Friday, December 30, 2016

JUST ADD READING - FOR ADAM, WHO ASKED!

In the beginning, I read because I had to figure out what those two crazy kids, Dick and Jane, were up to with their dog named Spot. 

Then I read because the words were everywhere: cereal boxes, road signs, billboards, newspapers, and the instructions on the back of the Jiffy Pop popcorn. The words were every place I looked. And I could READ them. It may have been the magic of ordinary things, but it was magic.

After that, I realized that the Reader’s Digest people had filled our house with edited, condensed volumes of . . . well, everything from Michener to Buck. Those books were condensed—like soup—just add reading, so I did.

For a long time, I read to escape. Enough said.

For an even longer time after that, I kept right on reading because 1) it was one of the things I could do while I breastfed 2) it was cheaper than jet skiing 3) and it kept my mind from atrophying into tapioca.

In the time that followed, reading became a habit that enlarged my soul, filled my mind, dazzled my dreams, and acquainted me with the world as it might be, could be, should be, would never be, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was—in a sparkle unicorn kind of way? I kept right on reading, until I ran out of the kind of books that I thrilled to read.

Now I read to know what to write, always keeping in mind all the lonely little girls out there, in the dark places, who turn to books for comfort and company and who want to figure out what silliness Dick and Jane and their dog named Spot are going to get into next. 




Sunday, December 25, 2016

MERRY. HAPPY. JOYOUS.

May your adventures begin with a bang in 2017 and continue with a shower of glitter.

The Adventurers' Club  


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Finished Manuscript. New Book. New Genre. But I'm afraid to tell my editor because she's already got two additional manuscripts on her desk.  Oh my!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Book of Saint Zern

Chapter 2




And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from the DMV that all the world should be about renewing their driver’s licenses, but mostly one Linda of Kissimmee Park.

2 (And this bureaucratic nonsense did vex Linda of Kissimmee Park.)

3 Yet she went to be renewed in her fifty-eighth year, only to see forth that her social security scrap of teensy paper was nowhere to be found, nay, not in all her bags and sacks and bundles and so her quest did begin to satisfy those that ‘rule by desks’ in the land of her birth in that selfsame year.

4 And Sherwood also went up to Kissimmee out of the city of Saint Cloud to keep his espoused wife from losing her mind (she being great with annoyance) in the obtaining of another scrap of teensy paper bearing record of her lineage and reality.

5 And while they were there, behold, it draweth nigh to Christmas and the time to speak forth of the many and great blessings that had come unto to the tribe of Zern in the year of the renewing of the license or the year of great vexation.

6 And the oldest of the tribe, one Aric of College Station and his wife, one Lauren of Saint Cloud, did bring forth their first born son and he was beloved of all.

7 And in this same year the family of Lorance did both pack their camels and asses and did travel over the land to Dallas of Texas and did bring forth their first born son and he was beloved of all.

8 And the tribe did grow great both in children and in tender mercies. And the children that were considered grand did number fourteen. And Zoe Baye did sing a solo at the community center; Conner grew strong in both reading and speaking; Emma read much and won second place in a contest of costumes at the place of books; Sadie and Kipling dideth go down into the waters of baptism; Zachary Jon grew in strength and grace to score many goals, Scout went from the nursery to primary, Leidy did walk and run, Reagan swam much and quickly, Hero rode forth on a horse without assistance, Ever Jane stood forth and walked, Gummy did try out his real name (Griffin), and both Silas and Boone delighted it the world and its adventures in their first year.

9 And their parents did plead for both patience and rest.

10 And Linda did make known the saying that when one is a parent, life is eighty percent worry and twenty percent fun, but when a grandparent those numbers being the opposite. It is eighty percent fun and twenty percent worry because of a sure knowledge that whatever weirdo thing those kids are doing they will some day outgrow—or not.

11 And so it was with us in the year of the great vexation. We did make merry but not unto death. And we did speak much of that which is deeply considered, finding the greatest happiness in both being together and eating much. Of our tribe it is said that verily even the infants speaketh forth their opinions.

