Some SOL Company

When I encounter friends, colleagues, countrymen, hell perfect strangers, who were raised with civility and make the mistake of asking “How are you?” one would presume being a woman raised by Sothern Belles one would think I was equally brought up with such manners that would have me politely respond with some variant of “I’m fine.”

But nah, my NYC mouth blithely shuts down all such social convention as I almost always reply with “Insane as usual. And you?” {Hey at least I’m housed trained enough to ask – mostly I’m tired of my southern Grandma reaching up from beyond to Gibbs SlapTM me upside the head – but I digress.] This is almost always met with a chuckle that ranges from exaggerated eyerolls [those that know me very well], through amused head shaking [those that know me somewhat], to nervous smiles [those who are not entirely sure if I’m joking].

Today I took it one step further. Having had the above exchange with a colleague in the ladies earlier, I pass her office a while later.

“You know how I said that I was insane?”

She knows me just well enough that she starts smiling, “Yeah?”

“I can prove it….”

The smile turns into a I already regret letting her in grin, “How?”

“Please explain to me why I cannot get the bass line, not the melody, not the lyrics, but specifically the dang bass line to DuckTales out of my damn head?”

She blinks a few times getting the reference and asks the pertinent question: “When is the last time you’ve even seen DuckTales?”

“My youngest is thirty-eight, so-decades!”

For those who don’t know DuckTales is an animated TV series produced by Disney. The original cartoon series premiered in the late-80s and ran for several years. The show featured Scrooge McDuck, his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie (yes, the nephews of Disney’s Donald Duck), and others, on various adventures. It was part of the afternoon line-up my boys watched after school. Thus, I was not exactly kidding when I said decades.

It had a very catchy theme song, with a pretty groovy bass line, which I heard five days a week for several years. And for some reason it was now stuck in my bird brain.

After stating she how she concurred with my self-assessment, I was informed I was SOL because she couldn’t help me and laughingly ordered me to get away from her immediately before I infected her. Another colleague was passing and made the mistake of inquiring what shenanigans were I causing now. I do have a slight reputation for such – slight.

Long story-short: going by my burning ears, there are at least five colleagues cussin’ out my name for the bass line likely still running through their minds.

I mean we all know adage Misery loves… Well I’ve had that miserable bass line in my head most of the day – so guess who’s joining me? For those of you reading this who know theme in question, and now are equally infected, I would say I’m sorry, but we’d all know I’d be lying.

That SOL in the title doesn’t stand for Slice of Life today.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this Tuesday…

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Two Writing Teachers

Glad I Didn’t Wait…

  1. I love jalapenos and had them in my salad for dinner. Uncouth and greedy idiot I am, did not use utensils, but fingers to consume said jalapenos.

  2. On way to the loo to wash my grubby jalapeno scented talons, I run into a friend I have not seen in a while who was leaving the restaurant. My mind said wash your hands it can wait. But my mouth had already called out to her. No choice now but to have the chat I garnered her attention for in the first place.

  3. Typical of me, hands forgotten, the chat devolves into silly conversation that soon has me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. People – please review 1 and 2 above. It was a bit not good as I am quickly shown the error of my ways. Eyes now beginning to sting I hear a familiar motor sound approaching me.

  4. Another patron in a motorized chair is coming down the hall. When I politely step out the way as she passes -I don’t always apply them, but Grandmama taught me manners(!)-, I hear another very familiar sound, that is soon followed by cold wetness through my blouse.

  5. I turn in surprise realizing I backed into the automated hand sanitizer dispenser, that did its job and dispensed itself – on my back. The friend I was conversing with saw the stain and lost it, making a reference to a scene in the James Spader/Maggie Gyllenhaal movie “Secretary”. It was a reference I got, which sent me completely over the giggle edge. [Either you know the scene or you do not, I am NOT explaining it. Just know that it is sexual in nature and let your very dirty mind -if you have one- extrapolate from there.] I make it to the ladies room at last and she goes on her way.

