Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Duck's Cottage Afterthought"


Wouldn't it be cool to see how many bulletin boards across the country I could eventually achieve pinning my blog stories to?

Even if I pin the blog story there...............myself?  Nothing inappropriate (of course).

I could take photos and (rubbing hands together with fiendish expression) encourage others to post my blog stories on bulletin boards EVERYWHERE!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Stoke vs. Stroke

I recently wrote this letter to Jamie,
    at Duck's Cottage.

AFTER sending it, I reread it,
   only to find an unfortunate, yet hilarious mistake.

Pay special attention to the words in bold print.

Needless to say, I then sent a follow-up letter.


I am back at my home in Northern Virginia, 
   though mentally (at least half of me) is still in Duck.

I wanted to tell you what a pleasure it was to meet you,
   and to see my blog story pinned to the bulletin board of one of the places I love.
I took a photo of it, while I was there.

I would, also, like to thank you and everyone at Duck's Cottage who work so hard
   to make it such a special place.
It dawned on me, that "we people who are on vacation while you are working your butts off " probably take your hard work, dedication, and PATIENCE for granted.
So, "THANK YOU!" for making Duck's Cottage such a great place to visit.

Also, I purchased a book while I was there that I LOVE.
It is called "The Middle Place", by Kelly Corrigan.
I picked it off the shelf based on pure aesthetics, and read the summary on the back cover.
I have loved it from the very first page.
The author writes and thinks so similar to myself,
   and inspires me to (maybe) one day be able to write a book like that, myself.
Who knows!

Anyways, I had been looking for a book to grab all summer long,
   and I finally found it at Duck's Cottage, nearly at Summer's tail end.
It is the kind of book where you want to stoke a highlighter across its pages,
   to later share with people you love.
I have been smiling and laughing aloud, while reading Kelly's wonderful stories
   and life observations.

So, thanks for posting my blog, thanks for your hard work, and thanks for my summer reading book!

All the best,

Leslie Morrissette



It is supposed to say "stroke" a highlighter, NOT "stoke".
That would be a very different meaning, indeed.



"Becoming Me (Fat)"

So, I have had several people suggest to me to write more about food and wine on my blog.  Blog friends and followers have recommended restaurants and wines from all over.  While the wine is easy enough for me to pick up at the local wine store, pop open the cork (or plastic stopper), and pour into a glass, a restaurant that is located in San Francisco, Chicago, or Spain...........................is a little more complicated.

For any of you who have seen the movie, "Julie & Julia", Julie set up an account on her blog so that followers could send in money for her to pay for the ingredients needed in her recipes, or they just mailed her the ingredients.

Soooooo..................if any of you are willing to send me money to visit any of these restaurants (or just mail me a plane ticket), I would be more than willing to fly just about anywhere in order to try them out.

We could call it the "Becoming Me (Fat) Fund".

Everyone on board??????????????????? 

And, by the way, what DO you call a wine cork that is made out of plastic?  If it doesn not have an official name, I think we need to come up with one.  A "plork", maybe????

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jellyfish Soup

Monday . . . 
like mosquitoes descending upon a marsh for "Happy Hour",
   the jellyfish moved in.
Somehow, my boys had determined that they were not the "stinging kind". 
Somewhere in my memory banks, I know that I once learned how to tell the difference,
   but (and, I will blame it on the sea air) my memory was failing me.

Since no one appeared to be affected by the jello-like creatures,
   I decided to trust the boys' assessment. 
In fact, beach-goers of all ages were coming up with ways to use the abundance of jellyfish
   as forms of entertainment. 
Out of nowhere, "jellyfish catching nets" appeared,
   scooping up globs-full of the gooey creatures, at a time. 
Sand buckets became "jellyfish pots", waiting to receive the jellyfish for making "jellyfish soup".

I have to say, as a child, I was quite resourceful and creative with discovered treasures at the beach,
   but it never occurred to me to do anything with jellyfish, other than AVOID them.

