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Just in case you missed me…

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in this space, and maybe there are a few of you (optimistically speaking) who have wondered, perhaps unconsciously within the dark recesses of your minds, just where the heck I’ve been.

Then again, maybe not, but I’ll tell you anyway.

I have no clue.

Which is, under any circumstances whatsoever, strictly par for my course. It’s very seldom that I have a clue about anything at all, let alone where time went. But went it did. So, in the new tradition of the annual “what we did, how we did it, and who we did it with” letter that many of us find enclosed in our Christmas cards these days, here’s a brief synopsis (in no particular order) of what I did, how I did it, and who I did it with (unless I didn’t get a release letter, in which case names will be changed to protect my delicate heiny).

For starters, there was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the official gateway to the Holiday Season, and is always an accurate indicator on how the rest of the season will go for me, like Punxsutawney Phil’s winter forecast. If I plan to eat by noon but don’t actually sit down until 2:00, chances are better than 99.9% that I’ll be in the mall on Christmas Eve, a good thirty days behind schedule. I don’t have any problem with the cooking part, it’s the execution…I always forget to do something. One year it was rolls. This year it was cornbread dressing. I know…pathetic, right? Especially since it comes straight out of a box.

Then, my husband and I recently attended both of our office Christmas parties, events which will mark from this point forward December 2011 as one of those rare historical anomalies scientists will be studying for years to come, like sunspots or the Dead Sea Scrolls. Amazingly, both were a lot of fun, but I must say that mine forever changed the way I viewed the world and my place in it. I discovered that Scotch is a poor substitute for tequila, and is not enhanced whatsoever by a wedge of lime. It does, however, serve very well as a chaser for Cabernet Sauvignon.

I booked a trip to Scotland and Ireland. After I finished reading the latest book in the “Outlander” series (which I’ve mentioned in this space before), I discovered via the author’s website that the next book won’t be out until 2013. I was struck with such an acute sense of loss that I decided the only thing I could do to alleviate the extreme (and if there was another word more extreme than “extreme,” I’d use it) discomfort of withdrawal was to spend a zillion dollars and go to Scotland. It’s therapeutic…and I intend to file on my insurance.

And, last but not least, (and what I consider to be my crowning achievement), I learned how to spell “ubiquitous.”

Using it in a sentence, though, will have to wait until 2012.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Jamie Fraser or Indoor Plumbing?

I’m in book number five in a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon called Outlander, and I’ve become so totally involved in it that I fervently wish I was living in the 18th century, in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by all that is contained therein; e.g., crags, heather, and—most especially—brawny Scotsmen dressed in plaid.  It has become so real to me, in fact, that when forced to emerge from the fantasy, I experience a painful pang of regret because I’m not in the Scottish Highlands during the 18th century.  Plus, to further complicate things, I’m involved in a one-sided love-ish-like-sorta thing with a figment of someone else’s imagination.

How kinky can you get?

My…er, our… hero is named James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser.  He’s a very tall (probably six-four at least), broad-shouldered Scot with long, thick, red hair that complements his ruddy complexion and high cheekbones.  He can handle himself in a fight, using both broadsword and dirk (which is—for you uninitiated lay-people out there—Scottish for “dagger”), and has a pain tolerance like you wouldn’t believe.  He is kind, loyal, and fiercely protective.  His sense of honor keeps him from breaking his word once he’s given it, no matter what the cost.  Plus—and this is the good part—he’s sexy AND sensitive (that’s how you know he’s not real).  In short, he’s perfect.  Oh, yeah, and he has a broad, Scottish accent.  I know that, because he says things like, “I dinna ken that man, did ye?” (or words to that effect).

I’ve never experienced anything like this.  I’ve been wrapped up in books before, not wanting to put them down, but not to the extent that I needed a reality check.   

And the reality is, Jamie and I can never be together.  Period.  It wouldn’t work.  And not just because I’m real and he’s not (which in most cases is a deal-breaker).  We could never be together because I wouldn’t last five minutes in 18th century Scotland—sexy, kilt-clad Scot notwithstanding.  This fact became glaringly obvious to me last week when I locked myself out of my house. 

I won’t bore you with the details, but when I pressed down on the door handle, my life flashed before my eyes.  No, I thought…it’s just stuck.  I had my twelve-year-old grandson with me, and while I was still pondering why the door wouldn’t open, he was having his own little conniption, stomping around the garage, waving his hands around as if beng swarmed by bees.

 “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T HAVE A KEY!  WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A KEY?!” he ranted. 

Then, when I told him I didn’t have my phone either, I thought his adolescent brain was going to explode. 

“WHAT??  YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR PHONE, EITHER??  I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FORGOT YOUR PHONE!” 

I know…I’m not fit.  I didn’t have my house key and I didn’t have my phone.  We were doomed. 

I allowed myself a few moments of blank mindlessness (as if I could do anything else).  I was stunned.  This wasn’t happening.  I NEVER get locked out!  It was 106° in the shade and we were stuck out outside…oh, yeah, we were so-o-o-o-o doomed.

I collapsed into a chair on the back patio and tried to pull myself together…I told myself not to panic, to stay calm, be brave.  In spite of my internal pep talk, I started to sweat, both physically and mentally.  My head started aching and I began to get thirsty, all the while imagining us dying of heat-stroke (or boredom) before help arrived.  

We did eventually get in, you’ll be glad to know, but not before I was forced to face the unvarnished truth:  Jamie Fraser could never protect me from me.  How could I possibly deal with marauding clansmen and English spies if I can’t face, with courage and fortitude, getting locked out of my own house?

And, anyway, after further thought and consideration, I’ve decided that I much prefer indoor plumbing and stretch pants to chamber pots and corsets.

Sexy, kilt-clad Scot notwithstanding.

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