Friday, September 28, 2007

Good News

This just in via email...

Dear Beloved,

I am Mrs.Ganeshwary Ajith Kumar from the war torn district of Jaffna in
Sri Lanka{which i suppose you know about} with my 6 year old son. I am
married to a contractor here who happened to loose his life in the war
zone because he is opposed to the rebel group. Since the death of my
husband and my 15 year old daughter things have not been the same.
We managed to get ourselves in the Chavakachcheri division of Jaffna
peninsula where we have been in a camp with more or less to eat and
drink. I have been making some arrangement to leave here with my son
and relocate to another country but it is not easy because i have no
money with me. I have a consignment which contains cash and other
valuables that my late husband always tell me about that he deposited
in a security firm in Europe which i will require your assistance to
get so that i could make haste and leave this war torn zone. I really
need the content of this consignment because for you to get out of here
safely you have to pay heavy money to the rebels so that they will
guide you safely to a safe zone and i have nothing on me to do that
that is why i contacted you to assist me get the consignment so that i
could make arrangements to leave this place.

At the moment my only means of communication is through my laptop which
i have with me here {because there is free internet connection around
here} We are afraid of leaving this camp because of constant shelling
and fighting outside. Please i will like you to assist me to have a
safe and better life and also for many more others that are here whom i
want to help get out of here too. I will forever be grateful to you for
helping me and for this kindness.

I will inform you more when i hear from you.

God Bless
Mrs. Ganeshwary Ajith Kumar

Okay, IMAGINE my surprise at my good fortune, because I also got this today:


In a drive to ensure the safety of my family's fund for
Investment and safe keeping, I wish to inform you that
all necessary modalities have been concluded and the funds
have left to Europe last week by Express Cargo Flight
(Diplomatic Delivery Agency).
Note carefully the content of the crates is money \"U.S Dollar $14 Million
Cash\" but I did not disclose it to the Courier
Services as Money, rather I informed them that the crates
belonging to a family friend and also business partner
(that's you).

Please get back to me as soon as possible with your full
names, address and phone numbers so that I can give you
the shipment document and full contact information of the
diplomatic company so that you may open up a communication
with them to confirm the status and when the trunks would
be delivered to you.

Note that the deposit papers are ready and will be forwarded in due course.

Truly Yours,

Prince Mohammed A.

I mean, what are the ODDS that God would smile on me TWICE in one day? And, how...out of the ALL the people on the planet, did these people find ME?? See, I just KNEW when I informed that wrong number guy about the whole Mario thing the other day, the good KARMA would come back to me.

Can't wait to help these poor people out and collect my cash!

Oh, and I hear there's a bridge in Brooklyn I may be interested in....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What Did I Do Before Google?

For Father's Day this year, I went a-huntin' on Google for the perfect gift. What, you ask, do you get the man who has everything? Well, a jigsaw puzzle, natch. Not just any jigsaw puzzle, mind you, but one I had to do research to find. (Hence the Google consultation).

Ah...there it was. The perfect picture. The ONLY puzzle I found with what I wanted. Click, click, click, BUY.

So, it arrives, my dad opens it on his special day, and hands it directly to Annie (the master puzzler in the family). It's then we notice something odd about the damn thing. Not only does it contain 1000 pieces (eek)--they' the same shape. Well, not precisely (although that's what the box says) but close. Maybe four shapes in all in addition to the ones with a flat edge.

I figure this puzzle ain't never goin' together.

But Annie starts on it right away in June. The first time I visit, she's pretty much got the frame. The second time I visit, she's got a large chunk of the middle put together.

Then it gets really, really, hard.

Progress dwindles. But still, she perseveres. I'm SO PROUD of her for not giving up (especially since I would have flushed the whole project MONTHS AGO).

Then, blood!! The visiting step-bro, his wife, and my sis-in-law STORM the puzzle. I mean, they ROCK!!! This sucker may get finished before the next millennium after all!!

So, here now...for your viewing pleasure...I give you THE PUZZLE. (Click on it for a larger view, but in case you can't tell, it's a P-38 Fighter--the airplane my dad flew in WWII.)

You'll never guess who manufactured this torture device...uh-huh. JAPAN. (Fill in your own irony here.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Uncle Mame Blows Into Town

When I was a little girl--about nine or ten--I dragged around one of those autograph books for a couple months. Y'know, not to collect celebrity scrawls, but to have friends and family pen a little remembrance. I have it stashed somewhere in the debris of crap collecting in the cabinets in my bar.

Anyway, in between all the Best Friends 4-Evers and the U R 2 Sweets, is a brief missive (can't remember what it says) to "Sis" and signed "Pat" (your brother).

