December 13, 2006

Introducing Warrior!

Mt. Rainier
© 2006, Janelle Meraz Hooper

12-13-06- Ole Trigger that has been my computer for the last six years is in the process of being replaced by Warrior! a new, powerful machine complete with cameras and war whoops. During this changeover, that involves software, installing digital cameras, and microphones, this blog may be ignored.

Quote du jour:
"Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none." Jules Renard, courtesy of The Tacoma News Tribune

November 27, 2006

Buy from Coldwater Creek!

Bark in Alaska
© 2005 Janelle Meraz Hooper

11-26-06- The election. Well, we did it. I haven't blogged until now because I couldn't stop giggling...I’m still not convinced the White House and the other Republicans have gotten the message. We’ll see.

Now, everyone in D. C., get to work! Enough with the political stuff. We want to see some action! If you’re short of ideas, you can start with minimum wage and healthcare. I know, I know…the Democrats aren’t in power until January, but you can start planning!

The rest of us: I wasn’t kidding about having to keep an eye on our new Democratic politicians. The way I look at it, we have just traded professional scoundrels for SITs (Scoundrels-in- Training). Watch them. Even so, I’m sure we made a great trade! I don’t regret a vote of it!

Other news (at last!)- Hooray for Coldwater Creek! I got a notice with my catalog that as of August, 1, 2006, they began using renewable energy to power 100% of their U. S. operations. This is what I’ve been talking about! We’ve got to take charge! As you know, this was an expensive investment for them. Let's reward them for their risk. I'm going to shop there soon...

Quote du Jour:
“ I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter!” Christmas catalog humor

November 06, 2006

November 04, 2006

Guess what, America? We're IT again

11-04-06- Remember when we were kids and we’d play tag outside in the yard at night until our mothers called us in or somebody cried? Guess what, America? We’re IT again. It is increasingly clear that it’s not going to be enough to throw the Republican rascals out because they could just be replaced by Democratic rascals. I don’t know what it is about DC that brings out the worst in people, but we may never again be able to sit back and assume that our government knows what it’s doing. We’re going to have to take time out of our busy lives to watch them.
Everyday. From now on, we’re IT.
Start at the polls on Tuesday. We’re IT. Do something about it.
Want good government? We’re IT. Do something about it.
Want a raise in minimum pay? We’re IT. Do something about it.
Want a better solution for Iraq? We’re IT. Do something about it.
Want better health care? We’re IT. Do something about it.
We have more problems, but you get my drift...

We have to ride 'em. Ride 'em hard. Let them know we're watching them. Demand accountability...even if someone cries.

Vote America, Vote!
Quote du jour:
"Political designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable; and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell

October 29, 2006

Stay the Course-my new, recycled mantra!

Aline Lesage and Janelle
10-29-06-The above photo was taken at Aline’s first book-signing for her novel, Gaby’s Penance in September (more below). I’m not just behind in my photos, I’m behind in everything—it’s time I get back on track. To make matters worse, I’m beginning to see that the schedule that I’ve made for myself—one book a year—has the unsatisfactory requirement that I miss summer. I am just not that driven. From now on, my summer’s work schedule will be cut in half. That means of course, that books will come out in spring, and not at Christmas. As most of my book fairs are in summer anyway, I figure this will work just as well.

Custer and His Naked Ladies-The above decision is not, however, why Custer is late. Custer is late because I decided to add Comanche words to my Southwest novel, along with the Spanish phrases (the story really required it). The problem is, I’m a language ninny. It took me four times longer to do the required research than it should have. My next novel, that is well underway but has no title yet, will use just one language: English. I hope. Maybe. Unless I decide to rewrite it

Bush- Since he’s not using “Stay the Course” anymore, maybe I can use it! I need a new mantra. My old one: money, men, chocolate--is tired and outdated. And, if I use Bush’s old mantra, it’ll be recycling. Always a good thing in this time of glut and waste!

On my bed table- Gaby’s Penance by Aline Lesage, just released. I read this book while it was still in galley form, but it’s so much more satisfying to hold the actual book in my hands. According to the tag line, Gaby is set in the early 20th century, and is the saga of an avant-garde, not-so-sweet Québécoise whose unspeakable sin and cruel consequences lead her to unlikely redemption. It's time to curl up with a good book!

On my dvd machine- family movies. I’m redoing all of our scrapbooks and video. Right now, it feels as if I’ll never see daylight, but it must be done. I’m not a detail type of person, but I am very archival. I’ll muddle through!
Language- tartaruga, turtle, Italian

Quote du jour:

“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.” P.J. O’Rourke, courtesy of

October 26, 2006

The stench over DC

Our latest book event...ya'll come!

10-26-06 Ha! No sooner than I'd posted my piece about being afraid (Saturday?) there was an article about Condi Rice going to Russia and calling for free press! Fress press?! We don't even have free press here! And haven't she and Bush made enough of a mess of this country to keep her busy? Why is she telling other countries what to do? The stench over DC isn't really air pollution--it's arrogance!

But I'm losing focus--what I really wanted to tell you about is the next book event for Independent Northwest Authors. The flyer is above. Think Christmas!

October 18, 2006

Got broom, America?

4th of July Street Fair, Steilacoom Washington
Ah! I got the picture to post! We have a great time meeting our readers at the local summer fairs. It was early when this was taken, but we get a good crowd! That's me in the middle. everyone always wants to know how much of the snake chapter in As Brown As I want, the Indianhead Diaries is true. Answer: ALL of it! Except for that one teeny-weeny part about the turtle...
Elfi (on the left) was there with her two autobiographies, Dancing to War and Shadow of Defeat (Spielberg where are you?), and Aline was there with her first novel, Gaby's Penance.
Come see us sometime! See our websites for more info!

10-18-06-This is a portion of a letter I sent to a local editor in 2003. After Bush’s signing a law that nullifies the Habeas Corpus law yesterday, I figure it bears repeating:
As a writer, for the first time in my career, I am afraid. I have a long history of protesting peacefully. I wrote Nixon during theViet Nam war and told him that "America wasn't silent because we agreed with him. We were silent because we were busy praying."
I signed the letter.
I was not afraid.

Things have changed. Now, whenever I protest, I wonder if the government--my government--will say I'm a terrorist. I never dreamed that we would someday have a president who makes Nixon look good. What have things come to?
(Please burn this e-mail—I am afraid.)
Janelle Hooper

Well, what have things come to? Why is it that our Congress has betrayed us? Why do we not expect our Supreme Court to reverse this law? Why is everyone rolling over?
Obviously, I don’t know. I wish I did. Shame on Bush. Shame on our Congress. Maybe, shame on our Supreme Court.
I’m thinking of putting a broom in my living room window symbolizing that we need a clean sweep. How about it, America? Got broom?

