100 Words: The One-eyed Morkie

My sister lives with my parents right now. We are all big animal lovers so I wasn’t surprised when, last year, the beloved family dog passed away and to ease the unbearable sadness, they all went to a breeder and bought a Labradoodle. (Which sounds like a toy you get from Mattel…”It’s a science experiment AND an art studio! Turn your little Einsteins into Picassos with LABRADOODLE!”) Well, they went back to the breeder this week and got…

wait for it…

a one-eyed Morkie. A Morkie is a cross between a Yorkie and a Maltese. This one in particular was doomed to most certain death when the breeder’s various compatriots said he’d ruin his reputation if people knew he was breeding one-eyed puppies. I’m not sure how my family found out about the vision-impaired pooch but leave it to them (well, us…I’d have done the same if I was in the market for a dog) to bring her home and love her to death. My sister had all sorts of signs that pointed to GET THE ONE EYED DOG which I won’t go into here, but trust me, you’d have gone to get the one-eyed Morkie, too.

She isinsanely adorable. She’s very small, black and brown and likes to sit between your feet. The Labradoodle is slowly getting used to her, although I suspect she feels like the older sibling who desperately wants a playmate in her new baby sister but is disappointed that said baby can’t play until she gets bigger.

I suggested they call her Mindy. Mindy the Morkie. Or Pirate. But they chose Lucy which is cute.

I just say the word “Morkie” and I have to snicker.

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100 words: Choking Charlie

This is something I remember.

In the sixth grade, it was very popular for those of us girls who wanted to be Babysitters to take the Red Cross Babysitter Certification class. This entailed a few Saturdays spent at the Red Cross learning first aid, how to call poison control, how to hold a baby, and other such valuable lessons, at the end of which you earned a card to put in your wallet and show any parent who might be considering your services.  The class was held in a large teaching room at the downtown Red Cross, and the fifteen or so of us in the class didn’t even come close to filling it up.

Occasionally, when we came in, there would be stuff left over from another class – diagrams of CPR procedures, for example. One rainy Saturday though, we found our class had a new member. Choking Charlie, the Heimlich Maneuver practice dummy. Choking Charlie was a full-sized man torso and head, face contorted into an eternal breathless choke. He had no arms or legs. You could unsnap a panel on his chest to reveal a bunch of rubbery organs. (He also didn’t have any clothes, but I suspect you’d be more interested in your choking than your clothes, if you were a victim of an uncut up hot dog or a grape, both common choking hazards.)

Charlie’s primary function was to help people learn to do the life-saving Heimlich properly. This was achieved with the aid of a rubbery ball which was lodged in Charlie’s mouth and attached to a filament line that would save the Maneuverist a trip across the room by restraining said ball. Somehow, when we got hold of Charlie the ball had become untethered and had also become rather gnarled such that it looked like a small dusty meatball.

We placed our small girl arms around Charlie’s limbless torso, jerked in and up as we were told, and watched in wonder as the meatwad shot with astonishing force across the room. Ahh, so that’s how it works, we thought. During a break, giggling, we took turns clumsily wielding Charlie’s poor torso around, shooting the meatwad at each other. A particularly good shot fwapped off a girl’s shin. Another zoomed perilously close to another’s ear.

The teacher finally broke up the hysterics, pushing the rubbery wad back into Charlie’s craw and stuck him in the back of the room where he sat in silent choke for the rest of the class. We never saw him again. While I have not had the opportunity to practice my skills learned with Choking Charlie, I’m sure that if you are ever in need, I could perform admirably. Just make sure you’re not choking on a meatball. 

100 words: What’s on my desk

Stuff to drink out of: A coffee mug that reads “ARE YOU A GOOD BITCH…OR A BAD BITCH?” and which I cannot bring myself to take into work. A Derby glass. An empty Diet Caffeine Free Coke can.

The paper goods: An Amazon label I printed out to send something back that was a gift I already have. An AT&T magazine that I saved with the idea that I will someday write to the editor and ask if I can freelance for him, but really I am just using it as a coaster for the BITCH mug because I’m too chicken to ask the about freelancing. Also, I Have a box of note cards from which I took one this morning to write a note to my friend who gave me a purse she found at a yard sale that was just the absolute perfect thing ever, not because it’s a purse but because it reminded me of some things of which I desperately needed to be reminded. A package of red Chinese envelopes adorned with brilliant goldfish in gold and orange foil which I will use for a little feng shui later. Two packages of momiji note cards. A copy of a magazine in which I have an article. A pad of round orange post it notes. A tiny pink pad with my name on the top. Some printouts I don’t remember why I kept.

Everything else: A handheld fan I took to a wedding on Sunday that was well-used because it was so effing hot. My digital camera which I forgot to bring to aforementioned wedding. Two pens, one from a jewelry store downtown run by large men with pendants the size of hubcaps (one of them actually IS a hubcap) who give the best service of any jewelry store I know. Also, my PC speakers and the monitor.