Except we weren't related. Not at the time. Pat was my brother's best friend.

Well, a couple years later, his mother married my dad, and we indeed became sister and brother. Weird, huh? How did he see the writing on the wall?

So, today he arrives in town (well, in COUNTRY) after an eight year absence. As his daughter Shanan puts it: Duck and cover. Here comes a hurricane.

(To tell you the truth, I'm taking extra vitamins for the duration.)

'Cuz if there's one thing Pat's not, it's normal. Sorry bro' but it's true. Married twice, no three times, um wait...four...he's lived in between Peru and Chile (with time off for a year-long stay in Ghana) for the past couple of decades. Something about gold mines. At least that's the official story.

Catching up should be interesting.

Oh, and if you'd like to see a younger version of him, rent Damn Yankees. He's one of the four little boys singing "You Gotta Have Heart" at the talent show. Don't remember which position he's standing in--the only hint I can give you is that he's NOT the one who is John-Boy from The Waltons.

Oh, and here's a picture of Pat I posted on the 4th of July this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Habla

I get home tonight, and there's a voicemail on my machine from 1:30 this afternoon. The tone is rather strident, somehow urgent. Professional and methodical.

Only it's in Spanish, and it's for someone named Mario.

I try to decipher what it is this Mario needs to know. After hitting repeat a couple times, I piece together a location at the corner of Janss and Moorpark. But, um...that's about as far as my Spanish takes me.

I stare at the phone. What if it's a doctor's appointment? What if it's for, like, a CAT-scan and if Mario misses it, he can't get another one for weeks and weeks...what if...okay, slow down.

I may have heard some form of the word 'installation.' Maybe Mario's installing someone's windows? Garage door opener? Heart valve replacement?

I dial in my password again to hear where the call came from, and I punch in the numbers.

"Hi," I say. Then in slow, clearly enunciated tones, I add: "You left a message on my machine for someone named Mario at 1:30 this afternoon, and I just thought I'd better let you know you had the wrong number. I don't speak Spanish, so I hope you understand what I'm saying."

My new sister-in-law (who no-speaka-da-english), arrives tomorrow from Peru. Wait till she gets a-load of my Espagnol.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's New?

Anybody miss me? (Besides Blogreader John, that is?)

Sigh. Sometimes life gets overwhelming in Randyville, y'know? First, there was the Daddy-crisis. Ups and downs there, but (crossing fingers) we're back on the upswing.

Then there was a bit of disappointing writing news. Don't feel comfortable sharing it here, but suffice to say, things were moving forward, then they hit a brick wall.

Anyway, so on Friday evening, I made plans to meet Blogreader Joe at the usual spot for cocktails and "catching up." As I pulled out of my driveway, I thought: "This will be really nice--a way to feel like life's getting back to normal."



I answer. It's my brother.

(Remember that rain I was looking forward to? Well, did I mention the timing wasn't great since we're in the middle of putting a new roof on the building at work?, it isn't finished?)


Niagara Falls is cascading onto our tenant's finished goods.


My brother frantically asks me to come help move stuff. I give a thought to my four-inch heels and "nightclub attire." Oh, well. I throw the engine in park, dash inside for tennis shoes, tear back out to the car, run over to the bar to tell cellphone-less Joe I'll be back whoknowswhen, and race down the freeway toward Simi.

Halfway there, my brother calls to say never mind.


Well, I'm already almost there, so I proceed. When I arrive, about six people are sitting around chatting. Apparently, I've missed the panic phase. There's still a pump to be found, though. And an employee who'll know where it is.

I locate the employee, get the info, pay my dues...yada, yada...and get the hell out of there.

Never a dull moment lately.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Very Rare and Cold September Storm... making its way toward L.A.

We here in southern California are braced (that's what we do in this situation, we brace) for something we haven't seen, heard, smelled, or touched in, like, forever. I'm sure all the local TV stations are already on storm watch, and the Doppler Radar thingy has been dusted off and had its batteries checked.

Bring. It. On.

I. Can't. Wait.

(Although figuring out what to wear this morning posed a huge dilemma since I haven't yet shifted to winter-wear mode--not that I do much of that all year-long, but still...)

Anyway, the clouds are gathering, the temps have dropped, and Mr. Sun has disappeared. Can this truly be September?? I mean, they're predicting hail in some areas...and snow at higher elevations. Can Christmas be far behind??

And, um, too bad we're in the middle of re-roofing our building, huh? Talk about poor timing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Venturing Off Into Uncharted Waters

Recent experience tells me I need to think about writing longer books.

(Eek. Why can't I be like the rest of the world, i.e., those who write too much rather than too little?)

