Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Basic Truth...

"There are between 6 and 10 face types in the world. That's it."

"What?" Glen was used to Carly making off the wall pronouncements but even he was sometimes surprised by what she came up with.

"There are between 6 and 10 face types in the world. Six very common and the four less common ones. Those are the ones when we see them we think how striking the person is."

"So you are saying we all have the same face?"

"No, I'm saying we have one of the 10 face types."

"Then why don't we all look alike?"

Carly looked puzzled, "Well we do."

"No, we don't." Glen gestured around the coffee shop, "Look around everyone is different."

Carly shook her head, "Only superficially. The face types are the same. The only variations are," she held out her hand and started counting them off on her fingers, "Age, weight, skin color, eye color. Then we make other changes with things like hair styles, makeup, glasses and facial hair. But if you were to strip all of that away the faces would be one of ten types. With the majority being one of the six."

Carly watched Glen's face to see if he understood what she was saying. When it was apparent that he was still struggling with the concept she went on.

"Remember when the whole 'no makeup selfie' thing was going on and people were surprised by how different celebrities looked without the makeup?"


"Then remember how people were shocked at how much that famous face looked like their neighbor once the makeup was off? That's because they do look like their neighbor. Or like their friend from school. Or like the mailman. There are only so many faces you see in a day and if you strip away the extras we add they are the same."

Glen still wasn't convinced. "There is a difference between slightly resembles and looks just like someone."

"That's the age, weight, skin color, eye color difference. Along with how much hair you have you or how it's cut you can appear to make your face change. Think about it. How often have you seen someone who normally has a beard and when they shave it off you wouldn't have even recognized them? Or even something as simple as adding bangs.

And every once in awhile you meet someone who has not only the same face type as someone you know but their hair, eyes, skin tone are all the same and you are like oh my gosh so and so has a doppelganger!

We all have doppelgangers, Glen. We all are doppelgangers."

Glen started to shake his head.

"Newspapers accidentally used pictures of Tina Fey when they wanted to show Sarah Palin."

"Well sure, but she was impersonating her."

"And why was she able to impersonate her? Because they have the same face type. You can add Emma Watson and Ally Sheedy to that mix as well. They all have the same face, just changes due to age, weight, and some coloration and makeup choices."

Carly tapped a few lines in to her phone and handed it to Glen. There she had all pictures of all four of those women in a line. He just stared.


She did another one. This time pulling up Prince Harry and the race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. "When their coloration is similar it's very easy to see. If one of them had dark hair, or was bald, or even had a full beard you wouldn't notice it as much."

"I think it's just a coincidence."

She shrugged her shoulders. "It's because there are only so many combinations. It used to be much worse. Look at historical pictures. I think there must have been only four or so types just a few hundred years ago."

"Photography was limited, and painting is all artistic interpretation, that doesn't really mean there were only four types."

"Really? You buy the whole artistic interpretation story? The 'he was painting this royal but his maid was better looking so he used her for inspiration' thing? I mean, if someone were to paint a picture of me but toss in Scarlett Johansson because she's better looking and then TELL me it was me, I'd notice."

"Yeah, they'd have to use..." Glen trailed off.

"See? You had someone famous you were about to name because I look like them. Just not as polished, right?"

He shook his head, "Yeah, but that still doesn't mean anything. If there were only four types how did we get to 6 or 10 now? Wouldn't the combinations keep growing exponentially?"

She cocked her head to the side, "Oh you think we look the way we look because of genetics. I see."

"Of course that's why we look the way we look."

"Okay, then yes, if that's what you believe then the combinations should be endless by now. Take a little from this and a little from that and keep recombining and you would have so many unique types you couldn't even categorize them all."

"Right. That's what I'm saying. So your theory falls apart."

She smiled. "Or yours is wrong at the heart."

"How can it be wrong?"

She stood up, "I've got to go, but I'll leave you with something else we can talk about later. Think about your first video game. Now think about the last one you bought. Why don't they look the same?"