Quote du jour:

"Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse." Lily Tomlin

October 13, 2006

Bagels in Bulgaria, who knew?!

Bulgaria-So I was sitting on my couch the other day finishing off a bag of garlic-flavored bagel chips and watching Keith Olbermann sock it to the White House when my mind went on overload and I began studying the bag the chips came in. It really was a thing of beauty--New York Style bagel chips, it said across the top. Lots of nifty artwork on the shiny bag touting the garlic-flavored, thin chips--a real thing of beauty (You do know, of course, that I got kicked out of art school when I was in my 40s? So I know about graphic artwork...). Then, on the side, in real tiny letters, it said: a product of Bulgaria. Bulgaria! What does Bulgaria have to do with bagels? Or even Jews, for that matter? I still don't know, and will have to find out if I ever quit editing Custer and His Naked Ladies.
But it started me thinking about one of my favorite topics: economics. Now, I'm just small potatoes, and no one ever asks me for my opinion on anything, much less economics, but I think I have a clearer picture of what makes the world go around than a lot of professionals. Take those bagel chips. Because, halfway across the world, I bought a product made in Bulgaria, some child is eating. This is more, I'm sure than Bush has done for the same child.
Wonders never cease. Because of the Internet, and shopping networks on television, third world countries can play with the big boys--and win. For instance, I have purchased jewelry from all over the world on my favorite shopping channel, QVC. There used to be a little black man who came from the Savannahs in Africa. His little country had a ruby mine. I was fascinated to hear him tell us about the cave that his people mined for rubies in the day--and how the lions and other animals moved into the same cave at night to sleep. When the workers came back in the morning, the animals got up and walked away. No one got eaten. I haven't seen the man lately. The last I heard, the mine was just about played out. It's a shame. I'm hoping they find another vein because I never did get a Savannah ruby--they aren't cheap!--I'm saving up! There's an Indonesian woman who brings silver jewelry set with semi-precious and precious stones from the Island of Bali, and a man who travels all over the world, visiting villages, and buying jewelry fashioned from all sorts of materials--metal, wood, seashells--
They bring in other vendors from all over the world, and I've learned to love these people who are coming to America, via technology. Irish, Italian, and Polish wares are frequently shown, presented by the vendor. Most times, they sell out. When they do, I'm as excited as they are!
Some might say this is exploitation. I don't think so. These people are selling direct to the buyer, and not being sucked into the great Madison Avenue machine that spits back tiny payoffs to the crafters, then slaps a big, fancy label on the item and resells it, for big bucks.
I often complain about all of the world leaders and all of their failures, which are too many to name in our lifetime. I see this economics thing as a way the people (us!) can do something good on our own. It's a small way of taking control of a bad situation.
It is said that the business of America is business. It's what we do best, and maybe it's our true gift to the world. Hopefully, it will be remembered more than our politics and foreign pollicy, which sucks.
There's no time to edit this. Send your complaints about poor punctuation and fractured sentences to:

September 11, 2006

We're Recovering from September 11th

Photo won't post--sorry!

In a moment, I'm going to post a comment that I wrote about 9-11 in 2002. But first, I want to speak to the mess we're in, because it's all related. I'm not surprised that President Bush and his cronies aren't taking any of the blame. However, it is clear that we'll be years correcting the damage that they've caused. But wait. There's enough blame to go around--several times. Osama bin Laden has set the Arab people back years in the eyes of the American people. We were just beginning to turn our opinions around and realize that Israel is not always right, and that the Arab people are not always wrong. Now, that door may be shut forever (Although Israel will be on my D list for a long time because of their invasion of Lebanon). And that Hezbollah Nasrallah guy, playing god with his people's lives, is another guy living the Land of Stupid--a country whose borders are right next to the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud's Land of Stupid and Lame. Perhaps the trophy for bumbling goes to the Israelis, whose fiery, shoot from the hip style reaction to Hezbollah's sins has shown their government to be inept and immature. Sharon would never have let this happen--and I'm not the first one to say so.
So here we are. They kill us. We kill them. We can do better. What we need from the world's governments is leadership. Intelligent leadership. Alright, so maybe America is a little short on intelligent leadership right guys start. Maybe we can catch up after the next elections.
God gave us such a beautiful planet and filled it with beautiful people. We need to do a much better job of taking care of both.
Here's the comment-

We’re recovering from September 11th
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

“We done good.” My Hispanic grandmother used to say that after our family had survived its latest crisis. We were a houseful of women. Leaky roofs, plumbing problems, and skunks in the backyard often tested our resolve. I thought of her this morning when I realized that it’s almost September 11th again.
It’s occurred to me that I’ve never been so proud to be an American. That’s really saying something, because coming from a military family, I’ve always been fiercely patriotic. Now that I look back, we done good.
The large-scale recovery that I’ve read about and observed on national television has been impressive. Patriotic books have been written. Songs have been composed. That’s all good. But I’m just as proud of the recovery that I’ve noticed on a small, local scale as I am of what I’ve observed on national television and heard on the radio.
The American Spirit is everywhere. We’ve all noticed the flags flying from porches, mailboxes, and cars. Last week, when I left a parking garage in Tacoma, the attendant took my ticket and handed me an American flag. I didn’t ask her (I wish I had), but I think the money for the flags came out of her own pocket. She done good.
Did you happen to meet my friend Linda after the crisis? Linda, an exemplary artist, found her own way to recover. She handled her grief by sitting and artfully painting a purse-full of wooden hearts in an American flag motif. Then, she glued pins to their backs and hit the road. Everywhere she went, whenever she saw someone who looked like they needed a hug, she’d stop them, put her arms around them, and give them a pin. Yep. I said give. Linda wasn’t out to make a buck. She was out to help heal some grief. She has given out literally hundreds of stars and stripes pins. I’m so proud to know her. She done good.
Our children emptied their piggy banks and sent the cash to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to help the children in Afghanistan. And this wasn’t just a “keep busy” project for our younger generation. Firsthand, I observed the trauma in my six-year-old grandson’s eyes when he saw a man in a white truck with red and blue markings on its side reach into his mailbox and “steal” the money he was sending to our president for the children of Afghanistan. So often, our children amaze me. They done good.
Some of us are just realizing how much we hurt from the bombing in New York. We pushed the grief so far down inside that it has taken years for it to surface. We weren’t ready for more grief. There’s been so much in our lifetimes—Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, and the rest—but we handled it, each in our own way. We done good. If we get more trouble, we’ll handle it too. Out of the rubble—of New York and our hearts—has come a fierce survival instinct and a love of country that runs deeper than the Grand Canyon and wider than the Columbia. “Don’t tread on me!” we warn those who would take our freedom away. And if they decide to try, “Bring it on!” we say. Someday, the history books will have the last word on September 11th. When the next world generation grows up, let them read the record and say, “They done good.” (excerpt from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories)
Quote du Jour:
"Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Afghanistan." A. Whitney Brown

September 01, 2006

I thought nothing could be better than Paris!

