Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store of the Damned

I Am Minding My Own Business.

I go to Jo-Ann's to get a latch hook. (Hey, don't judge. These rugs don't make
themselves, you know.) No, I actually am not making a rug, I am trying to repair the brand-new retro-shag rug in Gomez's room that has suspiciously developed male pattern baldness. [Note to the cockapoo: I'm on to you, sister. This isn't over.]

Anyway, I'm wandering through Jo-Ann's in search of this little hook (which I finally found, by the way, in a humid and untamed corner of the store behind some marked-down Arbor Day decorations underneath a pile of decomposing reindeer moss - whatever) and I start to get this eerie feeling. The further back in the store I go, the more palpable it becomes.

How would I describe it?

A generalized, free-floating despair.

Yes, that's it. An utter and complete absence of hope.

And it's everywhere.

Past the notions, through the scrapping supplies, among the Styrofoam flower cones...despair swirls like ground fog.

But from where is it coming?

I Encounter The Undead.

I catch a glimpse of a figure rounding the corner of
the cake-decorating aisle. Not much - just a blur of relaxed-fit jeans.

Then, near the stencils, the mournful rustle of windbreaker.

And f candle and soap-making...the chilling, unmistakable sound of loose change being jangled impatiently in a pants pocket.

-ching ching-ching ching-ching

These lost souls lurch through the aisles in their walking sneakers and Members Only jackets. They seek that which has been denied them since they were cast by their mate onto the wasteland that is the fabric and crafts superstore:

A chair.

A magazine.

A tool to inspect that doesn't have a pink handle.

Who are these unfortunates whose lot is to wander under the fluorescent tubes listening to "Vicki Lawrence's Greatest Hits Performed by the Percy Faith Orchestra" as time grinds to a halt and they are assaulted by a string of quest
ions that would knock a supercomputer to its knees?

"Which of these papers do you think Cheryl would like in her baby book?"

"Will these buttons make me look like a floozy?"

"Should I stencil frogs on the bathroom cabinets
...or unicorns?"

Who are these forsaken sufferers with whom the cosmos refuses eye contact...on whom the universe itself has turned its back?

They are...

the husbands.

A big thank-you to Pseudonymous High School Teacher for this ultra-swank award:

She lives in Hawaii, folks. Like, all the time. When you're driving to the airport at the end of your vacation, sunburned and bitter that you have to go back to work in a day, PHST is stretched out on the beach reading a smarty-pants hardback and holding a coconut with a long, hot pink straw in it. And STILL you will love her when you visit her blog. She's that cool.

And speaking of Chicago, we are still begging scouting for votes to get our comedy-blogging panel on the agenda for BlogHer 2009. (Hi-fives all around!) You can find all the info and links here or cut to the chase and vote here...but no pressure! Thank you!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Am Transported By The Pan Flute...

...Then Flummoxed By It.

It starts in my car.

I am driving on the 405 freeway with Morticia
. Traffic is moving pretty well and we're listening to some sweet tunes on my new satellite radio system.

Morticia scrolls through the XM stations, checking them out, one by one. All at once the car is filled with the dulcet and soulful tones of the pan flute.

Its ethereal melody whisks away the urban sprawl around me and by the time the wind chimes begin their enchanting tinkle in the background, I am an eagle soaring above the breathtaking rock chimneys and sand pipes of our great Southwest, thrilling to the rush of dry air under my majestic wings and wondering when Georgette (that was her name, right?) is coming back to start my 60-minute Swedish massage.

I am also asleep.

[Note: this is not cause for panic, fo
r two reasons. 1. As a mom, I am a champion multitasker. 2. I come from a long line of sleep-drivers, chiefly my father, who once napped peacefully while piloting our Delta '88 the entire length of the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway in a hailstorm.]

Morticia tells me when I awake that the XM channel is called "Spa." Really? Massage music? A whole channel of it? What's up with that? I picture the DJ in a terry cloth robe with little cucumber slices on his eyes. Do people call in requests and, if so, what are the song titles?

