Pretty Sure I Was Abducted By Aliens

Day after day, every morning is the same routine.

After I get out of the shower, I wrap my hair in a towel. I apply deodorant and face lotion. I get dressed, dry my hair, plug in my curling iron, apply my makeup while it’s getting hot, then curl my hair and add earrings. Aaannnd, I’m off! Twenty minutes, tops.

Here’s what happened this morning!

I did all the above, just as I always do it, in the same order, without waiver, just like every other day!

I went to work and caught up on a couple hours worth of items leftover from yesterday. I then joined a conference call that spanned a dozen people over five states. If you’re not familiar with WebX, someone on the call will be the presenter and share their computer screen with everyone else.

During this time, I realized I had been so busy all morning, I had neglected to use the restroom. You know, if you get stuck in a situation where you can’t go to the bathroom, it makes you have to go all the more! Well, I was the presenter in this WebX conference and couldn’t leave – not even for a minute! And this was a TWO HOUR presentation.

FINALLY, we ended the call and I sprinted to the restroom.

Upon washing my hands in front of the mirror, I looked up, and to my horror, I saw my pale, bare, makeup-less face. Nope, not one little swipe of blush. No eyeliner. No mascara. No lipstick. What the H E double L was going on here???

My hair was curled. My earrings were on. Did I not look into the mirror this morning to do those things? Where I would have seen my makeup’ed face? And certainly noticed the lack of said makeup?

Wait! If my hair was curled, what was I doing for the five minutes it took for my curling iron to warm up??

I can’t figure this out.

I came out of the restroom and told my co-worker, “I forgot to put on eyeliner this morning.”

To which she replied, “Yes, I noticed that right away.”

“WHAT?! And you didn’t say anything???” (May be on the hunt for some new coworkers.)

The only explanation I can figure is I was abducted by aliens this morning for about five minutes.

Either that, or I’ve lost my ever-lovin’ mind, and I refuse to believe that is true.

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Everything I Need to Know, I’ve Learned from SpongeBob

Every morning I get ready for work while listening to SpongeBob playing on the television in the other room. No, I don’t have little kids. I turn it on for my dogs. Hush. Dogs like TV.

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(SpongeBob SquarePants image property of Nickelodeon)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m in love with that square little piece of sunshine, and I’ve learned quite a bit from him. I think I may have zeroed in on everything one needs to know to be happy in this lifetime from that crabby-patty-flippin’ sponge.

If you’ve never watched the show, do yourself a favor and tune it. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  1. Wake each day with a smile on your face.
  2. Find a job you love to do and do it to the best of your ability.
  3. Have a very good friend, preferably one who lives next door.
  4. Have a pet. It makes life so much better.
  5. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  6. Don’t feed into other’s negativity.
  7. Don’t believe what others say about you, even when they say it to your face.
  8. Always be kind.

I think that sums it up! Life according to SpongeBob. Have a lovely day, my friends!

(SpongeBob SquarePants show cast from Nickelodeon)

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Agitations of a Writer: Grammar, Content, and Dog Stealing

All writers and editors live in a constant state of frustration. Each and every blog, social media post, newspaper article, etc. are filled to the brim with incorrect grammatical phrases, punctuation errors, and badly written content that make us shake our collective heads. We usually grit our teeth and walk away, but today is not that day. My writer and editor friends will surely feel my pain, and I hope the rest of you get a kick out of the frustration that lives in the mind of a writer. Disclaimer: For you PETA-type people out there, don’t get your dander up. This post is not about dogs. If the subject was purple Chevys, I would have written the same thing.

I read the following letter on a forum a while back. As a writer, I’m agitated by the grammar. The more I look at it, the more I’m frustrated by the content. I copied and pasted it exactly as it appeared, and I have wasted my entire morning ripping it to shreds writing a blog about it.

 

found_collar_black2__33877.1362773206.1280.1280_2“I have a community question, that needs to be anonymous.

There is a dog running around my street that is severely malnourished, to the point that you can see every single bone in ther body, and they have other dogs in small pens in their backyard. I have gotten the one wondering in my back yard with a bowl of food and water. Where can I call that isn’t a high kill shelter? I believe the dog is considered an aggressive breed, but he is the sweetest thing ever.” – Anonymous Liker

 

While this letter is probably written by a good-deed doer, and I am all for rescuing neglected and abused animals, the post has many issues one simply cannot overlook. Grammar is the least of its problems.

“I have a community question, that needs to be anonymous.” 

