Position Available Immediately

•August 27, 2015 • 80 Comments
BTW, WTF do they want? And how much $ are they paying?

BTW, WTF do they want? And how much $ are they paying?

I guess the job market is looking brighter these days. People are talking about minimum wage not being so minuscule and unemployment rates are holding steady, if not inching down. That’s good.

Maybe that’s why my mind wafted toward jobs in this week’s 100-word flash fiction post as part of Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. 

Wait just a minute, Girly. I didn't pop over here to read some boring economics lecture.

Wait just a minute, Girly. I didn’t pop over here to read some boring economics lecture.

 

Don’t worry. I think you’ll like this one. It’s different. Not a bit of dialogue in it.  It’s not even a story. And I tried to keep it on the light side this time.

Have I got you curious?

This week’s photo prompt comes to us from Claire Fuller. She’s a regular contributor to the Fictioneers.

I had a dickens of a time trying to figure out this photo. What do you make of it?

I had a dickens of a time trying to figure out this photo. What do you make of it?

 

Position Available Immediately

 

Central Data Coordinator: To organize, manage, review, protect, fabricate, destroy, and otherwise manipulate permanent records of all American citizens and foreign nationals as instructed by operatives of WAG (We Are Good), a wholly independent umbrella agency overseeing the US government.

Skills: exquisite attention to detail, ability to follow instructions without considering consequences, complete discretion, works well while being recorded.

Requirements: US citizen, parents US citizens, and all grandparents US citizens; welcomes brainwashing/intensive training; must love red, white, and blue; loners and cat-lovers preferred. Female and minority applicants are encouraged to apply, but we all know that’s pointless.

*****

A bit cynical for me, I know. But these flashy fictiony challenges tap into secret parts of me…or maybe they invite in a different kind of muse. A feisty muse. Oh dear.

I may be adorable, but I'm rascally, too. If you don't watch out, I might surprise you...

I may be adorable, but I’m rascally, too. If you don’t watch out, I might surprise you…

Do you ever find a surprising voice (or muse) popping out of you at the most unexpected times? Do tell!

Trust me, You Won’t Feel a Thing

•August 25, 2015 • 39 Comments
You hear the most interesting things when you listen.

You hear the most interesting things when you listen.

I just had an unusual conversation with my mom.

She’s 82.

We were talking about someone who had just died–no one that close to us, but a relative of a someone we both care about. Our discussion meandered to the expenses surrounding funerals.

Someone asked, “What about giving your body to science? I heard it’s free.”

I’m pretty sure my mom asked, because:

1. She says what’s on her mind without any filters since she’s turned 80.

2. She’s on a fixed (and dwindling) income.

3. She watches a lot of “true” crime and forensics shows on TV.

4. I already know about the topic because I’ve made arrangements to give my body to science.

My mom wanted intel on everything from the pick-up of the dearly departed to the eventual delivery of whatever remained.

Mom may have had me confused with someone who works in the dead body business.

Mom may have had me confused with someone who works in the dead body business.

She was curious and I was the closest thing to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume D, Section: Death, Sub-Section: Donations to Science.

Here’s how our conversation went.

Mom: “How do they know you are dead?”

Me: “I’m registered with them and carry a card in my wallet. Phil has my card in his wallet, too. Plus all the forms are in my ‘death documents,” so–”

Mom: “Death documents?”

Me: “Yeah, my will, health care proxy, you know?”

Mom: “Oh, I thought you needed some special document to die in Washington.”

Me: (Chuckling) “Not that I know of. Anyway. When I’m dead, someone calls the number on that card and the ‘Science Care’ people are supposed to send someone to pick me up and cart me away.”

Mom: “Who picks you up?”

Me: “I don’t know. They must have contracts with various companies all over the country.”

Mom: “Probably not with funeral homes. They would be mad because they’re losing business.”

Me: “No, probably not with funeral homes. More likely with private ambulance companies or whoever is licensed to transport dead bodies. They must have a system, but I don’t know what it is.”

Mom: “What if you were murdered?”

Me: “Um…I suppose they would have to wait until my body was released to the family after the investigation was complete.”

Mom: “Makes sense.”

Me: “Really? You think I could be murdered?”

Mom: “You never know, Lorna. It happens more often than you think. Do they ever reject a body because it’s too old?”

