Thursday, April 30, 2009

R.I.P ... and thanks

When Bea Arthur died last week, I thought about posting. She was brilliant and beautiful and an irreplaceable talent. I also knew that the world would grieve her and posts upon posts would be written. Deservedly so. And so they were.

Today, the world has lost another brilliant and beautiful and irreplaceable talent only I doubt posts upon posts upon posts will be written, even though they are deserved as well.

Rest well, Ernie Barnes. The world just became less colorful, less interesting and less vibrant. Thank goodness your work still survives. Thank you for it.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ and an amazing legacy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Questions You Don't Think To Ask

I pride myself on being prepared. My family and I have always been able to discuss what happens in case of serious illness and death. The SGM and I discussed not only what would happen were he to be killed in action but what would happen were he to be captured. I knew my father had a DNR long before the stroke that took his life. The people who need to know, know my wishes regarding medical decisions.

Every now and then, though, one slips by. I remember when my mother brought her now-husband, then not-yet-husband, to meet the family in Colorado. One day, we went to the museum. He said he was going to check out an exhibit on another floor; we agreed to meet up later at another exhibit all of us wanted to see. He left. About five minutes later, the fire alarm went off. We looked at each other and actually laughed. As we evacuated the building, we decided that he was an adult and would find us on the grounds. Sure enough, he did. But when you're all adults, you figure out that yes, you will all meet up in 30 minutes in the Egypt room. You don't think to ask "Where do you want to meet if there's a fire alarm?"

Another time, the SGM was heading out on a deployment and I was to join him in Newport for the last three days before he left. We discussed the things I needed to bring him. I doubled checked that I had my i.d. All was good. Until the attacks on the World Trade Center occured and they closed the bridge to the island and locked down all military bases. You don't think to ask "What's Plan B should there be an attack on US soil?"

Want to know what else you don't think to ask? You don't think to ask "What happens if you're in the country that is Ground Zero of the swine flu that threatens to become a global pandemic?" Nope. That one didn't even make the top 10 list of questions Lithus and I thought to ask each other.

Luckily, he is in a very small town and it is isolated enough that all should be well. He and his co-workers did not get on a crowded bus this morning and travel 3 hours to see the cool city that one of the Mexican pilots wanted to show the others. So they are being smart and responsive with being reactive, let alone overreactive.

Still, you have to laugh. At least I do. Because who expects a global pandemic of swine flu during the only six weeks he's away? Welcome to our world. This is what happens when you combine my life with the life of the one other person whose stories I envy. You get a weird, synergystic swine flu pandemic. Or something like that. But it makes a great story.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


* Trying to decide if I cut my hair, so it's easier to handle and cooler

or if I leave it long, so it's heavier and thicker but can go into a ponytail and still protect my neck.

* Today, Lithus is in Mexico, swimming in a river, under a waterfall. Poor baby. Go ahead, feel free to pity him.

* This blog is far more interesting and fun to maintain than my professional one. But God, don't tell, please. Because of course Pauline's blog is the best, more fascinating, creatively written work on the internet. *sigh*

* Lionel has started sleeping in a new position. I call him Mobius Strip Dog.

* This morning I had a load of laundry in and had the kitchen cleaned before my first cup of coffee was even ready. I am as shocked as you are.

* High school friendship politics and pettiness is really old after, say, about, high school.

* Fresh fruit is back. Especially strawberries.

* Morning walks are making all the difference in how I view the world, how I sleep, how I feel. Next time I feel like skipping more than one day for less than a valid reason, I need to remember this feeling.

* I don't really like Facebook, although I do understand how it is helping professionally.

* The fact that my favorite local grocery store is open 24 hours really makes me happy. I'm not sure I've shopped during daylight in a couple months.

* Yes, life is this basic right now. But the book's getting written. :)

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Professional Packaging

With apologies to my readers who might see this elsewhere...

I try very hard to present a professional face whenever I'm being Pauline. Casual, relaxed, one-of-the-girls AND professional, at the same time.

