Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Car Gremlins (Or, How many ‘70s and ‘80s pop culture references can I squeeze into one blog?)

*Author’s warning: Those under 40 may need to click on hyperlinks before finding this post even remotely funny.*

Yes, they really exist...those little creatures that live deep in the bowels of your car’s engine, waiting to mess with you just when your warranty is due to expire.

Case in point: I bought my Nissan Rogue in the summer of ’08, and as I quickly approach 36,000 miles, things begin to get sticky. I’ve loved this car since the day I bought it. No buyer’s remorse for me. Not one stinkin’ drop. (Not even after two recall repairs.)

And then, about a month ago, I notice my mileage dangerously close to 36,000, when much of my warranty dies. Since I was raised in a family that doesn’t believe in extended warranties, I’ve survived nicely with that philosophy through several cars already. But with this purchase, I was living on the edge buying a brand new model before Nissan had time to work out the kinks. And yes, there are kinks.

Okay, let me get down to brass tacks here. It makes a whining noise when I accelerate. Not much more to explain, particularly since this is not the interesting part of my story.

The real fun began yesterday, when I scheduled the time to stop by the Nissan dealer to let my techie guy hear the noise I’d been complaining about for over a month. He suspected a transmission problem (“We may have to rebuild the whole shebang.”) but said he had to hear it and so I should stop by when I could. “When I could” took a very long time.

So I’m driving to the dealer, psyched to finally be putting this baby to rest before I hit 36,000 miles, when it occurs to me that for the first time in weeks, I DON’T HEAR THE NOISE!

“Are you kidding me?” I irately ask the car gremlins.

Silence. But from somewhere deep inside my car, I hear the gremlins trying so hard to stifle their giggles.

I play with the gas pedal, gunning it intermittently and trying to recreate the sound that may indicate a transmission overhaul. No luck. Then I touch the pedal gently, goading it on with my playful touch, but the gremlins apparently don’t respond well to flirting. So I curse like a drunk sorority girl (I had my fair share of practice in my day), but the gremlins aren’t offended. They just sit back and whisper their wagers loudly enough for me to hear, “A buck says I can make her lose her mind before lunch.”

“Ya think so?” I yell back. “My time is worth much more than that, so get out the Benjamins, Mogwai, ‘cuz this girl ain’t goin’ down without a fight!”

The gremlins giggled some more.

So I headed to Nissan anyway, hoping that with the miles of driving I’d tire out the gremlins, thus revealing the nature of the problem. As Nissan approached on the left, my frustration got the better of me. I let my left turn pass me by, deciding to turn around and head home until later. (Lunchtime was approaching and I was actually very hungry. Plus, I had to pee.) As I passed Nissan again, now heading north, I heard an ever-so-faint whining noise.

“Yes!” I shouted, feeling sure the gremlins had let their guards down when I’d decided to head home. I turned around and approached Nissan, only to make my third pass by the dealer when engine silence took over again. My southbound approach wasn’t appeasing the gremlins, and I knew I was losing this battle. So once again, I made the U-turn and headed north, passing Nissan for my fourth time and feeling like Clark Griswold: “Look kids, Big Ben...Parliament!”

I went home, answered Nature’s call, ate lunch, headed back out to the supermarket, returned home with groceries, and STILL no noise. Now I was pissed off. I hopped in the car one last time and headed for Nissan. I figured the tech guy has been through this kind of thing plenty of times, so No, he won’t think I’m crazy, and maybe – just maybe – his ears will be immune to gremlin witchcraft and he’ll hear my noise and say, “Ahhhh!” Then the moon will be in the Seventh House and Jupiter will align with Mars. And peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars.

You know what happened? Determination paid off. Because when Tech Guy got into the car, the gremlins must have decided to take their afternoon siesta. And voila! The faintest trace of engine whining rose above the din of the road noise. Tech Guy explained to me what it was, assured me it was “normal” for the Rogue, and sent me on my way with the comfort of knowing my transmission was not going to fall out from under the car while I was driving it. He also pointed out that Nissan had recently decided to warranty the transmission up to 120,000 miles since it was a new model with potential issues. (Insert here Homer Simpson’s “D'oh!”)

