Monday, October 28, 2013

A Reverse Dalmatian?!?

It all started with a haircut.

I needed one. Desperately. But I' a mom, so I usually wait until I look like a curly 'Cousin It' before I go- just to make sure the money is worth it.

My husband had other ideas. 

He didn't want me to look like the Shaggy D.A. for an upcoming writer's conference. He wanted me to actually look nice. So he made me an appointment at a new salon instead of the cheapo one I usually go to- and hate. 

Why do I go to a salon I hate? Because the price is right. I just hold off going because I know their idea of 'trim' is my idea of 'bald'. Since I have hypothyroidism, my hair (at least in the back) grows slower than the I.Q. points of Congress. Yet the front grows really fast, hence the 'Cousin It' persona. I was seriously thinking of doing a comb-back; like a comb-over for guys but mine would be brushed back like Lady Godiva to hide the fact that the back of my head was a complete mess.

Reluctantly I went into the salon, expecting to look like a shorn sheep. An expensive shorn sheep.

After making everyone in the salon laugh (it's good to make the people in charge of your hair happy), I asked with a smile if she knew what I meant by 'trim' vs. 'trimming the dead ends.' This is a trick question! But she answered (and showed me via my own hair) just how much a trim was- less than a quarter of an inch. As for the dead ends? 'Oh, you don't need to worry 'bout that- the trim will take care of the dead ends.' she said.

Finally- someone who understood me!

I relaxed a little and let her do her magic.

My hair is naturally curly. it's also not dyed. I don't like messing with it for fear of it falling out from all those treatments. If I was going to go gray, I wanted it to just happen gradually.

At least until I saw my first flash of platinum reflected off of the salon lights. Twice.

As she cut my hair I noticed a small blaze right in the front and center of my forehead- and another tendril on the right side, in the dead center. Not a scattering of hairs, mind you, but a single curl in the front and side of my head.

I had gray spots!

If I wasn't gasping in shock, I'd have thought it was kind of pretty. It was almost platinum-blondish type white (which is cool) instead of that dull kind of white reserved for zombies. But they showed up in spots- not gradually.

Dear Lord, I'm a reverse Dalmatian! 

I wondered if maybe shaving my head would be considered the new 'sexy' for women. Probably not. I couldn't even get those tendrils cut, because I'd have holes in my head! Oh why, why, why couldn't they just scatter all over my noggin instead of gathering in one spot like old ladies to a Bingo hall?

At this point, I'm still not going to dye my hair. It's still curly and fluffy, and the hair-dresser did a great job on it! I'll be going back to her until I die.  

As for the spots? I'll have to get used to them- but at least it makes good fodder for writing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

And The Winner Is...ME?!?

Color me flabbergasted. 

I attended the West Branch Writer's Conference in Jersey Shore PA (try to write that address in the GPS without confusion!) It was fantastic, and I made a lot of new friends as well as contacts. 

It was the closing ceremony that was truly the whipped cream icing on the dark chocolate cake for me though- I'd forgotten that I'd entered several of the writing contests weeks before.

I was happily going over my paperwork and plethora of business cards when I heard the announcement.

"And the first place winner for the Blog Post contest is...When Superman Cannot Fly!"

My ears perked at the familiar title. Tears sprang to my eyes as they read the post I'd written just two days after my husband's accident just over a year ago. It was really hard not to let those tears flow. But many other writers did cry. 

"This award goes to...Beth Brubaker!" Applause as I stood up (still not crying) and sat down again. But Nooo...they wanted me to go up front and get my award. A sob escaped me. "You people are going to mess up my makeup!" making many giggle as I limped to the front (yes, my knee is still a bit wonky). I also got to pick a free book from a selection as my prize.

I made my way back to my seat when they announced the next set of awards. "Third place award for Children's Story is....Four Pigs Planting by Beth Brubaker!"

I stopped. What? I won again? I looked at the announcer, still not sure, and she grinned at me- I turned right around and accepted my second award- and another book.

This was unreal!
My table greeted me with grins and pats of appreciation as I sat down, dumbfounded. At least until I heard yet another of my titles.
"First Place for Advanced Poetry goes to...Lament to Sugar!" A professional poet read it, almost laughing because he was reading it for the first time. It also made the audience crack up! They didn't even have to announce my name at that point for me to feel great- I was just so dang happy I got people to laugh!

"The award goes to....Beth Brubaker!"

By this time people were looking at me with a mixture of joy and 'How is she doing that?' as I made my way up to the front once more. This was crazy!

 I sat down, feeling both elated and incredulous. I had entered only four submissions and three won prizes! Can anyone ask for more? Then everyone looked at me in surprise as my last entry was announced. "Second place for Personal Experience goes to....Mischief Managed, Lesson Learned by Beth Brubaker!"

What?!? The cheers were bigger this time as I collected my award and another book. The biggest cheer was from my friend Angela Schans, aka Christian Barbie, the wonderful lady featured in the winning submission!

I sat down for the last time, basking in the glow of many happy faces as they finished the announcements. One lady (whom I didn't know was also one of the judges) whispered jokingly in my ear 'You might want to let someone else win now!' I laughed and whispered back 'I have to- I didn't submit anything else!' Both of us had to stifle our snickers, and we traded business cards.

