I Think I’ve Peaked – or is it Piqued?


When I started this little blogging thang, I had nary a thought to how long I’d do it for, nor even if it was for me. Michael (my blogging mentor) has encouraged me over these past few months and if I last, August will be my first year blogoversary.

 But I’m honestly wondering if I haven’t run out of gas just short of that milestone. It seems lately, I don’t have a whole lot to say and what I do say is of little consequence. Cripes you could pick up most of my yak from Entertainment Tonight without having to read at all. And the stats show it. They’s a just going, down, down, down.

It’s produced an odd melancholy in me and I honestly don’t know what to do. The thought of not hanging with my blogger buds really bums me out – though the angst of ‘what now?’ being nowhere in my life has a certain appeal.

Am I just going through the terrible two’s of blogging? Is it a phase? Is it seasonal? Is it the tags I’m using or not using? Should I submit my blog to yet another blog directory? Has the popularity of blog readers become such that people no longer need to drop by because they can read from a remote view? My breath, my deodorant, my fat ass? There and many other questions go unanswered – mostly because I don’t think anyone has the answers.

But I’ll tell you, it’s disheartening when you get more hits from the spam bots than from the readers.

And please, make no mistake, this isn’t a pity post, that seeks to illicit sympathy and atta girls. I know you guys love me and I love you. It’s more me – thinking out loud – trying to figure it out.

If anyone has any inside information or understands this more than me, please feel free to speak up. I’m just flummoxed. I’ve no idea.

I really do think that maybe the Writer Chick brand has run its course.

Goat Burgers and Really Good Fries

I left home when I was 17. I had no real skills, oh I could talk a good game but really I was pretty clueless. Somehow I ended up rooming with a bunch of nutjobs with whom I had many adventures. Someday I may tell you about them.

So there I was, no security, no skills and no job. I’m not sure how I ended up at White Castle, but I did and I was hired on the spot. For those of you who don’t know about White Castle, you have really missed something.  At some point they were in competition with McDonald’s although obviously Mickey D’s had a much bigger advertising budget. Still, there was something about White Castle that was better to me.

You could get 10 burgers for $1.50 – maybe a little more – but it was dang cheap. We always made jokes about the mystery meat that was in the burger. I started calling them goat burgers because, well I don’t know why, it just sounded right. But man, oh man, the fries were the best. They had a ‘secret’ seasoning they shook on those crinkle cut babies when they were hot out of the fryer and they melted in your mouth.

The bad news was that the uniforms were out of the stone age and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have the same ones – blue numbers with paper hats and ugly shoes. No pants, oh no, they were little dresses with sewn on aprons and just as pathetic as they could be. And I’m not sure what kind of fabric they were made of, but they always itched. 

Back then, I was a lithe, tan, blonde teenager among a herd of big-haired, middle-aged southern girls flipping burgers. In Michigan we had a lot of those gals who came up from Virginia and West Virginia. Things must have been bad in their home states to want to come to Michigan to flip burgers, but there they all were. They were all two-namers – Bonnie Sue, Betty Jean, Myra Joe – but they were all sweet and maternal and could flip burgers to beat the band.

We did it all, cook, serve, flip, clip, chip – oh yeah, we were the original multi-taskers.

We were open late – til 1 a.m. and what would blow through the doors after 10 p.m. was always interesting. The most memorable crowd we had rolled in on a Friday night, just before midnight. About 20, slightly drunk, long-legged, mini skirt wearing, gorgeous black women. I thought maybe they were models or singers or something. They all were wearing similar outfits and high heals with long curly hair and false eyelashes. Showfolk to be sure.

All the big-haired gals were giggling when these ladies came in and I wasn’t sure why. A few of the gals rolled their eyes at me and winked  – still, I had no clue what was amusing them so.