©2006 Janelle Meraz Hooper, family archives

9-01-06-The picture today is from my family scrapbook. The man on the far right with the big grin was my Uncle Frank. He was a musician and an artist. If only he had lived closer, I could have learned so much from him—at least in the art department. I couldn’t play a penny whistle if I paid a dime for it. I mentioned my Uncle Frank in A Three-Turtle Summer. He was the best.
School-Here, school starts next week. It always makes me sad. No kidding. Even though I have an empty nest, the sight of those book bags in the Target ad is enough to make me tear up. Where does the time go? Summer is like chocolate--there's never enough.
On my bed table-That mysterious book that I hated so much got really good about halfway through. I’m done with it now, but still won’t tell you the title since I treated it so rotten and rough when I started reading it. Even so, I have to take away points because it took the author so long to develop the plot and characters. I was beginning to think I’d have to send her my email address so she could let me know when she finally figured it out.
On my DVD player-I’m still hooked on Rick Steve’s travel tapes. The one I’m watching now is on Germany. It’s interesting because an Amsterdam friend just came back from Berlin and said she liked it better than Paris!
On my Yahoo!-Don’t you just love the Internet? I’ve been reading newspapers from all over the world. Guess what?! Not everyone loves us, no matter what President Bush says.
Custer and His Naked Ladies-I’m about to wrap it up. I’m already a quarter of the way into my next novel that is set in the Northwest. So far, it's working title is Ralph. The one after that is a romance and I’m calling it Pool because that’s what I’m going to do with the money if I ever sell it.
Language- SchildrÖte, turtle (German) I know the o is too big, but it's the best Ole Trigger here can do...
The New Comanche Dictionary- Have ya read it yet?
Quote du jour:
"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." Drew Carey

August 17, 2006

Happy birthday, Cousin Dan

Cousin Dan with his buffalo, 2003 JMH
Happy Birthday, Cousin Dan!
Dan was a favorite of my mother's. He's a pastor, and she taught him Spanish before he went on a mission to Mexico years ago. That trip became the inspiration for a character in my new (unpublished) book, Custer and His Naked Ladies, although the story in the book is nothing like Dan's real story.
Dan and I both love local Oklahoma history, and we both love buffalo! Even better, he has a pond on his ranch that is filled with turtles! Me encanta!
His wife, Gloria, would make me an awfully good sister if we weren't so far away. Wish I could be there to eat some cake today!
Hot Moms-those who know me and know how conservative I am have been really amused by the ad Google has been running on my blog off and on lately. It reads: Hot Moms-Free to join-1000's of pictures and videos of beautiful single moms...eeek! Needless to say, I have no control over my blog's advertising. I tried to delete it, but got lost in html and was afraid I'd end up deleting the wrong thing. It'll pass on it's own. I think.
Language-Tortue (French) turtle
Do ya have your Comanche Dictionary yet?
Quote du jour:
"If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead." --Johnny Carson

August 10, 2006

They hate us! They really hate us!

© 2006 Janelle Meraz Hooper (Long Beach, Washington)

8-10-06-In the news :
Wow! They hate us!
They really hate us! The latest plan to blow up multiple planes brings into focus (again!) how much the terrorists hate us. I’m speechless. Well, I’m not—not really—but it’s pointless to repeat what I’ve said in the past. Don’t think I’m not still mad at Israel, because I am!
China-I’ve become numb to war news, but I broke down and cried at the news about the Chinese having to kill their dogs because of a rabies problem. I couldn’t even finish the article, so I don't know... don’t they have rabies vaccine over there? If not, can we send them some?
On my DVD machine-Rick Steve’s travel shows, courtesy of a good friend. I’m going to watch them all, I am. I really am. IF I can get myself to stop watching the show on Italy. Could I be Italian? Is there a Rio Grande there? I guess not...
On my bed table-I won’t say because I’m really hating it. I should have listened to the reviewers. It’s a book by a well-established writer and I’m thinking it could have used another rewrite and some intersting characters. And maybe a plot. If there is one, I haven't found it yet. It must be good to be famous and be able to slop a book together. Don’t email me about this. My lips are zipped.

Language- Wakaree (Comanche), turtle

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 that includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610

Quote du jour:
“Sometimes I think war is God’s way of teaching us geography.” Paul Rodriguez

August 02, 2006

Coming soon!

Custer and His Naked Ladies

Before Glory boards an Oklahoma-bound plane at the Sea-Tac Airport, she takes the framed photo of her husband out of her gym bag and dumps it--frame and all--into the nearest trash bin. She has wasted too many years on a man who doesn't want her, and her biological clock is beginning to pound like a powwow drum.

This probably isn't the final cover. My mother did this drawing years ago, and I've always liked it. Who knows? Maybe I'll grow so attached to it that I'll keep it!

Author's note: Now here's a fun read for all of the people who told me it hurt to read A Three-Turtle Summer...Custer and His Naked Ladies is the last book in my turtle trilogy, but it stands alone.

July 25, 2006

Does Israel Have PMS?

Does Israel have PMS?
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

This week, I’ve been reminded of a bumper sticker I once saw on a car going down the freeway. It said: I have PMS—and I have a gun.
At least, the woman going down the freeway gave a warning. Where’s Israel’s bumper sticker?
Even worse, this little skirmish in the Middle East is just one of many. Trouble spots abound. The world is so full of hate that it isn’t doing a good job of caring for anything—it’s children, it’s parents, or the planet. Shame on Hezbollah. Shame on Israel. Shame on the warring factions in Iraq. Shame on the rebels of Somalia. Most of all, shame on the United States because, as a world leader, all Bush has done is lead us into war and squander our resources so that we can no longer react to a crisis as it happens. The best we can do is sweep it under the rug until, finally, even the rug explodes...
Here’s an idea for those people planning and executing the killings: stop the insanity and take care of your people. Look at what you've done! Stop it. Stop it now!
By the by…please don’t send me any more emails begging me to pray for the people of Israel. What about the poor people they’re killing, displacing, or making orphans? For that matter, when the two soldiers were kidnapped, there were two Israeli mothers crying. How many are crying now? It’s over a hundred, at last count. How smart is that? In the comic strip Pogo, Walt Kelly once said: “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” Pass out the bumper stickers.

