Hubby’s Got A Big Deck

I mentioned last year that Hubby had gotten a deck enlargement kit and we were very happy with the results, but this week he surprised me with an even bigger deck!

You’d think it would be too much of a good thing. In fact, before last week, if you had asked me if I was satisfied with the size of Hubby’s deck, I would have said “Definitely!”. But Hubby knows what I want even before I want it. One look at his new big deck, and I fell in love all over again. I wanted to be on it all day long!

And since we were hidden in the trees of our acreage, I blush to admit that’s exactly what I did. There’s nothing like enjoying a deck alfresco. The feel of the breeze on your skin; the illicit thrill of knowing somebody might sneak through the trees and catch you in the act… it was intoxicating!

And that night, sitting on Hubby’s deck was so good I saw stars.

The best part is its rigidity. Often a large deck can be floppy, but Hubby’s is as stiff as can be. He could probably have a dozen people on his deck in a day, and it would still be just as stiff as ever.

He’s not really into that, though – it’s just him and me.  Although… *whispers* …we might invite a couple of really close friends to join us later. But that’s probably too much information.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. One of the main problems with any deck is keeping it clean. There’s nothing more disgusting than a dirty deck, and after I’d gotten on and off Hubby’s deck so many times during the day, it really needed a good wash. So I got busy. Running my hands over his smooth hard wood was a joy, and his deck looked bigger than ever by the time I’d finished rubbing it all shiny clean.

So of course I couldn’t resist getting on it again. And again…

Another problem with a huge deck is that it tends to get in the way. In fact when I first saw it, Hubby was dragging it on the ground. It made me wince just watching him walk over the gravel.

But with a bit of manoeuvring he got it tucked into place, and now Hubby’s smiling again. He figures it was worth the temporary discomfort just to know that any guy would be envious of his big deck. And he doesn’t admit it to me, but I’m sure he knows a deck that size is a major chick magnet.

So we’re both delighted with his deck, and we’re looking forward to enjoying it together for a long time to come.

I hope the internet censors will look the other way just this once, because I can’t resist sharing a dirty picture of Hubby’s deck:

Sorry it’s dirty; I’d been on and off it all day and hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it yet…

Sorry it’s dirty; I’d been on and off it all day and hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it yet…

Anybody else have a big deck story?

* * *

We have winners in the Book 8 Giveaway! Kathy Williamson and Lee-Ann have won the contest for signed paperback copies of Spy Now, Pay Later. Ladies, you should have received an email from me yesterday – if you didn’t, please click here to email me your mailing addresses. A big thanks to everybody for participating – I really enjoyed all your comments! :-)

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Filed under Humour

The Battle Of The Keep (A True Story)

We shouldn’t have left the keep unguarded.

But we did.

Driven by our need for sustenance, we abandoned its empty larders to forage beyond its protective walls.  From the outside it looked so substantial, its smooth walls defying any intruder.  We thought it was secure.  Impenetrable.

We were wrong.

The foul creatures ambushed us when we returned.  Black and winged, they swooped down when we re-entered the keep, the harsh buzz of their language beyond our comprehension but their evil intentions horrifyingly clear.

We fought.

Back to back, we swung our weapons again and again until we prevailed.

We hauled away the mangled bodies and cleaned the battle-gore from the walls and floor.  Then we set ourselves to the task of fortification.  We blocked even the smallest aperture, securing our stronghold.

The rest of the day we waited, alert to the slightest hint of another invasion.  We could see them circling outside, but none penetrated our bastion.  At last, exhausted, we crept to our bed.  Though we knew they seldom attacked at night we slept fitfully, one ear listening for their vile clamour.

Morning dawned clear and hot.  Still they circled, but none breached our walls.  At length, reassured, we withdrew to our separate chores.

Several hours later I returned to the keep alone.

A mistake.

Laden with the garden’s bounty, I stepped inside unprepared for the seething horde of black monsters, their battle cries rising to a maddened pitch.

I knew they would give no quarter.  Their hive-mind brooked no compromise, no mercy.  And a single touch from any of their loathsome legion could transmit a veritable cornucopia of disease.