I went to the counter to take their orders. The first lady stepped up, looked up at the menu sign on the wall, cleared her throat and said, “I’ll have a….” Now what they ordered was of no consequence and frankly I can’t remember, but the thing that had so amused my co-workers came clear to me then. What came out of that lovely young woman’s mouth was a man’s voice. Not just a man’s voice but a deep, resonant, Paul Robeson kind of voice. You know? Like, I expected her to start singing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen” any minute.

This was all too much for my feeble teenaged brain to absorb and so I just took the orders numbly and pretended not to notice that the voice and the outfit weren’t a match. They were all fed and left with their white bags full of goat burgers and fabulous fries, with nary a clue as to how they’d change my life. Forever. The big-haired gals congratulated me on learning yet another fact of adult life. Things aren’t always what they seem.


We All Need


Kim over at Good at Getting Better did this little ditty and I thought I’d give it a try myself. You go to g**gle and type in “(your name) needs” then list the top ten needs. Mine were pretty funny and frighteningly accurate. So what does Annie need?

Analysis. Annie needs to be rescued by the armed forces (displaying male power), the entire rescue mission having been set in motion by the preeminent father figure [This one is an obvious no brainer. Any of my readers could have come up with this]

Companionship. Volunteers are taking her out of the kennel each day, but this in no way replaces the companionship Annie needs. Annie needs a home. …[Yes, I am so lonely and I had no idea that others knew I lived in a kennel]
The Four Word Film Review. Annie Hall (1977). 77 reviews. Film rated 4.4 / 5 (Chick rating: 4.3 / 5) (Guy rating: 4.5 / 5 …. Manhattan Pygmalion needs eggs. … Annie needs a Woody. …[Not clear on this one, do I need a film review or a woody?]
A foster home. Please Save Annie!!! Needs a FOSTER home!!!!This is Annie, a mountain cur (?) puppy who desperately needs someone to love her unconditionally, spend time with her training, and can teach her not to be …[Yes, please save me!]
Coffee. Why Annie needs her Coffee~’Why Annie needs her Coffee~ Hi everybody, We were out of our favorite coffee this morning, which made me remember this story. [I always need coffee – jeesh, this is too easy]

A new door. She keeps her door unlocked, slightly ajar. If Annie needs someone, or if someone needs her, she cannot open the door. No one robs Annie. … [You better believe no one robs Annie – or that Annie has anything to rob]
Insight. Finally, the court concluded that the grandparents are “good people,” but their lack of insight into Annie’s developmental needs, the grandfather’s …[Can’t argue with this one – and really it is all about my developmental needs]
A real home. little annie needs a real home [And big Annie could use a real home too]

To Grow up. Another Police Rampage in DC”Annie” needs to grow up and take her politically correct “liberalism” over to Daily Kos where it belongs, with the other “liberals” who want to impose …[Who said I was a liberal????]

To Get Dressed. AJ gets dressed and insists Annie needs to get dressed too. Then the three of us hop in the car where we either go out to the library, or if it’s a M, …[Crap, is there a hidden webcam on this thing?]

Okay, so apparently that is what I need. I would add to the list, fame, fortune and several published novels, but G**gle clearly doesn’t know me that well.

What do you need?


Synopsize Me!

The bane of my existence of late has been the synopsis for my novel – or should I say the lack thereof? Yeah, probably. This is a puzzle for me, since generally speaking I haven’t much trouble writing anything. In my illustrious (or not so illustrious) career as a writer I have written menus, newletters, how-to articles, stock offerings, business plans, short stories, poems, novels, blurbs, ad copy, business letters and I guess pretty much anything else you can think of. Yet, this animal known as the synopsis stymies me. It sends me out to shop, pull weeds, clean baseboards, shampoo the dog, vacuum, even ironing. Anything so I don’t have to face the fact that I simply suck at these things.I’ve gone to countless websites, read countless how-to and advice articles on the thing, begged many of the writers I know for tips, tricks and advice and really to no avail. I do have one started. But you know it’s been started for quite a while now and despite constant watering and fertilization it hasn’t become a synopsis yet. Which probably means I’m actually going to have to do something about it, with it, around it.I have recently employed the help of a fellow writer and asked her to give me a deadline or something, to see if that actually helps. Well, she has given me the deadline, so she has held up her end of the bargain. And I’ve written it on a little piece of paper that I prop up against my monitor (and successfully ignore almost always), so I suppose I’ve begun to do my part. But…