12 And so we did make our way in both the lowlands of Florida and the great spaces of Texas to become mighty in both gratitude and love, for that which the Lord doth see fit to bless us with, now and forever.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PREPARED WRITING

My war was cold. I grew up waiting for the cold war to heat up. It never did. There were some tense moments when Castro invited the Russians to his island with their atomic bombs, and President Kennedy said, “Go home.” They went.

In the meantime, I prepared for the cold war to go hot by hiding under my desk at school and every Saturday watching movies filled with mutants, fallout, and radiated wastelands. Those movies gave my bad dreams and ignited my imagination. 

My generation invented dystopian, futuristic, end-of-times storytelling. Godzilla wasn’t just a big lizard; he was also a metaphor for rampaging, worldwide destruction. Not to mention, he made a few bucks in the movies.

I grew up thinking about fallout shelters and mutant monsters.

And now I write “Prepper” fiction, among other genres. It’s a sub genre of fiction falling under science fiction but without the ray guns. It’s a category of action adventure with a futuristic theme but without the space aliens. It’s a kind of speculative writing but without the zombies. Humans are the zombies.

Prepper fiction is a realistic, what-if, survival story. Pat Frank’s “Alas Babylon” written in the 1950’s, dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear war and set in Florida was a national best seller and is a classic example of the genre. Doomsday possibilities include: solar flares, EMP attacks, financial collapse, nuclear warfare, invasion, pandemic, ecological disasters, and the list goes on . . . 

Prepper fiction is an exercise in imagination.

Prepper fiction can be frightening.

Prepper fiction examines the collapse and re-formation of societal constructs.

Prepper fiction deals with preparations for “doomsday” scenarios or the lack thereof . . .

I’ve had people say to me that my books gave them bad dreams. At first, I was horrified and thought, “Oh no. What have I done?” But then, on future examination, I thought, after rubbing my hands together in glee, “Oh my! What have I done?!!”

Prepper fiction is not your momma’s cotton candy romance, although romance in a doomsday setting can be much more intense and realistic than an average love story. Sex and pregnancy become a life and death theme without modern medicine.

In a prepper novel, life becomes an exercise in imagination filled with “what if” questions. 

What if there’s no electric? What if I can’t refrigerate my food? What if I can’t buy gas? What if there’s no money? 

How would I find clean, drinking water? How do I stay clean? Preserve food? Stitch a wound? Set a bone? Pickle a cucumber? Keep bugs off? Have safe sex? Stay human and hopeful?

Prepper fiction is action/adventure set in a realistic apocalyptic collapse of civilization that some people will be prepared for but most will not.

It can be scary, intense, and upsetting. It can also get readers to think . . . and maybe, just maybe . . . prepare.

Linda (Bunker Babe) Zern 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Scoop One, Drop Two

People love horses in a parade and why not? They’re beautiful. They’re big. They’re mildly intimidating. They poop. 

They poop, a lot, which seems to shock and delight parade watchers. As a country girl I find the parade watcher’s shock and delight, shocking. When did society forget that animals do not use port-a-potties? 

Horses in parades pooping, redefines potty humor. Scooping poop behind a herd of horses is one step up from riding in the clown car at the circus. People love it. Ha. Ha. That horse just plopped a six-foot trail of masticated grass stuff and now you have to scoop it up. That’s hilarious. “It’s a crappy job, but somebody has to do it.”

But why? Why is poop so darn, ‘stinking’ funny? We all do it, from the Queen of England to the hamster in the kid’s bedroom to the search and rescue horses in your community Veteran’s Day parade. It’s a biologic imperative or the biggest laugh at clown-college.

I quit laughing at poop when I was nine. But I have a grown daughter (with five children) who still can’t not (yes, yes, a double negative) laugh at the idea of poop, the act of poop, or the cartoon depiction of poop. She’s a poop giggler. There’s a toy plastic pig that when you squeeze it, a plastic bubble of poop pops out of the pig’s bottom. She laughs—every single time. Squeeze. Laugh. Squeeze. Laugh. She’s a nine-year old boy. I don’t get it.

