December 30, 2012

My Winter Road Trip

     Just returned from a vacation to my husband's home state of Montana. I was raised in Arizona, and the whole 'driving in the snow' thing is new to me. Needless to say I had more than one or two white knuckled moments on the drive home.

     My husband informed me that we only had four treacherous obstacles to pass...kind of like a quest. I had my imaginary break going the entire time. I also created a list of Ten Things You Never Want to Hear Your Husband Say on a Winter Road Trip.

10. This is the exact spot where the Donner Party gave up and ate each other.

9. I sure hope that was a bear.

8. The good news is...if we make it through the next two hours we will probably live.

7. Ever had road kill?

6. This is just like that first part of Fire in the Sky.

5. I just need to answer this one last text...

4. The nearest bathroom is 380 miles away. But, we do have an empty milk jug and a funnel in the back seat.

3. I had a dream you left your curling iron on and the whole house caught on fire.

2. If we do get stranded, just make a snow fort. It will keep you warm.

1. Maps are for pu**ies.

December 20, 2012

Going Ho-Ho-Home for the Holidays

     Getting ready to drive to MT for the holidays. It seemed like a good idea when we planned it. A case full of snacks, my travelling play list, magazines to read, and a joke book to keep the driver (my husband) entertained while he watches the road.

     Road trips are always fun, right?

     Except that I forgot one crucial element: the weather.

     It seems that Jack Frost is working against us. There are blizzards and closures and all manner of bad things falling from the sky. Now I have to ask myself what I was thinking when I thought driving to MT would be more fun than flying?

     Its looking like we may be late getting to our destination. Or maybe not getting there at all.

     But if my Hallmark holiday movies have taught me anything it's that as long as there is Christmas, there is hope.

     The movies start out like this: a well meaning couple with a car full of presents, snowed in. They are depressed and miserable.  How will they get back home for the holidays?

     Perhaps the snow will miraculously let up and they can make the drive at the last minute.

     Or maybe the family will come to them.

     Or...maybe the couple will decide to spend the holidays at home, making the best of it with hot cocoa and candle light while munching on Spam and fig newtons (okay I fudged on the menu).

     Those are fine endings, but my favorite goes like this...

     It's Christmas Eve. We werent able to make it home. We are woebegone as we hang our empty stockings on our non-existent fire place. "Maybe we can just sleep through Christmas," I say, looking at the clock and the bottle of Nyquil on the nightstand.

     "Sounds like a good plan," my husband says, sighing dramatically. "There's always next year."

     Suddenly, there's a jingle outside.

     "Honey," I say to my husband, "are you expecting a package?"

     "No." My befuddled husband scratches his head. "The post office is closed for the day and the weather is so bad no cars can visit. Not sure where that jingle is coming from."

     I (naturally its me, and not the befuddled husband) rush to the door and fling it open, fighting back the snowflakes that are obscurring my view. I see a brown hoof on our lawn, and then another. I do a quick count. Why, there are (what's 8 x 4 again?) oh there are 32! My eyes rise towards a shiny red craft in the yard. A sleigh! A fat old man sits atop it, a giant red bag to his side.

     "I've come to take you two to your family for Christmas. Get on in!" He waves us over. Our jaws drop. We jump into the sleigh, no sweaters or gloves, and sail away, over the blizzards, and are set down gently on the roof of my in-laws.

     "Thank you!" I say as I tumble out of the sleigh. But I'm too late. The mysterious, fat stranger is gone.

     Somehow we slide off the roof and hop down onto the ground without damaging our ankles. We look into the window. There is goose and duck and turkey on the table (though I can't tell the difference between any of them). Holiday music is playing magically on the piano. We have made it just in time for Christmas Eve dinner. And all is well.

     That's how I think it will play out. Hallmark wouldnt lie to me. If TV has taught me anything it's that if you wish hard enough, miracles happen.

Or maybe we'll just make the drive and take our chances. The worst that can happen is that we get stranded in the snow and have to eat each other. But that's another movie and it's on the Syfy channel. They don't air that till New Year's.

December 13, 2012

Reminder: My book The Universe is a Very Big Place is available for download free today on Amazon. Also tomorrow.

De 13 and 14th only. Happy Holidays!

My Book Free Dec 13 and 14!

Top Reasons Aliens Visited Us on 12/12/12


There are two UFO sitings on opposite sides of the US coast: San Francisco and New York.

Scientists are saying they are NOT UFOS, but most likely balloons with lights.

I for one, believe. But why would UFO's visit SF and NY? And why now?

I've got some theories about why we are being visited:

  • The aliens are testing out a new and efficient Hanukkah tradition. They know Earthlings are busy. By putting up three or four lights in the sky at once, we can knock this holiday out in half the time. This will give us more time for other holidays like ThanksXmas.

  • They've heard NY and SF throw the best parades. Sorry, greys, you missed Macy's by a month and the Rainbow one by half a year. Check back later!

  • They checked their fortune cookies and determined that 12/12/12 was the luckiest day for taking over the earth. And to Feng Shui the mother ship.

  • They've heard about the Mayan Calendar Prophecy and wanted to see if it was true. Got here early to get good seats. The SF aliens have also reserved seats around Area 51 for their friends Bob and Carol and their 23000 kids.

  • The shopping! Hello! If you can't find a great coat or a fabulous pair of jeans in San Francisco or New York, you just aren't looking right.

  • They are doing research to see which city scares easier. Sadly, startling humans just isn't as easy as it was in the 1930s. Stupid Internet.