100 Words: What comes to mind

I read PostSecret’s site every Sunday. It’s a little voyeuristic, I think, but we’re all a little bit Peeping Tom, aren’t we? Sometimes the secrets are funny, some are touching. But some make me really really upset. Secrets where someone is hurting someone else are very sad. The ones that are most upsetting are the ones about people hurting animals. A few months ago, a woman posted a secret that she was giving her cat antifreeze or something justso she could go see the cute vet. Today, a woman posted that when she felt the urge to stuff her face, she stuffs her dog’s face instead. I don’t understand the impulse to hurt animals in this way. Are they so selfish that a cat’s existence is just a means to a date with a vet? I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

I have the same reaction to people hurting kids but people don’t put secrets about hurting kids up on PostSecret. (Well…maybe Frank weeds them out or something.) A few months ago there was a spate of stories on CNN about various child abuses and I had to stop reading CNN for a while. Now I just avoid those stories. But at PostSecret, if someone mentioned hurting a child I suspect they’d be turned in to the police. But somehow it’s ok to post that you’re abusing animals.

PostSecret is supposed to be a cathartic non-judgemental way of sharing your secrets. There’s a catch about secrets though. You want to let them out because sometimes they’re just hanging around inside you, chewing on your insides. It makes you feel better to let them out but then they are hanging around whoever hears them, chewing at them instead. So when I read some of those secrets, I feel like the person must feel better but the trade-off is that the readers feel worse. 

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I started writing and this stuff just kind of came out. Maybe my lesson here is that I need to stop reading CNN and PostSecret.

100 words: 100 words

I got a comment that most of my 100 words posts are more than 100 words. Well, that’s good because the point is that I sit down to write at least 100 words and then the rest is icing on the proverbial cake.

I have the same philosophy with exercise. If I don’t feel like working out, I go anyway and promise myself I can stop after 20 minutes if I still don’t feel like working out. I have yet to stop at 20 minutes. I have yet to stop at 100 words. It’s not a constriction, it’s allowing myself to set the expectations a little lower sometimes, and knowing it’s ok to write 100 words sometimes takes the pressure off myself. Now, the daily 100 words thing has kind of slipped by the wayside because I sit at a PC all day and sometimes I just can’t bear to sit at one some more.

100 words: Things I’ve Found

I’ve found things other people have lost. More grocery lists than I care to remember that made me wonder what they had planned for dinner that week: hamburger peanut butter borax M&MS.   I’ve found pennies and quarters and once a $1 bill in the front yard of my parents’ house. I’ve found Christmas cards on the side of the road. In one, the metallic gold filligree was full of grit and there were dusty footprints on the message inside MAY THE JOY OF THE HOLIDAY BE YOURS TO SHARE   LOVE, BILL AND RHONDA. Love notes and words written on money and scraps of magazine paper. I found shells and a seahorse at the beach, smooth rocks at the lake, a hunk of twisted glass, a pair of sunglasses. 

I’ve found things I’ve lost. The other earring (it was in my overnight bag), a set of linen placemats (my mother thought they were hers and she put them away), my ferret (he was at the neighbor’s house, sleeping in a coil of extension cord in the garage). I’ve found my passport and my pedometer, my perfect pen and my parents’ wedding photo album.

I’ve found new music, that I like gin and tonic, and that the Derby isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve found I like new technology and don’t go anywhere without my iPod. (Husband was right about that one.)  I’ve found a house I love. (Husband was right about that, too.) 

100 words: First first first draft

A few years ago, I found a mailla folder with a small stack of neatly typed onionskin pages held together with a rusty little paperclip. The title reads “Caitlin’s Animal Farm” by Sara Duvall. I don’t mind telling you, Dear Reader, that this is one of the great unfinished works in late 20th century American literature. I wrote it circa 1989 and I am certain this is going to be one of Oprah’s book club picks very soon.

The general idea of the story is a bunch of kids are stranded on an island with no adult supervision. (Heard it before? Yes, well, mine’s DIFFERENT.) The narration is delivered via first-person point of view and consists almost entirely of descriptions of the other students. Caitlin, our heroine, is exceedingly smart and efficient in this time of distress, guiding her classmates to safety and observing the horror with the calm clarity of a person much older and wiser. Eleven pages illustrate for us Caitlin’s true leadership qualities as she divides tasks, makes plans, and doesn’t even sniffle at the prospect of life on a deserted island.

As I read over this, I’m sort of touched. This was me, twenty years ago, trying to be a writer. There’s a lot working here. But most of it is typical first writer junk. That’s a pen name up there and all the characters have names out of soap operas – Sebastion Kingsley, Milla Johannsen, Suzanne Beckwith, Stephanie Scott. There’s a LOT of telling-not-showing. Here’s a gem: “Both girls were very pretty, Stephanie more of the ditzy blonde and Suzanne more the artful dodger with a hint of femininity woven in.” HA. Brilliant.

I was obsessed with the class divide story and I was reading a lot of books featuring the poor kid/rich kid thing. Many of the kids in this piece are very well off but who is it that saves the day? Conscientious, hard-working Caitlin who doesn’t have money but makes up for it in common sense. 

I saved this because this is so much of what was going through my mind at this age. And because it’s my writing roots. It reminds me that writing isn’t just a passing fancy, it’s something I’ve been drawn to and compelled to do for at least two-thirds of my life.  I like to pull it out now and then, just to see how far I’ve come.