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Insecure writer's support group

Some people go on vacation to vegetate -- to chill the hell out. I go on vacation to write, but it usually happens that other things get in the way like VACATION and children and "knock, knock -- housekeeping."


This time was different. I went to Hawaii for a week with my dad -- no kids, no husband -- just me, dad, my computer and a couple of spiral notebooks.

It was hard at first to get my bearings. Until a week ago it had been something like 41,200 minutes since my last writing moment, one of those heaven-sent minutes in which I happen to be sitting at my computer, or I have a pen and something to scribble on -- my skin for instance, because I haven't carried a notepad around since I stopped reporting the news (insert frowny face here), and even then I rarely had a notepad when I needed one -- I took notes on napkins and empty cigarette boxes.

ENOUGH rambling -- I havent't written much since I got promoted to leader of  I think I signed a contract that prohibits me …

Insecure writer's support group

Listening to the radio on my way to work this morning I learned that Internet Use Addiction was recently added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which got me thinking -- perhaps there's a writing addiction disorder.

If the clinical definition of addiction is any compulsive behavior that interferes with your life and relationships -- I'm definitely an addict. 
It's a wonderful scapegoat -- addiction. 
When I finally lose it and shave my head and burn down my house and crash my car into the gun range clubhouse, I can blame it on my writing addiction -- "I'm sorry officers. I was suffering from writing withdrawals. It's a real thing -- look it up in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders."
I feel like a fraud these days calling myself a "writer." I don't write; I think about it all day while I'm busy with other crap, and when I finally get home and lock myself away to put words in…

Put down your weapons

Buck Henry and his posse of toothless, pickup-driving hillbillies are down at the gun range again blowing sh*t up and polluting my writing space with their god dammed racket.

I'm one POP away from marching over there and taking them down with my husband's pink remote control airplane or maybe his potato gun. 
It's 8:00 at night. I think it's quite reasonable to expect all gunfire will cease by the time some boring people go to bed. 
I'm trying to concentrate here, but my train is interrupted every half second by explosions and echoes of explosions and the faint clang -- they're a mile away -- of Henry's moonshine jugs being tossed in the back of some buttworm's rusty hunting vehicle.

What if I started a commune next door to the gun range?




What if I blasted sitar music and tantric chanting on really BIG -- for lack of any audio words -- speakers?

I know a guy who sells  patuli-scented tiki torches and sandalwood peace arches.

Imagine: free-range chickens…

We fear change

I'm like Mikey -- the kid from the Life cereal commercial, "Let's give it to Mikey.
He won't like it. He hates everything."

We all know that Mikey ended up liking the cereal, and I would have too if someone told me I would hate it. That's just how I roll -- stubborn and immature. 
I'm rather childish about a lot of things, but someone thought it was a good idea to put me in a leadership position at work -- that's not to say I'm unqualified. I've performed very well in every job I've had since high school. It's just not something I expected -- to be a supervisor.

It's exciting. It's scary. It's sad -- I wouldn't be taking this job except the person who currently fills it is running off to Hawaii for something -- let's face it -- far better than anything Seattle has to offer. It's change, and I hate it. Even when the change is something really good like a better job with more money. I'd be just as happy for th…

Sibling rivalry

Ashlyn screamed at me the other morning, "MOMMY! You NAKED! (I was in my bathrobe.)"

And Lily said, "You don't need to broadcast that for the whole entire planet."

And Ashlyn said, "MOMMY! You NAKED!"

And Lily said, "You're a redneck, Ashlyn."

And Ashlyn said, "I not a redneck. You a redneck Bay-bo (that's Ashlyn's pet name for Lily)."

It's funny listening to my children quarrel. I never had a brother or a sister to fight with, and most people upon learning this tidbit about me roll their eyes, sigh deeply and announce "Well that explains a lot."


I'm loud, opinionated, occasionally self serving, impatient, bossy and a tiny bit aggressive -- it's got to be the Only Child Syndrome. Bleh!

I am who I am -- it's only loosely related to the number of puppies my mother popped out of her womb (one). I'm colorful, because my parents are CRAZY. (They're nuttier than a couple of rum-soaked fruit c…

Dammit, Darla!

Lily tackled me on my way out the door this morning.

"Wait, Mommy!" She shouted even though she'd knocked me to the floor and her mouth was an inch from my ear. "You can't go yet. I have to give you something"

She wrapped one arm around my leg to keep me disabled; stretched her body as long as it would go without compromising her grip on my ankle; and plunged her free arm into a ratty basket full of toys that shouldn't have been on the floor in my bedroom -- that's another story -- and pulled out a tiny, brown horse.


"Darla will go to work with you today," Lily said placing the horse gently in my hand. "She's a good horse. She will take care of you and keep you from getting lonely at work."

I grabbed Lily's face and kissed her nose and forehead.