A couple weeks ago, I ran a contest on my blog. Due to communication difficulties, the winner's prize just went in the mail today. My post office clerk knows me pretty well and is used to me coming in to mail all kinds of interesting things. Because I am in there so often, he is great about doing what he can to cut my mailing expenses. Today, I had picked up a box that would cost more to send the goodies to my winner than necessary. He dug around back and found another box that, while larger, would still be less expensive. Great! Sure, the box had been used before so it was a little banged up but I decided for almost five bucks and the karma involved in recycling, I could live with a little banged up.

Only by the time we had added the padding to the box, it was suddenly more expensive than the original box I'd picked up and he'd rejected. Never underestimate the power (cost) of .9 ounces! "Don't worry, Pauline," he assured me, "I'll manage it." Ah, the joys of being a regular. So, I paid him and walked away from the counter.

I still needed a couple of things so didn't leave the store immediately. Instead, I made the mistake of looking back over to see him "managing" it. He was mauling the inner flaps of the box, ripping them up, in order to lose the extra weight. Ummm.... Hm. By this time, I had paid and he had saved me money. "But it's unprofessional" just seemed, well, ungrateful. Still, it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when my winner gets her goodies ~ in a banged up, reused and mauled USPS box.

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So, yesterday there were huge numbers of protests around the country. People brought tea bags. Lots of history here, obviously, plus they were wise enough to incorporate a very modern acronym: T.E.A for Taxed Enough Already. Only...someone, somewhere dubbed it "teabagging." So all these protesters spent all day yesterday...teabagging their legislators.

Um....Are you gonna tell 'em? 'Cause I'm not gonna be the one to tell 'em.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lip Sync For Your Life...

...and don't fuck it up.

As you may have gathered from the post immediately preceding this one, today was a rough day in my writing world. A frantic phone call to Crow Mother was followed by an equally panicked email to Dennis R. Over four hours and innumerable emails later, I was less frantic, less panicked, had things back in perspective, had a plan and a mental road map. I was also fried. Burnt out. Done.

This isn't the only stress in my world right now. It's just the most urgent stress. That doesn't mean the rest of it isn't stressful or always right there, simmering on the back burner. So yeah ~ I was done.

What I realized was I work very, very hard. Usually, I also play very, very hard. Recently, there's been no play. At least not very, very hard play. I needed a reset. I needed to blow out the stagnant air in my brain and start fresh. There's not a lot of money right now. It's not only Sunday but it's Easter Sunday (a Pagan and a Jew walk into a bar on Easter...) so options are limited.

We called Flora and went bowling. Yep. Bowling. With Flora. Sounds like a great game show, doesn't it?

We were loud. We were inappropriate. We both amused and slightly frightened the family in the next lane. We sang and danced and boogied and wiggled to the videos playing. And then, just as it was my turn, it came on the video screen.

I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent playing Magenta. At parties. In movie theatres. In theatre theatres. In front of my own and my friends' televisions. At overnights and slumber parties. To not perform the song would've been sacrilege. So I did. Standing at the top of our lane, dancing, performing, doing the Time Warp (again!).

My hair was flying; my choreography and lip sync were spot on. At one point, I heard Flora say "this is why I have such a hard time remembering she's shy." Lithus has informed me people gathered in the door of the room to watch and one guy even pulled up a chair. My focus was on Lithus and Flora. And resetting my brain.

It worked. I feel great. I feel creative. I know my characters and their stories and as soon as I hit "publish post" I will write them. Guess I didn't fuck it up.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oh Dear.

I think the book may be boring. Well written with great, fully developed characters, mind you. Just...boring.


Need to find a way around this and quickly.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How It Works

A comment from Graziella and an event last night made me laugh this morning.

I used to live on the 3rd floor of a three-family in MA (for those of you who don't know that phrase, it's a three floor building with one apartment on each floor and shared front and back stairwells). After Graziella moved out of the second floor (which is how we met), two young men moved in. One was a conductor on the commuter train from Worcester to Boston and the first train left at 5:17 a.m. I was writing Falling In Love and Business Words at the time.