"Uh, yeah, dude, can you play 'My Heart is a Hot Stone Without You' by The Exfoliators?"

And who are these bands? Do they know they're making massage music? Do they get together in their garages on the weekends with a cooler full of longnecks, slapping high-fives, griping about their old ladies and talking about how they are going to raise the effing roof - yeah! Does the pan flute player walk in wearing a studded leather jacket and holding a little black case lined in red felt and covered with AC/DC stickers? Or is it just the opposite - his pan flute hangs jauntily from his shoulder by a strand of raffia, nestled against his organic cotton messenger bag?

I need to know how this

What about record contracts? Does some fat cat
music executive suddenly jump up from the massage table in the middle of his weekly Lomi-Lomi, spit out his cigar and yell, "By God, that's the sound I've been looking for! Get those kids on the phone, now!"
And think about this: do they play gigs? If so, where? I picture a guy with a pan flute and another holding a wind chime, standing on the sidewalk outside The Whiskey up on Sunset Boulevard with all the Lycra-wearing hair-band guys. Hmmm. Or maybe they're more of a coffee-bar act, playing where the audience has at least a fighting chance of staying awake if they mainline enough espresso. Senior centers seem like a non-starter - that's just asking for trouble.

More importantly, do they have [gulp]
groupies? What would that situation even look like? The pan flute guy stands at the edge of the stage, one foot perched on the monitor as he rips off a scorching solo while scanning the crowd and motioning with his eyebrows to his security guard: That one there in the second row...the one in the embellished t-shirt with the crystal glasses chain...bring her to my dressing room after the show?

What does the crowd fling onto the stage when they get worked up, sprouted bread? Dream catchers? Birkenstocks? At the climax of it all, doe
s the lead guy smash his pan flute over an amp? Or set it on fire like Jimi Hendrix? Do they trash their hotel rooms like The Who? Or play Mancala with the roadies instead?

It's about this time that the frantic burbling of an accordion explodes inside the car and Morticia announces that she's found the all-pol
ka channel.

Polkas? Really? Now, how does
that work?

I want to send a huge thank-you to Margaret at Nanny Goats in Panties for this hilarious tabloid-style "interview." Margaret is a true comedy ninja whose posts consistently bust me up. She also builds all her own furniture. Go figure.

And thank you to Mommy's Martini for this delightful lemon drop:

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm Not Worthy! I'm Not Worthy!

Interview by Beth Kephart

I am honored to have been interviewed by the delightful and amazing Beth Kephart, author of the forthcoming
NOTHING BUT GHOSTS and a National Book Award finalist (just one of her many accolades).

The interview has been posted on her blog and you can find it

I know many of you are aspiring writers and/or avid readers (myself included). Whether or not you fall into either of these categories - but especially if you do - I think you'll find
Beth's blog to be an enlightening and captivating destination that you'll look forward to visiting again and again.

If you have a moment, I hope you'll stop by and read the interview, or just stroll through the posts and get acquainted with someone to whom I'm tickled to introduce you.

Thank you

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yep, That's Burnin' Rubber You Smell

I love a road trip!

So I've taken one today at the gracious invitation of the tres chic, magnifique La Belette Rouge.

That's right, I've hitched today's post to the back of the ol' Gremlin and hauled it over to her pad where it's up on blocks in her driveway. We'll be out there in our webbed lawn chairs all day, so come on by and root around in the cooler!

Save your gas, though, because you need only to click right here and you'll be whisked there through the magic of...
The Internet.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Broad On A Wire

Conspiracy Begins At Home

In the past 24 hours, I've lost my Internet connection at least a half-dozen times. It's so infuriating to try to
ogle the latest photos on TMZ do research for my novel and get a crazy delay and repeating error message.

I know what's going on, though: electronic espionage. That's right - someone is intentionally knocking LJKGW offline. I don't know what their sinister plot is - yet - but I know this recurring problem is no accident.

Whoever this fiend is, they've gone to the trouble of finding their way into the LJKGW Nerve Center, learning its operations and disabling the critical wire. T
his is no mean feat, I tell you.

