Category Archives: Grunts

The Hand I Was Dealt

I generally don’t do holiday cards; I find them tedious, unless I can somehow specialize each card, but those take time I usually don’t have; Decembers are really busy! Rather, I take this time to think of my loved ones, hold them in the highest, most beautiful light I can imagine, and send them waves of love. So, if you’re sitting there at some point, minding your own business, and a wave of love hits you out of the blue, it was me, sending you an ether-card.

But the draw-back to not doing cards is that I don’t usually send out a year in review thing. I don’t generally write mine up, but I do two a year: one in July and one in December. Back at my birthday, I was riding pretty high. I had figured out my last personal year (birthday to birthday): the end of 2013 had laid out quite a few personal challenges for me all at once, and the beginning of 2014 laid out the solutions for pretty much all of them. It was really rough going, but I survived. I feel like that was the year of Jumping The Hurdles. So now I’m trying to see where the arbitrary time-span of 2014 has taken me; what is the name of 2014? Continue reading The Hand I Was Dealt


I wrote this piece of fiction a few years ago. I think it was because I was following a prompt to have certain items in my story. Anyway, it popped into my mind the other day, so I’m sharing it with you now.


This stinks,” Paul announced, as he waded through the ankle-deep muck, sending his gaze around the surrounding area. “No, really. This stinks.”

“Don’t tell me twice,” Buck said, his voice muffled through the red, spotted handkerchief.

Paul glanced at Buck. They’d been friends since the first day of kindergarten, when Tommy Malone had been picking on Buck for being a head taller than everyone else. The fact that Buck had been so shy he could barely put two words together didn’t help, either. It was Paul, the tiniest kid in the class, who stood up for Buck, pulling out a string of such imaginative names for the bully that Tommy had backed off, irritated and more than a little confused. Continue reading Lost

Impressions of a trip to New York: Touristing

Our plane finally landed only 2.5 hours after it was supposed to. We had been worried about having a layover in Chicago: turns out Chicago’s weather was fine, but Newark told our plane to hold off because of their weather. It ended up being a blessing, because it forced me and Honey to wander around Midway and actually eat something. That was the only real meal either of us had all day.

After finally landing in Newark, we both had the same realization: each of us has lived in cold weather climates before, and while it was cold, it wasn’t arctic, just a breezy 35F or so. Hats were a good idea, but the long-johns, insulated self-heating socks, and hand warmers I had been considering would have been overkill. So that was nice. And bracing. Continue reading Impressions of a trip to New York: Touristing

Impressions of a trip to New York: Preproduction

Travel Preproduction, Part I: Procrastination Phase
Begins one week before travel

I need to pack. I need to clean the kitchen. Do laundry. Pack the dogs’ belongings. Stop the mail. Argue with UPS over their fee for holding packages. Make a list of what to bring and what to pack–Lists are good.

  • Make a list of what to pack
  • Run to store to buy wedding gift. Don’t find anything I like. Maybe because it’s less than a week before the wedding??? Screw it; they get a check.
  • Add wedding gift check to packing list
  • Return to store to buy wedding card, selection of which by now only has two that aren’t religious, and one that isn’t saccharine and might have once said “happy birthday” before someone scratched that part out. Apparently there are a lot of December weddings. Who knew?
  • Add “Birthday Wedding card” to packing list
  • Make sure airline tickets are in order
  • Make sure hotel reservation is in order
  • Confirm drop-off/closing times with puppy sitter
  • Visit favorite pub for one last visit, because I might miss them when we’re gone. Also: nachos.
  • Make reservations with shuttle to get to the airport
  • Run to the store (AGAIN) to get timers so that robbers won’t know we’re not in the house.
  • Run to another store to buy enough food so that we can eat the night before we fly out, but not have tons of leftovers in the fridge while we’re gone, because that would be gross.
  • Eyeball kitchen again with a mental note that I REALLY need to clean it. Tomorrow.
  • Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Total time spent in Phase I: Meh, about a week.

Continue reading Impressions of a trip to New York: Preproduction

The Smoker

On my way back from lunch the other day, I passed a man leaning back, with one foot resting on the wall behind him. He was happily puffing away on his cigarette, and it reminded me of way back when I was a kid.

