Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chapter from my book #5

I finished roughing my fourth book on the 29th of December and immediately plunged into book number five. It's another love story, (what else), taking place in my home town of Camarillo with a young man who's been married, divorced and has custody of his two children. He meets a young woman that he doesn't want to love and then the fun begins. So here is Chapter Two of my fifth book:

He hadn’t intended to stare, but when a man’s been without a woman in his life for as long as he had, well, it was a welcome sight. Marc, or Marcellus Hamlet Swane, as his fanciful flighty mother had named him, was just retrieving the boxes containing the wood laminate for his son Adam’s free-wheeling bedroom. Marc opted for man-made products for the rambunctious and boisterous young five year old boy who moved through a home more like a charging rhino than a normal human being. Durable, sensible and practically indestructible, that’s what the label on the box read and Marc was all for it.

Before grabbing the final box and hefting it into the house, he’d couldn’t help but hear the 306 horses roaring down the block and squealing to a brisk stop in the driveway of the James’s old house across the street. Silvery steel gray, he smiled. His favorite color. The guy had taste. Then the car open and long silky legs slid out half hidden under a butterscotch colored skirt followed up by a jacket in the same color with a blouse the color of melting butter. Some guy was all Marc could manage. That’s when he dropped the last box, leaned back against the tailgate of the truck and crossed his arms and legs to enjoy the view.

The woman stopped for the longest time and just looked at the house then turned to look down the street as if looking for someone. Her lips moved but at this distance, he couldn’t hear what she said. Talking to her self, he mused, wasn’t a very good sign of a stable mind. Anybody that looked like that, drove a hot car like that and lived all alone in a huge English Tudor had to be just a little bit off. But that isn’t why he kept watching.

The Hoffman’s dog was running around in circles in the yard next door, but the women in butterscotch didn’t seem to notice. Loud rap music wafted from Ricky Hernandez’s car as he started it up to go to work at In-N-Out. Then the yard crew down the block at the Rameriz’s place began the loud work of grooming the yard, but she continued to stare off into the west as if saying good bye. And he kept watching her—wondering.

Why hadn’t he noticed her before? Surely he would have noticed a woman who looked like she just stepped from the pages of Glamour before now. Maybe he should have been paying attention to his Aunt and Uncle’s home a long time ago instead of staying away from it like a wounded puppy. But their passing and the subsequent legal battle for their estate had left everyone in the Brightstone/Swane family on edge and bitter. He was no exception.

He glanced again at the blond with the great legs and the great car and wondered if she’d finally come to the conclusion of her daydream. He figured a woman like that was totally self-absorbed just as Lilly had been and accustomed to having the finer things in life.

Caution brother, he warned himself. They’re okay to look at, maybe pine for, but hands off! Let some other sucker grind his teeth on that one.
Just then the woman reached up and pulled something out of her hair releasing almost three feet of the silkiest wheat colored hair he’d ever seen, then shook it out. Then she bent over to pick up the newspaper and his mouth went bone dry. Fighting unchaste thoughts he looked down at his dirty, calloused hands and fidgeted. It wasn’t right for him to be staring at a woman like he’d been doing. He should get back to work. There was so much to do before move-in day. He didn’t have the luxury to stand and watch a beautiful woman that had an invisible sign on her attractive back that read “hands off buster”. And even though he hadn’t been what you would call really active in church of late, he knew it was wrong to crave something akin to the woman who’d broken his heart. Stupid, he chided himself. Absolutely stupid. Get back to work.

Before he could move, the leggy, blond fished something out of her trunk and moved inside the house without a backwards glance in his direction.

After she was safely inside, another car screamed down the street and bumped violently into the drive way next to the Z. He prayed the little Mazda Miata wouldn’t come in contact with the Z. It would devastate him. Another tall leggy brunette half slid, half pulled her yard long legs out of the squatty car and skipped up the sidewalk after the blond. Just before she ducked into the house, she shot him a cool look over Oakley sunglasses and pursed her lips.

What a show! Two gorgeous women for a price of one.

He’d just about decided to turn around and lift the box from the truck bed when another car chugged down the street. A little red Fiat about thirty years old clamored to a stop in front of the same house. Marc watched out of pure curiosity. The door had to be forced open and complained loudly with a metal grind. A woman of medium height with short spiky black hair tumbled out of the car almost meeting up with the ground. Her lips moved in a silent derision, but she dusted off her black slacks and straightened her silky black blouse and shot him what looked like a disgusted look, but he couldn’t tell for sure because as she also wore black sunglasses that kept her eyes hidden from him. He imagined black as well.