Then she was out the door.

Glen sat for a second. He couldn't believe she would change the subject like that. Of course video games changed. The graphics got better and more realistic as the computing power increased. With better computers you got better....

Glen's face went blank.

Oh shit...

Monday, March 25, 2019

Clean Up! Clean Up! Everybody, Everywhere!

Got notice from the library that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was checked out to me. I put it on hold last month when I finally reached that point of not interested being overtaken by cultural phenomenon that I feel I should know about.

As you all know, I'm pretty tidy already. And I have my own systems in place to keep my love of stuff balanced out with my distaste for clutter. And my joy of a good pile of things balanced out with Brent's nervous tic when the piles get to be too much. But I still see this book (and now the show) referenced so often that I want to see what it's all really about.

Now when I mentioned it to Brent he was not at all sure it was good that the book has come available now. See, we are going to New Mexico for a visit in May. Nothing triggers my need to throw away all of our things like a trip back home. He voiced a very strong concern about me reading it this close to a visit. I assured him it would be fine. I'm not reading it to tidy up, I'm reading it to be informed. Totally fine.

That's the plan.

But he's right. It's something I will have to watch. Especially right now.

See I just bought new furniture for the basement. So instead of walking into a room that is almost empty I walk into a room with two couches, a foot stool, a GIANT TV, a TV stand, soon to have two end tables and two lamps and pictures on the wall. Along with the bakers racks that were already there. It's a pretty full room.

And because we added things there, there are boxes in the garage right now cluttering things up. The TV box we are supposed to keep for a month just to make sure the TV works fine before getting rid of it. But it takes up a whole wall of the garage. And then there is the box that the TV stand came in. Big stand, big box. I'll have to break it down in stages for recycling. And then there are all of my Christmas boxes that we had to move because we also got a new water heater. It's bigger than the last one so the storage area that was behind it we can't get to as easily anymore.

My garage is a wreck basically. It's really cluttered.

Yes, I know, it's a garage, they are supposed to be kind of a wreck.

Except ours usually isn't. We have it organized. Shelves, boxes, storage, things are tidy.

And I also just bought blackout curtains for the bedrooms and some new artwork in Hawaii.

We also just got our tax bill for the year and it was significant.

Which, yes, doesn't add clutter to the world, but it makes me feel a little badly about the massive shopping I've been doing. So mental clutter.


But in a totally in control and calm way.

Except for the shouting bits.

So yes, I will have to be careful when I read the book so as not to lose my damn mind and undo all of the homey touches I've been putting on the house since we are definitely staying here and not looking at new houses anymore because this is the decision we have made for sure this time. (until the next time we decide we really need a one story, or a backyard, or a beach)

I'll keep you all posted. But if you see me sneaking out to Goodwill with a suspiciously filled car feel free to say something to me about it. Or send Brent a MAYDAY post. One of those.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Who Are You?

I've written on this topic before and I probably will again so you can skip this one if you feel like it's all been said before.

Who are you? Like down deep who are you? And are you good at showing people?

I'm pretty solidly an open book. I mean come on, I write a blog that is 50/50 fiction and nonfiction. The fiction is my soul bled out on paper. The deepest recesses of my psyche. The most honest revelations of my...okay, yeah, it's the shit I write because it amuses me but you all knew that. I was trying to be artistic and deep, but you know that's not me. Why? Because of the other 50% of this stuff. The navel gazers. The political rants. The actual "THIS IS WHAT I THINK" stuff.

I also post (roughly) 300 Facebook status updates a week capturing the thoughts that flit through my head on an hourly basis. I share news articles and videos and memes that amuse, interest, or intrigue me. Or just make me laugh. Because I love a good belly laugh. And making other people laugh? So good. Even if it's by posting someone else's funny stuff. I will take the shared laugh. If it's my own joke? Well that's just a damn good day.

This week I got two flashes of who people think I am. One was someone making a post about how miserable I must be, how bitter and angry and all that good stuff. The other one was just a few minutes ago. Dana sent me a writing prompt for a story that she could totally see me writing.

