Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

January 22, 2017

Thanks, Donald!

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:42 pm

Before I even start—I owe all this to Donald Trump.

Ever since the election I’ve been having Trump-mares. Really. Not Trump-as-president-mares, but dreams in which he is personally threatening me. Sometimes he’s just standing in my bedroom doorway, shaking his big orange head saying, “Sad. Sad.”

Sometimes he’s in my classroom, stalking around behind me as I talk to me students. “Wrong!” he interjects. “Wrong. Stupid Carol. Bad Carol. Wrong!”

I am not making this up, people. I, for one, am able to tell the truth, due to my recent experience, I forgive President Trump because he can’t.

Because of my Trump-mares, I spend a good deal of time lying awake, sometimes staring at the ceiling, wondering if I could just personally secede from the Union, and sometimes watching TV. The best infomercials are in the wee hours, in case you ever wanted to be sure and get the best price on some of the necessities of life, like, I don’t know, Skinnies Instant Arm Lift (so you can tape any hangy-down fat under your arms to the back of your arms). Or maybe Kush. You know, that thing you put between your breasts when you sleep on your side so the top boob doesn’t look all saggy and shit? I mean, you sure as hell aren’t going to find that in a brick-and-mortar store.

Or the Better Marriage Blanket! I’m surprised more people don’t set their alarms to wake up on purpose to get one of these. They absorb your spouse’s silent-but-deadly-under-the-covers emissions! Who doesn’t need that!! And you know it works, because the commercial says it’s made of the same material the military uses to protect troops against chemical weapons! Or maybe you’re just looking for some Pajama Jeans. They don’t sell those at Dillard’s. I checked.

But I digress. I’m lying there flipping channels, and what comes on but Country Heat, the Core de Force to give me a beach-ready body! In 21-days, no less! Plus, it’s not really exercising. It’s line-dancing for 30 minutes a day. In the house. Alone. Which is, as we all know, the only place I should be allowed to dance.

I had to have it. So I called the number on the screen and talked to Debbie. I must have called at just the right time, because before I knew it, I was on the VIP team. Not only did I get the 6 DVDs that comprise Country Heat, I get Autumn’s (Autumn Calabrese, creator and trainer, but she likes us to call her Autumn) patented portion control containers. If I can stuff it in one of those, I can eat it! I am not making this up.

And then, because Autumn really, really cares about my health, Debbie said she was authorized to send me a free 30-day supply of Autumn’s ActiVite multivitamins (also patented) for only $1 and an additional $3.95 shipping and handling. If I was satisfied, they would set me up to automatically receive a 30-day supply each month for only $29.99, which is, I’m not kidding, 54% off the regular price.

It just goes on and on, people. Debbie said because Autumn truly wants me to reach my goal of a beach-ready body, she is personally giving me a free 30-day membership on so the coaches there can keep me on track. If I like it, I can keep it for only $2.99 a week. She’ll even throw in three of her best-selling Shakeology Smoothies. 70 minerals in a single glass!

I had to pinch myself. Here I’ve been sad because in the last few years I’ve gone from beach-ready body to neighborhood-pool adequate body to lawn-chair-between-the-house-and-the-privacy-fence body, and I could regain that beach-ready body for only two easy payments of $39.99. There’s a money back guarantee, too (I get to keep the shakes even if I send the rest of it back).

And I thought Donald Trump’s presidency would be a disaster of epic proportions! Sorry, Donald!

January 16, 2017

RIP Clancy Lee Johnson

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 6:40 pm

Clancy Lee Johnson died at on January 9. He was 12 years old.

Clancy came to us at 3 weeks old. He was standing on the corner at about 131st and I-75, a privacy fence behind him and a highway in front. He went for the highway. Over and over and over again. He weighed less than a pound, so when a car flew by, the gust of air threw him a few feet back toward the fence. When a semi went by, he hit the fence.

