It’s a Book!

thenheshowedup-amazonIt’s release day! It’s been a long time coming, but today, Then He Showed Up is available in ebook and paperback. I’ve spent several years creating and loving the story of Jack and Kate. I hope you enjoy it as well. Click the title to go to Amazon to purchase.

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A Chair Is Just A Chair

Unless It’s An Addiction

When I cook, it's not this pretty.

When I cook, it’s never this pretty.

My extended family gathers most Sunday evenings for delicious food, much vino and many laughs. At this time, the whole gang totals twelve. When we host the celebration, we add table leaves and even a card table to make room for the celebration. Fortunately, I have enough real chairs (no folding) for everyone, as we spend the whole evening at the table.

I share this to lessen your judgement of my condition. See, I’m a junk collector. Specifically, I’m addicted to collecting old, wooden chairs off the side of the road. Now I don’t go for just any old chair. Nothing upholstered. Nothing laminated. I like the older seats, ones with character. Though some consider them trash, these wooden souls still hold value.

Unfortunately, when you shop at Boutique Le Curb, character can include some 1409207276ych27challenges. Like missing seats, missing legs, and okay, sometimes missing backs. But the craftsmanship on what remains is beautiful. Truly.

I currently have twenty-four wooden chairs. I only paid for eight. And that was at the Salvation Army. I haven’t shopped there for a long time, because, come on, after you get free stuff off the side of the road, $6 a chair seems pretty steep.

Thirteen are inside my home, used in various rooms. They’ve been refinished, the seats recovered, some painted and aged.  Three are stored in the garage, pulled out for events. Eight are stacked in the back of the garage awaiting their transformation. They’ve been waiting a few years.

So why am I sharing this today? Today is neighborhood bulk trash day, the wonderful holiday for us collectors that comes once a year. Treasures and junk decorate every other home on the street. As I was driving my son to school this morning, I saw the first pile. FOUR dining room chairs! (Okay, really three and a fourth comprised of broken pieces). But they were straight out of the seventies – Spanish style gone wild. If I had a room with red velvet wall paper and a bronze sword and shield, they would be perfect.

Thankfully, my son is aware of my struggle. As we approached the collection, my pulse racing, he blocked his window and yelled, “Look away, Mom! Look away!” And I did. But after I dropped him off, I drove by three more times. I never stopped. I’m waiting until night, when I can sneak them into the garage under cover of darkness. Help me.

Food photo by MaxStraeten. Chair photo by Dogerton Skillhause

Thor: What I Did For Love

Well, really for the pizza and beer.

ThorWhen my husband offered to take the family to a movie last weekend, I was all for it. See, when my husband suggests a movie, it’s an evening event. Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse and Flix Brewhouse, a movie comes with craft beers and tavern food. Beats the hell out of Diet Coke and Raisinets.

As we gathered around the computer to select a movie – which usually leads to an argument that would send lesser families to Camp David – my daughter reminded us that she already had plans. She made us promise we wouldn’t see anything “good” without her. That was an easy promise, and not because I’m a thoughtful, selfless mother. No, I knew the “good” movie option was off the table as soon as I lost my romantic comedy ally. There was no hope for compromise when two violence-loving dudes (a.k.a. hubby and son) held the majority. I was stuck. But hey, I’d get to hang with my guys, I wouldn’t have to cook, and I knew there’d be Firemen’s #4.

As the lights went down for Thor: The Dark World, I ordered an amber ale and psychedsuperman myself for an entertaining show. After all, I’d really enjoyed Man of Steel. Granted, I would’ve cut forty minutes of fighting, but the story was interesting, there was romance, and Henry Cavill – a man I’ve loved/lusted after since The Tudors – headed up an all-star cast.

But back to Thor. The movie starts in a far-off galaxy, with some all-powerful rock that will determine whether good triumphs over evil. Blah, blah, blah. Your basic story, but Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, has the fine-looking superhero factor in his favor. HannibalAdd Sir Anthony Hopkins as Thor’s father, and you’re really upping the score. I’ve adored this actor since he introduced Hannibal Lecter and a new food pairing with Chianti. Despite this talent, I’m still not mesmerized. I turn to my husband. “Another beer, please.”

Thirty minutes later – even with a buzz and a much-too-short shot of Thor’s bare chest – I’m still not feeling it. I need something more. “Honey, please order me a pizza. Make it a supreme.”

TEN. HOURS. LATER.

Battles are still raging. I can’t tell the good guys from the bad. They all wear horns. (My husband later reminded me that Thor was a Viking.) The only clue is the color of their eyes. And I mean funky colors. Ninety percent of the cast wear contacts. I’m guessing Bausch and Lomb paid dearly for that product placement.

I try sleeping, but it’s too loud. Notice I didn’t say too bright. The whole movie is set in space. My dark-day depression has maxed out. I’ve got to get help. “Chicken wings, please.”

ONE. MILLION. HOURS. LATER.

Guess what? They’re still fighting. I’m biting my buffalo-wing-burning lips to keep from yelling in exasperation. I order a giant cookie. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m trying to suppress my anger or punish my husband by running up a huge bill. I just want it to end.

FINALLY, it’s over. Bloated and miserable, I roll out of my seat to find my guys high-fiving (their version of two thumbs up). I point at them. “You owe me four chick-flicks.”

My son shakes his head. “No. He took his shirt off once. We only owe you three.”

The kid’s taste in movies may stink, but he is a clever, clever boy.

XM Radio: Oldies But . . . Say What?

IMGA0968One of our cars has XM radio. Best. Thing. Ever. For those of us dancing with ADD, it’s a dream come true. Hate a song? Switch. Not in the mood? Switch. Heard your favorite line, that’s enough? Switch.

Then there’s the audio display, which in my case is probably just as dangerous as texting. I’m always curious to see when a song was released. Is that song/am I that old? And I’m finally learning the names of the artists, which are often ridiculous. Case in point, Climax. Come on. Were they really thinking story structure when they coined that one?

But my favorite is listening to the oldies that you don’t often hear on local stations. For example, Bread. I liked their music even when I was five and didn’t know the first thing about love. So imagine my delight the other day when I recognized a melody and saw their name on display with the title, “It Don’t Matter to Me.” I eased back in my seat and listened to the words.

Come again?

Starts off sweet enough. The guy loves the woman so much he tells her to go off and heartsfind what she needs in order to be happy. That’s wise. That’s generous. But then he goes on to say, she can even check out other guys, and no matter what, he’ll still be waiting to take her back.

Are you kidding me? Maybe if I were a single woman, I’d say, “Cool. Safety net.” But as a mother that will take down the girl who breaks my boy’s heart, I find it appalling. In fact, I plan to play it for him as a lesson in how not to be a p . . . pushover.

Then yesterday, I heard Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me.” (Actually, it was released when he was with Faces. See, something else I learned from XM). Anyway, turns out it is not about a guy needing to keep a woman in his life. No, this song is about a guy who wants to keep a woman in his bed. For one night. And he wants her gone before sun-up. Now that’s some romance. It’s also fodder for another lesson plan, “How not to be a Ho.” Do you think I could sell my curriculum to the Homeschooling Mothers of America?

accordionHow many other songs have I misunderstood? It’s obvious I need to put aside my chores and look into these oldies. I’m starting to wonder if The Who’s “Squeeze Box” is really about a mother who plays the accordion.