Monday, April 29, 2013

Pity Party Guest List

Butter Babies for a real party

The girls and I love to throw parties, whether it’s a themed extravaganza with fifty plus guests or a more intimate gathering with our closest and dearest with the grill going and drinks flowing.  What can I say?  We are social bugs, and most weekends will have us busy with entertaining.  With the summer month about to descend upon us, the back yard is being spruced up and new seating areas set up.  The door’s open, so feel free to pop in and take a dip in the pool.

Parties are celebratory events with laughter and a positive air about them.  The mood is enthusiastic and cheer is not just in a glass, but in hearts and minds, as well.  However, some people insist on throwing a pity party for themselves instead of choosing the more positive aspects of life.  You are probably quite familiar with the hosts of the events.  They’re the Eeyore’s of the group where even on the brightest day they are surrounded by rain storms.  If there’s a negative to be found, they’re going to find it and exploit it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Mobile Office

We have been in our current home for three years and during that time I have been able to have a room designated solely for my office on three different occasions, none of which lasted very long. I suppose I should be grateful I had an office for even those brief periods as I wasn’t supposed to have one at all to begin with. What happened was that as we were moving into the house, Nathan decided he was going to move out. It was time for him to venture out on his own. That freed up a bedroom, which I quickly claimed as my office. I actually prefer the term study to office, because the latter sounds cold and impersonal, giving one the impression of being called in to see the boss or the dean. Study not only sounds intellectual, but also gives a warm, cozy feeling, as well. So, to rephrase, I claimed the empty room as my study.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Procrastinating, Yet Productive

Zoning is also productive

I was supposed to be writing, but I just could not make the words flow from my pen. I know what they say. You’re supposed to sit down and write even if you know you’re going to toss every word into the shredder, and usually I can do just that. Usually, but not always. Sometimes, I look for any excuse I can find not to pick up my pen. I really need to catch up on Castle. I should check the lint in the dryer. I need to see if the mail has come. And I do. Every ten minutes. Even after he came just in case he forgot something and came back. Or my nose hair needs braiding. Any excuse will do. I’ve already refilled the squirrel feeder five times.

I have always been a great procrastinator, believing I work best under pressure. It’s a fallacy. We work faster under pressure, not necessarily better. Our brains scramble to come up with anything and because it finally did we think it is pure creative genius. However, while it may be good, it’s not great. Time makes things better - time to revise, adjust, rethink; time to look at all possibilities and carefully choose the best one. We sacrifice the opportunity to assure the best by waiting until the night before a deadline and then just spitting it out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Bully We All Face

I'm still not looking down

I know quite a bit about bullies.  Through my growing up years we had a give and take relationship.  They gave me shit every day and I took it.  My ninth grade year was the worst as it seemed I was the punching bag of the lower IQ male population that needed to feel superior somehow.  I was barely a hundred pounds, wore plastic glasses and had a target painted on me that I couldn’t wash off.

By the time high school came along I had learned how to stay out of their line of sight.  I wasn’t completely free of harassment and even those who were thought friends used me as the joke that made me feel better.  It took me several years to toughen up enough to tell the bullies to kiss off. Now I use them as characters in my stories and give them gruesome deaths.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tagged Again!

Tag! You’re it! Or rather, I’m it as fellow author and Twitter friend, Mindy Levy, tagged me and asked me to participate in this fun blog game. Mindy shares her extraordinary tales of the ordinary in her book, Mindy’s Musings, where she makes the mundane magical.

For those who have followed The Mess for awhile, you will remember that I was tagged back in November by a couple of great writers. My WIP (Work In Progress) back then was Reaping the Harvest, which is now out and available through Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes &; Noble. (A Shameless plug, I know, but hey, I have to drum up sales somehow.) My next book out, or my current WIP to stay with the theme, will be the topic of this tag.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Rising Star Fell

We walked into Pat O’Brien’s after only receiving an hour and a half notice that “Why, yes, we can accommodate your group of thirty.  We apologize for not getting back to you sooner.”  We arrived right at six o’clock and after the hassle we had received trying to get the reservation, I expected the place to be packed.

It was far from packed.  It was practically empty.

As we walked through, being weaved past the empty tables to two sets of tables all the way in the back, I assumed that their lack of patrons on a Saturday night was why we received the call.  “Get those 30 people in here!  We need business or we’re sending employees home.”  We had our revenge, though.  Only twenty of our thirty showed up.

Monday, April 15, 2013

City Walk Messing

Set fire to the rain?

We never do anything small, whether it’s a family event or a get-together with friends.  Even a small barbeque in the backyard turns into a fifteen or more person affair.  You start with one couple, but then realize you really need to invite this other couple, as well, and then that prompts a third couple, because you don’t want feelings getting hurt.  Before you know it, you should have catered the event.  And truly, that’s fine with the girls and me.  We love the giant gatherings with those friends that are dear to us.

However, taking the party out to establishments can sometimes be quite a bit of work. 