Along came Jim, who picked him up and called me. $300 later, Clancy was de-flea-ed, de-wormed, de- exotic parasite-ed, and ensconced in a Kitty Tent in a room with me for two weeks. So we could bond.

Two weeks later, he came out of the room and ran straight to Jim. He was supposed to be a me-cat, but he was a Jim-cat. Of course, when you get down to it, most cats are Jim cats. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever known, but when he sits, he sits. Hours at a time, layers of cats on him. For 12 years, Clancy was the foundation of that layer.

He followed Jim like a dog. He knew the sound of his truck and met him at the door every night. If Jim went outside, Clancy ran from window to window to keep an eye on him.

Clancy was a little high strung, and he didn’t like anybody except Jim. Nonetheless, when visitors came to call, he was the only cat in sight. He sniffed everyone, repeatedly, and gave them come-hither looks, but extending a hand to pet him was an invitation to a hiss, at least, and a bite, at worst.

He had a special dislike for me. Maybe because I kept him in a room him for two weeks.  People say a cat can’t think deeply enough to hold a grudge, but I have to disagree. I don’t know how else to explain the fact that I came home from Seattle at 11:00 one night, put my suitcase in the hallway up stairs, and by 11:03 Clancy had urinated on it. Or that he peed on my absolute favorite pair of cowboy boots. Or that he peed on my pillow. Or that he peed on my coat, which was hanging on a coat rack! He had to go up the stairs and back himself between the balustrades to accomplish that one.

When he had to be put down, Jim said he couldn’t do it. I said I would. It’s little enough to do for a man who digs up your favorite dead cat and brings it to the new house and reburies it. So I took him. The last thing he did before he left this world was bite me. That was just so him. (I’ll let you guess which cat is Clancy).clancy

I said I wouldn’t shed a tear when he was gone, but I was wrong. Every time I leave a room and realize I no longer have to close the door to keep him out, I tear up. When I start back downstairs to put my iPad in a pee-proof spot then remember I don’t have to do that any more, I cry. When I take the marshmallows out of the cabinet for hot chocolate and he doesn’t scramble into the kitchen to get one so he can lick it then leave it on the floor for me to step on, it makes me sad.

In spite of everything, he was a pretty good cat.

December 31, 2016

What’s wrong with Kansas?

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:10 pm

This is what’s wrong with Kansas (besides Sam Brownback and the late Fred Phelps): You congratulate yourself on the fantastic rate you got for a night at Hutchinson’s newest hotel. The bed is great. The pillows you want to steal (but don’t). There’s free WiFi, a microwave, and a refrigerator, into which you put your Diet A & W Root Beer that is an absolute necessity for waking up.

In the morning you arise to a gorgeous day, only half as cold and windy as you remember it. You take your root beer and makeup and hair paraphernalia into the bathroom and twist the top on that root beer you’ve been dreaming about.

And it explodes. Literally. Because it froze overnight. It spews onto the mirror, walls, floor, ceiling, and you. Not. Your. Fault. Not your fault, people. But your husband–at least for the moment–who is apparently the arbiter of all that is morally correct, tells you you have to clean it up. Did I mention that it wasn’t your fault? I’m sure I did. But still, he insisted you clean it up.
So you wipe it all down, but you see it needs just a bit more–maybe a damp cloth. So you turn on the faucet to wet a towel and complete the tasks he so wrongly instructed you to do, and the faucet handle fell off. Again, NOT. YOUR. FAULT. But who do you think had to put it back on?

Ha! Wrong! It wasn’t me (and you knew all the time that by “you” I meant “I” and “me”) because I was on the way out the door with my suitcase. A woman can only take so much.

But guess what’s right with Kansas? 

There are people there I love and who love me. 

November 4, 2016

Stupid Halloween

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:09 pm

This was my Halloween.

10 a.m. Go to Walgreen’s and buy $30 worth of candy.

1 p.m. Go back to Walgreen’s and buy $40 worth of good candy to mix in with the shit candy I bought the first time.