Now, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a little background: A couple years ago, maybe longer, I wrote a murder mystery that was really quite a lot of fun to write. Then it sat, because…well, then there is that marketing thing that must be done. You’d think since I’ve done marketing for other people and was actually paid for it, that it’d be a snap for me to do some for myself – not so much. So, it sat some more. A few months ago I had a friend read the manuscript which sort of got me fired up again and again I was determined to do this synopsis and I did get started and about a 1/3 of the way through but then – clunk – stopped. The bitch of it is that I need the darn thing to interest agents and publishers in my novel. I can’t just send it to them with a note that says, please read. They just won’t go for that approach anymore. Too bad, but true.

So, here I sit, waiting for the synopsis faery to drop by and sprinkle some magic dust over my computer so I can wake up to a perfectly done and presentable synopsis. I am getting a little worried though, my last call to her wasn’t returned and time is zipping by.

So, now I’m going to do something that I probably shouldn’t – I’m going to tell you the deadline. That way, if you’re in a particularly naggy mood on that day you can rag my butt about whether or not it’s done. Or you can make fun of me because I am just a total synopsis slacker. Take your pick. The deadline is – June 5th of this year (damn it!). So synchronize your watches and get those water balloons ready. Otay?


Give And Take


I’ve become painfully aware of late, that this world is comprised of givers and takers. I suppose there may be another third group, that is more balanced but then again, maybe not.

I don’t know if it’s always been this way and I just never really noticed or if it’s something that has evolved over the last couple of decades but it seems more pronounced these days, more obvious. And it seems to me, that the takers are gaining on us.

Take something as simple as courtesy on the road. We’ve all heard of rules of the road (or at least, I hope we’ve all heard of them) and it isn’t so much about traffic laws as it is courtesy. You let another driver in when they’re stuck trying to get out of driveway, wave someone through ahead of you even if you have the right of way, or in the reverse, tip your hat, nod your head or wave or something if another driver has done the same for you. It’s not a big deal, but it makes a difference.

I’ve literally had people try to run me off the road rather than yield to my merging into a lane, even when I had the right of way. Everday, as I stop at a stop sign and another driver arrives at the same time, that driver only pauses and when they see I’m actually stopping, just slide through the stop without so much as a blink. The list is endless – and really this post isn’t about how other people drive.

It’s more about the attitude. It is as though there are some people out there who just feel they are entitled to anything and everything they get. They don’t feel obliged in any way to return the favor. And sometimes, they seem to expect it. The co-worker who expects you to cover their lunch because they haven’t the money but wouldn’t dream of lending you a five-spot. The friend who calls you at all hours to cry on your shoulder, who borrows clothes and never returns them, who always shows up at your house around dinnertime but who is often busy when you need something. The boss who expects to be able to call you on your day off to discuss some business issue but doesn’t think they should pay you, and who gets uptight if you dare to call them at home. The parent who demands you demonstrate your love to them constantly but can’t help you out when you’re in need or trouble.

And I suppose the givers are duplicitous in these acts because they cooperate. They give. They are happy to help out. Don’t have the heart to hang up on a sobbing friend, or deny lunch to them. Will bend over backwards to show their love and nurture parents, children and spouses. Because they are givers. That is the way they are wired. Right? So, why shouldn’t they be taken advantage of? Why shouldn’t the takers take what the givers give? It’s the way the food chain works, isn’t it?

Is it? I wonder. I’ve had a few serious takers in my life. And there is no pleasing them. No matter what you do for them it isn’t enough. No matter how hard you try it just isn’t hard enough. No matter how much you give they still seem to need more. You could literally have a personality transplant and remake yourself according to their specs and still be wrong. It’s exhausting.

