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New Netflix addict discovers Orange is the New Black

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I had one of those vivid, way too real dreams last night. I was in Fred Meyer, where I very rarely shop, and I put a tube of toothpaste in my back pocket, intending to buy it, but Jim and the kids were already outside, waiting for me, as we were on our way to a softball game. In my haste, I forgot about the toothpaste and walked out the door.

There was a security guard standing in the entryway, watching. He took me by the arm and led me back inside. I calmly explained that I was having a spacy moment and forgot it was in my pocket. Haha. Sorry about that. He wasn’t buying it.

I was taken to a small room and told to sit down at a table while he filled out the paperwork. I wanted to call Jim and explain where I was, but I couldn’t find my phone. Or my purse. He had to be looking for me. We were going to miss the game. Or else, he’d go without me, while I was being carted off to prison.

I woke up before I had put on the orange jumpsuit. It was kind of disappointing actually. I wanted to meet the crew of Orange is the new Black. We finished Season One last night and I was looking up the actresses to see what they are like in real life.

This, from someone who never turns the TV on when she’s home by herself. I blame Netflix for slowing down progress on my series. On the other hand, the way these shows are written does give me good ideas for my own work.

Yeah, I know, rationalizing is a sign of addiction…

 

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The Baddest, Most Evil Antagonist I Could Conjure from my Overactive Imagination

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Have you ever wondered what eggs taste like with ground ginger sprinkled on top? No? Me neither. Unfortunately, I found out when I mistook the ground ginger for ground garlic. In my defense, they are, almost, the same color. And I hadn’t had my coffee yet. Garlic, in case you didn’t know, is good on eggs. Ginger, not so much.

Today is to be my first full writing day of the year. My plan to get up early, get focused, and be more productive is off to a slow start. I woke up at nine am. A reminder that if I don’t set an alarm, the early thing won’t happen. After the egg fiasco, I read the Oregonian. Starting the day with news is never a good idea. Reality tends to put a distressing spin on the day.  The irony of being depressed by the real world, while writing about a man who is plotting to murder half his family, is not lost on me. (He’s the bad guy so he has to be, well, BAD.)

So, I thought it would be fun to share the first scene with my antagonist (Evil bad guy.) And ask what you all think. I’d also like to propose that we west coasters adopt the phrase you’all, because it’s useful, and sounds cool. I’m not sure how to spell it though.

Chapter One of Convincing Accidents

The flip-phone no longer functioned, but it still flipped. The boy flipped it open and closed, Open and closed. Hour after hour. The clicking sound was enough to drive a sane person to madness—and Stuart Harden considered himself to be about as sane as it gets.

The boy’s constant keening was even worse than the clicking. He was agitated. Of course, he was. Strange place, too many people around. He shouldn’t here.

It was Stuart’s wife’s idea to spend the weekend in Seattle. They’d visited her grandparents at the assisted living facility the day before, and now they were at Ballard Locks, doing the tourist thing, but no one was listening to the tour guide talk about migrating fish and their mating habits—not even Raquel. She was too busy yapping.

Stuart found the sound of his wife’s voice almost as grating as their son’s keening. Everywhere they went, Raquel found a new best friend. This time it was a mother with too many children. There were five of them, the youngest balanced on her hip, gnawing on a cheese stick. The oldest, a young teenage girl, wore tight white shorts and kept peeking over her shoulder at Stuart’s older son, who was pretending to look at his phone while staring intently at the girl’s cute little butt. He had to give Jesse credit for trying to be discreet, even if he was failing at it. At least one of his sons was normal.

The woman’s other three kids were running about, unsupervised, bumping into people. No concept of boundaries. The one who looked about five, held a cheese stick in one hand and a toy airplane in the other, making engine noises as he weaved in and out of the crowd in a pattern, once nearly knocking Stu’s coffee out of his hand, and getting far too close to the edge of the platform. There was only a single bar, waist height to an adult, to prevent a child from falling into the water. Straight down, no embankment, nothing to grab onto. Stuart imagined the boy falling; the panic that would ensue, the ignorant mother’s screams. Rescue would be a challenge. He could do it. He’d jumped from higher places for the fun of it. For a moment, he imagined saving the stupid woman’s kid, how thankful she’d be. He doubted she’d learn anything from it. Her kids would still be running loose, causing mayhem.

When the little boy came around again, Stuart moved backward so that he was between the boy and the edge, preventing him from getting too close, falling. The little boy came to a stop. He stared, but not at Stuart. He stood there, staring at the freak, watching him flip the phone.

“What’s wrong with him?”

Stuart knelt down to the little boy’s level. “He ate too many cheese sticks and it turned him crazy.”