The Conductor would leave home about 4:30 to go to work. When he walked out his back door, he would sniff. If he smelled cigarette smoke, he would lean over his balcony and look up. If I heard him, I would lean over my balcony and look down. "Good night, Pobble" "Good morning, Conductor. Have a good day." "Have a good sleep." And he would start his day as I was finishing mine.

Lithus has been moving a bird from the west coast to the east coast. He needed to be up at 3:45 this morning. So, at 12:45 last night, I called him. "Good morning, Lithus. This is your wake up call." "Good night, Pobble. You get a good night's sleep. I'll see you in a couple hours."

Because that's how it works sometimes.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Writing on Writing

My next novel has a deadline of June 1. We're grateful for June 1 because it originally looked as if it might be April 15th. Now, I could've made April 15th ~ but tears would've been involved. There very well may still be tears with June 1. There definitely would've been tears with April 15th. See, the more I write on this story, the more of this story there is to write.

I haven't bothered to edit or re-read at all. That's Crow and the Divine M's job. I'm just writing. Get it written, get it finished, take the last couple weeks of May to edit and rework. That's the plan.

I have given up trying to stay in touch with my friends, keep a clean house, participate in life outside of being Pauline. Luckily, I have very understanding friends and a husband (*giggle* ~ I still like that word) who is willing to wash out my coffee mugs.

And I've learned some things. I really do need to compose initially in long-hand. Yes, it takes twice as long. Yes, it is a pain in the ass. Yes, I really need to do it. And I can't write in silence. But the background noise has to be very specific background noise. Music is great when I'm transcribing from my notebook to the computer. Preferably WBCN streaming in from Boston. For actual composition, though, I need what I call "slightly more intelligent than not television." Mostly, that means dramas. Mostly that means House. NCIS. Special Victims Unit. CSI. Hmm...that's it really. Anything else is distracting. Even other shows in that same general genre. I tried to say (very self-importantly) this is my writing time and this is my writing space and thus spake the author that she will not be disturbed. Yeah...not so much. Now, I turn on the television, find the reruns, curl up on the couch with my notebook, pen and coffee, and write.

I'm also having to find time to actually be Pauline. She guest blogs. She has book signings. She runs a facebook page and her own blog. She gets emails. She's even running her first contest over on her blog. (Check it out ~ you can find it by clicking on "Pauline's site" over in my Places You Should Go links. The drawing will be random but the goodies will be good.) It's surreal as hell. And takes up more time than I'd expected, quite honestly.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not (NOT) complaining. Mostly, I'm loving every minute of it. It's just new and different and taking some getting used to. And y'all are where I work through it all. So thanks. For keeping me sane. For knowing and loving me before I became Pauline. For hanging out and sticking with me through the ride ~ even though I won't be around as much (and will be very singleminded when I am around) between now and June 1.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'll Take It

Timber's been in a spot of trouble recently. Most of it, ordinary teenage stuff. Some of it, not bad right now but needs to be nipped in the bud before it does become more than ordinary teenage stuff, because it could go away ~ or it could become really anti-social. Lithus and Timber's mom have been trying to keep Timber completely in the loop, all three of them meeting together so everyone can hear what is being said. Until this spot of trouble. This spot of trouble heralded the beginning of the time that Lithus and Timber's mom needed to meet just the two of them.

Turns out she's not crazy. Turns out she's not abusive. Turns out Lithus isn't emotionally and verbally abusive. Turns out I'm not an overly strict evil stepmom who uses him as a slave. Turns out none of us are actually behaving the way it is being reported we are behaving. Turns out Timber reports hating Lithus and me as much as he reports hating her. Turns out he's painting us with the same brush he's been painting her.

Turns out, we're all turning into pretty good parents. Because if he hates us all, we're all doing something right. I'll take it. I bet Lithus and Timber's mom will, too.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.