Five Little Things That Make My Day

ThinkingI’m in the middle of a particularly busy stretch of days (shout out to the people that can run seven days a week because I was not built for the hectic life), struggling to get things done and meet obligations and so forth. While in the shower lamenting the fact that I’m not a fan of being an adult and wishing I could be one of those people with endless stores of energy, I thought to myself, “Well, at least my hair looked good when I woke up this morning.”

And that got me thinking that there are a number of little things that seem to just brighten my day no matter what kind of day I’m having. If it’s bad, they make things tolerable; if it’s good, they just make it better. Call it counting blessings if you want, but sometimes, during the busy days when I’m dragging more than my ass, I need to remind myself that there are things that just make it for me.

So here are five little things that never fail to make my day.

1. Good Hair Day- Like I said, the days when my hair decides to do its thing in the way I wish it would are the best. Particularly the days when I’m up early for kid minding because I don’t actually take a shower and fix my hair until after I get back from taking the boy to school. It just sets a good tone for my day.

2.  Good Boob Day- Not much is said about the Good Boob Day and its joys really should be extolled more. Some days, I look down and just think, “Damn my boobs look good today.” It’s a good hair day taken to the next level.

3. That’s My Jam!- I do a bit of driving for my job commute and nothing gears me up like  hearing just the right song on the radio on my way to or from a gig. This usually occurs during the drive to teach because it’s Back in the Day Cafe and the Noon Workout on two radio stations so I spend the drive with songs I grew up with. I’m not going to lie. Some days when I’m dragging, I need to hear “MmmBop”. The bouncy bubblegum propels me through the afternoon.

4. Lunch- I love food, so the days when knowing what I want for lunch combines with being able to have that for lunch intersects with having time to eat that for lunch are the best days.

5. Good Dreams- Most of the time, my dreams are filled with imagery that would make people decide they’re done sleeping for life, but they’re actually pretty great for my line of horror writing. These dreams don’t bother me because I’m so used to them. But sometimes, I’m lucky to have a really good dream. One of those dreams that gives you warm fuzzies not only during the dream, but for hours after you wake up. Those are the best.

When folks say that it’s the little things, I know exactly what they mean.

It’s a Version of Cover Love

Music noteA couple of weeks ago I was in the mood for some new music. Specifically, I wanted to get some more songs by Bobby Troup, Julie London, and The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra. In looking through the songs, I noticed something. Bobby Troup and Julie London both did versions of “Midnight Sun” and Julie London and The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra both did versions of “When Your Lover Has Gone”.

And I said to myself, “I MUST OWN THESE SONGS!”

Fast forward to a few days ago. In my Internet perusing I found that Johnny Crawford had recently done different versions of a few songs he’d first done as a teenager.

Once again I said to myself, “I MUST OWN THESE SONGS!”

See, I have this thing about covers and different versions of songs. I think I mentioned it before in another post in which I listed my favorite covers. But I didn’t go into depth about it.

I am compelled to own several different versions of the same song.

I don’t know what it is, but it is a need that I cannot deny. I suppose it’s a fascination with how different singers/bands interpret songs or how the original artist re-imagines a song that their known for. Or maybe it’s fueled by an envy because as much as I love music, I don’t have the ability to make it or even remake it.

Whatever the reason, it’s because of this compulsion that I own:

-Paul Anka doing “Wonderwall” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

-A choir performing “I Touch Myself”

-So many versions of “I’m a Believer”

-And “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time”

-A slow version of “Word Up”

-A fast version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

-A bluegrass version of “Superfreak”

And so many more!

I’ve even got a few albums of nothing but covers (Indie Pop Plays the Monkees and Micky Dolenz’s Remember are two of my favorites).

It’s an addiction and I should be ashamed of myself.

But I’m not.

I Take My Green Very Seriously

cloverMy love of St. Patrick’s Day is pretty limited to wearing green. I take that very seriously. I don’t take it so seriously that I’ll make a nuisance of myself pinching and/or chastising people for not wearing green. But for me, myself, the fun of the holiday begins and ends with me finding something green to wear.