Now both of those things happened because of what I put out in the world. But, and this is the important part, not just what I put out but how they are interpreted.

See the bitter, angry one was in response to my post about being a happy person. They couldn't see that that could possibly be true because I post about the political situation often. And I'm not happy with it. So they felt that if I wasn't happy about the current administration I couldn't possibly be happy in life. It's an interesting take. And I guess I could see if you knew nothing else about me and only paid attention to what I post about politics and not the rest you could walk away believing that. It's about what you put out in the world but it's also about what people pick up.

The writing prompt was because it was about dead people just living their best lives. Okay, not exactly, but it was about someone interacting with dead people and not realizing it. Most of you can guess why she thought that was something I would find interesting. It's about what you put out in the world and what people pick up.

Now in the case of the post about me being angry I pushed back. I don't think that's me and I clarified who I view myself to be: a happy person who is not happy with an administration. I don't even think it's that complicated to be both. Now will the person who thinks I'm doing permanent damage to my psyche by paying attention to the things I think this administration is doing wrong change their mind? Probably not. But that isn't my concern.

In the case of the writing prompt, I had to really laugh, because I have a story in my vaults about something very similar. Same wheelhouse for sure. She nailed who I view myself to be as a writer.

Sometimes people will get what you are putting out there in the way you mean for them to, and sometimes they won't. Sometimes it's that you aren't being clear and you do need to explain a little more. I mean if wrote stories about umm...things normal people write stories about and she sent me a prompt about dead people I'd be like, "hmm...maybe my characters need a little more life to them." (imagine an eyebrow waggle here)

And sometimes it's not you at all. It's them. If she sent me a prompt for a normal story and then was disappointed when she got my twisted take on it that would mean she's been pretending to read my writing all of this time and though that might be understandable, it's not on me.


So who are you? And are you putting that face out to the world?

I have friends who don't put out the controversial stuff because they don't want to cause strife. And that's fine. That's who they are. But that's not me.

I have friends who only post serious topics. They don't want to write limericks for their poetry hating friends just for the laugh. And that's fine as well. That's who they are. But that's not me.

I have friends who only post memes. I have friends who only post pictures of their food. I have friends who only post pictures of their cats. But the majority of my friends post a variety of things. And I'm glad that they do. It gives me a fuller reflection of who I think they are.

Who I think they are.

Because it's not just about what they are putting out there it's about what I am picking up.

So did it bother me for someone to get something about me so fundamentally wrong? I'm writing about it aren't I? Of course it did. And I actually went back through my posts to read what I had been putting out there. To see if I had been especially negative or angry. To try and get where they were coming from. Because I think the basic human condition is we all want to be understood. And to be that deeply misunderstood made me wonder why. But after looking again and asking myself if this was something I felt the need to change I went with no. This is who I am. I am the person who can post a funny story about how long it takes me to pick out a couch on the same day I post a link to a story on the latest insane thing Trump said. It's not up to me what someone else picks up.

But it's a good reminder. When you are interacting with people, online, or face to face, be yourself. For me that's my full self. The Good Denise, the Bad Denise and the, oh you know there's not an Ugly Denise so don't even look for her. (big Lucille wink here) For other people it's only a small slice of who they are. So be who you want the world to see you as, and never assume what you are seeing from other people is all they have to show.

For some of us it's most of it.

For most of us it's only some.

Be aware of what you are putting out there and also what you are picking up.

And thank you, to my friends who get me. All of the pieces. I appreciate you and someday you might even get to be in a story where you aren't dead. (wink)

(yes, I was messing around with verbal emoji, it amused me)
(lady shrugging her shoulders in a what are you going to do way)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In Sight...

She had always struggled with capturing the moon.

It was one of her greatest frustrations.

Everything else she had set out to do she had done. But the moon? The moon eluded her.

