Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Combo Platter

OK gang, we did it. We wrote a story together. Thank you all for your participation.
The following contributions were selected for their ability to advance the narrative thread of the story. It was a real challenge to make something cohesive out of these disparate pieces, but here it is, such as it is. This was great fun. Let's write another together in the future!
Contributed sentences are in italics.
Week 1 - LPR @ Smacksy - Obfuscate
Week 2 -Allyson @ Magnolias and Mimosas - Merkin
Week 3 - The Empress @ Good Day Regular People - Borborygmus
Week 4 - Linda Medrano @ The Good, The Bad, The Worse - Slivovitz
Week 5 - Mom of the Perpetually Grounded - Uvula

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She walked out into the harsh light of noon, donning scratched and dirty sunglasses in a feeble attempt to obfuscate the affects of last evening. Her afternoon walk of shame and the long, wide run in her stockings made it obvious to even the most casual observer that this was not her first time at the rodeo or her first rodeo clown. She slumped into the driver's seat of her rusted out, blue Honda Civic and put both hands on the wheel. As she hung her head in sad reflection of the prior night's activities, she noticed traces of chocolate pudding smeared across her left forearm. Amazing what passes for sexy to some people. Though she had a minor interest in bedroom games, she never really saw an obvious connection between sex and food.

The pudding was just another reminder of how difficult it had been adjusting to her new lifestyle. She often discovered in he most embarrassing ways that there were things that she had to be concerned with which had barely ever crossed her mind before. For instance, personal grooming. What had at one time been a casual, semi-regular trip to Anusha, her waxer, was now something that she had to address more often. Much to her dismay, her personal areas were on display, and it seemed that a particular style of grooming was in demand or even expected. Given her financial situation, her only option was to purchase a home waxing kit. As with most things that she found herself involved with lately, her experiment into home grooming was met with an equal measure of failure and shame. Fortunately, they DO sell a merkin in the kit WITH the DIY Brazilian wax. And although this was not exactly comforting to her, it reminded her, in some small way, that all was not lost.

It had been a very rough two years for her. She could not believe that such crushing financial ruin was possible. To go from socialite wife of a successful hedge fund manager to part time truck stop waitress/"working girl" in such a short period of time seemed more surreal than the Dali painting that used to hang in the marble front entrance of her Park Avenue penthouse apartment. She should have seen the signs a year before the bottom fell out, when her soon to be ex-husband started to shop the Dali painting around to local investors.

She recalled the last person that he showed the painting to. A creepy and flatulent dentist by the name of Sheldon Myers. He was one of those people that stared into your eyes a little too long and stood much too close when doing it. She recalled seeing him standing there in her hallway in his odd, short sleeved dentist's smock, the words DOCTOR TOOTH embroidered across the pocket in red thread. He had a shock of grey, frizzy hair that was receding at the front and worn far too long, making him look like an aging Larry Fine.

She walked into the hallway to the area where he was standing with her husband, studying the Dali. There was a faint smell of rotten eggs in the air as she moved toward them. Hearing her heels click across the marble tiles, both men turned to her. A cold shudder went down her spine as the dentist made eye contact and was introduced by her husband. He extended a cold and fishy handshake, which he did not break immediately. Instead he held her hand and her gaze for what seemed to be an eternity. As his eyes bored holes straight through her, she heard a noise coming from his stomach. She tensed at the borborygmus emitted by the ever too close and hovering dentist. Then she quickly yanked her hand away, offered an insincere "Nice to meet you." and quickly left the room.

