Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Funny Christmas Story: Part 3

    This is a continuation from yesterday.
    Have you ever expected something wonderful to happen and then been terribly disappointed?
    Well, I worried my customer would get the white dress I made, and then be disappointed because she'd given me a giant's measurements.  That dress--as Fishducky said--would fit Dennis Rodman, not a nine-year-old girl.
    This reminds me of a recent story about disappointment. . . .
    On Thanksgiving, the Scribe got a fuzzy bird-pen from Grandma Gertie.
    The Scribe practically lives for unique things like this.  

She was so thrilled that she made a special bed for it, gave it sunflower seeds and sang songs to it.  She named the bird Herman and even started calling him Hermies.  That all happened before she forgot to lock her bedroom door on Monday. . . .
Here's the official report:
    Shortly after leaving the bedroom unlocked, tragedy struck. Herman--the Scribe's treasured pen-bird--was accosted by two toddlers.  In that instant he was robbed blind--literally.  He's subsequently gone bald from shock.

   I'm a terribly mother, but this made me laugh so hard I could have peed my pants!
    Fortunately, Grandma Gertie has another pen-bird in storage.  The Scribe will be thrilled on her birthday (12/10) when she gets a brand new Herman.
    So, back to the sewing story.  Sometimes unexpected things happen.  And that's what befell the poor woman who ordered the dress and then gave me huge measurements.
    I sat drinking a coke as I opened my email that day.  I nearly spewed it everywhere when I opened a picture of a beautiful little girlThe massive dress rested underneath her, taking up a good portion of the room.  She sat on top of it, looking like Thumbelina.
    "You were right," the woman said in the email, being extra sweet.  "I think I gave measurement in centimeters.  Even then it seem wrongly done."
    "I can alter it," I typed back.  "I bet I can make it a child's size ten and it will fit your daughter perfectly."
    "No," she responded. "It will make a wedding dress for my family. I'll have it fixed in Israel."
    So, I wondered later.  Was it just a mistake, or had it simply been for a huge woman on her wedding day?  After all, I used a lot of fabric at a third the cost.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Funny Christmas Story: Part 2

This is a continuation from yesterday.
    "These measurements seem strange." I emailed a woman from Israel. She'd recently ordered this outfit from me:

    I waited for a reply, stood on the coffee table and dangled the measuring tape in front of myselfI reached up higher and still wasn't able to stand as tall as the woman wanted the dress.
    "She must mean centimeters. Not inches," I mumbled to myself.
    I checked my email after that and was shocked to get a very snippy reply.  "I give you measurement. Those are correct measurement."
    I bit my lip.  Those measurements couldn't be right.  That dress would be a circus tent--or fit for a Yeti!  Seriously, did Goliath move to Israel and start a new breed of giants?!
    "How old is the girl this dress is for?" I responded.  "Do you mean centimeters?"   
    "I ALREADY give measurement in inches. She is 9. Please start on dress soon. I sent payment. I need soon."
     So I started on the dress, thinking I would have charged more had a known how huge this "child" was.  The cost of the fabric was many times the regular cost.  It would have made a better comforter than an outfit.
    While sewing I tried thinking of the bright side.  At least I was working for myself. . . . I could set my own hours.  I didn't have to work the graveyard as a waitress.
    As I pieced the set together, all over the front room, I remembered the drunks who always came into the dinner while I used to work as a waitress.  "The customer is always right," my boss said. 
    I tried being respectful even though I thought he was wrong. A new drunk came in after that.  The bars had just closed and the maddening rush was about to begin. "How many beers would it take to get you out of those clothes?" the drunk asked as I served him coffee.
    I glared at him.  "As many as it would take for you to actually seem good looking."
    He slammed his hot coffee on the tabletop.  Some sloshed over the side, dousing his hand, but he was too drunk to care. "To actually seem good looking . . . to you?"
    "You're right," I said, sashaying away, "that probably isn't even possible."
    I almost got fired for that--because 'customers are always right'.  And to think, that stupid drunk had been talking about my nakedness--in public!
    I shook off the memory and continued sewing.  That was the beauty of being a seamstress--it gave me time to think about all sorts of things.  
    In that moment, the tent-dress didn't seem quite so bad.  At least the woman who ordered it couldn't get me fired, or drunkenly offend me as I served coffee.
    It took days and days to finish the set. I pressed it--on the big kitchen table--and folded it into a huge box.  After finding out the cost to ship it, the woman from Israel had a stroke of kindness and paid extra for that.
    "Much thanks," she said, when I told her it had been mailed. "We are eager for this dress. It is winter gift. You work hard and fast."
    I shook.  She was actually excited--and so sure of her measurements.  But honestly, no one could fit into that dress--except maybe Kobe Bryant.  
What in the world would the woman think when she got the giant's dress?  Is the customer always right--did her daughter have a growth defect . . . or something?  Or was this lady like that drunken man, so obviously wrong.