July 21, 2006

A Mom On A Hot Day in Oklahoma

A Mom On A Hot Day
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

I feel like a mom on a hot day in Oklahoma. In my neighborhood, when it was hot and we kids starting fighting with each other, moms would snap, rush out into the backyard, and cut a switch from the willow tree. They would wave it high in every direction until the kids that were not of their loin were banished from whichever direction they had come. Left with only their own, they'd lower the height of their switch, and herd them into the house. The switch would run from side to side of their kids hind ends, playing on their little buttocks like a kid running a stick on a picket fence. Once inside, the kids were bathed, given a snack, and sent to separate corners.

What the Mideast needs is a hot mom with a switch, sending each country to their own corner. They cannot play together in peace. Israel has reacted outrageously and inappropriately. Iran and Syria are busily exporting hate across their borders. Even the Lebanese government waited ten (?) days before it asked the United Nations for help. The rest of the Mideast countries are playing deaf and dumb. What is this? A little summer diversion to replace summer camp? I, for one, am repulsed---and bored. I say, lock the fence, put the dogs in the garage (where it's cool) and let the little buggers go to it. The rest of us, let's go for ice cream!

Okaaay--maybe I'm a little cranky. Just tell they have willow trees in the Mideast?

July 18, 2006

That precious ladle...

7-25-06 Still trying to lad the graphic....

The graphic won't load---I'll try again later.

7-18-06-The above graphic is my name tag from the 4th of July Steilacoom Street Fair. I was in the Northwest Authors booth talking to my readers. If you missed me, I'm scheduled to be at the Proctor Fair, on August 5th, near Starbucks. Look for the Northwest Authors booth.

The Ladle
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

I don’t know why I was washing dishes by hand last night—I have a dishwasher. Maybe it was because our Mariners were behind the Yankees 2-4. Or maybe it was the latest war in the Middle East. Or maybe, it was the sight of our president stupidly talking in front of an open microphone and chewing with his mouth open at that big mucky-muck meeting of leaders in Russia (that man is such a hick!). I dunno what it was.
Anyway, there was a soup ladle in my sink, and it brought back a flood of memories (that happens to me a lot—maybe I should seek help). I can remember exactly when I got it. It was given to me at a bridal shower my friends gave me in our college dormitory in 1963. I don’t remember the name of the girl it was from, but I can see her as clear as yesterday. She was so fragile, maybe a size one, with reddish long hair. That year, she’d been working on a student talent show with us, and she’d objected to a poem by Ogden Nash because it had a swear word in it (A strange bird is the pelican—his beak can hold more than his belly-can—in his beak he can hold enough food for a week—but I don’t know how the hell-he-can). She was such a sweetheart.
That ladle has been with me from that first pot of soup until now. It has served delicious soups with beef and pea pods. Spicy, aromatic Cajun soups with chicken and ham. Sometimes, it has ladled soups that were more frugal. It has even spooned more than its share of beans. It has seen lonely times when my husband was in Viet Nam and happier times when his whole family gathered around our table for gazpacho. It has ladled tomato soup decorated with popcorn into my daughter’s bowl. Soup made with vegetables from our organic garden. Even soup made with leftover salmon (okay, that one was a mistake!). That ladle. That precious ladle.
It is still in good shape, made soundly from stainless steel by a company named Ecko, I think. After all these years, it is in no danger of replacement. How could I replace it? How could I purchase one of those new plastic ladles with lots of color but no memories?
I don’t know what happened to my friend who gave it to me. I hope she is well and happy—and I hope she has a ladle just like the one she gave me, oh so many years ago…

For shame! I've learned that the 4th of July piece that I posted was a hoax! Don't ya hate it when that happens?

Comanche Dictionary-Do you have your copy yet?

On my bed table: Gaby's Penance by Aline Lesage. Set in the early 20th century, Gaby's Penance is the gripping saga of a tormented and ambitious Québécoise, whose sin cost her more than she could possibly fathom. Read her story and you will never forget her! iUniverse, $19.95. This is the perfect summer read. Aline was born in Quebec, Canada, although she lives in the Northwest now.

Quote du jour:

"Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." Anna Freud (quoted in the July 2006 issue of the OWFI magazine) I wonder what her definition of survive is?

July 02, 2006

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet."

Deer in backyard last week...
July 5th-The piece below is late, but I think it's worth a read. I have no idea who wrote it, it just showed up on my screen from that forward guy...
THE 4TH OF JULY- Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of theRevolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton ofVirginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the BritishGeneral Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid towaste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Quotes du jour:
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Benjamin Franklin
"The ballot is stronger than the bullet." Abraham Lincoln (Vote, America, vote!)
"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."
Edward R. Murrow (George Clooney) Good Night and Good Luck

June 30, 2006

We can do this!

7-01-06-Pictures still won't load. I must be doing something wrong. It wouldn't be my first mistake! There was that one back in '77...
6-30-06-Pictures won't post today--maybe Google is trying to tell me something! I'll try again later.
Where have I been?-Writing! I'm close to completing Custer, and I also made some editing promises. You're not buying it, huh? All right. I've been playing! It's summer already!
Alaska Airlines and Red Bull-I try make it a policy not to question other people’s business decisions, but how smart is this?! Alaska has announced that they’re going to offer Red Bull, a high-energy drink, on their flights. Just what we need: a bunch of over-stressed passengers, possibly afraid of flying, strapped into a big metal machine thousands of feet in the air—hyped up on Red Bull….have mercy!
Word of the day- Honu (Japanese), turtle
Custer and His Naked Ladies- Still working on it. I’ll be posting bits of it soon. Stay tuned!
French email pal-still working on it. This was a New Year’s resolution, and it is challenging. I have the email pal, but have yet to start. So much to do, so much to do!
An Inconvenient Truth-Al Gore is leading the way. We can do this! Let’s get to it! Years ago, I became aware of the pollution problem and tried to attack it in my small way. I encouraged recycling (unpopular at the time), gardened organically (this made me the butt of many jokes, but my beliefs have been proven), made an effort to pick business and medical choices closer to home so that I'd burn less fuel, etc. There are so many things that we have no control over, it feels good to have an impact somewhere.

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 that includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610

Quote du jour:
"A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: "Duh." --Conan O'Brien

June 15, 2006

I'm cranky today...

6-21-06- Chocolate! I need chocolate!
6-20-06- Getting better...
6-17-06- Still cranky...
6-15-06-I'm guessing the above photo was taken when I was about six--between the years of my Three-Turtle Summer and As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries. As I've said before, my novels have a lot of historical material in them. I did not say they were historical fiction at the time I published because I did not want to embarrass my mother (she is no longer with us).