The creepy dentist was like a messenger of doom as things went rapidly downhill from that point. Shortly after her encounter with the dentist, they traveled to abroad to meet with a wealthy client that had a large portfolio with her husband. They had hoped to meet in Paris for a fabulous meal on the Champs -Elysees, but at the last minute he insisted that they meet in Romania due to "a deportation issue". The thought of travelling to Romania made her stomach turn. When last in Romania, she had dined with a Count and drank copious amounts of Slivovitz. It did not sit well and memories of the after effects of that meal were still vivid in her memory. When they arrived to meet with the client, they found out that his "deportation problem" was actually more of a Roman Polanski type problem and he was on the road to being penniless and rotting in a Romanian jail. One by one, her husband's largest clients fell prey to financial ruin, by way of the economy, their own nefarious actions or, in many cases, bad investments on her husband's part. It was around this time that her own financial crisis began to come into focus.

On the plane ride home from Romania, her husband sheepishly confessed to having a gambling problem and to skimming "a few dollars" from some of his higher end clients. Her mouth began to dry as she pressed her nervous looking husband for a definition of "a few dollars". He was silent for a while and seemed to be figuring the amount in his head. She pulled a box of Tic Tacs our of her purse and shook two little white mints into the palm of her hand, never taking her gaze off her husband. As she moved her hand toward her mouth, her husband blurted out "About seven million." which caused her to gasp as she took the mints in, inhaling the candy deep into the back of her throat and kicking off a coughing fit that had every eye in First Class fixed on her. She could feel the mint lodged at the back of her throat, but coughing would not expel it. She had no other option but to try to pull it out. She reached all the way to her uvula and pulled out the tic-tac. She then regained her breath and her composure and asked her husband to give her the entire story.

What followed was a tale of a double life and a desperate man who needed to support not only a serious gambling habit, but a second family out west in Reno. One with the children that she could not have. She felt a pain deep in her stomach as the tale unfolded in front of her. All the West Coast travel he had done under the guise of business was in support of his other family in Reno and his spiraling descent into gambling debt. There would be no opportunity to sue for divorce, considering that he was almost broke and likely bound for jail. When the plane touched down at JFK, she knew that the only thing to do was to claim her suitcase and leave him there and then.

She turned the key to the car and the engine started with a stutter. Exhaling deeply, she put the car into reverse and pulled out of the parking lot. The outskirts of Chicago weren't New York, but she embraced the anonymity that she had here. She had survived a difficult personal tragedy and had done it on her own. In that sense, she never minded all of her husband's business travel, she liked to be alone. And she knew that she would rebuild her life, one brick at a time. One trick at a time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Again

Hi everyone! I'm back!

After a two week absence from both writing my own and reading your blogs, I am back in action. We just returned from a two week trip to Italy (my first time abroad), and it was spectacular and surprising in so many ways. There is much to be written and many pictures to be shared, which I will do as soon as I get back on local time and over the mountain of laundry that I need to climb.

Thank you to all of you that contributed sentences to my Two Weeks of Words series. I am about 60% through the process of writing a story using one sentence from each posted word. Sentences that will be used in the story have been chosen more for their ability to uphold the very loose narrative thread that I am trying to knit together than for any other reason. All of the sentences that were contributed were very creative and very funny.

One of the things that I plan to post is the truths and myths that I discovered while traveling through Italy. I'd write it today, but at this point, I am using toothpicks to hold my eyes open. One thing that I can attest to right now is that jet lag is very real. So I am asking for your understanding if it takes me a couple of days to get back to your blogs. I'll get there, I promise. I am looking forward to catching up on all the happenings in blog land. I just need a couple of naps first.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Weeks of Words - Word 5

The word for today is:


Go here if you want to know how to participate in this challenge.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two Weeks of Words - Word 4

The word for today is:


Go here if you want to know how to participate in this challenge.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Two Weeks of Words - Word 3

The word for today is:

Go here if you want to know how to participate in this challenge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Weeks of Words - Word 2

The word for today is:

Go here if you want to know how to participate in this challenge.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Weeks of Words - Word 1

The word for today is:


Go here if you want to know how to participate in this challenge.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Weeks of Words

I'm a word lover. Not in a freaky "do me with the letter A" kinda way. It's more that I like and admire people with broad vocabularies, who can turn a phrase and use words creatively. Most of you definitely fall into that category, or I wouldn't be reading your blogs.

