Friday, September 28, 2007

Fun With Typos

I love to collect typos: call it an editor's enthusiasm, call it OCD, but at the very least, call it fun. And a constant reminder that computer spell-checks are stupid.

This, from a flyer I received from a massage therapist:

"It is estimated that $85 BILLION a year is spent directly and indirectly on treading low back pain." (wow, no wonder we all hurt so much with all that treading upon our lower backs...)

"Low Back Pain is Devastating! You are in constant pain, always shifting your weight to take the pressure off your lower back (and, I assume, from all that treading...). Standing, sitting or even lying in bed doesn't seem to ease the pain. When all else fails you turn to a bottle of pain killers. Knowing full well the affects oral medication has on your lover and gastrointestinal track." (um...uh...this is a family blog so when I see "oral" and "lover" in the same sentence the censors here in Opusville get a little nervous. But feel free to write your own joke.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Bride Buys A Book... The Bride Buys A Book

I had the privilege and honor to attend my mother's third wedding ceremony last weekend (since I missed the first one and all).

It warmed my heart to see the bride and groom so happy and to be with them as they shared that joy with our combined families.

You never know quite what's going to happen when two families are joined by a pair of wedding bands and a pair of hearts, but I can say that there is one thing that most of us have in common.

As the ceremony in the Brooklyn gallery ended early, and the restaurant where we were to have the reception was not quite ready for the two-dozen or so of us, we had some time to kill. My new sister in law, a very talented artist, who together with her husband, the groom's son, arranged most of the details - said the eight words that are like music to my heart: "who wants to go to Barnes and Noble?"

Not a single dissenting voice was heard.

And with that, we decided, that a new wedding tradition had been formed: the ceremonial tour of a local book store. (And I won't say which one of us took the opportunity to use the stop for some last-minute wedding gift shopping.)

All and all, it was a beautiful afternoon (adorned with two adorable flower girls). I stand (or sit, as the case may be)humbled at the courage my mother and her beloved have shown in this simple but powerful act of trusting their hearts to each other.

Congratulations and Mazel Tov and welcome to the family!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not another season of Survivor...

I know I know, I skipped over many more important topics to blog about (yes, there will be a wedding blog, when I get some pictures), but last night something really ruffled my feathers.

It happened when I was watching Survivor. I know, it’s gotta be like the twenty third season already, but I still watch because it’s fun brain dead TV, and this one is set in China.

If you’ve never watched, each season begins with the introduction of all of the Survivor contestants, and shows them making the transition from regular life to the Spartan Survivor camps.

And I don’t know where they get these people, but inevitably, there’s always a handful who come completely unprepared and act as if they have never seen the show before in their lives. You think that if you were going on a TV show to win a million dollars that you would want to have some kind of idea what you’re getting yourself into.

Particularly, what you should be wearing. You have got to know that no matter what kind of luggage you are bringing along (or are asked to bring along), inevitably you will be told that from here on in you will go to your camp with nothing but the clothes on your back.

The girls are the worst. One came in a mini skirt and motorcycle boots. One, a self confessed “city girl,” hated everyone and, came wearing full-on makeup, a skimpy top with no bra and flat thong sandals.

I’d vote her off for stupidity alone.

But then again, I’m watching the show, so who can I claim is more stupid?

Yet if I were going on (and I’m not, as I’d never make it past the opening credits, if I got that far), I’d start with Under Armor bike shorts and a sports bra. Layer that with a quick-drying t-shirt, rain-resistant overshirt, work pants, running shoes that I can wear with or without socks, and, of course, a hat.

Of course I’m a sensible sort.

My vote for this season is on the gay Mormon flight attendant. Because surely anyone in that position could use a million dollars.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Is that an iliac crest in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

No offense meant to the men in my audience, but male authors write lousy sex scenes. Especially Tom Wolfe. I’m sorry, but reading the words “iliac crest” and “pectoral sheath” as the romantic leads are getting busy is about as sexy as reading the Congressional Quarterly.

I’m having the most marvelous time mocking the prose of his latest, “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” I picked it up at Barnes & Noble, because it was remaindered and because I have a weakness for fat novels. And I finally got around to reading it.

I’ve read other male authors who seem to be suffering from the same problem. They have a great set up. They have great characters. They have prose to die for. But when a sex scene looms, they either pan up into the trees or go about it as clumsily as an anatomy lesson. In fact I believe that the contest held every year for the worst sex scene in literature has been won by a male author. Philip Roth and Salmon Rushdie have won, and in 2004 Tom Wolfe garnered the dubious honor for “…Charlotte Simmons.”

