WHY THIS BLOG?

I AM PARCA'S CHOSEN:
Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. I deal with the odd serious issue but for the most part, my posts are just some cheeky fun, reviews of favorite shows, and true stories that will make you laugh out loud (or run screaming...I don't know you well enough to predict your behavior). You'll find satire with the odd parody tossed in....and most definitely a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.

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1) MY eBOOKS CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON HERE:
DENISE ON AMAZON
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3) My website:denisesevierfries.com
4) My Photo-Art Youtube Trailer is here too.

5) My old monthly column: The Lighter Side of Self Publishing
6) Outlander Series Facebook forum: the popular book/tv series group I am admin on, is The BEST and BIGGEST with over 96,000+ members! Come join us! *click on bold red words

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TRUFFLE IN PARADISE



Jamaica is a lovely island get-a-way. For anyone but me.

In 1983, when I married my second husband Mark (second in my trilogy!), we flew to Jamaica for our honeymoon. Our ‘Just Married’ matching T-shirts scored us a bump up to First Class and it was bubbly champagne, bonbons and legroom all the way to the land of Reggae and Rastafarians.

Within ten minutes of arriving, we were offered some local ganja (a.k.a: marijuana/dope/weed/wacky-tabacky):

Luggage Boy: (toothy grin at Mark) Hey mon...your bag says you be a doctor. I am a doctor too. I can make you feel real good, mon.

Denise: No thanks. We’re married now. We aren’t supposed to feel good.

Luggage Boy: (determinedly) No problem, mon! Every ting criss...I get you anyting you want! Just ask m...

*POLICEMAN ROUNDS THE CORNER

Denise: (to Mark) Where’s our luggage boy?

If you would have seen me poolside the next day, you might have thought I was a mighty poor excuse for a thief, blatantly hording my stash out in the open: mounds of cigarettes in small bundles, neat piles of matches, a stack of monogrammed hotel napkins and an impressive array of empty glasses and beer bottles. This was an all-inclusive, all-you-can-eat/drink/smoke resort and I wasn’t going to diet or cut down on a single vise for the week I were there. This small-town prairie girl was taking no chances and I stockpiled as much as I could just in case they changed their hotel policy midweek. Sure I got a few odd looks, but I felt invisible. Nobody knew my name, shoe size or was even remotely related to me. It was unlike anywhere I ever had been before...it was an emancipation!

Late in the afternoon I waved off the chance to water-ski in the warm Caribbean Sea (I adhere to the belief that playing in areas where wildlife can swallow you whole should be avoided) so I was left to my own devises and chose to read on the beach. The sun was brutal and the ocean immediately in front of the hotel was protected by a high-tech safety net, so feeling uncommonly adventurous (and admittedly a bit wimpy for not skiing) I decided to go snorkeling.

The fact that I couldn’t swim nor had I ever snorkeled, failed to register in my mind. The self-preservation portion of my brain had been fully cooked in the blistering Jamaican sun and was set aside to simmer.

The resort lent out free gear and I taught myself the basics quickly, setting off along an exceptionally long pier jutting out into the crystal clear waters close to where I had been lounging on the beach. The panorama below me was entrancing: such an alien, delightful world! But soon I noticed, directly underneath me, a hard-plastic cup from the resort embedded in the ocean floor. Usually, this object wouldn’t cause a stir (save being a piece of unfortunate litter in such pristine surroundings) but it dawned on me that these over-sized tumblers were normally quite large in my hands, and this one was very tiny. Itsy bitsy, even. Two things were immediately obvious: I was way too far out and there was a lot of water between me and that cup! To give myself credit, I did not panic, but quickly snorkeled back to the beach. I had just turned to sit in waist-high water and was taking off my mask when I heard the first scream.

People were running down the pier and yelling, pointing to a massive ripple in the water, utter horror stamped on their scorched, lotion soaked faces. The sinister ripple was in the precise spot where I had seen the tumbler just seconds before.

I didn’t know then what had caused all the excitement, but I knew that I had just missed a personal introduction to it. An ice-cold sensation doused me from the top of my head fully down to my toes. That was how tangible the shock was. I wanted to scoot further back out of the water onto the dry, safe sand, but I was frozen solid. A shark could have slid past and looked me over like a pork roast at Safeway and I couldn’t have budged an inch.