My youngest son took on the jellyfish problem as his personal responsibility to save the human race.

How sweet, I thought.
When he was little, he used to race down the beach,
   chasing seagulls, sheer joy on his face.

Now, he is . . .


How proud I am.

I would have to say that the most disturbing sight on the beach, that day, was two grown men,
   standing in the ocean. 
They were using a stick, as a bat; however,
   instead of hitting baseballs, they were scooping up the jellyfish,
throwing them up in the air, and whacking them with the stick, as hard as they could,
sending jellyfish "pieces" flying.

I think I would rather be making jellyfish soup.  

Instead, I followed my adult instinct, and avoided them as much as possible,
   until I unintentionally and unexpectedly . . .

STEPPED on one.

It felt cold and slimy, as it squished between my toes.

I shrieked, and simultaneously lifted my knees up in the air,
   as if doing my own version of a Scottish folk dance . . .

all the way back to my beach chair.

Fortunately, my boys were right.

It wasn't the "stinging kind".

Friday, August 20, 2010

On divorce...................

On divorce................

First of all, I HATE the word "divorce".  I do not have a sufficient replacement (for the word) at this time, but when I do, you can be sure that I will announce it to the world.

Second of all, don't expect ANYTHING, and don't let ANYTHING surprise you.  Easier said, than done, I'm aware.   

Third, you will know who the people are who believe in you, and who will stick by you.  While it hurts like hell to discover the ones who don't (especially when you thought they did), it is not worth your time to convince them that they should.

And lastly (you would be disappointed if I did not add some humor to the seriousness) .........................

Consider telling people that the reason for the "marital split" is that you have been a "closet lesbian" all of these years.  They may understand that better than telling them you were in counseling for your entire marriage, you felt sad and alone, and just couldn't do it anymore.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Rainy, Wednesday Evening.................

It is a rainy, Wednesday evening.  My kids are with their dad, and I am alone.  Alone, with my leftover Chinese food (moo shu pork, szechuan green beans, and steamed rice), and a bottle of red.

My pick, for tonight?  Montecillo, Crianza, 2006.  This is the first time I have tasted it, and I will admit, I picked it off the wine shelf as much for the beautiful, red garnet label, with gold leaf script, as I did for the reason that I love to say the word -

The bonus is that the wine is quite good, in my opinion, and if I am the one drinking it, my opinion is all that matters.

To accompany my leftover Chinese food and Rioja wine?  Movies from the eighties era, that I happened to stumble upon.  It always feels like such a treat when that happens, for how often does one flip channels, only to find nothing worth watching at all?  But tonight, the lineup is full.

First, the movie, "Cocktail", moving on to "Mystic Pizza" , and rounding out the evening with a classic nineties movie, "Fried Green Tomatoes".

Like I said, "WHAT A TREAT", and that has nothing to do with the fact that the combination of the titles would make a well balanced, and delicious meal. 

My favorite takeaway quotes for the night?

First, from "Mystic Pizza".  After Julia Robert's character dumps barrels full of fish into her boyfriend's Porsche (she thinks he is cheating on her, only to find out that he is having dinner with his sister) -  

                      Daisy (Julia Roberts) :  "I fucked up."
                      Charles (Adam Storke):   "Yeah, but you gave it 100% effort."

Then, from "Fried Green Tomatoes" -

                      Evelyn (Kathy Bates) :   "I'm too young to be old, and I'm too old to be young.  I must be going crazy."

Huh.  Maybe I'M going through menopause.    

As for the movie, "Cocktail", I never was much of a Tom Cruise fan, but I have to admit, I love watching him and Bryan Brown toss those liquor bottles around, choreographed to some good eighties music.  Not to mention, the scene that takes place in Jamaica.  What I would give to swim in the clear, green-blue waters of Jamaica, with someone I love................................underneath a waterfall.

For now, I will pour myself another glass of Mon-ti-CHEE-yo.......................... and dream about Jamaica and waterfalls.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Am a Writer!