Me: “No, because mostly they use the bodies for medical school cadavers and for forensic experiments. Let’s say they wanted to test the effects of a chemical fire on human flesh. They could put an old body in a building or enclosure and burn it. They can learn lots of things from old bodies, trust me.”

Mom: “But I want my ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Me: “Hmm. All I know is they say they will provide your cremains to the person you designate if you want them returned. I have no idea how they do that if they use your body for experimentation. I bet if you say you want your cremains returned, they make sure you are used as a cadaver for medical students…but I can’t be sure.”

Mom: “And this is free?”

Me: “Yup. All you have to do is fill out some forms and sign up. But they do say that there is a small chance they won’t accept your body…a real small chance, but they reserve the right not to take you into the program.”

Mom: “I thought you said they took even old bodies!”

Me: “They do, but let’s say your body was unusable for dissection or already decomposed, they really couldn’t do much with you, right?” (Anticipating her confusion, I added) “What if I went bungee jumping over a cement platform and the cord broke? My body would be splattered on the pavement and they’d have to scrape me up with a shovel (I actually said this to my mom). They probably wouldn’t take me.”

Mom: “Makes sense. Could you give Tina (my older sister and her primary care giver) the information. I want to do this. Did you sign up just to save the money?”

Me: “Well, I never liked the idea of spending a lot of money on caskets and funerals, but I mostly did it as my last gift to society. If I can teach one last thing to someone, then, I want to do that.”

Mom: “Yes, I like that idea. And it’s free.”

Me: “It’s definitely free, Mom.”

We began talking about other things, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what. She never flinched at the idea of her daughter being murdered or reduced to mush on the pavement.

She’s a pragmatist. When you’re dead, you’re dead. You won’t feel a thing.

My mom celebrating her 82nd birthday. Soon to be among the thousands carrying that card that says, "I'm giving this sassy bod to science. Cart me away for free!"

My mom celebrating her 82nd birthday. Soon to be among the thousands carrying that card that says, “I’m giving this sassy bod to science. Cart me away for free!”

What’s the most bizarre conversation with anyone you’ve had lately?

My most sincere apologies to anyone whose religious, moral or human sensibilities were offended by this rather blunt discussion of death and corpses.  I suppose when you’re 82 and my mom, you don’t have a great deal of time to fancy-dance around the realities of life. I get that.

 

 

Need a Reason to Celebrate? I’ve Got You Covered!

•August 22, 2015 • 27 Comments
It's not what you got, Baby; it's how you use it!

It’s not just what you got, Baby; it’s how you use it! And I know someone who’s got it and knows how to use it. Read on!

Be happy!

Today is a great day to smile, sing, dance, do what gets your endorphins swimming.

I said endorphins, not dolphins. But this looks fun...

I said endorphins, not dolphins. But this looks fun, too…

Why?

I’ll tell you!

August 22 is Be An Angel Day. Oh the is too perfect.

Ta da! Coming outta of Cloud Nine just fur you! What can I do fur ya? Tell me, tell me! Oops! lost my halo. Oh well,  I'm sure someone'll fetch it fur me! Was that a squirrel!

Ta da! Coming outta of Cloud Nine just fur you! What can I do fur ya? Tell me, tell me! Oops! Lost my halo. Oh well, I’m sure someone’ll fetch it fur me! Was that a squirrel!

 

But the real reason to be extra special, super-duper happy is that one of your favorite Indie authors (and definitely one of mine), Paulette Mahurin, has just released her new book in paperback!

Yes, yup, and uh huh!

It’s called To Live Out Loud. Click here to find it on Amazon.

Awesome cover, huh? And it just keeps getting better on the inside!

Awesome cover, huh? And it just keeps getting better on the inside!

You remember the award-winning book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap? And the endearing, compelling novel, His Name was Ben? Well, get ready for another novel (based on real events) that grapples with critical, enduring social and political issues.

I was fortunate enough to be one of Paulette’s beta readers, so I got in on the ground floor of this novel. That’s why I can give you this FIVE-STAR review of her latest, sure-to-be-best-selling novel:

What does it mean to have courage? Who are the heroes in any struggle? Are they only the ones in the public eye who take a stand and suffer the consequences of colliding with the status quo? Or could the heroes be those who work unfailingly behind the scenes, supporting, encouraging, and giving sustenance to those outspoken leaders of “the cause?”

