Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Color My World Pt 1

Today, I look like a modern impressionist canvas. I’m wearing every known crayon color, or at least all the primary and secondary ones. For some strange reason this makes me happy. I suppose it could be the two cups of coffee I’ve already sucked down. But, for the sake of argument, I’m going with the color theory. And, while I’m on the subject of choosing to believe things, I’m going to believe that when people call me a “piece of work” it is in reference to art.

I asked some people to share their color thoughts and it’s time to reveal those insightful answers to you, my readers, including the anonymi. (New word – Noun plural for anonymous.)

The people who received the question regarding color are all novelists, which is appropriate since I’m a wannabe. Have I mentioned that I’m currently penning a mystery novel? “Penning” sounds so much more literary than “clicking my brains out.” I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this later.

I’m not alone in this novel pursuit, I have a co-authoress. We will be “pitching” (wannabe author talk for begging someone to buy the idea so we can finish the book) the idea and first few chapters in September in Dallas (not to be confused with Paris in April – and for the record I’ve never been either place.) As of a month ago I wasn’t attending the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, but then life changed and now I’m going. I’d mention how excited I am, but I’m afraid after the whole cricket poem my dear readers would be frightened.

So, now that I’m out of space for the day, consider this preparation for a colorful upcoming week on Scrambled Dregs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Squashed Song

I fear poetry. When I'm serious, will I make people laugh? If I attempt to be vague will anyone get it? Today I'm inspired though. Inspired and brave.

My very public attempt at a poem. I hope it touches your hearts.

Ode to the Blasted Squeaking Cricket

Glossy obsidian armor
Talent oozes, your song inspires
Delicate strings played to perfection

Fingers of dusk,
Encroaching twilight,
Awakens your siren song.

Memories flow with your symphony,
Hide and seek, tag
Campfires and stolen kisses

Somehow, you’ve stolen
Into my home
Alone, the notes fall sour

Thoughts of you flood me
Crushed obsidian shell
Squished cream filling

Die, cricket, die.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Closet Story

Guess how big my bedroom closet is...the one in the house we moved into twelve years ago. Give up? If you said “zero” you win. The master bedroom has NO closet. Sound familiar?

The little ranch style matchbox resembled a cave when we moved in. Everything that didn’t scurry away got a couple of coats of white paint.

Rob put together a clothing rack, placed it against the wall and named it “closet.”

The move depleted funds to the point that the remodeling had to wait. The following year brought a broken ankle, three weeks before the really good health insurance with the great deductible kicked in. Sigh. Note to readers. Never drop a wall on your leg. Bad things happen.

Finally, after six long years, the process began.

Instead of replacing the roof, we decided to build a second story. Rob is VERY talented. He came up with this amazing plan and started to work.

The problems came with finishing… and that gnarly two-headed beast…money and time.

For several years I’ve contented myself with pulling into my driveway and gazing at my beautiful shell of a house. When time and money intersected and Rob disappeared upstairs, I’d dance around like a psychotic puppy, delivering tools and attention wherever he might need some.

All has been right the past several weeks, the perfect mesh of time/money intersection. Much has been done upstairs. I’ve painted rooms butter yellow, creamy cappuccino, soothing celery and vivid blue.

One and ½ of the rooms need paint. That’s it. The floors are ready to go down. I can see the checkered flag on the horizon.

I painted my new walk-in closet on Monday. Tonight, I paint my bedroom.

Is it possible that I’ve waited so long I won’t know what to do with my very own closet?


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - House Story

I’m back from my break. The office has been much uglier when I’ve returned from shorter chunks of time. However, I could really get used to drawing a paycheck and not having to punch a clock.

Sharing the following information may bring the remodeling on my home to a screeching, squealing stop. It seems that’s how it goes. Some people consider it jinxing, I think it’s closer to Murphy’s Law.

