And I Quote, Part 3

I know what you’re thinking. It’s been far too long since I’ve posted any quotes. Well, fear not. This is your red-letter day!

On the Dissolution of a Marriage:

Incidentally, I also recommend the film version with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson!

The first time I read Nora Ephron’s book, Heartburn, I cried when I came to this passage. As far as I was concerned, Nora hit the nail on the head. It was as if I had written this, not her. For, she seemed to be describing my life at the time, and those thoughts were my thoughts, too:

“I am no beauty, and I’m getting on in years, and I have just about enough money to last me sixty days, and I am terrified of being alone, and I can’t bear the idea of divorce, but I would rather die than sit here and pretend it’s okay, I would rather die than sit here figuring out how to get you to love me again, I would rather die than spend five more minutes going through your drawer and wondering where you are and anticipating the next betrayal and worrying about whether my poor, beat-up, middle-aged body with its Caesarean scars will ever turn you on again. I can’t stand feeling sorry for myself. I can’t stand feeling like a victim. I can’t stand hoping against hope. I can’t stand sitting here with all this rage turning to hurt and then to tears. I can’t stand not talking!”—Nora Ephron, Heartburn

In the Blogosphere:

Now, here’s what I love about blogging: I’ve met so many bloggers and have enjoyed perusing their posts and comments. Here are a few that I absolutely adore:

On Aging:

This blogger never ceases to crack me up. Here’s her take on getting old:

“Now I dash from one low lit area to the next to camouflage the vicious effects of age…a zoo mauling if you will. It’s as though my body got caught in a twister and hasn’t touched down.”Annie Off Leash

On Relationships:

I admire the blogger who wrote this, for her spirituality:

“People are not mean to us because they do not like us. They are mean to us because they do not like themselves.”

Jodi, Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace

This next one is from a blogger who seems to question whether she can write poetry. Well, if you ask me, poetry is her forte.

“Each memory once wrapped
delicately in layers of pink tissue paper,
then stored,
now savagely exposed,
dropped in haste
clothes strewn at our feet
our renewed passion
spent
on the sheets
of the rented bed in
room 619.”

— From “When the Heart Decides,” a poem by Brenda Moguez, Passionate Pursuits

On Being Female:  This has to be one of my favorite comments left on a blog, ever, and it happens to be in reference to a poem written by Brenda:

“I so love visiting your site, Brenda. Whenever you write about womanhood, I hear a chiffon dress whispering, smell lipstick and strawberries, and feel like I glimpse pieces of my soul. Thank you.” – Beverly Diehl, Writing in Flow

On Writing a Group Mystery

One of my favorite lines, in the recent mystery on the high seas story that Bella and I asked for your help in writing, was from Bella, herself.  She posted this to the story on her blog, and when I read it, I couldn’t stop laughing.

“Raoul!” The deep, booming voice of Captain Alvarez Mendoza Santiago Perez sliced through the tension-filled room like a knife! “I’ve got two women engaged in a cat fight on the Lido deck, another snapping pictures and spilling her drink everywhere, Bartholomew fighting off the crowd single-handedly, and the dead woman on ice in the dining room. What the hell are you waiting for?” – Bella, One Sister’s Rant

On Crime & the Law Not Mixing:

Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Downton Abbey.”

This next one is from Weeds, a TV series centered around Nancy Botwin, a suburban single mom who sells pot for a living.

“Babe, these are cops. I’m a drug dealer, you’re a murderer. We can’t all play on the same kick ball team.” — Nancy Botwin to her young son, Shane, on why he can’t befriend a police officer

On Mothers

I chose this one because, well, dammit, it’s good. That’s all.

“I wanted you to love me—no, I wanted more than that: I wanted to be like you, just like you, wanted to wear those scarves and that scent, to hang that pendant around my neck, to put on those stockings and pearls, to dress in silk dresses the way you did, and wear your favorite shade of lipstick on my lips. You were all beauty to me, Mother. You were everything female, everything woman. I loved you so much that I wanted to grow up to be exactly like you, and the thought that I had done something bad choked me with guilt and grief.” – Mary Mackey, from I’ve Always Meant to Tell You: Letters to Our Mothers – An Anthology of Contemporary Women Writers

A Chuckle with a Dowager Countess

Earlier this year, PBS’ Masterpiece aired a new season of Downton Abbey, one of my favorite British series. Maggie Smith, as Violet, the Dowager had some delicious lines. Here’s a sampling:

 “Will someone please tell me what’s going on, or have we all stepped through the looking glass?”

“Don’t be a defeatist dear. It’s very middle class.”

“Wasn’t there a masked ball in Paris when cholera broke out? Half the guests were dead before they left the ballroom.”

“Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would ever dream of dying in someone else’s house, especially someone they didn’t even know.”

 

Now, it’s your turn. Any of these thoughts quotes strike a chord with you?

Do you have one of your own to share?

 

200 and Counting

Well, I’m not one to brag but sometimes I just have to toot this old horn of mine. For, this is my 200th post.

200!

And, maybe that’s not a big deal to some, but to me it’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. For, in the nearly two years that I’ve been blogging, I never thought I’d get this far, and I certainly didn’t think I’d have this much to say! Why, that’s more than 180,000 words on topics that run the gamut, from silly to the ridiculous to plain borderline crazy.

Of course, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, did help.  He’d tell you himself, but he’s in a funk right now as the reality has finally dawned on him, that he’s not going to make it to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Worry not, I told him, for he’ll be able to watch it all on The Today Show, and everyone knows how much dogs love to watch Matt Lauer globe trot around the world (not really). He’s living the dream, Henry says, rolling his eyes.

In other news, allow me to fill you in on how I did with my Fifty/Fifty Challenge in May.  I’m getting close to the halfway point, so you’d think by now I’d be honing in on the midway mark to my Fifty/Fifty goal.

Think again, mon frere.

Yes, the clock is ticking, the year is running its course, and right now I’m feeling like Ray Milland in The Big Clock. That’s the 1948 film noir thriller, in which Ray Milland plays a hapless guy whose boss’ mistress is murdered and Ray Milland becomes the number one suspect, caught in a web of deceit, jealousy, intrigue, power and corruption.  Add to that, poor Ray has mere hours to find the real killer (his boss) or get the book thrown at him.

Yep, that’s me. Except instead of facing a murder rap, I’m facing a stack of unread books and a TiVo, so stuffed with films I’ve yet to see, I need a plunger just to get the darn thing working.

So, here’s my official list for May:

Films:

Dark Shadows:  If you haven’t seen this latest film from Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, run, don’t walk to the nearest theater. It’s absolute fun. A fond tribute to the campy classic by the same name, back when soaps aired live and props and scenery would fall on the set during what was supposed to be a serious scene. Depp is in high form as the 200-year-old vampire, Barnabas Collins.

Other films I got to see in May? Two that celebrate amore in all its glory: Love Story and Lady and the Tramp.

Yes, Lady. The story of a Cocker Spaniel and the mutt that befriends her. Look for the spaghetti scene. Awfully cute.

Now, as for Love Story, I have to wonder why it was such a big hit at the time—a blockbuster, even—but then I remember that those were different times. I really tried to like it and I almost did, but, for crying out loud, couldn’t Jenny Cavalieri, played by Ali McGraw, have a little backbone? Wasn’t this the height of the feminist movement, after all? And yet, Jenny gives up her dream of studying music in France, just to marry a petulant boy who hates his father.

Then, when Jenny gets a fatal disease, the doctor alerts her hubby, Oliver—and not Jenny. She’s kept in the dark!! The doctor even tells Oliver to try to keep the news from her for as long as he can. What’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t Jenny know that she’s dying, so that she can make her final arrangements and say her goodbyes?

Yikes, I hope Hollywood isn’t planning a remake, as I’m not sure it would fly today. What do you think?

Books:

Well, I started two books and am still reading both (don’t judge me).  But I did read a children’s book (so that counts, right? 😉 ) Here’s my review of On My Way to the Bath:

Move over Eloise and Fancy Nancy! There’s a new girl in town and her name is Livi.

Like her two predecessors, Livi is a girl after my own heart. The kind that is creative, sprightly, and capricious. Dare I say this pint-size tyke is “Livi-acious?” What’s more, she’s about to take a bath—ready or not!

On My Way to the Bath, is a new children’s book written by comedian and blogger, Sarah Maizes, and is sure to delight young and old. For Livi will do anything to get out of taking a bath, even if it means having to transform into a snake, or perform a tuba solo in a marching band. Anything, to avoid the dreaded tub of water.

Livi hits a nerve for me, as I can remember many a time I didn’t want to take a bath and all the bubbles in the world couldn’t lure me into the bathtub.  I only wish I’d had an ounce of Livi’s moxie to keep my bath time at bay.

In the end, Livi dipping a foot into the bathwater is inevitable, simply because everyone needs a bath at some point, right? But how will she get there? What will it take? That is the point of the story and remains to be seen. To find out, you’ll just have to read the book!

So, tell me. What movies did you see or what books did you read in May?

Happy 200th to me!

Heading Back to the Emerald City–

View from the Pike Place Market, which is always on my must-do list when visiting Seattle.

–Or, I have a feeling I’m not in So-Cal anymore!