Beyond these compelling philosophical questions, Paulette Mahurin’s newest book tackles the unfortunately ageless human tragedy of prejudice and the concomitant social injustices that inevitably follow. She uses the infamous Dreyfus Affair, set in late 19th century France as her entre into exploring both the best and the worst in humankind. While Alfred Dreyfus (an officer in the French military who was also Jewish) was unjustly imprisoned for treason, he is not the central character of this novel. Emile Zola, a notable French writer and journalist who adamantly believes in justice takes up the cause of exposing the injustice that was done to Dreyfus. Mahurin deftly tells this historically accurate tale through the eyes of Zola’s lifelong friend, mentor, and father-figure—a man named Charles.

Meticulously researched (with passages from actual court records), passionately written, and told in the fashion of other novels that make history read like fiction (Laura Hillenbrand’s “Seabiscuit” or “Unbroken”), Mahurin’s book is a must-read. I not only learned a great deal about this historical episode of government corruption and cover-up, but I gained an appreciation for the deep roots of global anti-Semitism. These problems are not only the stuff of current events. This book illustrates the disheartening reality of how the darkest elements of human society endure through the centuries.

Mahurin’s book also reminds the reader that countervailing forces to this bleak historical orbit of political corruption and hatred exist. There are heroes—both outspoken and quiet—among us. All are working in their own ways toward a just and better world. Mahurin is one of those heroes.

This generous, gifted author donates all royalties to help with dog rescue efforts.

Well, that last bit got my attention! I may not be here any more, thus don't need rescuing, but there are lots of others like me (well, none quite like me, but you know what I mean) who need rescuing. So put your paws together for Paulette!

Well, that last bit got my attention! I’m not here any more, thus don’t need rescuing, but there are lots of others like me (well, none quite like me, but you know what I mean) who need a helping hand. So put your paws together for Paulette! Let’s support her as an author as she supports us as good, if a little ruff around the edges, dogs.

The paperback is well worth the money and the warm glow in your heart knowing that you are contributing to saving dogs from certain death due to your generosity and excellent taste in literature!
Talk about your win/win situations!

 

Positive Reinforcement

•August 20, 2015 • 50 Comments

I’m going to try something different this week and just offer up my 93-word flash fiction post as part of Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. 

What kind of nonsense is she talking about now?

What kind of nonsense is she talking about now?

I haven’t gone undizzy blondish on you. I’m just trying to practice efficientism and practicalitiness.

We all live hectified lives, right? A short post is an A+++ post to an overactivated person like you.

So let’s get on with it.

This week’s photo prompt comes to us from C.E.Ayr. Even his name is not unnecessarily elongated with vowels. Thanks, C.!

demolition-4

Positive Reinforcement

“You don’t like it.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“I can tell by your frowny face. You always get that face when you disapprove of—“

“Okay. Okay. It’s just a little…um…over the top.”

“’Over the top,’ eh? My job was to make a statement. I made one. No one told me exactly how I was supposed to do it. ‘Just do something people will notice,’ they said.”

“Oh, people are going to notice, that’s for sure.”

“But in a good way? I’m trying to make a name for myself.”

“Well, then, good job.”

*****

What, you may be asking, is “the job” this person was asked to do? That is the burning question I meant to leave you with. Naughty me…

How can someone who appears so innocent be so rascally?

How can someone who appears so innocent be so rascally?

The Life of a Go-Go Girl

•August 17, 2015 • 48 Comments

I’ve been living the life of a Go-Go Girl.

They look very busy, wouldn't you agree?

They look very busy, wouldn’t you agree?

Okay.

I’ve been a girl on the go-go.

The other way of saying it sounded much more glamorous.

That’s why I’ve been persona non blogger around here.

I can hardly keep up with all of your blog posts. Are you, like, all on vacation from work and attending some summer blog-till-you-drop camp? Sheesh! Slow down people.

The many moods of Lorna...

Just some of my faces as I try to keep up with your blog posts.