Since marriage we’ve lived in homes, two of them, which have required extensive work. Something about price ranges and youthful foolishness comes to mind here, but that’s another post.

Our previous home boasted decades and lots of personality. Dormers, oak floors, cubby holes, all the character you could ever want in a house. And the natural gas meter in the cold Iowa winters, well, flying, speeding, soaring are nice descriptive words for the little “I’m sucking you dry” dance it did. Let’s just say we gave the stupid little wheel a workout. It chugged along like a rabid hamster at three a.m., and we got the gas bills to prove it.
After a decade of living in the huge home, when I’d decorated just like I wanted, and the only thing I lacked was a closet to call my own, we got the itch to move. A place just outside of the city limits came on the market.

That’s not true. It had been on the market for months, we just happened to trip over it.
Five hundred square feet less living space, a boxy ranch with as much personality as a dirty dishrag, it shouldn’t have gotten our attention. The price and the school district were the siren’s song, and we succumbed.

Scrambling to finish up the remodeling on our turn of the century, almost done home, we just dove into the obvious. My closet needed to be finished. As I packed, my husband glued, pounded and created.

One night two days before the move, a muffled voice came from the corner of my bedroom. “Honey!” I followed and found him standing in a pristine walk-in closet. A little light cord dangled in front of his face. “Go get me one of your blouses.” I did. He grabbed the hanger, slapped it on the white closet rod and laughed. “Now you can say you actually got to use it.”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Snippets and Sound Bites -- I'm a Bit Excited......

Happy Monday.

I've escaped from the rat race, even though my co-workers are all lovely and look nothing like rodents, for one more day.

Today is pretty much my last day with nothing to do but write, and paint. I managed to be pretty productive last week. Not only did I paint several rooms, but one of the things I wrote and submitted tied for second place, runner up, whatever you'd like to call it. You can see it tomorrow, August 22, 2006 if you click this . If you go today, you can see Karen Robbins winning entry.

I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty jazzed about sharing the honor with Michael Snyder. I'm also still tingling from hyperventilating over the fact that four top Christian novelists actually chose my entry. Congratulations Karen and Michael.

I've come a long way from my stumble into Christian writing and contests two years ago.

I'd like to publicly thank all the excellent people who are a tremendous help to those who don't have a clue. I've learned so much, and still have much to learn.

My critique group - The Penwrights - are beyond wonderful. I've grown from conferences I've attended, and many loops.

I've bled, wept and even despaired, let me tell you, but once all the beatings stop - the healing process feels so good.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles -- Killer Laundry

I'm on vacation. One of the best ones ever.

We were supposed to pile into a vehicle and travel hundreds of miles on Tuesday, but decided:

a) the moulah was a bit more than what we wanted to shell out.
b) we had so much to do at home.
c) is it really a vacation if it just adds stress?

My hubby is putting in serious hours on our big remodeling project. I've helped there, too. I managed to work out the details for a creative writing class I'm teaching to kids this fall, build several characters and throw together a skeleton plot for a cozy mystery that I'm going to be writing with a friend, and I sent out a piece to Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.

Even more impressive...are you ready? All the laundry is clean.

Sorry if I confused all of you with the whole national security thing.

If I had shared anymore details, I'd have to come after you and ...... well you know the rest. And frankly, if I didn't want to shell out the money for gas to Ohio, chances are I'd really be crabby having to travel all over the country. Janet and Heather alone would break the bank.

So, now I'm going to get back to work killing off some guy in my novel, and putting away all that clean laundry. Laundry inspires hostility, maybe I should put it away first.

Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Close Call


I survived my meeting of national importance.

I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed. The "meeting" took place in a well-traveled public venue of my choosing.

My contact looked every inch undercover, right down to the braces.

The biggest thrill was the badge. You know how "they" flip their little leather badge cases at you when they want to "talk." This would probably right before they scream "FREEZE!" and definitely before a slug in the thigh throws you head over heels.