When she was a child she had thought the moon was a giant cookie hung in the sky. She would lay in her bed and look out the window, watching it disappear each night, bite by bite, then reappear the same way. When she first heard about the Milky Way she nodded, it made sense that there would be milk to go with the cookie.

When she was a teenager she went to the ocean for the first time. She watched the waves roll in and back out. The woman with her warned that there would be a particularly high tide that evening. The moon was full.

The moon could control the oceans? The endless waves, the deepest waters? The moon could do that?

That and so much more.

The crazies come out with the full moon.

The darkest evenings where there is no moon are the most dangerous.

The moon in her ever changing glory controlled everything.

That was when she decided she needed to own the moon.

It was right there for the taking. Why shouldn't she do it?

She could reach her hand up and practically touch it.

Pluck it from the sky and put it in her pocket.

But it refused to be caught.

She had everything else she had ever set her sights on.

But she had always struggled with capturing the moon.


Okay, so that's the start. It's not her story. Not yet. It's not much of anything but some feelings I have about her. It all started with a photo this morning on my Facebook feed. A friend had dug out his camera and was taking pictures of the SUPER MOON (TA DA) last night. Another friend who is a professional photographer said, "I have always struggled capturing the moon."

And it was a moment.

I turned the phrase over and over in my head. This is going in a story somehow. I don't know how, just yet. Is it going to be metaphorical? Is it going to be literal? Someone can actually capture the moon? What is it?

So I sat down and wrote what popped into my head about it. This is the sort of stuff that generally goes in a folder on my desktop and I look at it here and there until something bigger forms around it.

But, as you all know, every once in awhile I like to put it up here. To let that idea out into the wild and give it a little room in your heads too. Just to see what shape that makes it take.

I have always struggled capturing the moon....

Who are you? What else do you do?

I'm looking forward to finding out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


My back is still tweaked.

It's a different tweak than last week. Or at least a different feeling. Same side, same low back issues, but it was getting better, like just reduced to a small knot of ouch and then BOOM it exploded AGAIN.

I have an appointment but not until the 1st so I will be being very careful until then to keep it at an annoying but not debilitating pain level.

Yes, we are at a month out of lifting now. I am not happy about it at all but I can't do anything about it. The bright side is that it's probably preventing me from pushing the healing on my hand too quickly. So my thumb should be completely healed by the time my back issues resolve and then I can start lifting again. At significantly lower weights but it will all come back quickly. And who knows, maybe all of this time off will give me more of a sculpted look when I get back into it, right? It could happen.

Shush, it could.

So, I have a rug on my front porch. Not like a welcome mat but a giant 8x10 thick pile rug. It's for the downstairs room. I want to bring it in and lay it out so I can see how much I love it and how much it really pulls the room together. But I promised Brent I would take it easy today so I'm not doing it. That and I know I couldn't. There would be no way I could lift something that size right now.

Which is super frustrating.

But that's just the way it is. For now.

And I really am being good today. I finished reading an advanced copy of a friend of a friend's book so I will be ready with an on release day review. I watched two MasterClasses. I argued over a passive aggressive post that wasn't passive enough for me not to know it was about me. I'm not being passive aggressive right now, because I called him out on it, sometimes it really is all about you. ;-) I'm sitting still except for some light movement and stretches to keep from locking up. I'm not lifting or bending or carrying. Just typing and reading.

But I'm antsy. Which I'm taking as a good sign. It means the manic is still hovering around instead of the other swing. Because of that I'm trying not to get online and shop, though I will be buying blackout curtains and rods this week, but not much more than that. Really. Like the clothes that Title Nine keeps showing me I'm almost totally ignoring. I mean I wouldn't want to get them right now anyway because I haven't been able to get to the gym so I wouldn't have the guns to show off in the sleeveless dresses. That's what I'm telling myself so I don't buy them all because they are SO CUTE!

Tomorrow I get my new crown put in. It's a sign of how antsy I am that I'm almost looking forward to it. Just to get out of the house and do something different.

