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Monday, February 19, 2018

To Snuggle or Cuddle? A Post Valentine Post.

We had our 25th Anniversary last October, which to me anyway, sounds like a huge achievement. There are many factors at work here, but one of them might be these darn blanket fairies, because in all this time, I haven't blamed husband for stealing my section of the covers. Actually, I finally said something, for the first time, and then I drew the silly picture and wrote the sillier poem. After all, how can I wake up with icicle toes and not complain? 

Blanket Fairies

The darkest part of winter,
we’ve the thickest blanket on the bed,
they sneak inside our home,
since the year we were wed.

And though they never fail
to toss things around.
It seems quite unusual,
they never make a sound.

Though we shiver,
our toes are cold,
we reach for each other,
a true love to hold.

One night before they go,
after thirty years or so,
maybe we’ll open our eyes and catch them,
pushing our covers to the floor.

Eve Gaal

Have you had visits from the blanket fairies this winter?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day & Happy New Year!

In case,
you overhear me saying:
I love your freckled nose,
your adorable ears,
and those slender legs.

In case,
you hear me jabbering about your whiskers,
your soulful eyes,
and your soft golden coat.

Rest assured the
I'm talking about,
look like this:

or like this:

Because my actual, human Valentine
 hears mush from me every day of the year!
The YEAR of the Yellow dog begins on February 16th!
Happy Chinese New Year!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Beyond Luck

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Even the most controlling person in the world, say a four-star General or a CEO, knows that you can’t control everything. Americans feel that way about elections. People who work on live television know they can’t control everything. Go to the intensive care unit and talk to a heart specialist or an oncologist. Nope, can’t control the outcomes. Sadly, even pediatric units are full of young patients.

 But take a person to Vegas and suddenly everyone thinks they can control the odds. They are going to win because they are not losers. They have saved and scrimped so they can win a poker championship or slot tournament and yet, most of the time, in the final minutes, something happens that takes it all away. Every nickel, penny and quarter, not to mention dollar, is gone like a poof of smoke in a magic show. And yet, we don’t give up taking risks. We jaywalk, smoke cigarettes and eat fattening foods. Life is a gamble, isn’t it?

I used to think so. Each time we buckled into our cars, stepped off a curb or took a flight. It all appeared to be a game of chance. Every shopping cart is a 50-50 toss-up regarding germs. Would it be paranoid to think that the percentage against me on handshakes could have been deadly? Maybe it was luck. I had to be lucky to have reached my destinations. I even survived some surgeries. So far, I’m half-way through flu-season and the odds are good, but something tells me it’s not about me being Lady Luck. Sometimes I’m lucky but sometimes I’m not lucky at all.  

Of course, there are superstitions that also work on us everyday. What if we’re booked onto the thirteenth floor? What if the saltshaker is knocked over? Or you step on a crack? What if I didn’t wear my lucky necklace? Or carry my favorite purse? These can continue without end: Leprechauns? Angels? Fairies? Saints? Talismans? Gnomes? Odin? I’ve known sales people who had to run home for their favorite pen before a workday could begin. Don’t most of us have a lucky coin? A rabbit’s foot?  Or a four-leaf clover? Add in horoscopes and the Chinese fortune cookies and pretty soon, you have a massive variety of distractions raising the odds.

Or you can slow down and pray, but I doubt that will give you triple sevens. Right now, I’m working on my manuscript, Penniless Souls, which takes place in Las Vegas. My fictional characters are torn between taking chances and having faith in God. As a woman of faith, I have to admit my love for angels. Which means the people populating my book can be as lucky as I want them to be. Or not. 

Human frailty blows away at the first strong gust of wind, but God's will is solid as granite.  He is love, and works in mysterious ways. His will prevails over our measly wishes.

Don't you think that sometimes, what we perceive as winning, may not be winning at all?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In The Ink--Flash Fiction

I wrote this silly story in 2016 as a visitor to my friend Dan’s blog. After re-reading it, I thought it funny enough to share on my blog.

In the Ink

“So what happened?”

“Not so sure because everything had become pitch black. Frightening at first, the sound of my heart thumping in my ears, my throbbing head, quivering limbs and my mouth spitting up something I took for blood. But as you can see, I’m fine. It wasn’t blood.”

“Yes. And then what happened?”

 “I heard the laughter of children playing outside. I dropped my pen and couldn’t see my hand. A loud mosquito buzzed my left ear. I heard the rustle of trees in the wind and the sound of water cascading over boulders. Even though I love dogs, there was a continuous and annoying barrage of bad dogs barking and filling in all the quieter moments. I heard cries and screams of sorrow. Later, I heard an ambulance and some more sobbing. Footsteps-- hectic and hurried--macabre steps scurried around with important things to do. I heard screams and squeaking wheels. I felt nothing.”

