The Ghost of Christmas Past

So, I’m sitting here on the couch, minding my own business, scrolling tumblr before it gets shut down, you know, as you do and an old timey bell rang from the direction of my Christmas tree like I’m George Bailey or more likely Frank Cross or some kind of nonsense.

I’m the only person home and the cat, who I had hoped was climbing the tree causing disturbance, is asleep in the other room like we don’t have a Poltergeist situation happening here.

I have no non-paranormal explanation for my tree to be ringing, oh my god, what do I do?? My first thought was to pull up one of my ghost apps, but upon further reflection, I don’t really want to be inviting ghosts in to talk to me at all hours. Like, just a little jingle and I don’t respond, maybe old ghosty there will get the hint, but if I actively engage, I’m opening a whole world of the underworld and I don’t know that I want that. I saw Ghostbusters, I know how this plays out. 

If I ignore it, will the ghost get the hint and go away? Or will I upset the ghost and cause ghost dramatics? I don’t need drama ghost. Is it trying to tell me to be nicer to people? Am I about to witness my future death and how no one will care? Or did an angel get its wings? Both?? I’m so confused. 

Maybe I get over my fear and use it to my advantage and start asking it questions like it’s a Magic 8 Ball. Will I win a whole bunch of money soon, tree ghost? Ring once for yes, twice for no….

This probably means a bad omen. I haven’t heard of good ghost omens, except maybe for the bell ringing bit at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. I did hear a bell, so I will hold out hope until I’m ankle dragged down the hall in the middle of the night by a demon pretending to be a Magic 8 Ball angel. 

It could’ve also been the humidifier turning off. I hadn’t thought of that… 

Amy P.I.

I figured out what my dream job is. Old Timey Private Eye Detective. Like the kind that spied on people from a tree and then flashed a mirror to your partner in the ice cream truck down the street when the subject enters a building. You’d get your own office, your own cigar, your own voice-over. There’d be telling shadows, cool clothes, rain. My own jazzy theme song??? I hate the saxophone normally, but it’s essential to the overall scope of my vision, so, cue the saxophone emotive background music.

She smoothed her gladrags down her getaway sticks, and then lit a cigarette. As she opened her cherry stained lips from the kiss of her drag, smoke billowed underneath her large hat, hiding her cold and calculating eyes. I’m assuming her lips are cherry, but we’re in black and white so it’s hard to tell. 

A jalopy horn honked in the distance and some Hard Boiled started yelled obscenities into the night. The rain beat down harder on the window pane as the dame wiped potential lipstick off her front tooth with with her polished, manicured pinky finger. 

 “Look, I need you to do somethin’ for me.” She sat back on the corner of the desk and swung her long gam back and forth like a child’s swing. “I need you to get down to the bottom of some crimes,” she says.

She tosses a manilla envelope on to the desk with the ease and grace that comes from no longer caring. Or maybe caring too much. I’m intrigued by these crimes. Seeking out and solving mysteries is my passion. I pick up the envelope and she gives me a smile. The moody saxophone swells in the room as she takes another drag off her cigarette.  

Or maybe I’m not a P.I. from the 30s. Maybe I’m from the 80s and I get to solve some mystery art theft in a fancy suit with big feathered hair like on Moonlighting or Miami Vice or that movie with Renee Russo and the brown haired James Bond. Oh I like a good truth hunt in a smart, knee-length pastel, pencil skirt with matching shoulder-padded suit jacket. Someone is snorting cocaine as the happening saxophone wails on the yacht. Our attention is taken off the boat as a crocodile briefly chomps and trashes in the waters below. That doesn’t seem right but we’re going to go with it because I’m pretty sure I saw a crocodile snap in the Phil Collins episode of Miami Vice

No matter what it is, as long as there are shoulder pads, cool clothes, and a saxophone to dictate my moods, and mysteries to unearth, and some shenanigans for me to make fun of, I’m sold. 

Day 23.

Does this mean there’s only a week left of NaNoWriMo???? Yikes! I am in serious trouble if I plan on finishing on top and on time. I was going to blame my laziness on Thanksgiving but really that was only one day and I’ve been behind most of the month. And it keeps getting worse. 