And I’ve found whenever I go through a particularly exhausting period in my life that I am surrounded by these folks. I am swarming with them. I am the proverbial puppet on a string. My life becomes dedicated to doing for them and going without. And I have to ask myself why? Why the hell do I do it? What puts me in that place? Is it just my general good nature, am I too nice, care too much, just want people to like me? I suppose it is all of the above and none of the above. I mean, how does one find the balance? I don’t really like fighting back, so to speak. It doesn’t do anything for me personally – truth be told I don’t really like conflict. I like life to be easy going and fun. I don’t want to be an accountant, forever tallying what others owe me or I them. Or scolding people for taking advantage either of me or others. It’s just not my thing.

I suppose in the long run my solution is to just cut my losses and move on – it’s not easy though. In fact, it’s damned hard – everyone seems connected in one way or another. That 6 degrees of separation thing, you know? In the end, I just end up putting up with it. Try not to get too god-awful sucked dry of life and resources and look for better friends – sometimes with success, sometimes not.

How about you? What do you do with these people? I’m curious what everyone else’s take is on this.


What’s the Secret?


I’ve been blogging in the whacky world of WordPress for a few months now. And in that short time these guys have come up with all kinds of bells and whistles.

Every month there is at least one new theme, which we all have to run out and try. For me, that usually means I spend several hours trying to get the widgets to work right and re-do all the sidebar items only to discover I’m an idiot and can’t do it. Then reverting back to the prior theme.

They have changed the dashboard, made it easier to have multiple blogs, added custom headers, snazzy and fun little widget thingies and all sorts of stuff. As long as it isn’t too technologically challenging I can usually play around with them and get it right.

Then there is the secret stuff. The stuff that I either don’t get or the stuff that is just truly too mysterious. Domain mapping???Eh? What the heck is that and do I want it? Little video gadgets and mp3 widgies, blog surfer, feed stats, other kinds of stats, search terms, referrers, links, the list goes on and on.

But in all the time I’ve blogged with WordPress there is one area I have never been able to figure out. It’s the right side of the dashboard. Top WordPress Blogs. Fastest Growing WordPress blogs. Blogs of the Minute. Latest posts. I mean, I understand the concept but what I don’t understand is how they arrive at who the fastest growing blog is. Logic would tell me it has to do with stats – but no, that can’t be because my other blog gets far fewer hits than this blog and yet it was on the list a couple of times and I think was Blog of the Minute one day too. Is it random? Is it the result of content? Stats? Is there a secret vote? Is a matter of who bothers the tech support guys less? Who bakes the best cupcakes or what?

I really want to know. How the heck do they figure this stuff out? Or maybe I should say make the determination. For example, there was a blogger I knew of who actually hit number one on one of these lists and he’d been doing it for about 2 months – he didn’t seem to get any more traffic than I did, yet there he was. Nothing wrong with his blog or anything but it wasn’t earth shattering or ground breaking either. Just a regular blog type blog. So wtf?

Right now, there is one blog that has been number one on one of these lists since the day it started – now how is that possible? Did he get like 50k hits on opening day? I’m just wondering.

If there is some secret, I really want to know. Does anybody out there have a clue? Any idea at all? I mean I know that in the greater scheme of things, this matters not one whit – but it’s one of those silly things that just baffles me. So, theories? Ideas? Thoughts? Knowledge? Anybody?


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Like any good paranoid, there are many things that whig me out, make me suspicious and upset me. Naturally, little of it has anything to do with reality – just an over-active imagination.

