Monday, November 29, 2010

Behind the Chair: Children in the Hair Salon


My day job that supports me until I become a paid published author is a hair dresser, beautician, stylist, barber, or what I like to be called, a hair lopper. And this hair lopper sees a lot of children, and tagging behind are their bewildered parents. Not all come in bewildered but most. Some come in all scowl faced and breathing fire while their little darlings run in the shop, and tackle the product shelves. Few are attentive in a calm and assertive(love these parents) way reasoning with their little monkeys(yes, children are a lot like monkeys…I gave birth to five daughters that ran me ragged. I learned not all girls are docile, especially mine. That could be another blog).

From behind my chair, I have watched children run up and down the waiting area of the salon, flip off and on the lights, crawl under the chairs, open and close the front door (a bell rings each time), and I have even seen children attempt to climb our product shelves. While all of these antics are going on, the bewildered parent sits and giggles, or ignores what their children are doing (OMG-I would be crawling under the chairs to hide if my children acted like that).

Now the fire breathing parents…well, they are almost as loud as their screaming darlings. The fire breather blurts out whatever obscenity comes to mind at their children. Now that will teach them some manners(OMG-PLEASE…I feel a head ache coming on, right about now). The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Rudeness begets rudeness.

When the little monkeys finally get to my chair or any of the other stylists’ chairs, it becomes the battle of the wills(quite frankly, its not my job to force the little buggers to get a hair cut). They will achieve not getting a hair cut by screaming, kicking (yes, I’ve been kicked in my shins), spitting, wiggling, ripping off their cape…these little monkeys are true combat geniuses. I say this because at a certain point I am done, and let me tell you why.

  1. My scissors are like a filet knife. They will cut down to the bone or lop of an earlobe(I’ve cut my own knuckle off before because of a wiggling child).
  2. My clippers without its guard can chew into your child’s skin causing him some more damage.
  3. If I’m spraying a detangling spray into their hair, it may end up in their eyes and it does burn.
  4. If you want your child to have a perfect hair cut, they need to sit still. Hair cutting is a two-way street…can’t make the hair perfect if squirming is going on.

So, the next time one of you parents refer to a hairdresser as a moron to their face, please rethink that statement. We are considering the safety issues here. We would like to make your child’s salon experience a pleasant one, not a traumatic one.

Last, as a mother of five daughters, I write these suggestions from experience only to alleviate any trauma or misbehavior your child displays in the salon.

  1. Make sure your child has eaten a balanced meal before coming. Don’t bring them when they are hungry.
  2. Make sure they have napped.
  3. If your child refuses to calm down, take him or her outside. Walk them around. There’s no need for obscenities.
  4. If we refuse to cut your child’s hair it’s not because we are being mean. The safety of the child is the issue.

Please take these into consideration when you consider taking your child or children to a salon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Thoughts on the Book: Among Other Edens by Guinevere Edern

Genre: Horror/Paranormal Fantasy

This is on the back of this book:

“Bend your blood to my mouth.”

…and he does, yielding toward my urge to take the blood that comes. I push further, his blood warm, taking my mouth, my tongue, my chin, and the flesh of my neck, and I am so thankful he gives himself to me like this. In flesh, in blood, in my mouth, into my throat and into my soul at last, flowing, streaming into me.

And I drink, I drink, and he pushes me closer to him, holding me captive to his release, the pressure of his stare urging me to take this vital fluid. And I do, God forgive me but I want this and tilt my head slightly, better access there. I swallow each essential drop as it leaves his body, entering mine in a long, slow drink.

Removing the hand from its position at the back of my head, he traces a pathway down the side of my neck, slow to my shoulders where it rests, grazing the surface of my skin, and splintering white light through the blackness.

The other hand lies against my breastbone, massaging that strip of flesh running between. He is reaching in and in, searching for, finding, and finally touching my soul.

Murder, lies, suicide, and betrayal. There is an entity in Evelyn Edern’s head and it’s unearthing a past best forgotten. Is Evelyn mad, or are her thoughts just pure evil.

The writer of this story, Guinevere Edern, takes you on a picturesque journey through Wales while she tells you the story of Evelyn Edern.