The problem is me and my procrastination and my love of looking things up on the internet in case someone challenges me to a battle of trivia wits. I need to be up on my conspiracy theories and pop culture and whatever is happening on TMZ at the moment. 

So now I’m 7 days out and 11,444 words behind goal. That’s a lot of words. I need to hunker down and get serious about this. According to the NaNo site, I need to bust out 4,000 words a day from this point out to finish on time. I can do this. I am currently pretty much immobile anyway because I fell down the stairs like a fool on Wednesday and my tailbone feels like it’s the one in charge of my entire life right now. I might as well use this time productively. I just need someone to bring me a mimosa and a string cheese. And an epidural.

Dramatic recreation

NaNoWriMo: The Halfway point?

Today is the 20th. Way past midway at this point and I might hit 25,000 words of the 50,000 word goal today. I mean I should, but I’m in a slump of epic proportions. 

Did I mention that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year??? I am. 

Okay, see, I’ve been “writing a book” since I don’t know, forever. It’s changed form and content over the years but the main character is the same. The voice is telling the same basic story. And everyone I know has encouraged me to friggin’ finish already. I was manhandled into NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve been scared to participate in for ages because I didn’t know how the whole thing worked and I thought I was writing in public and the thought of a rough draft out in the word for everyone to read makes me want to hide in a cave forever and hope everyone forgets they ever knew me. BUT! It’s not like that. At all. And I’m so happy that I’m doing it. HOWEVER, I’m struggling to hit goal. I’m in my head too much and instead of contributing to my word count over there, I’m here whining about it in a blog post.

But this is the actual plan. I’m going to blog about the nonsense in my head, get it all out here so that I can go into my novel clear headed and maybe encouraged or something. I don’t know. Also it will hold me accountable if I’m blasting my embarrassing word counts here which as of this very minute is 24,373 words. Ugh. 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are you doing? Are you keeping up with your word counts? Are you suffering from a block because your story is supposed to be “satire/humor” and it’s the most boring story ever told? Like mine? 

If you want to be NaNo buddies, find me here

I Googled: Lifespan of a Squirrel

I did not like what I found.

I am in a continuous and contentious argument with a squirrel. Several times a day, he climbs up the back of my fence, perches himself on the corner post, yells at my cat, Marty, and then runs up the roof in a racket like he’s Chim Chim Cheree-ing up there with Dick Van Dyke. And I have had enough.

At first I thought the squirrel was cute, drinking from the birdbath, sunning himself on a rock, but as the summer months have turned into fall months, my indoor cat that likes to sun himself on the fenced-in patio (but only if the sliding door is left open) is obsessed with being outside now because of that menace squirrel, and it is chilly. And not in that Southern California fall way that I’m used to, where it’s like 68 degrees at 5 am and I might debate bringing a sweater to drop the kids off at school, no. It is currently 51 degrees outside at 10:45 am and I am chilly, and in several layers of clothes, and under a blanket and the cat is howling at the door to get out and yell at the squirrel. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the winter, to be honest.

All of this is fun and games but one major factor that plays into my squirrel feud is the potential for bloodshed. In all honesty, Marty is a scaredy cat chicken baby and probably won’t actually do anything but run if the squirrel got brave, HOWEVER, I can’t guarantee that and I am not cleaning up after any murders, I don’t want to touch a dead squirrel body, I wouldn’t even know where to dispose of a dead squirrel body so there’s that. And what if he didn’t kill the squirrel?? Then what do I do? Take the squirrel to a vet?? What if he bit me? What if he bites Marty? What if Marty gets rabies and I have to lock myself in the car and hope someone comes to rescue me? What if we both get rabies and we terrorize the town like zombies?

This is a real fear, not just “Amy’s overreacting again”. See, about 2 weeks ago I hear that squirrel doing that evil squirrel laugh that they do and I go out there to see him climbing down the fence slowly, looking right at Marty and he’s laughing at him. I go out and Marty runs in the house and that squirrel looks me in the eye, and goes, imagine a squirrel voice, he goes, “Hah!” right at me! I yelled, “Shoo!” cause I’m an old lady, and he didn’t move! He didn’t even break eye contact! I imagine this is what it was probably like in the Wild West just before a saloon fight broke out. So I did what any one of you would’ve done if you were looking down the nose of a brave squirrel. I ran as fast as I could back into the house and slammed the door. I lost a shoe and stubbed my toe and it’s that squirrel’s fault.

