Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who said weddings are serious?

Hey, we all remember what our wedding dances were like; staid, perfunctory – something we did to make Mom happy and Grandma tear up. I like how this couple decided to do something a little different.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Never, ever...


Fart in a wetsuit...

apologies...I have the flu, and this is as good as it gets for now...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy T-giving

It seems pathetic that I stop long enough for this particular holiday to count my blessings when I could be doing that every day.

I'm thankful that I have such wonderful parents whose zest for life taught me to look for the treasures of being alive - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

I'm thankful for my hubby. His kind nature and sweet spirit have always propelled me (and oftentimes propped me up) when I felt like this writing gig was going nowhere. He's loved me for 28 years - even when I'm a pain in the ass. He understands that I'm a lousy cook and that I'll never evolve in the domesticity department either. Anyone who thinks arranged marriages are for the birds needs to talk to me and my dad. It's a joke and definitely a blog-worthy story.

I'm thankful for my three kids. Though I'd rather have root canal sans Novocain than relive their high school years, they are the brights spots of joy that balance my life and keep me humble. They make me laugh until my stomach hurts, and I can't imagine a better crew to share my genes.

I'm thankful for the Pound Princess. She filled a particularly vacant spot in our lives when our beloved Swamp Thing went to the Rainbow Bridge. She seemed to understand that she had very big paws to fill. She was so grateful to be welcomed into our home, that she has earned her 'Precious Dog' status. Now, if I could just teach her about large dogs...

I'm grateful for my writing. We writers isolate ourselves for many long hours while pouring out our verbs and nouns. When we write 'the end,' we can't be certain whether we've hit or missed. That my book won a gold medal IPPY tells me that I'm doing something right. Writing scratches a very big itch for me, and I'm grateful to know that my words bring enjoyment to others.

I'm grateful for my day job. Being an editor is fulfilling work (though never ending). I've met some of the most fascinating people and read some of the most wonderful works. I can't imagine doing anything else.

I'd like to promise myself to think of these things every day. But just in case I don't, I'm really grateful for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For the lawyers in my life

I was going to send this to Medblog Addict but decided she had plenty of fodder for her own blog.


A big city lawyer went duck hunting in rural North Wairarapa, New Zealand . He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence.

As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

The old farmer replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in New Zealand and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own."

The old farmer smiled. "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes in North Wairarapa. We settle small disagreements like this with the 'Three Kick Rule.'"

The lawyer asked, "What is the 'Three Kick Rule'?"

The Farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom.

The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel toed work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was on all fours when the farmer's third kick to his rear end, sent him face-first into a fresh cow pie.

The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and remaining strength and very slowly managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Okay, you old fart. Now it's my turn."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Nah, I give up. You can have the duck."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When Human Nature Blows My Doors Off

While I tend to look for the humorous side of life, I never cease to be shocked and amazed. That’s why I love medblogs so much – docs shock the crap out me all the time with their vast array of knowledge. Me? I’m lucky to remember where I parked my car when I leave the Batcave and visit the mall.

So while mainstreaming some caffeine into my bloodstream this morning via a wonderful new IV device created by the good folks at M.D.O.D., I read this article about a little girl who was born with 8 limbs! Eight freaking limbs! Can you imagine? 4 legs, 4 arms. In an incredible feat of the human body, this little girl ABSORBED an undeveloped twin. Well, almost absorbed. Surgeons were able to remove the extra limbs with no problems.

Okay, I’m thinking, no physical problems. As a writer, my imagination runs rampant at the possibilities of writing about the mental aspects of absorbing another human being. Was it a human being? Did it have a soul? You hear those stories about how twins have that in utero thing going on. I don’t write science fiction, but, boyo, my thoughts run overtime. Or a thriller? Horror? Gah. I write personal journey type books – ooo, now that could have some great potential. Or what about metaphysical (I hear my doc buds gagging now), or possibly religious. Nope, don’t do that either.

Since I write about docs, maybe their perspective would be a cool angle. However I slice it – oh dear Lord, what a horrible pun – it’s a fascinating story. On the other hand, maybe I should strap my IV back in and mainstream some yogurt.

Knock on my door anytime

Okay, I’m a shit. I admit it. I hate door-to-door beggars.
“Buy my magazines!”
“Let me wash all the stains out of your carpet with my amazing Crap Out solution!”
“Pay for my trip to Rangoon!” and on and on.

The only ones who wend their way into my heart are the neighborhood ankle biters who shove their school forms under my nose, inviting me to buy gift wrap that was designed by a hung-over frat house suffering from gastrointestinal regurg, or candy that was the Army rejects from Desert Storm. If you don’t live in my neighborhood, don’t be ringin’ my door. I'm a cranky old broad. Out of desperation, I put up a sign to discourage this breed.