To be continued tomorrow. . . .     

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Sewed THROUGH my finger: a funny Christmas Story

On Thanksgiving I sewed straight through my middle finger with my Bernina heavy-duty stitcher.  As the needle went through the second time, I pulled and the needle broke off.  Yeah . . . it wasn't fun.  But it's better than cutting a finger in half on a table saw--which I've also done.  Plus, it reminded me of my most hilarious Christmas moment and WHY I hate sewing.
    To refresh your memory, I used to have a sewing business--one of the biggest of its kind on ebay.  I had over 500 customs outfits for sale at once.
    Here are some of the many sets I used to make.

I also specialized in funky appliques that people could design themselves.  
For example: two years ago a lady requested a pink-Christmas--zebra--Gingerbread Girl. That was a tough one! But here's what I came up with:
So you get the point. I was in business for six years, and I sewed A LOT. 
    Well, my funniest Christmas experience happened after a woman from Israel ordered this outfit.
    "For a little girl dressed as a bride?" the email simply said.  
    "Sure." I responded.  "This could work as a bride costume."
    She immediately sent the payment and the language barrier continued.   I meticulously deciphered each email and I'm sure she did the same.  Things went well that first day.
    Too bad I had no idea what waited in the future.  It still makes me laugh so hard I could cry.
    To be continued tomorrow. . . .

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Turkey Avenger--The 1st Story I Ever Had Published!

The Turkey Avenger
Originally published in the Christmas Lites I Anthology 
(I'm posting this today since the sequel is now available for sale HERE.)