Here, I'll show you...

The LJKGW Nerve Center:

A closer view:

That's the critical wire...right...there:

Now, what makes going offline even more infuriating than it sounds is the highly technical process for re-establishing the dedicated LJKGW Internet connection, as follows:
  • Wade through knee-high drifts of pointy Legos to retrieve footstool from Gomez's room.
  • Step onto footstool and forget (every friggin' time) to watch out for the doorway, thus braining self.
  • Wedge noggin into crevice in top section of linen closet to read microscopic labels on back of hateful, sub-par modem.
  • Jiggle super-secret faulty wire (the linchpin of the LJKGW communications infrastructure) while shooing nosy dogs out of linen closet with foot.
  • Turn off hateful, sub-par modem.
  • Stomp around for five minutes while regretting decision to drop out of anger-management class.
  • Get back on stool (braining self yet again), turn hateful, sub-par modem back on and stare at tiny plastic button as it blinks and finally burns solid green.
  • Repeat as necessary.
You know, this technical stuff can really be a pain. I don't know how Bill Gates does it. Can you imagine how stuffed his linen closet must be?

Anyway, the really creepy aspect of all this is that the evil genius in question has figured out not only which wire is the critical one, but also how to go about disabling it.

Somehow this person has defeated the many fail-safe components built into the system and discovered the super-secret mechanisms that disrupt the wire and knock the connection offline, including:
  • Opening the linen closet door too quickly.
  • Opening the linen closet door too slowly.
  • Trying to remove the Thanksgiving tablecloth from the linen closet.
  • Trying to reach Parcheesi, the family-fun classic.
  • Attempting to vacuum the hallway.
  • Playing Ozzy's "Crazy Train" too loudly. (Is that even possible?)
  • Slamming any door in the house.
  • Walking past the linen closet too boisterously.
See what I mean? How did that sneaky bastard crack our code? In light of this security breach, I have been forced to implement a bold new measure to ensure the integrity of the Nerve Center:

I think you'll agree that, harsh as it is, I had no choice.

New Blog - Post to the President. Got something to say to our new President? An idea? Suggestion? Worry? Compliment? This is the place to do it: a brand new blog whose posts are individual messages to Mr. Obama, submitted by readers. Fascinating reading and a chance to go on record yourself. (I'm pretty sure there's also a reservation form for anyone who's traveling to the D.C Metro area and would like to crash at the White House for a night or two. Note: no camper hook-ups available, but flashing your AAA card will get you a sweet discount.

And thank you to Curdled for tagging me up with the Six Weird Things meme. I love this blog, and not just because I like knowing I'm not the only person who gets in skirmishes at the Waffle House.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sniff On That, Ansel Adams

Manual, Schmanual

My new camera arrived today!

Those of you who were within earshot of my garage last weekend will remember that my trusty camera fell out of the back of Jon Bon Jovi's El Camino and endo'd down my driveway with a gut-twisting splatter.

(Let me apologize once again for my colorful language and moderate loss of temper, particularly to my neighbor Mrs. Lingenbottom whose three-year-old granddaughter was playing in the front yard at the time. Little Greta did some hard time in the preschool office on Monday after being overheard commenting to another adorable cherub that if she had to eat one more friggin' fishy cracker she was going to have a friggin' meltdown.

Only she didn't say "friggin'."

As I said: my bad. I think we've all learned a little something from this about self-control, yes?)


I got a new camera! I just busted it out of its box and I've already taken a few shots around the house. Man, this thing is amazing. I'm glad I sprang the extra rocks for the bells and whistles - they make all the difference in the quality of the shots.

I think I may have found a new calling!

Check these out:

A candid of Morticia.

My office. (Only took a couple of tries to get this one.)

The puppies!

Gomez looking pensive.

Sometimes art just happens.

Morticia's flute concert. How about that zoom, huh?

I took this with a special cockapoo-obscuring filter.

Best part: this model comes with a custom setting for shooting in the dark.

Like I said - amazing!

