Tuesday, December 30, 2014

injaynesworld "Looking Back and Ahead..."

Another year beats a path to the history books and, frankly, I’m sorry to see it go.  Unlike so many years before it, 2014 and I got along just fine.  Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more out of a year:  Good health, good friends and a home where I’ve never been happier.  Best of all I finally found the perfect handbag and the perfect bra.  Score 2014!

Now is the time we all start making those resolutions few of us will keep.  I’m making it easy on myself.  I’m resolving to do little that’s different from last year.  Why mess with success? 

I am going to get my ass out of the chair and moving a bit more.  To that end, I’m joining a hip-hop class starting in January that meets once a week.  I like today’s music.  I like to dance.   I don’t like going to a gym. 

Two thousand-fifteen is an impressive number for a year.  It never occurred to me as a child that I would live to see such a date.  Although, had it occurred, I’m certain I would have expected a world more akin to that of “The Jetsons” and less “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

I remember what a big deal it was when the clock struck midnight in 1960, the first year I was old enough to appreciate the power of a zero.  I got to stay up late and Mom made hot chocolate served in paper-thin China cups with gold-leaf trim.  On New Year’s Eve 1970, I was at a Grateful Dead concert at the Fillmore loaded on weed.  What a difference a decade makes.

Now, several decades later, I gather with friends in front of the TV watching Kathy Griffin rip on Anderson Cooper until 9:00 p.m. (PST), and then off to bed because when the ball drops at midnight in New York that’s good enough for me. 

However you ring in the New Year, here’s hoping that 2015 is everything you want it to be.

Happy New Year, my friends. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

injaynesworld "A Light Burns..."

Upon a steep hill, not far away
A twinkling light shone through the trees’ sway
It was strangely enticing
I tried to resist
If I failed to return
Would I even be missed?

And so onward I went, each foot deep in snow
Yet the light kept retreating as if telling me “no”
I don't understand!
I screamed through the dark
I’ve been walking for hours!
Yet my feet had left no mark

It was true; behind me the path smooth as cream
I wondered aloud, am I trapped in a dream?
Then a voice spoke out
So gentle and clear
The light which you seek
Is clouded by fear

Before me a glow of such brightness I fell
Look inside, my child; you’ve a story to tell
A story?  But no one listens to me.
To all those who search for a light from above
My message through you is simple
Go forth in love

Be a beacon for others and you’ll not lack a friend
For no light burns brighter than that from within
There is nothing to fear
That you don’t self-create
Choose faith over darkness
Love over hate

May the light that is Christmas burn bright in your heart all through the year.  Merry Christmas, my friends. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

injaynesworld "Gift Giving 101 - A Refresher Course..."

 An excerpt from "Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry."

I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty amazing gifts in my life.  Things I really wanted, but had no expectation of actually getting.  Surprises that blew my circuits with the thought, care and love that I knew went into picking them out for me.

