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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Day #256: Combing Up Empty

The Story:

My search was coming to a close, and still, I did not have the object of my desire. Could they really all be gone? Was it possible? It seemed that my worst fear may in fact be reality. Nevertheless, I pressed on, vowing to search deep into the night if I must.

I reflected back, to the start of my journey, how innocent, how naïve I had been. I couldn’t help but shake my head at those earlier times, what a fool I was. A part of me wished for that wide-eyed excitement and expectation of instant gratification, but I knew the truth now and there was no going back. Heaving a sigh I imagined only Atlas could relate to, I brushed my hands on my pant legs and continued my search.

The absurdity of my current situation is not lost on me, and to the common shopper I’m sure I appeared a bit crazed. This realization came soon after I caught a gaggle of post-menopausal women giving me the stink eye as I browsed meticulously through a center rack. To them I must have looked fresh out of the looney-bin- glassed perched on the tip of my nose, several bobby pins and a stray pencil sticking haphazardly from the knot of hair piled on top of my head, a pad of paper swinging from around my neck like a novelty lanyard as I scour each rack of merchandise with a fine-toothed comb (the comb helps with the sorting, I swear).

Another excellent use of the the fine-toothed comb.

Despite the negative attention I appear to garner from time to time, I must remind myself of my purpose and not lose focus. After so many hours, so many wasted opportunities and missed chances, I begin to lose hope. Perhaps it’s not meant to be? The thought crosses my mind at least once every hour as my feet begin to swell and my back hunches from strain and stress.

“The store is now closed, please bring your selections to the counter at this time…”

The P.A. announcement strikes me like a javelin to the breastbone. That’s it. It’s over. I failed. Slowly I slink out of the store and make my way to my car. I fall into the driver’s seat behind the wheel, I am too stunned to drive. So I sit… and think. How could this have happened? Did I miss something? Did I look in all the wrong places? Finally, after giving myself a thorough mental kicking, I start the engine and begin the drive home. One question I can’t answer playing on a continuous loop as I navigate each turn and wait for every signal, “Where have all the bow ties gone?”

Arriving home, I walk into the darkened hallway without stopping to switch on the lights, this day calls for darkness and besides, I have had enough of harsh unnatural light for one day. All I wanted was a clip-on bow tie for my dog Dudley to wear on his birthday, now his whole party outfit would be ruined thanks to my failure.

The tie MAKES the outfit...

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      Ever go shopping for one specific thing only to discover that NO ONE carries it? You’ve seen the item countless times before, but now, when you actually are looking for it, POOF! it’s like it never existed. That was my day today, although to be fair I only looked in thrift stores so that might be the issue. I was hoping to find a clip-on bow tie for my mini-dachshund Joey to wear for New Years. After coming up empty in the first few stores, I began to wonder, “where have all the bow ties gone?” and of course this was thought to the tune of the 90’s hit Where Have All the Cowboys Gone. Oh well, maybe I’ll find what I’m looking for in 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Love & Squirrels.

Day #255: Photographer Extraordinaire

The Story:

“Someone needs to talk to him, he’s completely intolerable since, well… you know,” Beatrice complained to the room. “I mean to say you are a professional after picking up a camera once? It’s ridiculous! And then to wheel about town calling yourself an ‘artist’ and the clothes! Good God the clothes! It was funny, at first, but this has got to stop,” Beatrice couldn’t believe they were even talking about her once best friend like this, but he had gone completely off the deep end. Everyone nodded in agreement before taking sips from their coffee or espresso or whatever caffeinated beverage they were clutching anxiously.

The six friends glanced at each other, waiting for someone to take the lead before Beatrice, seeing that it would be up to her, yet again, to lead the charge. “Ok, well I guess I could say something to him since no one else seems to be willing to,” she said with a huff (although secretly she relished moments like these). “He’s going to be here any second so I’ll try and guide the conversation and expect help from everyone if we are going to nip this in the bud, sound good?” seeing that everyone was in agreement, Beatrice settled back into the couch and waited for Clatif to arrive.

She didn’t have long to wait; a few minutes later, in a burst of black on black (his color of choice as of late) Clatif exploded into the small coffee shop. Tipping his Ray Bans down a tad on his nose to scour ‘the scene’, a gesture that annoyed Beatrice to no end, Clatif spotted his cluster of friends and sauntered over. “Hey gang, what’s the hap?” he said with forced bravado before collapsing onto the couch next the Beatrice.