Recently, my husband discovered that movie popcorn acts like radioactive poison on his internal plumbing. 

I can’t really go into details, but I will say that at one point after we’d arrived home from the movies and he’d retired to the room of rest, I thought my husband had died and his bowels had released. It had me wondering if the coroner had a one-eight hundred number. Later, he stuck his head out of the bathroom door and said, “Don’t come in here. No matter what.” He disappeared again.

Popcorn? Who knew?

Which brings us to dignity; there isn’t any. People telling you dignity is a God-given right forget that God designed the poop factor and the humor component associated with it. We come into this life in a haze of goo and go out of it in a pile of gick. 

Abandon dignity and start living. That’s my motto. If you need a jump-start, climb on board the poop wagon behind the mounted posse and scoop up a bucket full of road apples in front of dozens of strangers. It will make you laugh. It will surely bring you closer to the humble edge of self-deprecating humor. 

Linda (Scoop One, Drop Two) Zern 

FALL INTO BOOKS THIS FALL @ Meet the Authors Book Fair


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

GRAMMAR HAPPY




Mark Twain wrote a beautiful essay about “Two Ways to See a River.” He complained that by becoming an expert at something and while you gain knowledge, it’s at the sacrifice of wonder. It’s a beautiful piece of writing because it happens to be true.

Becoming a writer with hundreds of thousands of words in your portfolio is like that. It gets harder and harder to read a book riddled with examples of author intrusion (See! What I’m telling you in this part of the story is that this is the bad guy because he eats kittens! I mean it!) or an excessive use of attributes and adverbs, she interjected snidely, moistly, and urgently.

But it gets worse. You start hearing the flaws in the speechifying of regular people you’ve been married to for decades—namely spouse types.

For example:

My husband of thirty-eight years, the world-renowned computer analyst, has an expression he uses over and over again when he’s losing an argument with me. 

He likes to say, “Oh, get off it!” 

All I can think when he says this is that the subject ‘you’ is implied and vague. So vague that I assume he’s talking to himself and not me, and I imagine him saying it like this, “Oh, Sherwood, get off it!”

Yeah, how about that, Sherwood?

And the verb “get,” it’s extremely weak in this sentence. Get is one of the weakest of the verbs. My advice to my husband to jazz up his prickly command is to strengthen that puny verb by turning the word get into an action verb of the rip roaring kind.

“Oh, Sherwood, drive off it!”
“Oh, Sherwood, flip off it!”
“Oh, Sherwood, soar off it!”
“Oh, Sherwood, shove off it!”

And what about that pronoun? It? What it? Whose it?

Concrete nouns are the building blocks of a rude, sharp sentence, so I’d suggest replacing that pronoun with something sharp-edged and hard—something like a chunk of word cement. 

Maybe something like this:

“Oh, Sherwood, shove off that Saguaro cactus.” Or “Oh, Sherwood shove off that red hot poker.” But this takes us into the land of adjectives and advanced description—and that’s a tightrope I’d rather not walk right now.

So, like the Twain, I’ve lost the wonder and awe in my husband’s forceful, manly instructions to me during an argument, and I can only register the grammar funk of his dopey sentence. Thank you, Mr. Twain, for helping me understand the price of knowledge, and helping me appreciate the irony of loss and gain. 

“Since those days [as a riverboat captain] I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty's cheek mean to a doctor but a "break" that ripples above some deadly disease? Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols of hidden decay? Does he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn't he simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself? And doesn't he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade?” [Mark Twain, “Two Ways to See a River”]

Ahhh . . . Mr. Twain . . . those poor doctors and, let's not forget, the computer systems analysts . . .