3:15 p.m. Text Jim and tell him to pick up some Halloween decorations for the porch and yard.

6:40 p.m. Yay! First trick or treaters. A little Batman and a princess. Too cute to poot.

6:43 p.m. Two boys taller than I am, wearing camouflage and wielding toy guns. But they had plastic pumpkins for their treats.

6:50 p.m. A kid of about 16. No costume. No treat bag. I. Just. Couldn’t.  I called Jim, and he gave him a double handful of the good candy.  I sprawled on the couch with a wet cloth on my forehead.

6:56 p.m. A guy about 18 or 19. In a pink prom dress—noththatthere’sanythingwrongwiththat—3-days growth, a Kate Spade purse to hold his candy, and a marijuana leaf tattoo on his right shoulder blade. Without prompting, he told me this would be his last year. I didn’t ask him “Last year for what?” Didn’t want to know.

6:57 p.m. Closed the door, turned off the porch light, and took a Xanax.

Next day:

7 a.m. Woke up with a Three Musketeers wrapper stuck to the side of my face and and Skittles in the bed.

8:15 a.m. Went to Walgreen’s and bought 80 treat bags.

8:40 a.m. Arrived at work. Spent 48 minutes filling treat bags for my colleagues and students.

9:30 a.m. Finished distributing candy to colleagues, stowed the ones for students, drew the drapes on my door, and ate the rest of the candy.

I hate Halloween.


September 16, 2016

Change. It will be the death of me. Really.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:48 am

I have a job I love and I’m never ever ever going to retire. I’ll probably die in the classroom in the middle of explaining why the statement “A feces is a person, too,” is incorrect, or maybe reliving the day Jon Stewart left me or ranting about the over-heated room.
But I have been traumatized. It’s possible I will need therapy. Well, more therapy.

Remember how much I hate change and inconsistency (unless I want you to change or I am being inconsistent)? I mean, I’ve devoted whole blogs to it. I’ve lain awake nights worrying about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse or becoming allergic to wine or being abducted by a serial killer. If all my “What ifs” were cookies, I could put Mrs. Fields, the Keebler Elves, and Famous Amos out of business.

But for all my worrying I never thought anything important would change enough that I’d really notice, because, as you know, I can be a little self-absorbed.
And nothing ever did change significantly. Until it did.

“It” is the big-ass reorganization at work. In the end, I think many of the changes will be beneficial. But do they have to happen so fast? Some days I feel like I smoked a whole bag of pot and took off running backwards uphill in stiletto heels with my eyes closed.

Not that I would know anything about smoking pot. I just hear things. And I’m a writer. I can imagine. Or just make it up. Whatever.

My point, and I do have one, is that I’m being so bombarded by change that half the time I don’t know where I am or where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing or who I ought to be doing it with.

Oh, yeah. I know some of you smart-asses are saying, “What’s new about that?” Look, getting lost coming back from the bathroom at commencement and having to text someone to come find me was not my fault. Not my fault, people. In case you’ve forgotten, the Mabee Center is round. It could have happened to anybody.

This is different. You try carrying your stupid laser printer around in the trunk of your car because it’s more cost effective to have a few big printers instead of a bunch of little ones. You try to remember where your ID is every minute of the day because you have to have it to print on one of those big printers. You try having your arm get stuck inside the bowels of one of those printers while attempting to resolve the paper jam.

You try standing for 10 minutes in front of a fancy water fountain that’s supposed to automatically detect and then fill your water bottle but for some reason won’t. You try to remember that you’re not in the Communications Division anymore, that it’s not even a division any more, because now it’s the “School of Liberal Arts and Communication.”

You try wandering the hallways with an empty stapler in one hand and a lead-less mechanical pencil in the other, looking for wherever they’ve stored the office supplies so you can trade them in for full ones. And of course I don’t refill them. Are you insane? I am not an engineer or a mechanic.