“The hap? Oh God…” Beatrice groaned and looked at the rest of the group for support. “Well Clatif, I’m glad you asked, the gang and I actually-“

“Hold that thought Bea,” Clatif interrupted without looking up from his Iphone where he was tapping away furiously. “Oh and Bea? I don’t go by Clatif anymore, I prefer Tif, pronounced Teef, cool?” he continued, still not looking up from his phone, otherwise he might have seen six pairs of eyes widen in disbelief at the sheer level of douchieness.

“OK, I can’t take anymore!” Beatrice almost screamed. Aware that she was well on her way to causing a scene, Beatrice counted to ten before she continued, giving the other patrons in the shop time to lose interest and return to their laptops and Blackberries. Clatif had missed the excitement and was still mesmerized by his phone, that is until Beatrice, calm as you please, snatched it out of his hands and tossed it nonchalantly across the room to the waiting hands of her friend Tammy. Tammy immediately slid the confiscated phone into her purse and slid the purse behind her chair and under a table.

“Hey!” Clatif yelped as he watched his precious phone disappear, his surprise giving way to apprehension as he noticed the expression on each of his friends’ faces.

“We have had enough Clatif, this whole persona, it’s awful and ridiculous and it’s time to cut it out,” Beatrice said calmly, turning to face him on the couch. “We had no idea things would get this out of hand, I mean it was supposed to be a joke!” Beatrice looked a bit desperately around the circle of friends who were all nodding, urging her on.

“What… what do you mean? What was a joke?” Clatif asked, a bit shell-shocked. He had seen Beatrice like this plenty of times, but it was never directed towards him, and to be frank, he was a little scared.

Drawing a deep breath, Beatrice prepared to tell the truth, and it was ugly. “Well, when you kept going on and on about being a professional photographer after taking a few pictures of a girl’s pet parrot for her Facebook profile we thought we’d have a bit of fun at your expense and well, we…” Beatrice paused and decided she might as well just get through it. “…Clatif, we were the ones who set up that gallery showing of your ‘work’, it wasn’t InPhotos Now Magazine. We thought that would be the end of it, but you got even worse after that, dressing in all black, wearing a scarf 24/7, giving ‘tips’ to other photographers and those business cards! Photographer Extraordinaire? Really, Clatif???” Beatrice was panting in frustration at this point.

Yeah, about as good as THIS guy...

After several agonizingly long minutes, the only sound the nervous sipping from Styrofoam, Clatif looked up from his hands and said, “Wow, you guys really feel that way? Was I really that bad?” Looking around at the circle of his friends and seeing each of them nod in the affirmative was all the answer he needed. Staring back down at his hands for a moment, Clatif sighed and stood up. Slowly slinging his messenger bag over his shoulder he took a few steps towards the door before turning.

“Well the joke is on all of you! I knew I was being annoying, hell, I knew the gallery was a bunch of baloney so I thought I’d give you a taste of your own medicine! But what’s really funny, hilarious in fact, is someone saw ‘my work’ as you call it, and they like it. They like it so much they’re flying me up to NYC for a shoot, all expenses paid. So excuse me but I’ve got a flight to catch,” and with that he walked out.

Tif’s work can now be seen in National Geographic, VOGUE, Time Magazine and many other reputable publications.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      The name Clatif is an ode to one of my favorite adoptable dogs at the animal sanctuary where I help out from time to time. If you’d like to learn more check out In Harmony With Nature’s Facebook profile here.

Who wouldn't love that face?

TWO:    Andy let me try my hand at taking some pictures of the dogs today at In Harmony With Nature, and I gotta to say, I had a pretty awesome time at it. It was fun trying to snap a perfect photo of each pup, trying different techniques, working with the lighting and timing… yeah I was getting good (never mind that slobber on the lens).

Love & Squirrels.

 

Day #254: Operation Backyard

The Story:

“Sir, we just got word from the field… we believe operation BACKYARD may be a success,” the junior officer could barely believe the words he had just uttered and hoped his voice sounded more stable than he felt.

“You mean we got him? It’s over?” the Kernel said, the hesitation in his voice betraying his own disbelief that the mission they had all spent countless hours and five years of their lives devoted to could now be over. Just like that. “What have we heard, is our man online? Well, I want him patched through to my office just as soon as he makes contact,” the Kernel barked as he rushed out of the dark ‘communications’ room and stomped off to his office. If it really was over, he had a lot of paperwork to do, not to mention an operative who would need to be debriefed.