I work at home, so these door beggars invariably ringy dingy when I'm in the middle of a phone conversation with an agent or publicist – or worse – working on my book.

This morning's adventure forced me to hang up with the hoo ha NY agent I've been prostituting myself over to sign his client's manuscript, tromp downstairs, grab the dog so she doesn't charge out to lick the person to death, open the door and hear the final insult: “Hi there!” followed by a small wave by a young man with ears way too large for his head. “Are you the queen of this castle?”

Me: (blinking dumbly.Queen of the castle? Oh brother) No, but I am the head witch of this coven. How may I help you?

Big Eared Young Man: I’m looking for sponsorship to this oh-so-special-college

Me: (immediately feeling very pissy over hanging up with hoo ha NY agent) Does this oh-so-special college include reading lessons?

Big Ears: Huh? Reading lessons?

Me: (pointing to the sign that says “Solicitors Will Be Eaten”) Seems this is the Pound Princess’ lucky day. Sic ‘em, girl!

My docile PP turns into Cujo, complete with perfectly appointed lip curl and low growl.

Big Ears: Screw this! (his face blanches and he races for the sidewalk)

Me: (shouting) Y’all come back now, y’hear?

PP and I collapse against the wall in a fit of giggles and share high-fives. Hey, I already admitted I’m a shit. But I still have to get my jollies wherever I can. Now, I really must go back and call that agent...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Size Does Matter

I don’t know what it is about my dog. She’s a pound princess, so the first two years of her life are a mystery to us. For my own sanity, I like to think that she was well-treated by some very old person who couldn’t take care of her any longer. I look into those big brown eyes and can’t stand the thought that anyone could have raised a hand to this sweet dog.

But – there’s always a but, isn’t there? I wonder about her sometimes. I’ve blogged before about how we live off this really cool bike path and how the Pound Princess and I take our daily constitutional. I never really knew what that meant – constitutional. When I was a kid, I thought it meant doing a, ah, #2. Whenever my grandmother said, “Come on, Lynn, time for our daily constitutional,” I lived in fear that we were both going outside to lay a big o’ dootie on the sidewalk. I was four, so the idea had a certain charm. But my grandmother? I just couldn’t figure out why we just didn’t use the bathroom like everyone else. But I digress...

As we take our morning constitutional – I take care of that business before we leave – we pass dogs of all sizes. PP sniffs and gives a womanly nod of her fuzzy head to the beagle. She’s fascinated by the chihuahua and sniffs its girly bits just to make sure it’s not a plastic wind-up toy. She grins at the golden retriever and they insist on rolling around on the dirt while I make nice with the golden’s owner while privately wondering why the he didn’t peel the toast out of his teeth before he left the house.

We walk further, and – what’s this? – a new dog on the path? Wait, it’s not a dog, it’s freaking horse. It’s straining against its chain collar that has those little chinks that dig into the neck if they pull against the leash too hard. He has stringy gork dripping from its fangs, which are the size of small cars. It rumbles a deep, low growl that says, “Do. Not. Fuck. With. Me.”

“Come on, Sunshine, let’s be nice,” says the slight woman as she tries to rein in the mass of muscle and attitude.

Sunshine? Just who are we kidding here? No dog that looks as though it’s going to rip the heart out of an elephant should be named Sunshine. No wonder he’s in a pissy mood. He’d rather be named Shredder, Mastadonian Bone Cruncher, or Muscle Masher.

My bladder is doing flip flops, hoping the thing has been fed. “Don’t worry, PP,” I whisper, “I’ll protect you.”

I look down, expecting the PP is worrying about her own bladder control. WTF? She’s decided that this is a particularly good time to show her dominance. DOMINANCE? Whatever happened to, “let’s run away to fight another day? She slows her gait and her head dips low as if she’s stalking. Her eyes are lasered in on the killing machine. The movie playing in my head doesn’t have a pretty ending, and my thoughts take an ominous turn. Is this woman strong enough to hold her dog back from eating PP and me? Did I bring my cell phone so I can order up an ambulance? Where was it that I saw that emergency vet hospital?

The snarls and spraying of gup from both dogs’ grew to a crescendo as we passed each other – the woman and I shared strained smiles. The minute we passed, PP, once again, became my docile little creature who snuggles under my feet while I write and steals my daughter's underwear.

“What the hell is the matter with you?” I hiss. “Don’t you know I’d rather feed you dog food rather than feeding you to a dog?”

Her smile says it all. “No worries, Mom, I could have taken him.”