As I drove home, I enjoyed the silence instead of being angry with it. Then the gremlins spoke to me in their creepy Munchkin voices and said, “We’ll get you next time (giggle, snort, giggle, snort).”

To which I replied, “Bring it on, boys. I’ve got a flashlight in my car and I’m not afraid to use it. And if that doesn’t do it, I’m not opposed to driving this baby into a movie theater and blowing the whole thing up.”

That’ll learn ‘em.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Belated Thanks (Or, When will Hallmark start making cards for this?)

Thanks are overdue. So overdue, in fact, that I've already posted in my sidebar the pics of my two most recent awards without giving due credit...and that's a bit shameless, I realize.

First off, thanks to Courtney at Southern Princess for the Stylish Blogger Award. It's a particular honor to receive it from her since her blog is one of the most stylish on my blogroll. Southern Princess has a unique theme that really helps me separate Courtney from the herd, and that is more than helpful as the number of blogs I follow quickly multiplies exponentially.

I pass this award onto these very stylish bloggers:
Karen Hooper at Eternal Moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind (I love her header.)
Julie at A Day in the Wife (She adds music, whether we like it or not.)
Anissa at Anissa Off the Record (Her color scheme is unique.)
Samantha Bennett at Show and Tell (Again, I like her header.)
Kathi at Kathi's Writing Nook (Her header has the most beautiful butterfly ever.)

Second, I give a big blogger hug to both Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time and MissV at Rambles and Randomness for the Beautiful Blogger Award.
This award asks me to share seven things about myself, so here it goes:

1. I miss Seville, Spain more than words can express - even from a writer. Last week was the April Fair in that glorious city, and I was wishing more than anything I could be there wearing my Flamenco dress, drinking fino (no, that's not "vino"), and dancing my heart out. These two pictures show me in full Flamenco garb at the April Fair of 1991.
2. A couple days ago, as I was reading A Day in the Wife's post about how her husband was mocking her dedication to blogging, my own husband walked up to me and said, "Can you stop blogging for one second to talk to me, or will you stop breathing?"
3. My daughter is going to sleep-away camp this summer for the first time (Thanks, Grandma!), and every time I think about it, I get a knot in my throat to imagine her away from me for so long.
4. I love blogging! I only started in February of this year, and I feel I've found my calling...until I find the inspiration to write my next novel.
5. I wish I could organize a Blogger get-together - perhaps in NYC - where all my followers and all those I follow could unite so I could meet you ALL in person.
6. I love coffee but have to drink decaf because of a sensitivity to caffeine. (And no, it doesn't make me hyper. I can do that all on my own!)
7. I'm using lucky number 7 to brag about my incredible kids. My son is gifted on the drums and electric guitar. He models himself after Joe Satriani, and I'm convinced that some day, Satriani will model himself after my son. My daughter is so inventive that she can convert her nightstand into a car. No kidding - she just convinced my husband to pick up some training wheels from the bike store so her car can cruise. (Don't ask how I came to allow her to do this.) Some day, I tell you, she's gonna change the world.

So there you have it. I now pass this Beautiful Blogger Award onto five bloggers who I've recently started following, mostly because I'd like to learn 7 new things about them:
Jayne at A Novice Novelist
Annika at A Swede Abroad
Jackee at Winded Words
Portia Sisco
B. Miller Fiction

And if anyone else is serious about a Blogger get-together, my brother has a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. I'm sure it could hold 100 of our closest blogging buddies ;-)

P.S. I just responded to someone's blog, and the word verication was "fuclayfe". I swear.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On the New Blogger/Alien Dictionary (Or, Do you speak Eukzy?)

First and foremost, let me thank Roxy at A Woman's Write for the Supportive Comments Award.