I’m pretty sure squirrels hibernate. I saw a Spongebob episode about it once. When do they do this? I’m a prisoner in my own home. That squirrel is going to come inside and then what do I do? He’s mad at me because I squirted him with a squirt gun the other day because he was teasing the cat again. He ran away the first couple times I had to squirt him, but the last time he looked at me and I think he was taking notes. So I googled how long these guys live. I need to know how long I have to look behind my back when I leave my front door. How long this squirrel has to plan an ambush.

10 years. Squirrels can harass people for 10 years! This is bad news. In other bad news, I also found out that they will take over a home and live in the walls. This isn’t your typical mouse or rat living in the walls that come out at night to eat your bread and poop in your cabinets. Squirrels are like little demons that laugh at you in the night and bite your face and give you rabies.

This is worse than that Cujo lady’s situation. Something must be done! I don’t want him to get swooped up by a hawk or anything, I just want him to go take a nap or something. He’s very aggressive and he’s crossed a lot of lines and it’s getting too chilly out to comfortably handle a squirt gun. I would imagine he would feel the same about this and yet, he’s out there now, cackling away, taunting and pestering.

I think my life is maybe just a Paulie Shore movie.

Hi. I have been quite absent from this blog and I have no excuse. Well, moving across 3 states over the summer. That’s an excuse. Also, I’m lazy.

As you may or may not know, I’m writing a book. I’m not sure how much I plan on talking about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it, and I’m battling that voice that is very loudly yelling at me that I’m a fraud and nobody likes me. That’s a fun demon with which to co-pilot this trainwreck. So I’m trying to overcome that voice by writing really bad blog posts. I’m sure that won’t make it all worse. Like at all.

So, a couple of months ago, I moved away from the love of my life, Los Angeles back to my hometown of Denver. It’s a bit of a lot of baggage to unpack. I went from feeling like Link (Brendan Fraser) in Encino Man where I’m the weird but super loved new guy to being Crawl (Paulie Shore) in Son-in-Law when he falls in pig poops at the farm and everyone hates him and he’s barely wearing pants. It has been a good move and my family seems to love it and it will be a great thing for our future. However, no matter how many movies, holiday-themed or not I’ve seen on this subject of moving home, I wasn’t prepared.  Sweet Home Alabama taught me nothing.

While there are a LOT of things (people) I’m glad to be away from, there is SOOOOO much more that hurts my heart to have left. Like a bunch of my favorite people. And I’m struggling to get my creativity back. I feel like I’ve fallen back into a vacuum.

Los Angeles has this reputation of being a vacuous wasteland of plastic beauty, soul-less egos, debauchery, and drugs, and gang members harassing old ladies. And while that does all exist, it is a city so rich in personality and friendships, and lost people and found people. And everyone you meet has something they want to share. And they want to support you in your nonsense and you want to support theirs. And they all hug hello. And whether sincere or not, everybody wants to be your friend and share a bottle or 7 of wine with you over gossip and dreams.

I don’t know if I’m going to find that here. People in Colorado are very polite yet reserved and no one wants none of my antics.

And I am, once again, an outsider looking in.

My oldest son came home from school the other day and says, “Kids just don’t think I’m that funny here,” and then he shrugged and went upstairs to play Fortnite.

God, kid I KNOW, RIGHT?

I sound very dramatic. I realize this. I’m going to go have a glass of wine by myself and try to get back to writing the book.

And in case you were wondering, sobbing it out on the internet didn’t shut the mean voice up at all.

And I do love living in Colorado. I’m just going to drop in weird on everybody like Mork from Ork and make them love me.

Maybe this is the same mentality I need to conjure when I’m writing.

Nanu Nanu.