Linda (Grammar Matron) Zern

Saturday, October 29, 2016

NEW RELEASE:  A piece of the puzzle, download "Puppies," a short story prequel, to find out who they were before they found the Strandline and each other. amazon.com/author/lindazern 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Water Moose Crossing



"Look, everyone! There's a water moose with horns at Mr. Randy’s.” 

Conner pointed to our next-door neighbor’s back pasture, and then went back to calmly digging in the sandbox. Conner was four.

The adult faction of my family sat on the back porch in the state of semi-stupor typical of our kind on the weekends. We watched Conner and the other grandchildren as they frolicked about the yard. We were hoping for a few moments of relative calm and possibly quiet—also no immediate need for moving any large muscles.

“What honey? What did you say?”

He pointed again and repeated himself. No one moved. No one twitched. No large muscles contracted. 

Here’s what we were hoping he said: “Garble, larple! There’s . . . some-wa-thing . . . garble with ha morns.” Nonsense, that required no adult action.

What we were afraid he actually said: “I need apple juice in a special sippy cup made of hammered gold, a snack that you’ll have to cook in a wok, my backpack that’s been lost for a month in Siberia, or the special bug jar from the attic.”

What we pretended he said: “How cute, he sees a bug.”

What we said (in a condescending adult way): “What did you say Conner? Did you find a bug, honey?” 

What Conner actually said, again: “I see it,” he said, pointing harder. “It’s a water moose with horns.” 

We looked at each other (parents, grandparents, and assorted relatives) and debated the possibilities, watching for signs that one of us was about to crack and get up off our big butts to go figure out if we were, in fact, being invaded by marauding water moose. 

“I think he’s seen a water bug.”

“He’s just pretending about something.”

“He’s playing.”

“He has sand in his mouth.”

“Maybe one of us should check it out?”

No one moved. No one twitched. Conner pointed and raised one eyebrow at us with the regal disdain of a four-year old.

“Oh for Heaven’s sake; I’ll go check.” I cracked and stood up. I’m always the first to crack and everyone knows it. They depend on it.

I walked up the gentle slope of the septic tank and looked for a water moose in our neighbor’s back pasture. Conner wandered over, standing next to me. Sure enough, a creature three parts gristle, six parts rawhide, and one part bovine had managed to jump a fence and wade through a designated wet lands area to forage and trespass. Chewing placidly, the old cow meandered around Mr. Randy’s property. Brown with a white blazed face, the old cow raised her head, displaying a hefty set of horns.

“You see?” Conner asked.

Conner looked up at me, trusting me to see the truth of it, knowing that I would. I gave him a quick nod. He smiled, winked and gave me a thumb’s up. 

“Is there something there?” Some lazy grownup punk from the porch called.

“Sure. It’s a water moose with horns,” I called out. 

“Yep.” Conner nodded in companionship and agreement and then went back to the sandbox.

The water moose shook its horns at the sound of our voices and bolted. She waded back through the swamp hole and jumped the fence to become, nothing more or less, than a fat old cow with a sway back and tired udders.

My grandchildren never let ignorance of a thing hold them back. If they don’t know what to call something, they make it up. If they don’t understand, they ask. If they don’t have an answer, they do their best to figure one out. 

“Zoe, why is the sky blue?” Conner asked.

Stroking her little brother’s cheek, the way she had seen her mother do, Zoe gave it her best shot.

“Because Conner, blue is your favorite color, and Heavenly Father knows that it’s your favorite color, and so he made the sky blue—for you.”

And grownups think they have all the answers. I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

Linda (Water Moose Crossing Guard) Zern




Friday, October 7, 2016

HUNKER MUCH?

The first time I heard the word “hunker” I was on a raccoon hunt. We were standing at the bottom of a massively tall oak tree where a couple of raccoons were hiding out. The ‘coon’ dogs stared up at the invisible raccoons. The hunters stared up at the invisible animals. I stared up at . . . nothing. Those raccoons had either discovered a black hole in the fork of that oak tree or they had perfected the art of hunkering. 