I wonder if there’s a therapist who deals with dogs suffering from Little Dog/Dumbass Ideas Syndrome. After all, I do live in California

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revisiting 1977 with JC Penny's

This blog entry is for anyone who was being cool in 1977. I nearly laughed up a lung. Here's a teaser. Oh, and make sure you're not eating or drinking anything.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fire and education just don't mix

This goes in my "things that make me go, 'hmmm'" file. Our local Santiago Canyon fire is still smoldering but is completely contained. Yay for a tough job well done. Not a day after the smoke finally cleared and school was back in session, school administrators wore very stern faces and informed everyone that those missed days of school had to be made up. No ifs, and, or buts about it. Everyone saw it coming, of course, and were prepared to do the extra days because education is education, right?

Then I read in my paper that, lo and behold! those days don't have to be made up after all. The state is going to pay the school districts for those missed days. I'm still trying to find the connection between the sudden appearance state money and a missed week of school. After all, that missed week impacts whether little Johnny understands subtraction or can spell NannyState. Silly me. It was never about education.

And these are the people we want running our health care?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Working with greatness

I love my day job because I get to work with some of the brightest literary minds in the biz. One of my big hooha moments came when Stan Chambers signed with us. I grew up with Stan Chambers and KTLA News, and I'm no spring chicken. Whenever something horrible was happening in Los Angeles or surrounding cities, I always felt better knowing Stan was reporting the story. I nearly popped my liver when he insisted my name join his on his book. Stan is the last of the true gentlemen, and I've relished my moment in the sun with this kind man. A true icon...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Summing it up

Yep, this pretty much says it all for me...

When we stop listening...

“Number 4 spawn,” my mother said to me many moons ago, “there are certain discussions you never enter into with the intent of changing anyone’s opinion; politics and religion.”

Mom almost had it. She forgot hair color, bra size, who ate most of the Halloween candy, good-looking guys, and whether those pants really make my butt look fat. I’ve also added integrative medicine to the list because it seems to bring out the beast in people rather than the best. After all, we’re passionate beings – especially with certain issues.

A couple weeks ago I had occasion to be part of a discussion panel with all kinds of medical types sitting in the audience. The discussion was about integrative medicine and its place within traditional medicine. I won’t lie; I was scared out of my Victoria Secrets. My only credentials are that I write about doctors and how their belief systems influence their lives and treatment of their patients. Given that my book presents the pros and cons of this issue, the event organizers felt I’d be an interesting addition to the panel, which was comprised of docs of all disciplines who utilize varying forms of alternative healing methods in their practice.

So I sat down feeling pretty good, comforted that it would be the docs to the right and left of me who would take gas. Nothing could have amazed me more than to become a target for one particularly disagreeable type. Without preamble, he stood up and told me that I was “little more than a member of the lunatic fringe,” and “who the hell are you to advocate this integrative medicine bullshit.” He finished up with, “there’s no scientific data that proves its efficacy, and your real purpose for being here is to sell books.” Well, okay, he’s got me there on the last point. I don’t know of a single author who doesn’t. I was particularly saddened when he denigrated a respected surgeon I’d researched with as being unintelligent because his opinions differed from that of my blathering detractor.

He reminded me of an anonymous doc I encountered on a blog recently. Anonymity is such a lovely tool because it grants anyone carte blanche to behave as badly they want. I’ve never hidden behind anonymity – though there are plenty times that I wish I did, but I digress…

His wrath hurt. Right to the core. This man knows nothing of me or my book, yet he flipped a middle finger to the sanctity of good behavior in order to humiliate me and accuse me of being disingenuous. I understand that he feels integrative medicine is dangerous and is promoted by snake oil artists who rip people off. He’s scared and angry, and I empathize. That’s precisely why this seminar had been offered.

I’ve been speaking to groups for a long while, and I know nothing good comes from confrontation. No matter how passionately someone feels about a particular subject, screaming at someone with an opposing view only proves that we aren’t listening. Where’s the exchange of ideas? At that point, why bother?

When people speak in absolutes, they are basically stating there’s snowball’s chance in hell their opinion will ever change. “Anyone who believes in integrative medicine is an idiot, and because I said so makes it true.” Is this a case where we can agree to disagree? Like politics and religion? Is it remotely possible? I do all the time with many of my doc friends, but there’s a level of mutual respect.

Hey, it may very well be that integrative medicine is a bunch of hooey. Then again, I can’t speak in absolutes because I’ve witnessed to too much to believe that and so have a lot of docs and other medical professionals. That’s why I sat, dazed and shocked, at this man’s spew. As he was being shown the door, I thought about other doors, metaphorically speaking, that were also being shut. So much for discussion about controversial ideas.

I wonder what Mom would think about that. Then again, I think she dropped me on my head when I was very young…