I sounded the alarm and threw myself into desperate battle.

By the gods, they were fast; but they were so many that my strikes often vanquished several at a time.  Black bodies surrounded me, falling one upon another, piling three and four deep.  Beset, I could allow no time to ensure merciful kills.  Their wounded writhed among their dead, their lifeblood and entrails defiling the walls around me.

Again I cried the alarm and reinforcements arrived.  We fought valiantly, but they were too many and we were still fatigued from the earlier skirmish.  At last we were forced to retreat.  We fled, barring the doors behind us.

Standing outside, supporting each other in our despair, we swore to return.

After a week without food or water, they would be weakened.  Now we knew where they had breached our defenses.  We would fight again, and we would win.

Next week we would retake the keep.

Story synopsis:  The houseflies in our new-to-us RV are driving me crazy!  We screened off all the appliance vents and thought we’d solved the problem, only to discover that the window screens weren’t properly attached and the whole place was absolutely buzzing by the time we got back in the afternoon.  Despite a fly-swatting marathon that left the interior smeared with guts, we still didn’t get them all.  Next weekend we’ll fix the screens, and hopefully win this battle once and for all.  Flies are such filthy, disgusting little creatures.  But at least I got a story out of it!

* * *

Book 8:  SPY NOW, PAY LATER is still on track for release tomorrow!  And the contest to win a signed paperback copy closes at noon July 22, 2014 – click here to enter.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Humour, Life

Hello From Planet Innuendo

Apparently Mercury was retrograde from June 7 to July 1, which astrologers say is supposed to cause general chaos.  I don’t know much about astrology, but if there’s a planet that governs accidental double entendres, it’s definitely exerting its influence this week.

Friday night I was sitting in the pub with the usual suspects, regaling the crew with tales of our recent search for a good used RV.  I had only one requirement:  a queen-size bed with some space around it.  I didn’t care about the kitchen or living area or anything else.  Just the bed.

(Those of you with dirty minds are getting ahead of me… oh, never mind; whatever you’re thinking, you’re probably right.)

Anyway, we found a trailer Hubby really liked, with a nice big living space and kitchen, only seven years old, yadda, yadda.  But the bedroom was designed for a double bed.  The current owners had put in a queen mattress, but that left only a few inches between it and the wall.  You could still squeeze in, but only if you had skinny legs.  Grrr.

Now back to the pub scene…

Fuelled by some very tasty beer, I was expounding upon the idiocy of the designer who planned the layout of a huge trailer without allowing for a queen-size bed.

“Goddammit,” I ranted.  “It’s a thirty-one-foot trailer, for shit’s sake!  It’s not like the guy who designed it didn’t have any space to work with!  I can’t believe he couldn’t give me just six more inches in the bedroom!”

My rant was completely derailed when my buddy Chris burst out laughing.  “You want six more inches in the bedroom?” he sputtered.  “That sounds like a blog post.  But I want credit!”

So here you go, Chris – this is your five minutes of fame.

After we dried our tears of laughter, the conversation wandered as it usually does and we got talking about cars and buying gas and the oddball sensor in my car that requires the gas cap to be cranked around several times after it’s tightened to prevent the ‘check engine’ light from coming on.

My friend Swamp Butt spoke up:  “Our new car doesn’t have a gas cap at all.  It’s so easy to fuel up.  You just stick it in, pull it out, and you’re done!”

More raucous laughter ensued.

But Planet Innuendo still wasn’t finished with me.  The Calgary Stampede is on now, so everything around here is western-themed.  And wouldn’t you know it; the patron saint of dirty minds blessed me with another gift this weekend:  a completely serious ad from a staid and reputable company, exhorting me to “Celebrate the cowboy in you.”

I might have let that pass if not for the fact that I’d just finished reading an article about how all the health clinics brace for the annual surge in syphilis cases during Stampede.  Save a horse; ride a cowboy!  Give the gift that keeps on giving!  Yaaa-hooo!!!