By: EC Stilson

I’m a turkey and yes, I hate Thanksgiving. Why do people always ask me about the holidays? I hate them--shocking, I know. Maybe you think I’m just stupid, or being an ungrateful, ornery cluck, but you’re wrong. I’m known for my bravery and keen insight. I'm a gobbler that knows right from wrong. I was raised by wolves. Trained by one-eyed chickadee ninjas! Other birds call me the Turkey Avenger--well, they would, if I could avenge a turkey.
    So, now you know my secret: I’m special and maybe that’s why Gypsy Ruth caught me for her ceremony. She’s been fattening me up for years, always getting ready. She’s done her job well too. I literally roll out of bed. I stand and my belly sits on the ground. I tried flying once last year, but my left wing got stuck in my feathery fat rolls.
    This kind of obesity isn’t ordinary, just another thing to prove Gypsy Ruth is actually a witch. She’s mean and rigid like an old scarecrow. She has dreadlocks and shabby clothes. She has a broom--but never sweeps. She has a black cat--who gives bad luck! But the worst thing about my master, the absolute pain in my flabby butt, is that she plans on eating me today, on Thanksgiving.
    Now do you see why some people hate the holidays? Stop being so judgmental! Has anyone ever tried killing you on a holiday? And don’t tell me you “know what I mean,” when you have no feather-brained idea.
    The woman who owns me is plain nuts, like covered almonds WITHOUT the chocolate. She has shifty eyes and a cackle that makes Cerberus sound good. She’s ugly and stupid--compared to me anyway. She’s sinister and vile, bread without butter, and if I have to spend one more moment with her, I might turn into a hen and lay eggs!
    This morning, she drove our covered wagon deep into the desert. The horses grew so tired. I heard them talking about pains in their legs. They weren’t the only uncomfortable ones. It was so bouncy, my fat rolls kept hitting me in the face and my beak almost punctured my bellybutton. But after we stopped, things were better. I dragged myself onto the dusty porch, and the hot sun made my breast feathers sparkle.
    I looked over at old Ruthie. She pulled out supplies for a fire, put strange stars on the ground and even talked to herself, croaking like a human who smokes for a living.
    “I lost him,” she said. “His heart is gone, but I’ll be bringing him back. I has me spell book, I do. I has it.”
    She patted a large, fading book, then sat on a rock.
    I studied our surroundings. Dunes stretched for miles, yet Ruth rested under the only tree within sight.
    “You know, she plans on eating you tonight,” a slippery voice said.
    The black cat, Sparta lounged into a sitting position. His tail licked the side of the pealing caravan.
    “I’d like to see her try eating me,” I said valiantly, pretending to be an eagle, as my feet shook.
    “Oh?” Sparta laughed. “And why’s that?”
    “Because . . . some birds call me the Turkey Avenger.”
    Sparta laughed in the sporadic way only cats do. “We’ll see. We shall see.”
    “Even if I wasn’t the Turkey Avenger, I still have my wishbone.”
    “Oh, don’t go into that again.”
    “I will.” My eyes turned to slits. My snood swayed and my beak clenched. “Every turkey has a wishbone. Folks say you can use it for wishing, but the most powerful wish is the first one. I’d like to remind you, that I’ve never used my wish.”
    “Always saving it for the right time?” Sparta cut in. “Listen, Turkey. I don’t care how long you’ve waited to use your wish. It just won’t happen. Wishbones aren’t real, unlike cats and nine lives. Now, THAT is real!
    “But you,” the cat continued, “you need to come to terms with reality. This is your last night--accept it. By tomorrow morning, Ruth will make a wish with all your bones.”
    My heart thumped so hard, my bright head feathers shivered. It couldn’t be my last night. I wasn’t done living. All I ever wanted was to avenge some poor schmuck of a turkey, meet a bird who’d be dumb enough to date me. I’d take her as my wife if she had nice legs. After all, there are two important things in marriage--legs and the ability to avenge.
    “What about you, Sparta? How many lives do you have left?” I know he hates that question. He might not know, but I’ve been counting. I know he’s on his last life.
    He turned away and started licking his butt then--he does that when he’s upset. Seems he’s always upset.
    Would I really die? If there’s one thing that can ruin the holidays, it’s death. I thought of my wishbone and my one wish. Time passed and we remained quiet as Gypsy Ruth read for hours.