Huge Thanks to everyone who's voted to put our comedy panel "DYING IS EASY - COMEDY IS HARD" on the BlogHer Conference agenda! There's still time to vote if you'd like, as well as see the other programs being can do that here. (Scroll down to the post below this one for all the details and the scoop on how to vote.) Thanks again so much for your support!

Breaking News
- FeedBurner has restored my missing subscribers! I am so happy to have you back! Thanks for holding my hand through that ordeal, everyone. (Just in time, too, since someone phoned in a tip and they repo'd the Mobile Command Center just this morning.)

And thank you
to the wonderful Reddirt Woman for the citrus-fresh Lemonade Award! (I love visiting her blog...)

Monday, February 9, 2009

If You Believe In Life Getting Weirder...

...Clap Your Hands!

She's a cruel mistress, that FeedBurner. She giveth and she taketh away.

Take last night, for example.

I doze off here with my head on the keyboard and fingers clamped around a Dixie cup of Thunderbird, content in the warm and loving bosom of some 462 email subscribers (delightful individuals who - along with
my lovely Blogger followers - are my very favorite people out there, all of whom have shiny, manageable hair.)

Come morning, I am assaulted by this heinous discovery:

I choke. I gasp. I cough up that orange TicTac I've been looking for these last three days.

What in the name of Justin Timberlake's jockstrap is going on?!?

I wrack my memory. How did this happen? Where did they go? Did I behave in an untoward manner? Did I (God forbid) attempt that Quiet Riot karaoke song again?

Worse yet [spine gets all tingly]...could foul play be afoot?

I Spring Into Action

I am writing from my mobile command center - a highly advanced and heavily armored van conversion - which is hidden parked behind my garage as a favor to my brother while he sorts out some short-term financial irregularities with a local repossession company.

From this high-tech nerve-center (complete with sound-arresting shag carpet and smoke-bubble surveillance windows shaped like mushrooms), I am coordinating a massive effort to find, secure and, if necessary, rescue my dear subscribers from whatever villainous force has taken control of them. If necessary, I will unleash my powers of feng shui, aromatherapy and our school's earthquake phone tree.

In the meantime, though, I guess I should put my robe on and staple some fliers on power poles around the neighborhood.


Say, if you happen to see any of these dear folks, please tell them I haven't given up - I'll find a way to bring th
em home.

Because I sure do miss 'em.

[I'll get you, FeedBurner. And your little dog, too.]

In Other News - Let's Talk Comedy!

I was thrilled when the very funny Jessica Bern of invited me to be a member of a proposed comedy panel at the upcoming BlogHer 2009 conference this summer in Chicago (along with Wendi Aarons, Mamabird Diaries and Christy the Writer).

Now, I've never been to a BlogHer event, but when Jessica said she was paying all my expenses including a complimentary Shiatsu massage in the hotel spa, well, my immediate answer was, "I'm in!"

(At least, I
think that's what she said. She was on her iPhone and driving by all those big satellite dishes near the studios and things got a little crunchy. Whatev. I'm going.)

However, in order for us to get on the BlogHer agenda and secure a room for our panel, we need to show the organizers that we can generate an audience for our talk.

That's Where You Come In

If you'd be interested in attending our comedy presentation (whether you can actually make it or not), please give us a quick click so we can accumulate enough votes to get on the agenda.

First, click here: DYING IS EASY, COMEDY IS HARD (that's our snappy title)

Then, just click on the link at the top of the page that reads "I would attend this session."
It looks like this:

There's no obligation - you're just voting to put us on the schedule.

Once you click on the link it will read "I would not attend this session." That means your vote has been cast and you're all done! Thank you!

And just to give you a taste of what we've got in store for the presentation, here's our rough outline of topics so far:
  • The care and feeding of rubber chickens
  • Technology update: scratch 'n sniff hardware delayed yet again
  • Who cares what your family thinks? You're damn funny!
  • Go on, blog it. Believe me, if it's illegal, you'll hear about it.
  • What's up with the stupid mustache glasses hat?
  • Okay, dying probably is hard. And hardly ever funny. (Just another reason to some to our presentation.)
THANK YOU SO MUCH for voting for us!!!