The World Soccer Cup-McDonald’s has it right. On the Spanish language channels, their ad says me encanta (I’m enchanted). And I am. Never in my life have I seen such joy, passion, and anguish exploding from so many people in one place. And that doesn’t even count the people watching and listening around the world. As I write this, England has just beaten Trinidad 2-0. That little country did a great job—they’ll be back next year. Lookout.
Soccer is new to me. I saw my first game last fall, and it’s going to be pretty hard for the old sports, like baseball and American football, to interest me ever again. Just the thought of those wimps we have sitting on the sidelines during a football game, sucking on oxygen turns my stomach. That’s not a sport. It’s a bunch of dumb, out of shape jocks wearing padding on everything that doesn’t have a cup on it. Okay, I’m cranky today. Maybe I’ll feel better about a bunch of spoiled, pampered, over-paid athletes—some of whom barely get out of jail before game time—tomorrow. Don’t count on it.

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 that includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610
(You know, of course, that I can’t direct readers to other people’s websites from here…)

Quote du jour:
“Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.” Ronald Reagan

June 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Bob in Italy at 10-years-old
6-08-06-Happy birthday, Cousin Bob! Bob is the cousin I grew up with in Oklahoma in the 50's. He was the inspiration for Carlos in As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries. I don't know how old he is today (we have a don't ask, don't tell policy), but here, he was ten. He was in Italy courtesy of the U.S. Army, that had stationed his father in Europe.

I remember many stories of Bob, but I won't relate them here--that's your present, dear cousin! And I still have that photograph of you with our grandmother--with you picking your nose, so don't mess with me!

Quote du jour:
"You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly, he told the truth."
Mark Twain

June 05, 2006

Meaner than a rattlesnake and dumber than adobe...

©2006 Dick Hooper

Photo note: There are four turtles here. Not three. Okay, it was A Four-Turtle Summer, and Grace had to dump a man who was meaner than a rattlesnake and dumber than adobe...

6-05-06-How low can he go? A failure at everything presidential, President Bush is now trying deflect attention from his many, many failures, stir up some right Christian anger, and get his fellow Republicans re-elected to office. Never mind that he’s dividing the country even further. People, it’s crunch time, why don’t those guys—both sides—get down to work and get something done? People are being killed in the streets—and I mean here—not in Iraq. Children are hungry; according to MSNBC, 29% of our children are hungry. That’s pitiful! Jobs are few and low-paying. Add to that: immigration problems, corruption, and healthcare woes. And more. Why are we so dumb?! Let’s throw these bums out! Let’s elect someone who can do the job!

Quote du jour:

"Yes, it’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.” Carl Van Doren

June 04, 2006

"She doesn't deadhead her roses."

© 2006 Dick Hooper

6-04-06-the above photo was taken by my husband at the Point Defiance Garden Show yesterday. It’s digital. I took some photos with my Nikon, and I should have them back sometime before Christmas—that’s Christmas, 2007. Why do I buy those rolls of film that have enough shots to document an elephant’s birth from conception to birth? It was probably on sale. The last roll that I took out of the camera has been misplaced. After spending two years in my state-of-the-art toy, it is now lost. Augh!!!

As I writer, I love and honor all languages. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 which includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610
(You know, of course, that I can’t direct readers to other people’s websites from here…)

Quote du jour:
“She doesn’t deadhead her roses,” Mickey whispered, accusingly. Custer and His Naked Ladies, a novel by Janelle Meraz Hooper, unpublished

June 01, 2006

Do the French make wine or sour grapes?

The author, in a A Three-Turtle Summer

Lance Armstrong-An independent investigation has exonerated Lance Armstrong of any drug use in the 1999 Tour de France. Again. I thought the French made wine? It sounds like they’re just making sour grapes.

Bono-News clips of Bono in Africa recently have reported that residents of Mali, in Northwest Africa, are growing organic cotton to send to market. I wonder if they’ve ever tried to market those beautiful fabrics they make? I’d buy some!

Custer and His Naked Ladies-I’m still working towards my October first deadline. It’s getting crowded in my tiny office. So much so, that I’ve enlisted my ironing board for another table. Oh, well, it’s used for little else!

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 which includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, Oklahoma 73502-3610

(Pst! I wonder if they have a website?)

Quote du jour:
In my emails : “Early to bed and early to rise, work like hell and advertise!” unknown

May 16, 2006

Living well is an art...

© Janelle Meraz Hooper

5-16-06-The photo of the red door was taken in Alaska. I don't know what there is about doors that fascinates photographers...maybe it's what may be behind them that intrigues us so...

What a laugh! I’ve discovered an Arabian website that has printed one of my stories in English, but the rest of the website is in Arabic! I’m tickled to know that I’m being read somewhere else in the world, and hope that my story can help bring us all closer together. I’ve often said that I write stories about Americans who are just looking for a good piece of yellow watermelon…I’m hoping that I can help show the world that there are more of those kind of Americans here than the kind who live in Trump Towers…

Of course, these stories will never make me rich. The literary agents love to tell me that books about ordinary people don’t sell in this country. They’re looking for books about women who drip with wealth and men who drive Italian sport cars.

Now, to an extent, I agree. I don’t like to read about poor, downtrodden people who are still poor and downtrodden in the last chapter. BUT, there are lots of people who live full lives without millions of bucks. Living well is an art. Living well with lots of money may just be lucky.

I’ll never forget a young man I met years ago who managed to see all the plays and concerts around even though he didn’t have a dime in his pocket. He got in by volunteering to usher at those events. How smart was that?!

Here’s a few tidbits from my blog drawer :

Headlines: (Yahoo!)Treating mom’s depression may help kids…duh! Just think: someone got a grant for thousands of dollars to figure that one out!

Say what?!: They want to make a movie about Mother Teresa with Paris Hilton playing the lead?! That’s just plain nasty.

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 which includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610
(Psst! I’ll bet they have a web site…)

Quote du jour:
“We mustn’t confuse dissent with disloyalty.”
Edward R. Murrow (Good Night and Good Luck)

May 15, 2006

"You came from a family of liars!"

Fantasy Cover for Custer and His Naked Ladies
© Grace G. Shondeck
5-15-06-I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day. This year, I felt inspired. Besides our present to our daughter, I copied some of my mother’s stories, and put them in a folder with a design on the front. I totally misgauged how long it would take me to copy my mother’s handwriting into a Word document, and, as it turned out, it took me days. But it was worth it, and I hope my daughter gets a chuckle out of her grandmother’s stories. I did!
I’ve kept just about every letter my mother ever sent to me, so I imagine I’ll add some every year to the folder, which will most likely end up on a disk.
Both of my parents were storytellers, and that is probably at least partly why I write. My daughter is also a writer, so there seems to be a pattern developing. Once, I tried to explain to my Aunt Norah that I wrote because I came from a family of storytellers, and she replied, “You came from a family of liars!” Well, maybe so! But they were interesting liars!
Custer and His Naked Ladies-The third book in my turtle trilogy is coming along.