    Soon, the sun crashed at the end of the Earth. Darkness conquered the sky and the witch built a fire. The ground practically gasped as she moved, her presence so evil the flames didn’t even distort her shadow.
    “He was being born first,” she chanted. “Born on Thanksgiving. Being taken by death . . . Before his time. Now, he MUST come forth. We shall reunite for all time and we shall rule the world!”
    Her eyes found mine. I stood straight, although my stomach still dusted the porch. I knew then why she’d saved me for so many years. She wanted to eat me, celebrate after her son came back from the dead. She wanted my wishbone!
    She turned to the tree in that moment. Her hands clawed at the ground. Hardened earth filled her nails. Her teeth barred like a ravenous dog and I wondered how crazy one person could be. When her arms rested deep inside the hole, Ruth’s vile laughter ripped through the air. She held a box over her head and screamed, “He shall be coming forth!”
    Chills went through my gizzard. I cringed at the site because she’s the ugliest woman alive.
    See, this is exactly why I hate Thanksgiving. It’s never a normal, happy day. Someone either gets lost in the forest, gets stuffed, or forgets the gravy!
    The sky cracked as Ruth chanted more. “Reunite . . . Reunite . . . We will eat turkey tonight!”
    Seriously? Does her life revolve around my juicy white meat? I tried joking, but when I looked at Sparta, my fear boiled to the surface.
    I gaped at Ruth as she came closer. She suddenly grabbed me around the waist and clutched me at her side. I tried moving, but she was more powerful than Edesia! With her free hand, she pulled a hair from the box. I gobbled and struggled to no avail.
    We moved closer to the fire, its heat toasting my feathers. This was it--the moment I would die.
    Ruth held the hair up into the air. “Tonight, my son will live . . . And you,” she turned to me, “will die.”
    She chanted again. “Reunite. Reunite.” Then with one last “reunite,” she threw the hair toward the fire.
    By how she clutched me, I knew I was next, knew it was my turn!
    My death hovered in the wind like a stupid marionette. I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was for turkeys everywhere. But before anything else happened, as that hair descended into the raging fire, I made a wish. That was the moment I used my wishbone.
    “On the wishbone!” I screamed, “Somehow save my life!”
    The hair hit the fire. Sparks flew everywhere. The light became so blinding I looked away as Ruth fell motionless, dropping me in the action. I rolled closer to the caravan, then turned, gawking behind me.
    A shimmering head took shape in the fire. It twisted and turned until a neck appeared hooking it to a body. The face seemed kind, stronger than time as it rose above the flames and became a translucent being, stepping from the fire. He walked to Ruth and then me. “Oh, dear one,” he said. “You are . . . the Turkey Avenger.”
    “I am?” I asked.
    “Oh, yes.” He grinned. “For you have saved a turkey.”
    He drifted to Ruth, shook her and she shuddered as if waking from a slumber. She smiled, casting off the years of evil and heartache. “I’ve been missing you.” She hugged him, although her arms seemed to float through him.
    “And I you,” he said. “Come, Mother. We are reunited. Come. The turkey has made this possible.”
    They walked, laughing and joking for a long time. The woman no longer hobbled or crept along. The farther she walked the more youthful and joyous she appeared.
    I stayed lying on my side until they were far from sight. “So what should we do? Leave the woman’s body here?” Sparta asked.
    “What? What do you mean?” I turned to where he’d motioned and indeed he was right, the woman’s body lay still with death.
    “You wouldn’t plan on going without me?” I asked.
    “And leave the Turkey Avenger? No way. It’s not everyday I see someone avenge a turkey, even if it was themself. This might be my last life, and I refuse to live it alone.”
    I said one last “goodbye” to Ruth and then practically rolled toward the caravan. This was a Thanksgiving to remember.
    The horses argued about the best places to visit, Sparta licked his butt, and a female vulture circled above in the moon-lit sky. As I struggled getting into the caravan, I couldn’t help thinking one last thing, “That vulture sure has nice legs.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday--More FREE eBooks