I just finished watching, "Julie and Julia" for the second time.  I LOVE this movie.  The first time I watched it, I swore I was going to go home THAT night, and start my OWN blog.

6 months later.......

Yes, like the character of Julie, I can relate to that feeling of not always being able to follow through with tasks.

She, like me, blames it on her ADD.  Although, I prefer to use the word "embrace", rather than "blame".
I recently told a group of friends,

                                  "I emBRACE my scatteredness!"   

She, like me, is convinced that is why she has difficulty keeping her house clean.   Of course, she also does not have three kids and a dog. 

She, like me, works best when she is on a deadline.   

Though I would like to think that there are plenty of differences between Julie and I  (hopefully I am not nearly as narcissistic and neurotic), I can definitely relate.

I can also relate to Julia's character.  I LOVE the part where she is standing in the kitchen, chopping a mountain of onions.  Her husband walks in, and is immediately bowled over by the burning sensation in his eyes.  This scene is SO funny.  She wants to be the BEST DAMNED ONION CHOPPER in her class.
If you remember reading any of my Haiku poems on an earlier blog post, I spent almost an entire week this summer writing Haiku poems.  It started with one contest, and then another, and before I knew it, I was eating, sleeping, drinking, speaking, dreaming.......................Haiku poems.  I guess you could say it was a bit.............................obsessive, but I couldn't help it!  Until the deadlines were up, it was all I could think about.  Those Haiku poems were MY chopped onions - each one faster..............and finer.          

Back to Julie's character, though..................

She, too, is yearning to find herself.

That scene with the cobb salads and the girlfriends (she calls it the "cobb salad lunch"), is classic.  I have had many "cobb salad lunches" in my life.  Fortunately, I am ten years older than she, and I no longer feel it necessary to force myself through those lunches.  Now, I only have a cobb salad if I WANT to, and with  people with whom I CHOOSE.    

She, too, dreams of some phone call from a publishing company, telling her they'd be interesting in publishing her blog, her children's stories, her screenplay, her book, her..........................anything. 

She, too, writes a blog every day, wondering how many people are out there reading her blog.................... .....................................................if anyone at all.

Anyone?   Anyone?  Bueller? 

At least I know I have 21 followers (and at least a  handful that read, who aren't "official" followers).  While I write my blog for myself, first and foremost ( it is a writer's canvas, if you will), secondary to that, is the hope that other people will enjoy my writing.  The hope that I could reach someone.............affect someone, whether through laughter, making someone think, triggering a personal memory, or mostly, the possibility that I could make someone feel as if they are understood because they can relate to something I have said.
 THAT  is a pretty amazing feeling. 

..........and she, too, has difficulty accepting the role of "writer", because many of us believe, until people pay us money to do so, we do not deserve to call ourselves as such, which is really sad, if you think about it.  I think that is the reason that many stay-at-home moms feel people do not take them seriously.  Even my husband ( now ex-husband) always referred to the money he earned as "his" money.  It was never "our" money.  But, let's not get off track, here.................

Though I do not think I ever had a teacher who REALLY believed in me (except, maybe, Mrs. Tracy, in the third grade), my mom has been telling me for a long time - "You are a writer".  I have someone incredible in my life, who believes in me and supports me, who tells me - "You are a writer", and as I have been taking more risks, putting myself out there (as a writer), and sharing my stories, more people are telling me - "You are a writer", and I recently spent a weekend with some terrific women who all told me,


So, like the character of Julie,  I guess I am a writer, after all.  I write because I love to, and because, well................................ I simply HAVE to.

Did you hear that?  I AM A WRITER!

Anyone?                    Anyone?

"LESLIE, YOU ARE A WRITER!" ~ The Magnificent Five

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love ( Minus the Pray and Love)


My kids were away on vacation with their dad, and while it was only for a week (not a year, like in the book, I was trying to figure out a way to best take advantage of that time.  I sat down in front of my computer, and researched the possibilities.