This takes some planning on my part because I don’t wear green as part of my every day wardrobe much. I wear a lot of red and blue, black and white and gray, but some colors, like green and purple and orange and brown are in limited supply in my closet (there is almost no yellow as that is my worst color, which makes me sad because I do love it).

So in addition to my limited green to choose from, I also don’t like to wear the same thing every year. That’s just dull. I should be able to come up with something different, even if I’m the only one that’s going to know. Why should I bore myself? I mean, really.

There’s also the little matter of making sure that whatever green I pick, there’s no debate that it is, indeed, green. Remember that in school? If someone wore something that might be more teal or aqua than green, a fight would erupt about whether or not it qualified as green? Yeah, I refuse to be put in that position, whether anyone else is playing this game or not. It matters to me, man.

So keep your green beer and pub crawls and corned beef and cabbage (especially the cooked cabbage because it makes me gag). Just leave me my Irish music and my green.

 

**It’s worth noting that my short story “Wearing of the Green” in the Yearly anthology is based, at least a little bit, on my dedication to wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not quite so…intense about it, though.**

…And Then the Coke Exploded

Soda explosionFor those of you playing the home game, one of my day jobs involves minding the neighbor’s grandson before and after school on the days that she works. Last week, he had a rough couple of days.

Tuesday, he accidentally spilled a glass of grape juice on the only carpeted portion of the entire living room. It was a real fluke, too. He’d set the glass on the floor next to the couch like he’d done countless other mornings and the remote control slipped off the couch, hit the glass, and knocked it over.

So we had a nice little bonding time before and after school learning how to properly clean up grape juice.

The next day, he didn’t even bother bringing his juice into the living room. Lesson learned.

That afternoon, he got a plastic bottle of soda from the fridge. The Coke was frozen so he opened it over the sink, underestimating the hidden volatility of a frozen soda.

It exploded.

He yells for help and I hurry into the kitchen to find chunks of frozen Coke dripping from the ceiling. It was everywhere. It covered the curtains and the windows above the sink, dripped down the cabinets, somehow sprayed INSIDE the cabinets, covered the countertop and everything on it.

The boy looked like he was going to cry.

I laughed.

He was not pleased with this.

I told him not to freak out, grab some paper towels and get the ceiling first. We mopped up all of the soda we could find, all the while him saying that that his grandma was going to kill him and me repeatedly telling him that she wouldn’t. I made him take down the curtains and throw them in the washer before the soda had a chance to stain them and then we spent some time going over everything to make sure we de-stickied what had been splattered.

The poor kid couldn’t understand why I kept laughing every time we found soda in a new, hidden place. He didn’t see any humor in the situation.

I explained to him that it was all a matter of experience. He’s young. To him the mess is huge and the consequences are dire. I’m old. I’ve experienced worse. Sure, it’s a big mess, but it can be cleaned. And there’s chunks of Coke dripping from the CEILING. That’s pretty hilarious.

Also, it wasn’t my neck on the line.

He was so traumatized, that when he got a second soda, he took it outside to the very edge of the patio to open it, even though it wasn’t frozen.

Our second day of mess-cleaning quality time ended with twenty minutes of us wrestling the curtains back onto their rods and hanging them up again. I’m happy to report that all of the soda came out of the curtains.

I’m also happy to report that the boy was not killed by his grandmother, just like I said he wouldn’t be.

The Good Things Jar

Good things jarI realize the month is about half-way over, but I think there’s still time for folks to start doing this, if they are so inclined.

This idea came across my Facebook at the very end of 2012. A friend of mine posted it saying that she was going to do it and I thought it might be a fun idea, so I also gave it a try.

All you have to do is take a jar and every day add a “good thing” to it, written on a slip of paper. The good thing can be anything you deem good: a blessing, a funny conversation, some kind of win, an observation of nature…really, anything. There’s no limit. There’s no definition of “good”. Just whatever you think needs to go in the jar. I dated all of mine, but I suppose you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. It’s your jar. Rock it your way.