Recently, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and throw the shoestring budget I’ve been on out the door, so that I could head back to the place I called home for nearly a decade: Seattle.

The Emerald City. The Pacific Northwest and all that.  Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but for me, mine will always be firmly entrenched in the city nestled on a gazillion bodies of water, between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. Lush and green, and a far cry from my current dessert-like home, where the weather may be gorgeous all year round, but limited rainfall makes it a largely brown and arid region.

For those who have read my Road Taken saga, you’ll know that I moved to Seattle to be with my ex, who wasn’t an ex back then, but rather, a boyfriend, and then a husband. The “ex” part came long after we left Seattle. Which does make me wonder, what if we’d never left Seattle at all?  Hmm….

Seattle is green in so many ways. What struck me is how many people grow their own vegetables and the like, right along the sidewalk. So resourceful!

Anyway, I still have friends there. Good friends, who I don’t see often but when I do, it’s just like old times. Friends like Pam, who was the subject of three entire Road Taken installments.  There’s also Pat, my highly-organized, pays attention to every detail, kindred spirit. She loves to write and watch soaps—we were both hooked on Dallas and Knots Landing for years—and Tom, my quiet friend who prefers to call me by my alter name, “Della Wolfe,” and who drives me to drink with his flair for making tantalizingly addictive, Galliano Sours.

And, then there’s Clare.

Clare is a published author, whose latest book, Soccer Dreams, was inspired by a project we once worked on together. She also is a performer and songwriter (when in Seattle, you have to catch The Righteous Mothers in concert, and you’ll see Clare singing and on the piano). She’s been helping me tremendously, with my half-baked attempts to write my memoir. She’s like my coach and she’s very critical. When others keep telling me they like my stuff, Clare sees right through my charade and shenanigans, and tells me, I could do better. She pushes and pushes until I’m up against the wall and ready to cry, “Uncle!”

Mother’s Day proved to be a beautiful day for a three-mile walk around Greenlake.

But, in the end I have found, Clare knows best, and she’s really a lifesaver, helping me put together something that is cogent and actually tells a story.

It was Clare that suggested I come up to Seattle and take a Life Story seminar, with her mentor, Brenda Peterson, author of a memoir titled, I Want to be Left Behind, about life with her Southern Baptist family as they eagerly prepared for the Rapture.  I’d never taken a class on memoir writing before and I learned all sorts of interesting tidbits in this one, which I’ll be sure to share in a future post. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos, taken during my visit to the Seattle of my heart.

This photo of one of Pam’s daughters exemplifies how green Seattle is, and also at peace I feel when there. It is like a green cathedral.

This dog doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. He’s going places but has no idea where. I wanted to get his owner in the picture as well, but they were going too fast!

This is one of Clare’s favorite spots for contemplating and zoning out: The Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum. Too beautiful for words!

If I moved back to Seattle, I’d want to live in this spectacular building. A work of art, if you ask me!

Pam’s Yorkshire Terriers. Aren’t they adorable? I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home.

View from Fremont neighborhood. Look closely and you can see Mt. Rainier in the background. Breathtaking!

Readers Pick!

Ah, the joy of words! Looks like I’m not the only one who has the word bug. Turns out many of you have it, too!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you some of my favorite words, in a post called, A Word About Words. And, much to my delight, you shared some of your preferences, as well as a few of the ones you’d like to see get the kiss of death.

I counted at least 40 new words that were added to the list I started. Many of you agreed that “flabbergasted” and “discombobulated” are the cat’s pajamas when it comes to words you love. Here, a few of the words that have you smitten:

Bailiwick, as in: Chasing tornadoes across the Midwest was Uncle Fonzie’s bailiwick. Taking out the trash at Aunt Renee’s behest, was not.

Comeuppance, as in: When, Agatha Dudley, out for a stroll along the Pyrénées, tripped on a compact case she had earlier lost, and fell off a cliff, plunging nearly two hundred feet into the tempestuous waters below, it occurred to little Brenda, that Agatha may have finally gotten her comeuppance.

Penultimate, as in: Trixie Bubbles was about to go on stage, wearing little more than the oversized fan she was carrying, when the director said in a hushed, panicked voice, “It’s not your turn. Your act is the penultimate one!”

Aplomb, as in: Jimmy “The Weasel” walked to his cell, stoically and with great aplomb, amidst the hoots and howls of his fellow inmates.

Juxtapose, as in: Lupita Davenport juxtaposed her need for civility against her boyfriend’s desire to go see the fights.

Canoodle, as in: With his wife, Jodi, insisting they visit her family in Spunky Puddle, Ohio, Carl wondered if it wouldn’t be more to his liking to canoodle on the couch instead.

Groovy, as in: Jayne Starr, a flower child high on life, among other things, in that moment thought that everything was, indeed, groovy.