Since this award is about offering support, I pass it onto the six people who contributed to this post, plus one extra for offering her condolences on the loss of my cat (very supportive, indeed) ;-(

The winners are:
B. Miller
Nicole Ducleroir at One Significant Moment at a Time
Courtney Barr at Southern Princess
KLM at A Rock in My Pocket
Terresa at The Chocolate Chip Waffle

And now, as promised, I welcome you to the New Blogger/Alien Dictionary (very abridged version), "comade" with my Followers. Here you will find an introduction to this newly-discovered language, which has infiltrated Blogger's Word Verification system. I hope you'll be able to glean some insight into the twisted minds of both the aliens trying to take over the Internet and your fellow bloggers.

I wish to note that this idea was borrowed from Denae at My Real Life Was Backordered, as suggested by Kaylie.

coitted - (vb.) To coit.; This is the real description for when you go to cut paper with scissors but your scissors just glide through, so you don't cut the page, you coit it.
(by Jayne)

comake - (vb.) to collaborate on making something; ex: "Hey, wanna comake these cupcakes with me?"
(by B. Miller)

impol - (n.) 1) Textspeak for impolite; 2) The Instant Messenger Secret Police; (adj.) anything skuzzy
(by Fairyhedgehog)

Neddis - (n.) An insult directed at annoying people named Ned
(by Nicole Ducleroir at One Significant Moment at a Time)

chemi - (n.) Eukzyman's favorite happy dance *see PROPER NOUNS for clarification*
retalipt - (catch phrase), Eukzyman is tight lipped on the issue.
(both by Courtney Barr at Southern Princess)

Exabiesp - (interjection) An expression of joy. Ex: Is that chocolate for me? Exabieeeeeeeeeesp!
(by KLM at A Rock in My Pocket)

bilad - (n.) a subgroup of quadrupeds
(by Samantha Bennet at Show and Tell)

Eukzyman - (n.) the self-elected leader of the aliens
(by me)

Vladimon - (n.) Eukzyman's second in command (He used to be a Bulgarian wrestler.)
(also by KLM)

Now, here's an entire sentence involving the famed ruler, Eukzyman, so you can see other vocabulary in practice:
Undinats nuballi vachesti. Dicatele ingdede consin, Eukzyman!

Which translates in English to:
Check out this blogger. She is awesome, Eukzyman! (spoken by Vladimon and taken from my previous post, On Word Verification - 4/15/10)

Well, I hope this brief dictionary has, at the very least, entertained you today. It should help explain why I refuse to remove Word Verification from my comments's just too much fun! If you'd like to become a "comaker" of this dictionary and help expand the content, I'm happy to hear your long as it isn't anything too "impol".

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Rendering Me Speechless (Or, I must have done something good)

Happy Monday to you all! Before I start today's scheduled entry, I must first give thanks and toot my own horn (which is really what today's post was about anyway)...

First thanks: To Lola at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword for giving me the Butterfly Award.

Despite the grammatical error in the award's description (no fault of Lola's, I'm sure), it is an honor. I know we're supposed to pass these awards on, but since this one is not specific (like awards for commenting, or creativity, or humor, etc.), I choose not to single anyone out as being the coolest blog on my blogroll. I chose to follow you ALL for a reason.

Now for tooting (my horn, silly): I'VE HIT 50 FOLLOWERS! Strangely enough, I never had the goal of having a bunch of followers because I feel obligated to follow everyone back, and I'm not that good of a multi-tasker. Still, I'm thrilled. And in true going-against-the-grain spirit, I will not hold a contest. (Mostly because I have nothing good to give away right now.)

Instead I will ask those who comment on this post to include a made-up definition of the word verification "word" that appears when you respond. I will include these in my next post as part of the New Blogger Dictionary, co-authored by Wendy Ramer and her followers. Sound like fun? I hope so.

OK, time for a here we go. 

Last Thursday was a remarkable day. I'm only posting about it now because I had already prepared a post for that day. So here's my story.

It all started when my nine-year-old daughter came down the stairs, presumably to have breakfast and get ready for school. Instead, the first words out of her mouth were a series of questions fired off one after the other:

"Why do all living things have to die?
Why can't they live forever?
Why do some people live longer than others?
Why do some medicines work on some people but not on others?"

Oy! Now I know why my mother always drank coffee first thing in the she could deal with the myriad of out-of-left-field questions I must have thrown at her. Since my daughter is very much like me, I suddenly realize the steamroller effect I must have had on my mother.