The main character, Evelyn Edern is a twenty year old woman who lives at home with her mum. Right away one empathizes with her situation being thought of as “Evil Evie”, subjected to abuse, both physical and mental, and given to a role of Cinderella. Her mum keeps her busy scrubbing and cooking.

Evie has a love for literature and is in possession of the book entitled, “History of English Literature.” It is in this book that she comes across the name Taliesin who she admits, doesn’t exist. She also has love for John Keats poetry.

Prone to heavy sleeping pill use, she wishes for death to take her. But, Taliesin, who refers to himself as “The Storyteller”, comes to her, a Knight in Shining Armor that resides in her head.

I don’t wish to give the story away, but I’ll finish with this last tidbit. The writer did a fabulous job leaving me to wonder if the poor girl went mad from her sufferings and needed an escape, or perhaps a demon was trying to take possession of her, and at times I found my self wondering if Taliesin was real.

To date, I still wonder since this is the first book of a series. I’m looking forward to reading the next one “Strange Heaven”. You can find an excerpt at:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner: Mom's Famous Marinara and Pasta Sauce

I’m going to make it short since time is merely a small corner this week (I’ve been trapped into a very tight schedule). I just love the holidays. They bring everything into perspective. They have a way of making you appreciate your parents, no matter their discrepancies.

At this time of year, it takes me back to my Mom’s house at Thanksgiving time. I thought I would share a story centered around her cooking habits-- seeing as they were different from most households. Total yum for the tum (my brow is waggling).

Thanksgiving at our house smelled of a different scent, not the usual turkey roasting in the oven, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Something burnt wafted throughout house instead.

When guests would come to the house for dinner, she would serve her “Famous Marinara Sauce and Pasta” (waggle, waggle goes the brows).

Mom would sit and scoot herself up to the table.“Now, Charlie isn’t that the best spaghetti you’ve ever had?” I can still hear her voice in my head. It was the same statement to each and every house guest subjected to her pasta and sauce.

Half-way into his first forkful what could Charlie do? Chew, smile, and nod, eventually he said, “Definitely.” He looked around at the others sitting at the table telepathically crying for help.

“You want to know my recipe?” Mom asked.

“Sure,” he said, scratching behind one of his ears (the usual response).

“It’s real simple,” Mom said, “You brown hamburger in the Crockpot. Then you salt and pepper it. Then you add tomato sauce and tomato paste along with one cup of sugar with a couple dashes of red pepper flakes. And you let it cook all day.”

Charlie choked several times before he fumbled for his ice water. The rest of the guests set their forks down or swirled them in their mushy pasta, pushing it from one side of the plate to the other.

“You all ready for dessert?” she’d ask after about twenty minutes into the dinner. Sometimes I wondered if she set out to torture friends and family with her delicacies but dessert should cool the frightening main course that we all partook in (we’d hope for it anyway).

My Stepfather would say, “What’s for dessert, dear?” His ears would perk up reminding me of a Saint Bernard(no pun intended, but he is a saint to put up with Mom’s cooking and he does remind me of a big lovable dog).

“Cheesecake.” The word came halfway out of her mouth before dashing into the kitchen to retrieve her sweet treat. “And it took me half the day to prepare, and five hours to bake.”(My brows waggle more.) She never divulged the secret ingredients.

Everyone around the table sat waiting in anticipation of possibly engorging themselves since they had hardly eaten the “Famous Marinara Sauce and Pasta” dish.

Mom rushed back into the dining room humming and placed the confection in the middle of the table. She looked at the thing like it was one of her newborn babies, proud of her masterpiece with pure love beaming from her eyes.

It looked like a cheesecake until Mom stuck a knife into it. The middle sunk, all liquid-like. Yup. Cheesecake soup to be precise, smothering crumbled graham crackers.

To me it tasted a little bit like raw eggs.

Anyway to end this story, my Stepfather spent most of his evenings after any of Mom’s dinners in the bathroom, and whatever guests attended any of the dinners, made a mad dash to the door.

As for me, my poor stomach burned with nightmares most nights growing up.

Well, anywho… Happy Thanksgiving All!!

Happy Writing!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Thoughts on the Book, "You Can Write a Novel"

I know, I’m late posting my Monday blog. Oh, the joys of working in the corporate world where they mess around with your schedule meeting their needs, not yours. Ho hum, grumble, grumble.