Here is an example of one of his “winning” passages:

“Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns.

Oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say 'No, Hoyt' and talk to him like a dog...”

It only goes downhill (or, as he might say, a slither on the southbound express to her iliac crest) from there.

My solution for these well-meaning men? Hire a woman to write your sex scenes. At the very least, have one of the XX persuasion read it for you and comment. If she either laughs or falls asleep, that’s not good.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

And Many Returns...

It’s odd, the feeling of being back in my room again. It’s not an unfamiliar place, as I’ve written in here for many years before, but it’s different this time.

The only thing I’ve been able to concretely put my finger on is that I’m approaching this space after an extended period of writer’s block. I had my occasional days where the characters weren’t doing what I wanted, or the plot was not quite working out as I planned, but I don’t think I’ve experienced anything that’s commonly referred to as writer’s block. (See, those of you in my writers group who tease me about my prolific tendencies, you’re not the only ones.)

It’s not that I’ve been trying to write and failing to come up with anything but an empty page, or screen, it’s that I haven’t felt driven to write much at all. I’m hanging my hat on faith - faith that I’m only at the bottom of a dry well that will once again fill. Or that someday soon, I’ll wake from this magic spell, and my characters will be there again, clamoring to tell their stories. Oh, do I miss that! (as are several others who are waiting for the next installment) That feeling of wanting to jump out of bed and get to my novel, that feeling of going to sleep at night knowing I had put in a good days work, and knowing where I had to start again the next day.

Ironically, I’m the one who’s fond of telling other writers that (supposedly) Michael Crichton told an interviewer that the secret of writing is butt to chair; that is, get yon buttocks hither into yon chair. But I’m finding it much more satisfying to feather my old-but-new-again little nest – to get the keyboard and monitor at the right height, to find a proper footrest (Norton’s “Encyclopedia of Literature” – is that blasphemy?), to place my mug o’pens within arm’s reach, ditto the wireless mouse and the copy stand, to dust off my baseball bobble-heads and stuffed penguins.

Is it good enough to be close to one’s chair during this process? Sigh. I guess it’s not the same thing.

But here I am, having sat mine posterior end in the heretofore mentioned writer’s throne, waiting…waiting…waiting.

I’m leaning more toward Woody Allen’s secret to success. That 99% of luck is simply showing up.

Or so they say.

(PS: and for those of you who are interested, I typed the last five paragraphs of this blog, using my actual fingers on my actual keyboard. So begins the return…and keep your fingers crossed)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Exercises for Women of a Certain Age

Yes, it's one of those hard facts of life that none of us wants to deal with, but we women of a certain age sometimes have to work a little harder to burn off the same number of calories as we used to. Here are just a few ways you can add more exercise into your daily life:

Where Did I Park My Car-dio

This is one of my favorites. Forgetting where you parked your car, especially in any giant box store parking lot, is an excellent way to add more exercise to your routine. I've been known to walk at least half a mile out of my way just to find my vehicle. For beginners, you may want to tie a very bright piece of clothing to your antenna to make it easier, and as you progress, you can either make this color less apparent, or feel the burn by removing the article completely.

The "I Missed My Turn" Upper Body Workout

I don't know about you, but those little brain blips often cause me to do things like miss my turn, find myself going in the wrong direction, etc. I've found that wrenching the wheel around to get where I'm supposed to be going really works those arms and shoulders, especially when I'm doing an 18-point turn on a side road or in somebody's driveway. The more garden gnomes or flower beds or other decorative frou-frou to avoid, the better. For the beginner, try a simple U - turn on any three lane highway.

The "Why Am I Here?" Dash

No need to be embarrassed about it - we all do it (some of us more than others). We find ourselves in a room of our abode and wonder why we came in there and what were we looking for in the first place. Don't fret and think you're losing your mind - use your mental lapse as an opportunity to get more exercise! When you find yourself in the wrong room, instead of scolding yourself, just dash to the next. Burn more calories by dragging a vacuum cleaner or bucket of cleaning supplies along with you. This exercise can also be used when you find yourself putting something in to the freezer when you intended to put it into the microwave, or socks into the garbage instead of the hamper. Use thse hidden opportunities to get a good stretch.

So be creative - instead of fretting about those little menopausal moments, use them to shape up! And don't forget, each hot flash burns at least 100 calories.