After a few minutes, I finally made it shakily to my lounger and sat down. A staff server came to me and asked if I would like a drink or a snack.

Denise: Do you know what all the screaming was about by the pier?

Server: (naively honest) I heard a Moray eel broke through the netting, mon! A big one too! But no problem, mon...they don’t usually attack humans.

Denise: Where is our luggage boy?

I am nobody’s fool. I know bloody well that this particular giant eel had not accidentally passed through a breech in the netting but had sniffed a rare delicacy, a pure 100% fresh Ukrainian/Canadian hors d’oeuvre and it had chomped clean through that net looking for the buffet table.

I was the Truffle Of The Sea. 

Now, how many people do you know can say that?

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**ADDED: a screen shot of one of many comments on this story on FB:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THE CON ARTIST

If a child is being too quiet, they are up to no good.

Truer words were never spoken.

While renovating our bedroom, we realized we hadn’t heard a peep from our youngest daughter Katharina (who was just over 3 years old at the time) for over 15 minutes. I had set her up with an easel, paper and paints in her bedroom just down the hallway and told her to create a masterpiece for us while we were busy tearing down a wall.

Quietly peeking into her room to see what she was up to, I was startled to see that she had stripped off all her clothes and was happily painting, wearing nothing but  a pair of sparkly, ruby red dress shoes that were too small on her. She must have dug them up from her closet for she hadn’t worn them for a long time.

As her back was towards the door, she hadn't seen me, so I tiptoed back to get Peter and when we giggled at the priceless scene in front of us, she whirled around in surprise and quickly hid her left hand behind her back.

Looking extremely sheepish, it took some cajoling to get her to show us her hand. With a wary half-smile, she finally lifted it up to us ... and it was completely red!

Denise: (laughing) You painted you hand!

Katharina: I’m finger painting!

Denise: But you do know you shouldn’t paint yourself, honey...and why did you take off all your clothes?

Katharina: (embarrassed) I pee my pants.

Denise: Ah! I see. Well accidents happen once in a while, but you don’t have to take off all your clothes! And why are you wearing those shoes? They don’t fit you anymore!

Katharina: (averts eyes; dead silence)

Denise: Now take them off and I’ll get you some clean clothes and your slippers.

Katharina: No!

A little perplexed, I tried to talk her out of her shoes, but she adamantly refused. It was time to get sneaky. Ya don’t mess with Mama.

I cheerfully told her that since she had had an ‘accident' and needed to wash her painted hand right away, she might as well have an early bath. Instantly thrilled, she shrieked and ran as fast as she could to her bathroom! Bathtime was the ultimate funtime in her small world.

As the water ran and she threw in her bath toys, I casually reminded her to take off her shoes before getting in the tub. She quickly pulled them off and immediately realized her mistake. Looking down at her horror-stricken face, I glanced down further and saw two perfectly green feet!

That was why she had crammed on the first shoes she could find in her closet! Too small or not, she was hiding the evidence. A 3 year old shyster! Maybe she’d grow up to be a lawyer.

Now we never say anyone is caught red-handed, but green-footed!

Monday, December 13, 2010

STOPPIN' TOM

I was asked recently what my most embarrassing moment was.

Where to begin?

Let’s start with Stoppin' Tom. His last name is now lost in the merciful grind of Time, but I remember every other detail in Blu-Ray High Definition.

I was 14 years old and going to my girlfriend Marianne’s house for a sleepover. I was walking on the road as there wasn’t a sidewalk on that particular block, and just before I got to Marianne’s, a car slowed down and stopped beside me.

I saw that it was Tom, a boy from school that graduated Gr. 9 the year before and was now at the Senior High School. He must have just got his license and was cruising the town. I always thought he was a nice enough guy from what I knew of him, but he wasn’t anyone I had really thought about.

But what the hell...he was 16, obviously interested and he had a car! A major bonus. And I was extremely flattered. I didn’t need the ride, but by accepting it, I was letting him know he might have a chance at dating me if he worked at it.