“Did you smell anything?”

“The mild smell of ink maybe—but don’t forget I’m a fiction writer.”

“Interesting. Do you buy your ink at the warehouse club store?”

“Yes, writers need to be prepared. It comes in these large vats. I go there for great deals on mayonnaise too.

“The ink--blue or black?”

“Jet black.”

(Amazon photo)
“A-huh. Do you drink?”  
“No sir.”



“Mr. Johnson, please don’t be offended at my diagnosis. The hospital insisted you speak to me and the only thing I can see is that you fell into your ink.”

“What? $200 an hour and that’s the best you can come up with?”

“I’m afraid so. Get some sleep. Your characters must be keeping you awake. Be careful next time and good luck with your writing career.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Amazing Grace

I Once Was Blind but Now I SEE

The other day I related a story to some friends about something that happened during my daily walk. As a person who enjoys poetry, I’m always looking for that symbolic connection and the mysterious meaning behind the vague metaphor. Especially when I’m alone and it feels like a personal message. My friends called this a “God Story.”

Corvids of some sort looked like they were squabbling over a small bottle. At first, I thought it was a Christmas bulb but the bird who won possession flew across the street in my direction. He landed on a tall lamppost that I’d soon be approaching. He made sounds and seemed excited. I’m glad I kept an eye on this wild looking crow, because at this point, he eagerly flapped his wings and even went to the bathroom before I wandered near. At the exact moment I passed the lamppost, he dropped his prize into the gutter, which, had I stopped, would have landed directly next to me. Wondering what type of bottle it was and what it contained, but not curious enough to stop, I continued my journey. Thinking back, it seemed the bird wanted to communicate something.

 Once home, I told the story to my husband. He had a flurry of interesting questions about this somewhat unimportant event, but suggested it needed a conclusion. He asked what I thought was in the container and I said it might be nail glue. Discussing it made both of us curious, so I decided that if the bottle would be there the next day, then I would take a better look in order to answer some of our questions.

There it was in the same place the bird had left it, under the same lamppost. I bent down to see the label and it said: Sterile Eye Drops. And that’s when it hit me. Tears. A bottle of tears.

To me, with so much sadness in the world right now, it sounds important.
Is it a cry for help from the other side?
Could it be a gentle reminder to focus or to keep my perception clear?

What about you?

What if you experienced the same thing? Would you think this means something? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year--Stay Warm & Safe

Finally, there’s some rain in California. Normally this is exciting, wonderful news, but after all the fires, there are now mudslides threatening homes all over the place. And, while I can poetically dive into my daydreams that wax on about the promise of spring around the corner and the flowers that will cover everything in happiness, the television news reminds me that winter still has a few tricks up his or her cold, wet sleeves.

How can I complain when my friends in the East are bundling up like Inuits and snow is covering everything in white?  I have to admit, it looks beautiful from my heated living room. Even nicer when I’m holding a cup of hot cocoa with whipped topping. Sorry.

Wait a minute; I don’t need the television news to remind me of rain and cooler temperatures when I have two pooches telling me to switch channels immediately. What happened to the sunshine they seem to ask with pleading eyes? Where are the patches of warm soil and the cool grass that tickles our underbellies? And what's with the weird sweaters?
 What have you done MOMMY?
Fiona and Pinky 

 Poor pups.

Happy New Year and trust me even with my first name being Eve,
 I have nothing to do with the weather. 
PSA: Please remember, if you're cold outside, then your pets are cold too. Try and take them inside or at least into a garage, shed or barn. They will appreciate your kindness.

Friday, December 29, 2017

15 Ideas for Staying Home on New Year's Eve

Why drive? You can create New Year memories at home.
Here are 15 fun and seriously sober ideas

1.       Watch the ball drop on television while drinking beer or soda. Order pizza, make sure to tip and wish the driver Happy New Year. Tell him to drive safe. Yawn. Proceed with pity-party or go to step two.

2.       Dress up warm, go outside and look at the sparkling stars. Find a constellation or at least the belt of Orion which is an excellent starting point. There are many online sites with maps. You don't need a telescope but if you have one then use it. If you have a fire pit then roast marshmallows and make s'mores. This could be super fun and romantic too. You can find your own maps or go here:

3.       Impress your friends by taking a selfie with a paper New Year party hat. Throw confetti in the air at the exact moment you snap the photo. Share with everyone. Then play online video games and later you’ll have tons of wonderful comments. If you don’t have an old party hat lying around, well here’s a link for some easy instructions. Have fun!

