An Uncapped Pen

May 24, 2010


Filed under: About Me — cindylv @ 5:08 am

Today I am grateful for:

The smell of this afternoon’s rain (OK, it was just a sprinkle, but it smelled great!

A 59 degree day during the last week of May in Las Vegas.

My friends and family, and my e-friends I haven’t met yet.

Not losing my temper today (not even a little).

The Cubs won 5 to 4 over Texas.

The beautiful Christmas wine glasses Susan gave me (and the pinot grigio in one of them).

Molly is finally asleep. 

Puppy snores.

I have a job.

Bailey (and her brothers).

Books, books, books, books and more books.

Apricots from Susan’s tree and onions from Tom’s garden.


Rudy (the movie).

The kids on my street (especially Sean).

My health.

My Tacoma.

My garden.

My garden bathtub, and bubble bath.

My new friends weren’t injured (or worse) in the attacks on Kandahar.

My slippers (well, the left one anyway.  The right one is slightly chewed.)

Vanilla yogurt (with no gelatin!).

Kleenex with lotion (bless me).

Honeysuckle and night-blooming jasmine.



The smell of baby powder.


Phil Jackson’s genius.


Red toe-nail polish.

Night lights.

The blue room.


Snooze buttons.

Shortbread cookies.



and my baby tomatoes.


March 28, 2010

Bob and Mocha

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindylv @ 4:48 pm

One evening a few years ago, Bailey and I met Mocha in the field at the edge of our neighborhood a few years ago.  He’s a chubby chocolate lab with a happy tail and a battery-operated lighted collar attached to a retractable leash.  A few minutes later, we met Bob at the other end of Mocha’s retractable leash.  They live three blocks over on one of the main streets in our tract.  Bailey and I walk past their house every day, and stop to visit if they are hanging out in the garage.

One day last Spring, we saw Mocha running loose in the field and Bob sitting in his truck on the edge of the road.  He told me that he’d just had surgery to repair an old ankle injury and he couldn’t walk.  For several months, he hobbled around on crutches and Mocha got a little chubbier. Several times over the last couple months, I saw another neighbor, Bill and his dog Chloe, walking with Mocha. 

Last Saturday, Bailey and I met Bill, Chloe and Mocha on the street.  I asked him how Bob was doing, since I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks.  He said, “Bob’s dead.  His doctor wouldn’t refill his prescription for his pain medication, so he drove home to get his gun, returned to the doctor’s office and shot himself in the head.”

November 6, 2009

Meet Joe, Assignment 1

Filed under: Writing Exercises — cindylv @ 1:42 am
Tags: ,

Welcome to the Writing School In My Head.  Sometimes I get so caught up in WRITING THE DAMN BOOK that I forget to enjoy writing.  I can’t afford any classes or, heaven forbid, any more writing instruction books.  So I have an imaginary writing instructor in my head who doles out free writing assignments.  Free Writing.  Just open the pen and go.  Whoosh!

Assignment 1:  Create two characters named Joe (or Jo) and describe them.

Joe Number 1:  Male, unmarried.  He lives alone.  He has a strong relationship with his mother (not necessarily a good thing). Dad – still living, but in the shadow of his wife, Joe’s mother.  Joe’s losing his hair.  He’s maybe 35 years old.  If he loses his hair (and begins to look more like his Dad) how will he ever get a wife and grant his Mother the grandchildren she craves, she deserves?  All she’s ever asked for.  Like a court.  Shining, happy grandbabies to admire and adore her. And teach them how to make perogies, like her grandmother did.

Joe sets his sights too high.  He should lower his expectations and catch a waitress.  Someone who’s used to serving others.  According to his mother.  Wives are better if they aren’t too smart.  Or too pretty.  Hey!  How did that happen?  Joe’s mother has taken over.  I could hardly keep up with her voice in my head. 

But look what I’ve learned about Joe.   He’s pathetic.  And probably has chubby hips and stooped shoulders.  And if I let her go on, I can see a confrontation in a page or two over those darn perogies.

I don’t know if Joe is short or tall.  I don’t care at this point.  But I can almost see the crocheted toilet cover lid in his bathroom.  I can see his resigned shrug and hear his apologetic voice offering excuses for her.  I mean Her. “She only wants what’s best,” he says.  But best for whom?  Probably not him. 

What about their names?  Mom, I should say, “Mother” needs something solid, grand…an imperious name.  Eleanor, maybe.  Or should I consciously cut against the grain and label her with something fluffy and soft.  Something that brings to mind an image she’s had to struggle to overcome:  Poppy?  Or Millicent? Or should I play off the perogies and tap into a ethnic vein?  I like Katerina. There’s a name you could cut yourself on.

And what about Joe?  So far, I’ve established that he’s not a Joe-Cool type of guy.  More of an everyday Joe, who’s mother named him Joseph, after St. Joseph.  The earthly father of Jesus.  A name so huge, a standard so high.  Under the weight of those expectations, it’s no wonder Joe slouches!