30 Day Challenge

 

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I have 7 tabs open on my laptop (other than this one and tumblr):

Judging by my subconscious hoarding of websites, my life is clearly a disaster that I assume I can solve in 30 days. It takes me 30 days just to put the vacuum cleaner back after I use it, you’d think I’d be more realistic with my goals. I need to get my life in order, I really do. I also need to get my writing in order. I think I saw something for NaNoWriMo once that I might try, probably another 30 day challenge.

I know the 30 day lists seem gimmicky and ridiculous and they probably are, but the whole deal with the challenges thing for me is that I think it takes the thinking out of it which is really my biggest hurdle in life. The thinking. Also the clutter. And the procrastination. And the internet.

I started writing this on April 1st but I stopped because it felt like I was trying to subconsciously pull an April Fool’s joke on myself. It’s now April 27. lol.

I really need to get organized though because we’re moving in exactly 2 months and I am not packing 37 broken crayons, my bag of scrap fabric, the shoes that the sole fell off of three years ago, and whatever that thing is behind the sofa that I don’t want to touch but I’m hoping is a sock. So as much as I want to do the splits, I think a 30 day declutter challenge is probably a better way to spend a month. I have not given up on the splits though, so don’t put the Mary Lou Retton leotard away just yet.

I need to make this short because my husband is dragging me with him to our storage unit to get rid of stuff so I’ll probably be crying about stuffed animals, a broken bass guitar, and baby clothes in about 15 minutes. Wish me luck.

Los Angeles.

“You’ll never run out of things to do in this city. Believe me,  I’ve lived here over 50 years.”

Her Classic Red lips spoke in between yellowed teeth and drags of her cigarette.  The tiny old woman with her wiry, yet styled platinum hair, dark eyebrows, fake eyelashes, sunken nose, and sage advice walked us through an empty apartment in The Valley stopping when she opened a door exposing a huge hole in the ceiling of one of the bedroom closets. The popcorn texture around the hole bled from brown to yellow.  

“Oh. That hole is being fixed next week. What brings you girls to Los Angeles? Actresses?”

This is the first time in my life that I had ever been to L.A. 

It’s been nearly 21 years to the day of this encounter, and I can confidently tell you that the David Lynch side character lady was correct. Los Angeles is massive. And magic. She didn’t tell me that, but I know that’s what she meant.

That brings us to Tree People.

I went to Tree People yesterday. It’s this amazing hiking trail in like, Beverly Hills maybe? off Coldwater Canyon and Mulholland Drive. This place is FOUR miles away from me and I didn’t even know it existed until recently. You are in the middle of seemingly nowhere and YET you can see all of the valley. It’s absolutely…peaceful. 

Except I was hiking and there were bugs around and my kids were walking real close to the edges of cliffs so there might have also been some complaining. But it was peaceful complaining. Everyone we passed was talking to their hiking buddy/on their phone about the last show they worked on and how much they loved/hated the main actor/actress/director on the show. FYI, be nicer if you’re any one of these.

This is when, maybe? my life has been changed, blessed, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  I think that I may have hiked past Lady Gaga. I’m not kidding. She was very dressed down, white tank top, dark sweats, walking a dog and I don’t even know if she has a dog. I was yelling at kids at the time.  I tried to keep my conversation going, unhickuped with Book Friend, who was also there,  because I didn’t want to stare at her or expose that I know who she was, so I can’t be 100% sure it was her, but hear me out, it was her. I searched her name on Twitter to see if she’s even in LA and she’s trending. Also, probably in LA. I’m weirded out that people on twitter know this. 

“Oh my god!”, I think, “She was spotted by TMZ while hiking with some dog! I’m part of her trend!!!” Not quite. 

Apparently, it was her birthday yesterday. I still haven’t accurately located Gaga, which is fine, but I DID find out it was her birthday so I’m forced to assume that, if not her on the trails, then she’s a witch materializing in front of people so they google her. – It’s a birthday ruse. I was visited by Gaga. 

Sadly, she was NOT hiking in Louboutin’s. If it was even her, but I’ll tell you I was upset when I googled and found out that that was a thing that I could possibly have witnessed.

So whether Gaga was in LA, hiking on her birthday or not, I was visited by her astral projection on her birthday so I’m forced to believe that Lady Gaga is of supernatural skill if I was not blessed by Gaga, herself.