I was already on the passenger side of the car, so I popped in and sat down with a smile.

Denise: Hey Tom! I don’t really need a ride ‘cause I'm just going to the end of the next block, but it was nice of you to stop!

Tom: Yea.

Denise: (sensing his shyness and obvious discomfort) I’d love to hang around, but I’m going to my friend’s house and she’s  expecting me.

Tom: Okay.

Denise: (5. 8 seconds later) Well, here we are. Thanks Tom! See ya!

Tom: (small wave)

How I would gloat to Marianne! I was all a-flutter, feeling quite good about myself and my newly discovered powers of attraction when it hit me like a brick...

Tom hadn’t pulled up to ask me if I wanted a ride. He had stopped for the STOP SIGN at the end of the block! I just happened to be at that point when he had to brake. That was why he was so quiet and tongue-tied. Not from being overwhelmed by the mere presence of such beauty, but because I had hijacked his car!

36 years have passed and it still makes me cringe.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

ANAL SPHINCTER TOURS

“Come! Where your bowels don’t stay full for long!”

This isn’t a real slogan, but Babel Travels, a company in the U.S. who are offering packaged trips to war-torn and inaccessible countries’ have my permission to use it.

“Tired of coming back home from vacation with the same old 2 arms, 2 legs and a body void of shrapnel? Come see us for your next holiday adventure!”

They can use that one too.

This isn’t a joke, but a real company who will take you and your loved ones to a number of countries that have people waiting to kill you if you look them in the eye. Actually, that is a little misleading. They will also kill you if you just happen to get in their line of fire. You don’t even have to offend them by being a foreigner. It’s nothing personal.
 
On the menu for your choice of travel destinations are Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somaliland and Sudan, North Korea and they are gearing up to add Sierra Leone, Liberia and other hotbeds of frolicking family fun to their list. The travel agency is teamed with a noted thrill-seeker, Robert Young Pelton, an author and explorer who runs a website called Comebackalive.com.

Yes. That is a real website.

They advertise that this type of vacation is not for sissies: "This is a trip for those who 'do,' not watch". Only Schwarzenegger/Stallone type manly-men need apply, I guess. Or G.I Janes? I confess that I fall into the ‘watch’ category myself. I like to watch someone bringing me a birthday cake. It means I made it another year.

And what is the cost of this dip into Dante’s Inferno? A pittance really, a paltry $8,000 to $19,000 CDN (excluding airfare and insurance, of course) for a trip lasting 11 to 22 days. A bargain if you feel your life is worth a lot more than that. I wonder if it is customary to tip the waiter in these places? What happens if you don’t? 

Taliban Dan (your waiter): And here is your dessert Mr. Infidel, sir. Let me just pull the pin. Have a nice day.

I bet their gift stores are interesting as well: bullet-proof vests, Depends adult diapers, Living Will Kits and T-shirts that say "THERE IS NO 'I' IN FEAR!" and  “teRRoR! The Only 3 R’s That Count!”. They may even sell pretty little gift boxes just the right size for your finger or toe should your potential kidnappers want a ransom.

And you know those large cartoon paintings of people where the face is cut out and you stand behind it and put your face in the hole? There could be an execution scene where there a group of decapitated heads are on spikes and you can get a picture of your face in one! And your wife could show just her eyes in the little rectangle cut out for her in the head of the grieving wife in the background! The possibilities are endless. If only this company had been around back in the 40’s! They could have offered Jewish people a trip to Nazi Germany. What an adventure that would have been!

What’s next? A Weight Loss Spa?

“Come! Where gut-wrenching spectacles of public hangings, beheading and stoning help you kill that appetite!”

I personally would never dream of booking such a trip, but I know a few people who would buy their ex-husbands or ex-wives a gift certificate.

PS- I realize this commentary could be seen as free advertising for this company. But honestly, do you really care if anyone dumb enough to use it ever comes back?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DARTH VADER CHEWBACCA JONES? WHY NOT?

Speaking of names...