4.       Drink champagne and take a nap. In fact, sleep until the morning. Dream nice dreams about all the exciting things that will happen in 2018—If you want to read about setting goals you might want to start with this link but if sleeping is your goal then count some sheep and we’ll see you next year.

5.       Read a book and write a review about it. Post the review on Amazon. You can order eBooks for your kindle or print copies of books by going here:

6.       Play an actual board game or two. My favorites are Jenga, Scrabble or Pictionary. Everyone might enjoy Twister or Battleship. This might not be the time to play the game of Life or Monopoly unless you’re planning to stay up until morning. I remember New Year’s Eve chess championships going on at our house every year. If you’re going solo, try Sudoku or Solitaire.

7.       Dance to your favorite You Tube video. Watch videos on how to dance and make up better moves. You can do it. My parents used to dance the waltz or the Tango around midnight which makes for some lovely memories. Here’s a link for a beginner’s waltz:

8.       Go in the kitchen and bake something delicious. Create delicious New Year’s Day snacks. Make it a family affair and have everyone make something special. Here’s a link for some incredible recipes:

9.       Put on a sweater or jacket and walk the dog. Try going around the block while your mind goes back and forth about New Year’s resolutions. Should this be the year you finally do what you always wanted to do, or not? Of course it is. If you don’t share your abode with a canine, then walk anyway but carry pepper spray. Walking is the best time to clear your mind and think. It’s a special sort of meditation for me that helps me organize my goals, my thoughts, my moods and my relationships. Everything seems a bit clearer after a walk. What better time to get mentally organized, than the Eve of a New Year? It's also a good time for praying. Twelve months of gratitude have passed and twelve months are waiting for your steps. Your talents. Make your mark. Google maps have walking directions with the distance mapped out for any points of interest or streets in your area. There’s a small walking icon that you click on that will immediately tell you how far it is to walk to your destination. You might also want to make sure you have a flashlight App on your Smartphone.

10.   Pack your bag for that breathtaking vacation you’re planning to a warmer climate: January in the California desert for example, or maybe some island in the middle of nowhere. Don’t forget it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Do it. Pack up the sunblock and the swim trunks. Go. Check out this amazing link with 31 warm destinations:

11.   Give your cat a bath. This sounds complicated and it also sounds like it would take several hours. Pretty soon, it’s a new year, your cat smells wonderful and it’s still better than just sitting on the couch doing nothing but watching that ball drop. Once the cat is clean, it’s the purrfect time to sit by a cozy fire and drink some warm milk or cocoa. Here’s a video from Petco with some pointers regarding the cat:

12.   Write a poem. If there’s no one else around then think of the blessing of being able to use this time constructively. Create a moment. Listen for the firecrackers. Reflect on the past year and think about the future. Inspire hope. When you’ve finished, consider writing a longer, epic poem or going over the first one with revisions. Read it aloud until you like the cadence or the sound of the words. Type the words poetry submissions into a Twitter search and see if there’s a magazine or anthology that might publish your poem. Maybe you’ll want to enter it into a contest. There are many poetry contests looking for good writing. One of my online friends writes a spectacular blog filled with submission suggestions and here’s the link for the contests:

13.   Create a monthly calendar from photos and your printer. Knit a hat or a scarf. Learn a new craft from a how-to video. Crochet Chihuahua sweaters or doll clothes. I’ve never used Smilebox, but the calendar templates look easy to use. Here’s a link:

14.   Reorganize your closet. This is one of those things no one wants to do because it takes time. If you do it before the New Year, you’ll have streamlined at least one important step regarding your morning routine. I did this a month ago and even had a few boxes of clothes and books to donate. Now, when entering my closet, I know where the blue shirts and the red shirts are located. I also freed up some hangars so I can buy new stuff in the coming year. I’m fairly sure that the Salvation Army, the Goodwill and the Vietnam Veterans all have a truck and will come pick up your boxes in the New Year.

15.   Call a friend and have a nice chat. Perhaps your friend is busy standing in Times Square, waiting for that crystal ball to descend. No matter how busy your friend is, he or she will be happy to hear a ‘Happy New Year’ from you. If you have older relatives or parents who don’t live with you, I bet they’d love to hear from you before ten in the evening. Let them know you care. What about those crazy friends who take huge risks, party hard and then fall into depression? Maybe you can cheer them up, even save a life. Be the person who reaches out at the end of the year to make sure everyone remembers you. If you call someone having their own pity-party, you can give them at least these fifteen ideas on how to improve the evening. Offer to meet up in the coming year. Attempt a joke. Listen for a smile.

Happy New Year to all my friends and family members!