So, every day of 2013 I came up with something “good” to put in the jar. Several days featured more than one thing. For a few the best I could do was that I was still “vertical and ventilating”. Many are out of context and some I can’t remember exactly what brought them about. But the point of the challenge was to find, even on the worst of days, ONE good thing to put in the jar.

On January 1st, I read every slip of paper in the jar. I smiled the whole time. It was really neat to see all of the good things that had happened in 2013 that I chose to put in the jar. Some of them I’d forgotten about until I read them again.

I’m doing the jar again for 2014. Now that I’ve seen the results of it, I’m sort of hooked on it. And I encourage everyone else to give it a try.

There’s still time.

2013 Blog Stats

Stats of SD in jawp

I’m sharing this not to brag, but because I think it’s funny. I’ve talked about certain blog stats of mine before and it’s always because it entertains me to see how and why people are attracted to my blog.

 

So here are some highlights.

 

Once again my most popular blog post was written in 2011. For the second straight year, my Rerun Junkie post on Starsky and Hutch has been number one.

 

In that same vein, of my top five posts of 2013, four were Rerun Junkie posts: Starsky and Hutch; Little House on the Prairie; Emergency!; and Barney Miller (please note that only one of them…Emergency!…was written and posted IN 2013).

 

The odd post out was my Megalomania–A Boobies Birthday Story. I imagine a whole lot of people were disappointed when they clicked on that link from their Google search.

 

Speaking of which, my top five search terms: Kiki Writes (whoohoo! I’m famous!); Starsky and Hutch; Adam and Mary Little House on the Prairie; Kim DeJesus; and Barney Miller cast. I’m pretty sure that everyone that searched Kim DeJesus was disappointed, too.

 

I think that’s what I like best about looking at these year-end stats. There’s actual data of how many people came to this blog with high hopes and left crushed.

 

It warms my black heart.

 

I look forward to continuing that trend in 2014.

 

2014 Resolutions

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard

It’s that time of year again when I make my not-exactly-serious New Year resolutions and see if I end up taking them seriously and actually doing them.

I’ll have you know that I kept most of the ones I made last year with the exception of choreographing an entire belly dance. Instead I ended up finding songs that were great to do belly dancing drills to, so close enough.

Anyway, here are my resolutions for 2014, including my two permanent resolutions because screw you, this is my list.

1. Don’t get dead.

2. Have a good time.

3. Go on vacation. Even if it’s staying in a hotel a couple of towns away, I’d like to take a proper rest somewhere else.  It’s a money dependent resolution, but if I can swing it, I need to be swinging it.

4. Drink more. I actually don’t drink very often (and when I drink, I don’t drink much). Perhaps my life could be improved if I imbibed just a touch more frequently.

5. Maybe this will be the year I choreograph a full belly dance.

Five Fun-Bad Horror Movies

Cover of "The Return of the Living Dead"

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a bad horror movie. I’ve said repeatedly that most days I’d rather watch Friday the 13th Part III or Halloween IV over most Oscar winners, but I admit some of those bad flicks are more fun than others. Well, fun for me anyway (and this list could probably be used as an indictment on what I find “fun”).

So here are five of my favorite fun-bad horror movies.

1. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)-Clu Gulager Alert! In this zombie flick, containers carrying zombies are accidentally ruptured by two medical warehouse employees. When a reanimated body is burned, the resulting smoke causes a rainstorm that re-animates the local cemetery. Naturally, this results in many people killed, like most horror flicks. But really, the whole film can be summed up by a zombie using a police radio. “Send more cops.”

2. Jason X (2001)- I could probably put a few Friday the 13th movies on this list, but if I’m going to pick one, it’ll be this one because it’s the most fun. It’s Jason in space in the fuuuuuture. He and one of his intended victims were cryogenically frozen and revived something like 400 years later by space-school kids that found them. Of course when Jason wakes up, he has to go killing folks and there’s a whole bunch of people on this ship, lucky him. It’s fun because the kids are snarky, right up until death.