Four submissions. Four awards. Two of which won first place. Who does that? Even as I sit here I still have a hard time accepting it! Angela and I had prayed that morning for wonderful surprises, promising contacts and new friends, and boy did He come through!

I sometimes wonder just what God has in store for me, and that maybe what I have in talent amounts to a pile of horse poo. But if God has His way, the horse poo can become the best fertilizer, making everything around it flourish and grow! I hope that if I ever feel like my writing is headed for the pasture again, I'll remember to look on my wall and remember this day.

God is good!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Body Malfunctions vs. Romance

Romance used to be fun.

I remember well all those wonderful romantic movies where nothings were whispered, touches were ever-so-gentle, and you could actually hear what your movie beloved was saying. Of course the beloved actor had a mike and a sound set, and didn't have your good ear plastered to his chest.

It's also not the time to suffer from nose whistles, lung squeaks and sudden sneezing fits.

No my friends, reality includes real bodies doing real things- usually right in the middle of a romantic moment.

It started when I was sixteen. I had a boyfriend (please note I said had), and he was busy kissing me. However, I felt a sneeze coming on and tried to warn him and rapid taps on his back, but he just thought I was in the moment and didn't stop.

Dizzy Gillespie would have been proud had he seen my boyfriend's face react like a car's air bag- and thanks to my excellent seeking skills, it only took a few minutes to find his eyes, but they popped right back in easy-peasy. After that he threw himself backward if I even twitched an eyelash. 

Then there was the time of the first kiss with my husband (before he was my husband). Our eyes closed in wondrous delight as our lips met, and I heard the oh-so subtle whistle of my nose.


Oh yeah- that's romantic. especially when you feel his lips curl into a barely suppressed grin as he's kissing you.

Or a time when you're just enjoying being with your sweetheart, and you lean against his chest with a sigh of contentment, and right before you finish exhaling...


The moment is ruined as your head (still resting on his chest) starts to bounce from his laughter.

Then you get older and things get even better.

You're in the middle of a hug, and you know he just murmured something loving and profound into your hair, but you have one ear to his chest and the other is blocked by his hand as he caresses your head, so all you heard was 'Meef merf morphenten'. You freeze, trying to decipher just what was said, yet afraid to break the moment by asking 'Huh?!?' 
Or worse yet, you actually do ask (in that throaty voice you use only for these instances), and he repeats it in that same murmur- and you still didn't hear it. Now if you ask again it will really break the romantic moment so you just smile and hug him, hoping it was something special and not a reminder to get the car fluids checked.

Then you spend the rest of the night wondering what the heck he said.

Romance used to be fun. Now it's just something to laugh at while your body betrays you. Sigh.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Theory of Messitivity

It all started with a broken dish.

I had just swept the kitchen floor that morning, and as we all know, the moment the floor is clean, something gets spilled or shattered on it. For us it's usually the former (99% of the time it's an entire gallon of freshly made iced tea), but this time I heard a crash. 
My husband yanked out a dish, and another dish (that was probably part lemming) decided to leap from it's perch and throw itself into oblivion. This particular dishware doesn't just break either- it shatters into a million itty-bitty shards- all over my nice clean floor. 

And of course, everyone is barefoot.

From the baritone bellow from the kitchen, It's my fault for having stacked smaller dishes on top of the larger ones. Not the guy who yanked out the dish in haste- Nooooo, not him! I was given a lecture about organizing (still being yelled from the kitchen to where I was on the couch), and while he was doing this, I kicked off my shoes, expressing my, um...appreciation for his, erm... helpfulness,  sneakers hitting the ceiling with a loud thud as I thrust them from my feet.

After the dish shrapnel was removed (with no injuries!), I replied in dulcet tones (that I'm sure the neighbors could hear), that perhaps he had a plan for solving this little dilemma, because stacking the big dishes on the little ones would defy physics. He said he would fix the situation that 'made' him break a dish while I put my sneakers back on and went for a walk to contemplate all the good things in life- and scoping out spots where I could hide the body.

I came home to a kitchen cabinet that was bereft of any extra dishes- the smaller ones were removed, as well as half of the larger dishes. Even the cups were downsized- apparently everyone was now on dish rations to two a day, and cups were color coded so we could only use our assigned color. At first I abhorred the idea, but after he explained his 'Theory of Messitvity', it really was quite brilliant.

No more taking a fresh cup when you want a drink- wash yours and refill.
No more taking a new plate for snack number twenty-seven, and leaving it in the sink.
No more having to run the dishwasher twice a day for a family of four.
Hand washing dishes won't take as much time, because there shouldn't be more than eight things to wash at a time, not including silverware.
Less clutter, less mess, and less cost on electric and water bills.

I could also tag who left what mess because of the color coded cups! That and the money we'd save on bills was the clincher for me. I forgave him and he said he forgave me too- for what I don't know- I just let that one go at the time. Maybe it was because my shoes dented the ceiling a little. Pfft.

The next day God let me know that it's not a good thing to lose my temper- apparently in my enthusiasm whilst kicking off yon sneakers, I overextended my knee. This happened late last week and I'm still limping. Serves me right for completely losing my schmidt over some silly dishes. Let's just say it was the hormones and leave it at that.

In the meantime, we only had to run the dishwasher once this weekend, and the kids are learning that color coding works better than NCIS when it comes to who made what messes- especially when their sibling (or mother) didn't clean up after themselves!