Here’s a partial list of the things (other than worrying about blogging) keeping me busy these days:

  1. I’m taking an online certification course in editing. Yup. I suck lemons at editing my own writing, but I’m pretty good at editing other writer’s, well, writing. I’m nearly finished with the course and might try my hand (or eyes) at becoming an editorial entrepreneur.
Someone needs to make guys like him look, er, um, sound good. I can do that, right?

Someone needs to make guys like him look, er, um, sound good. I can do that, right?

2. I designed a whole website for my local library. I’m also the VP for their Friends group. They (we) are becoming better fundraisers than greedy politicians as we try to raise money for our new $4 million library. Coincidence that I landed here at exactly the same time they needed new, tech-savvy blood to help them? I think not! Here is the link in case you’re interested.

3. I’ve been trying to get some writing “street creds.” Apparently, two self-published books aren’t that impressive in the writing world. So I’ve been submitting myself all over the place. And I’ve paid off! I just got news that a short story I submitted for a contest won 2nd prize and will be published in a journal. The contest was sponsored by the Women’s Story Circle. The theme for the contest was “failure,” something for which I have a lot of material. Here’s the link they gave me to see my story on line.

4. I will also have a short story published in my local newspaper, The Columbian. Yup. The same newspaper that provides me with all that fun Portlandia newsy fodder for this blog. I’ll share it when it comes out in early September.

5. Phil and I escaped the heat and went to the Oregon coast for the weekend a while ago. Here are some pictures.

Ah, the coast! 30 degrees cooler and cloudy. Also, quite dramatic.

Ah, the Pacific coast! 30 degrees cooler and cloudy. Also, quite dramatic.

And you never know what manner of blonde sea creature you'll find in the sand dunes...

And you never know what manner of blonde sea creature you’ll find in the sand dunes…

6. Phil and I also just had to go to the local county fair. We rode a ferris wheel on steroids, strolled through the exhibits barns, avoided the greasy “fair food,” and attended a concert. We saw the Guess Who? No, I’m not asking you to guess who we saw, we saw the Guess Who? I danced off to the side of the show, so I guess you could say I was a Sideshow Go-Go girl that night. I should have sold tickets…

No, I'm not a little person. I'm 5'6.5" tall. This is Count--one huge, friendly Belgian with whom I made friends at the Clark County Fair.

No, I’m not a little person. I’m 5’6.5″ tall. This is Count–one huge, friendly Belgian with whom I made friends at the Clark County Fair. No wonder we’re such good pals, we have the same coloring and profile!

7. The walls of our house need some color, so I’ve been working on that. No, not painting!

Don't think I'm so skilled I can do a three-dimensional quilt. It's draped on the sofa so I could take a picture of it. Each panel is of the same tree...only different.

Don’t think I’m so skilled I can do a three-dimensional quilt. It’s draped on the sofa so I could take a picture of it. Each panel is of the same tree…only different.

See? It's made from different batiks and I hand-appliqued all the panels.

See? It’s made from different batiks and I hand-appliqued all the panels.

8. And my niece is having a baby, so there is a baby quilt in her future. Mine, too.

9. Phil and I have been exploring Portlandia. We even tried to see Bernie Sanders when he stopped in for a rally. Given that the media has been ignoring him and we knew him when he was the mayor of Burlington, VT, we figured we would show up and let him know at least a few people remember him. Well, we didn’t even make into the Moda Center even after the fire marshall let in an extra 1,000 or so people above the 19,000 capacity. Oh well. Good for him; early night for us.

This was while we were still hopeful...

This was while we were still hopeful…

This was the crowd we had to traverse to get to the train home.

This was the crowd we had to traverse to get to the train home.

10. I’m doing some beta reading for a couple of blogger buddies.

11. Oh, and I’m seriously considering writing another book. I’ve been reading several books about plotting and structuring because this is going to be a thriller based on true events. I guess you could say I’m in the research phase.

Do you see why I haven’t been around here much lately?

And I have to go now. I told the folks at the library that I would make three dozen rolls for an event tonight…and bread doesn’t make itself! Although it does rise by itself…

Down boy!

Down boy!

So forgive me if I’m rather scarce around here.

If it helps, I’m thinking about you!

What, I could be thinking. Thinking very deeply.

What, I could be thinking. Thinking very deeply. And I need all that deep thinking time, what with the hectic pace I’m keeping.

 How about you? What have you been up to (besides blogging like a pro)?

 
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