3. C.H.U.D. II-Bud the CHUD (1989)- A childhood favorite. A couple of high schoolers break into a government science lab to steal a corpse for a prank and SURPRISE! It’s a CHUD named Bud. Naturally, hijinks ensue. CHUDs aren’t zombies. They’re Cannibalistic Human Underground Dwellers. And they’re a lot of fun. This film has a lot of intentional humor, including one of the CHUDs that can’t keep his head attached and at one point is kicking it down the road trying to pick it up. My dad has been quoting it since I was a kid, most often before dinner. “Eat ’em up! Eat ’em up! Yum yum yum!”

4. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)- Afraid of clowns? Well, this flick won’t help, but I still feel compelled to watch it every time it’s on. Just like it says, clowns from outer space invade a town and proceed to eat a bunch of humans, encasing them in what looks like cotton candy and then stabbing the cocoons with crazy straws and sucking out the contents. Of course, it’s up to three teenagers to stop them. The clowns are all doughy looking, their ship is like a fun house, and there’s a popcorn gun. It’s the fair from hell, fun but without the funnel cake.

5. Tremors (1990)- Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward lead a quirky little group of townspeople (basically the whole town) against giant, underground worms. It’s fun because the people are fun. The folks in Perfection act and react a lot like actual people might, from the gun nuts to the mother to the money-making grocery store owner. Val and Earl (Bacon and Ward) are big on coming up with plans, but their plans aren’t always the best.  Remember, running’s not a plan. Running is what you do when a plan fails.

I’m That Kind of Ghoul

Happy Halloween

I know I’ve said it more than once and in more than one place, but I adore Halloween. The movie and the holiday. I like to spend the whole month of October indulging in it. This is why I spent most of the day on October 1st customizing my phone to a full-on Halloween theme.

Yes. I’m one of those people.

I don’t do it for every holiday. Hell, I don’t do it for any holiday. I’m usually rocking a Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett wallpaper, Power Rangers message tone for my texts, Mr. T telling fools to shut up to alert me to Twitter mentions, Crow giving his email address for my emails, Peanut Butter Jelly time as an alarm, and the radio tone from Emergency! to let me know about impending appointments.

But come October, I feel the urge to shelve my geekery for 31 days and go over to the dark side.

First thing I do is change my default ringtone to the Halloween theme. I also have a live Halloween wallpaper that includes lightning, flashing lights in windows, and Michael Myers popping up randomly. It also features blood that runs down the screen when I get texts and emails.

Speaking of those…

My text messages are now signaled by a werewolf howl. The suspense note from Halloween signals my emails.

Little Carol Anne from Poltergeist tells me “They’re here” when I get a mention on Twitter.

The Jaws theme is my wake-up call and Jason’s ki-ki-ki lets me know I have an appointment.

Okay, yes, this is all still very geeky. But it’s the dark side of geeky.

I love this time of year and this month.

I go all in for spooky.

Apple and Pork Festival 2013

The Homestead.
The Homestead.

This past weekend was The Apple and Pork Festival and of course I went because there were some apple doughnuts with my name on them. Also some nacho-flavored kettlecorn and a lemon shake-up.

Anyway, with the nice weather the grounds were packed, the whole town was packed. I only went up on Saturday for a little while, walking up instead of taking the tram, and didn’t even bother going down to the flea market. A little bit was enough for me this year. Considering I never go out to the high school or antique mall or the country mall or the flea market that pops up in the old Cedar Square parking lot, it’s a very little bit.

Beyond those porta-potties lies the flea market.
Beyond those porta-potties lies the flea market.

Every year, it feels like it gets bigger, but it’s kind of neat to see how many of the same vendors and sellers show up and set up in the same spots. I appreciate that kind of consistency. For example, I bought something for my mom’s birthday on the Homestead grounds. I knew exactly what I wanted and knew exactly where the guy would be. And he had exactly what I wanted. Handy!

I love Apple and Pork, but only for the couple of hours I’m up there. Once I come home, I don’t leave my house again until Monday because with 100,000 extra people crammed in this tiny space, getting around is nearly impossible.

This is not an exaggeration.

Beyond that teepee they’re throwing tomahawks. I don’t know what you people do at YOUR festivals.