She gripped a very large purse, the contents almost spilling to the ground, slammed the complaining door and sauntered—hips swinging to the door and disappeared after giving him a thorough look. Black cat crossed his mind. She resembled a black slinky cat. He imagined she just might purr.

He turned back to the truck bed and picked up the last box of flooring. As he slammed the tailgate, two more cars raced down the street. He laid odds which house they’d stop at. Man, he was glad he hadn’t bet against himself—he’d have lost.

This time a long legged red head and a diminutive blond bounded out of an old Chevy and a Toyota Prius. Gas hog and environmentalist, he smiled and leaned back to enjoy the rest of the show.

The red head looked like an Irish dream dressing to her strengths in emerald green and gold. The little blond wore a simple pair of dark pink slacks and a pink blouse. Some sort of uniform.They met and hugged in the middle of the street. Marc envied their easy camaraderie. Then the red head tilted her sunglasses down a long perfect nose and studied him. Her ruby red lips curled up at the corners and she muttered something to the little blond that had her spinning around to stare in his direction.

Red waved a hand and his went up automatically in response, frustrating the life out of him. Stay cool, brother, he warned himself. No need getting involved with a hen house full of dishing women. Before the blond could reciprocate the wave, he strode off to the house and slammed the door. Women!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm back in school again!

After a year, I started taking another college course at Moorpark Community College. Since I want to write, I thought it might be a good idea to learn the basics. This time around I signed up for an on-line course. I love it. But man, I've never done so much work. I'm on the computer every night so far and have just been in class since last Monday, January 12th. I did some work over the weekend before hand. I just wanted to share one of my first assignments. It is a journal entry in which we were asked to interview a family members about the upcoming change in the presidency. So I chose Tim, my husband. (Now don't get too riled up!)I choose to interview not a blood relative, but my husband about the upcoming change in the presidency. My husband has very strong moral, ethical and political beliefs as do I, but is not one to speak out. To begin with, I asked him how he felt about the upcoming change. He said that a lot of people are happy. (He was trying to be evasive.) After five minutes of trying to get him to spell out how he felt about the change, he told me this, "I believe that Mr. Obama and Hillary will be the force behind a new world order. They will establish a more solid base of socialism than in the days of F.D.R." I concurred on that point. What Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in his term of office was to create the "New Deal" or in my words, "A Raw Deal", as social security was never meant to be more than a temporary fix. But a lass another socialist president made sure that the "have's" would fund the "have not's" ad infinitum with "The Great Society". Tim concurred.

I asked him if he thought Obama could change the country. Tim said, "I'm not sure that any president, even Mr. Obama, can do what needs to be done to overcome the years and years of bad financial mismanagement by the government." He went on to say, "sometimes presidents are just dangling puppets for the actual law makers in the House and Senate, policy wonks with boat loads of money and those unseen power brokers in smoke filled back rooms."When asked if Bush acted like a puppet. Tim said that "sometimes Bush was a naive puppet by listening and kowtowing to the opposition in many decisions that have affected the country badly. For instance, in 2001, he told congress to watch out for Freddie Mac and Fannie May stating that allowing excessive loans to people who wouldn't normally qualify for them would spell disaster for the mortgage industry. He wanted congress to put tighter restrictions and governmental controls on their loaning practices." Well that didn't happen. And why you might ask? Because Bush went along with the congressman who swore before a session of congress, that every working person in America should own a home. Tim said "that man was Congressman Barney Frankwho said in effect that everybody was entitled to own a home. Now it didn't matter that those same home buyers couldn't pay for those houses after getting a 100% loan, but that's just another in-your-face affirmation that congress cannot be trusted to do what's in the best interest of the country."

Tim had strong sentiments about government spending that will increase under Obama’s promised fixes. He said, "I'm also concerned by Obama's promises to increase the huge amount of governmental bailouts by at least triple. Who is going to be accountable, who's keep track and who's going to enforce the payback and when, or is it a gift from you and me? No doubt the tax payer, or the ‘have's’, will be responsible for bailing out the car companies, the mortgage companies and anybody else with a legitimate complaint about their business going south. Even Larry Flint asked for money to supplement the failing porn industry.” As if?