Needless to say, I laughed myself silly(er).

Did anybody else notice the effects of Planet Innuendo this week, or was it just me?

P.S.  The word ‘innuendo’ always gives me a childish snicker, too.  It sounds like the Godfather describing a sex act:  “In-U-end-o”…

* * *

Speaking of celebrations, I’m celebrating the upcoming release of Spy Now, Pay Later by giving away two signed paperback copies!  If you’d like to enter to win one, here’s the contest link:  http://blog.dianehenders.com/do-you-know-me/book-8-giveaway/.

Look for the first e-book versions of Spy Now, Pay Later at Smashwords and Amazon on July 17.  As usual, Kobo, Nook, and Apple versions will show up later than Smashwords and Amazon… but my distributor promises me they’ve improved their system and it should only be a few days instead of a few weeks.  Time will tell, but regardless, I’ll email notifications to everybody who’s signed up on my new book notification list.

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Filed under Humour, Life

Canadian, Eh?

Yesterday was Canada Day, so just for fun I’m going to ‘speak Canadian’:

Canada Day is one of our favourite times to celebrate!  We had a nice hot day yesterday, so we could finally take off our tuques1 and kick back in the shade with some Freezies2, which was a nice change after the long winter.

Contrary to popular belief we don’t actually live in igloos year-round, but if the hydro3 goes off in the winter we’re hooped4.  All we can do then is huddle in our houses and hope for a chinook5.  So we love summer!

And Canada Day is a great excuse to break out the hooch6 of your choice, whether it’s a mickey7 of screech8 , a forty-pounder9 of ta-kill-ya10, or a two-four11 of beer.  But we don’t want to look like a bunch of hosers12 lying around in our gitch13 collecting pogey14 and building our Molson muscles15, so most of us settle for a poverty pack16 when we’re celebrating.  And that saves us a hangover as well as some loonies17 and toonies18, so it’s a win-win.

No celebration is complete without food, and the unhealthier it is, the better it tastes!  Whether it’s burgers or Eggs Benny, your Canada Day fare can always be improved by adding peameal bacon19.  And if you’re really looking for a way to harden your arteries, nothing fills the bill like poutine20Donairs21 are a good choice if you’d like to spice things up a bit, but dieters could eat fiddleheads22 instead if the season is right.

Let’s not forget dessert!  Canada Day is a great time to break out the gooey and delicious Nanaimo bars23.  And speaking of sweet treats, be careful if you get a loaded beavertail24 – it’s hard to eat them tidily, and if the toppings fall off onto your Arborite25, it’s into the garburator26 with them… and that’s just sad.

There are always lots of Canada Day celebrations to attend, but our favourite is the fireworks.  We don’t go very often because we don’t like fighting the crowds, but we felt like keeners27 this year so we decided to go.  We thought we might be able to deke28 into a parkade29 and walk to where we could see them, but that didn’t work out.  When we discovered we’d have to go to a golf course and fight the crowds after all, we bailed at the last minute and went to bed instead.

Guess we’re just getting old, eh30?

 