Anyhoo, the badge was flashed. My blood pressure rose, my breathing became shallow, my mouth a dry Sahara moment during the longest, hottest day of the year. I blinked too long, and the badge headed toward the briefcase.

I put up my hand. "Wait. I want to look at that."

Expensive black leather. Nice. I didn't even need to sniff it to see if it was really fine quality leather, the smoothness told the whole story.

I suppose they get a good deal buying them in bulk.

A little plastic window covered the bumpy three dimensional badge, nothing like the lousy stickers I've seen elsewhere.

Did I see anything resembling a firearm? No.

Did the questioner even flinch when I suggested I might tell people that I was tazered for not cooperating? No.


My brush with national security greatness and I didn't even get threatened.

But in spite of my disappointment - I did the right thing. National security was not compromised on my watch.

You're welcome.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Devilish BBQ Tunes

I’m dying to share an upcoming event. But I can’t. Not yet. Not until I get clearance because it is a matter that may affect national security. BTW if I don’t post for awhile, it might be because I’m on “the list.” I plan to ask several questions, and who knows which question might put me in danger. But don’t worry.

So, while I wait for my fate, I’ll just ramble a bit about music choices in the facilities of fine BBQ establishments. I’m not anti-music by any stretch. Music moves me, even, once in a great while – dare I say – elevator music. Being tuned in to music – well, therein lies the problem. The BBQ dining room played light, upbeat, subtle tunes which didn’t hinder conversation, which is a plus.

The bathroom, however, had a whole different stream of tunes flowing through the loudspeaker. I visited twice. This is not uncommon. My husband claims I know the location of every water closet in the two-state area. My mother insists I have a bladder the size of a lentil.

“Dueling Banjos” played the first time I visited the otherwise lovely restroom. Fortunately, the song was at the very slow build-up beginning. There could have been problems, the pressure of the competition within the later bars of the tune could have been too much.

So, the only harm done was in the reminder of the movie….ewww.

My mother (yes, she too has a lentil-sized bladder – but it’s iron coated) and I were serenaded with “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Love the song. And once again, the song was in the early stages so no real harm was done.

Note to restaurant owners: music in the bathroom really should be screened. Dueling Bladders are not pretty.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scary and Sensational - The Things We Do....for a Laugh

Heather’s comment reminded me of the M & M incident.

High school cool is of course every high school student’s goal. And those who can’t pull off that amazing feat have to resort to becoming brainiacs, bandphiles, sport-stars, and clowns. Clowns, not as in creepy, white-faced, huge-lipped, large-footed clowns, though some of us possessed those qualities, but clowns, as in look-at-me and laugh, please.

Surprisingly, some of the most talented, sporty, smart and beautiful people in my high school landed in the clown circle. Maybe it was the quality of city water at some point during the formative years.

In my circle of goofballs, we made our own fun. I’m sure the adults who encountered our fun wanted to run the other way. But that’s okay. We didn’t just march to the beat of a different drum, we had an entire drum line. Some day I’ll have to share some other adventures, but not today. Today I must share the M&M incident in all its melt-in-your- ___________ glory.

Shelly happened to be the stereotypical picture of a Midwest high school cheerleader, blonde, bubbly and adorable. She also ran with the weirdoes.

We were cool upper classmen and the current “owners of the hall,” the year of the incident.
Our high school sported a ramp that connected two buildings. Upper classmen lined the windowed wall and hung out each morning before the tardy bell rang. Most of my class members didn’t need to be cruel to the scurrying young’uns, our presence was enough.

Power flooded our already inflated sense of immortality and daring-do. I think this was Shelly’s motivation, as well as going for the laugh. Unless it was a moment of insanity, which is highly possible, those teen hormones can be ugly.

I wasn’t there during the placement of the green M&M. I did help with the rescue/clean-up. Shelly was led up the ramp by a small circle of giggling girls. The circle parted as they reached the top. There stood Shelly, in all her perkiness, her beauty marred only by the green M&M peeking out from the bottom of her nose.