Slew, as in: There were a slew of reasons why Alberto Phineas couldn’t go to target practice with his sister, Nancy; key among them, that the last time they’d gone, she had shot off his foot in a most unfortunate accident.

Hooligan, as in: It was a frightening turn of events when the hapless hooligan bolted in anger, all because no one at the dinner party would eat his contribution to the potluck: mussel pancakes.

Tomfoolery, as in: The sound of Big Tommy’s booming guffaw, when Little Tommy refused to stop his tomfoolery of playing in oncoming traffic, caused Grandma Tippy to jump in alarm.

As for words you didn’t like? The list was short, with the one mentioned most being, “Awesome.”

Other pet-peeve words included: Like, Plump, Phlegm, Mucus, Reality, Woot, Rural, Care, Nice, Panties and App.

If I left out your word, don’t worry. I will hopefully include it in a future post. For now, it’s your turn. Please take any of these words and create your own sentences. Or add another favorite word to the ongoing roster. I can’t wait to read your contributions!

A Word About Words

I love words. In fact, one could say that, as a writer, I depend on them. For, words are helpful in getting your point across. They’re also good at conveying emotions when looks, alone, aren’t enough. I’ve been noticing, too, that words play a key role in my ever-expanding collection of quotes.

Yes, words are special, despite the fact that they come a dime a dozen and are free to use by anyone with a hankering to speak or write.

Yet, are all words created equal? I think not. For, if you are like most, I’m certain you’ll agree that there are some words you fancy more than others.

Recently, The New Yorker magazine cleverly asked its readers to name a word in the English language that they’d like to see eliminated from the dictionary. The words quickly poured in—everything from “bling” and “swag” to “awesome” and “like.”

Which is why, I’ve decided, rather than focus on words I’d like to see eradicated from the English language (“Tebowing” would be a good start!), I am herewith celebrating the words that I love.

So, a round of applause please for these descriptive words that are, frankly, fun to pronounce:

Tony, as in:  The woman in the silvery stockings and flaming green Bolero jacket, walked confidently, that is, until she slammed into the entrance of the tony nightclub.

Apoplexy, as in: If you tell me one more time that you wish to ride the Matterhorn with my Aunt Viv, I am certain to be struck by a fit of apoplexy.

Conundrum, as in: Whether to go fishing with my cousin, Carl, or hunting with Dick Cheney, is certainly a conundrum.

Lackadaisical, as in:  Newt Gingrich is feeling rather lackadaisical this week, now that he’s quit his presidential run, and plans to wait until next week to begin his latest project–that of colonizing the moon.

Sultry, as in: His intense, sultry gaze aroused in Henrietta a passion that almost allowed her to forgive him for sinking his cuspids into her exquisitely fine neck.

Behoove, as in: It would behoove Jack to think twice about betraying the mob boss, particularly if he had any hopes of keeping his job as a hit man.

Riff-raff, guttersnipes, as in:  Eloise walked gingerly around the riff-raff and guttersnipes playing in the courtyard, in order to let the director know that she was more than ready to bring them in for their naptime.

Discombobulated, as in:  Lupita Davenport was completely discombobulated, for she didn’t know whether to serve her pie, a la mode, or with the ghastly syrup Aunt Bella had brought for the occasion.

Scofflaw, as in:  When Peter Hamilton rushed into the train station, in search of a restroom, he hesitated when he saw one door that read, “Women” and the other “Scofflaws.”  As his debts to society had all been paid, he decisively entered through the door marked, “Women.”

Lilacs, as in: For her Diamond Jubilee, young Henry, who came from royal blood, gathered a bouquet of lilacs for his noble Queen.

Convoluted, as in: The directions to the jailhouse were so convoluted, Kim discarded the idea of visiting her finance, Elvis, and decided she would just wait out the 20-years-to-life sentence he’d received.

Ranunculus, as in: Victor decided he’d pop the question amidst the flower fields, not realizing Kathryn was fatally allergic to the ranunculus, which were in full bloom.

Ne’er-do-well, as in:  Alicia was determined to tell her ne’er-do-well father that dinner was ready.

Flabbergasted, as in:  When Grandma Debbie arrived at the reunion with two leopards in tow, we were all flabbergasted, as no one had realized she was still alive.

Trousers, as in: Detective Nathan was about to finger the murderer at the dinner party, when Joe Knuckles politely asked, “Before you do, would you like to put your trousers back on?”

As for the “winning” word in the New Yorker contest, the word that most felt ought to be forever swiped from the English vocabulary? The answer is:

Moist,” as in, pass me a slice of that delectable, moist cake.

So, how about you? Tell us in the comment section your favorite—or least favorite—words.