe we even write it in that she can’t scream because she can’t get up to that octave. Ooo, yeah, I like that… Cindy make a note: Crystal Rivers finds herself in a situation where she needs to scream for help but can’t, all that comes out is like a throaty groan like, uuuuuhh, uuuuhhh, you know? Yeah, that’s good. Ok, let’s move on. Next?” Scott said without looking up from the notes he was frantically making.

“Next is Misty Rivers, ten-year-old daughter of Dorothy Rivers and older sister to Crystal,” came the automatic reply from his assistant.

“Ok, Misty is a spitfire. I’m seeing red hair, I’m seeing a sass in her step, a troublemaker but one who can get away with it. She’s devil-may-care but endearingly so. She’s fascinated with nature and the medical field, always conducting experiments and questions everything. Apparently, they want us to figure out a way to have her with a trained lizard perched on her shoulder like a brooch. Not sure how we are going to do that, but that’s not my problem. Let’s just make sure we get someone who’s not going to freak out over a lizard. Next!” Scott was already seeing this part being hard to fill, but it was integral to the film and whoever they chose, the little girl would be under a lot of pressure.

“Allen Dugan, eight-year-old neighbor to the Rivers,” Cindy responded.

“Alright, this Allen kid. He idolizes Misty and works to gain her approval at any cost. Thinks he’s in love with her. The only feature I’m really going to be a stickler on for this part is the kid we find has to have a decent-sized nose. I’m not talking Pinocchio or anything, but a nose that can hold its own, you know? This kid chases snakes as a hobby to impress Misty and there is a scene where he catches a decent sized Garter snake by the tail and it whips back and bites him on the nose. The thing clamps on for dear life and has to be pried off by Mrs. Rivers so we need a boy that’s into snakes or who can at least tolerate being around them, clear?” Scott looked around the room to make sure everyone was on the same page and satisfied looked back to Cindy, “OK, next up”.

“Dorothy Rivers, mother to Misty and Crystal, wife of Jim Rivers. She’s 32, a seamstress,” Cindy retorted.

“OK, we have a lot of wiggle room with Dorothy, so I say we go after some big marquee names here and see what we get. Dorothy is important people, so let’s get this one right. After spending time mending and sewing for her family, she is picked up by a big wig at Disney to design the costumes for the mascot of their soon-to-open theme park Disneyland. I’d like it if we could get whoever we find a few sewing lessons, just to get them familiar with the techniques, terms and tools since she will be spending a lot of time around a sewing machine. Her idea for the mascots stem from homemade Halloween costumes she made for her girls, mice, dressed in leotards with paper Mache heads and tails made out of hose. We’ll talk more about Dorothy when we have an idea of who we might get for the part, next,” Scott was ready for his third coffee but decided to suffer through one more character before taking a break.

“Jim Rivers, father to Misty and Crystal, husband of Dorothy Rivers. He’s 35 and a machinist,” Cindy sounded like she could use a dose of caffeine as well.

“Alright, Jim is a character we want our audience to immediately identify with and sympathize with. He’s a positive person, looks at the bright side of everything and enjoys life, even when he’s down on his luck. He needs to have an open face, I want someone who looks “accessible”, ok, an ‘open book’. Jim is a machinist, is around metal all day and the kicker is, he’s allergic to almost all types of metal. So no metal watch, no change in his pockets, nothing metal. We’ll see in one scene Jim break into hives after carrying a metal ladder for his neighbor so I need someone who has light skin, I want the hives to be really apparent. Ok, well I think we all could use a refresher. Let’s take a fifteen minute break and all regroup to finish up the list, sound good?” Scott looked around the room as everyone replied with heartfelt agreement.

Uh... not sure this is what we were going for...

Looking at the remaining list of characters, Scott shook his head, “And they say real like is stranger than fiction… yeah right!”.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      I have to say that one of my favorite things about holiday gatherings is learning something new about my family members. This Thanksgiving was especially educational as I learned a fun fact about each person gathered around the turkey today (and some who weren’t able to join us):

My Mom (Crystal Rivers): Apparently, my mom had a surprisingly low voice growing up. As a little girl on the smallish side, when she opened her mouth strangers were startled by the throaty voice she possessed. And because of this low, guttural voice, by all accounts (including her own) she is unable to scream… her voice just can’t go up that high, you see.

My Aunt Pepper (Misty Rivers): My aunt sounds like a chick I would have definitely wanted to hang with when I was growing up… she was kind of a badass by the sound of it. Out of many of the hilarious stories I heard today, the one that struck me was how she, and some of the other neighborhood girls, would somehow train lizards to sit on their shoulders and act as accessories to their outfits that day; “brooches” as my aunt referred to them. Awesome.

My Andy, aka le boyfriend (Allen Dugan): So I guess Andy really liked to chase snakes as a wee lad and bring them in to his mother (I’m sure she was thrilled). One day, as an eight-year-old he caught one by the tail, and then it caught him by the nose- and didn’t let go. Poor little guy went to school the next day with a bite mark on his nose in the shape of a snake’s head.

My Mamaw (Dorothy Rivers): My Mamaw is a pretty awesome person (I’m sure that’s where I get it, haha). Anyway, one story she told us was one of her slaving away for five months in order to fashion a Mickey and Minnie costume for each of her girls for Halloween. It sounded like quite the undertaking, paper Mache heads, tails, the whole shebang. The story was enough to make me want to break out my sewing machine (which is hers by the by) and give this whole “sewing” thing a whirl.

My Uncle Danny (Jim Rivers): Danny is one of those cool cats I think just about everyone would prefer to be around. He’s so positive (but not in an annoying way… believe me there’s a difference) and I’ve really liked getting to know more and more about him over the years. One thing I learned today, was his allergy to metal. I had never encountered someone with this malady and admittedly, I was curious. Danny is so sensitive to the stuff that even carrying change in his jeans pockets is enough to cause his skin to break out in hives. Oh, and did I mention he works as a machinist?

Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about my family, I know I sure did. Guess I know where all my strangeness (loveable quirkiness, anyone?) comes from. And I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Love & Squirrels.