I also re-fell in love with LA, as if I needed another reason. I did drive on Mulholland Drive which is always a strange drive, and I reaffirmed the truths of my probable guardian angel, Old Lady Lynch Character. Also, the Essence of Gaga came to me on her birthday.

Los Angeles is as magical and weird as the first time I stepped foot in it, creepy apartments and all. The platinum blondes have blessed me.

The Facebook Hiatus

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The husband and I have been binge watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and the Tina Fey episode was on. I’m in awe of Tina Fey. I don’t know how she has accomplished what she has while also somehow living with two small kids. I can’t even type this sentence with both hands because my 6 year old is currently hanging off my right arm, crying about his turn on the Xbox, and wiping his snot on my shirt. The main take-away from that episode, though, Tina Fey doesn’t use social media. I do. A lot. I’m going to assume that this is the only reason I am not as accomplished, and smart, and funny, and driven as Tina Fey. It’s the internet’s fault.

I don’t know if you’ve clued into the fact that I’m obsessed with the internet. I have been for years and years and years. It’s been a problem since high school and I graduated in 1994, so like, 7 years ago or something like that. My high school years were THE years that the internet started to take hold. It was real underground at the time and they charged you by the hour so we took the internet SERIOUSLY.

But my fascination with the internet has always been more specifically, on the social media wing of the mansion.  I think it started a million years ago with Prodigy, the online service provider that read all your emails, not to be confused with the guy with two mohawks, but I might also trust him to read my emails.

You know what? Anyone really can sign up for the job to be my email reader and email replier. Maybe then I can realistically pretend that I contribute to society.

Prodigy was amazing! There was nothing like it! I was OBSESSED with the Prodigy bulletin boards, most specifically, the Kids in the Hall bulletin boards. My moniker was Mr. Sizzler, or something.
Side note: I met two really amazing people on Prodigy and formed a comedy troupe with them, even though we lived thousands of miles away from each other. We wrote sketches via private Prodigy messages and emails, flew to each other and filmed sketches in snowstorms, and eventually we sent our best three sketches to MTV and Comedy Central which ended in us thisclose to being hired on as writers for a new comedy show for kids on Nickelodeon. We were Serious Artists so we said no. Ha! sigh, there went my beach house.

In the early 90’s, it was all about Prodigy. And then it wasn’t because everyone started jumping ship and going to AOL. So naturally, I too went to AOL because I need my internet attention!

All my online buddies were there!!!!! And we chatted and we danced. (we didn’t dance) And it was magical and wonderful.

I stayed up ALL. NIGHT. LONG. chattin’ up people. But this time it became weezer chat rooms.

I don’t even know what we chatted about but there was none of this looking stuff up on google crap. Google didn’t exist. You kind of had to know the web address, the whole http:// thing to get any info on the World Wide Web. So you’d talk to people that called themselves “paperface” who claimed to “bake cookies for the boys” (codeword weezer) and that’s how you got your info.  Because you were talking to people who KNEW weezer. Nobody lies on the internet.

I just realized that I was probably being catfished…

And then I moved from Denver to Los Angeles without a computer and the internet was ripped from my life. And for years I didn’t even care about it. And I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote poems and stories and plays! It was the most productive I’ve ever been in my life. It was probably about 6 years before I got back online and the internet had me in its hold again.

Because MySpace.

I thought MySpace was the coolest thing EVER. I had my own webpage. Holy crap! I didn’t have to search for people, they could search for me. I became like the queen of the internet in my mind.

 

And then people stopped coming by my page because facebook officially arrived. I already had a facebook but I never used it because the only other person I knew on there was my sister-in-law who was in college at the time and I wasn’t in college anymore, I was like a 30 year old woman or something so no one wanted anything to do with me on the facebook and I didn’t want anything to do with them. And then a couple of years later, everybody flocked to facebook, so I adapted because, don’t leave me, guys.

Now I tweet. I tumblr. I pinterest. I instagram. And then there’s facebook. I hate facebook.