Anyway, so when my WIP took an unexpected turn last night, I figured what the hell...might as well see where it leads (hoping the result is heaps more pages). Only problem is that adding an unforeseen wrinkle means adding unforeseen moisturizer (ha). I mean, it's like (picture, if you will) you've created one of those if-then flowcharts and suddenly you throw in an option that wasn't there before. Next thing you know, you're going in ten new directions, each with its own set of exponentially increasing choices you hadn't even planned on.

I'm tellin' ya, folks. Don't try this at home.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Okay, How Much Does This Suck?

So, if you didn't read the earlier post, let me cut to the chase: I'm the proud new owner of an Applie iPod Nano...only, guess what? I can't friggin' download anything to it. Um...Apple Guys? Microsoft Guys? Can y'all get your act together, please?? of the really cool things about my new gadget...I can watch up to 5 hours of TV on it. I immediately trot over to the iTunes store to see what's available. Right away I see an episode of Top Chef and I think, wow! Cool!

Plus, the iTunes store is where you buy downloadable music, right?


I click to download the iTunes crap...only, guess what? I need the XP or Vista Windows operating systems, neither of which is on any of my computers.


Sure, my IT guy has "the right stuff," and he downloaded a couple of my CDs for me...but what if I didn't have him?? Would I have to spend even MORE MONEY upgrading to Vista? What if I don't WANT Vista?

Somebody, please explain this to me. For the past couple years, all I've heard is iPod, iPod, I finally break down and buy one, and now I have to seek outside help to do anything with it?

At the risk of repeating myself, WTF????

Happy Belated Birthday me.

So, I know everyone's wondering what FABULOUS thing I did on my birthday, right?

Um...pretty much nada.

I woke up with no plans (yes! imagine that! no plans on my BIG day!--what's a girl to do???).

Go shopping, of course. But not for clothes (ick--y'all know how much I hate that, although I let my fingers do the walking on Friday to the tune of several hundred $ for new cruisewear).

Nope. Yesterday, I made my way into the current century for:

And go with it, I got this:

So, now I'm all set for the October cruise. No more lugging woofers, tweeters, laptop and speakers for quality music.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mea Culpa

I totally screwed up. Somehow, I didn't provide the right link to Mike's story from my September 11th post. Please try again--it's worth it. Click here.

Where Ideas Come From

I haven’t talked too much lately about the Nano WIP, but fear not, trusty blogreaders. It’s full steam ahead!

Mostly due to a lot of driving. First, there was the Labor Day jaunt towards Santa Barbara (okay, let’s be honest—the Chumash Casino—but, seriously, I only went for the air conditioning), then there have been the daily hospital visits requiring 45 minutes each way.

To make constructive use of the time, I’ve been turning down the radio volume (hm...why don’t I just turn it OFF?), and letting my characters run around in my brain trying to sort themselves out. Well, all I can say is: Eureka! I should do a lot more driving!

Case in point…all along, I’ve been waiting for Daphne’s motivation to come to me. In other words, I know what she wants; I just don’t know why she wants it. Oh, a few ideas kept floating around, but I didn’t have anything to “hang” them on. And, I don’t believe in tossing stuff into the mix without grounding it somehow—and without having more than one reason for it to be there.

Most of the characters I create have parental “issues,” which is a little embarrassing ‘cuz I have wonderful parents, and if they ever read any of my books, there’s gonna be ‘splaining to do. In any event, one of the options I’ve been keeping in reserve for Daphne is the relationship she has with her mother. But I didn’t have any plans to bring Mom on scene, so I kept discarding the idea.

Until now.

‘Cuz meanwhile, I ran into a stumbling block where Daphne and Josh have finally admitted their attraction to each other, but I can’t let them act on it yet—I need a space of time to elapse first. I was able to stall them off a couple days by forcing Daphne to look after a sick kid (don’t worry—I haul in a couple plot threads to coincide with this event), but then what…? How to keep them apart?


Nothing derails a budding relationship better than a surprise visit from Mom, right?? So, here comes Mom…and with her appearance on scene, I can go back and weave in all the baggage she arrives with. Yippee!

Maybe I should plan a cross country road trip for plotting out my next book.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget

My first memory of Mike was when he sat down beside me in a crowded economics class circa 1972. He wasn’t hard to miss, nor forget. A portly guy with an easy smile, a ruddy face, and vacant blue eyes.

His guide dog sat obediently at his feet.

I didn’t really meet Mike until four years later in a graduate seminar in Interpersonal Dynamics. We’d been assigned to the same group and would spend an entire quarter on a project designed to teach us how to work effectively as a team. The task was to pick a project—as banal as putting together a volley ball game or having a dinner party—then observe the process of how we went about doling out tasks, assuming leadership roles, dealing with conflict, and so forth. All skills to be used later when we entered the world armed with freshly-minted MBAs.

