Monday, September 28, 2009

The Eyes Have It

When I saw my brother DellRay's (second from right) bluer than blue eyes above his blue shirt, I had to ask what color MY eyes were. Not that blue, I was told, more gray, like my brother Greg. (Far right.) But our sister Rebecca (left) had DellRay blue eyes... or he had Rebecca blue eyes, since she's older (oh, whoops, don't hit me in the shoulder for that one, Becca!)
Well, I wanted a picture of all our eyes so I could see for myself. When the photographer said, "Open your eyes wide!" I did, with my smile still on. NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS A FUNNY FACE PICTURE! Now I'm the only one who looks weird.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dancing in the Grocery Store/ Your Hair Looks Good

Jackie Brown said my hair looked so good, I should take a picture of it, so I did.
Hm. I think the wooden bear looks good, and the sunflowers look good, but my hair? (Maybe she meant the back!)
I was in the grocery store with my photogenic hair when I saw a young couple dancing with the old fashioned twirl-the-girl move in the aisle between the specialty treats and the soda pop. I smiled at them as I made my way to the check out stand. When I got to the parking lot, there they were, walking toward a car.
"Hey!" I said.
They turned to look at me.
"You guys should celebrate your 50th anniversary dancing in this store!"
"We're not married," the guy said, holding tightly to the girl's hand.
"Then you should make a pact to meet here in 50 years and dance in the aisle again," I called.
"Yeah, we should," he said.
"Have a good night," I called, and opened my car door.
I predict that was either a deal maker or deal breaker. What do you wanna bet he proposes in the produce section after hiding an engagement ring inside a banana skin?
(Oh-so-romantic *Sigh*) And they'll live satisfied ever after...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Upside-down pizza, candy apples, and devil's farts

Food is big. There's nothing worse than spooning fresh peach cobbler onto your plate and opening the fridge to find... no whipped cream.
My solution is to hide food. I blame my brother, who sat grinning his grandpa grin (he has three grandchildren) at the re-telling of his bottle thefts from my crib. That's where it all started. He'd sneak the empties back in between the bars until the day Mom found him hiding in the toy box, guzzling his latest contraband milk.
That may explain why I hide food, but why am I such a crummy cook? Why didn't my extended family eat all the bright red candy apples I took to the reunion? I was disappointed to re-load half of my personal offerings of love and goodwill back in the car. I mean, I don't want to eat them! Half of them had the misfortune of being dipped in syrup that wasn't cooked quite to the hard ball stage... in other words, the candy coating is very sticky, like caramel, only with stronger pulling power. I realized the error in time to cook the remaining syrup a little longer to dip the remaining apples. Then, glancing at what was left over, I thought, "What the hey?" and drizzled the crackle stuff over some of the chewy apples. It looked kind of neat. Artistic. Shiny and delicious.
But some traitor candy apple eaters must have whispered a warning that if you want to keep your fillings, pass on the candy apples.
I wonder if my dog would eat one? Maybe she wouldn't bark so much if her jaws were stuck together with undercooked candy apple syrup.
On the way home from the reunion, I took pity on my boys who were suffering from hunger. Rather than make them eat something I made when we got home, I stopped and bought a couple of $5.00 pizzas. They ate their fill, but there were leftovers and my nose wouldn't let me forget it. So I asked for a piece, which was passed up to me in the dark car. It felt very strange, and I wondered if someone had accidentally handed me their shoe liner until I realized I was holding it upside down. (Note - pizza tastes just as good upside down as right side up.)
Who can account for my strange taste in foods? Ever since I can remember, I've loved blue cheese dressing. I know it's stinky, but perhaps it reminds me of the dregs of sour milk my brother may have left behind in his bottle-stealing haste.
Another taste I can't account for is my fondness for pumpernickel bread. I still claim loyalty, even though I read just last night that pumpernickel has a bad name, even in its country of origin. "Pumpernickel" is a semblance of what Germans called this dark, pungent bread in their own language, and it translates to "devil's fart."
Yup, that sounds like my cooking, all right.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Who Set Me Up?

Okay, I've had some freaky things happen in my life, and another one just burst out of the computer a minute ago. You see, I've never set up a TWITTER account because it seems, well, kind of annoying to have updates for every little thing someone does throughout their life.
Well, I've gotten enough followers of my non-existent Twitter account that I decided to bite the beak and give it a try. I mean, you don't really know unless you try it, right?
But guess what? When I typed my information, the Blue Twitter Bird told me that my email address was already taken.
Say what?
Well, I have been known to put library books in the fridge and just yesterday I lost my celery in the cupboard and was SO GLAD when Michael found it that I was willing to concede there was a remote possibility I'd set up an account without paying attention.
So I tried to log in, but since I had no memory of creating the account, I didn't know the password. So I clicked on "Forgot Password," and was sent a re-set password link... but LOOK HOW MY NAME IS SPELLED! "Hi, ShirleyBahlman"
Now I KNOW I didn't set that up, because I happen to know that, no matter how unnecessary they both seem, my last name is spelled with 2 "N's" at the end!
So what I want to know is... who set me up?!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Just Wanted to See the Play!