All that’s bad enough. But today. Today was tragic. Absolutely tragic. My very best concert-going buddy, who is also my second favorite person in administration, and who loves all the same music I love, got a new job. AND LEFT ME HERE TO DIE. ALONE. IN THE RAIN.

I am completely inconsolable. We shared so much! Drive-By Truckers. Robert Earl Keen. Blackberry Smoke. Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill Simpson, people. And cows. Well, that wasn’t so much sharing as it was him sending me a picture of a dead, bloated cow yucking up a pond on his ranch. But still.

It’s possible that you don’t realize the magnitude of this event. I am a Highly Sensitive Person. It’s true. I took a test. (I also know that my hippie name would be Rainbow Freedom and if I was a character on Sex and the City I would be that gay guy they all hung out with, but that’s a whole other blog).

Back to the HSP. The HSP doesn’t feel. She feels. She doesn’t become annoyed at barking dogs. She goes batshit crazy, standing in the middle of the front yard in a nightgown and UGGS screaming at them to shut the f#%k up! She doesn’t just frown when Braum’s employees don’t give her the promised “square dip.” She demands the scales! That’s right. She makes them weigh the damned ice cream cone.

The HSP isn’t bothered by the little things. BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LITTLE THINGS, PEOPLE. .

Nothing is somewhat unpleasant, or mildly stressful. EVERYTHING is the worst thing EVER. It doesn’t have to be. All the Highly Sensitive Person needs is a calm, quiet, CONSISTENT environment where she doesn’t have to keep her printer in the trunk and staplers and mechanical pencils are always full and water fountains work and she always knows where she is and where she’s supposed to be and what she’s supposed to be doing and HER FAVORITE PEOPLE DON’T LEAVE HER. TO DIE. IN THE RAIN.

I told you it was tragic.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go send my buddy a blank text message to emphasize the fact that I am not speaking to him. I may send more than one. I am a Highly Sensitive Person, after all.

August 3, 2016

The truth according to Facebook

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 12:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Facebook and I have an on-again/off-again relationship. As a rule, I don’t like to be one of those people who follows trends, and it took me a long time to decide to even get on there. I finally did because my granddaughters lived far away and I wanted to be able to keep up with them.

As the best-laid plans do, that one backfired on me. The girls turned out to have actual lives, and for the most part declined to live them through social media. I, however, started to think a day without Facebook wasn’t much of a day at all. The ideas! The humor! And the cat videos! Lots of cat videos. I was hooked.

And then came election year. I didn’t see a problem with that at first. What could be wrong with a forum in which people could express their political opinions and engage in civilized conversation? Between work and home and church, I was pretty much surrounded by people who thought just like I did. Even when I did encounter people with different ideologies I didn’t talk much. My tendency to speak first and think later doesn’t lend itself to vigorous political debate. My opinions are generally better expressed in writing so that I have time to mull over and process information.

I must say, I overthought that whole thing. Facebook is a land without logic, a place where the person with the least evidence is the most believed. There is no claim too outrageous, no hoax too old, and no photo too doctored to post there.

Here’s what I learned on Facebook.