There’s no need for a comma in this sentence. Why would a question need to be anonymous? Oh, you meant the person asking the question wishes to remain anonymous. Oh.

“There is a dog running around my street that is severely malnourished, to the point that you can see every single bone in ther body, and they have other dogs in small pens in their backyard.”  

Where does one even start? This is a run-on sentence with two topics – the dog and ‘they.’ “You can see every single bone” is an exaggeration. It is not possible to see every single bone unless you’ve dissected the dog, in which case we have another problem. We understand the dog is skinny, but this exaggeration leads us to believe that nothing else you’ve written here is completely true either. I’m going to ignore the “their” typo, but who is “they” in the last part of the sentence? I’m thinking you mean your neighbors? Wait! If you know this is your neighbor’s dog, why don’t you take him home? Hang on to that thought for a moment.

I have gotten the one wondering in my back yard with a bowl of food and water.

1005-alternate-1-440x400Is this a different dog? Do you have THIS dog in your possession? This sentence has me wondering how you knew this dog was wondering. Was he sitting on your back porch in the pose of The Thinker? Oh, you meant wandering, as in roaming around. Why didn’t you say so? Was he carrying a bowl of food and water with him? (…which would probably be TWO bowls, but that’s neither here nor there.) Did you mean YOU had the bowl (singular) of food and water? I’m so confused.

(photo credit: Rodin’s Thinker, National Gallery of Art, exhibiting how I’m feeling at this moment.)

Let’s continue…

“Where can I call that isn’t a high kill shelter?”

I understand the question, really, I do, but I don’t understand how over thirty people responded to the original post with phone numbers and names of shelters, and not one person noticed that the writer had STOLEN her neighbor’s dog. The wish to remain anonymous now makes more sense.

I’ll mention the obvious here. This was posted on a forum, using the Internet, which has “The Google” as my elderly friend calls it. Just look up a number.

There should be a dash between high and kill as this two-word adjective (see what I did there?) is describing the shelter.

“I believe the dog is considered an aggressive breed, but he is the sweetest thing ever.” 

Finally, a sentence written correctly, but after the exaggeration and the fact that you’ve stolen your neighbor’s dog, I’m not inclined to trust your judgment. I may want to imagine you sitting next to a malnourished Rottweiler, but what I envision is a busybody old lady with a dirty poodle on her lap.

 

 

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Strange Family Trees

As an amateur genealogist and family grave hunter, I find family trees fascinating. Most are trees of real people that I could stare at for hours and hours, after all, that’s what people like me do.

There are other trees, though. Trees that are created by artists and people with larger imaginations than mine. For the last few days, I’ve been enamored by some of these trees. My favorite, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is the Genealogy of the Supermarket by astounding artist Nina Katchadourian.

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Miss Katchadourian has managed to take all the supermarket icons we’ve grown to know and love and combine them into one large family. I wasn’t able to find a list of who’s who, but I recognized a few. One of the Brawny Paper Towel guys (there are two) is married to Mr. Clean, and they have adopted the Gerber Baby. Jolly Green Giant is married to the Land O’ Lakes butter Indian maiden, and the Argo Corn Starch lady is their child.  Little Debbie is sister to the Charmin Baby. By far, my favorite is the Quaker from Quaker Oats who is married to Aunt Jemima. Seeing as it was the Quakers who were the first abolitionists, I find that hilarious. His son by another wife is Chef Boyardee. Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima are siblings. Samuel Adams and the St Paulie Girl are married and are the parents of the Brawny boys.  I guess if you’re going to spill all that beer, you need some paper towels to wipe it up. I did recognize the Gorton Fisherman, but I’d have to see the work in person to recognize any others.

This tree is absolutely brilliant!

Another tree that has caught my attention is the Star Wars Family Tree by Joe Stone. I really enjoyed the last Star Wars movie and how all the characters connected.

star wars

It sure does get your brain spinning. How about a tree of TV sitcom characters? Or a tree of your favorite fictional characters? Or a tree of characters in songs? “Black Betty had a child, bam-a-lam” “She called his child Jesus” If you didn’t get that, those are lines from “Black Betty” and “Levon.”

I’d love to put some time into creating an unusual tree, but I need to work on my real tree.

Better Late than Never for “The Weekly Smile”

weeklysmile1Apparently, bloggers are working to make the world a nicer place, and darn-it-all if I missed it. Over at Trent’s World, they are doing something rather cool – posting a weekly smile. In his words, “What made you smile in the last week? A photo? A kind word from a friend or stranger? A random act of kindness witnessed in life or on the news? Seeing a small baby or talking to an elderly parent or grandparent?  A joke? A song?” Well, let’s join in and make the blogosphere a happier place. What made you smile this week?

