Tuesday, July 29, 2014

injaynesworld here are “10 Things I Can't Do Without…”


This week’s summer heat and humidity have my brain feeling like a tissue that’s been forgotten in the pocket of your favorite jeans after they’ve been put through the wash.  There are all kinds of things going on in the world that I could raise a ruckus about, but I can barely raise myself off the couch.     

So, in lieu of putting together a series of cohesive thoughts, here are ten things that (at this particular time and subject to change) I cannot do without.  For argument’s sake, let’s just agree that electricity, indoor plumbing and, at the moment, air-conditioning, are a given. 

1  Dark Chocolate:  There are few things in life that can’t be made better with dark chocolate.  If necessary, I could live on it. 

Alcohol (including, but not limited to):  Wine:  Preferably a Grenache/Syrah blend or a fruity Viognier served with, you guessed it, dark chocolate.   Cold beer:  Corona (cases of it).

3  Friends:  The ones who love me not only despite all my flaws, but because of them.

4  Coffee:  French roast, please, with a bit of half-and-half.

5  Books:  By writers who are much, much better than I am.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of these. 

6  Horses:  That a 1,000 pound creature will allow me to sit on its back and do what I ask when it could just as easily buck me off and stomp me into the ground never fails to humble me. 

7  My fur babies, Dixie and Mason:  Anyone who lives without an animal in their life is beyond my understanding and quite possibly a sociopath. 

8  Netflix Streaming:  I had no idea that I couldn’t live without this until I got it.  Currently, binge-watching “House of Cards.” 

9  Money:  I’m not greedy.  I’d be happy with enough to meet all my needs and some to spare and to share… And maybe influence a few elections.

10 E-mail:  Without which I would actually have to speak to people. 

Coming soon:  “10 Things I Don’t Give A Rat’s Ass About.”


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

injaynesworld it’s “A Plea to the Y Chromosome…”


What is it about human nature that drives us to enjoy killing each other so damn much?   We’ve been coming up with new and more efficient methods since man first walked upright, and our penchant for aggression and violence seems only to be growing. 

Recently, Utah Republican lawmaker Paul Ray announced that he wants to bring back the firing squad for the death penalty in that state and is planning to introduce a bill to do so come next January. 

Yes.  By all means.  Let’s finally confirm once and for all to the rest of the world that we are, indeed, a bunch of trigger-happy Neanderthals.   I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone.  I understand that our zoos are suffering a budget crunch.  How about just throwing them to the lions?  And I have no doubt that there are those who would pay to watch such a show, too.

In fairness, there are few countries that can claim the high ground when it comes to developing ways to wipe out our fellow man.  The guillotine was a particular favorite at one time.  Kudos to you, France.  But for sheer numbers, I believe we still hold the record with Hiroshima.  USA!

I have a theory.

It all goes back to that Saturday that God promised Mrs. God he would take the entire weekend off to rest, having just spent an exhausting five days creating the world.  Mrs. God’s back wasn’t turned ten minutes, when God got what he thought was a genius of an idea. 

“Just running to the store, honey.” 

Whereupon God spent the day working on what He was sure would be His greatest creation ever:  Mankind.

He could not wait to tell Mrs. God, bask in the glory of her praise and, who knows, maybe even get a little nookie that night.  However, much to His dismay, His wife’s eyes only widened in horror as He recounted the details of His creation.

“You did what?!” she shouted.  “Two testicles and only one brain?!  O.M.G!  What were you thinking?!”  

Yes.  It’s true.  God caught hell.  And, needless to say, went nookie-less for quite some time to come.

I tell this tale not to malign my sensitive, intelligent, peace-loving male readers.  Truly, there is not an asshole among you and I cherish you all.  But even you, I believe, will admit that it is most commonly the male of the species seeking dominance that is responsible for most conflicts and bloodshed in this world.  You will seldom find a woman suggesting the lobbing of missiles willy-nilly into an area that may contain one terrorist, but most surely contains a shitload of innocent civilians.

Men like to complain about how women yak, yak, yak all the damn time.  Yes.  We do. We like to Talk. Things. Out.  No one ever died because of a conversation, not even of boredom as is frequently suggested. 

When I look at the current state of the world:  Warfare in the Ukraine, continued massacres in Syria, drug lords killing children in Central America, the brutal kidnappings of young girls in Nigeria, and when I watch the rise of gun violence here at home (last weekend 40 people shot in Chicago, including one 11-year-old girl who died), and then look at those in charge of propagating all this savagery (exhale)… not a vagina among them do I find. 

It’s no longer enough to say “boys will be boys.”  Those among you who are the good guys – and I know there are a lot of you – have got to start taking a stronger stand against the ones who are besmirching your entire gender.  Do it with your voice.  Do it with your vote.  Do it with your donations.   Do it in how you raise your sons.   And if you’re doing all that, do more. 

Please.

If all this sounds unfair, I’m sorry.  But right now I have to agree with Mrs. God.  One testicle would have been enough. 


Disclaimer: There are women who can be just as aggressive, violent, and brutal as men.  Certainly, they can be just as stupid.  There is no accounting for Sarah Palin. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

injaynesworld "Look, But Don't Touch..."


I cannot hear rain drops on my rooftop without remembering my mother’s pearl necklace. Given to her by my father on their wedding day and worn only on very special occasions, it was kept nestled in a blue velvet pouch in the bottom drawer of her vanity under her delicately scented handkerchiefs.

I knew better than to ever go into that drawer, but one wet, winter day when I was six years old and bored with being inside, I decided to play dress-up and there was nothing dressier to me than that string of precious pearls.