Anyway, Tuesday is as good as Monday to post a blog, and I have the day off to ponder thoughts. To balance my check book. To clean the downstairs. To clean the inside windows and blinds. Oh, and can’t forget, clean out the lower kitchen cupboards. But, I’m sure you all didn’t come to read about my ‘To-Do’ list for the day, don’t want to wear anyone out doing that.

Instead, I’d like to share about a book I’ve been reading on writing, “You Can Write a Novel”, by James V. Smith, Jr. Okay, it’s a really good book for you organized freaks, something I’m not. My taste is more to the organized chaos thing, making something totally from nothing, go with the flow, let your characters do all the work while you sit on your hiney (your bum, booty, buttocks…), listen, type, stop, listen and type some more. That is totally me.

However, I have to say I did find some things helpful like keeping profiles on your characters. Of course, this lover of organized chaos found some of it too full of systematized dread, like going through magazines and cutting out pictures of people that may resemble your characters.Really? Oh my God(I don't think so), that’s too much like couponing for me. That would take up too many hours. But, I do have notes and bios on some of my new characters. That’s a good thing because sometimes when I ‘Fart Write’ I do forget what they look like. Sometimes(my hubby still says I'm a perfect candidate for Alzhiemers).

When it came to Scene Development…well, I tried and whatever creativity that lingered in my head went on a temporary vacation. It’s not my thing. If anything, it confused me more leaving me with empty-head-syndrome, a bad case of Writer’s Block. Talk about zoning out in pain. It hurt my brain. It really did. Some of us do better without conformity.

Another useful thing Mr. Smith says to use is a Chapter Log. This I can do, but not before I’ve actually written that chapter. It does help to keep me on track so I don’t forget what I wrote about in previous chapters. When I wrote my first novel, I did get lost the further I delved into it and found myself reading the darned thing over and over, the epitome of organized chaos.

He also advices writing your ending chapter first. Tried too, but it wouldn’t come. Like I said, it’s my characters that run with it, I’m just there to type whatever they want me, too. Now there have been times when my characters call an emergency conference because they’re stuck in the Droopy Middle of their story telling, they do get bored sometimes, you know.

In my last novel, the main character really wanted to have a live make out session with her sweetie, which by the way was a good portion of the end. If I were her, I would be sick of running from bad guys, too, and would need something like a dark chocolate bar (the closest thing to an orgasm for me). Okay, so I let her have a little cheat by going to the end, and after, we were able to finish the middle all the way toward the end. Everybody was happy.

All in all, I found a lot of what Mr. Smith said to be helpful. My best advice for any writer that attends workshops or reads books on the ‘How to of the Craft”, is to keep what works for you, be it an Organized Freaky system or an Organized Chaotic Freaky one.

Happy Writing All!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Is My Butt Too Big?

Other than exercising my fingers across a keyboard, I do exercise my butt off. You see, I suffer from thoughts that my butt is too big. From experience behind the salon chair, it is a topic that comes up many times, and it’s not JUST my problem.

“Do you think my butt is too big?” This question plagues the American woman. Sometimes I think it’s a syndrome. Never know, it could be. Maybe that’s why the Muslim women where tents. You can’t see any fat hanging from their bodies when covered head to toe.

And why do women of color look good with voluptuous bottoms? And those Latin girls, too? What’s the deal? How come they can get away with eating fried chicken, waffles, and tacos? Not fair for us white girls. Not to mention, they have no problem squeezing themselves into skin tight clothing. Not me. The looser the better for fear I’d become a feast for the homeless if they caught sight of any cottage cheese hanging on my backend.

Maybe cellulite is the answer to world hunger. Maybe its not a bad idea to eat McDonald’s fattening fare. Eat. Be happy. Get lipo, and send your fat to Africa. That would be the American way, right? It beats working out five days a week.

And speaking of working out, I’ve learned the true purpose for certain moves. They are the following:

Butt Kickers: Remind you to be thankful that you don’t have to reach too far behind to reach your big booty like the skinny girls do.

High Knees: Its good practice for when you’re not in that special mood like your husband usually is-keep your knees high and your feet close to your Hoo-hoo area. When he goes to hop on it, knee him a good one. Especially since the sick headache excuse doesn’t really work.