But there are some things that really do scare me. Like:

  • The noises I only hear when I’m at home alone, at night when the wind is blowing or it’s raining or there is a power outage. I never, ever, ever, ever hear these noises when there is anyone (other than my dog) with me. And no matter what the sound sounds like, I’m convinced it’s someone trying to break in.
  • Getting any kind of terminal disease. In fact, I can’t watch those disease of the week movies anymore because I am simply too suggestible. Heck, I went to dinner with Zelda the other night and she wasn’t feeling so great, so I got sick to my stomach too, lest I be left out.
  • Being eaten by a shark and/or drowning in the ocean. I never really learned how to swim. I can tread water and swim on my back sort of…but diving off the side of a boat or dock or pool and swimming with my face actually in the water? On purpose? No way! And the ocean is just way too big anyway. When I first came out to California from the Midwest (where they don’t have oceans) one of the first things we did was go to the ocean. It was beautiful, dark, swirling, deep, deep blue and oh so appealing on a hot summer day. I saw these other people wading out and sort of riding the waves as they came in – like a little hop and then the wave caught you and you floated for a second. Weeeee! What fun. So, I was out there too. Riding the waves and thinking ‘look at me, look at me, I’m not afraid.’ I turned toward the shore and saw my boyfriend waving to me and pointing and I waved back, happy as a clam. He kept waving and waving. Weird. Then when I turned away from him and toward the ocean there was a wave about 15 feet high staring me in the face. I shrieked and then it grabbed me and tumbled me (luckily) all the way to the shore. I was spitting sand and seaweed for hours afterwards. That was the last time I went into the ocean.
  • Eating insects. When I was in high school, a classmate offered me a chocolate, which I took happily and popped into my mouth. When I bit down on it there was a crunch and a horrible taste. My classmate was rolling as he watched me have to swallow the chocolate covered bumble bee, because if I screamed the teacher would have sent me to the principle’s office. Damn him!
  • Mystery noises from my car. It doesn’t matter what kind of car or what kind of noise. To me, any noise that comes from a car is a bad thing. Mostly because I don’t know what they mean. And what’s worse when I try to explain it to the mechanic I can’t find the right adjectives to describe it. Once they discover the problem (if there is one) their description is so far afield of what I would have called it, that it makes me wonder if English really is my first language.
  • Being without computer access. If I am cut off from my computer and/or the Internet for more than a couple of hours I start to panic. Sweat beads on my upper lip and I begin to feel like a drug addict going through withdrawal. I get pissed beyond belief and have the urge to track down Bill Gates to give him a piece of my mind. I am seriously addicted people. Scary.
  • Any food that smells funny. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, a grocery store, a fast food place, a fancy eatery, my Aunt Emma – if it smells funny, even slightly…it’s in the trash.
  • Having no ideas. This has happened to me on occasion, I simply have not one idea in my head. I can’t think of a story, poem, editorial comment, rant or anything. Nuthin’! I immediately start to think that this is the end – I will never write again. I have used up all the creative juices God gave me and apparently squandered them because I’m still not rich and famous and now it’s all over. The thrill is gone. No more magic. I’m officially ordinary. I must do copious amounts of shopping during these periods.

So there you have it, my biggest fears. What are yours?


Beauty, We Hardly Knew Ye…

While Britney is off in Europe mumbling because she’s forgotten the words to her own songs and Paris is hurrying to be fitted for her prison jumpsuit – I think it’s proper we all take a moment of silence to honor every beautiful, vacuous and spoiled woman in American society.

That was nice, wasn’t it? I mean, these poor, poor, little rich girls are  having an awful time of it lately and frankly, I think they deserve our sympathy. I think we should hold bake sales and church bizarres and send the proceeds directly to their publicists – so they can at least get some decent hair, makeup and wardrobe advice.

I think we should do a celebrity run so we can earn the money to send Ann Landers to each of the Tartlet Sisters and school them in the basics of common sense. I mean, face it folks, they’ll be running the world someday. Don’t you think? Now before you dismiss this comment too quickly think about it.

What are two of the top search terms on the Internet in any search engine today. A-yup. Can you say President Hilton and Vice President Spears? Don’t laugh, the Terminator is the governor of my state and an actor from Law and Order is a fav pick for the upcoming election. Not to mention the fact that one of our greatest Presidents, in a previous life, had a chimp as a co-star.

In this high-tech, photo-shopped, air-brushed, teeth-bleached society we live in today – anything is possible. And as it has been true for generations, beauty always gets the first consideration.

