Song Suggestions Please!

post_cochlear_surgery_.smallLa La La La La La La

Do I look happy in that photo? Yeah, I know I look like crap but do I look happy? Because I am! That’s me leaving the hospital after my cochlear implant surgery back on January 25th. In the twenty-four days since my device was activated, voices have gone from sounding like tinny chipmunks on helium to thirteen year old boys waiting for their voices to break! Which is a little unsettling when talking to my husband. Over time, it will continue to get better. Or not. Fingers crossed!

As my brain relearns how to hear, part of my daily therapy is listening to music. I start each morning with thirty minutes of songs that I remember from when I could hear. (I was never completely deaf but pretty darn close to it by the time I got my implant)

As what I’m listening to has started to sound like real music, I’m branching out to songs that I don’t know. Armed with lyric sheets so I can follow along. It’s been thirty years since I’ve listened to new music, so I’m looking for suggestions. Anything after 1988. If there’s a song I need to hear, drop me a note with the title and artist.

And…

Winter is still alive and kicking and the best chance of surviving to summer is to stock up on a few good books for those chilly nights. This 5 day sale features 62 books in 13 genres, all for the low price of 99 cents each.  (Some are only available in the US and UK) You’ll find the first in my June Nash MisAdventure series, How to Sex Your Snake under Action/Adventure. If you’re feeling feisty and want to buy a copy to leave a verified review on Amazon, you’ll make my day! And like I say in my books, Every time someone does, June smiles at a random Dewzer. And that’s almost as good as an angel getting her wings.

Click here for the book sale!

Stay warm and safe and find some time to read!

Write on, 

Melissa

Tormented by the Futility of Life

If you saw yesterday’s post you know I had some issues trying to rent a car when I left home without my driver’s license. Thankfully, a friend brought it to me. I was so happy, I gave an impromptu concert to my fellow freeway drivers. So many happy people listening to me sing along to a favorite album as we inched through rush hour traffic. Below is my favorite song from that album. 

Some choice lyrics:

The corpse was dredged from the sea that night.

Hair matted around its body tight.

It was no comfort to identify,

The pallid flesh, the life, deprived.

Turn up the volume and Write On,

Melissa

Too stupid for words

So I’m sitting at the airport waiting for someone to bring me my driver’s license so I can rent a car. I glanced at my little black Alice in Wonderland purse that I’ve been using all week and then headed out the door, got all the way down here, walked up to the car rental counter and oops- no license. I don’t know how I managed to put my credit cards back in my big purse but not my license. 

On the plus side, I got a latte for half price because I waited so long. So I guess it all works out. 

I’m still dumber than dirt. But I’ll be home soon and will be done traveling. 

Stay mentally alert and Write On,

Melissa

What’s the weirdest gift you’ve gotten?

We’re finally unpacking some of our zillion and one boxes, many from two or three moves ago, and I found this photo. On the back it reads, Christmas, 1971. Melissa with her new shoe bag. Is it me or it that a odd gift for a child? I look happy but I’ve always been easily amused. What’s the weirdest gift you’ve ever gotten and how old were you?  

Leave a comment below and Write On, 

Melissa

PS – Wanna win a paperback copy of my new book, How to Sex Your Snake? I’ll be giving a few away on Goodreads in June and July. If you’re not already a member, join and friend me. I’ll post a link here when the contests are live. In the meantime, if you’ve already bought a book, follow the links (QR codes in the paperback, clickable in the ebooks) and leave a review. No links to Goodreads but if you’re a member, I’d love reviews there as well. Authors live and die by word of mouth. 

 My fake sugar addiction

Addicted to that white powder

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danger…danger…danger…

Back in November, I was scrolling through one of my social media newsfeed and I clicked on an article, which I can’t find anymore, that detailed how artificial sweeteners break down in your system and – get this – encourage your body to store fat. Can I just say, damn. I’m a tea drinker. I start my day with tea. I drink tea while I write. I have a cup in the evening while I watch tv. I drink a lot of tea. And I liked my tea sweet and creamy, so I was using 4 packets of fake sugar plus a big splash of creamer in each cup. I’d often drink 5 or 6 during the first couple of hours of a writing session. I was consuming 20 – 24 packets per day at least 5 days a week. In November I was trying to make a deadline so I was writing 7 days a week and pummeling my body with up to 168 packets per week. And I’d been doing this for years. That’s an obscene amount of artificial sweetener.

As soon as I read that article I contacted my daughter the chemist, to ask her about the article’s science. “Yeah, I saw something about that.” …and….? “We’ll chemistry related stuff that I don’t quite understand that went on for a while.…” followed by, “you understand?” No, not really, but I’ll trust you.