About once every three months we plan a trip to City Walk at Universal with our friends.  For those unfamiliar with City Walk, it’s the prelude to the theme parks Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando.  It’s comprised of shops, dining, a movie theater, and plenty of night clubs.  We go for the night clubs, of course.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Cabin Itch

Another mobile office

If you’ve been reading The Mess for the past three weeks, then you are well aware that my family recently took a trip to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee.  On a Friday afternoon, the twelve of us walked through our weekend getaway - a cabin that slept fifteen people comfortably.  I wasn’t in the cabin five minutes and I already had the itch to buy one.  A bigger one, of course, because, well, that’s just how I am.

Not that our cabin was bad, however.  Quite the contrary.  It was what made me want one.  There were four parking spots in the front and you climbed two steps to the wooden porch and into your home away from home.  The front door opened up on the kitchen with an island in the middle surrounded by stools.  Behind that was a square dining room table with eight chairs and to the west was the master bedroom and bath.  My room.  Behind the table was the large living room with a sofa, recliner, and a giant u-shaped sectional.  A back porch with rockers, a swing and a grill overlooked the small forest behind us, making it the perfect spot for me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It’s Snowing

Char's first time seeing snow

When I was in tenth grade my family suffered the great exodus north.  We packed our house, our belongings stuffed into boxes, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where my father had taken a job for another construction firm.  My birth place.  Indianapolis that is; not the construction site, unless, of course, there is something my parents haven’t told me about my conception.  Still, we moved when I was three to the Sunshine State and I have no recollection of those first three years of my life in the Circle City.  We had gone back on visits, but most of those had slipped the cracks of my memory, as well.  I remember visiting other family members, staying at my Aunt Laura’s and having dinner at Aunt Margie’s, but what I don’t remember is the snow.  I’m sure it was there.  I just don’t recall it.  That year in tenth grade, however, I received enough of the frozen rain to stick in my memory banks for the rest of my life.

Monday, April 8, 2013

American Owned

A small courtyard of shops we discovered

Sunday was supposed to be our day of relaxation.  We wanted to do nothing except lounge around the cabin playing pool, reading, or sitting in the hot tub with a drink.  It didn’t really happen that way. 

We had spent quite a lot of time Saturday at Downtown Gatlinburg doing the tourist thing.  However, only the kids made purchases and the girls wanted to return for their souvenirs that would forever remind them of the great time they had.  The one million pictures we took were not enough.  There was a need for shirts, coffee mugs and shot glasses.  The shot glasses purchase has actually become a tradition.  I collect them as do a couple of friends of ours, so every time we ever go anywhere, we bring back shot glasses for all.  We are all nice that way.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dinner Time!

Spider Crabs at Ripley's Aquarium

We arrived at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies at six - dinner time.  However, not having had lunch until three, we were all still quite stuffed and willing to wait.  Later, we would discover that that was a mistake.

The Aquarium wasn’t bad, really.  Watching fish swim about has always been a relaxing activity for me, helping to calm an overactive mind.  I’d have several in my house if I wasn’t afraid of mass homicide against the fish.  I’ve done that before, several years ago.  I was cleaning the tank, changing out the water and apparently I didn’t allow enough time for the temperature to acclimate.  When I slipped the fish back in, they went into some kind of shock and wound up floating belly up at the top of the tank within seconds.  It was the last time I owned a fish tank.  Visiting the Aquarium is safer for all involved.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gatlinburg Messing Continues

Waiting for a table

It was nearing two o’clock and my stomach was protesting the lack of food.  No Way Jose’s Mexican Restaurant had been nixed because I hate public bathrooms and I knew an hour after lunch I would need one.  We had passed a Hard Rock Café a few blocks back and a thick burger was tantalizing to my growling tummy, so we ventured backward.  Besides, it was the one place all twelve of us could agree upon.  Well, eleven actually, because I didn’t give the 8-year old an option.  It was food.  She’d argue about whatever we selected that didn’t offer a toy with her meal.

Getting a table in a restaurant for twelve is more complicated than it is for four and we were told it would be a thirty minute wait.  Normally, more than ten or fifteen minutes sitting in a lobby and I’m ready to hit the road for someplace less popular.  However, the music was good and there was rock paraphernalia on the walls for the kids to wander and stare at so that they wouldn’t be asking me, “How much longer,” every two minutes, so we stayed.  Of course, I kept asking the same question to the girls who just told me to grow up.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Messing in Downtown Gatlinburg

Our family never does anything fast.  Whenever the girls and I need to be somewhere at a certain time, it’s almost a guarantee that we’re going to arrive late.  It’s not on purpose, mind you, and it is something I’ve grown used to even if it does still annoy me.  The girls have grown used to me being annoyed.  Multiply our normal four by three and there was no way we were going to leave our cabin when I was wanting to.  Of course, it didn’t help that we all stayed up into the wee hours of the morning trying to empty the bottles of booze we had brought with us.  Add to the hangover wakeups, breakfast, and showers, and you can see why it was almost lunch before we managed to climb into our vehicles.

Still, by eleven we were winding our way down the mountain, passing the Smokey Mountain National Park and fighting the traffic into Downtown Gatlinburg.  Our time was increased as we dawdled, angering the drivers around us, as we took in the sites.  The two things I noticed the most was how many pancake houses there were as well as the abundance of miniature golf courses.  There were mini attractions such as Wonder Works and the Titanic and if it weren’t for the mountains, I would have thought I was back home visiting Orlando.