Ha ha, couldn't resist

Ten minutes later, a knock on the Kernel’s door snapped him to attention.

“Come!” he hollered, anxious to send whoever it was on their way, he was in no mood for interruptions today. The door opened to reveal the last person the Kernel expected to see, at least so soon. “Blue! Holy Hell, how did you get here so fast? I was expecting to be talking to you over the monitor, how in blazes did you get to D.C. this quickly?” the Kernel said with choppy excitement as he shook the operative’s hand. Showing him to one of the chairs facing his desk, the Kernel did a quick visual inventory of the man (a boy, really) who had become his most valuable asset to date.

“I know your head must still be in a bit of a fog, so I’ll keep this brief. Our official debriefing with the joint chiefs will be scheduled for tomorrow at 0800, then there is the pile of paperwork will need your review, all very procedural and dull, you know the drill,” the Kernel sat back in his chair and couldn’t help but let a smile escape. “So tell me, without all the bull we’ll have to wade through tomorrow, how’d you do it? How did you find the mole?”

Blue arched his back in his seat and with the cocky smile that had become a bit of a trademark for the man, leaned forward and rested his elbows on his superior’s desk. “If I wasn’t such a cocky S.O.B. I might chalk it up to luck. I had been tracking him through parts of the swamp, down in the everglades for months. I was closing in on him, or at least I believe I was when I contracted some sort of infection. They sent me back to D.C. to recover and who do I see waltzing down the hospital corridor, him.” Blue spat out the last word like he had tasted something offensive. “Then it was only a matter of calling the proper people, luring him into a corner and BAM! just like that, it was over. We had him. Kind of ironic you know, when you think about it,” Blue said leaning back in his chair and lacing his fingers together on his chest.

“What? What’s ironic?” the Kernel asked, feeling like he was on the outside of an inside joke.

“Well, the operation, for five years we’ve been working like dogs to bring in this mole, we tracked him all over the world and I followed every one of his footsteps, always just ½ a step too late to bring him down. The operation name Backyard was auto-generated and after all this time we finally bring him down, in our own backyard,” Blue smirked and rose from his seat and with a salute left the Kernel’s office, he was desperate for a shower and a Coke.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      Well, my fierce killing machine of a dog, that would be the mini-dachshund, has done it again. While wandering around my backyard as I caught up with an old friend over the phone I watch my little wiener dog run past me. Not thinking much of it (he’s apt to do a lot of strange things) I continued my conversation and eventually wound up where he was investigating something. Upon closer inspection, I saw he had dung up… a mole. With the lifeless thing clasped tightly in his mouth he gave me one look (like woman, this is my mole) and ran away. So for anyone who’s interested, that’s two rats and one mole my 11 pound dog has killed in the last six months or so… awesome.

TWO:    The code name for the operative in today’s story, Blue, is an ode to my own mole catcher, Joey the dachshund, whose middle name is Blue. Joey’s coloring is officially known as blue, in the breeder world I guess, and so I thought it fitting when naming him to include Blue in there somewhere. Plus, now I can say, “You’re my boy, Blue!” whenever I want and it actually means something. I know, I’m a nerd.

THREE:  Andy somehow convinced me to follow him into the swamp today in order to repair one of his Geocaches (if you have no idea what that is, check out this site: www.geochacing.com). I didn’t get too mucked up, but I’ll be cleaning my Converse for the better part of tomorrow, I suspect.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #253: Stories of Grody

The Story:

“I once saw a girl drop a buttered roll and then eat it right off the ground.”

“I once went swimming in the pool with a kid and when we both stopped for a minute the water around us began to get warmer… yeah, he totally peed in the pool.”

“I once stepped in a big pile of doggy doo without realizing it on my way to class. Halfway through the lecture the teacher stopped and asked that the ‘smelly kid’ please excuse themselves. Everyone looked at me… I was the smelly kid.”

“I once went out to the mall with some of my girlfriends and we decided to hit up the food court first. After polishing off a slice of pizza we walked around awhile before a nice little old lady tugged on my elbow and suggested I visit the Ladies Room. I had unknowingly sat down in a big pile of maraniara sauce… in my brand new cream skirt.”

“I once found a half carton of rancid milk in the woods… full of live maggots.”

“I tagged along with my dad once to one of his plumbing jobs. The whole house smelled like grandma death. After searching around a bit, we found out why… a whole nest of dead rats decomposing behind the wall in their bathroom.”