Jump Rope: This could be a hazard to your health. If you have a well endowed chest you could end up with two black eyes. If you are well endowed from behind, you may discover that gravity plus your weight will keep your feet close to the ground causing you to trip and fall over that rope.

Jumping Jacks: Don’t do this in front of a mirror. Your upper arms may recognize you and wave back.

Happy writing all!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Multi-tasking: Listening and Writing

My work area is the kitchen table since I was kicked out of my office months ago. No-No, my twenty-one year old moved back in so she could attend college without all the added responsibilities. And, its caused a few problems.

One, my husband, Aron is what you call anal retentive. He has tendencies to organize and alphabetize our cupboards. File, and put things away, and trashes my babble notebooks throughout the house. In his mind, anything that resembles clutter must go.

He’s not happy that I use the top of the older dog’s box to stack manuscripts for editing, how-to-write books, research for articles, and pen cups in plain sight for the whole world to see. It’s not like we have guests. The most guests that get invited are my fiction characters, and they don’t seem to mind my organizational skills. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. I wouldn’t be able to find anything if I lived with everything hidden in a file drawer.

Problem two, my daughter. When she needs to talk she needs to talk and since our work schedules don’t match, she catches me when she can. And, last night was one of them between dishing out microwave popcorn and Mott’s Applesauce to trick-or-treaters.

It went something like this:

I sit toward the window to keep an eye on the costumed kiddies, and she plops right across from me with tears rolling down her cheeks. Lions, tigers, and bears!

“Mom,” she said. “I’m so depressed.

My hands run across the keyboards considering what word should I use.

“Uh-huh,” I said, trying to be the compassionate Mom.

“What am I going to do about Moshe?” That’s her Facebook boyfriend that she’s only seen once. What her fascination is, I don’t know. Met him once and wasn’t impressed. Man of the two word sentence coupled with a fishy handshake.

Should I use the word, pile or heap. I look past her shoulder. My eyes were probably glazing over trying to keep up with my thoughts and what she had to say. A loud sigh escaped me.

“I know you’re working, but he’s really upset me. And, when I told him I needed to talk to him about our problems, he texted me back with this message.” She held up her phone. It read: Going to take a nap.

My fingers tapped at the keyboard, and then pecked one letter at a time. My thoughts have now been totally interrupted now. Whatever thoughts I concentrated on had left. Gone. Poof. Obliberated from eistence. Guess the Wicked Witch used my daughter this time instead of the Flying Monkeys to empty out my word file and chase my characters away. Darn her!

She put her phone down and bawled (great tactic). Snot-dripping, sniveling-like bawling, and howling, too. Honey Bear, my Malti-Poo joined in. The door bell rang. Baby, the older dog, gave out a few loud woofs at the door before I ran to answer it. More trick-or-treaters. Oh. My. God.

“I don’t know why I keep giving him chances,” she said, sucking in air between sniffles. Boy, she’s perfected the crying thing. That’s the first thing she practiced when she was born. She practiced everyday, at least sixteen hours. Snot-crying. Drooling. Screaming. They even escalated into opera-like tantrums.

“Well, maybe the two of you should be friends,” I said.
This started another series of snot-dribbling cries, and more babble that lasted a half-hour.

Not long after that, my husband comes home. The first place he visits is the refrigerator. I’m surprised he didn’t kiss it when he arrived home.

“Where’s the pizza?” he asked.

My hands are happy, and my mind is engaged, writing a scene. I’m doing my best to ignore him because his question is preposterous. My characters and I were onto something big and—.

“Where’s the pizza?” You see, my daughter made pizza for dinner and put it away. I have no clue where she hid it in his organized ice box, and didn’t care.

My fingers stopped, mad that their owner had to get up, and finger through foiled food items because my husband has become one of those helpless married men. Yup. I believe it’s a syndrome of some kind.

After unwrapping several different items, I shove the pizza into his chest. "Here." I take my seat at the table ready to type.

Pizza in hand, he sits beside me. “You wouldn’t believe my night….”

Here we go again. That Wicked Witch is a great strategist. She uses my family against me. Where's that Wizard dude?