  1. Tuque – a knitted cap (called a watch cap in other places).
  2. Freezie – a brightly coloured frozen treat in a clear plastic sleeve.
  3. Hydro – everybody else calls this ‘electricity’ or ‘power’.
  4. Hooped – screwed.
  5. Chinook – a warm dry wind.
  6. Hooch (also hootch) – booze.
  7. Mickey – a 375 ml bottle of liquor, often conveniently curved to fit in a pocket.
  8. Screech – Traditionally, cheap, high-alcohol booze from Newfoundland, often moonshine.  Now also a brand name for rum.
  9. Forty-pounder – a 40 ounce bottle of liquor
  10. Ta-kill-ya – tequila
  11. Two-four – a 24-pack of beer.
  12. Hoser – a drunken oaf, but the term isn’t too derogatory – it’s kind of like calling somebody a goofball.
  13. Gitch (also gotch or gonch) – underwear of any kind, men’s or women’s. (Where I grew up, gitch was women’s underwear and gotch or gonch was men’s).
  14. Pogey – unemployment benefits.
  15. Molson muscle – beer belly.
  16. Poverty pack – a six-pack of beer.
  17. Loonie – a one-dollar coin.
  18. Toonie – a two-dollar coin.
  19. Peameal bacon (Also back bacon or Canadian bacon) – cured boneless pork loin, originally rolled in ground yellow peas, but now rolled in cornmeal, though the name ‘peameal’ has stuck.
  20. Poutine – french fries sprinkled with curds of new cheese and covered with hot gravy-like sauce.
  21. Donair – spiced meat wrapped in a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, and sauce (I like sweet sauce best, yum!).
  22. Fiddleheads – baby ferns.
  23. Nanaimo bar – a chocolatey dessert square with vanilla filling (traditional), but there are lots of other flavoured variations.
  24. Beavertails – a deep-fried pastry topped with various forms of yumminess.
  25. Arborite – a brand name for plastic laminate. The name is often used instead of the words ‘plastic laminate’, like ‘Formica’.
  26. Garburator – a garbage-disposal unit that fits in the sink drain and grinds food finely enough to be washed down the drain.
  27. Keener – someone who is overly eager. Can also be a derogatory term meaning ‘suck-up’, depending on the usage.
  28. Deke – dodge or make a sharp turn. Also ‘deke out’ – to fake or feint successfully: “I deked him out”.
  29. Parkade – parking garage.
  30. Eh – the quintessential Canadian interjection. Turns a statement into a rhetorical question that assumes the other person agrees.

How many of these Canadianisms did you recognize?  What oddball words do you use in your neck of the woods?

* * *

Woohoo!  I’ve finished the final edits for Book 8:  Spy Now, Pay Later, and it’s off to final proofreading!  I’ll let you know as soon as there’s a release date on the horizon, but for now I’ll just say “Coming VERY SOON”. :-D

 

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Filed under Humour, Life, Writing

Farewell To A Faithful Friend

I’m about to get maudlin over a vehicle, so if you’d rather have some chuckles today, why not go and check out my very first official blog post, Bad Hotel Karma?  I’ll be back to my usual silliness next week.

* * *

Yesterday I said goodbye to a faithful friend:  a battered 1983 Ford half-ton.  Even though I’d been its official owner for over ten years, I still called it ‘Dad’s truck’.

It’s the truck he drove from Manitoba to Halifax to visit me in 1988.  At a miserable time in my life, he drove nearly 10,000 km (6,000 miles) round trip, and we took a long weekend to drive around Cape Breton Island, just him and me.

It was a leisurely trip, pulling in to explore every tiny “point of interest” beside the highway and stopping frequently to snap photos.  That was before Dad began to suffer from the increasingly debilitating effects of the lung enzyme deficiency that would slowly steal his breath, and eventually his life.  I didn’t spare a thought for the truck at the time; it was just a vehicle that took us where we wanted to go.

Dad at Sydney, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Dad at Sydney, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, 1988

Dad used that truck to haul my piano from Manitoba to my apartment in Calgary in 1989.  In 1998, he used it to trailer my 1953 Chevy from Manitoba to Calgary.  In 2001, I officially ‘bought’ the truck.

I was going through a tough time financially, but Dad wasn’t well enough to drive anymore so the truck had to be sold… and I needed a truck.  When I asked if I could buy it, he agreed.  But when I went to write the cheque, he eyed me with his usual gentle gravity and said, “Now isn’t really a good time for this, is it?  We’ll do it later.”

The truck came to Calgary in the middle of summer, 800 miles in temperatures hovering around 37 degrees Celsius (98 Fahrenheit).  It had no air conditioning, and I was sick with a horrible head cold.  We crept across the prairies, stopping in every little town for Popsicles and cold water.  The truck performed faultlessly.  Me?  Not so much.

I tried to pay Dad for the truck, several times.  At last, I arrived on his doorstep with the cheque already written.  And he smiled and said, “Well, I’ve done some deals with the other kids, too, so we’ll just call it even.”  The cheque was torn up and the issue was closed.  That was my Dad.