  • The earth is the only designated pit stop in an intergalactic Amazing Race.

  • They've cloned an army of Dick Clarks and brought one back just in time for New Year's. Watching the countdown from the Moon wouldn't be nearly as fun without him.

  • They saw that picture of the cop and the homeless guy on their I200Pad. It inspired them to bring shoes to all our homeless. Too bad their shoes only come in sizes: 000, extra narrow.

  • One of the alien's wives wanted a steak she didn't have to prepare herself for a change. Cow mutilation is so 1950's.

  • Both ships got lost on their way to Saturn and no matter how many times Lois and Zgfriiee nagged their husbands wouldn't stop and ask for directions.

  • They just wanted some really good Chinese food (and China was closed).

December 10, 2012

My Holiday Ritual

As part of the Meet the Family Blog Hop we are supposed to share something we do as a family during the holidays.

I've never had much permanency in my life. I spent most of my childhood moving from one house to another. In my early adult years I also traveled quite a bit, living in 5 states in 12 years. These last ten years in Oregon have been the longest I have ever lived anywhere, and in the same home.

One tradition that I have established for myself is my end of the evening 'me time'.  This includes finding the cheesiest, gushiest Christmas movie I can tolerate from TV stations like Lifetime, Hallmark and TMC. The plots are pretty much the same. Save a town. Save Santa. Save Christmas. Sometimes characters find love in the process. I've been doing it since I've owned a TV. Admittedly, its gotten better since I got cable.

I'm a writer but I enjoy how predictable these are. They are like comfort food for me. I know without a doubt that everything will be okay by the end of the movie and that are no surprise endings. If I'm really lucky there's a kiss under the mistletoe.

A few years ago I got married. The first year my husband watched me watching my movies. He said it was cute and charming and one of the things he loved about me.

Last year he started watching them with me. Every night before bed he would slide onto the couch with me, pick up the remote, and find one the two of us would watch together. We ate cookies, drank cocoa and laughed at all the ludicrous plot points of our chosen flick.

Of all the wonderful things my husband does for me, this little tradition ranks high on the list. These movies aren't his thing, but he shares them with me. He's telling me I'm not alone anymore. And that's more than I could ever ask from Santa.

This post is part of a "meet the family" holiday blog hop. Please visit others participating in this activity by clicking on the button below.

Meet the Family Holiday Hop

Feliz Navi-Enough?

     Making cookies with my mom this morning. I feel bad that I'm not more 'jolly' about it. The commercials tell me that I should be smiling, singing, joking, utterly and completely enjoying my task. But my face is drawn  and my brow is wrinkled as I mix and knead the dough. I don't like cracking eggs. I am sure an eggshell or two escapes into the bowl. My fingers are sticky and I can't wipe them off with a paper towel. I wash my hands a zillion times. This is supposed to be fun, but its work.

     I have lights on the tree and candles glowing and baby it really is cold outside. But in these moments I wonder where all the 'magic' of the season is; Why I look forward to something so much only to have it become another thing on my 'to do' list?

     I know that when this season is over I will mourn it. I will have nothing to stave off the lonely months of January through March. Portland winter rain, without the warmth of twinkling lights, is downright depressing.

     I jump back into my cookie making, determined to give it the spirit it deserves. Sprinkles. That's what these cookies need. Sprinkles make everything better.

     Meanwhile mom is buzzing, her hands elbow deep in dough. She is talking about things I don't understand. Relatives I never knew. Conspiracies I can't imagine. And what Bones is doing on TV.

December 9, 2012

Fa La La La - Run!

So I'm going away for Christmas. It's the third year in a row that I will be spending Christmas with my husband's family, and not my own.

I'm okay. Really I am. My family has plans of their own on Christmas anyway. Still, it feels funny. It's like my house will miss me or something.

It also feels weird to hang lights and deck the halls when we won't be around to celebrate.

My step-daughter asked me if Santa will still come to our house if we aren't there. I want to tell her that yes, of course, Santa will come. He won't skip our house just because we aren't there. We have a Santa Stops Here sign that says so.

However, although she is five I think she may be trying to trick me into more gifts.

She knows we are doing 'present day' early this year, before we take off (she will be spending Christmas with her mom).  If Santa comes and we aren't there, naturally there will be presents waiting for her when she gets back.

Clever kid.

For now I'm just fudging, hoping she forgets. She's only five. Her attention span can't be that long.

On another note we are leaving on Dec 21, 2012, the day the Mayan Calendar ends and some say, so does the world.

I was watching the History Channel and it aired a special on Nostradamus and his end of world predictions. According to Nostradamus experts they've narrowed down the exact epicenter of the end of the world. Ironically, it happens to be the exact place I will be traveling to on that day.

I can just see the line of cars leaving the area as we are driving in.

I guess if the world is going to end its better to be at the center of it than the perimeter. I've read The Road. I don't want to be kept on ice in some body's basement meat locker when the resources run dry. At least this way it's Boom. Game over.

Still, I might stock up on water and jerky. With Twinkies out of the equation I'm not sure what other food sources will last indefinitely and are easy to pack.

I'm also running up credit cards and running on the treadmill. The first is in case the world really does end. Might as well charge as much as I can if I don't have any debt. Does this mean my student loan is finally forgiven?

The second is in case the world sort-of ends and I need to run away from shit. All that treadmill running will come in handy.

Meditations on The Shadows of Dark Root

I may have gotten a bit metaphysical during the creation of The Shadows of Dark Root. I always knew I wanted Maggie and her companions to j...