Besides Mike and me, our group consisted of an older Asian female mom, a transfer student from Spain, a highly-charged Type-A male, and an easy going young man who always went with the flow.

For some reason, we didn’t take an easy path toward satisfying the requirements of the class. We didn’t just plan a dinner—we planned a 24-hour, overnight stay, at my parents’ house up in Lake Arrowhead.

I’ll never forget our arrival. Instantly, as Mike and his dog stumbled into furniture and as the toddler (brought by the Asian mom along with an adult sister) yanked everything in sight off tables, I questioned the wisdom of having invited this motley crew to my folks’ pristine home. But in the end, we all settled down, accomplished our task, and at the end of the quarter received an A on the paper that I mostly wrote.

Twenty-seven years would pass before I saw Mike again. This time on television. Larry King, to be exact.

A couple days after 9-1-1.

Do you remember the story of the blind man who walked down 78 floors to get out of the first tower?

My old friend, Mike.

Read the riveting account of how Mike escaped on that fateful morning here.

Ground Zero January 2002

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Countdown Has Begun!

Yes, faithful blogreaders, it's that time of year. Time to count down the days to my birthday! In case you haven't got a calendar, allow me to remind you there are only 6 or 7 shopping days (depending on how you count) until the Big Day! And, to aid you in your search for the appropriate gift, I've thoughtfully provided a list of stuff I need.

1. New car (only, it doesn't have to be BRAND new--a USED Mercedes will do).
2. New laptop (with the wireless internet thingy, please!)
3. New camcorder (you really don't want me lugging around the relic I currently own, do you? So gauche!)
4. New gowns for the October cruise (er, you may wanna go ahead and get them in a size 10--sadly, I don't think I'll be back down to an 8 in time)
5. Ipod (please do the research and take your best shot)
6. 1000 shares of Google stock--the gift that keeps on giving
7. Big ol' plasma screen TV--the better to watch all my reality shows on
8. Okay, if you're REALLY stymied and ya gotta few bucks to spare, how about a small yacht for the beach house I'm renovating? Something in the forty-foot vicinity would be nice...
9. Vacation vouchers are ALWAYS appreciated--especially if they include first class airline tickets and rooms at the Ritz Carlton. (Just sayin')
10. Lastly, since I hate to be a pain in the wallet...I offer this cash-free publishing contract?

I really ask for so little from life.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Even In A Crisis...

Me: I'm gonna have to run home and change before I go to the hospital. Daddy won't like what I'm wearing.

Stepmom: Good idea. I'll see you later.

Not: Oh honey, don't worry about it. He'll be coming out of surgery, and just being there is what counts.

No, no, no--in my family, appearance MATTERS, so it's a good thing I got over it a long time ago, huh? Otherwise, I'd be one of those dysfunctional daughters suffering from never-measures-up-itis. (I mean, more than the norm.)

So I showed up, properly attired, just in time to accompany him from recovery to his room.

Me: You did GOOD, Daddy. The doctor says you tolerated the surgery well.

Him: Surgery? Did I already have surgery?

Not: What on earth are you wearing, and couldn't you have polished your shoes?

Still...I was comfortable knowing that were he in the least coherent, I was prepared. (You don't get to be 53 years old without learning something.)

Sidenote: For you blogreaders who know me (and know my dad!), here's the deal. We took him to the ER Tuesday night with severe pain. (Ah, ER's...enough for a separate post.) Anyway, turned out to be...are you ready?...a ruptured appendix! Yes, in an 84-year old! Who'da thunk? 'Course any medical procedure on someone with immune and cardio issues (oh, and on COUMADIN) isn't exactly a GOOD thing, but given the possibilities, definitely not the worst news we could have heard. Yesterday (24 hours after surgery) he was up and walking around, so I'm generally pleased.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Oh, That's Perfect

Along with the blistering heat, my cable just went out. And I have to keep saving my WIP every few minutes because the power's gone off twice.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

I can't WAIT to go back to work tomorrow. :(

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Are You Feeling A Bit Ripped Off?

I am.

All the hoopla surrounding Becks and Posh moving to L.A....what a bust, huh? Not that I understood what the big deal was, anyway. I mean, he's a soccer star (trust me, no one cares about soccer in southern California--nor the rest of the country, for that matter) and she's a former Spice Girl. So friggin' what? Did their move to L.A. really warrant 24/7 coverage (not to mention an hour-long television special???).

Now it appears David Beckham is out for the rest of the season. I even hear they may be moving back to England.

Guess they'll be totin' along that kajillion dollar contract with them.

Where do I sign up to be a Spice Girl?