The internet for me has gone from always being fun times and meeting cool people that I think longingly about with a smile on my face to wanting to punch a handful of people I know in real life in the head. Making mental burn lists used to take up a great deal of my time and emotional space. Politics was finally the thing that helped me slowly back away from most of my facebook feed. My life vastly improved. I’m not inexplicably angry at someone I met at work 15 years ago because of her rants about chemtrails. I’m free from that baggage. I’m not totally gone, though. Something will pop into my head that I think is kind of funny and up it goes to facebook ’cause that’s the only place people pay attention to me anymore, and there I am. Back in the fray.  Every like and funny comment drags me back in like a sparkly vampire.

 

So here’s the thing. I’m not trying to make any promises because we both know me. But I think I’m going to attempt to stay off facebook for like, a couple of weeks or so. Because I need to write. I have like 7 novels rattling around my head.  All my dumb status updates will come here to my blog. Maybe I’ll actually get a lot more done if I’m not all caught up in the other nonsense. It’s completely terrifying at the same time because people will forget me! Won’t they? Whatever, a lot of the great people I know and want to keep up with either aren’t going anywhere, or aren’t even on facebook anymore anyway. They’re on Instagram. I’m bad at Instagram, too. I’m not a great photographer and I can’t tell my dumb jokes in the medium they require. I’m not an instagram influencer. And the feed is all over the place! but I’ll try to keep up.

Alright, I’ll focus it all here, on my blog. Think of this as myspace. Come visit my page! Look at my glitter gifs! Leave me a comment! I promise I won’t make you listen to music as my blog pulls up.

 

For now.

 

 

Ghost Eye for the Alive Guy

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I sat down to pee last night and I got hit in the head by my son’s plastic, Halloween sickle that was propped up behind the bathroom door. That’s how Death is going to take me. Not slicin’ and dicin’ like some garden variety Freddy Krueger, the Grim Reaper is too sophisticated for such dramatics. He’s just going to jump scare me into a heart-attack on the toilet. Like Elvis.

Now, if I would have met my eternal demise then and there, we would be in quite a pickle. The obvious, number one reason being no pants. I probably want to be wearing pants when I die. Secondly, my bathroom is a disaster. Like biohazard zone disaster. I should probably take some Scrubbing Bubbles to the sink soon and like, a flame torch to the rest of it. I can’t be found naked and slumped over in a truck-stop resembling bathroom. It’s embarrassing. Not only for me, but future generations that have to relive the humiliation in stories told and retold ’round the campfire in vivid detail.

I’m going to need a cleaner. Like a personal assistant but like super loyal that will take care of all of my indiscretions before the news teams and nosy neighbors arrive to find all my photoshops of Prince as a ghost in purple undies. This might be hard to coordinate though because, as my super loyal personal assistant life restorer, you’d have to be on call for like, ever because I don’t plan on ever dying. I’m going to be like one of those Twilight vampires with the glittery skin that live well into their 1,000s. The easy thing to do would be to just keep my life together while I’m alive, yes, but let’s be honest, this is not a skill I currently have on my resume.

Now that I think about the logistics of this, someone call up TLC, this is a show idea! I need either Theresa Caputo or Zak Bagans to team up with like, Oprah and the What Not to Wear team to come in with a camera crew and sort me out. They can help me throw away my underwear with the holes in them, sort through my emails, vacuum, make friends with current ghosts already in the building, etc.

I base a lot of my knowledge of the afterlife on what I’ve seen in the movies, mostly Ghost and Beetlejuice and here’s the thing, once you’re a ghost, you’re stuck in the clothes you died in. I don’t make the rules. So do we want comfort or haute couture? Like, do I have to walk around in Gucci the rest of my life? Is this why you see so many ghosts in ballgowns? Or am I okay haunting the halls in my sweatpants? Dying on the toilet will still be a problem, but that’s what you hope your family is for. Emily Dickinson’s family published her poems after she died, I’m just trying to get mine to agree to pull up my pants.

This could be my new life path. Live in a way that won’t embarrass me when I die. Although, what kind of life is that boring nonsense? Maybe I would have a better shot if I live my life preparing those around me for my embarrassing ghost phase. Like openly weeping in the hallway at various times throughout the day and adding photoshopped pictures of Prince to my email signatures.

Just please, someone’s gotta pull up my pants if I’m on the toilet.

 

 

 

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