I got to the high school play, "A Curious Savage," an hour early because my high-schooler son was in the light booth and needed time to set up. While waiting in the lobby, I got busy writing. So when there were signs of activity around the ticket booth, I gave my 10-year-old some money and told him to go get us tickets so we could go in.
When the auditorium doors opened, Michael came to get me and I picked up my papers and followed him toward the seats he'd picked out. As we were going through the doors, the director saw me, gave a mischievous grin, and called loud enough for Egyptians to hear, "Hey, you should tell your son that you just want a child and an adult ticket."
"Why?" I asked, wondering if Michael had gotten two child's seats or something.
"He said your age," the director snorted, trying to hold back the laughter.
"Oh, that's okay, I don't really care," I said with a smile.
Michael took a few steps beside me in silence, then he turned his face up and said, "But, Mom, I had to tell him your age because I didn't know if you got the Senior Citizen discount yet or not."
I cared about that. I laughed clear 'til curtain time!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I feel pretty...

I was riding my funky 3-wheeled recumbent off the front apron of WalMart when I saw the lady sashay out of the store. She flipped blonde hair over one shoulder and strode out into the sunshine with confidence. That was admirable, since she wore a dress made from the dull side of a roll of aluminum foil. No kidding. It was silver. Her black stockings had so many designs running rampant that they made her legs look diseased. Startling red high heels that didn't match a thing clicked across the pavement.
I sat there under my tan shade hat with the big yellow flower pinned to one side, a sunflower sari draped over one shoulder, light-up flips pressed to my bike pedals and a pair of bright yellow sunglasses over my eyes, thinking, "It's amazing what some people will wear in public..."

Monday, September 7, 2009

A truck driver out for blood!

I had to have a minor medical procedure last week which included the poking of a needle into one of my veins. I have good blood-taking veins. They're not shy.
So I'm there in the room and in comes this big guy of about 50 with heavy black overhanging brows and a buzz hair cut. He's built like King Kong, and he's wearing scrubs.
"Hi," he said. "My name's Rusty and I'm a student and I'm going to take your blood."
"So," I said as he picked up my arm and encircled it with his huge hand. "What did you do before you decided to become a nurse?"
"Truck driver," he growled.
I would have guessed barroom bouncer.
So he's examining my arm and the back of my hand like he's reading a long-haul road map to Philly. Then a happy nurse of about 60 comes bobbing in the room, far too cheerful for bloodletting. But she talks Rusty through the procedure. When he holds the needle to my skin, she says, "Don't be afraid to push it in. No, that way you're not getting the vein, you're only getting under the skin. Just push it in quick."
Was that a bead of sweat running down Rusty's brow? I decided to help. "It hurts less if you just push it in," I said.
"You're rolling the vein," cheerful nurse said with a frown. "You need to hold the vein at the top with your thumb to keep it from rolling, or you'll never get it."
More poking.
Come on, Rusty, I'll bet you've skewered plenty of rare steaks faster than you're skewering me! Just pretend I'm a slab of beef.
Finally the needle poked into my vein. What a relief!
"Wait!" yelled nurse lady. "You can't just leave it hanging there, you should have the tape ready to hold it steady. Next time, have a strip of tape with you."
Yeah, Rusty, do that. And next time, practice on someone else!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rachel Nunes' "Saving Madeline" - (Hold on to your heart)

Rachel Nunes does not disappoint in her delivery of a tale that touches on what is sadly becoming an all-too-prevalent modern day epidemic.
The story opens with a sinister kidnapping of a 4-year-old girl that turns out to be a desperate rescue effort by the girl’s non-custodial father. He feels she is in danger from her mother’s carefully concealed drug use, but the officers who catch up to him don’t agree.
The reluctant defense attorney is assigned to the case, which she doesn’t believe in, until she spends more time getting to know the defendant. Then her heart is torn, and she uses every resource at her disposal in an effort to get at the truth.
Nunes style is engaging, and she skillfully weaves different threads into her tale. Some surprises await you along the trail of this modern-day cautionary fiction story that addresses an issue which Nunes researched from true events.
You won’t leave it without feeling a sense of outrage at the injustices done to innocents, and a desire to champion those who wish to protect these little ones.
Make a comment here and be entered to win a copy of this book! Winner can be found at on Sept. 26th.