By then the truck was twenty years old, but it never let me down.  It hauled furniture and pre-fab outhouses and garbage and tools.  Its capped box served as an impromptu storage shed, and I slept in it many times while camping.  Whenever friends needed to haul something, they knew they could come and borrow it.

The truck lived a hard life.  Parked on the street, its side mirror was smashed by vandals and it got egged and spray-painted.  Other drivers ran into it, five different times.  Sometimes they slid down our treacherous hill on winter ice and only stopped when they hit the truck.  Sometimes they backed into the side of it, apparently unable to see a bright red, twenty-foot long vehicle in their rear-view mirror.

But despite their incompetence as drivers, those people restored my faith in humanity.  I never found a dent in the truck that wasn’t accounted for.  Nobody discounted it as an old junker and drove away without reporting their accident.  Each time, our doorbell would ring and some contrite person would apologize profusely for hitting the truck.

Each time, I told them not to worry about it.  They’d have enough trouble and expense repairing their own vehicle, and they didn’t need the additional cost of an insurance claim.  Dad gave me the truck out of the goodness of his heart.  The least I could do was pass it on.

The truck endured the ravages of age and rust and injury, the years and impacts damaging its body but not its tough engine.  It developed a cantankerous carburetor that I referred to as my anti-theft device.  To start the truck, you had to open the hood, remove the air cleaner, and manually close the sticky choke plate.  Then back into the truck to pump the gas for about 30 seconds, after which you could turn the key while still pumping the gas vigorously.  But as long as you followed the protocol it never failed to start, even in the dead of winter.

That same cantankerous carburetor required three quick pumps of the gas when starting in first gear.  Just a little extra jolt of fuel, or it would stall.  The brake drums were out of round, causing a slight surging effect, and the left-turn signal didn’t work unless you knew you had to pull the signal lever slightly outward and toward you.  Then it worked just fine.

In its stubborn persistence I saw my Dad’s final battle.  The loss of breath, the frequent and increasingly serious illnesses, the wasting and weakening of his once-powerful body.  Labouring against the burden of slow suffocation, his cardiac arrhythmia was so pronounced that when I took his pulse the irregular beat would have done a calypso band proud.  But just like his truck, his indomitable heart wouldn’t quit, and he endured the suffering and indignities with stoicism and quiet humour.

In recent years we didn’t use the truck often, but I kept it insured and registered, and it kept doing what we asked of it, over and over.

Last spring two young girls in a big half-ton backed into the side of it.  Another giant dent; another contrite conversation.  Another round of forgiveness with the gentle admonition to drive more carefully in the future.  Just the way my Dad would have done it.

I could have called the insurance company then and let them write it off; maybe gotten a couple of hundred bucks.  Instead I hung onto the truck, not driving it but keeping it registered and insured and in its place of honour beside our house.

A couple of weeks ago I drove it for the first time since the girls in the half-ton hit it.  It started right up as usual, but its shocks were gone.  It wallowed through undulations in the pavement like a ship in heavy seas, and its steering wandered dangerously.  I wanted to cling to it from sheer sentimentality, but I couldn’t bear to see my poor truck endure more dents, more infirmities.  It was too much like watching Dad face a battle he knew he couldn’t win, bravely waiting for the final blow.

In the end, Dad’s every breath was an agonizing struggle.  Coughing literally tore him apart, causing a massive hernia.  The morning after he underwent surgery to repair it, the surgeon told us he could go home that day.  Mercifully, he did go home later that day, but not to any earthly dwelling.  It was April 1, 2004.  April Fool’s Day.  Go figure.

I knew the truck’s time was up, too.  It wasn’t safe to drive and it wasn’t practical to fix, and I didn’t want to wait for the day when its heroic old engine finally failed.  So I called Donate A Car Canada and yesterday my beloved truck went away for the last time.  The Lung Association won’t get much for it, but I’d like to think Dad would be pleased.

Today there’s an empty spot on our street, and in my heart.