Another thing that frightens Tim is Obama's promise to close Guantamo the day after he comes into power.“What in the world will he do with those terrorists? Or in his mind are they really terrorists or just misunderstood religious reformers with viable complaints about the American devils who just acted out irrationally and just need to sit down and talk.”

Yes, in the upcoming change of at the top level of our government, Mr. Obama has promised change and Tim fears change. But my friends, as Tim states, "he didn't promise a good change. Is then change for change's sake really a good change? Or is it a lot of political drool." Tim went on to paraphrase Mr. Obama himself when he told the media the other day that he must put aside his campaign promises because the current situation calls for desperate measures. Isn't that convenient? He intimated that we're all going to have to experience a lot of pain before the crisis is over. Where's my Tylenol?

I'm just glad I wasn't asked how I felt about the upcoming presidential shift in power.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year???

I gotta tell you when I woke up on New Year's morning I was not a happy camper. Everything hurt! My back hurt, my feet (which hurt all the time now), hurt. My legs and knees ached and I had a pain in my shoulder from sleeping on it badly and an old volleyball injury and my head throbbed like it had been used for batting practice.

My first thought was how eating a pound of decadent fudge and deliciously crunchy Rice Krispie candy can actually make you gain five pounds--very unfair. So I grieved for being off track in my weight loss expedition. Then that made me feel sorry for myself. I remembered that my neighbors were outside at midnight banging pots and pans, shouting at the top of their lungs, shooting off fireworks and celebrating while I'm trying to fall asleep. And I'm thinking--what's the big deal? It's just another year of bad economic times with trouble ahead, dad-to-day drudgery and monotonous work, bills, debts, aches and pains, possible surgery for my excess tummy and arm baggage and possibly my knees. Worries over kids and parents, and general malaise to come. Happy New Year!

(I have to confess, that by noon New Year's day, I felt a whole lot better because I started a new book and flew through the first three chapters. Then USC beat the crap out of Penn State in the Rose Bowl game all making the world shift right back on it's axis again.)

Then I did some pondering. As I think back over my very long life to date, I recall thinking in my childhood, that the year 2000 seemed as far away as as abstract as outer space. Yet from where we are today--the year 2000 was nine years ago!!

Weren't we supposed to be living at the far reaches of space in manned space stations talking to computers that were smarter than we are and held our lives in the palm of their non-existent hands like 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Weren't we supposed to be having mind controlling "Big Brother" watching us all the time, "feel-a-vision" movie theaters and have the citizenry populated only through the use of test tubes like in Orwell's 1984? How about daddy being thrown out of bed and onto a conveyor belt that moves him through a computerized shower, shaver and dresser, then having daddy leave for work in his flying car? Then mommy cleans up the house with an in-home robot who cooks, cleans and watches our kids for us while our children play with robot puppies and spinning weightless floating tops. Where are those ingenious houses that are solely computer driven and communicate and function by themselves? Or mind-computer connections like in the Matrix?

Do we have people living on the moon is domed weightless communities or people at the bottom of the sea living in sealed glass cities? Where are all the jet propelled cars, alternative fuels, a world without money, or strife and conflict?

I read somewhere some really funny jokes about the future as seen through the eyes of people living in the 50's. You can find these on Aaron's jokes. Enjoy and remember.

"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, its' going to be impossible to buy a weeks groceries for $20."

"Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long when $5000 will only buy a used one."

"Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?"

"If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."

"When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 50 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage."

"Also, their music drives me wild. This 'Rock Around The Clock' thing is nothing but racket."

"I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas."

"Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president."

"Do you suppose television will ever reach our part of the country?""I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now."

"It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work."

"I'm just afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business."

"Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress."

"Anymore no one can afford to be sick, $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."

"If a few idiots want to risk their necks flying across the country that's fine, but nothing will ever replace trains.""Cars which dim their lights by sensors, automatic transmissions, and who knows what else? Pretty soon they will drive themselves."

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the first, the beginning of the new year causes some of us to remember and speculate about the future and ponder where we are and what we want to accomplish. I hope I'm not being too braggadocios to say I've come a long way baby and hope to continue that journey. I kick myself sometimes for waiting until my life is almost at an end, but better late than never.

Life really is a beautiful thing. The sun still comes up in the morning. Rain waters the earth and new life springs up. At the end of the day, sometimes the sun gives a spectacular showing of its grandeur. Heaven is still waiting to receive us if we're prepared. The possibilities for personal, spiritual and technological growth are still before us. So the future that Mr. Disney saw in his Carousel of Progress and the house of the future just might come to pass and soon.