Because I believe that you have the requisite mad skillz, I would like to issue a challenge to you. I want you to wow me with your vast vocabularies, your boundless abilities with grammar, your sizzling and skillful syntax (OK, forget grammar. Grammar is for weenies. Syntax is the shiz.).

Here's how it's gonna work:

Every couple of days, I am going to throw out a word. It may be a mundane word, it may be an obscure word, if I'm feeling bitchy, it might be in a language other than English. Whatever, it's my challenge, I do what I want. You will need to take that word and (in the words of the amazing and fabulous Tim Gunn), "Make it work" in a sentence. Simply leave your brilliance in the comments section of the post.

I am not going to respond in comments to any your sentences until the end of the two weeks of words. At that point, I am going to write a post that knits together a story based on my favorite sentences from each word posting (with proper credit due, of course).

The net result is that we are going to write something together. Experiment! So exciting!

So, are you up for it? Do you have the lexical greatness that this challenge demands? I think you do. The first word will be posted this weekend. Show me that my utter faith in your greatness is not unfounded. I am prepared to be dazzled.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday

It's time for Post It Note Tuesday, hosted by Supah Mommy! Go here to link up and get in on the fun.

Friday, August 6, 2010

There's a First for Everything

(Not my actual face)

I suppose that if you are going to work in the corporate world for as long as I have, you should not be surprised by what you see, what you hear or by the actions of those around you. A corporate office is a microcosm of personality and as they say (whoever "they" are), it takes all kinds. Because of this and the very nature of human nature, sometimes people may pre-judge or jump to conclusions about you, whether this is fair or not. Take my recent encounter with Newbie A for example.

On Friday morning, Newbie A pulled one of my coworkers aside and asked what my story was. I will be joining Newbie A's group in a couple of weeks and he had concerns. He wanted to know if I was going to be OK to work with because I looked "mean". I nearly hit the floor when I heard that. I always have a smile for everyone and am well known for my cheerful demeanor and willingness to help. I've been called a lot of things in my LOOOOOOOONG career, but this is the first time I have ever been described as mean (In the office, that is. My kids have hurled that at me on more than one occasion).

My coworker strung Newbie A along for quite a while, telling him that I was a complete horror show and that I'd make him cry if he made a mistake. The beads of sweat began to form as Newbie A wondered out loud whether he made a mistake in coming to this group. Eventually, my coworker let him off the hook and told him how absurd that assumption was, assuring him that I was one of the "cool people" and that I would be very supportive and nice to work with.

Hearing about their exchange made me wonder - maybe Newbie A was just being a little paranoid and crazy or maybe I had done something to bring it on. I needed to give this some thought. What could I have done to give off a vibe that would make someone use the word "mean" when describing me?

When I looked back, I realized that I have been incredibly sad this month, as the situation at work has been less than ideal. It all started when my amazing, beloved and supportive manager was reassigned to another group. completely out if the blue. Once he left, I got snatched up by another group that is drowning in work and has an out of control business user community. So, I lost my boss, got moved to a team that I'm hesitant about working for and I have to leave behind a project that I have worked very hard on so that a pathetic brown noser can bring it over the finish line and look like a star. I suppose that I have been wearing all of this on my face, in my body language, in my recently acquired death stare.

I guess the smart thing to do is to take this as a wake-up call. My job mourning period is over and it is time for me to pull my self out of the funk that I have been wallowing in and do what's right for the sake of myself, my reputation and my coworkers. I know that I am stronger than the situation. I have certainly weathered worse in my career. Oh, and I am definitely not telling my kids about this because, the last thing they need is that kind of validation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday - Up the Pooper Edition

Today's Post It Note Tuesday is short, sweet and to the point. I honestly don't know how some people look themselves in the face in the morning.

That is all.