Whether we get on the agenda or not, I'll be at BlogHer this July and I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to meeting my bloggy friends in person and I hope to see you there! Let me know if you're going!

Thanks again for the support...

And thank you
to Panda Mime for this sweet package:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What, This Old Thing?

I Call It "Pippi Longstocking Meets George C. Scott"

When I was in high school, my mom told me I dressed like an a
thletic coach. Naturally, I blew my whistle and penalized her 15 yards for unnecessary honesty.

Several years prior, I had won the Ruth Buzzi look-alike contest in my junior high school. Confession: it wasn't so much a contest as a "pet name" given to me entire school.

I went through many vinyl handbags defending myself during those years. (Luckily, though, with my giant melon I could wear adult-sized hair nets and not have to get kid-sized ones custom made.)

Then, after high school, it was off to college where, believ
e it or not, I became even less skilled in dressing myself. I ricocheted from one regrettable decision to another (and, no, I'm not talking about dating - that's fodder for another, more disturbing post). It was 50s housewife one day, Madonna wannabe another, extra from "The Great Gatsby" the next.

Our little college town was full of used-clothing stores and I loved to dig through the musty racks, hunting for a treasure with a little piece of masking tape on it that read $2.00, written by hand with a Sharpie. Some of my finds that were worked into my "wardrobe" again and again over those four years:
  • A surplus Eisenhower jacket in army green wool, military patches intact
  • A strapless, pink satin cocktail dress from the 50s whose lining was in such bad shape that the dry cleaner made me sign a release before he'd touch it
  • A men's black overcoat with a plaid lining, popular with flashers across the country
  • A multi-pastel petticoat made of such stiff tulle that it would occasionally roll down the hallway of my dorm like a tumbleweed. (I also suspected it of having cannibalized several pairs of my jeans in my closet while I was away at class.)

What would I do with these ultra-swank items, you ask? Why, I would combine them, of course! Picture the trim, masculine cut of the high-waisted army jacket perched above the springy tulle petticoat hovering around my hips like the lingering, pastel cloud of some chemical explosion, and, to complete the outfit...wait for it...cowboy boots! Woo-Hoo! Add to that the motorcycle helmet I always had in my hand when schlepping across campus and there you have it.

Paging Mr. Blackwell.

In my defense, it was the Eighties.

These are the images that were running through my mind the other day when I stumbled across a book on my shelf that I didn't even remember having - a book about fashion. More specifically, it's a big list of the clothing pie
ces every woman of style should own. [Note: if I were going to buy one of these books today, I'd buy Imogen Lamport's. I'm just sayin'.]

So I took a moment and flipped through the book and I was like, man, are
they way off! A cape?! Seriously? When's the last time you wore a cape? I mean, not counting your roller derby costume.

Not To I Wear

I thought I'd share a few of the must-have items from this book and translate them into actual, real-life items from my admittedly sketchy pile of crap everyday wardrobe:

"Stylish" Women Should Own: Silk Pajamas

Really? Are we fancy? Does your husband often strut around the house in a satin smoking jacket and cravat? Neither does mine. (Okay, th
e first one did and, frankly, I didn't care for it.) Why so dressy when all you're going to do is fall asleep and have that same nightmare you always have? (The one where you're in the grocery store wearing nothing but a pool float and desperately trying to find a manager so you can get a refund on a bag of circus peanuts but then you run into your old boyfriend who for some reason has turned into a centaur. You know - that nightmare.) If I'm going to be sweating and kicking the covers off and waking up in terror, I want to be comfy. My real-life alternative: ancient, oversized college t-shirt and, you know, drawers.