"OH MY GOSH -- I love you SO MUCH!"

I felt a little crazy taking a horse to work -- even a tiny horse. What if someone in the office had an allergy? What if someone com…

Technology is the Devil

Computers suck -- they really do. They suck enormous rhinoceros balls, and I hate them.

There's one thing worse than having nothing to write about. It's Having something absolutely brilliant -- so fabulous that you're pissing in your pants all day you're so excited -- and you get home, and you can't write, because your computer chooses that one day in a million to flip you the bird and take a smelly dump all over your hopes and dreams.

That's my story tonight.


I ran in the house after work and headed for the bedroom to type up my masterpiece, but my computer was NOT happy to see me.

It wouldn't do anything that I wanted it to do. All of the USB ports were dead. I couldn't transfer my pictures from the camera. And finally after reading I-don't-know-how-many articles about Universal Serial "B"-somethings (USBs) THAT PIECE-OF-CRAP machine wouldn't even start. It gave me some bullshit message "You're computer cannot start ..."…

That is inappropriate!

My daughters' favorite word is "inappropriate."

I remember the first time Lily used it -- she was 4.

I'd been yelling at Jerod for letting her watch Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

The two of them were huddled on the couch watching Family Guy. Meg, the daughter, fell IN LOVE with Brian, the family dog -- he took her to prom; he dumped her; and Meg in retaliation tied him to a chair in a candlelit room and threatened to make him love her.
"IN-A-PPRO-PRI-ATE, dude. So inappropriate."
I changed the channel and went upstairs to change my clothes at which point an argument ensued between Lily and Jerod. Lily was yelling something about rules and "Mommy said," and Jerod was shushing her.

"No DAD," Lily screamed. "Mommy said I'm not allowed to watch Family Guy. It's INAPPROPRIATE."

I'd made my way downstairs by that point and was trying desperately not to laugh at the redness of Lily's face or the veins bulging from her…

The insecure writer's support group

The ground is important -- for several reasons.

Among them

Gravity makes no sense without it -- there's no mandate that science be logical so long as our scientists are the smartest smartypants on the planet, in which case "because I said so" is an acceptable explanation. The ground is important, because it's something to build on -- a starting point, a foundation.

I respect the ground, because it has on occasion fallen out from under me, and it's rather unsettling to watch your life in free-fall mode -- to see your accomplishments disintegrate in an instant or a decade in some cases. It all depends on how fast you're falling.

Most of us drop in slow motion. We'll catch a ledge or an up draft every once in a while and think "this is it!" But then we go on falling. Or do we? Is the "bottom" just a figment of our imaginations? Can we lay new ground wherever we choose?


Ask Alice

None of my friends growing up were impressed with Disney's…

Courage under fire

Call me SUPER Crazy Cat Lady.

I rescued my beloved feline, Buddy, from -- dun dun dun -- CERTAIN DEATH this weekend.

My friend's dog, "Puppy" -- a sweet-as-can-be mutt, who may or may not have a drop or two of pit bull in her -- joined us for a barbecue on Sunday. She was prancing merrily in the back yard until one of the children left the slider open.

"Puppy" ran inside to scope things out, which I really wouldn't mind if Buddy tolerated dogs, but he doesn't. Buddy's hated dogs since he was a kitten and fit in the palm of my hand.

I found him July 5, 1998 yowling from the bottom of a covered manhole in Bremerton, WA.

Jerod and I had been fighting the night before, and I was stomping my way to the ferry terminal when I heard Buddy's scratchy voice screaming from under the ground somewhere. I squatted  over a nearby manhole and pulled on the cover until it popped loose and the weight of it threw me backwards.

I poked my head in the hole to see wh…

A Valium would be good here

When will I learn: FOOTBALL IS NOT MY FRIEND.

It's SO beyond stupid.

My team will never win -- especially when I'm watching.

It makes me want to stab people, and I'm certain the stress of the 2003 Apple Cup gave me shingles, which I wouldn't wish on a Husky or a Duck.

Wazzu opened the season with an embarrassing loss to Brigham Young -- 6 to 30 -- though my Cougars were ROBBED of TWO touchdowns for bull sh** holds. Even the BYU-loving announcers conceded one of the calls was outrageous.

What is it about this pastime that turns me into the Exorcist girl? And what would they say at the ER if I told them I had football demons inside of me? 


I was jumping on the furniture, screaming myself horse, ordering a bunch of college KIDSto "eat sh** and die." They couldn't even hear me. The neighbors could hear me -- the entire city of Bothell too -- but my team was getting its ass kicked in Utah, where I'm pretty sure even my loudest LOUDEST screams never registe…

The "C" word

"This too shall pass." That's what I tell myself when bad things happen, but I'm not a convincing optimist. You can tell they're just words I say out of reflex -- the way I sing the Serenity Prayer in rush-hour traffic to extinguish my thoughts of vehicular homicide -- they're just words.