Anyway, I was speechless. So before tackling my daughter's questions, I asked her a much simpler one: "What's on your mind, sweetie?"

Turns out she was thinking about our cat, Pluto, who died about a year ago at the tender age of four.
Diabetes had suddenly attacked his system, and within one month - despite immediate vetinerary care and insulin - his organs shut down completely. Since my daughter doesn't believe in God (see past post: On Coexisting), all her questions were thrown at me. And despite my bumbling answers, my daughter seemed content and a bit more relaxed. I felt I handled the whole thing rather well...for not being God, that is.

I went to work feeling quite proud of myself. I had no idea that my ego had much more inflating to go through until one of my students answered the following question (to practice Unreal Conditionals in Grammar class): If you could have another person's brain, whose brain would you want?

The first student chose Abraham Lincoln and followed up with her valid reasons. Then came the guy I will now affectionately refer to as Golden Boy, who said, "If I could have another person's brain, I would choose yours, Professor."

Oh me, oh my! I was momentarily rendered speechless for the second time in the same day, and I'm sure I also blushed. Finally, I composed myself and asked why.

The answer? (Keep in mind this is a class of second language learners - ESL - so their priorities may surprise the average student.) "Because you are intelligent, funny, and you speak very well."

But you forgot beautiful and a remarkably talented writer. Still, I was touched. And once again speechless.

To finish it all off, when I picked my daughter up from school, she hugged me (unsolicited!) and told me I was a good mommy. If you understood how infrequently I receive such praise from said daughter, you would appreciate how I found myself speechless for the fourth (and, thank God, final) time that day.

I'm not sure what I've done lately to deserve such accolades, but in the words of Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music, Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Word Verification (Or, Are aliens trying to take over via the Internet?)

Really. Is the word verification thing even necessary? Does it actually protect us from spammers or predators or assassins or whoever we're supposed to be protected from?

And who comes up with these words? I pray to God that they're computer generated, or else there are some sick people out there getting paid to come up with words that border on the lascivious and hygienically vulgar.

Out of my fascination with these words that I have to type without questioning their origin, I began to write some of them down. That’s when I realized what’s really going on here – it’s an alien language.

Don’t believe me? Behold the following sentence, taken directly from my last seven attempts to post a comment on fellow bloggers’ sites:

“Undinats nuballi vachesti. Dicatele ingdede consin, Eukzyman!”

I’m convinced the Eukzyman is their leader, and the aliens in my computer are trying to get a message to him that is of the utmost urgency. In fact, I’m going to Google Translator right now to see what I can make of it.

Hmm…interesting. I was able to loosely translate the message to mean:

“Check out this blogger. She is awesome, Eukzyman!”

O.K., so maybe I shouldn’t be so paranoid. These aliens are actually smart dudes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Poetry (Or, My thing for poets named Robert)

I’ve written many poems in my life, but I’m not a poet. What I mean to say is that I see myself as a writer, a storyteller…not a poet. But I’d like to take this time to share with you two poems that inspired me at different times in my youth. They’ve always stuck with me, for very different reasons.

The impetus for writing this blog today is that I’ve just come across a child’s book of poetry (amongst the many “outgrown” books in my son’s home library), and this book is on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. It has the first of my favorite poems, the one I fell in love with circa age seven, when I appreciated the theme for the simple childhood fancy it was: The Swing.

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside –

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown –
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Reading that poem now, I think I also like it because of its metaphor for life. Most people compare life to a roller coaster, but in my experience, life is more like a swing – with the beautiful moments never lasting long enough and the terrible moments thankfully disappearing just as quickly. Back and forth I go, up and down, seeing great expansive vistas and then small comforting sights, again and again, on my swing of life.

The second poem of my heart is by another Robert – Robert Frost. I read it in S.E. Hinton’s book, The Outsiders, when I was about twelve years old. By that age, I had become a bit too introspective for my own good and had already developed a heightened sense of sentimentality for the passage of time. So this poem touched me: Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Need I say more? Even today, reading these words makes my throat tighten up as I get all sappy realizing that my babies haven’t been babies for many years now. I also realize how similar Stevenson and Frost’s themes actually are, which is probably what has cemented them so firmly in my memory.