The tiny, silver clasp would not give way to my clumsy, young fingers and so, in frustration, I tried pulling the necklace on over my head. I can still recall the sound of those pearls as they hit, bounced, and scattered across the wooden floor and the look on my mother’s face when she entered the room, as rain thundered down on the roof above.

This post is in response to the prompt “rain” at Five Sentence Fiction.  


Monday, June 23, 2014

injaynesworld I have "Conversations With My Dog..."


I sit in a cozy living room chair, smooshed comfortably into the back cushion, book in hand, and a glass of iced tea at my side.  Draped across the back of the chair just behind my neck lies Dixie, my five-pounds-of-pure-adorableness Chihuahua, happily gnawing away on her beloved chew when suddenly I hear a plunk.  The chew has fallen to the floor.  I look at Dixie.

“I suppose you want me to pick that up for you?”  I say.

Her eyes meet mine.  Yes, please.

I lean over the arm of the chair where I can only reach (of course) the soggy, saliva-covered end of the disgusting thing, pick it up and place it back in front of her.  She turns away, disinterested now. 

“I thought you wanted it.”

No.

“You asked me to pick it up.”

No, I didn’t.  You made that up.

And she’s right.  I have conversations with my dog where I supply both sides of the dialogue.  I do this out loud.  Even when there are people around.   I silently thank Ronald Reagan for gutting California’s mental health system thus assuring my freedom to continue to do so unabated by those who would have me locked away.       

The voice I use for Dixie is small, like she is, and a few octaves above my own with a slight whisper quality to it.  I tell myself I am so connected to her that I know exactly what she is thinking at any given moment.  I tell myself that even if that’s not entirely true, I am, after all, a writer and am allowed a certain amount of creative leeway.  I tell myself there are many reasons why I’m single, and this is the least of it. 

Dixie, for her part, is happy to play along because as long as she is the focus of my undivided attention, she doesn’t much give a crap what I say. 

I don’t attempt this with my cat, Mason.  I have had cats for my entire life and, while they can be loving companions, I assure you they have only three messages for us:  “Feed me.”  “Pet me.”  “Go away.”   Sometimes “pet me” and “go away” are aligned precariously close and, if one is not quick to discern the mood shift, a blood-letting can occur.  Yours, not theirs.  Timing is everything.  

I gaze down at Dixie who is now curled up in her basket on the floor beside me.  She senses me looking at her, raises that sweet face and looks up at me with those big brown eyes.

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you, too, Dixie.” 


Monday, June 9, 2014

injaynesworld it's "A Room With A View..."


Tiny, peach-colored roses give way to somber plaid give way to stripes of all colors as I peel away the layers, one life at a time, and plan for the one about to begin.

A bay window faces east.  Beside it, your grandmother’s rocking chair, hand-carved of sturdy pine where, together, you and I will greet the promise of each new day and discuss ideas great and small.

Another thin sheet of the past tears free and floats to the floor, leaving for us finally a blank canvas. 

Pink is too timid.  Blue, too lonely.  Yellow, a coward’s choice.  For you, my child, nothing but rainbows will do.


From the Studio 30-Plus prompt “… peel away the layers…”  Limit 150 words.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

injaynesworld it's "Body Talk..."


So I went for my annual, semi-annual, once-every-decade-or-so physical exam.  Turns out I have the blood pressure of an 18-year-old and I’m kicking cholesterol’s ass.  Not bad for a broad with Medicare clearly in her sites.  

I attribute my good health in part to avoiding doctors, many who seem to take it as a personal failure if they can’t find something wrong with you.  You have to pretty much scrape me off the ground to get me to a doctor, which has been known to happen. 

But good genes deserve their due, as well.  Luck of the draw there.  So far, I’ve managed to give any serious illness the slip, despite my years of questionable food choices.  Coca-Cola by-the-case as a child and a steady intake of bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread with potato chips smashed inside for crunchy goodness leave me marveling that I even made it to adulthood.  Say what you will about the chemical industry, I suspect all those preservatives in the food I ate back then did their job.  The number of Twinkies I consumed alone should guarantee a life span of 100 years.

Alas, my idea of nourishment as an adult wasn’t much better.  For years I ate a large bowl of heavily buttered and salted popcorn at least three times a week for dinner, followed by ice cream for dessert.  I would tell myself it was one of the few perks of being a grown-up. 

It’s only been the last decade or so that I’ve changed my ways.  I’d like to say that I have matured and now realize the importance of whole grains, fresh fruit, and green vegetables to a healthy body.  The truth is I discovered that “after a certain age” the body’s efficiency at burning off that package of double-chocolate chip cookies wanes like a flame in a windstorm.  The change is subtle at first.  Clothes shrink in the dryer all the time.  Then one day I could deny it no more:  The sharp hip bones that I could always count on to gouge my way through any shoe sale crowd at Nordstrom’s had vanished, along with an unobstructed view of my lady parts.  Sure, I still had a size four ass, but only because the fat had migrated to my stomach.  Oh, the betrayal!

Vanity more than health concerns have been the deciding factor in switching to a diet now (mostly) void of all foods the color of white.  Broccoli is my new bff.  Cheese and crackers have (mostly) morphed into cheese on crisp celery.  Chicken and fish (mostly) suffice for my protein needs.   Carrots and hummus (mostly) fill in nicely for chips and dip.  Sautéed has become the new fried.

I figure if I eat sensibly that still affords me the luxury of drinking all the wine I want.  This, of course, is not true, but it is what I tell myself, along with touting the grape’s antioxidant benefits probably far beyond the findings of science.  The same goes for dark chocolate. 

Because what’s the point of living to be 100 if you can’t have a little fun? 



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