Hunter number one said, “Well!” He chewed and spat. “Those beasts are sure hunkered down.”

For a long time, I thought hunkered meant, having an invisibility cloak. But no . . .

It means: to squat or crouch down low, to take cover. Really?

Do people know that? Are they really telling people to squat down in the face of a cat-4 hurricane, or are they telling folks to take cover in the hollow of an oak tree?

I wouldn’t pick the tree option. It might be crowded in there, what with all those raccoons stuffed inside.

What is it about hurricanes that make people use the word hunker? Don’t get me wrong. I love the word. I think it’s underused. I’d like to see it enjoy a renaissance of popularity.

Don’t be afraid. I will hunker near you all night.

Come! Let’s us hunker together.

I would have been on time to work, but I was busy hunkering.

I have hunkered long enough. I shall stop squatting now.

No one can hunker down like Matt.

To hunker is to squat—also crouch. 

Don’t tell that jerk where I’ve been hunkering down!

Such a great word.

So many possibilities.

HURRICANE DRINKING GAME: Every time I hear the word hunker I take a drink—of Gatorade. I don’t drink that other stuff. Never needed to. Never wanted to be drunk. Saw too much of someone else who needed to be drunk—a lot—when I was a kid. 

I have hunkered down, however, and not just during hurricanes.

Linda (Huntress) Zern

PS  No raccoons were harmed in the telling of this story! 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Double Bubble Trouble - Forever

In honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary I would like to hie back to a simpler time; a time when my husband and I realized we were outnumbered by the children, and we were forced to institute the following rule: The first one in the marriage to break and run had to take the kids with them—all the crazy, gum chomping, kids. Good times.
When Sherwood and I were young we produced a lot of little kids, a lot of grubby, grimy little kids, who because of their love affair with dirt and grime required a ton of hosing off—also bathing. When these little kids took baths they sometimes chewed huge wads of bubble gum. I didn’t mind; it kept them quiet. (For a while they tried to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with them into the tub, but I put the hoodoo on that right away.) 

In the early days and even though we had a lot of filthy children, we had only one bathroom. It had one bathtub. One fine evening, Sherwood decided to take a bath in our one and only bathtub, the very same tub our children had used earlier that evening. 

From the bathroom I heard the haunting boom of my husband’s voice.

“Linda, get in here.” His voice was thick with some emotion I found hard to identify. It was repugnance.

Naked and dripping, he stood leaning against the sink, his arms braced against the porcelain, bent slightly forward at the waist. He was not smiling or winking. 

“Look at this.” He pointed to his hairy damp backside bits. He added, “Is that what I think it is?”

Me, I’m a funny girl, I asked, “Is this a test?” I did not look.

“No, I mean it. Look at my butt.”

“I’m not looking at your butt. You can’t make me.”

He pointed harder at his backside, completely devoid of any spirit of good-natured high jinx. There was more back and forth, denial and insistence and such, but I’ll spare you. I finally realized that this might be a serious situation causing real distress for my husband because he’d been standing there leaning against the sink, naked and pointing at himself for, well, longer than was good for either one of us. 

I bent down and I did look.

Sure enough, there it was, a wad of Double Bubble chewing gum the size of a hamster’s head nestled in . . . ummm. . . well, just nestled.

I said, “Oops.”

He said, “Get it off.”

I asked, “How?”

It was a good question. I believe I missed the chapter in Home Economics dealing with “butt hair gum removal.”

I’d heard a rumor once—something club soda—stains or something, but I didn’t think club soda was going to apply in this case. I knew you could use ice to freeze gum and then chip it off of stuff, but chipping seemed the wrong sort of action to take. Pulling was right out. Shaving/cutting seemed promising, but it was going to be close work.

I can remember hoping that my hand was going to be steady enough, what with the laughing and all.

The real problem is that there just isn’t any kind of hotline for this. I blame the government.

Let me just report that the operation was a success, and I employed a combination of techniques.