Do you know where you’d be if you saw this list of given names? (no surnames added):
Daisy Boo
Zowie
Poppy Honey
Camera
Seven Sirius
Puma
Diva Muffin
Blue Angel
Jermajesty
Moon Unit
Dweezil
Rufus Tiger
Tiger Lily
Sailor
Kal-el (*Superman’s birth name)
Fifi Trixibelle
Little Pixie
Peaches Honeyblossom
Ever Gabo
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily
Banjo
Free
Spec Wildhorse
Rumer
Moxie Crimefighter
Pilot Inspektor
Bogart
Reignbeau (pronounced: Rainbow)
Freedom
Rocket 
Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q. Hewson
Kyd
Racer
Destry
Rebel
Rogue
Audio Science
Sage Moonblood
And of course...the infamous Apple.

Yes...you guessed it! You’d be in Hollywood! If everyone listed here went to the same school at the same time, this would be the graduation list of children of the rich and famous. Nothing life or death, for sure, but an interesting study of the celebrity mind nonetheless. And I admit, a good chuckle.

I will break the rule here and mention just one surname: actor Rob Morrow named his daughter Tu. As in Tu Morrow

It must be a medical condition. Some people are just born without the DumbAssIdea gland that monitors ones judgment. It is usually located directly behind the Pituitary gland.

I don’t know...it just seems to me that childhood can be hard enough for some kids without the added stress of a cocaine-inspired moniker. Would you name your kid ‘Fire’? How could you ever call his name out loud without causing widespread panic?

*NOTE- I wave all responsibility for influencing any celebrity who now names their child ‘Fire’. If you have issues with this, call my lawyer. Her name  Krook Skumsucker Brandt. She's in the Yellow Pages.

CELEBRITY NAME GAME

I notice weird things.

They just pop out at me. For example: celebrity names.

When there was massive coverage a few years back about the birth of Tom Cruise’s daughter Suri, everyone was going mad trying to figure out what her name meant and how they chose it. Such a mystery!

Suri comes from the four middle letters of  the name ‘Cruise’. Seemed a bit obvious to me but when I mentioned it to a journalist online, he was stunned and printed my ‘clever observation’ in his next column.

I had noticed the same phenomenon in other famous people. Their names were actually in their surnames:

  • Uma Thurman
  • Elliot Gould (real name Goldstein: short an L but what the hell)
  • Tom Cruise Mapother III
  • Donny Osmond (Don is in there!)
  • Marshal Mathers a.k.a Eminem (I wonder if his friends called him Marsh as a kid? It would explain a lot of his angst)
  • Pia Zadora (real name Schipani)
  • *Unless I am getting paid to do it, I won’t spend time digging for more...

So...this begs the question, “Is this a key to their success? A lucky charm that brought them fame and fortune?”

If so, I would like you to now call me ‘Buch’. My maiden name was Buchy.

And NO, Chubby won’t work. I am short a B.

Thank God.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WORDSCHMIDT

A single word can change your life.

When I was singing in a small opera company, I met many interesting and talented people. One man in particular, Peter, was an attractive and brilliant tenor from Germany who lived in Canada intermittently, singing in our productions whenever possible. He could not speak English so we rarely did more than nod and say ‘hello’ in passing.

Before he returned in 1997 to perform with us, he learned from a rather musical grapevine that I was newly separated and on my own. I was flattered to find out later that he quickly enrolled in an English course so he could talk to me.

He should demand his money back.

Talking with him was like a continual game of charades, but with his thick accent and shy, thoughtful manner, it was all very charming. I decided the concert hall where we rehearsed had far too many ears in the walls so I asked Peter to come over to my house for a coffee. I wondered if he was quiet and serious all the time, or just in crowds.

It was the afternoon that one word altered my world forever.


Denise: Would you like some more coffee?

Peter: Yes. Sank you.

Denise: So...as I was saying, I like reading the newspapers to keep up on world events. In fact, a U.S. politician is making headlines right now for wearing woman’s underwear. How funny is that?

Peter: I don’t know vy? Zer iz nussing wrong vis a man verring vomans underver.

Denise: Really?

Peter: Of course!

Denise: (incredulously; louder and more slowly) You don’t think there’s anything wrong with a man wearing woman’s underwear?