This leads me to share with you one final poem, which I wrote in high school after being inspired by Frost’s above-mentioned poem. I copied the meter but made this one my own: The Dreamer Knows No Sadness (by Wendy Minsker aka Wendy Ramer).

As the dreamer wastes her day,
Reality far away,
She realizes not her crime
In wasting precious time.
So many things she’ll miss,
Caught in her world of bliss,
Ignoring the truth and madness,
The dreamer knows no sadness.

I still love this poem for all the innocence and wisdom I tried to portray when I wrote it in the heat of adolescence. In one way, I am that dreamer. Sadly enough, in another way I am not, letting pragmatism and reality steal from me what could be beautifully blissful moments.

And sometimes that part of me really brings me down. Because as I swing through my life, I am constantly reminded that nothing gold can stay.

For those who read On Truth or Lies (4/1/10), I just found the picture of me as the temporary maid-of-honor. Check the post to see the annoyed bride and me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Sweet Blog Award (Or, Who will I accidentally slight this time?)

Who knew that giving constructive criticism could result in receiving the Sweet Blog Award? Apparently, there are people out there who don’t get offended by comments that are genuinely meant to help them. I don’t mean to sound cynical; it’s just that in most cases, I’ve seen that things don’t always turn out so nicely.

It’s different today because Nicole, at One Significant Moment at a Time, has awarded me this honor after I responded to both her pleas for advice on a query letter. And both times I picked at something – constructively, I believe – in addition to leaving some positive comments. Because Nicole is a writer who obviously wants to improve her craft, she took all the bloggers’ comments to heart. And so there are awards to acknowledge.

The Sweet Blog award is meant for a blog that you think is so friendly and makes you want to visit it often. I also think it pertains to bloggers who post helpful and kind comments. With this award, I have to pass it on to 10 people and those people need to make a post about the award (including the picture and the person who gave it to you).

Now wait, people. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re a bit tired of these awards. (It’s okay to admit it.) But the “sweet” side of me sees these as the equivalent of The Screen Actors Guild Awards, where your peers want to give credit where credit is due. It’s not the Academy Awards, but even better in a way because of the confidence these awards inspire.

So my ten blogs to honor as being very visitor-friendly?
1. Courtney Barr at Southern Princess
2. Aleighopolis (since we are members of our own mutual admiration club)
3. DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude
4. Dangerous with a Pen
5. Anissa Off the Record
6. KLM at A Rock in My Pocket
7. Maybe Genius
8. Lola Sharp at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
9. Elaine AM Smith at Still Writing
10. Roxy at A Woman’s Write

This is not to say that the other blogs I follow aren’t stupendous and friendly. It’s just that in this peer-honoring practice of award giving, I’m trying to be fair and recognize everyone. I really do love you all…in that blogger way ;-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

On Cockroaches (Or, When It’s Appropriate to Get Foul-Mouthed in front of Your Students)

The other morning, as I was trying to administer an exam to my students, an uninvited guest made a mockery of my professionalism.

I had just handed out the exam booklets and asked for quiet when a student in the front row informed me that a cockroach had just run under my rolling backpack.

Now, send me a lizard, a beetle, a garden snake, even a spider, and I’m all right. I can handle it. But not a cockroach.

I ask the student, “Was it a little one (holding my thumb and index finger so close that they’re almost touching) or a giant one?” (I don’t even estimate the size with my fingers since the thought terrifies me.)

“Oh, not that giant,” my charming student says and then holds his fingers about three inches apart.

It’s a Palmetto bug…and they fly. I freak. I lift the backpack quickly hoping the roach will scurry away, but nothing comes out.

“I saw it go under there,” the student swears, and I begin to wonder if this isn’t a ploy to distract me during the exam.

I look up at the class and shout, “Keep your eyes on your own paper!”

Everyone laughs.

“I’d let this go,” I explain to them, “but I absolutely cannot tolerate roaches.”

One student suggests, “Maybe it crawled inside your bag.”