“I once found this perfect pair of trousers in my local Goodwill. I was so excited because I had been looking for pants like them forever so I took them to the dressing room and pulled them on. They fit like a glove. As I unfastened the waistband I noticed a bit of discoloration and after taking the pants completely off saw that the entire crotch was a sickly yellow color. That wasn’t the worst part… I turned them to see the back, yeah the entire seat was speckeled brown, a concetration of the stain was right on the seam of the back (aka the crack).”

“I once found a beautiful natural spring when a group of us went for a hike a few years back. Beating everyone to it, I knelt down and scooped several large handfuls of water into my mouth.  When I noticed no one else was drinking, I looked to see what they were looking at… that’s when I saw the coupl hundred bats flying above us (and pooping into the water).”

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      Ever experience something so gross you’re not sure you’ll ever be the same again? Well, it wasn’t quite that bad but still… it was pretty dang grody. While shopping in my local Goodwill I happened upon a pair of grey slacks that looked like something I would be interested in purchasing. But, after further inspection I discovered that they were severely misused by whomever the previous owner happened to be. I mean this gal either died in these pants (at which point her bowels emptied) or someone should have invested in some adult diapers. Yikes. Yeah, so that pretty much ended my interest in shopping for the rest of the day…at least at the Goodwill. Oh, and some version of each of the ‘stories’ above is based in truth (hope you’re not eating while reading today’s post!).

Love & Squirrels.

Day #252: More Ba-dunk

The Story:

Tired of having a flat tush?

Wish you had some more ba-dunk, in that ba-dunk-a-dunk?

Looking for more curves but don’t know where to start?

 

Then try the Long Drive for Your Be-hind Program!

Simply sit in the car for at least six hours at a time and POOF! your back seat will be three times it’s original size in no time!

(Yes it's a terrible photoshop job and no, I do not care)

 

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:     Man my booty smarts! I guess that’s bound to happen after an 8 hour car ride (seriously, why does it take 8 hours to get from Georgia to Florida, it’s only one state up for cryin out loud!). Oddly, one side is more sore than the other, not sure how that happened, as I was a passenger for the entire trip, but it did. Any more extended time spent in the car seat and I wouldn’t be surprised if my tush soon looks like a certain Kardashian we all know (and wish we didn’t).

Love & Squirrels.

Day #251: The Day After

The Story:

It’s the saddest day of the year

The day after Christmas, it’s here.

*

Besides wet socks, there’s nothing worse

Then when Christmas is over, it makes me want to curse.

*

So how does one deal with day-after doldrums?

Where does one go to escape the inevitable ho-hums?

You could go to the store and purchase some comics.

Or, perhaps the beach will provide a setting for some soul-ergonomics.

*

You could eat a smorgasbord of food with seasoning and spice.

Or maybe a donation to the local homeless man would be nice.

*

You could go play at the park, take a ride on the swing.

Or a trip to the antique mall may be just the thing.

You could chase around joggers or bicyclists in your car,

But that’s pretty creepy, I don’t care who you are.

*

You could watch Maury Povich reveal you ain’t the daddy to that brat.

Or you could veg on the couch and pet some random cat.

After all of this, if your depression does continue,

I would suggest something simple at a local venue.

*

For the best cure I’ve found,

Of those Day-After-Christmas blues that are going around…

*

Is to stop complaining, no longer should you roam,

And find your way back, to the place you call home.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      What an… interesting day I had today, yeah we’ll go with interesting. I tagged along with Andy as he drove up I-85 to film some footage for the lead singer of a punk band he’s creating some videos for. Now normally, the day after Christmas can be a huge let down for me, all that anticipation and merriment and BOOM! The 26th hits and it’s all suddenly gone; but today, the shear amount of randomness of my day prevented any such thoughts from entering my head. All of the scenarios above… happened (in some shape or form) and to be honest I’m still recovering from the whirlwind of irrationality of this day. One hour I’m eating shrimp & grits, the next I’m watching two bums race on broomsticks around a gravel yard. One hour I’m in an antiques mall, the next I’m watching weave fly on Jerry Springer while a cat is sleeping in my lap. Thankfully the madness came to a somewhat normal end, a steak dinner and some non-reality TV. Whew.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #250: Need Help with that Roast?