Peter : (sensing a problem developing; smile waning). No. I don’t sink zer is anysing wrong vis zis...

Denise: Would you wear woman’s underwear?

Peter: (looking uncomfortable; laughs weakly) Vell yes...vy not? Especially somesing pretty on Walentine’s Day or a birsday! Some men are too embarrassed for zis but I am not.

Denise: (eyebrows raised, ready to clear off the table) I can see why you’ve never married.

Peter: (looks around nervously like a trapped animal, then suddenly turning a violent red, places hands on both cheeks in horror) Iz zis zee right word ‘verring’? You go to ladies boutique and are ‘verring’ a nice present for her?

Denise: (hopeful) Did you mean ‘buying’? Men buying woman’s underwear is okay? For a gift?

Peter: Ya! Ya! Buying! Oh Got! Zis English iz so schtoopid!

Greatly relieved and laughing until our sides hurt, the ice was thoroughly broken and we had a few more cups of coffee. And we got married in the summer of 1999.

To this day, the poor man cannot go shopping without me asking him if he is going to wear some woman’s underwear for me.

SIGNS Part 1

I believe in Signs.

Not your Burning Bush type of sign, although that would definitely catch my attention in an “OMG! What the hell was I smoking?” kind of way, but the clever, subtle signs that are there if you pay attention. There have been too many unexplainable things that have happened to me over the years to doubt it.

Some of the signs are small and easy to miss but others are a jackhammer to the head that are pretty hard to ignore.

For example:

When my youngest daughter Katharina was four months old, I wanted to put a ‘Happy First Valentine’s Day’ announcement in the newspaper, but I hesitated.

We lived in a small town and I had just re-married and had a new baby after a long, bitter divorce from the father of my four older children, a prominent dentist in the community. My choices to marry again so quickly and have a fifth child at such a ‘advanced’ age (I was 39) made me happier than I had ever been in my life, but I knew the town gossips were feasting on my every move. If I continued my scandalous ways, they would explode like Mr. Creosote (the outrageously obese man in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, remember?). I didn’t miss the ‘life in a fish bowl’ I had endured before and I wondered if I should just keep things low-key and not add any more fodder to their troughs: Oh look! The kid has a hyphenated last name! I bet her ex won’t like that...blah, blah...projectile vomit...blah...blah...

Did I want to keep their slavering tongues wagging?

I thought about it for a while and finally decided to do it. I would not let others dictate how I lived my life. I sent in the details with a cutie-patootie picture and waited for the paper to come out on Valentine’s Day.

A couple of hectic weeks later, I had just dropped of the older kids at school when I realized I was driving near the newspaper office and still hadn’t picked up the issue that had Katharina's picture in it! As I pulled into the parking lot, I decided I needed five copies; one for the baby book and a few to mail out to family.

I asked the girl at the counter for five copies of the February 14th paper and she said that there would be a big pile of back-issues on a tall metal rack off to the side. I looked but couldn’t find a single copy. I asked for help in case I was doing something wrong and after a few minutes of searching, she said she was sorry, but it looked like they were all gone. An odd thing too, she added, because there were usually plenty of extra copies around even a year after printing.

I was devastated. No clipping for Katja’s baby book! I could have cried.

I was about to walk out the door when I noticed a small stack of newspapers lying on a lone chair by the doorway. I glanced down at the date out of curiosity and could not believe my eyes; February 14th!

I looked up at the girl at the counter and asked , “Did you put these here? They’re the date I was looking for!”

She was shocked and said she hadn’t. Then she asked how many copies were there.

I counted five.

After looking at each other in silence for a moment, she said, “Somebody is looking out for you, aren’t they?”

I just nodded and took the papers to my car. I couldn’t stop smiling. I had such a feeling of ...I don’t know...elation would be the closest word I can find to describe it.

And I thought, ‘Okay...I get it. I believe. You have made your point LOUD and CLEAR!’

I had been given a very significant sign: You are where you should be. You are on the right path. I felt emboldened.

Was it a Guardian Angel? God? Zoltar from the Planet Nekron? Who knows. But I do know one thing. Some things are just too amazing to be a coincidence.

Suck on that mint Mr. Creosote!