"Stylish" Women Should Own: Leather Pants

Stop right there. I can think of maybe five people in the world who have any business in leather pants, and only two of them are women: Tina Turner and Chrissy Hynde. Period. What do they have in common? They're ROCK STARS. Rocks stars have highly trained butts that are honed and polished by years of shaking their moneymakers onstage, then soaking them in champagne in their private trailers afterwards. It's a strict regimen they follow for at least two world tours before even attempting leather pants. And for good reason: woe be to the woman (of any age) who foolishly inserts her derriere into leather pants without proper rock star credentials because she will be smote for all eternity by:


We've all seen it. Think back to the mere mortals you've seen wearing leather pants and you'll remember that their tushies looked like upholstered cinder blocks, right? Right. To be avoided at all costs until you go multi-platinum (and, no, I'm no talking about your highlights). My real-life alternative: Jeans. The ones I wear pretty much every day (for years now) and wash on most major holidays whether they need it or not.

"Stylish" Women Should Own: Fur

Okay, we'll set animal rights issues aside her
e and just say, "Huh?" Maybe it's because I live in Los Angeles, but I can' t imagine wearing fur anywhere in my regular life. My local Albertson's? School pick-up? The dog track? Hmmm... And why is it that when I picture myself wearing fur, I'm also wearing a turban, dark glasses and holding a long-stemmed cigarette, muttering something about Mr. DeMille and my close-up? My real-life alternative: Black satin baseball jacket. (Goes great with one of those Italian horn gold chains. Shicka-BOW.)

"Stylish" Women Should Own: A Caftan

Well, excuse the Jo Anne Worley out of me, but even I - in my most questionable fashion moments - would not be caught dead or alive in a caftan. Nowhere along the Pippi Longstocking/George C. Scott continuum will you find Mrs. Roper. No way. My real-life alternative: the Hawaiian shirt. Like all parents, my folks sent up a silent prayer before I was born to the tune of, "Please, God, let her look like Jimmy Buffet." The Hawaiian shirt is the great equalizer, turning women into men and men into clueless tourists. Like the Greek fisherman's cap, which should be worn only by (that's right) Greek fisherman, so the Hawaiian shirt is beyond reproach only in its native land. That being said, however, I own several of these babies, in colors that will make your eyes bleed.

"Stylish" Women Should Own: An Evening Gown

Okay, finally! I'm on board with this one. Here's how it works in my closet: Once a year, I pull out the garment bag and slowly unzip it. Then I work my way into my fanciest dress, which lives in pristine solitude, tags still attached, in the back of my closet. I stand on a footstool and turn slowly, assessing the overall look in the bathroom mirror. Year after year, the verdict is the same: I look like a sack of doorknobs in this dress. I gingerly slip it off, return it to its velvet hanger inside the garment bag, and return it to its shrine in the recesses of the clothes rack. A very satisfying ritual.

Kind of like Groundhog Day with cellulite.

Bitchin' New Blog Alert - That minx Marinka (along with ShallowGal) is at it again with an addictive new blog called Secret Spineless Whine. It's a tastefully discreet little hideaway out there in the blogosphere where a person can sample whines of all varieties...or pour their own. Highly satisfying and (side benefit) it doesn't turn your tongue purplish-black.

Thank you
to all my friends from SITS who stopped by earlier in the week when I was Featured Blogger. Wow - so happy to see all of you and meet all the new visitors! (Still can't believe I ran out of three-layer dip - damn!) I'm making my way through the comments and visiting lots of new blogs, so if I haven't stopped by yet...I will soon. And, if you're wondering what SITS stands for The Secret Is In The Sauce and it's one of the nicest groups of broads on the Web (the kind who always have fresh blue water in their powder room potty). I've made many true bloggy friends through SITS - I'm so happy I found them. Stop by and see for yourself... Thanks again for the awesome comments and support!

Thank you
to Kim at Hormone Colored Days for shouting out to my Meme of PMS! Kim's having a contest and the winner will receive, she tells it better than I can.

And thank you
for the mention by the tres formidable (that's European for wicked awesome and do not dog me about the missing accent) La Belette Rouge. We will be tying on the ol' feedbag today for the first time and I'm very excited to meet her! I will, naturally, be wearing a corduroy jumper that I have BeDazzled especially for this occasion.