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price $34.00 which includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610
(Psst! I’ll bet they have a web site…)

I'm in a hurry today--I'll try to do better tomorrow...JMH

Quote du jour:
"If I had just ten minutes left to live, I’d write faster." Isaac Asimov

May 01, 2006

Chinese food after the powwow...

Books for Mom...
A Three-Turtle Summer
As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories

5-01-06- I liked May Day better when we hung flowers on our friend's doors. Now, it's just another day to protest. Maybe we could set aside one day on the calendar when no one would protest anything. Wouldn't that be refreshing?

Today, my Hispanics are boycotting. I can remember that, once, I asked my grandmother what a Chicano was. She said a Chicano was a Mexican who wouldn't work! In my family, everybody worked, and we were glad to have the job. Things have changed. I support Mexicans being treated fairly and being able to come over the border to work, but I cannot support violence or threats of violence. And even though we need my relatives to work, they are still guests in our country and should behave as guests. In return, I promise not to go down to Mexico and demonstrate.

Mom’s Day- I never knew what to get my mom for Mother’s Day. I would think and think, and then get her something dorky. I adored my mother but I am a lousy present buyer on special occasions. I do better when I come across something in a month like April or June—when nothing is going on. If I had her today, I still wouldn’t know what to get her this Sunday. If we were in Oklahoma, we’d probably just go out to a powwow (my mother knew a lot of the dancers) and go out for Chinese afterwards. How funny is that?! An Hispanic woman going to a Comanche powwow and then eating Chinese food…

In the mail- As I writer, I love and honor all language. The Comanche Language and Preservation Committee has a dictionary out that is terrific. It has Comanche to English and English to Comanche sections. Price is $34.00, which includes shipping and handling. They also have other language materials in a varied price range, some come with a CD to help with pronunciation. Contact them:
Comanche language and Cultural Preservation Committee
P. O. Box 3610
Lawton, OK 73502-3610
(Psst! I’ll bet they have a web site, but I'm not allowed to mention other web sites on this blog…)

Tee shirt rant- I started this rant before I got involved with Mother’s Day. It started when I saw tee shirts with inappropriate messages on children's clothing. The last one I saw said: You should see this shirt wet. It was on a 14-year-old just beginning to develop. What mother would let her girl wear a shirt like that?! Did I mention her mother was with her?! Some people have asked what I do like. I like two that I saw in a Macy’s ad. One said: I do all my own stunts. The other said: You’re looking at a legend. Now, that’s funny!

At the movies-Late-breaking news: Wes Studi, has taken over the role of Buffalo Hump in the movie Comanche Moon. First cast as Idahe, he took over the larger role when Graham Greene backed out of the production. You may remember, he was Famous Shoes in an earlier Lonesome Dove production. Lots of movie-goers know Wes as Magua in The Last of the Mohicans, and Geronimo in the movie by the same name. Why am I telling you this?! Because, if you're not a Wes Studi fan, you should be!

Iraq- Are we still in a war? I can’t bare to look anymore.

Quote du jour:
From my mom: “A wrinkle in your nylon is worse than a wrinkle in your face.”

April 16, 2006

Story excerpt: How To Fight Big Hair!

How To Fight Big Hair
Story excerpt from:
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories

When our children were young, I had a friend who told me that it was time for her five-year-old son to go to school—she had taught him everything she could.
I looked at it this way: the teachers could teach my daughter all of that 3-R stuff—I was never good at it anyway. I could teach her about fine literature, art, the history of oriental carpets—and how to make tiny guest soaps in little plastic muffin pans and a microwave.
Okay, so all we did was buy the book with the soap recipes. We never actually got around to making the soap. The book is probably still on a bookshelf somewhere next to the ones on One Hundred Ways to Braid Your Hair and How to Have an Archaeological Dig in Your Own Basement.
When she was about eleven, we reached a point where she had her own ideas, so her father and I invented “mini-scholarships” that we tucked into her Christmas stocking. I think that most of the money went for sheet music, extra flute lessons, and Judy Blume books. Even with the scholarships, she still had plenty of time leftover for camping and fishing trips, cooking lessons, and documentaries on the educational television channels.
There did come a day, when she was a senior in high school, that she said she’d learned all she could from me. It was time for her to move on. From what I could tell, she’d moved on to big hair, frosted eye shadow, and boys...
Pick up a copy for Mother's Day! iUniverse, $12.95

Quote du Jour:
"If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment." Los Angeles Times

April 13, 2006

An excerpt from The Red Plaid Lunch Box!

04-13-06-Looking for a Mother's Day book? Check out Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories!

An excerpt from one of the stories:
The Red Plaid Lunch Box

The last time I browsed the antique shops I came across a red plaid metal lunch box with a matching red plaid Thermos from the 50s. It brought back a flood of memories because I had one just like it when I was in the third grade living in the middle of Oklahoma. When I took it off the store shelf and opened it, the smell of waxed paper and tuna fish still lingered.
Mom was barely hanging on when I had mine. A victim of a previous violent marriage, family politics, and physical disabilities, she was like a beautiful autumn leaf caught in a storm drain, spinning around and around in treacherous whirlpools—but never going down.
I knew she loved me. There was never any doubt about that, but she could barely care for herself, much less take care of me.
My father and stepmother lived across town. I always had the option to go and live with them. They were both employed, and the meals were regular. Even if I had wanted to live with them—which I definitely didn’t—how could I have left my mom? It wouldn’t have taken a Whiz Kid to know grandmother and the rest of the family would pick her to death if I weren’t there to protect her.
One step above homeless, Mom and I bumped around from one relative’s home to another. Our latest move was to my grandmother’s. Before the lunch box, Mom didn’t wake up before I left for school. My grandmother told me that she seldom bothered to get up before eleven-thirty or so. Mom’s sleeping habits meant that sometimes I not only went without lunch, but without breakfast, unless my grandmother shared some of hers. Nowadays doctors might say Mom suffered from depression. I’ve often wondered.
I don’t know why things got better for awhile during my third grade, but one day I came home and saw that little red lunch box on the counter. I was mesmerized by the shiny exterior and the clean white interior—the way the Thermos fit in just so.
The next morning, Mom was up bright and early wrapping little food treasures in wax paper. A sandwich. Celery. Carrots. Half an apple. Mom was never much of a baker, but a few times, I found a cupcake made from one of those mixes that used to cost a dime a box.
The little metal box became a barometer of my mother’s mental health. If I carried it to school, I knew that Mom was going to have a good day. I carried more than food in that metal container. It was a contract. A contract that said Mom was going to be there, really there, for the rest of the day, at least. When I got home that day, she’d be dressed and smiling.She made a little bit of money sewing for rich people that year. She was developing a list of clients and was excited about it. Mom sewed beautifully, but her customers never stuck around for very long. I never knew why. Still don’t.
Quote du jour:
“The desire to write grows with writing.” Erasmus

April 04, 2006

Perfect Mother's Day Book!