  1. There is black, and there is white. If you think gray exists, you, my friend, are part of the problem.
  2. If you are a Republican, Democrats are America-hating, unpatriotic pieces of shit blocking the progress of real Americans.
  3. If you are a Democrat, Republicans are war-mongering, gun-toting, misogynistic pieces of shit blocking the progress of real Americans.
  4. If you are a woman and you believe it is your constitutional right to choose what happens to your body, you are a baby-killing, family-hating slut who is worried that an unwanted pregnancy will ruin your figure.
  5. If you are a man and you believe it is a woman’s constitutional right to choose what happens to her body, you are a communist.
  6. If you think it is your right to own and use firearms, you are five minutes away from blowing up a federal office building.
  7. If you believe it is your right to own and use firearms but also feel that we need to establish some reasonable restrictions to keep them out of the hands of people who suffer from mental illness, you might as well put one of those guns to your own head and pull the trigger, because that’s what any gun control legislation will eventually lead to.
  8. If you don’t like Hillary Clinton, you are a moron.
  9. If you like Hillary Clinton, you are an idiot.
  10. If history is not on your side, it’s because the lowlifes who write textbooks have perverted the truth.
  11. We have seen Barack Obama’s birth certificate, both long and short. There is no doubt that he is American. Unless he is Kenyan. And Muslim. And the Anti-Christ.
  12. Racism is a figment of the liberal imagination. It must be true because Ben Carson said so, and he’s black.
  13. Homosexuals are pedophiles.
  14. If we allow same sex marriage, we might as well start banning heterosexual marriage.
  15. If you sympathize with victims of the terrorist acts in France, you don’t care about the people who died on 9/11.
  16. If you support freedom of religion you are an atheist.
  17. If you are an atheist you hate Baptists.
  18. If you are a Baptist you hate Jews.
  19. If you are a Jew you hate Christians.
  20. If you pray for peace you hate people who serve in the military.
  21. If you serve in the military, you are a war-mongering civilian-bombing Nazi.
  22. If you cry for Syrian refugees, you don’t deserve to live in this here United States.
  23. If you cry for the soldier who has waited two years for veteran’s benefits, you might as well take food from a starving child’s mouth.
  24. The Affordable Care Act is the worst thing to ever happen to this country.

Oh, yeah. Donald Trump is a douche bag. That one’s on me. If you and I don’t share that opinion, you probably won’t see this because I’ve already unfriended you and blocked your access to my blog.

July 12, 2016

Things I learned in L.A.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:04 pm
  1. There is more than one Spiderman.
  2. Most of them have muffin-tops.
  3. Xanax under the tongue—better in theory than fact.
  4. Batman doesn’t care whether you wanted that picture taken with him or not. He still wants his five dollars.
  5. Mary doesn’t give a shit what Batman wants. Yea, Mary!
  6. The Australian tour guide on the double-decker bus? A recording. No wonder he was always about a half a block off in his narration. Now I will always confuse Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with the Scientology Headquarters.
  7. Old downtown Los Angeles is the prom dress capital of the world. Store after store after store, filled with lace and tulle and chiffon.
  8. My personality is so awesomely magnetic it completely clears all information from hotel room keys. Or I just don’t know how to operate keys that look like credit cards.
  9. If you walk around in a circle long enough, you will find your room. Even if you can’t get in because of that magnetic personality thing.
  10. Sloan in his cups in L.A. is much like Sloan in his cups in Boston and Minneapolis and Tulsa.
  11. Urinating in public is much more common than one might think. And I’m not referring to Sloan. I’ve never seen him do that, in any state.
  12. Drinks at the Westin cost more with a coupon than not. I guess the bartender thought someone who couldn’t find her room wouldn’t notice.

June 26, 2016

Picking up hookers–just your average Tuesday at Quik Trip

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:17 pm

I always worried that if Jim died first there would be no one to take care of me. I mean, who would find my keys when I accidentally put them in the refrigerator? Who would I call when I hit a curb and have a blowout? Stupid curb. Who would remind me to turn off the alarm before I go out on the porch to scream at the dog across the street? Who would agree with me about the stupidity of man-buns, flip-flops, and reality shows and the necessity of cats, wine, and occasional silence?What I never worried about was what would happen to him if I died first. I figured that given all his experience taking care of me, he would be super good at taking care of himself. 

And then he accidentally picked up a hooker.

Damn it. I have told him about that shit. “Don’t be picking up strange women. I don’t care what they tell you.” And then he comes home and tells me this:

Him: So I was sitting in the Quik Trip parking lot at 11th and Utica eating cookies. This woman came up to the truck and asked me if I could give her a ride to Pine and Peoria.

Me: But you didn’t, right?

Him: She said she’d give me gas money.

Me: But you didn’t, right?

Him: Well, I didn’t take her money. I told her I was going that way anyhow.