Isn't it funny that the place I love to be most of all is in my house with Brent but being hurt and sick and some combo of it for a few weeks between the two of us I was excited for him to be able to go to work today (or jealous, one of those) and I'm looking forward to my crazy dentist. It's also the crown setting appointment so it should be no novocaine and really easy pop off the temp pop on the new gnash, gnash, gnash, file, file, gnash, gnash, and done. Just long enough for a weird story from him that I can file away for future fiction pieces.  Though I absolutely won't make his character a dentist because nobody would believe it.

And I'm writing this because I need to pad my numbers and I do have a fiction start in my head but it's just a small start and I don't want to scare it away.  Sometimes writing one of these really freeform thought clearing blogs helps a lot with that. Like ignoring an animal so it comes over to sniff you but if you chase it it will run and hide and you might not see it again. But yes, mostly to pad my numbers. It's not cheating if you made up the game.

Okay, so wish me luck that the rug is actually gorgeous when we get it inside.
And that the couches that are coming on Saturday really are what I wanted.
And that the other pieces all look good together.
And that my back feels better.
And that I grab that fiction idea so you don't have to have another one of these blogs.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019


She always hated this moment.

The moment right before she opened her eyes.

With her eyes closed she could be anywhere. Doing anything.

Once they were open she was locked in to place.

She was here. Now. In this space. With a list of things ahead of her.

Which wouldn't be as terrible if it didn't constantly change.

Okay, that was an exaggeration, it didn't constantly change. She did have one stretch where she had opened her eyes to the same room for 21 different days in a row. It had been long enough that on the 22 day she hadn't even had a moment of dread before she opened her eyes. She knew what was coming. She had actually smiled and taken a deep breath and then...

So now she was back to hating that moment.

Yesterday she had lived in San Diego. She had gone to Balboa Park with her daughter and they had ridden the miniature train. It had been a lot more fun than she had expected. Her daughter had been great. So inquisitive but not scared. It had been a great day.

Last week had not been great. She had been at the water park with her son and he had an accident. Broke his wrist coming out of the Super Sensational Slide. It was not a good day. The broken wrist was just a broken wrist but then the doctor had come out to talk about what the x-ray had uncovered and she had fainted from the shock.

She didn't know if he would recover or not because when she had opened her eyes she was not there anymore.

She was never sure if that was a good thing or a bad one. There were times when it was a relief to move on. To start over. But most of the time it just left a lot of holes in her heart. She had tried to count one time and came up with close to 30 children and 15 spouses in her life not to mention hundreds of friends and sets of parents and step parents and co-workers and even strangers on the street. People she would never see again. Never know how things turned out. But people she could never forget.

It seemed very unfair to her. She was aware of everything as soon as her eyes opened. Every memory, good and bad. No detail was too small. Yesterday she was not making breakfast, she had promised they could have pancakes before going to the park. They weren't going to the zoo. It was so expensive now. But most of the park was free. Pancakes, then the park, then and only then would they find a quiet place to rest and talk about daddy. Which had actually gone so much better than she had been dreading. Anniversaries were so difficult but this one seemed sweet by comparison. They told funny stories and talked about how much they missed him and then got his favorite ice cream as a "toast" of sorts. It was a good day.

Which is how she knew she wouldn't be back.

She only got the days that they thought would be hard. The ones they had been dreading with all of their might. And sometimes they were right to dread it. Sometimes it was awful. But sometimes it was sweet. Or lovely. Or boring. Boring was actually really nice. When you have been so worried and then it turns out to be nothing? That's when boring can be as good as a great day.

Not like the PTSD memory moments.

Like the day at the water park. She probably hadn't even been there. Not really. Not when it was happening. She got to come in for a loop replay of the day. One time she had lived the same memory 16 times. Those were worse than not knowing what her day was going to bring. There had never been a pleasant run of memories when she was living the replays.

She wondered what happened to them when she was there. Did they get the break they so desperately wanted? She knew everything they did, did they get echos of everything she knew?