 First, I stumbled upon a week long women's hiking trip, cleaning up the Appalachian trail. 
"I can do this!" I thought to myself, "I SHOULD do this!"

I had never experienced a solo excursion before, and those volunteer vacations had always captured my interest.   I was just about to push the button that said, "Sign me up!",
when I remembered -


While it may seem strange to some of you that I could forget such a thing, you'd be amazed how easy it is to do.  After all, my foot is almost five feet, two inches away from my brain, and once I put my attractive, protective boot on in the morning, I honestly don't think about it until I take it off, before I go to bed at night.

where it felt like I was carrying around a

Anyways, once I recovered from the disappointment of not being able to go on the hiking trip,
I began to consider "Plan B".

Through the suggestion of a close friend, "Plan B" was to stay home and accomplish things around the house (clean, organize, rearrange, etc.), and take "mini" vacations every day, by treating myself to lunches and dinners out with friends.

I put the word out, and before I knew it, my social "meal" calendar was full.

This is what my week looked like:

Sunday dinner - my favorite Thai restaurant, Courtside Thai.
Monday dinner - American fare at a local neighborhood restaurant.
Tuesday lunch - Sweetwater cafe & micro brew, for my favorite salmon salad (and a cold beer).
Tuesday dinner - Asian Grille for good Chinese food.
Wednesday dinner - Cock & Bowl, for mussels, frites (and beer).
Thursday dinner - Bar food at Hard Times Cafe, for chili, wings (and beer).
Friday lunch - Lebanese food.
Friday dinner - Quarterdeck for steamed crabs, onion rings (and beer).
Saturday dinner - healthy, low glycemic meal (and beer) at my girlfriend's (who is a personal trainer) cabin.    

Sunday dinner - Carryout Chinese.

Monday -  The kids came back from their trip. And I could BARELY FIT INTO MY JEANS.

Not to mention, I had a dream that I was THREE MONTHS PREGNANT,
and I can tell you exactly who the responsible party was -  


and his friend,


In the book, "Eat, Pray, Love",  the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, says she gained
"twenty three of the happiest pounds of her life" during her time spent in Rome. 
It took me less than a week to succeed "the expansion" of my waistline, as well as my ASS line, as well as my THIGH line.

I can only IMAGINE what I would look like, if I spent a few months in Italy but, like Elizabeth,
I do not regret a single pound gained. I shared some WONDERFUL meals
with some WONDERFUL people.

I am going to try to be good for the next two weeks, however.  I have a beach trip coming up,
and I have a feeling that my friends, F-O-O-D and B-E-E-R will be there.

Guess I'd better bring some protection.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today, for no particular, explainable reason, I was constantly mixing up my words.  I would say things like, "I'm going to the Stocery Gore," or "Do knew yo where my keys are?"

The first time it happened, I thought it was funny, but after about the fifth or sixth incident, I was beginning to get concerned, and no, I had not been partaking in any alcoholic beverages, prescription (or non-prescription) drugs.

I wasn't the kind of concerned, like, "maybe I'm having a stroke" (concerned).  More like the kind of concern that comes along when I realize I might have a bad case of the hiccups.  My hiccups are LOUD and PAINFUL.  I do not experience them very often, but when I do, they can last for HOURS, leaving me EXHAUSTED, though most people around me consider it quite entertaining and comical, causing them to double over (in pain), from laughing so hard.

I remember an episode of hiccups when my daughter was little.

I believe they started during her bedtime story.  I would hiccup, and she and I would LAUGH and laugh.  Then, I would read a few sentences (words, maybe), and hiccup again.  I finally made it through the entire story (in between hiccups), and tucked her in for the night.  I hiccuped my way all the way downstairs, as I could hear her laughing away in her room.  An hour later, I am still downstairs - hiccuping, and she, up in her room...........................laughing away.        

On Wikepedia.org, you can actually listen to the sound of a human hiccup.