4-04-06-Mother’s Day is coming up! If you’re anything like me, May 14 will be here before you find the perfect card. Now's a good time to order your mom a copy of Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories. Just about any bookstore can order a copy for you. That way, if you have to buy the last card on the shelf, you'll still have something that shows you care!

A message from the author: Ya know, this will come back to bite me--most likely sooner than later--but I'm sick to death of the ritzy, tasteless image of us that some Hollywood movies and New York publishers send out into the world. No wonder we're hated everywhere! If I could, I'd send copies of this little book to libraries all over the world so they'd know that not all of us live in Trump Towers--most of us are just nice people, looking for a good piece of yellow watermelon!
Happy reading!

Contents of Pie:

Moment To Moment

Aggie and Her Surprise Visitor- (mainstream)Why did a confused Aggie call for her niece to make an emergency trip to come and visit her? Was it because her air conditioner was broken? Or because the Fat Pig was out of yellow watermelon? Or was it something more sinister?

How To Fight Big Hair- (humor) How does a mother reach a teenaged daughter who has discovered blue eye shadow and boys?

Gets Tickled and the Fish Trap- (fantasy) Why wasn’t anyone eating in the 1950’s style diner? And why were all the other patrons Indian? Above all, the Army veteran wondered, why were salmon falling from a giant fish trap in the ceiling?

Harpy and Julianne’s War of the Roses- (mainstream ) Harpy hated cats, and his neighbor, Julianne, had plenty of them. Sometimes, Harpy wondered if Julianne wasn’t starting to look like her cats…

A Perfect Slice of Wenatchee- (mainstream) The sky overhead was ultramarine blue and held in place by a sparkling brooch of blazing sun.

Samie’s Secret- (mainstream) In the night sky, stars as big as snowballs danced around the moon as it came up over the pond behind Samie’s aunt and uncle’s motel.

P-60 and Beyond- (humor) I approached my sixtieth birthday with the same enthusiasm that I would a clogged bathroom drain.

Two Windows on Ground Zero- (commentary) September 11th found me stuck at home with only a 38-inch screen TV and a large living room window. I could have done without the big screen TV. This was one time a one-inch screen would have been too big—too painful to watch.

We’re Recovering From September 11th-(commentary) “We done good.” My Hispanic grandmother used to say that after our family had survived its latest crisis. We were a houseful of women, and leaky roofs, plumbing problems, and skunks in the backyard often tested our resolve.

The Red Plaid Lunch Box- (Mother’s Day/mainstream) The last time I browsed the antique shops I came across a red plaid metal lunch box with a matching red plaid Thermos from the 50s. It brought back a flood of memories…

Moving to Alaska-(humor) There’s little doubt that Alaska has a bad reputation for most of us. Part of the problem may be the way Hollywood portrays life in Alaska as a kind of a frozen Dogpatch. Truth is, the big cities in Alaska are just like any other big cities in the United States, only with a little snow—okay, a lot of snow.

How to Speak Alaskan in 26 Easy Lessons- (humor) Communicating with your new friends in Alaska may have its confusing moments—it’s not that Alaskans have their own language, but their surroundings do inspire their own vocabulary…

Our Mountains Don’t Have Snow Crabs- (humor) One of the first things I did when I got to Washington from Oklahoma was catch a bus to go ski. Yes, ski. I’d never even heard the words ski lift, but I was young. And fearless. And full of adventure. I skied all day and didn’t even break a fingernail. My astonishing luck reinforced my opinion of snow. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. Besides, I was thin, and having a good hair day.

This Far From Homeless- (mainstream) The first time one of the “grannies” handed a shivering Macky a sandwich and a hot cup of coffee, he asked her, “Why are you doing this?” The woman answered, “Because I know that all of us are just this far from homeless.” As she talked, she held up her thumb and index finger—almost touching. (Note to teachers: there are clues in the story that may explain how each homeless person got to where he is—can your students find them?)

The Big Navy Blue Crab-(mainstream) I had plowed through an endless sea of dirty Toyotas when I saw her. She crouched in the corner of a used car lot like a big navy blue crab on the bottom of a dusty ocean. She had a style the new Mercedes didn’t have. To me, the new ones just screamed money; this one purred class.

Bear Bait- (humor) My friends didn’t fool me…physically, I was the weakest member of our social group. I knew it. They knew it. That’s why I was always included in camping and hiking trips to Alaska. Overweight and out of shape, I was obviously the designated sacrifice to any angry bears we might encounter on the trails.

Summer Jobs- (teen humor) Alll-right! Summer’s comin’! Gonna PARTY! Gonna KICKBACK! Gonna slap some tanning lotion! Gonna sleep until the soaps come on, then drag into the kitchen, grab a can of pop, wrestle the remote control away from your little brother, and just VEGGGG…

“Ouchy, ouchy!”- (humorous commentary) Now that I’m four and a half, I can’t get Mom to notice that I’m starting to outgrow my car seat. It may even be unsafe. It, for sure, is uncomfortable. If it weren’t for my diaper, I’d have saddle sores, I bet.


“Anybody Want to Play?- (humor) Every spring the hamburger joints are filled with ball players all dressed up in their new baseball outfits, their pristine new balls, mitts, and hats scattered on the tables among the milkshakes and fries.

Are the Snacks Here Yet?- (humor) T-ball season is over, and a good time was had by all. Of course, the spring weather was awful—isn’t it always? The grownups sat huddled in their folding chairs hugging their thermal coffee cups and urged their young players to run out on the field and roll around in the wet grass and the muck and have fun.

The Spectators- (mainstream) Judy’s outside kitchen door swung open and she turned to see her next door friend clad in novelty pajamas and matching robe at seven in the evening.
“I have so many questions. But first, red or white?” Judy asked, holding up two bottles of wine.

Holiday Stories

Sanyo and Hatchet- (mainstream Halloween) Sanyo, six-years-old, was warned not to make eye contact with the big black jungle crows that roamed the streets of downtown Tokyo. She didn’t believe the warnings. She didn’t think the birds were dangerous, just bad mannered.

