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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. 

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.

Portland

Okay so here I am in front of the fire, freezing all parts of my Southern California buns off, drinking Oregon beer and watching Jeopardy and realizing that I nearly forgot to blog today.

But guess what? Day 3, in the books!! And I read to page like, 27 in my book so, that’s better than yesterday, still not good enough to not get me beaten up by the book club, but I have a plan. Reading. I don’t know exactly when, but until I get my audible on, this is where we’re at, me complaining.

I am blogging from my phone because I’m too cozy to get up and find my laptop right now, but I promise all one of you reading this that tomorrow, I will take cool pictures and blog something interesting, but as of now, I have beer to drink.

Cheers!

The Doppelganger

“AMY!! Your doppelganger is here at Best Buy! I just walked up to her and said hello. It wasn’t you”

My friend texted this to me HOURS ago and despite my many demands for a picture, a description of her outfit, if she was wearing pants, if she was as nice as me, nicer???? If she was out there ruining my reputation in the community, I have been ignored. Left on read.

Let’s examine this for a minute. If I had an actual twin out there, what would be the ethical restrictions about actually having her stand-in for me like a stunt double? Would I have to pay her? I’m not paying her. I mean, it wouldn’t require inhumane things, just some things I don’t want to do. Some things that stand in the way of me looking up the latest drama in the One Direction fandom. It would be like the plot to an innocent 60’s sit-com episode. The typical motivation behind most of my big ideas.

She could go to the PTO meetings at school for me, she could go outside with my family so I could stay at home on the internet in peace. I mean, let’s face it, if she’s at Best Buy today anyway, there’s a good chance she goes outside. She’s already done better than me. Well, no I did go outside today. We went to the library. It smelled like poop in there. I was very uncomfortable the whole time and tried not to breathe. See? Maybe she could’ve gone in my place.

Maybe this lady would be a good stand-in for all those dinners with the ladies that I keep RSVPing for and then flaking out on because I’m awkward and I hate all my clothes. She WOULD have to have some grasp on my interests though or she would be caught out a fraud. We’d both be caught and if The Brady Bunch taught me anything, it’s that there’s gonna be a snag and it’ll be something dumb and we’ll both get caught and have to apologize and emerge better people. This is not what I’m trying to do. I’m going to make her wear a wire and and an ear-piece and I would communicate with her from a van parked down an alley, although this defeats my whole plan of being lazy at home without pants on. Okay, she’s just going to have to study my ways and wing it.

I would have to teach her to have a mild obsession with the paranormal and celebrity gossip. And when she has too much wine, she has to start talking about boybands and TMZ. And ghosts. She’ll have to start talking about ghosts. She would also have to report back on all dramatics that go down. I need to know who said what to who, who got mad, did anyone fight? I need to know about fights. Very important.

Do you think she would sift through and answer my emails for me? No, that actually doesn’t have to be her. I can have someone else do that. Or, realistically, my emails will eventually get so full that they’ll just stop. I will be cut off from receiving any new emails and I will be free. This is the better option.

Would she be willing to cook dinners? Get my children sandwiches every 20-23 minutes and listen attentively to hours long tutorials on Minecraft and Roblox? And grocery shopping! I need her to do that because a lot of times in the middle of a grocery trip,  I just want to lay down in the frozen foods aisle and somehow arrive home in my bed with a mug of tea. Maybe I’m carried off in a fancy stretcher by hot firemen, no one is even aware of how bad at shopping I am because the refrigerator is stocked with everything on the list, coupons were used so effectively, the store owed us money, everyone is happy with me, the house is cleaned, I have showered, Etc.

This is actually starting to sound like a cry for help.

Listen. I don’t even know that this Best Buy woman looks like me, to be honest. She could be Joanna’s version of me, and who knows what that is. She could be a monster. Plus, Joanna still hasn’t texted me back and for all I know, my monster twin killed her and the authorities now think I did it because of the doppelganger thing. Now, while this has the potential to get me out of all the activities that brought me to this double life fantasy, I wouldn’t have a whole lot of fun in prison. I’m kind of not that tough. I know I talk a big game but, I’m actually very fragile and it’s just not going to be a good fit. Plus, I don’t really want my friend to die. HOWEVER, house arrest. Okay, if doppelganger monster commits a crime, it has to be low level enough to not get me beat up or in prison and the punishment is just “House Arrest”.

The perfect excuse to sit around in my jammies and watch 60’s sit-coms while I scan the internet in peace.