Getting rid of the evidence

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bags and bags and bags

After that horrifying conversation, I dug around in my pantry and chucked my stockpile of fake sugar packets in the trash. And the boxes in the recycle bin, of course. And now I was faced with a harsh reality. What the heck was I going to do? I hadn’t drunk unadulterated tea in thirty years. Except for that time the Denny’s waitress brought the fake sugar with my bill. I was tempted to leave her tip in one of the empty packets. As a former waitress, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

The first morning after the purge, I made a cup of tea sans natural. Yuck. Determined to make it work, I headed to the grocery store and bought a variety of herbal teas with strange names that guaranteed to temper my twitchy demeanor and keep my butt in my swivel chair for a typical eight hour writing day. All the experiment did was piss me off as I thought about how much money and time I’d wasted.

 

A new devil…

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shake me baby and I’ll love you

Then I thought, okay, I’ll just switch to real sugar. I happened to be up in Orlando hitting some roller coasters and stopped by the Coca Cola store for one of their sugar shakers. For about a week, I used real sugar in my tea. I was happy. And in my own way, medicated. Then I read another article on one of my social media timelines. Why, do I do this?

According to the article, I really need to learn to bookmark, a woman is only supposed to consume six teaspoons of sugar a day. Bad things happen when you go over that mark. At the moment, I can’t remember any of the bad things, but according to the article, there were many.

So. I was back to square one.

And then, I stopped into the book store to browse the isles and caught sight of a tin of

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damnit Jim, it’s spicy

cinnamon tea. OMfreakingG, this stuff was amazing. Especially if you steeped it with two bags. Very spice, lots of flavor. No sugar. No cream. No nothing extra. Quite a bit of caffeine though. Especially made my way, with two to three bags. But yes, they do have decaf and yes, they have loose leaf. (And no shipping costs for ground at the moment) I bought a tin. And then another.

 

And then another.

And guess what happened? Besides my new hobby of collecting empty tea tins. Thanks to my boycott of fake sugar, I lost four pounds. Almost immediately. I also lost my sweet tooth. This week, about two and a half months into the switch, I’m almost down another pound. My clothes fit better. I feel better. My checkbook is speaking to me again. (I was about to up to the next size in shorts)

Now my life is sunshine and puppy dogs. Well, not completely. My next makeover involves sleep. Or the lack there of. Perhaps my insomnia is linked to my caffeine intake. Hmmmmmm.

Are you a tea drinker? Have you got a favorite flavor to recommend?

Drink lots of tea and Write On,

Melissa

 

 

 

So my neighbor is an alligator

Hot and cold running water
Hot and cold running water

We’re finally settled in our new house and I recently discovered that one of my neighbors is an alligator. My husband named him Bill. Not just because that’s a cool name for an alligator, but because of Godzilla and my son.

Two Hippo Bellies
Hippos that have nothing to do with the story. Hubby photographed them at Disneyworld.

It’s Christmas time, our youngest is 5 or 6. He and my husband are wandering the isles at the toy store when they get to action figures. And there’s Godzilla. My husband points to him and says, “you know, his first name is Bill” my son, who knows what a joker his father is merely rolls his eyes and gives up an, “oh, dad.” And that’s where it would have ended. If not for the lady browsing nearby. She sets down the doll she was looking at, wanders over and says, “hey, it’s Bill Godzilla.” She picks up one of the action figures and starts talking about what a down to earth guy Bill is, being a movie star and all.

It makes it all the better when strangers play along.

And what does that have to do with my alligator? Nothing really. But, my hubby likes to remember that afternoon and then text our son and tease him about Bill Godzilla. A lot of things we encounter get named Bill.

Mr. Grasshopper ain't scared of Bill
Mr. Grasshopper ain’t scared of Bill

Which brings us back to Bill the Alligator. Yeah, Bill’s a little guy, maybe 4, 4 and a half feet long. And yeah, he lives in a drainage canal that looks sorta deep and steep. But still. He’s  3 houses away and alligators can climb freakin’ fences. So fuuuuuuuuuck. A little hill won’t be a hindrance if he’s ever truly motivated to wander.

Pete's Dragon ain't scared neither
Pete’s Dragon ain’t scared neither

Which got me thinking. What exactly would motivate an alligator to wander down to my house and knock on my door?

There’s a pretty decent food supply in the canal. Lots of turtles share the space and there’s always a shorebird wandering the edges of the murky water. The only thing I can figure he’s lacking is a wife.

Thankfully, Bill won’t be looking for love for a while.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife page, males reach sexual maturity at seven feet, female gators at six. Since it takes 8-12 years to reach that size, (shorter for males, longer for females) and since he’s only about half way there, Bill probably won’t be on tinder for quite a while.

How’s your neighborhood? Any similar hazards?