  6. Now imagine walking into the ladies room to find a female at the sink, make-up ruined, seemingly trying not to cry while tears stream down her face, holding copious amounts of paper towels trying to blot dry a blouse spotted with suspicious looking stains down her back, without taking it off. Only when I saw the horror stricken look on her face as she slowly approached me in genuine concern and gently asked asked if I wanted to call someone did I get the enormity of how it looked from an unknowing eye.

    And me, being me, continue to be a child at a most inappropriate time, told her “Mr. E. Edward Grey!” referencing James Spader’s character in the above mentioned “Secretary.”

  7. Still giggling like the twelve-year-old I am mentally, I finally finished washing my hands and face as I assured her the only assault was from the automated hand sanitizer dispenser whose motion sensor I had accidentally set off. Much to the woman’s relief, and momentary blush, I also explained about the movie and that I refer to the Spader character as the original Mr. Grey, where I believe the author of the 50 Shades series of books/movies may have taken the surname inspiration.

  8. I had to wear my blazer with paper towels between my blouse and my back until the wet spots dried. But so worth the unexpected laughter. Yes, speaking to the my friend, instead of immediately washing my hands, could have waited, but I’m glad I didn’t.


    I also now have a mental bet with myself that the woman from the ladies room will be watching a certain movie before the week is out. It’s a Schrodinger’s bet, but I’ll wager it’s in my favor.

    And since I’m still in a puerile mood, I feel obligated to remind you dear readers May is National Masturbation Month – handle that information however you will.

Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday in the merry, merry month of May…

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Two Writing Teachers

Drop It Like It’s Con

I spent the weekend in Atlanta at 221BCon. It’s an annual fan convention celebrating Sherlock Holmes. It started out, and it’s primary focus is, BBC’s “Sherlock”, fanfiction writers and readers, and now includes Sherlock Holmes in all the varying incarnations of television, film, radio, books and of course the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Over the years it has given nods to Good Omens and other fandoms with similar esthetics. OFMD fans anyone? (Either you know, or you do not –so not explaining it.)

In the months, weeks, days, hours leading up to it were its own type of agony as enthusiasm mounted. Twitter groups for the event were active nearly 24 hours in the final couple pf days leading up to hit. But it’s these last couple of days after that are my focus.

I made it home late Sunday night.  I should have taken Monday off. Overworking arse that I am did not, and around 2pm I was reminded of why. I had been in since 7:30, my usual Monday busy little bee when it hit me. This overwhelming exhaustion and complete sense of loss. I did not want to be there. It took a moment to realize what hit me.

Convention Drop.

Also known as Vacation Drop. It’s something that happens after you get home from a vacation, convention, bash any multi-day fun event, especially one where you had to travel. It was the moment my heart, mind, soul, and body came completely down from the massive adrenaline high of the previous days of fun at the convention.

It hit hard.

I wanted to be back in Atlanta. I wanted to be back at the convention. I wanted to attend another panel. Go up to the writers room. Hang out and chat with fellow writers. Play another round of “Sherlock Against Humanity”, a customized BBC “Sherlock” themed version of Cards Against Humanity, that is just as hilarious for all the right, yet wrong, reasons. I wanted to eat some more of the oh so good food discovered at Tom, Dick and Hank’s restaurant. I wanted to meet and chat with other fellow fic writers whose work I’ve admired for years. To be in the room where it happened with people who immediately get the jokes and snark references that pepper some of my conversation. Because for all of the people I have seen this weekend, I am learning I have missed crossing paths with others who were there and dammit I wanted to go back and meet them!

I was sitting at my desk at work and the longing for Con and to be with my Sherlock tribe again was so deep it made me want to cry. That’s how hard it hit. I knew of the phenomenon, but it had never happen to me before. Not even after travelling to Dubai or Antarctica. Those are two trips where it certainly should have hit, but no. Having it hit after only three days in Atlanta showed me just how much being around so many like-minded lunatics meant to me, that the loss of it was one hell of a shock to my system. That was when I remembered why I usually take the day after such events off. I need the time to reset myself across the board, do laundry and have a day to ease back into my normal insane life.

I’m fine now. Already have next year’s convention in my calendar with a couple of days before so I can tour a little of Atlanta, but most important, that much needed day off after.