You don’t really think that Hillary Clinton or Katie Couric look that good, do you? You don’t believe that Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts are really that beautiful, do you? You don’t actually believe that Madonna can sing, right?

Okay, okay – maybe we don’t really have that much to worry about when it comes to Britney and Paris (poor dears) because they seem unaware of the world around them. But you know, Sheryl Crow seems to think she has an opionion, Jennifer Aniston does too, Susan Sarandan and Rosie O’Donnel are on the band wagon as well.

If you don’t think any of these women aren’t considering a foray into politics then you really do think that Hillary has a soul.

Beauty, beware and so should the rest of us, too.


Where There’s Smoke…

Now, isn’t this a lovely picture. It’s almost one of those doorways back in time, don’t you think? This is Zelda’s livingroom (yes, see there really is a Zelda – all this time you were probably thinking I was making her up). As you can see, Zelda has style, panache – her home is filled with lovely Deco antiques and replicas. Our designer friend, Margarita has spent an enormous amount of time helping Zelda to get things just right, just the way she wanted them, in her home. And a fine job it was/is.

But see there’s a problem…Zelda actually lives there. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zelda, in fact, she’s probably the best friend I’ve ever had but this girl has a talent. A rare and even enviable talent. A talent of having shit happen.

Have I mentioned she was once trapped beneath a giant trash can at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night? The moral to that story was, be careful how much wet sand you put into one giant trash can and watch those bumps as you’re rolling it to the curb. But…I digress.

Zelda is anti-heat. She just doesn’t like it. No if ands or buts, the heat is a baaad thing. Therefore, she has an air conditioner in every room in her house or one of those Sharper Image fancy-schmancy fan thingies. Anyway, last week I think it got up to about 75 degrees and Zelda was sweltering. Now this is really bad because apparently, Zelda has no sweat glands at all. She informed me early in our friendship that she does not sweat. (I wonder if she can get one of those handicap stickers for her car? Do you think it’s an official disease? We must look into that…)

Anyway, okay,  the girl doesn’t sweat, hates the heat, needs air conditioners wherever she goes. The other night, it was hot and she turned on the air conditioner in her livingroom. Well, as you can see, she has these lovely drapes and so forth and lovely as they are, apparently they block the air flow. So the solution, obviously, is to take the lovely drape and stuff it in the lovely lamp (pictured). And so she did.

The phone rang and as Zelda is wont to do, she started chatting it up with a chum. Well, as the time passed and evening started to come upon her, she turned on the lamp. And chatting away she went. After the call she got hungry and went to the kitchen to forage in the fridge. She did this and that, occasionally getting a whiff of something. “Hmmm, ” she thought, “what is that weird smell?” Then she saw a squirrel through the kitchen window and her mind went with it. When she was through watching the squirrel and feeding the pets and foraging in the fridge, her mind returned to that smell. Sniff, sniff, what could it be?

She shrugged and carried her samich and glass of milk to the livingroom, with the intent of settling down in front of the big-screen tv and vegging out for the night. She settled on the sofa and again the smell invaded her senses. It was stronger now. What could it be? She looked left, she looked right, she looked down then…she looked up.

Yikes, the curtain was on fire. I guess some bulbs burn more brightly than others. “Oh shit,” I think were her exact words.

The samich and milk were soon forgotten as she fought to save her drapes. Luckily that particular fabric enjoys a slow burn so there was no need for a fire extinguisher. A mere unstuffing of the drape from the lamp and Zelda blowing on the smolder seemed to do the trick.

The  house was saved but the curtain wasn’t quite so lucky.

I asked her what she was going to do and she said she’d just cut it. I can’t quite figure how cutting it is going to solve the problem or how it will look, but Zelda assures me no one will be the wiser.

Gotta go, time to go shopping with Zelda – she needs some Restoration Hardware tie-backs for the drapes. Now how the heck did we forget to get those? Must have been on the page of the catalogue that the dogs ate.  😉