March 20, 2014

Mint Meltaways, Repurposed

Damn. The throbbing on the left side of my skull was making me sick. Driving into the sun with forty miles before home and pain killers, it was a mystery why I had a headache after visiting my parents.

I'm serious. It was a lovely visit.

After hugs, but before closing the door, my mother asked (told) me to take the box of Fannie May's from their freezer, declaring, "Your kids will eat them." I protested but knew she was right. My kids would eat them. If I didn't first.

Sensing a full-on migraine, I felt around the back seat for the care package. Wouldn't you know it, the still-frozen Meltaways pressed firmly into my scalp worked like an ice pack! With one hand on the wheel and the other flashing chocolates at passing cars and trucks, I finished the drive.

Thanks, Mom.

February 16, 2014

I Hate Celebrity Culture

Jack Gleeson, aka King Joffrey, from HBO's Game of Thrones. A lot to chew on here. Recommended.

February 12, 2014

Barbie Dolls It Up

The New York Times: Barbie’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Causes a Stir Online

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
My oldest sister had a Barbie doll. She and the next sister sewed fashionable clothes for it. By the time another sister and I came along, Barbie looked like she had passed out in a ditch on her way home one morning.

Our youngest is a girl. When she started school, she asked for a Barbie. And kept asking. I counseled that real women do not look or act like Barbie. My daughter, nonetheless, said she wanted one for playing with her Barbied girlfriends.

February 9, 2014

Be My Valentine

A dozen red roses, tenderly wrapped in tissue inside a florist’s box, waited on her desk. No mistaking this delivery for copier paper or overnighted presentation handouts. Pamela purposefully scheduled arrival for when the office was humming. She knew she’d be in a meeting on another floor the morning of Valentine’s Day and decided, this year, to send herself a bouquet with a card that said, “Love to my Valentine.”

Soccer uniformed nieces and nephews smiled from pictures in Pamela's cubicle. Always paying rapt attention to co-worker’s family vacation and school play stories, she could be counted on to bake to-die-for desserts for office celebrations. Fifteen years at Shelby Investments as a hard worker and team player, her personae had also evolved to include "plain, overweight, and professional aunt."

December 21, 2013

Annual Family Christmas Letter

Wow, hard to believe we've blown through another year! The French family has been challenged but blessed in 2013. In October, Lew failed the Reader’s Digest Crossword Puzzle Certification when he blanked and couldn't come up with a five letter word for “Name of current US President.” We’re still very proud of him, though, and look forward to the day he doesn't involuntarily shout, “Term for abstract expressionism!” or, “Beans named for Peru’s capital!” at the dinner table.

Our oldest, Vic, moved to Nashville this summer and started incorporating a musical saw into his beats. Surprisingly chill. Unfortunately, he has trouble getting it into club gigs because it’s mistaken for a weapon. His girlfriend, Claire, is a very talented painter. She recently scored a commission to paint Elvis playing strip poker with Miley Cyrus, Brad Paisley, and Amy Grant for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Coffee

Mark slid slowly into the kitchen chair. Head tilted back and eyes open just enough. Since I’d never seen my buddy first thing in the morning before, the full-on bedhead and rumpled clothes were a shock. This from a guy who always came to campus ironed and precise and with a briefcase no less. Now Thanksgiving morning, a group of us stayed at a friend’s house near the city after one helluva party and before we’d all go separately home.

Glad he sat down, I’d been waiting for someone to join me and our host’s mother. Everyone else was still asleep, including a friend under the dining table in the next room. She had coffee, thank God, and poured for us. Eyeing her young guests in the method of a true veteran-parent, she was quiet.

November 24, 2013

Daily Write: It Could Turn on You Someday

Once or twice a month, she’d bang her shoulder on a door jam. That third or fourth glass of wine brought out the old two-step waltzes, registering that she should probably continue the evening in a chair or on the lounger. The two-step or side-lurch or whatever arm gestures came into play when she lost balance were pretty obvious fails. If she knew anything, she knew herself and mostly stayed home so as not to elicit attention.

A door jam was rather innocuous. But the stone patio and grand steps leading out to the back yard, those were enjoyed. She and her husband spent hours with the landscape architect plotting out features just so. In July at the height of summer, she’d stroll out from the French doors off the kitchen (and wet bar) with her chilled pinot grigio, relaxed and satisfied.

November 3, 2013

How to Drive Traffic to Your Obituary

The Brownview Library Writers' Club invites you to the next seminar in their fall series: How to Drive Internet Traffic to Your Obituary

These days, getting your work read is incredibly difficult. And getting noticed, even in death, is surprisingly tough. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data, the annual number of US deaths was just under 2.5 million. reports that 75% of deaths receive online and print obituaries. That’s an average of 5,000 published obits per day. Tragically, most writers toil for years and never get published or noticed.

This seminar offers proven methods to achieve at least a modicum of exposure to your work. 

You’ll learn how to:
- Get your death (and work) noticed in the tough post mortem market.
- Seamlessly insert your best fiction and plug your blog while honoring family and day jobs.

Some (but not all!) of the topics covered:
- Unconventional approaches, including first person examples: “I had a helluva run.”
- Action intros that grip readers: “Even the undertaker couldn’t wipe that smug look off her face.”

Bonus handouts include:
- How to repackage manuscripts after you’re gone.
- Go “viral” without writing schlock to do it.

Please call Nan Greenwell at the Brownview Library to reserve your spot!
* Light refreshments and cookies will be served.

October 30, 2013

Daily Write: Happy Halloween

Maybe it was lack of sleep that made her think the barista was really slow. Plus, this being Halloween, every coffee shop employee seemed distracted by their witch hat and vampire teeth. Ann, however, was a suit in a hurry. She had no time for low level people being silly or oblivious to her importance. Dressed for battle in pin stripes, she tapped her right stiletto loudly, as if that alone would teleport the skinny mocha into her hand.

“These people don’t get it,” she seethed. “And those dumb teeth. Uck. Half these gals would do well to get veneers or at least whitening strips if they ever want to succeed.” Ann comforted herself with the knowledge that her smile dazzled, enhancing the qualities that made her so worthy.