Goodbye, old friend.  I’ll miss you.

truck

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Filed under Life

I’m Doomed

doomed

Yes, that’s the actual fortune I got at the Chinese buffet this weekend:

fortune cookie

Whaddaya think?  Should I play the lottery numbers on the back?  I’m feeling lucky… or not…

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Filed under Cartoons

Weapons Of Ass Destruction

So, this morning I was thinking about toilet paper.  (Never mind what I was doing at the time.)  And it occurred to me that toilet paper is the keystone to civilized behaviour in the western hemisphere.

You know I’m right.  All you have to do is walk into a public washroom that’s out of toilet paper, and you realize how superficial our veneer of civilization really is.

I know lots of countries get along just fine without TP, but I want to be there to see the expression on the first westerner who finds nothing but a pitcher of water in the bathroom instead of a cottony-soft roll.  Or, hell, I’ll settle for seeing their faces while they watch this video:

(You know what bothers me most about this?  Water might be “very-very clean”, but it’s also very-very wet.  And there’s nothing to dry off with… except maybe the hand towel… if there is one… not that I’d want to touch it…)

Yep, toilet paper rules the modern western world.  All our technological toys are as nothing next to it.  People may profess utter dependence on their electronic devices, but would you rather be caught without your technology or without toilet paper?  I’m thinking that sleek new iPhone isn’t very absorbent.

Centuries ago, people used whatever was at hand.  Apparently wealthy Romans used silk or goose necks.  (I presume the necks were no longer attached to the geese.  I’ve been around geese enough to know you don’t wanna let those suckers anywhere near your tender bits.)

Grass, leaves, and pine cones worked for indigenous people, though I assume their elders passed down critical wisdom like ‘leaves of three, let it be’ and ‘use the pine cone with the direction of the scales unless you need a hemorrhoidectomy’.

In earlier America, corn cobs were a common choice.  Apparently they were quite comfortable when fresh, but after they dried they became weapons of ass destruction.  No wonder everyone heaved a sigh of relief when Sears and Eaton’s started printing their mail-order catalogues.

Today, toilet paper engineers are the unsung heroes of the western world.  These amazing folks create a product that’s strong enough to withstand zealous scrubbing of regions better left undescribed, yet designed to fall to pieces seconds after contacting water so your toilet doesn’t plug.  Soft enough to prevent abrasion, yet not so soft as to leave Klingons circling Uranus.

And it’s not just the engineers who should be lauded.  Then there’s the next step:  convincing consumers to buy.  First the marketing geniuses have to come up with umpteen ways to say ‘our product wipes your ass best’ while avoiding any scatological reference whatsoever.

Then they create ads inexplicably featuring fluffy kittens and cartoon bears.  Those commercials bring out the worst in me.  Every time I see them, I think of the joke about the bear and the bunny taking a dump side by side in the forest.  The bear turns to the bunny and says, “Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?”.  The bunny says, “No”, and the bear says, “Good!”, grabs the bunny and wipes his ass with it.

I can just see the tagline:  “Soft as a bunny, strong as a bear”.

And now you know what it’s like to live inside my brain.

Sorry about that…

* * *

I’m driving 800 miles again today so I won’t be able to respond to comments until tomorrow.  “Talk” to you then! :-)

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Filed under Humour, Life

Progress…

A couple of days ago when I was lying helpless in a small dark room with a couple of dozen needles stuck in various parts of my body, I began to reflect on the state of modern medical science.

If you’re thinking that the combination of claustrophobia and needles might not to be conducive to philosophical reflection, you’re right.  The truth is I was trying to distract myself; not only from the pain and psychological discomfort, but also from the galling knowledge that I was paying for the privilege of enduring both.

I’ve been getting acupuncture on my arm in a futile attempt to speed its healing from my latest kickboxing injury.  (I should note that it’s my fault the acupuncture isn’t working as well as it should.  I’ve discovered it tends to be considerably less effective if I spend four or five hours digging dirt and moving heavy rocks immediately afterward.)