My face contorts like a stroke victim’s as I imagine this, and I reach into my backpack and pull out my pencil case, throwing it feet away from me onto the floor.


“No talking!” I command, knowing how panicked I sound. I pull out folders and let them sift through my fingers haphazardly as they also become strewn on the floor.

Still nothing.

I look up. “Quiet!” I yell, though nobody is saying anything.

They are simply staring at this scene as I dance around on tiptoes, waiting for the roach to show himself or fly into my face, as only Palmetto bugs can do. It’s amazing how silly I look. And I know this because I have temporarily floated out of my body and am watching this scene from above. Consciously, I want to maintain control and just let my students take their stupid exam. But my body is restless with fear. My disembodied self shouts to my physical self, Stop moving! Just for one minute, stop moving! But I can’t.

Finally, I kick the backpack over, and sure enough, the roach is clinging to the bottom of my bag.

“There he is!” shouts a female student.

“Is he alive?” I ask and then notice his antennae moving nervously. I grab a dictionary from atop my desk and bravely smash the roach, which runs under my backpack now lying on its side. I kick the backpack away again, and the roach goes running. The student who originally advised me about the roach’s existence sucks in his breath excitedly. Again, I smash the roach with the dictionary, and he begins to quiver and spasm (the roach - not the student).

“He’s still alive!” yells Female Student.

At this point, I lose all decency. I stand over the already injured roach and smash it repeatedly with the dictionary, shouting through clenched jaw, “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

I hear myself saying this, knowing that impropriety is not what has endeared me to my students. Still, I cannot stop myself from muttering the “F” word repeatedly…and I hear them laughing.

With the roach finally dead as a doornail (what do live doornails look like?), I start to breathe again. I hear my heart pounding in my ears and remember I have a class of students in front of me. I stand up straight, point my index finger and waggle it at them, saying, “Now get to work.”

Diligently, they lower their eyes to their papers and commence their exam. They look frightened, and I’m not sure if it’s due to the challenging nature of the test or the knowledge that their professor is a lunatic who will be assigning their grades and determining their fate for the next semester.

But I don’t care. That roach made me lose face with my students (I surely had nothing to do with it), and I hate him. I take no responsibility for what transpired in that classroom. But just in case that roach was the embodied spirit of a yogi guru, I will meditate with full dedication this evening and ask for forgiveness. Maybe I’ll even record myself doing so and post it on You Tube so my students can see the serene side of me.

Or maybe I’ll just start carrying bug repellent inside my backpack.

Friday, April 2, 2010

On the First Page Blogfest (Or, Here's something I've never shared before)

In honor of Kelly's Compositions First Page Blogfest, I'm submitting the first page of a genre that is admittedly out of my league, but I wanted to try it anyway. This is a WIP that has lay dormant for some time now as I patiently await the inspiration to bring it back to life. Hope it pleases...

I want to stay here forever. I tell Galya so as I walk through Faerinspirra’s canopied forest, watching my best friend’s silver-blue wings flutter a few paces ahead of me.

Galya’s silver hair sparkles – just a hue deeper than her wings – and her tawny eyes glow as she turns around suddenly, waits for me to catch up, and then sits on my right shoulder. A faint breeze brushes my ear as her wings slowly come to a halt.

"We should stop and rest, Alex,” she says softly.

I spot a field of acacia stumps – the devastating remains of the war between Ardnaxela and Mergen’s armies – and I sit hesitantly on the purple plateau that once gave life to one of Faerinspirra’s oldest dens.

Galya flutters onto a stump. She begins to rub her small palms together vigorously. I have been in this forest long enough to know that my friend is preparing Durgan’s Elixir, an intoxicating drink spawned from the heart of faeries and served to humans in order to help them tolerate pain. Galya is going to break my heart, and I know there is nothing I can do about it.