The Story:

“I swear it wasn’t me! I would never write such… horrendous and obviously false things about you, Celia I… wouldn’t!” Tamera stammered desperately as she backed away. This was not how this day was supposed to go. Tamera silently pleaded with the fates, hoping against hope that all of this was just some terrible nightmare and she would awaken any minute in her own bed. The sea of angry faces told her otherwise and… she ran.

Celia Stewart’s Cotillion was to be the event of the season in the small town of Dusky Rose, LA and all of her friends had worked tirelessly to make sure it was a magical evening. As her best friend, Tamera had lived and breathed for this day since the invitations were ordered and had even created a special presentation to honor Celia (at Celia’s prompting, of course). It was to be a PowerPoint presentation highlighting some of Celia’s proudest moments and achievements, and there were many for the 16-year-old, capped off with testimonials from Celia’s family and closest friends.

So when some of the juiciest gossip and most embarrassing secrets regarding a Miss Celia Stewart appeared in graceful script across the screen as picturesque images of the guest of honor swirled in the backdrop, everyone’s eyes immediately sought Tamera out. Knowing before anyone what had happened, Tamera had already started slowly backing out of the hall.

Jumping in her car, Tamera squealed out of the parking lot and sped off down the road. Half an hour later, when the adrenaline of the moment had worn off, Tamera pulled to the side of the road and turned off the engine and, screamed. “My life might as well be over”, she thought with no small amount of dramatics.

Closing her eyes and leaning back into the seat, Tamera went back through the events of the previous night. It had been her birthday, not that anyone cared what with it being the eve of Celia’s Cotillion and all. Well, no, that wasn’t exactly right; one person had cared. He had even given her a gift, a great gift. Ever since Tamera could remember she had wanted to be a writer. “I’m going to write the great American novel of my time,” she had said countless times since the age of six and three quarters. No one had put much stock in Tamera, or her hopes of being a great writer, no one except her daddy. And last night, on her sixteenth birthday that everyone else seemed to have forgotten, her father had given her one of the best gifts she could have imagined. It was computer software that could take her words as she spoke them, and type them out onto her laptop, with proper spelling and all. Wasting no time, Tamera set up the program on her computer and began giving in a test drive.

She must have left Celia’s PowerPoint up. She must have somehow replaced the original text with what she had said to try out the new software. And, well she didn’t have to guess what the subject matter had been for that test run, that had been displayed for everyone to see quite clearly. She had been so upset, so hurt that no one remembered her birthday and she had thought a good venting session would help improve her mood. She had been right, she felt immediately better after telling the new writing software all of Celia’s dirty laundry (and boy, was there heaps of the stuff!) but it had grown late, and in her rush to get to bed she had somehow ruined her life.

Now, her only option was to pack everything up and become a hobo or a park ranger somewhere. Just as she was getting used to the idea of chewing on bark for sustenance, which she imagined all park rangers were at some point forced to do, a tap on the glass snapped her back to reality.

“Tamera? Tamera open up,” her dad said gently as he rapped his knuckles on the driver’s side window. Wincing, as if in pain, Tamera rolled her window down and prepared to be berated by her father. “Honey, what happened? Why’d you take off like that?”

Confused by his tactic (why was he being so nice?) Tamera just stared back at him wide-eyed.

“You had everyone in stitches with that roast you put together for Celia. We were all doubled over in laughter for almost fifteen minutes before we realized you had left. Celia thought it was the funniest thing she had ever heard!” her dad said before succumbing to a fit of laughter as he was obviously reliving a moment of the presentation.

“You mean… people thought it was funny?” Tamera couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Of course! Sweetie, I gotta tell you, I know I’ve said it before but you really have a talent. Now stop acting like a goofball and get your bee-hind back to that hall!” her dad smiled before heading back to his car which was pulled up behind her own.

Come on... everyone loves a good roast!

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

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

ONE:      MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

TWO:    Well, after quite the event-filled holiday, I found inspiration in a multitude of places. Sadly, I only had the energy to write about a few, one of which was one of the Christmas presents from my very own dear ol dad and stepmom. I’m anxious to try it out (as I believe it could very well revolutionize my writing process, or at the very least save me some time), software that I basically just have to speak into a microphone and it will write whatever I say. Pretty cool, eh? Don’t be jealous.

THREE:  After arriving home from a fun and interesting Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house, Andy and I were treated to a viewing of the hit film, The Help. What they say about this movie is true, it’s absolutely one of the best movies you will ever experience. I took a lot of ideas for tonight’s story from that moving film.

Love & Squirrels.