No; the acupuncture works well when I behave myself… but it’s ironic that with all of today’s cutting-edge medical science, the most effective treatment for tendonitis is 2,000 years old.  With fancy diagnostic machines and a lot of fiddling around, today’s doctors can tell me exactly which tendons are inflamed… but they still can’t fix them without sticking needles into me.

When I considered it, I realized most physiotherapy is actually a little on the barbaric side:

  • Ice and heat applied alternately to create the maximum possible discomfort.
  • TENS, which is basically electrocuting the sore spot.
  • Massage and active release techniques, which both boil down to ‘find the place that hurts the most and press really hard on it’.
  • And ultrasound, which is like hitting the sore spot with a zillion teensy-weensy invisible hammers. With blue slime as an added bonus.

The truth is we really haven’t even come very far from our Neolithic ancestors 6,000 years ago.  ‘Way back then, they used a technique called ‘trephining’ to drill holes in people’s skulls and let the bad out.  Sometimes the patients even survived.

Today we do pretty much the same thing for intracranial pressure, only with less screaming thanks to anaesthetics, and a slightly better survival rate thanks to antibiotics.  But we’re still drilling holes in people’s skulls, and we’re still trying to make their sore spots feel better by sticking needles in them.  The more things change, the more they stay the same…

And speaking of relieving intracranial pressure, here’s one thing off my mind:  The cover art is done for Book 8, and it even has a title!  And it’s halfway through the beta-reading process with only one minor revision so far.  Woohoo!

Here it is:

Spy Now Pay Later cover draft

Railroaded into acting as a secret agent, Aydan Kelly only wants to return to her peaceful former existence.  But when trusted co-workers go missing along with a deadly weapon prototype, she’s forced to take over the investigation to protect them from an agent with a personal vendetta. 

And when a violent criminal organization abducts her lover, Aydan discovers exactly how far she’s willing to push the limits of her new role.  The bad guys are about to learn an important lesson:  Don’t piss off a middle-aged bookkeeper. 

So what’s on your mind this week?  Go ahead, let off some pressure!  And… has anybody got a miracle cure for tendonitis besides “Stop doing stupid things and let it heal”?

* * *

I’m on the road today so I won’t be able to respond to comments until tomorrow.  I’ll look forward to “talking” to you then!

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Filed under Life, Writing

And That Was My Week

The week after I finish a book is always interesting.  During the final stages, I’m so immersed in writing that everything else just… goes away.  Including my brain.  And it hasn’t come back yet.

I tried to come up with a coherent blog post and instead spent an hour staring into space and mumbling non sequiturs.  So I’m just gonna go with that.

Here’s what my week was like, in no particular order:

Ironic:  This week I kickboxed, lifted weights, planted a few thousand square feet of garden, shifted a ton of garden soil, mowed the lawn, did some minor home renovations, and generally abused every muscle in my body.  I was fine.  Then I hurt my back… bellydancing.

Efficient:  I finally discovered the secret to efficiency:  a to-do list.  In the morning I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to get done during the day.  Then at the end of the day, I wrote “Tomorrow” after the “To-Do” title.  Voila!  Efficiency.  Now I don’t have to make another to-do list.

Fashionable:  In my closet, I have a skirt… hey, don’t laugh!  I really do own a skirt.  It’s a broomstick skirt, which, for the uninitiated, is a skirt that looks as though you’ve rolled it up in a ball and slept on it for a couple of months before wearing it.  It suits my attitude toward dress-up clothing just fine.  I unearthed it a while ago, shook it out, and then hung it tenderly back in my closet.  You never know when I might need an easy-to-care-for skirt.

Oblivious:  I showed the above skirt to a friend about a month ago, and she said, “Oh, what a great skirt!  I remember when those were in style!”  Then the conversation moved to other topics.  Just yesterday it filtered through my thick skull that my beloved skirt had been insulted…

Illogical:  About six weeks ago I hurt my arm kickboxing.  So I ignored it, because everything gets better sooner or later, right?  But it kept hurting, and a couple of weeks ago I threw a punch and ouch!  So I went in at the beginning of the week and got a diagnosis.  Apparently I have tennis elbow.  From kickboxing.  Makes perfect sense.  (Fortunately muay thai allows strikes from fists, feet, elbows, and knees, so I can still train.  Otherwise this heading would be “Illogical and Cranky”.)

