Friday, January 30, 2009

Weird Happenings in New Hampshire

The other day I was in Portsmouth doing some shopping at the local health food store before meeting back up with my family at the restaurant where my niece works. It was my mother's birthday and we'd just taken her out for brunch at the quirky Friendly Toast and were then going to stop briefly to see my niece. The others had gone ahead so that I could do my health store shopping sans children. Finishing quickly, I hurried on to meet them. I was walking down the sidewalk, minding my own business, jauntily carrying my paper bag full of healthy products,

When it happened...

"Excuse me!" a voice cried out from behind me. "Excuse me!" Thinking someone was in a rush and needed space on the slippery, snowy sidewalk, I moved over toward the building to get out of their way. Seemingly from out of nowhere, a female face appeared in the tiny space between me and the wall and a five dollar bill was shoved into my hand with the words, "Here! There's more of that where that came from!" Then she was gone. Totally gobsmacked, I stood for a moment staring at the bill in my hand before swinging around to see what the heck had just happened. Lots of people were out that Saturday morning, filling the sidewalks, and it was hard to see where the woman had gone. I thought maybe she had joined a group and was hurrying away, but I couldn't tell for sure. I hadn't gotten a good look at her because she'd come and gone so quickly, but if asked, I'd say she was your average looking (meaning, no unusual tattoos, hair color, or piercings), American woman in her forties.

I was so stunned by her action that I didn't even say thank you. Of course, I was also suspicious. Immediately I opened my purse, not to put the bill away, but to check my wallet. It was still there. So, this hadn't been a trick to distract me, then steal my wallet. I began to walk again, tentatively holding the bill in my hand as though it might contain a bomb. After a minute, I decided to look it over. I examined it thoroughly and found no messages or phone numbers or websites scrawled on it. No blood. No bomb. It looked all right.

But I didn't want it.

Right away I started searching for someone who would. A man waiting for the bus looked a little down and out, but he also looked grumpy. I figured that if I tried to give him money he'd yell at me, "Do I look poor to you?" and I would be forced to reply, "Well, yes, you do, sir. I thought you could use some money." And Bam! that would be the end of me.

I wanted to live so I kept walking, hoping at the very least that I'd find a street musician working the crowd. Strangely, on a cold January morning, there was no such creature. Still dazed, my mind started going through all the possibilities of what this might mean. Was it a strange, grassroots version of Obama's new stimulus plan? A reality television show taping what people do with the money a stranger gives them? If that were the case, I was determined not to look entirely idiotic with my paper bag and a five-dollar bill held out before me between two gloved fingers. I straightened my shoulders and walked faster.

The worst case scenario? Maybe, just maybe, I looked like I needed the money. Maybe that paper bag in my arm resembled a six-pack from the liquor store. Was that why she'd given me money? She thought I looked down and out? The Norwegian in me was horrified, and my husband didn't help matters any. When I met up with my family and told everyone my story, he said that maybe my jacket had made her think I was a homeless person. I was wearing a navy blue peacoat. I thought it made me look distinguished. Apparently, I thought wrong.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure, despite my husband's opinion, that I didn't look homeless or needy. As much as I would like to be politically correct and say there is nothing wrong with looking homeless and needy, I won't be hypocritical The only people who really want to look homeless and needy are the ones who are trying to scam you. I don't think those who are truly homeless and needy want to look that way. Not being either, I certainly didn't. The thing was, the woman ran me down to give me the money. She literally chased after me yelling, "Excuse me!" to get me to stop. What was it about me that prompted such unusual behavior?

My husband said he would have chased after her and demanded to know where the rest of it was since she had, after all, said, "there's more of that where that came from." I wouldn't have done that. What if this had been a ruse to get me to follow her down a dark alley so that she and her gang could kidnap me and sell me on the white slave market? I don't want to be a slave.

I ended up giving the money to my niece and she put it in her tip jar. She didn't want it at first, but I told her she could pay it forward some time. She promptly took it. The youth are so much less suspicious than I am.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the gesture was meant to be in good spirit - a simple, generous act. Too bad I didn't take it that way, which says something about me, I guess. Too many times I've taken people at face value only to end up being ridiculed by them. This time, I was going to be careful. Of course, this time was probably the one example of someone truly being kind and not using me for a morning's entertainment...Boy, I wish we could hear what that woman's thinking right now! You probably just blew her mind, Beth!

For the moment, the event remains a mystery to me. If anyone has any ideas about what might have happened, please pass the information along. In the meantime, beware the five-dollar biller. You might just get free money out of the deal.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Things You’ll Never Hear Parents Saying to Their Kids

I believe the children are my future. I do. When I'm old, my kids are going to support me. Until then, I have to put up with a lot of their crap.

Over the holiday vacation I compiled a short list of...