The game is on!


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this Tuesday…

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But Soft What Spring Through Lovely April Breaks

Arise sweet spring for signs of you have sprung

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I get to enjoy the sight of Venus in the late-winter, early spring mornings on my walk to the train station for work. It the very first sign of spring for me, but there are others.

The landscapers for The Commons around my job arrived last week. Gone are the winter evergreens, and the first shoots of the annual tulips are breaking through the ground. In another week or so the area will be awash in the reds, oranges, and yellows of tulips in the garden beds. With the addition of daffodils and lillies, the white blossoms of the dogwoods and always the pinks of the cherry blossoms the next few weeks will be awash springs bright colors. I will love it as I always do, but surprisingly, or not, for all the visual beauty that is the coming spring, it is not my favorite part.

My favorite part is aural.

The blocks I walk are tree-lined and have begun to bud in their own markers of spring, but it’s their occupants that hold sway for me. I step out my building, cross the street and there it is, a sweet trilling; the first calls of the day. Birdsong. For the next couple of week, my walk to the train station will time with the waking of the local flocks of pigeons and quarrels of sparrows. And as the mornings become brighter, if I’m lucky,I am also treated to flashes of robin and cardinal reds or the less frequently seen blue of a jay.

And yes, even the occasional caws of murdering crows and the conspiracy of ravens have greeted my mornings.

Oh, I am in no way, shape or form, an ornithologist. It is the decades of living in different NYC neighborhoods, and my penchant to look up, that have made me observant of more than just the people and pets that share the sidewalks with me.

The chirping of birds in my mornings is also a harbinger of the coming winter when their waking and my walking will again align, but we shan’t speak of such ill things right now. No. No. No.

This is the time for the most vernal of thoughts and I am here for it.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday of April…

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Wasted Time?

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Though often (mis)attibuted to John Lennon, the earliest certain source of the popular quote was by Marthe Troly-Curtin in her novel “Phrynette Married” (1912).

I used this exact opening a couple of weeks ago when I attempted to have a day vegetating. Today I use it response to a complaint.

“God! Every time I call! Why are always writing a story, or working out a poem, or you’re painting something. Pick something, ONE thing and be good, really good, perfect at it. Maybe you could make money off it and stop wasting your time.”

My pithy response: “I write and I paint because I like it and because I have no space for carpentry workshop and a kiln.”

Oh, there was so much to unpack with that loaded statement and her not understanding why I was offended by it.

What is with limiting a person to one form of expression? The whole pick one thing and be good/perfect at it nonsense, is in a word nonsense. Dion Sanders and Bo Jackson excelled in both baseball and football in their heydays. Venus and Serena Williams are both phenomenal tennis players and wonderful clothing designers. Several of Hollywood and UK actors also excel in other creative outlets. It’s Art. You know that thing like beauty is in the eye of? So who determines what’s good or God help us perfect creatively anyway? Who determines its clock value? Is the pursuit of a second passion for pleasure only limited to those those who can afford it? If it’s not making money, it is waste of time?

As I understand it Art students study other art to learn what’s good. Though they both use pointillism, no one is going to confuse a Seurat with a Lichtenstein, but they’re both good. Rembrandt, Warhol, Monet, Max, Michelangelo, Haring, Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, are all amazing artists, not one looks like the other and none of them did what they did to be “good.” The artists painted what they wanted, the way they wanted – period. That others cottoned on and made some of them renowned during their lifetimes was a lucky bonus. Some of the names mentioned were not famous, until after their deaths. It likely wasn’t perfect, to some of them. It may not have even been “good” to them, but you know what it was? Good enough to make them happy or they tried again until they were. They did it for they were inspired, because it pleased them. I am 10,000 percent sure someone had said to each them at some point “stop wasting time.”

Why must damn near everything in life sans breathing, and bathroom functions, can only be considered worthy of one’s time if it can also potentially line one’s wallet? Stop that nonsense! Elizabeth Barret Browning, Alex Haley, e.e. cummings, Arthur Conan Doyle, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Andrew Wilmot, Amanda Gorman: none of them wrote their very first stories and poems, because they were out to make money, they wrote because they had stories to tell. It just so turned out that eventually others liked the stories as well. The rest is the luck, ill or otherwise, of the draw. But we know their names in the first place solely because they had a story they needed to tell. The story got told. It was not a waste of time.