That would be a lousy trade off.

You get out of dealing with your shit for one day (or 21 days) but you get the residual memory of thousands of just as bad if not worse days? She hoped not. She wasn't sure why this was her life but she wouldn't wish it on anyone else.

In the moments before she opened her eyes she tried to reach out and understand her life. Why this was her life. Once she opened her eyes she was living theirs. But this moment? This was hers.

It was probably the other reason why she hated it so much.

There was just so much of it. So many tears. So much anger. So much pain. So few really okay days that felt like small blessings.

She hoped that their desire for a break wasn't actually making things worse for them.


Sometimes, after a particularly bad time, dozens of rounds in the old PTSD generator, sometimes she wished they could feel everything they were putting her through. All of the added stresses. All of the horrible days compounded into one.

But then she realized that if she wished hard enough for a break, she might get one. And then someone else would step in to her life.

Just for a moment.

And they would awake to this.

She opened her eyes...

Monday, March 18, 2019

SO Lame...

I really would like to write a little fiction. I'm falling behind on my fiction goals for the year. I also really do like to write fiction. And the world is a shit show (again, still?) so fiction is a nice mental vacation from that..BUT...I have nothing going on in the old fiction banks right now.

I just Googled Writing Prompts and went to a list of 365 writing prompts, Write Everyday! Well okay then! Let's see what we've got here and...

Look out the window, write about the weather. Or the weather where you wish you were.

Two people are destined for each other. Write about the first time their eyes meet.

Have you ever been in love? Write a poem to first love.

Oh my god...no. No. No. No.

Those aren't writing prompts. Those are how lame can you possibly be prompts.  Ugh.

(sorry to anyone who was inspired by those and wrote a wonderful work of fiction based on seeing the love of your life for the first time in a windstorm)

While I was trying to figure out what to write Brent wandered in to the office and said, "You can write about your awful husband who is making you do everything."

Brent has a touch of the bubons. We aren't sure if it's the Influenza A virus going around or the really bad cold going around or something new and unique but he's been sorta sick since Thursday evening and really sick since Friday afternoon and he is OVER IT. Not over being sick, he still has a fever and is feeling pretty lousy, but over having a fever and feeling pretty lousy. So far I am bubon free so I'm handling everything. Which is what you do, when my back went out he took care of everything, it's the way it goes in a partnership. But neither one of us is really good and not taking care of things ourselves so...he is OVER IT.

But anyway, that would be a lousy story. The husband who got sick and so his wife did the dishes. Not really gripping is it? I mean maybe a troll or something could come out of the drain and make it a little more intense but trolls don't hang out in drains do they? So a water nymph but maybe that's not really a story for a blog and more for  a "I never thought this would happen to me..." letter.


Thanks for the prompt, honey, but I don't think so.

Writing prompts are tricky things. Dana sent me one earlier this month that would make a really great story. I did not write that story. BUT...I did write a story that was knocked loose by the prompt. And that's what they are for. To get the gears turning. A few years ago we did an exchange of stories where we each started with the same prompt and wrote our own takes on them. Most of them were sentences that had to be in the story, but there was one that was a feeling sort of thing (I think, I could go look them up but that would only be stalling on getting some words on the screen for today). Anway, the stories we came up with were really different from each other. Which is what you would expect. We have a similar view of the world but a different style after all. My writing tends toward the romcom aspect but everyone is dead and hers toward the oh holy shit we are all about to die but that was a really GREAT line and I am sort of in love with your main character so I'm okay with it.

So the same prompt got very different stories.

But they were good prompts so they got good stories.

And we are really talented so of course they were good.

Except right now I have nothing to say so I'm not really proving my point, but trust me, in the hundreds of posts on here there are at least 10 really solid pieces of work. (just kidding, you all know I think I'm a genius, except on the days I'm sure I'm a hack)

But good writing prompts need to inspire something in you to write.

Oh wait...


I guess those were good writing prompts after all...