Stay safe and Write On,

Melissa

 

Use it or lose it

 

Hold still while I kick you in the head…

In the summer of 2004, I’d just perfected my running-jump-spin-and-break-the-board-kick (sorry to be so technical) and was a few months away from testing for my 2nd degree black belt when the Air Force realized it had been way too long since out last move and sent us packing. Since ATF hadn’t made it to Tucson, I decided to look for a new discipline. Aikido, Jiujitsu, the west’s version of Taekwondo? Boxing? It was an agonizing search that I lost countless hours to. Guess what I ending up choosing?

imageIf you said nothing, you win! I got distracted running camera on a music video. That led to more films and eight years later, I was on my way to Key West where exercise involved a bike, riding to the bar for some heavy shot glass lifting.

Twelve years later, I can’t twist my arm enough to scratch a spot in the middle of my back. I used to be able to stand next to someone and kick them in the head. That was a valuable skill. I miss it. So, last month I decided I needed to get back in shape and I signed up for a yoga app through my smart tv. Don’t ask me what it’s called. I can’t remember. I’ve use it three times. What is it with commitments?

But Mom! Everybody’s doing it!

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ah pokemon thingies? hello? any of you out there?

Anyone playing the latest craze, Pokemon GO? I’ve been sad to see so many on social media bashing the popular game app. Who cares if people are using their cell phones to hunt and battle with imaginary creatures. I’m especially dismayed when I see writers join in the putdowns. Ah, hello, we live and die in the world of make believe. 

The game has been getting kudos for getting folks up off the couch and out into the real world, so to speak. It’s been a boost for small business, new friendships and even law enforcement thanks to at least two bodies discovered by players.

I even gave it a GO. Despite the fact that I live in the sticks. Check out that lovely screenshot. See how many nearby Pokemon are highlighted? Yeah.

I think I eventually caught 6 of those worm things that live in the grass (I’m deep in cow and potato country) and 3 things that looked like sparrows.

After a week I got bored and deleted. Another thing I couldn’t commit to. Jeez.

And speaking of the sticks, my pooch Stitch is ready to go do this:

image

 

Go take a hike and write on,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

Time to Re-pink

20160318_184705I can’t believe it’s April 13th. Last time I looked, it was March 29 and we were headed out to Tucson, 1868 miles, to prep the house for sale.

We finished on the 10th and after 3 days on the road are about ten hours out from home. I have tomorrow to get my hair re-pinked before hitting the road, once again for our half marathon down at Disneyworld.

Anyone ever run a Warrior Dash? It’s an obstacle course slash run. My daughter talked me into one last Saturday and that expression on my face pretty much tells it all. I have a horrible fear of heights and every obstacle seemed to involve a wall to be scaled. Or mud to be swum through. Or fire that needed leaping over. I’m waiting on pictures so I’ll write more about that later. Right now, I’m starving and I need to jam all my stuff into my suitcase and hit the road in search of food. Hopefully, I don’t have to climb anything to get it.

Any of you race or dash? Commiserate with me in the comments below and Write On,

Melissa

Hitchhiking

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A couple of weeks ago, it was nice enough to run outside. I think it was 17 degrees that day. You don’t know how much it pains me to say that 17 degrees was nice.

The other day I decided to play hookie and drove down to Appleton for the day. Since I was in no hurry, I took the long meandering way, through the backroads, only getting lost once when my map software stopped working, swinging by the casino for a quick break, and two hours later getting back on the road forty dollars poorer and only halfway to my destination. At one point, I was passing through one of the tiny villages en route, and I saw a guy hitchhiking. He had three or four plastic shopping bags dangling from his hands as he stuck out his thumb and for half a second, I thought about how cold it was and how far he might be from home. And then I was past him and my momentary twinge of guilt was replaced with an image of Ted Bundy.

That’s not to say I haven’t stopped for hitchhikers in the past.

In Arizona, my son and I picked up a rather tall man and his adorable red headed toddler one scorching afternoon. The poor man’s car had broken down and he told us that the two had already walked several miles as cars zoomed past and ignored them. We dropped father and son at the first gas station we passed. Years before that, I stopped for a couple at the entrance to an airport. They were next a stalled car, with suitcases beside them. I don’t know why I picked them up. Maybe it was the desperation they oozed. They jumped in, professed their love for me and I got them to the departure area with just enough time to make their flight. I always wonder what happened to their car.

So what makes us stop and what scares us away? If you think about Mr. Bundy, everything about hitchhikers should scare you away. Things are not always as they seem. That father could have kidnapped that small boy and been on the run. That couple could have simply found a stalled car and posed next to it, their suitcases empty and waiting to be filled with the dismembered body of a gullible driver.

My days of picking up strangers are probably over. I’m not as adventuresome as I was in my younger days. How about you? Have you ever pick up a hitcher? Were you the hitcher?

Leave your story in the comments and Write on,

Melissa

p.s.

If you can find it, watch The Hitcher starring Rutger Hauer, an absolutely terrifying movie. Don’t bother with the remake. They changed the story and completely ruined it.