The little boy stared at the cheese stick clutched in his fist, eyes widening. In his hurry to get away he bumped into the older boy’s knees. Stuart’s younger son hated being touched. Agitated, he backed up, but there was nowhere to go. He sat down on the ledge, holding the phone to his ear, using both hands to flip it open and closed, oblivious to the danger right behind him. Raquel was equally oblivious, still talking to the other woman— in a loud whisper as if that made it any less rude. As usual, she’d left it to him, to watch the boy. She had no idea how easily her precious freak could fall into the water. A little bump was all it would take. It would serve her right.

Stuart’s phone vibrated with an incoming text. He took it out of his pants pocket, read the message. A convincing accident, maybe?

He smiled. It was from his girlfriend, intended as a joke. Their elaborate fantasy about running away together had morphed into a plot to do away with anyone who stood between them.

His wife let out one of her loud, honking, head-turning laughs. God, how he hated that sound. It embarrassed him every time. If he never heard it again, he’d be happy.

A convincing accident.

Out of context, it didn’t read like a joke. Innocent people didn’t kid around about killing their families. Of course, neither of them were truly innocent. He was fairly certain that only one of them was joking.

He put the phone in his pants pocket. Everything of importance, contacts and such, were backed up to his I-pad. The phone wouldn’t be a big loss. He’d been looking for an excuse to upgrade anyway. If his newly formed plan should fail, he didn’t want Raquel finding their text messages. It would look bad.

The little boy was back to weaving around the adults, following the same pattern each time. Stuart positioned himself in front of his younger son, right in the little boy’s path, and held his coffee cup at waist level, waiting, already imagining the outcome.

It would be a valiant rescue attempt. He’d come out of it looking like a hero, despite his failure. The freak would die. Overcome with grief, Raquel would kill herself. An overdose would be easy enough to fake. This way, there would be no messy, expensive, divorce to worry about—no giving Raquel half of everything. She didn’t deserve a share in their recent windfall; didn’t even know about it yet. Stuart would use some of the money for Jesse’s college—the boy had earned it—and use the rest to buy a bigger house, one with enough room for Corinne’s kids, and a barn for her horse. It would be added incentive to convince her to leave her husband.

The poor bastard had no idea what was coming his way. It would be such sweet revenge.

 

 

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Horoscopes: Do you read them?

Horoscope— a prediction of future events based on your date of birth, positions of the stars yada, yada, yada. I’m a Pisces, so I’m going to share today’s horoscope, for all you other Pisces out there. (Why yes, I did read it in the newspaper today. Don’t ask me why.) I/we should make sure that all of our activities today are rated PG. (I know, fuck that!) And maintain a wholesome, family -oriented, atmosphere around our work and our home. Got it? No swearing, no R rated movies, no sex, (Sorry Honey!) and whatever you do, don’t sexually harass anyone at work today! You might be able to get away with it tomorrow, just not today, because of the way those darned stars are aligned. (Disclaimer: this is a joke, please don’t harass anyone. I don’t want to read about you in the paper.)

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What gets me, is that someone is actually paid to write horoscopes. Not much I’m sure, but still, they are in the newspaper. This makes them legit, right? Of course, someone gets paid to write tabloid articles too. Maybe I’m writing the wrong kind of fiction…

Have a wholesome day fellow Pisces! The rest of you can have fun!

Feel free to share my posts. Sharing is good—I learned that in kindergarten. (Actually, that’s a lie. I skipped kindergarten and went right to first grade. It cost $ to go to kindergarten way back then.)

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Math—who needs it?

I saw a guy wearing this T-shirt, and I laughed. I’m definitely in the latter category, as anyone who has seen me pull out the calculator to do a simple raincheck, will testify.

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I like to think that we are all either math people or word people, but really I’m just trying to make myself feel better. I’m sure many people are good at both. Are you?

Link to Playing House

About Tammy Patton

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Score: Diet O Pie 3

The plan was to have one piece of pie on Thanksgiving. I wasn’t counting on the pie coming home with us. But it happened. How could I not have a piece on Friday, with the leftovers? And another on Saturday, with more leftovers? And I might have had another nibble or two, but not a whole piece I swear—so that doesn’t count right? Especially since I ate it while standing up, and everyone knows that doesn’t count. But the holiday is over now, and it’s back to healthy eating and working hard on my book!

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Yum

 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Dreaming of Ice Cream, and other Diet Disasters

 

Chocolate-Toffee

I dreamt that I was walking through the store eating chocolate ice cream out of a half gallon carton. I walked blindly through the produce department, oblivious to all the healthy foods, the ones I’ve been centering my diet around for the last four months. Head bent, I furiously scooped the melted deliciousness from the edges of the big hunk in the center, as I made my way to the checkout. It was downright heavenly.

And then it hit me. The carton was 3/4 empty. I couldn’t bring it home this way and have Jim see the evidence of my binge! Oh, the shame of it! I considered throwing the remains away, but that would be worse. Such waste! There was really only one solution…

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

Thank goodness it was only a dream. I have this fear, that if I break down and give in to dessert, the 12 pounds so recently departed, will instantly reappear. Intellectually, I know it doesn’t work that way. It’s more likely to be a slow slide… that starts with a spoonful of melty, gooey, chocolate… No! I must remain strong.