To the children and now grandchildren I would like to say, “Let this be a lesson to you. Never chew gum in the bathtub. Chewing gum in the bathtub can make your father have to have his posterior shaved. There are reasons for family rules. Rules are our friends, and YaYa doesn’t make this stuff up. She has experience. She’s lived.”

Linda (Steady Now) Zern 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Country Loving



Many of you know that my husband and I live in a rural setting. Right now, the setting resembles an episode of Hillbilly Hand Fishing. (There is a lot of standing water, due to the semi-tropical weather with a name.) 

Folks sometimes come out to the country to visit us. They wear flip-flops and short-shorts. We recommend long pants and steel-toed boots—even for the babies. The country is no joke. There are snakes in the water, horse poop in piles, fire ants in heaps, and animals doing what animals do all over the place.

Warning! Graphic! Farm related animal talk and scenarios featuring animals in their natural habitat. They will not be wearing clothes—of any kind—ever. They do not act like people, no matter how much we insist. 

On one side of our property is the “weekend” home of Mr. Abe. Mr. Abe likes to fill his fields with boy goats—lots and lots and lots of boy goats. He sells the goats to other Muslims to eat; these are goats considered clean, pure, and unsullied by hands, knives, or products that have touched or are pork. 

Try to understand: There are sixty or more horny boy goats next door to my house at any given time waiting for the knife of purity. It’s like Sodom and Gomorrah over there because boy goats will . . . um . . . er . . . oh forget it . . . they will hump anything that stands still long enough to let them try. They are not gay. They are just boy goats, sans girl goats.

Picture it! Sixty to one thousand boy goats attempting to dominate, rut, hump, and get their freak on with sixty to one thousand other boy goats. It's like a game: King of the Mountain. I've forbidden myself from looking over at Mr. Abe's, afraid that I'll turn to salt. 

I once saw a boy donkey running away from a giant Nubian boy goat that was trying to declare his inter-species love, both of which were being chased by their owner—my neighbor who lives on the other side of me. 

Do not visit the country if you are unprepared to explain donkey/goat sex to your children. I mean it. Unless, of course, you want to go with the standard, “They’re just wrestling, dear.” Because that’s a lot of wrestling.

And the wrestling dodge will not explain Porno Pete, the overly amorous donkey that used to stand on the other side of the fence, trying to appeal to our girl horses. His method of asking for a date was to display his . . . rather . . . ambitious . . . personal . . . oh forget it . . . he let it all hang out CONSTANTLY. It was gross. I finally had to forbid the grandchildren from looking over at Porno Pete, telling them that they would turn to salt if they did.

Do not visit the country if you are unprepared to explain the anatomy of a boy donkey in love. 

“What is that thing, Mommy?”

Go ahead, explain; I’ll hold your coat.

And whatever you do, don’t visit after a smashing, good semi-tropical downpour. It’s a regular frog freak fest, closely resembling a frat party, resulting in about ten trillion tadpoles swimming across the front yard. It’s life, and it just goes on and on and on. 

Life! Messy, funny, dramatic, lusty life.

On second thought, come on out, any old time, but just remember to wear long pants and boots and be prepared for a hefty dose of Mother Nature.

Linda (Salt Pillar) Zern 






Saturday, August 27, 2016

A STORY FOR ALL TIME!


It's the new version of my favorite movie.
I miss Charlton . . .

And in the beginning it was a book.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

RAGGEDY MAN

Amazon.com is a marvel of virtual shopping. I love it. They love me. I type in my, sometimes strange, criteria—goat de-wormer, dog dandruff shampoo, owl pellets, size five kitten heels—and bam! Elves bring me my every heart’s desire—for free. I have a Prime account. 

The day that the grid finally does collapse, and my keyboard goes still and silent, will be a dark, dark shopping day indeed.

People ask me, “Where did you get that Steampunk skull head walking stick?”

“Amazon, of course,” I chirp. “ No shipping. I’m prime.”

My husband, Sherwood the Stoic Shopper, does not often order online, but when he does . . .