Me: But you didn’t let her in the truck, right?

Him: I had to. I was giving her a ride.

Me: That shit will get you killed.

Him: I looked. She didn’t have anything in her hands.

Me: You don’t think she could’ve had a knife in her purse? A gun in her waistband?

Him: (Blank stare.)

Me: Then what?

Him: While we were on the way to Pine and Peoria, she said she was looking for a date. Have you ever heard that? Heard that phrase? Looking for a date?

Me: Yes. Heard it. Not used it.

Him: Well, I had never heard it. So when she said that, I asked did she know anybody up there, you know, around Pine and Peoria. Because I didn’t see how she was going to get a date if she didn’t know anybody.

Me: You didn’t know how she was going to get a date.

Him: Yeah. That’s what I told her. And she said, well, really she just wanted to give somebody head for money.

Me: Head. For money. And did you know what that meant? 

Him: (Looking slightly offended.) Of course I knew what that meant. And I said, no, ma’am! I don’t do that. I am definitely not interested in anything like that. Nope. Not me. Not a bit.

Me: What’s going to happen to you when I die? Answer me that, will you?

And of course he couldn’t. Suddenly, I’m very uncomfortable with dying. That man is 63 years old. He’s not going to get any smarter.

Nothing I can do now but outlive him.

June 2, 2016

Attention, paranoid white guys

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 10:29 pm

Oh. My. God. Could you guys be more racist? Because that’s what’s happening here, with all your  pissing and moaning about how you’re being discriminated against, how a white man just can’t get a leg up anymore, and how all the jobs are being taken by illegal aliens. White males are not under attack, and if one more guy says that, I will punch him in the man-gina. Since I do not want to go to jail for assaulting a dumb-ass, I would appreciate it if you would pull your heads out and read this.

Nobody has declared war on you. Seriously.

Y’all went into a tizzy when Barack Obama was elected, and your sphincter has yet to unclench. I’m surprised you could get your head as far up your butt as it must be for you to act like such whiny little bitches. I’m pretty sure President Obama is not plotting to overthrow democracy or take your guns. He didn’t tell me that, but some things are just really clear when your head isn’t–well, you know. Oh, and by the way, he doesn’t want your women, either. You, in an effort to secure your position a couple hundred years ago, invented that shit about black men being a threat to your lily-white damsels. Remember? Don’t go believing your own hype.

You’ve spent your whole life in a bubble called white privilege, and yes, it absolutely does exist. Just because you don’t acknowledge it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It is, and even the most pathetic lowlife, if he’s a white male, has been reaping the rewards of it every day of his life. In the racial hierarchy of this country, you guys have always been at the top of the heap. The default. Citizen neutral.

Now there’s a black man in the White House. Holy shit. The apocalypse is here.

What a load of crap. You’re not unsafe, you’re uncomfortable, and you can’t stand it. It’s good to be king. Not being king would suck.  So, what’re you going to do to hang on to that crown? A better question might be, what won’t you try?

So far, you’ve made complete asses of yourselves with the following actions:

First, you tried to make the President prove he’s even American. What could go wrong? His father is Kenyan, which is, after all, just a fancy way of saying “black foreigner.” Two strikes. Everybody knows that.

Damn it. The man produced every conceivable form of proof that he is indeed a bona fide U.S. citizen.

Stupid facts.

Naturally you weren’t going to be dissuaded by objective reality. You moved on to Plan B. Obama is a Muslim! Those people are mostly dark, right? And he’s already admitted to being a member of a Congregationalist church. That’s practically Unitarian, which is practically atheist, which is just one slippery slope away from Allahu Akbar, right?

That didn’t work, either. Stupid facts. Again.

Finally, in your desperation you came up with Plan C. Donald Trump. He has the best words. Nobody has better words. And lots of money. He’s going to make America great again. He is excellent at making things great again. He’ll build a wall, too. A fabulous wall. AND he’ll make Mexico pay for it. Plus, he’s got those tiny, tiny hands, so you know he’s not going to steal your women.