It sounds NOTHING like MY hiccups.

THIS sound was like the appetizer - no, the side salad - no, a piece of LETTUCE........................compared to MY hiccups.  If that is what they call a hiccup, then mine should be called something else.

If anyone has a good suggestion for a word that would suit my hiccups, please feel free to share! 

I did go on YouTube to see if there were any obnoxious sounding hiccups on record, and what do you know, there were plenty, but only one that came close to mine, and SHE was DEFinitely drunk.

So, fortunately, no hiccups today, but the "mixing up words" thing was definitely a concern.  I think, like my computer, my brain just needs re-booting.  For those of you who have been keeping up on my stories, kind of like my left foot.

Maybe a good night of sleep will help.  If that does not work, I will drink a glass of water, while standing on my head, and watching a scary movie.          

Nood Gight!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Definition of "Toilet Paper Roll"

There are certain words that slip me up, occasionally, and I have to use my resourceful dictionary to set me straight. Oddly enough, it is usually words that are quite simple that give me pause, from time to time.

For example, in the story below, the word "roll" (as in toilet paper) vs. role (acting like a roll of toilet paper).

There are two things that fascinated me about this word:

1) Did you know that the word "roll" has 31 verb definitions, and 30 noun definitions (Encarta Dictionary) ? Wow! That is a lot.


2) While I am familiar with the phrase "a roll in the hay", as well as the definition (and visual) associated with it, I did not know that the actual "word" roll (noun definition #30) means "sex act".   Did you?


One more thing about the word "roll". With all of the definitions, including the slang phrases "a roll in the hay", to be "rolling in it", "on a roll", and "rolled into one", I am surprised that "toilet paper roll" is not included, so here is my version of the definition for toilet paper roll - 

Toilet paper roll - (n)

Thin, paper-like substance wrapped tightly around a cardboard tube, with the main purpose of wiping one's "private parts", after using the toilet. It is also useful for picking up unwanted bugs around the house, wiping one's nose when there aren't any tissues, or cleaning up unwanted messes (pets, children, etc.), as well as acts associated with......................................... noun definition #30.

(Not to mention, a source of marital conflict, as well as an attractive decoration, sometimes found in trees.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A New Roll of Toilet Paper

Don't you hate it when you get up to pee, in the middle of the night ...............

Dont you hate it when you get up to pee, in the middle of the night..................... and there is a new roll of toilet paper?

Upon entering the bathroom, you do not bother to turn the light on because, technically, you are still asleep.  Besides, you don't really WANT to be awake, and turning on the light could begin the "AWAKE PROCESS". 

You WISH you could just DREAM about peeing, and that would take care of the problem, but that dream could end with some unpleasant results, so you roll out of bed at 4 a.m., and somehow, you are transported to the toilet.

You reach for the new roll of toilet paper, and begin turning it around and aound in your hands................searching.  Searching for that edge where the toilet paper begins, but because you are "AWAKE CHALLENGED", your reasoning and motor skills are not functioning properly, and you simply


Around, and around, and around you turn it, suddenly feeling as if you are participating in a test of  intelligence, to which you did not sign up for. 
                 "Maybe I AM dreaming," you say to yourself, simultaneously thinking,  "A HA!  THIS roll of toilet paper must not BE like all the rest.  There must be SOME OTHER WAY IN!"

Sadly, though, it is not "technically" an IQ test, nor are you dreaming, nor is there any other way "IN". 

Eventially, after turning the roll around ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO TIMES, you somehow find the edge.


out of frustration, like some desperate scavenger, you simply begin digging into the layers of paper with your fingers, leaving one MESSED UP looking roll of toilet paper behind.

"What happened to the toilet paper?"  someone asks, the next morning. 

I guess there are worse things than having to deal with a new roll of toilet paper.  There could be NO TOILET PAPER AT ALL!!!!!  That comes with an entirely new set of issues.  
 I will save that for another story.