He buys shoe polish. That’s it. Or so I thought.

In the jumble of boxes, packages, and envelopes, I noticed a small manila envelope that looked as if it had circumnavigated the globe in the wheel well of a UPS jet with engine trouble. I opened the envelope. Shoe polish wrapped in bubble wrap and . . . a rag . . . fell out. Weird. I tossed the garbage and kept the shoe polish.

Sherwood the Stoic Shopper called me, from some foreign land—I think in this case it was Detroit, and asked, “Did my package come?”

“Sure. Sure. Your exotic shoe polish from the Himalayas arrived.”

“How about the rag?”

The word garbage shot into my mind like a bullet. “Rag? What rag?”

“The seven dollar buffing rag that came with the polish. I’ve been tracking it.”

It’s in moments like this that knowing what nuttiness to address first can be a challenge.

“You’ve been tracking a rag.”

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty pumped about getting my buffing rag—seven dollars.”

“Sherwood, did I know that you were waiting on a rag? A rag that not only looked like a rag but looked like a hunk of stuff someone had cut off of a moth eaten curtain? A hunk of stuff that you paid seven dollars for? Did I know?”

“Linda, where’s my rag?”

“You might want to start tracking the garbage.”

His broken hearted moan echoed. “I was so looking forward to getting it,” he whispered. 

“Babe, it was a rag. I thought it was a junky kind of packing material. What the heck?”

My husband is a computer systems senior analyst, meaning he speaks software. Human communication is not his best thing. He seemed to believe that I should have magically 1) known the rag was more than a rag 2) known he’d ordered a rag 3) known he’s paid more for the rag than the polish 4) known his heart was set on getting his ‘buffing rag . . . and so forth.

PEOPLE! IT WAS A RAG!

Don’t worry, he got his revenge; he hid my brand new travel blow dryer in the closet so that I would 1) think I was going crazy 2) unable to dry my hair, forcing me to wear it in a ridiculous ponytail for a work meeting 3) wandering around the house crying my eyes out 4) pretty sure the grandboys had stolen it to use for a “gun” . . . and so forth.

There’s a great line in “Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome.” At the end of the movie, Aunty says to Max, “Ain’t we a pair, Raggedy Man?”

Yeah. What she said.

I’m ordering myself a t-shirt with that line printed on it. From Amazon. No shipping. I’m prime.

Linda (Thunderdome) Zern 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Google Rules

Mother Nature is a girl with an agenda. She’s not a dancing hippo in a tutu. That’s a Disney cartoon with no actual connection or counterpart in the natural world where Mother Nature is queen. Let me repeat. Hippo’s do not wear clothes. They do not dance ballet. They do not twirl in tutu’s.

Hippo’s are murderers. They kill more people in Africa than any other land mammal. 

I made the mistake of saying that hippo’s are the most dangerous animals in the world, and I was instantly challenged by the Google police. 

Me: Hippo’s are the most . . .

Google Police: GOOGLE IT!

Me: I meant land mammal in Africa.

Google Police: NOT WHAT YOU SAID. Ah ha! The most dangerous animal in the world? THE MOSQUITO!!! Google busted . . .

Someone (who was not me): Mosquitoes aren’t animals.

Google Police: GOOGLE IT.

Actually, mosquitoes are animals. Pigeons are animals. Hermit crabs are animals. Goats are animals. And animals do what animals do because Mother Nature is their queen, even if everyone in society decides to shave their dog’s butt and dress them in top hat and tails. 

Our male goat named Tramp is six feet tall when he stands on his hind legs. Mother Nature, his queen, dictates that he lives for two things: food and females. He happily obeys. When new girl goats show up in our next-door neighbor’s pastures, Tramp becomes a rank smelling, lip curling sex fiend. It’s in his DNA. He lives to make baby Tramps. 

When I say he’s rank . . . well . . . let’s “google” it:

Billy goats -- or bucks, as goat fanciers correctly call them -- are intact male goats. ... Bucks stink with a strong musky odor, which comes from both their scent glands, located near their horns, and their urine, which they spray on their face, beards, front legs and chest.