I don’t want to tell you your business, but from where I’m sitting, Plan C looks pretty iffy. I mean, the Donald is not known for his truthfulness. Or his loyalty. Who’s to say he won’t get elected, then stomp a mud hole in your collective asses and walk it dry? Think about it. You might blink twice and turn around once, and orange will be the new white. And you, my friends, will be well and truly screwed.

So, all this crap you’re doing? It’s ridiculous. You’re wearing yourselves out fighting a war that doesn’t even exist. I mean, just look around. Nothing has really changed. The deck is still stacked against everybody—women, all people of color, all non-Christians—everybody but you.  You’re sitting in the same catbird seat you’ve been sitting in since that Native American genocide you engineered a few hundred years ago.

I know how much you hate facts, but I’m going to give you some anyway.

So for all you white guys standing around with your tighty-whities in a wad, quit being whiny little bitches. There. Is. No. War.

I can’t promise there won’t be when Hilary Clinton is elected.

May 30, 2016


Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 11:15 am


My #BeReal guest today is Dori Owen.


On #BeingReal

I am a storyteller. This is the way I transform my thoughts into #BeingReal.

I came off the assembly line a little bit broken, a little bit funny, and with a love of all things creative. Art and writing are how I express my real. This is one of my favorite stories about me. And it’s about as #BeingReal as it gets.

It’s a little story called Bipolar Dinosaur that I hope will entertain you and show you my reality.

Bipolar Dinosaur

Having a bipolar disorder is like keeping a pet dinosaur.

You live your life everyday doing everyday things, while out of the corner of your eye, you keep an eye on your dinosaur. Let me give you an example. In the car, you buckle up your dinosaur into the back seat. Driving along, it’s as if he isn’t even…

View original post 1,262 more words

May 9, 2016

Reading is hard, y’all.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 10:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When a person or group asks me to share my work with them, I am beyond pleased. I am thrilled, grateful, and always a little afraid.

Afraid that I won’t read well; afraid that the other readers, all of whom are undoubtedly far more talented than I am, will outshine me; afraid no one will show up; afraid that if people do show up they will all be strangers, people who’ve come to hear other readers, any reader but me; afraid that if anyone does come to hear me, I will do so poorly that they will cringe and be unable to meet my eyes when I’m through.

My experiences have almost always been positive, mostly because professionals know readings are hard. They shouldn’t be—I mean, we’ve all been reading aloud since we could read, right? And don’t we write because we want other people to know what we think, how we feel, how we express ourselves? We want witnesses to the walking, talking wonderfulness that is us, right?

Generally speaking, I’m much more comfortable when those witnesses are at a safe distance—across town, in another state, on another continent. Anywhere I’m not.

But I do know how necessary it is for a writer to participate in her own success, and readings are a valid way to get and keep your name out there. Also, in spite of some social anxiety, I can still be a teeny bit of a showoff. I guess all writers are.carol reading 2

Along with that bit of exhibitionism, we have to have a certain amount of self-confidence. Doing readings is one way to build it, a word at a time. I can think of nothing better than a successful reading to help in that building. That success doesn’t happen without the cooperation of all concerned—host, reader, audience.

Hosts generally know their role, and they do a beautiful job. When things go wrong, it’s often out of their control. Maybe the venue is public, and who could have known the night of the reading is also the night of somebody’s friend’s brother’s going away party? Maybe an integral part of the facility—air-conditioning, sound system, lighting—breaks down. It happens.

copy-of-kirkAudiences know their role, as well, and it consists of very few, but very important, actions. Avoid interrupting a reader by running back and forth to the bar, bathroom, or wherever. Be quiet during the reading. Your friend or partner can wait ten minutes to hear about the time you sat next to Meg Ryan on a cross-country flight. Don’t burst out laughing when a poet suddenly and inexplicably incorporates an operatic aria in the original Chinese right in the middle of a poem about sowing barley or something (although I have to say, that wasn’t my fault. You had to be there).carol_reading

In other words, show a little respect.