When I was a kid, we traveled a lot. There were road-trips and flights to and from the grandparents’s house, and then once we got there, there was more driving, as we went to visit various family members within a few hours’ of their home. Road trips became synonymous with the same travel games, the same travel food, and the same travel music.

It was always the same. Perhaps that would be boring to some—certainly for the kids of the iPod generation—but for me, it was comforting. I knew it would take a long time, I’d better pee when I could, and I’d be getting my fill of Little Debbie snack cakes and star crunch cookies. (And hiding the apples my mother insisted I take so it looked like I ate those, too.)

Continue reading The Smoker

Captain Inertia and the Catcher’s Mask

I don’t like it when people wake me up. Hell, I don’t even like it when my own body wakes me up for necessities. Waking me up even 30 seconds before the alarm goes off can and will be considered an act of war. I’d like to blame this attitude on my insomnia from the last couple of years, but I’m fairly certain that I’ve been this way since childhood.

My mother used to act as my alarm clock when I was still in school. She’d come into my room softly, sit on the side of the bed, and gently rub my back, murmuring that it’s time to get up. It sounds really soothing– certainly it was the most pleasant call to morning I’ve ever had in my life. And at the time, the whole thing made me angry. I wanted Moar Sleep.

At the same time, I never want to go to bed. Call me Captain Inertia, I guess. If I’m awake and doing things, I want to stay awake forEVER. I don’t want to miss anything, and there are so many terribly interesting things to do, click, read, and play. When the clock hits Cinderella time, I turn into a total three-year-old. Continue reading Captain Inertia and the Catcher’s Mask

Giving Thanks

A lot of people I know, their favorite holiday is Halloween. I guess those are the kinds of circles I run in. I think it’s the costumes and the spooky factors, more than the candy. If it were me, it would be because of the candy. And costumes. And candy.

Then there are the people whose favorite holiday is Christmas. The lights, music, and the good cheer, I suppose. And there is good cheer in there somewhere, hiding behind overcrowded malls and too many crazies out and about all at the same time. Plus, it’s fun to hold loved ones in your heart while you pick out just the right doodads to put a smile on their faces. Continue reading Giving Thanks

A day that changed my mind

I wasn’t really paying attention that day. The flier said to sign up if I wanted to go to some beach. I figured, I was in France to experience everything French, not just Paris, so I signed up. Besides, a little break from the cityscape would be refreshing, even if it was too cold to go for a swim.

My little group of fellow study-abroaders got on the bus, and we chatted about this and that. The lead teacher handed out a flier with an itinerary of what we’d be doing at the beach. … The first stop was a holocaust museum. A little morbid for the beach, but I’ve never been to one before. I probably should go…. but it’s really not my thang. Continue reading A day that changed my mind

The greatest post in the world. Tribute.

Last night, I had the most brilliant idea about my next blog post. It was a shaft of brilliance within the murk of “I dunno, what do YOU want to do?” It was simple, clear, insightful, and just a little funny. I’m pretty sure there was fresh baked bread and little bunny foo-foo in there somewhere, too.

I thought to myself, “Why is simple so spectacular? Man, this is good stuff! I’d better write it down so I don’t forget. … Nah, who am I kidding? This is so smart, there’s no WAY I could forget this.”

And then dooooown came that famous bitch fairy from the forest, also known as Sleep Deprivation, who clearly didn’t like my attitude, and well, you know the old saying, “Hare today, goon tomorrow.”

I’m not sure who I’m more sorry for: you or me. You, because you never got to know such enlightenment, or me, because I actually forgot it.

Ah, well. Another glittering, glowing gem in the literary firmament has winked its last.

Tune in next week, when you’ll hear Bullwinkle say, “Hey, Rocky. Watch me pull a foo-foo out of my hat!”

A different medium

You know that movie? It was based on that best selling book that was soooo good. When you read that book, that one scene just blew your mind. And that one character– if they were a real person, you would TOTALLY hook up with that hotness!

And then! They announce they’re going to make a movie from that book! Remember how excited you were? You were finally going to see your favorite scene! Continue reading A different medium