Let’s read this again slowly: Urine. Which. They. Spray. On. Their. Faces. Beards. Legs. And. Chest.

Boy goats smell like old cheese cooked in the sun under a pile of moldy grass clippings. It’s a “perfume” girl goats cannot resist. Boy goats stink. They don’t have a choice. They stink because Mother Nature, their queen, says they must if they’re going to get sex and make baby Tramps.

Animals live to eat and make more animals. It’s true.

Back to mosquitoes, the most dangerous animal in the world, which live to eat and make more of themselves. The ones that bite are female. True story. They need the protein in blood for their eggs to develop. 

Google it.

Humans are animals. That’s the word on the secular street. We live to eat and make more of ourselves and watch the Olympics and knit afghans and wear perfume and start charities and ride bicycles and drink smoothies and invent Google and vacuum the kid’s room and write novels and blog . . . about mosquitoes. 

True story.

Linda (Skeeter) Zern 



Thursday, August 11, 2016

QUICKIES - Posts Short and Sweet

PIECE OF MY PARENTING MIND #101 - Figure out what they love and then help them do it. You might wind up with an Olympian. You might not. You will wind up with a happy kid.

Monday, August 8, 2016

CUTTING THE OLYMPIC DREAM SHORT

The Olympics are back, and my marriage is on the rocks. Oh, not in the traditional sense, where the husband is out and about looking for dates on the dark web or anything like that. No. Martial bliss is rough and rocky right now because the Olympics are a reminder that my husband always wanted to be an Olympian, and he’s not one.

It’s my fault he never lived the dream.

Why?

Because, Dear Reader, instead of chasing his Olympic “dream” he started chasing me.

I disavow any responsibility.

“It’s your fault that I never went to the Olympics,” he said. “If you’d quit running away and let me catch you, I wouldn’t have been so distracted. And you always wore that ‘Sweet Honesty’ t-shirt.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” I’m well known for not giving an inch in these discussions.

“You insisted on wearing that shirt with those pink shorts and knee socks—pink, all pink.”

“Are you trying to say that I owned and wore an Olympic dream smashing outfit—on purpose?”

“Yep.” He huddled over various computer screens, trying to figure out how to live stream the 2016 Olympics.

Smiling like Alice’s disappearing cat, I asked, “Have you tried the Dark Web, Dear?”

When he does figure out how to watch the Olympics, it will be one long stream of expert couch coaching. Couch coaching is a symptom of a disease I have termed Coach-of-All-Sports Disorder. Often afflicting hobby athletes and former high school runners, it’s the steadfast belief that no matter the sport, the sufferer knows how to coach it. 

Synchronized swimming? Absolutely. Dressage? Of course. Women’s shot putting? You bet.

“Oh man! He came out of his tuck way too early. That’ll cost him,” my husband shouted. He was sitting on the edge of the couch like a raccoon spying a box of Ritz Crackers, clutching the channel changer to his chest, while the light of Olympic glory flamed in his eye.

“I wasn’t aware that you’ve done a lot of spring board diving,” I observed.

“I’ve been to the YMCA.” His eyes never left the television screen.

“That’s a hammy. She’s just blown her hammy. Didn’t warm up enough.” He shook his head in disdain.

“Hammy? How do you know?”

“Hamstring,” he said, waving vaguely to his backside. “Classic injury for long jumpers.”

I tried to recall a time when I had seen him jump farther or higher than our dog when she’s sleeping in front of the fridge. Nope. I had nothing. 

And on it goes . . . on and on and on . . . for two long weeks.

If only I’d never worn those pink shorts and derailed his dream. 

Hey! Wait a minute! It couldn’t have been much of a goal if all it took was a cute girl in a free Avon ‘Sweet Honesty’ t-shirt and a pair of pink shorts to goof it up. 

Right?

Linda (Shorts) Zern 




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