Readers should know their roles, but I sometimes think that because we are the “guests of honor,” so to speak, we feel that we don’t have to follow any rules, especially not unwritten ones. In other words, we can be pretty full of ourselves.

But there are rules. If nothing else, following them keeps you from looking like a complete jerk.

  • Adhere to the established time limits. They’re there for a reason. In the context of a group reading, what you have to say is no more important than what anyone else has to say. I don’t care who you are. If I’m good enough to be asked to read at a venue with you, I deserve the consideration of you abiding by the rules.
  • Don’t spend half your time providing a context for what you’re reading. If you can’t do that in a couple of sentences, maybe you should think about reading something else.
  • Don’t read and run. If you’re too busy to hang around to hear other readers, maybe you need to set up a reading just for you. And if you’re not fairly well-known or have an in with somebody, good luck with that.
  • If you do stay, give other readers your complete attention. Seriously. Just show them the respect they show you. This is especially true if you’re more well-known and/or have published more. Nothing makes writers happier than knowing they have the respect and admiration of a writer they And the very best writers I know are, not coincidentally, also the most generous with their time and consideration of fellow writers, especially those who still haven’t quite found their footing in the literary world.

It all comes down to that old Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Thinking that you’ve paid your dues and are above all that doesn’t make you a big star. It just makes you kind of a dick.

February 7, 2016

Front Porch Dottie: May 1, 2015- February 7, 2016

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 12:28 pm
Tags: , ,
Dottie with the deep green eyes

Dottie with the deep green eyes

When he went to get the paper this morning, Jim found our Dottie at the top of the steps that lead to the sidewalk. Someone, we don’t know who, placed her there after she had apparently been hit by a car.

We don’t know exactly where Dottie was born, but we think it was around the corner at the home of a woman who clearly didn’t deserve cats. Mama, an easy-going but fiercely protective flame-point Himalayan, brought all four kittens and put them under our porch when they were just a few weeks old. I guess she thought we’d know what to do.

All the kittens got Mama’s round eyes and thick, long hair and a tinge of blue from the probable father, Greg Gray, a massive blue-gray tom from two doors down. Once they were spayed and neutered, everybody got homes except Mama and Dottie. So we made them ours.

Almost every evening, Greg Gray came to call.  Dottie and Mama let him eat, then they all sprawled on the porch for a while, Dottie lying near first one, then the other. If I’d been her and Mama , I wouldn’t have let him have any food. I thought he was kind of a dead-beat dad who never brought anything to the table, but like my friend Kasty told me, it’s hard to bring anything to the table when you don’t have thumbs.

Greg Gray

Greg Gray



Dottie nursed until she was almost 5 months old, at which time Mama must have decided that was a load of crap and put a stop to it. Dottie’s best friend, besides Mama, was a piece of tree bark she chased from one end of the porch to the other, leaping and pouncing as if it were trying to get away. I think she must have been a very loyal cat, because it looked like it was always the same piece of bark.

From the time she was a kitten, Dottie waited every morning for Jim to fetch the paper, and she chased his feet all the way across the lawn and back to the porch. A few months ago she let him give her a couple of strokes. As long as she didn’t see the hand coming, she was good with it, and he did that a little every day. For the last few weeks, any time he was outside, she ran to him, spun around, and plopped on her butt with her back to him, her signal that she wanted to be stroked, but she didn’t want to see that hand coming.

When I sat on the porch, she did the Dottie-dash, sprinting 10 feet to my left, then all the way back to the right, then creeping around to the back of my chair, purring and watching my fingers as I let them dangle close to the floor, then starting the whole cycle over.

You were an amazing cat, Dottie, and we loved watching you grow into your beautiful, silver tabby self. We’ll miss seeing you at the storm door, your green eyes luminous as you watched the inside cats watching you. You will never be far from our hearts .Dottie and her bark

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