 

The following not only made me smile, it made me laugh out loud – hold my stomach and roar, actually. If you are a musician or have a good ear for music, you’ll be astounded, amazed, and tickled pink over this video. If you’ve ever accompanied a singer, you’re going to die! It’s priceless!

52 Ancestors #20 Horace Pappy Crane

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This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small,

and this week’s challenge is “Black Sheep.”

This topic made me laugh as the first person to come to mind was my great uncle Horace “Pappy” Crane. Uncle Horace was born 2 February 1905 to Amos Bolivar Crane and Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” White in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He was the second of six children. In the following photograph, he is on the bottom far left. The boy on the far right is my grandfather Andrew Franklin Crane.

Amos Crane and Minnie White with Horace, Minnie Ellen, and Frank

Uncle Horace’s claim to fame was driving car #58 in Nascar and surviving a roll-over crash at Daytona in 1960.

This funny black sheep story about him has been pieced together from various relatives and may be a little fuzzy as I have no documentation of the events.

Uncle Horace lived in a modest home in Mississippi and sold off the acres of his property to a builder. The sale did not include his own home, of course. The builder constructed beautiful, expensive homes on the land and eventually came to Uncle Horace to ask when he was going to rebuild. Uncle Horace didn’t realize it at the time, but he had apparently signed a paper stating he would tear down his shack and build a larger, more expensive home in its place. Well, he didn’t have the money to build a new home, so he figured he could make it happen through insurance money and he burnt his own home down.

The arrest happened when the arson investigators found the home was set ablaze with the same mixture of fuel he used to race with. Ooops.

Fortunately for him, he only received probation for the arson, but a while later, he got into a drunken fight in a bar and had a pistol on him – which was against his probation. He spent time behind bars for violating probation.

Uncle Horace was the family character everyone has stories about, and the above tale is just the tip of the iceberg. He was very loved. He died 6 February 1985 and is laid to rest at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

crane, horace t

Farming, Winning, Unpacking, and Catching Up

Holy cow, the last month as been NUTZZZ!

IMG_20140507_075738760I moved from Michigan to Tennessee on May 1st. Whew, that was a lot of work! I felt kinda bad that I went to work on May 3rd for two weeks and left my trophy husband in Tennessee to deal with the movers, the dogs, and his new job, but I had to sit on a beach in St. Maarten and get paid. (I work for Norwegian Cruise Lines, if you don’t know.) So, trophy husband unpacked boxes as best he could and regularly emailed me pictures of the house. I was so happy to see all our stuff made it, but I must admit, my first thoughts were, “Hey, that doesn’t go there. Why would he put those things on that table? That other stuff should go there, and move those things to the other place.” LOL. Poor guy. Well, it was so cool to fly into Nashville on Saturday to come home. I’ve been home for two days and have most of our belongings sorted out. I’m still finding things we didn’t unpack when we moved three years ago, but it’s fun to go through it.

IMG_20140518_184641045In case you missed it, we now have a farm and poor trophy husband has a lot to do. While we were driving down from Michigan (eight hours in the car with two dogs panting and turning it into a smelly steam room), one of the six moo moos had a calf. I called her Peanut (standing on the left), which will be totally wrong when she weighs 900 pounds, but I don’t care. While I was away last week, we had the second calf. I named her Buttercup (laying down on the right). They are precious!!

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While I was gone, Twister (the neurotic donkey) apparently went into the chicken enclosure and wouldn’t come out. He’s out now and back with his buddies, but he was a poor little loner for over a week. My house sits by the barn and the chickens, and I haven’t seen Twister since I’ve returned home. He may be a little freaked out by the whole experience. He’s hiding on the back of the property.

AOH%20cover_webAlso while I was gone, my book “An Orphan’s Heart,” was named as a finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Awards. I’m tickled pink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

unnamedThe sequel to “Stuckey’s Bridge” is coming out in two weeks. “Stuckey’s Legacy” will hit the shelves on June 1st. While I was on the ship, I finished writing the third in the trilogy. “Stuckey’s Gold” is now in the pipeline and will be out in August. If you haven’t read “Stuckey’s Bridge” yet, get busy.

 

I think that’s all the news. I’m leaving Sunday for Bermuda for nine weeks, so I won’t be around until the end of July. Have a great summer and I’ll yack at y’all soon!