On the giving end, the fun of seeing a friend’s face light up with genuine excitement at a perfect gift chosen especially for them brings a pleasure and satisfaction that’s hard to match, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way. 
So why is it that every gift-giving occasion always produces at least a couple of those “What the hell were they thinking?” gifts that look like the giver just threw a “Hail Mary” and hoped for the best? 
Let me just say I don’t need any more – or any, for that matter -- tee-shirts with sayings on them.  “Does 'anal retentive' have a hyphen?”   Thanks for pointing out that I’m a control freak and, by all means, let’s share it with the world.  
Same with that mood ring.   I know what mood I’m in, thank you, and while we’re at it, I haven’t been in the mood for a lava lamp since 1968 either.  While you may have had the best of intentions, I already have closet shelves devoted to ceramic cats, more soap than anyone could use in a lifetime, candles for everyone should there be a nationwide power outage, and a ceramic photo frame in the shape of a cow.   Blessedly, only one of those.
While it should go without saying, unless we’re closely related, please don’t give me underwear.  As for socks with cartoon characters on them?  Really?   The dementia is that obvious, is it?  I don’t need a coffee mug with a photo of my dog on it.  I know what my dog looks like.  I’m already the only one in the office with no family photos on her desk.   Why don’t you just get me a mug that says “pathetic” and be done with it?
Homemade gifts are especially iffy.   Jellies, cookies, banana bread?   Bring it on.   A hand-knit beret made from your dog’s fur that you collected from the floor after grooming, wove into yarn yourself and then knit just for me?  Not so much.  
When I was 15 my mother put a carton of cigarettes in my Christmas stocking.  “Spring” was my death stick of choice back then.   Of course, this was before we all knew about the dangers of smoking, which makes me feel a bit better because, although I was a pretty rotten kid, I’d like to believe that my mother wasn’t trying to off me. 
All of which leads me to the obvious:  What wrong with cash?   Even the wealthiest among us can appreciate that a twenty will buy a few beers.  The wealthy love cash.  Why do you think they have so much of it?   And if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for the rest of us.  While cash may not say, “I saw this and immediately thought of you,” I think I’ve clearly established how very awry that path can go.  
When in doubt as to what I might want, just ask.   I’ll tell you.   I’m not shy about it in the least.   I’ll even send you links to the websites.  Seriously, I’m here to help.   
Of course, if you’re still determined to go it on your own, you can pretty much never go wrong with a good book.  ;) 
You know how those greedy bastards at Amazon have increased their qualification for "free shipping" to $35?  Well, Barnes & Noble is still only $25.  Buy Suitable for Giving at B & N and get more bang for your buck.  
Click here to buy

Thursday, December 4, 2014

injaynesworld it's "A California Christmas..."

Deck the deck with fake snow garland

It’s Christmas in California and, despite how superior we feel to those of you digging out from under four feet of snow while we’re still working on our tan, we have to admit to a little bit Christmas envy.

Images of people bundled in parkas, donned with faux fur-trimmed hats and thick, warm gloves carrying home the family tree amidst flurries of falling snow taunt us.  Even your department store Santas are jollier than ours who must labor under layers of padding and heavy wool suits, in eighty-degree weather, listening to kids asking for Beach Bunny Barbie.

This week we had some rain and wind. The temperature plunged to a punishing fifty degrees, finally awakening my Christmas spirit.  While there is no room in my tiny abode for the massive trees of Christmas pasts, I’ve made do once again with my new tradition – The Christmas Pole. I do miss the fresh pine scent of a real tree, but I love that my Ace Hardware garland came pre-lit, and remind myself that that’s why God created Glade.

The sun is out today and my tomato plants are still flourishing, but tonight when my sky is as dark as yours, I’ll be sipping hot eggnog and dreaming of a white Christmas. 

Christmas shopping is as easy as clicking here.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

injaynesworld we are "Thankful for Mornings..."

Blessed are the mornings, for they are filled with such promise – Me

It’s hard for me to believe now that there was a time – long, long ago and far, far away – in the land known as “my youth,” when I was not a morning person.  I recall lying in bed looking at the clock, which might have read “10:15 a.m.,” and thinking, “Great.  It’s not even eleven yet.  I can go back to sleep.”  Which meant my “useful” day would start at about 1:00 and, during the winter months that would give me only about four hours of sunlight.  No wonder I was so cranky back then.  I was seriously Vitamin D deficient. 

The fact that I rarely got in before 2:00 a.m. in those days and that I currently live in a community that rolls up the proverbial sidewalks at eight should probably be mentioned.  The most raucous club in town closes at ten.  People here have cows and horses to feed in the morning.  

I love mornings, and if I don’t have to come down off my quiet, little hilltop, all the better.  The idea that a day is new and as yet unsullied appeals to me.  Morning is a frame of mind.  As long as I don’t take off my robe – even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon – it’s still technically morning. Conversely, if I have someplace I need to be at 9:00 a.m., even if I’m home by 10:00, morning is lost.

I realize that I’m getting older.  I can see the “Exit” sign from here, so these days I’m happy just to wake up and find that I’m still alive. “Score!  Got another one!”  One hears about people unexpectedly dying in their sleep all the time and, while it sounds peaceful, it would seriously piss me off.  Let me have one more morning. 