I feel so much better when I’m eating only healthy, unprocessed, food. More energetic, more focused, less moody. Better.

A compromise for the holiday? One piece of pie on Thanksgiving? That’s reasonable, right?

 

 

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Bra Shopping: A Mystery

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Has this ever happened to you? You try on a bra, and it fits fine and feels comfortable—until you get home. Or worse, until you get to work. And find yourself twisting around in awkward positions, resisting the constant need to adjust it. And when you do finally manage to duck down out of sight and make the adjustment, it doesn’t do a bit of good. No matter how many times you contort your body and tug on the straps, it just isn’t right. It might even make you wonder if the clerk pulled a fast one and switched bras while you were focused on the card reader.

Or, as in my case, she might have made the switcheroo while engaging me in an asinine conversation about how many times one should wear the same bra before washing it. Only once, according to her boyfriend, who can’t stand to see her wearing the same bra two days in a row because it’s ‘gross’ like wearing the same underwear again. To this, I replied that no, it really isn’t the same. Only later, did I wish I’d suggested it might be less hassle to find a new boyfriend than to go through the whole process of trying on and purchasing, new bras. But maybe she doesn’t try them on. Maybe it’s all a part of the conspiracy. She keeps the good bras, the ones her customers tried on, for herself. Yes, I think that must be it.

I must get revenge. I know, I’ll find out the name of her boyfriend and tell him she’s wearing pre-worn bras, which, is, of course, far grosser than the wearing her own two days in a row…

Or maybe I’ll use her boyfriend in a story. He could be one of my protagonist’s odd, ex-boyfriends. Yeah, that’s it. Now, I’d better head back to my fictional world, where I belong…

 

 

 

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Strange Things Indeed

I’m kind of hooked on Netflix now. With my work schedule being wonky I’ve never been able to follow a show from week to week. Watching a continuing show is almost as fun as getting lost in a particularly good novel.

We just finished Season One of Stranger Things. I’m glad I waited to watch it. This way it will be fresh in my mind when Season Two Starts. My favorite part was the boys, who, it seemed to me, actually talked and acted like real middle -school- age boys. I just read in the Oregonian that they’re older than they look, which makes their acting, even more impressive. Or maybe not. I guess 16 is not too old to remember what it was like to be 13 again. But in the eighties. Those high-waisted jeans bring back all kinds of bad memories! Those of us without waists could never find any jeans that fit properly. I had to buy boy jeans, which wasn’t all bad. I have fond memories of my shrink-to-fit 501’s. I can’t say I miss eighties hair. The Mom in Stranger Things is a good example of some strange hair…

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Oh, No! Not Another Health Nut!

When we moved a year ago, I got rid of the old bathroom scale. It wasn’t accurate, took up too much space, and collected a whole lot of hair on the bathroom floor. I was tired of cleaning around and under it. That was my excuse. I also got rid of the full -length mirror. It had been in my daughter’s room and had stickers on it, not to mention a layer of grime, from me never bothering to clean it. Both choices seemed logical at the time. No scale, no mirror, and a long dreary winter spent watching Netflix in the new leather recliner while drinking screwdrivers was not exactly a recipe for good health.

I could ignore the weight gain—no mirror, no scale remember—but an increase in forgetful moments and general spaciness began affecting my writing, as well as my real life. “Why yes, Honey, I did put the trash in the recycle and the recycling in the trash. Oops. Sorry.” So I decided to make some changes. Better food. Less food. More exercise. I even gave up my nightly glass of red wine with dinner. I know about the studies that claim red wine is good for you, but I think cutting it out is making a difference. Fewer incidents of saying the wrong word, or walking into a room and drawing a complete blank as to why I’m there. My brain is important to me. I’ve decided to take better care of it.

Since cutting out processed food I’ve discovered just how good ‘real’ food can taste. I’ve been cooking from scratch and while it can be time -consuming, I’ve been enjoying the process. I’m not naturally a good cook. I’ve always been lazy about dinner, rotating between a few favorite meals that don’t require a recipe or buying premade stuff. Now I’m looking up recipes, trying new things, and enjoying it. My daughter is a good cook. I’ll happily wash the dishes after she’s fed me. For Christmas, Heidi gave me a copy of her favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s far more than a collection of recipes. It’s about how to eat, and why. Sally never fell for the low- fat diet craze, not even when our government endorsed it.  (Yes, margarine is low in fat, but it’s not real food!)

I’ve found that I can eat delicious, satisfying food, not starve, and still lose weight. Yay! I even bought a full-length mirror. And a scale. The scale is light and compact and fits in a cupboard—very cool.

Here is a link to the cookbook:   https://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735

(Not an affiliate link, just me sharing.)