These eBooks will be FREE on Black Friday only.

Here are the direct links where they're free:

A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story

A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story

Just Nonsense

Open Doors

Additionally, Homeless in Hawaii has been released today.
Click the picture to find it for 2.99 on Amazon.

A Thanksgiving Prayer: Part 2

    This is a continuation from yesterday's post.  
To recap:
    I bought a fancy necklace for my grandma's viewing but while getting ready, I realized it had vanished.
     "Time to go," Cade said, breaking through my thoughts.
     I sniffled, wiped my eyes and decided to be strong, necklace or not, I'd be tough. My grandma always saw the best in things.  Maybe losing the necklace was meant to test my spirit.
    Little did I know, she'd planned a miracle.  A sign that she was watching out for me.  And it all revolved around the necklace.

Grandma Beth 
    She was the only grandma I had--and she was amazing.  Sometimes I'd imagine what my other grandma would be like if I could pick her.  She'd be wonderful too--if she existed somewhere. 
    Too bad I thought she didn't, because when my only grandma passed, it was terribly lonely.
    How do relationships begin?  When you meet someone do you instantly know they'll change your life?  Become like family?  Be the person you'd once hoped to meet?  It's fascinating, really.  There can be two people, miles apart, destined to meet each other somehow.  Yet how many times will they cross paths until they finally understand? 
    After my grandma's death, I would often think of her words to me.  "Everyone deserves two sets of grandparents.  And if you prayed for your other grandma, maybe you'll be surprised with what God might bring your way." 
    Those words made me smile. I remembered being in junior high.  Everything was so dramatic.  And I'd imagine if I had another grandma, how she'd be more like me than anyone I knew.  We could talk about everything.  Maybe she'd even have a religious background.  Of course she'd laugh a lot and love animals.  She wouldn't take Grandma Beth's place, no, she'd have her own special place in my life--if I could just find her.
    Four years passed after Grandma Beth died.  I told my daughters about my silly childhood imaginings about another grandma.  "Can you believe someone like that could exist?  She's too perfect."
    "Maybe," the Scribe said.  "Stranger things have happened."
    "Yeah, like how my necklace went missing at Grandma's funeral.  Now that was strange."
    As time went on, I forgot about the necklace and my imagined grandmother.  I focused on being a decent wife, and mom who didn't ALWAYS burn dinner. I also vowed to somehow share Zeke's story with the world.  That's when I started blogging.
    It happened slowly at first, but I had some success.  I met people and finally connected with others.  We became good friends, reading each other's blogs and celebrating in each other's lives.  Zeke's story really took off.  With everyone's help, more readers started learning about my baby's life and how he made me a better person.  That year all of us bloggers shared our lives through our words, our joys and sorrows.  Then as time passed, something happened.  Many of you started feeling like family to me.  
    It wasn't until recently, that I realized I met people who resembled aspects of my dream grandmother.  She wasn't just someone I'd hoped to meet, but someone I'd hoped would actually exist in our world.  Because people like her would make this world a better place.  She would be a sign that humanity isn't too far gone.  Yes, there are people who abandon kids to join the carnival.  But there are others--in our dreams--who shine with so much goodness.  And I see that goodness in all of you.
    One person, in particular, has shown me so much kindness this year.  I thought of her and nearly cried because I'm so thankful and blessed to have her in my life.  As I thought of her, I cleaned the Hippie's closet.  My hand fell across something pointy and cold.  My fingers gently closed around the object and I held it near my face.  While blowing the dust from the green necklace I'd lost before my grandma's viewing--five years before--a lump caught in my throat. 
    I thought of my sole grandmother--the one who always wanted the best for me.  I thought of my dream grandmother--the one I finally found.  And I cried.  

    The rediscovered necklace was a sign to me.  Goodness existsMy grandma is watching out for me, just like she always did.  And miracles can still happen.  
    Maybe good things are out there waiting for each of us to find them--just like that necklace waited for me.

    This Thanksgiving, please know how very thankful I am for all of you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving Prayer: Part 1

    My grandma died in August of 2007.  
    I only had one grandmother. My other one abandoned my mother at the age of two.  It sounds ridiculously tragic--and it is. After her husband died, my grandma, Rose, left to join the carnival and didn't see my mother for over a decade after leaving.
    That didn't just affect my mother and her siblings.  It affected us grandkids too.  Rose had left a hole inside each of us.
    I always wanted two grandmas. I know it seems selfish since some kids--like my mom--don't even have parents because one died and the other likes roller coasters. And growing up, my dad's parents lived towns away and I felt pretty isolated from extended family.
    I loved my dad's mother.  But still, we only saw her twice a year, and I felt like someone was missing.  So I asked my mom if we could meet the famous (or infamous) Rose.  To a ten-year-old, she sounded dangerous, maybe even exciting.  The meeting was arranged and . . . it was terrible.  
    "I love you," Rose said, smoking a million cigarettes one after another.  Kissing them instead of my cheeks.  "Wait, what's your name again, Hon?"
    "Elisa." I held back the tears.  I wanted to steal her cigarette--smash it--and throw it into the wind.  Maybe then SHE'D feel what it's like to have something taken away.
    "That's right."  She didn't even look at my face. "You're name's Elisa. And I love you."
    As time passed, I learned Rose didn't even remember my mom's birthday correctly.  I bet she sucked at memory games. 
    I knelt down a few nights after meeting my second grandma and I prayed.  "God, that woman isn't my grandma. Isn't my other real one out there somewhere?" I imagined her then.  How she'd be so sweet and nice.  How we'd care about each other and even remember each other's names--if we tried hard enough.  She'd cook inventive things and laugh easily, like Mary Poppins, without the purseI swear I imagined her all the time, knowing someday--even if it was years down the road--we would meet. 
    It was my greatest dream.  That and praying the Indian children would get food.  Those commercials were always on about kids starving and how you could adopt one for a dollar a month.  I had nightmares about those poor kids with cleft lips.  Little did I know, almost a decade later, I'd have a baby with that same defect.
    During Zeke's life my sole grandma called every day. I didn't want to talk with anyone, but she'd stay on the phone, even when I remained silent.  Zeke died, and still the phone calls continued. 'Cept it was me calling her once a week.  A few years passed and I started healing. "Happy Saturday." I'd call my grandma and grin into the phone.  She'd giggle.  Then I'd tell her some crude joke and she'd act offended before laughing hysterically.  
    "Do you ever wish you had two grandmas?" my grandma asked me one day.  "You used to tell me that when you were little."
    "Yeah, I made one up. I'd imagine her all the time.  But I'm an adult now.  I've realized I just have one grandma--and you're better than two put together." 
     I knew she smiled, humbly. "Still though, everyone deserves two sets of grandparents.  And if you prayed for your other grandma, maybe you'll be surprised with what God might bring your way."
     Good luck with that, I thought.  Leave it to my grandma, the eternal optimist.   
    For five years we grew close, talking every Saturday.  Then my grandma passed.
     My dad asked me to play the violin at her viewing. I spent more money than Cade and I had, trying to look extra nice.  I donned a gorgeous outfit and bought a necklace for thirty dollars!  But when we arrived at the hotel, the expensive necklace was gone.
     "Grandma, I put it in my bag.  I wanted to look nice for your viewing.  You know, in case you came to see how I'd dressed.  You always complimented my clothes."
     "Time to go," Cade said, breaking through my thoughts.
     I sniffled, wiped my eyes and decided to be strong, necklace or not, I'd be tough. My grandma always saw the best in things.  Maybe losing the necklace was meant to test my spirit.
    Little did I know, she'd planned a miracle.  A sign that she was watching out for me.  And it all revolved around the necklace.
    What a character.