Things You'll Never Hear Parents Saying to Their Kids:

1. I sure wish you'd cry more.
2. Please make a bigger mess when you eat.
3. Thanks for wearing that same pair of underwear (or socks, shirt, pants) all week.
4. Can't you be louder? It's too quiet around here!
5. Sure you can have my credit card and buy that $120 Nintendo ds.
6. Go ahead and tease the dog with your face, hand, or dangly bits.
7. I really want to know why you're whining.
8. Of course, I'll clean your room for you.
9. Oh, goody, you're sick again!
10. Thank goodness it's finally summer vacation!
11. I'm happy to wipe up around the toilet where you missed (the next two relate quite a bit to this one).
12. I'm glad you didn't put the toilet seat up when you were draining the lizard because I like sitting in pee.
13. I'm having another boy? Woohoo!
14. Yes, you may mix those chemicals together.
15. Feel free to play with my crystal glasses.
16. You want to build a catapult? Awesome! Let me know how I can help (oh, wait. My husband said this to my middle child).
17. Please, more fart jokes. I just can't get enough (actually, I can't. It's very sad).

Feel free to add some phrases. I will give you credit however you want me to.

Until next week...Be afraid, be very afraid (Wednesday Addams).

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Good News and a Helpful Link for Published Author Wannabes

That's probably one of the longer titles in existence, but I can't help wanting to share the confirmed good news about my book, via the blog link down below. You can also hear some real world advice about marketing that thriller author, Jeremy Robinson, has learned first-hand. It's a reality check for most of us, but better to know upfront than to be surprised and not ready to help your book do well, even if published through a major publisher in bookstores. Jeremy has gone from being self-published to scoring a 3-book deal with Thomas Dunne so he knows what he's talking about.

Anyway, here's the blog (it's actually a vlog - a video blog):

Good News!

Friday, January 9, 2009

You Know You Have a Puppy When…

You'd think puppies wouldn't have anything to do with writing, but oh, they do. We got a puppy in October. She's now about 4 1/2 months old...a chocolate lab named Dorrie. We named her after Dorrie, the little witch, a beloved character in the books that I used to read when I was a kid, and from Anaedora, her first name. Her full title is Anaedora Deogee (DOG). How does she relate to writing? She is very good at keeping me from it. Since getting her, she has definitely made her mark on our family - in more ways than one.

So, to my list: You know you have a puppy when...

1) Your clothes have more holes in them than Swiss cheese.

2) Your white carpeting is now polka-dotted yellow and brown and your hardwood floor is covered with muddy footprints that look surprisingly wolf-like.

3) You find yourself yelling "Get down!" even though you're not breaking into dance, which is what you usually do.

4) You end up chasing her because she got away from you and ran into the road, and there sitting and watching you looking like an idiot as you try to catch your mad puppy, are the local police.

5) Your hands have tiny little scratches all over them and a few dents, as well, because she's teething and decides gnawing your hand helps alleviate the pain.

6) You have to warn your children about yellow snow and how it's not from someone spilling lemonade.

7) Your lawn is littered with potholes.

8) You have to shovel out a play area in the snow or come out with an umbrella in the rain, which she finds icky even though she's supposed to be a water dog, all so she won't pee on the porch.

9) You start referring to yourself as her mommy or daddy.

10) Your tupperware is now a play toy.

11) Taking your dog for a walk on the leash has become the new aerobics.

12) You are able to blame certain odors on her.

13) Your mother keeps feeding her treats even when you've asked her not to.

14) The reaction her little puppy stomach has to those treats is what causes those certain odors.

15) You actually let something lick your face.

16) Your mouse doesn't work because she chewed through the wire.

17) The tiny Christmas figures that populated your sweet, little Christmas village are all headless and the conductor has no arms.

18) You love her despite your vows to send her back to where she came from after she either poops under the piano yet again (because she knows it's raining outside) or gets dog slobber all over your underwear that you were going to change into after your shower, but she somehow managed to find on your medievally high bed.

Okay, I admit that I love my dog, though I'm not sure why. Pets are supposed to help lower your blood pressure, but I must be doing something wrong, because all mine do is raise it. If I'm not chasing after Dorrie and wrestling her to retrieve one of my kid's hats which she plucked off his head while he was sledding, I'm cleaning up hairballs or chasing cats away from sharpening their claws on the bedposts. Plus, I'm allergic to cats.

I'd write more, but I have to go stop my dog from tackling the children.

P.S. If you want to order my book, please be patient as we are currently experiencing a vendor problem that my publisher is feverishly trying to fix. You were going to order one, right? Of course, you were. I have to have some way to pay all my vet bills.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lovers of the Classics

To anyone out there who loves Masterpiece Theater, classic literature and/or romance...PBS is showing Tess of the d'Urbervilles (starting Sunday, January 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET and continuing on the 11th) and Wuthering Heights (January 18 and 25, @ 9:00 p.m. ET). I'm so excited! I hope they're as good as they look...

Here's the link to the site:

PBS Masterpiece Theater