We blog, and some of have regular followers, but the mass majority of us are not, nor have any intent to be “influencers.” Still, we blog because we have stories to tell, in words or in art or both.

I create because it pleases ME. The moment it becomes something I have to do to make money, it becomes a job. And knowing me – it will no longer be something I enjoy. I create the ways I do because I want to. I’m not trying to be good, I am having fun. That others enjoy it is wonderful, but is never the impetus for me to type out pixels or pick up my pencil or brush. It is always time well spent, even if I hate the result. On the outside I am an adult exuberantly expressing my creativity through mixed media. On the inside I’m a four-year-old happily making a mess scribbling and finger painting. Ask any preschooler…

…That is never a waste of time.


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Two Writing Teachers

24 Hours

This is less a slice and more a serving of the whole cake as this past Saturday I participated in the 24HourProject a 24 hour photography where every hour you post at least one picture to your Instagram, so it’s all in real time. To prep for the event I took Friday off to run errands in the morning and sleep in the afternoon. Well, I got my errands taken care of, but naturally sleep was elusive. Having been up since 8am, at 10:30pm it was a lost cause. I, along with the Stanley to my Ollie (what another fine challenge you’ve gotten me into!), my running buddy GirlGriot, met at midnight in Times Square to begin.  As luck would have it, it was a cold, windy and rainy midnight, but in for a penny – in for a 24 Hours, troopers that we are, it did not deter us.

Together and separately, we ran amok in the City That Never Sleeps and photographed the people and things that captured our eye.

Some of my favorites of the 24 Hours –

Clockwise from top left:

  • 1:00am – East Side of 42nd Street looking into the infinity of the lights of Times Square on the West Side.
  • 1:30am – A play of shadows and light, I love how glittery the wet pavement looks and that this not a black and white photo.
  • 2:54am – Catching the middle of the night magic of Macy’s Department store as it maintain the massive floral arrangements in its annual Flower Show.
  • 11:02pm – One of several times throughout the day I used a clock as a timestamp. The other two were digital, this was the first analog clock I came across.
  • 12:13pm – The Birdman of Washington Square Park who would have made Alfred Hitchcock smile.
  • 9:27pm – We come upon this lovely young man offering “Free Poetry”. Poetry typed on a manual typewriter in the spur of the moment. Give him a subject, a smile, a donation because come on how could I not offer him something for his work, wait a few minutes and voila personalized prose.

In the middle of this I also attended a Cookie Crawl with friends. Yes, it’s like a pub crawl, but hopping around to various sweet shops/bakeries. You know how you have a wish list of eateries you’d like try? Imagine going to several of them in one day and you get it. NYC has a plethora of such small businesses to tempt the sweet tooth and we visited a few of them. Let’s just say the repeated consumption of sweets was just what this this slowly tiring body needed.  GirlGriot and I met up later in the day to attend a free improv show. We had a little under three hours left when we ran into the subway poet pictured above.

His finished impromptu prose for me:

Subway Poetry

I can hear you
I can hear —

I can dance
I feel the native
animal inside me

…oh, you were
saying some
one was
sangin’ summer fever

a heel drummer
an unshackled rattling
one&two&one?

hello hey
let’s stop talkin’

we’ve made it to the
weekend
let this old body
feel young

The young man would not give his signature so I’ll call him Eeyore as this was the key chain that sat on his table as he worked.

My last official shot of the night?

I captured this little guy hanging out on a staircase while waiting for the train, one of many such whimsical bronze figures which comprise the “Life Underground” sculptures by Tom Otterness dotting the platform and steps of that station.

From waking up at 8am Friday, I finally hit my bed some 41 hours later. It was the most exercise my legs have had since fall. Advil and I were best friends when I finally crawled out of bed on Sunday. It’s Tuesday and while my calves have finally stopped their cussin’, they’re still pretty miffed. Ow, but so worth it.
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