Afternoons wear on me.  I’m tired by then and completely understand the Latin tradition of napping the afternoon away.  Have you noticed that people will say that they’re a “morning” person or a “night” person, but no ever one says, “Hey, me?  Yeah.  I’m an afternoon person.”   With apologies to the British and their penchant for afternoon tea, I’m of the belief that those hours are just there to fill the space between morning coffee and evening wine. 

Thanksgiving would be the exception, when the feasting in my world starts at around 3:00.  Even I would not want to wolf down turkey and sweet potatoes for breakfast and, after 6:00, such overindulgence will stay with me for the entire night, causing me to wake up feeling like crap and ruin the next morning.  So yeah, for one day a year, I’m an afternoon person.

Whatever time of day it is that you gather with loved ones, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

injaynesworld it's "Daddy's Girl..."

Day 19 of Nancy Stohlman's "30 Days, 30 Stories" flash fiction writing challenge and the prompt is "my father."

My father waits at the curb, leaning against his ’56 Hudson, a Lucky Strike burning down to his calloused fingertips. 

Despite my mother’s protest, I wear my best dotted Swiss dress, my petticoat starched and stiff against my bare legs. 

He reaches inside the car, pounds twice on the horn. 

New black patent Mary Janes pinch my feet as I rush from the window to the front door, down the three steps from the porch and out to the sidewalk.  He tosses his cigarette to the ground and picks me up, his face like sandpaper against my own. 

“Well, aren’t you Miss Fancy Shmancy” he says.

I smell the whiskey on his breath, though it is barely noon, and I know we are not going to the promised zoo. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

injaynesworld it's "The Legacy..."

Pinched in a small, white box, wrapped in a sock, buried deep in her underwear drawer, the last gift her mother would give her lies in wait for those occasions when it is brought out from the darkness and slipped onto the daughter’s finger.

Cast with diamonds from the mother’s wedding ring out of a marriage born of duty, its memories best left in the past, and a single blue sapphire added at its center for her own birth, the ring bears decades of love and sacrifice, blessing and burden.   

The daughter’s hand sinks under its weight.

From the prompt “treasure” from Nancy Stohlman’s Flash Nano 30 Days 30 StoriesChallenge.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

injaynesworld "A Thought or Two About the Election..."

Another election is behind us. Enjoy the relative peace for about another six months until the 2016 campaigns kick in. 
Yes, I voted. I’m of the opinion that if you don’t vote you can’t bitch about the results and God knows how I love to bitch.

Does it really matter who wins the Senate when the choice is so pathetic?  Republicans are evil, Democrats are spineless, and they’re all blowing Wall Street.

Republican supporters can gloat today, but they shouldn’t take the election results to mean that the majority of the country’s populace supports their anti-middle class, anti-minority, anti-woman agenda. The GOP won because the majority of our citizens either didn’t care about voting or were disenfranchised by new Republican-backed voting laws that made it impossible for them to do so. Not surprisingly, most of the disenfranchised were people of color. The good news is our brown brothers and sisters will soon outnumber you old, white bastards.

Then we have the people who consistently vote against their own best interests and wonder why their lives are shit:  Those who voted for Republican governors who have fought to prevent them from access to Medicaid. Pissing blood?  Good luck with that.  Those who voted for Walker in Wisconsin, despite his blatant assault on the middle-class, because why should teachers, fire and police have decent pensions after they’ve spent their lives serving an ungrateful public?  And what’s with those who voted for McConnell in Kentucky?  Has there ever been a bigger turd in the punch bowl? 

For those who believe this was a win for the “real patriots,” think again. The big winners were the international corporate interests that have no allegiance to flag or country, only to shareholders. You might as well pledge your allegiance to G.E’s corporate logo.

But now the fun begins. Remember all the whining by Democrats over Republican filibusters and obstructionism?  “Tit for Tat,” baby.  Say what you will about the Nixon years, but we had a Congress that actually worked together.  We’ll never see that again.  Not in my lifetime anyway.

For those of you who remember my older blog posts where I was so passionately political, that torchlight has gone out.  I’m just happy to live in California where sanity, for the most part, prevailed. 

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