Grandma Beth

To be continued tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Suffer From Compression

    I'm feeling really sick today, so I thought I'd repost one of my favorite stories from January.  Here it is:
    Unfortunately, I have the stomach flu today. I've probably been fighting it off for a few days because sleep seems too fleeting and blogging has nearly killed me with headaches. But I'm almost to my 365 day straight goal and I can't quit now.

    In the middle of the night I took some medicine and after going to sleep, I had THE WEIRDEST dream. I've had some strange ones lately, but this took the cake.
    A little man stood in front of me. "What you suffer from, my dear, is compression."
    "Excuse me?" I said.
    "Compression," he cleared his throat. "Everyone talks about depression. Well who cares if you're feeling a little lower than normal. Compression is what you need to be worried about."
    In my dream I just gawked at him and even thought to myself, I'm never taking cold medicine again.
    "Assuming you aren't completely nutty," I said. "What is compression?"
    "I'd worried about that."
    "That you'd be as dumb as you look. Compression is far worse than depression. You feel as if everything is closing in. Too many worries; too much on your plate until you feel out of control . . ."  He straightened his back, proud of himself.  "Compression."
    "And how am I supposed to fix this, oh mighty, SHORT one."
    "Simple," he smiled. "Become unpressed."
    "Like a shirt that hasn't been ironed?! Oh this is rich."
    "Laugh all you want," he said. "But there comes a time in everyone's lives where they can't do everything. Choices must be made. Things must be cut from you life, or you'll stay compressed FOREVER, until implosion occurs."
    With that he vanished and I woke up sweating. The Scribe brought me a thermometer because it was morning and she'd apparently been hovering over me for awhile. "What's your temperature," she asked me after I checked.
    "102.2," I said. "This whole thing is making me feel so tired . . . And utterly compressed."
    "What does that mean?" she asked.
    I just looked at her. "it's hard to explain, but some day I'm sure you'll understand."
    "Are you really going to write a blog today?"
    "Yes." I nodded. "I've almost blogged for a year straight, and I'm not going to mess this up now.  Compression, sickness or not, when I set a goal, I accomplish it or die trying."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thank YOU! My Books are #1 & #2 on Amazon!

Thank you to everyone who downloaded The Golden Sky & Bible Girl. They're currently #1 and #2 for women's memoir. It's amazing thinking so many people will learn about Zeke and his strength.

    If anyone else is interested, those books are still free today. Go HEREPhotobucket
 I had a funny story to write today, but I'm too excited.  Maybe I'll write it tomorrow.