In resignation, I accept the liquid-filled walnut shell that Galya offers me. I slowly pour the elixir into my mouth. At first, it feels cool against my teeth, but quickly the temperature rises. I feel a warmness that scares me and calms me at the same time. The thick fluid gets hotter and hotter until I am not sure which burns more – Durgan’s Elixir or the sting of my own tears.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Truth or Lies (Or, I never got to carry the big flowers)

Truth or lies – did you play the game? In response to my Bald Faced Liar Creative Blogger Award, here are my answers:

1. When my second child was eighteen months old, I fell from a horse and broke my back. Fortunately, it was the one vertebrae that can be broken without causing paralysis, so I spent six weeks in a back brace and on virtual bed rest, unable to pick up my needy toddler, who took out her frustration on her older brother by pulling out a clump of his hair so fiercely that he still (seven years later) has a small permanent bald spot.
Lie: This actually happened to my best friend, though her boy did not lose his hair as a result of the horse fall.

2. At twenty-two years old, I was slated to be the maid-of-honor at a dear friend’s wedding. The night before, we went out for her bachelorette party. I got so drunk that I woke up the next morning in a luxury hotel room, all alone and having no idea how I had gotten there. (This was before the age of cell phones.) My last memory had been doing shots with two gorgeous guys at a club with my girlfriends and then stupidly agreeing to continue partying with them in their hotel. I don’t remember what happened in that hotel room, but after sneaking out and hailing a cab to the hotel where my friend was getting married, I discovered I had been dethroned by the bride for my abhorrent behavior and demoted to bridesmaid.
Lie: I was actually the bridesmaid in this story, though I did act as maid-of-honor until the hungover one showed up. Here, I'm pictured temporarily holding the "bigger" bouquet, which I eventually had to turn over to the the maid-of-honor when she finally showed up and was allowed to walk down the aisle. Her mother was in attendance, and the bride didn’t want to create havoc by having to explain everything.

3. When I was eight months pregnant, I got into a car accident when I pulled out of a parking lot and onto the main road. I hit an oncoming Jaguar that had been obscured by a bush. Thankfully, I had an older car with no airbag, so my belly was alright, but as I got out of the car and saw the other driver getting out of the Jaguar, I recognized her as my ex-boyfriend’s mother. She approached me, established that I was okay, and then said, “You had it coming for breaking up with my son.”
Lie: I did get into a car accident while 8 months pregnant, hitting a Jaguar with my little Honda Civic, but the driver was a complete stranger.

4. When I was a toddler, the pediatrician decided my legs weren’t growing properly and I was put into leg braces. The doctor was very concerned I would be very “small”, well under five feet tall due to my leg condition. Today I am 5’-6”.
Lie: I did wear leg braces as a toddler but only for “duck feet”.

5. My ex-boyfriend was a white South African (during the Apartheid years) who spent a short time in a Johannesburg prison for helping his black best friend beat up a group of white guys who were bullying them.
Lie: My ex-boyfriend was South African but never spent time in a prison. (At least, he never told me that he had.)

6. My paternal grandfather was a Jewish man who had three wives in his life, the first of which was my grandmother and the third of which was a Taiwanese girl he married when he was 70 and she was 26. They had one daughter (my father’s sister and therefore my aunt), who was raised in Taiwan as a Buddhist. When she was 18 years old, she came to New York to study at the university, met an Orthodox Jewish boy, went to Israel with him, and stayed there for a year to convert to Judaism. So at 43 years old, I now have a 29-year-old Jewish Taiwanese aunt.
True: 100% accurate. At my aunt’s wedding, I found it ironic that my grandfather’s remains rested in a Buddhist Temple in Taipei while his daughter was dancing at her Orthodox Jewish wedding in New York (only with women, of course). Here we are in a NYC deli about 3 years ago , when I was a redhead:

7. I have a Chihuahua who has survived being literally run over by a car. She ran across the street just in time to get caught up in the car’s tire well, which made a horrifying thump-thump noise as it spun her around (as I screamed in shock), but she ran away with nothing more than a small limp.
Lie: But I did witness this happen to my neighbor’s Chihuahua. I remember screaming so loudly and then laughing with relief as the little rat limped across the street faster than a bat outta hell.

So there you have it. What more can I say? I suppose I could tell you the middle part of my grandfather's story - the part about his second wife and her fascinating offspring - but that's fodder for a blog all its own.