Shirley: Rachel, thanks for coming to meet me in this courtroom. Dibs on the judge’s chair! Aw. You beat me to it. Okay, then I’ll take the witness stand. So when did you get the idea of writing “Saving Madeline?”
Rachel: Several years ago, shock radiated throughout Utah when an infant was found dead after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. What made this tragic circumstance even more notable and horrific is that weeks earlier her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse.
Authorities found the child, placed her back with her mother, and sent the father to jail for assault and burglary. A little over a week later, the baby was dead and the mother was charged with desecration of a dead body for moving her daughter to cover up the mother’s drug abuse. All charges against the father were eventually dropped.
Sadly, this is not the only story of a child becoming the victim of a parent’s drug use. In my research, I found many more instances, some of which I’ve written under the Author Comments for the book on my website at Keep in mind that though the idea for this novel was inspired by the true-life stories I researched, the plot, characters, and resolution in Saving Madeline are completely fictional. No actual experiences or interviews of real -life people were used in the text itself.

Shirley: You write it like you’ve had some legal experience. Do you have a law degree tucked in your files, or did you visit courtrooms to find out what happens in the legal world?
Rachel: Don't judges always take the children home and give them Ding Dongs?* :-) Actually, I researched a lot of information on the Internet, and I also chatted with a local attorney who practices in the Salt Lake. He was very helpful.
Shirley: Okay, quit spinning around in that chair, you’re making me dizzy. How long did it take you to write “Saving Madeline?”
Rachel: Would you stand still? Why are you moving so much? Oh, it's me. That's better. I first had the idea for Saving Madeline about three years ago, but I was working on another series at the time. I finished the book two years ago after about five months of writing. I let it sit for a year before rewriting and submitting to my publisher, which is always the best thing to do if you have the time. Usually, I'm less than a year from idea to published book.
Shirley: You are certainly tackling some tough topics with your books lately. What feedback have you gotten from readers?
Rachel: So far I've had no hate mail or bomb threats. Of course, the book isn't in stores yet, so that might be why. Thankfully, all the reviewers have given the thumbs up!
Shirley: Okay, put down the gavel. I know you’re passionate about your work, but hammering on the podium without that little protective circle thingy might make the real judge mad! What do you have in mind for your next subject?
Rachel: I plan to publish "Imprints" next year, which is a sequel to my novel Eyes of a Stranger. In this novel, Autumn, on the day of her father's funeral, discovers she has a supernatural gift (sometimes she calls it a curse) that was previously only hinted at in Eyes of a Stranger. With this gift, she is able reunite missing people with their families--though often it puts her in grave danger and at odds with a certain police detective. I think this will develop into a series of at least three or four books, possibly more. I also see it as a movie someday or TV series. But we'll see. I'm really excited about it. It's a fun story. Autumn will have two love interests through most of the books, and I'm really not sure who she'll eventually end up with. Though it may occasionally seem obvious to the reader, love is not always what it appears. Each book will also deal with a variety of serious subjects, as Autumn attempts to unravel all the family ties and problems in each case.
Shirley: That sounds interesting. It’s a good thing that you write about things that bring social problems to readers’ awareness.
Ooo, I’m feeling kind of hungry. Is that a double box of donuts on the evidence table?
Rachel: Actually those were my breakfast and lunch. Oh, and my dinner. Haven't you ever heard of the donut diet?* I've already lost ten pounds. I think. My son dropped the scale into the pool the other day. I'm sure it still works. But I have two more dozen in the car. Here, I can spare one. Take your choice.
Shirley: Aha! You left the judge’s chair of your own free will and choice, so it’s mine now! Ah, cushy! Hey, is there a cream-filled donut in there for me? Toss it on over… wait… where are you going? Who’s out there? The BAILIFF? (gulp) Oh, hello, sir. No, there’s been a misunderstanding. I’m not impersonating a judge. I’m only sitting here temporarily. You can ask my friend, Rachel.
Rachel: It's true, officer. Actually, I was sort of sitting here and then . . . What? No, I don't know anything about those gavel marks. What do you mean you'll have to arrest me? Look, want a donut? Sure, I have a cream-filled one here with your name on it. I'll just be leaving now. Thanks, officer--I'll find my own way out. Carry on with what you were doing.
Shirley: No, no, no I don’t wear bracelets. Besides, silver’s not my color. They’re too tight!
Rachel: Don’t worry, Shirley, I’ll write you out of this predicament. Maybe I’ll get to it in my next book.
Shirley: Thanks, Rachel, if anyone can do it, you can! And anyone who wants to send an innocent person a treat in jail, I’m volunteering for your kind-hearted donations.
Rachel's Notes:
*There are no Ding Dongs or other boxed pastry in "Saving Madeline."
*Do not try this at home. The creator of the donut diets is under indictment for murdering his mother-in-law with his diet regimen.