I had to ask. “How’d that get in there, Shelly?”

The giggling circle filled me in. Bottom line – it seemed like a good idea at the time. And now it was stuck tight. She’d nearly blown her brains out attempting to remove it.

By the time they’d reached the ramp, the M&M had softened. Shelly gave one last heroic blow, broke the M&M and ran to the bathroom with chocolate dribbling down her face.

Moral of that story – if you’re going to stick something up your nose, make sure it will eventually melt.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Funny Pizza

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my penchant for humor induced hysteria. Hysteria that leaves me breathless and teary-eyed randomly occurs. My family is used to it even though they haven’t a clue what might set me off.

For that matter, I don’t have a clue. My funny bone is particular and all inclusive if that’s possible. It must be possible, because that’s what I’ve got.

You can read about some of the things that have set me off in the past.
The rhyme
Movie humor

I may have met a fellow sufferer of “laughysteria” last night.

I didn’t actually meet her.

Let’s just say she assaulted me and leave it at that.

It started out innocently enough.

Doesn’t it always?

Nanny girl (daughter number 1) and I snuck out to our favorite hometown pizza joint for some quality time and the best pizza ever.

A three person family occupied the booth behind us. The female seemed to be seriously discussing something that should be noted by the child. In our home we refer to this as lecturing. Our lectures are usually assigned numbers if the children feel adventurous.

Suddenly, a subtle thwack alerted me to the possibility that I had been struck with a straw wrapper. Before I could turn around to confront my attacker, I heard something that reminded me of the very beginning of my own descents into hysterical madness. Laughter. And it wasn’t the controlled type you usually hear in public.

She might have gasped an apology, I couldn’t tell with all the tee-hees and hee-haws. Several times the sound changed as she fought for control and wobbled on the bench. She didn’t quite have the Smedley “har,har,har” down. But not all of us can be gifted in the Smedley. It takes years of practice and perfect timing.

While this poor woman dissolved, I struggled with the bubbling urge to join her.

Fortunately, I remained strong. I would’ve hated to show her up. Even if she did start it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Yay! I'm Back.....

My fingers are frozen into little claws and my eyes are blurry. I’m exhausted. But the good kind of exhausted – the kind involving emotional second winds and naturally occurring endorphins. I’ve been making up for lost time.

Have you noticed how things we never knew we needed become absolutely necessary once we have them?

The DSL took a temporary powder yesterday. Two years ago I could take or leave the internet and the beauty of e-mail. One day, (what a nice way to describe about four months of transition and tension) my employer changed computer systems and installed DSL.

After we got this great system, I developed some car problems and ended up carpooling. I discovered the fun of staying after my shift and playing around.

I found a writing contest.

I’d written before, enjoyed it, and had even won a contest. So I began digging around to see what else was available. I entered three contests and didn’t even come close in any of them. But I found a group of like-minded people, and then opportunities to write, and sometimes even get paid for it.

Over the past two years I’ve put in an extra hour or two a day coming early, leaving late, or doing writing related things over lunch. I’ve even adjusted my flexible hours by shaving off time with each raise or change in tax status.

The DSL choosing to go MIA did not make me happy.

I use my e-mail program for works-in-progress and up-to-date storage because I can access it from home, work, and the coffee shop. But I couldn’t access it without the Internet.

I couldn’t post on Blogger, because I had no Internet.

Even productive writing didn’t work for me. I had a few ideas brewing for “spec” articles, but needed to do some research. Once again…..Internet.

I’d started a whole new way of thinking about the book I’m working on, and sent myself an e-mail with all the ideas I had before the whole DSL drama.

My brain cooperated like our moody Internet provider, it wouldn’t give up the information I needed either.

I’ve taken Google for granted. Google is my friend. And it is now officially a verb if you haven’t heard.