If Joe’s driving in the middle of the night and comes to an intersection controlled by a flashing red light, and no traffic for miles around, does he come to a complete stop?  I would say yes. 

He buys his clothes off the rack, knit shirts and regular pants (not trousers).  He shops in the Men’s department, two aisles over from Automotive.  When he shaves his neck, he wonders how far down he should shave. Aftershave?  Old Spice.

He lives in a two-bedroom apartment with dingy white walls and worn carpeting that used to be beige.  His bathroom is functional, a toilet, a sink with metal legs, and a shower stall.   A metal medicine cabinet is embedded in the wall above the sink.

His kitchen has formica counters.  He stores his two pots and a frying pan inside his oven.  In the  fridge, he’s got a box of canned beer and a shelf of dead leftovers from his mother’s table.  A full set of ivory china, with gold ribbons and blue flowers, collects dust in the cabinets over the sink, a gift from his parents on his 30th birthday.  It was supposed to be a wedding gift, but …

Describe Joe in terms of what he’s not:   Not too many people have to look up to talk to him.  He’ll  never be tall enough to please his mother.  Joe’s not the kind of guy who wears glasses.  He squints.  He’s never had to share a bedroom with a brother, never had to wear hand-me-downs. Joe doesn’t drive a pickup truck with a poodle on his lap.  Nor does he drive a sportscar, foreign and sleek, with a personalized professional firefighter’s license plate that says, “OOUCH.”

His sugarless chewing gum doesn’t have layers of flavors or a squirt of minty gel hidden in the middle.  His toothbrush doesn’t come with batteries and he squeezes his toothpaste in the middle or wherever he happens to grab it.  He doesn’t stand in his closet in the morning wondering which pair of loafers will showcase his new socks with yellow chevrons.  His earlobes remain unpierced.

His doctor is not female.  He doesn’t remember the last time he went to the dentist. His apartment building doesn’t allow pets.


Tomorrow, I’ll start on another Joe/Jo.

PS:  You can play, too.

October 22, 2009

Knitting and Little Girls

Filed under: knitting — cindylv @ 5:00 am
Tags: , ,

I love knitting.   I love little girls.  I love knitting for little girls.

Madison's cowl neck sweater










Madison Rosie in her cowl-neck sweater.  OK, maybe she’ll grow into it. 

Princess Alyssa










The lovely Princess Alyssa and her snake sweater. Yep, there’s a story behind it.

And here’s a sweater I’m making for Mason Gracie for Christmas.  Don’t tell her.  She hasn’t seen it yet.  I’m also making a matching purse.

Masons sweater










I’m also working on a sweater/skirt set for Madison’s Christmas present, but they aren’t  finished yet.

So I decided that since I love knitting, little girls and knitting for little girls, why don’t I invite the little girls from my street over to learn how to knit?

Knitting with little girls.  Children.  With steel needles. Running around my backyard.  What could be more fun?

Just off the top of my head, I’d guess:

Juggling rattlesnakes?  A greased porcupine chase? Or maybe Lasik surgery without the tranquilizers or restraints?

The three little girls are all beautiful, sweet, loving and um…easily distracted.  We started out with four skeins of yarn, a can of needles, a crochet hook, cheese and crackers, a veggie tray, fruit salad, lemonade and iced tea.

Oh, and I had my best friend Susan. 











And we had a bottle of Pinot Noir (for medicinal purposes). 

And Bailey.  And Ducky.


Bailey and Ducky 









And Pumpkin, who loves children.  For lunch.











Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Introductions were made;  iced tea ignored; crackers, veggies and fruit eaten; lemonade drunk.  The girls chased Bailey and Ducky.  They chased Pumpkin.  Bailey surrendered after two hours, rolled over and showed her belly. 

Her belly










We haven’t seen Ducky in a few days.  Pumpkin hid under the table and pretended to be invisible.  After an hour, he begged to be let back in the house to watch football with Bob.

Invisible cat










Susan decided that she and I would design and knit a few spiders for the girls.  They loved them. 

We ran out of wine.  We still have four skeins of yarn.  The can of needles may be a little short. 

At 5:00, I delivered three kids.  I hope they’re the right kids at the right houses.   We agreed to try again in a few weeks. 

We’re gonna need some more wine–or maybe gin.

October 21, 2009

October Garden Update

Filed under: The Garden — cindylv @ 9:38 pm

I don’t know why I get so surprised every year.  Overnight, we go from 105+ to 70 degrees.  Green turns brown.  Breezes turn to gusts.  Puffy clouds turn forboding.  Some plants love the change, some struggle.

We planted new babies about 10 days ago.  Some old favorites are eeking out their harvest, some plants have snapped back and are thriving.   Planting a fall garden.  If that isn’t an expression of confidence and hope, I don’t know what is.

My favorite part of the garden is the fire pit.  Bob comes home from work and we snuggle on the patio, enjoying a glass of wine (or beer – for him).

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