Wanda, the Witless Witch of Boo! Cul-de-sac- (mainstream/humor Halloween) Wanda, the Witless Witch of Boo! Cul-de-sac, circled twice around her split-level home before she landed her broom on the roof. As always, she slid into her home through the air duct to the kitchen fan. Her black hat was sliced to ribbons because she always forgot to turn the fan off when she left. Okay, she was a little addled—but beautiful. Blond and petite, she bought all of her clothes at Hoardstrom’s and flew to LA every week to have her hair done at Chez Cher-Fawcett’s.

Wanda, the Wicked Writer of the Northwest- (mainstream/humor Halloween) Wanda never went to the mailbox without her baseball bat. For every rejection from literary agents and editors she received, she gave the box one whack. Of course, this scared the bats that lived in the box’s belfry silly, but Wanda was always so angry that she didn’t notice.

The New Anything-But-Turkey Diet- (humor) Not again! Every year we go through this, you guys start walking briskly up and down Ruston Way with your dogs, building up an appetite. I see you out there, and from where I sit some of you could stand to miss a few meals.

A New-Fangled Thanksgiving Tradition- (humor) Thanksgiving dinner was always the same at Mom’s, and that was how we liked it. In a changing world that created new stress by the minute, we could always depend on Mom’s turkey to be perfectly browned, and her cornbread dressing nicely laced with celery, wild pecans, and raisins. But one year, when my mom and her sister were in their eighties, my aunt arrived from California and brought her new-fangled ideas about tradition with her.

The Matriarch- (humor) When we lost my grandmother at eighty-two, my mother suddenly found herself the designated matriarch. A gentle person, Mom was never a leader. She liked to say, “You watch your little red wagon, and I’ll watch mine.”

Soldiers Give Writer Reasons to be Thankful- (Thanksgiving humor) When I was a kid, I was raised in a large military family in a small town next to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Half of my family was Catholic and the other half Baptists (don’t ask!), but once a year we got together at a large table to make a turkey suffer.

My Christmas List- (humor) Here they come again. Men with no shirts on, hawking men’s cologne that my husband wouldn’t wear to chop wood…and here come the women, looking like they’ve never cleaned out a sink basket.

Christmas in the Antique District- (mainstream) Sandie opened the door to the basement closet of the antique store to get the artificial tree her boss sent her after—and quickly shut it again…she could hear movement at the back of the closet, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t reindeer.

Thoughts on the Millennium- (humor/commentary) I’m so sick of all the talk about the millennium, aren’t you? The way I see it, we won’t even be here for most of it. What we really need help with is the next two weeks.

It All Started With That Darn Shoebox!- (humor/commentary) The more I think about it, the more I think all of my Valentine’s Day problems started way back in the third grade.

Divorce Stories

Free Pecan Pie- (mainstream) Back from her tennis game, Maggie-Lynn didn’t bother to put on makeup after she showered. Why bother? Her Husband was out of town. It pained her to admit—even to herself—that it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. It was getting harder and harder to dazzle that man.

The Bridge to Divorce- (mainstream) It was a silly way to end a thirty year marriage. And totally unintentional…especially on Margie’s part. All she’d really set out to do was get a good pair of shoes on sale...

Half of Everything- (mainstream) Half of everything was gone. Half of the artwork, sculptures, books, and CDs. Half of the furniture. The chairs, beds, and tables. Half of them. Gone. Adriana moved her half of the tsotchkes around on the glass shelf to fill in the empty spaces.

The Getaway- (mainstream) Three old friends sat in a new, upscale Chinese restaurant and patiently sipped red plum wine while they checked their watches. During their long friendship, they’d given each other names that fit them much better than the names they’d started out with in life: Pattie became Angel—because she sang like one. Judith became Anti Roe—because of her feelings about abortions. Catherine became Vroom!—because her glove box was filled with parking tickets, and Maria was called Tic-Toc, because she was always late.

Screens and Screams

Elvis Has Left the Building—And Is Living In My Computer- (humor) Elvis is still alive. I know it. I have proof. And I don’t mean the kind of proof where some guy who’s had too much beer stops at a local filling station and sees Elvis filling up his Eldorado with regular gas. What a joke. Everyone knows that Elvis uses super.

Get Thee To A Writers Group!- (humor) A lot of people ask me for advice about how to be a writer. One of the best things that can happen to a serious writer is to find an active, supportive writing group whose members have goals similar to yours. Chances are, it’ll be much more satisfying than asking the plumber who thought he was just there to fix the leaky faucet.

Sometimes, It Just Takes One Ring- (humor) The day my cell phone rang, I almost got flattened by a fire truck on its way to an emergency call. I was preparing for an out of town trip. The first thing I had to do before I could leave town was refill some prescriptions at my new HMO. That’s when I almost left town for good.

Trendy Writers Must Have a Web Site! - (humor) I’ve always been a trendy kind of gal. When I started my first book, I bought a used laptop. Laptops were very trendy for writers in the nineties. Now, I’m on my third book and fourth computer. The more they’ve improved them, the more lost I’ve become.

Everyone Has A Story…

“¿Dònde Estàn Tus Cuentos?” (Where Are Your Stories?) I listened to stories from an old man, stories of the West, and Indians—stories of cowboys, and skies of blue…

the end

Quote du jour:
“Writing without publishing is like eating without swallowing.” James Jones, courtesy of Ginger Foglesong Guy

March 25, 2006

A modern fairy tale...

Montana wildflowers © Janelle Meraz Hooper

3-25-06- The latest talk about immigration rules has me irked. I hope the government doesn’t think I’m going to roll my wheelchair up a ladder and pick all that fruit!

The Big White Hen
A modern fairy tale (with respect to The Little Red Hen)
by Janelle MERAZ Hooper

I have raised the fruit and vegetables. Now who will help me pick them?” said the big white hen. “Not us,” said the white chickens, “we have good jobs in the city.”
“Not us,” said the young white chickens, “we have good jobs at the mall.”
“Not us,” said the black chickens, “we have too much pride to work that hard.”
“Whatever shall I do?” asked the Big White Hen. “Without pickers, the crops will rot and I’ll lose everything I have.”
“Senor, we will help you pick your fruit and vegetables,” said the brown chickens.
“Oh, thank you,” said the big white chicken. “And because no one else will help me, I will treat you fairly, give you good pay, and not harass you at the border. I will inoculate and educate your children. I will build clean, safe migrant housing using the millions of dollars of social security funds my government has been collecting from all of you for years because you have to forge a social security number to work for me...”

Well, I said it was a fairy tale. I smell a movie!
(Oh, I'm going to get in trouble for this! )

Quote du jour:
“I will master something, then the creativity will come.” Japanese proverb, courtesy of OWFI The Report