I'm a cynic, and it's normally something I'm proud of. Jaded people are edgy and unpredictable. They're the fact finders, because it's in their nature to question and doubt all things -- to expect the worst always. I regard optimists like high school cheerleaders -- obnoxiously cheerful and sugar coated -- until now.
The dark side hasn't felt nearly as sophisticated since a surgeon dug into my husband's back on Wednesday and yanked out a baseball-sized tumor that may or may not be malignant.

It wasn't supposed to be anything -- just a lipoma, a benign growth of fat cells as harmless as a cyst or a giant pimple. In fact the doctor told Jerod, &…

Of course you realize this means war

Life's given me a lot to write about lately but nothing I want to publish on the Internet. God knows there are shit-tons of idiots out there who broadcast everything on the Internet from their morning poops to their evening circle jerks.

I'm not one them.

Health scares, financial hardships, family feuds -- they've all been stewing for the past three years. They're still stewing, and all I want to do is hide -- just bury my head in the sand and wait for my f***ing promfuneral; whatever John Bender would say to a 35-year-old Claire Standish. (I love The Breakfast Club.) 
What I'm getting at in this scenic-detour sort of way is that I lack the energy -- moxy -- lately to spin my bull s**t into funny anecdotes on the trials and tribulations of being a tortured artist, writer, mother, wife and web analyst. There's only so much Bad News a person can take, and I reached my quota two months ago. 
The good news: I'm done hiding

It's time I give Life a swift kick …

Steal my identity? You can have it!

Someone stole my identity last week to buy virus protection software from AVG -- $46.

The bank called to verify whether or not I made the purchase -- I hadn't used the card since early 2011, so the late-night transaction struck some awesome banker as peculiar (thank you, Conscientious Banker). I was't aware that I had $46 available to charge on that card, otherwise I'd have purchased something much more exciting than virus protection -- the premium protection package at least.
I wonder: what kind of genius is clever enough to access my account -- and then so stupid to use it, considering I owe more money than I'm worth? I can barely pay my bills. In fact I call my husband and the bank at lunch time to verify I have sufficient funds to purchase food, "I'm really hungry. Can I buy a sandwich?"


Money is so tight I turned to the "interesting" section of Craigslist to see about a shady job or scheme to supplement my income.

There were several opportu…

I want a vote, dammit

I've had it. I'm done, fed up, exhausted, annoyed and not happy.

Our fridge died, because someone -- I'm not pointing fingers -- left the freezer open while we were on hellcation last month. We've kept things chilled with bags of ice treating our refrigerator like a giant beer cooler. But the scorching temperatures we endured last weekend were too much to keep up with.
I poured myself what should have been a cold glass of water on Sunday -- it was warmer than my pee. Jerod said the fridge was fine, but I could smell and hear the food rotting as I drank my hot beverage in our 92-degree kitchen. 
My dad, a brilliant bacteriologist and veterinarian, begged us not to poison the children with potentially rancid food -- "Let me buy you a fridge."

It arrived Tuesday -- a lovely white refrigerator with french doors and a night light and a water dispenser and a pocket butler who wipes your bum ... I've been dreaming of this day for five years -- the day our ecru, …

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It feels like a psycho killer chopped me into pieces and tossed them out the window of his orange 1962 Chevy pickup truck while driving in the middle of nowhere somewhere.

Life happens to the best of us -- bankruptcy, death, illness, birth, natural disasters and office moves all at the same time so you're drowning every morning before you even step in the shower. There's a lot going on in my circle, and most of it is completely out of my control, which is great -- I guess, if you're one of those serene, wise folks they write about on refrigerator magnets. I'm not. I'm unstable which means I worry too much about the crap I can't control and not enough about the crap I can.


For example: they told me at work "you may be relocated."

"No," I shouted.

"It's out of your control," they told me. "We need to make room for new employees."

"What about my team?"

"Get back to work."

I couldn't get back to wo…

You gotta have a goal

You know as a writer you're desperate when you start quoting prostitutes. Not the gritty, toothless variety you find near the airport; but the fairy-tail hookers depicted in misguided 90's-era chick flicks like Pretty Woman.

Kit DeLuca: "You just can't turn tricks forever. You gotta have a goal. Do you have a goal?"

Angel: "Well, I always wanted to be in the Ice Capades."

I'm not sure why the lines popped in my head this morning -- I haven't seen the movie in years -- but there they were like catchy lyrics playing in my brain all day -- "You gotta have a goal. Do you have a goal?"

I went with it, because I'm not on speaking terms with Inspiration, and I've already said I'm desperate.

I have lots of goals or impossible wishes that I file under "goals" for lack of a better lable. They hit me throughout the day, and I share them without considering if they're appropriate or not -- or crazy or not -- and my coworker…