Absent-Minded:  I went for a walk, and half a mile down the sidewalk my brain suddenly shrieked:  “Wait!  Did I forget my pants?!?”  The relief was indescribable when I looked down to discover that I was actually dressed.  The subsequent question, “Are they done up?” was anti-climactic by comparison.  Unfortunately, accidentally going sans pants isn’t an inconceivable scenario for me.  I’m not in the habit of wandering around half-naked, but when I’m this distracted there’s always a possibility that I might begin to change clothes and just forget to finish the job.

Gluttonous:  Because the universe has a cruel sense of humour, it was my week to be Designated Driver.  So I haven’t even had a beer to celebrate finishing Book 8, but I compensated by eating a candy apple and a triple-chocolate ice cream cone that was as big as my head.  And I have plans for beer this weekend, so all is well in my world.

And that was my week.  How was yours?

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Chair Demons

I’d like to think it’s not just me. Doesn’t everybody harbour a few items in their home which, when considered out of context (which is to say, ‘by any sane human being’), are just a little… um… creepy?

Some things are intentionally creepy, and that’s okay. For instance, I love this candle-holding sculpture my sister gave me years ago: As the candle flickers, its eyes glow and seem to follow you around the room.

Totally creepy, but in a good way.

Totally creepy, but in a good way.

In the ‘that’s odd’ category of creepy, I also own a stuffed beaver.  *insert the revolting double entendre of your choice here*

No, really, it’s a child’s toy. I’m not sure I’d want to meet the twisted toymaker who one day looked up from his designs of cute, cuddly bunnies and bears and thought, “We need beavers!”

…Okay, I realize most guys have that revelation at some point in their life, but this guy followed it to its logical conclusion: “Everybody needs beavers!” And here’s the result:

He’s cuddly-soft, and his name is Bob. Don’t ask.

He’s cuddly-soft, and his name is Bob. Don’t ask.

Moving on up the ‘disturbing’ scale, I also own two rubber chickens that reside in the planter in my living room. Well, to be technically accurate, one’s rubber and the other is silicone, which is even grosser than rubber because it’s all wobbly and floppy.

But the rubber one makes up for its deficiency in the gross-out department, because:

  1. Its gaping beak is disturbingly reminiscent of a blow-up doll; and
  2. It squawks when squeezed – a horrible half-strangled wail like bagpipes possessed by the spirit of an evil piper who died in the throes of an asthma attack.
creepy chickens

I’m not sure which bothers me more, the gaping beak of the big one or the flaccid-phallus appearance of the little one…

 

But the top ‘Creepy and Disturbing’ award goes to our dining room furniture. You’d think it would be pretty difficult to make shudder-worthy dining chairs. And I’m not talking about physical discomfort.

No, I’m talking about the kind of creep factor that sends a shiver down your spine and makes you question whether you really want to turn your back on the item in question. I mean, seriously, what sick and deranged mind thought it would be a good idea to carve this on the back of a dining-room chair?

Would you turn your back on this?

Would you turn your back on this?

It looks like one of the minor demons from hell, perched at exactly the right height to chew a crippling chunk out of your spinal cord with its fiendishly gaping mouth. Then once you’re incapacitated, who knows what it might do?

This dining-room set belonged to my husband’s grandparents, and as far as I know they lived healthy, normal lives unmolested by denizens of the Pit… but these chairs give me the shivers anyway. I’ve lived with them for over a decade by convincing myself that, like gargoyles, they’re fierce guardians of our home. If anybody ever threatens us, look out! The chair demons will get them!

But that only works if I don’t think about it too much…

Anybody else harbouring satanic furniture or other creepy items?

* * *

Woohoo!  I’ve finished the draft for Book 8, and it’ll be off to my beta readers / editors this week!

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