Monday, October 26, 2009


I got this meme from Jenners at Find Your Next book Here, who got it from As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves, who got if from someone else.

What To Do: Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Please note that since I used only books I read this year (I keep a list) not all of these answers are absolutely true and some are a "stretch" as an answer to the question. But it was fun to do, so try it yourself and leave a comment with a link to your answers.

Describe yourself: The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Sarah Vowell) non-fiction

How do you feel: Cause for Alarm (Erica Spinder)

Describe where you currently live: Point Blank (Catherine Coulter)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? The White House Connection (Jack Higgens)

Your favorite form of transportation: Gone Tomorrow (Lee Child)

Your best friend is: Mistress of the Vatican (Eleanor Herman) non-fiction

You and your friends are: The Wordy Shipmates (Sarah Vowell) non-fiction

What’s the weather like: Dark of the Moon (John Sandford)

You fear: Shadow of Power (Steve Martini)

What is the best advice you have to give: The Whole Truth (David Baldacci)

Thought for the day: Damage Control (J.A. Jance)

How I would like to die: Sudden Mischief (Robert Parker)

My soul’s present condition: Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) non-fiction

I have read fewer books this year than probably any year in a decade (only 24, so far.) I blame it on spending most of my time blogging.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


This short story is in response to
Click on the above link to join in or read other entries.

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word mega-challenge.

Mega challenge:
family, cheese cake, 20 years ago, refrigerator, laugh and the world laughs with you, bath brush, zombies, African violets, butterflies, holding hands, monsters in the closet, roughly, bowling, menu, Pennsylvania
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

If I stood in a bowling lane and kept rolling balls at the ten pins in the lane in front of me, I would eventually knock them all down, and it probably wouldn’t take me very long to do it. If, however, I were in lane 1, and moved to lane 3, then back to 2 and on to 5 in the bowling alley, it would take me forever to complete my task in the first lane.
That is how the artistic, right-brained mind works.
I can’t start a task and, like a zombie, walk unconsciously through it to its end. No, not me. I jump from task to task. I may complete a task, but it takes forever, sort of like driving from Illinois to Texas, but getting sidetracked through Pennsylvania and Oregon along the way.
I’ve been this way since I was a child. It drove my left-brained family crazy. It took me all day to complete my chores and my room always looked like I had purposely thrown everything I owned into the air just to see where it landed.
Twenty years ago, I thought that as I got older, my organizational skills would improve. Instead they have worsened, so I have decided to accept my incompetence and find the humor in it. As they say, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.”

Let me take you through a simple task. Last Sunday, I decided I absolutely had to read the Wordzzles from Saturday and comment on them. After lunch I headed to my computer, determined that I would not be distracted.
The night before, I had placed some papers on my keyboard to remind me to fill them in. On Monday I had an appointment with a new doctor who had sent me forms about my medical history. I didn’t want to forget them, so I decided to do that first. I already had documents on my computer with medical-history lists, so I opened those to see if they were up-to-date. Two medications had changed, so I headed upstairs to find the bottles to spell the names correctly and find the dosages.
As I passed the refrigerator, I thought I better see what we had for dinner that night. I found leftover pork chops. I grabbed a plastic bowl and headed to the garden to pick what remained of our pole beans.
I returned to my computer to check out the Wordzzles. But, oops, I hadn’t gotten the information from the medicine bottles. On the way, I picked up something that belonged in the closet in the dressing room. But there were monsters in the closet that suckered me into searching for a pair of slacks I couldn’t find. I eventually gave up and headed toward my medications.
In the bathroom, I felt a cold wind coming in the window, so decided to close it, but it had rained for several days, so it was swollen. I looked around for a tool. I figured the bathbrush wouldn’t help, so I found a rubber mallet in a kitchen drawer to bang it shut.
While in the bathroom, I decide to use the facilities, I grabbed a magazine. I browsed articles on butterflies and houseplants. I decided that African violets were too much work, so I chose to forget about any exotic plant life for the house.
Returning to the computer, I realized I had left the post-it note with the names and dosages of my medications in the bathroom. After retrieving it, I revised and printed the information for my doctor. Then I filled out the forms by hand, writing “see attached” when it asked about medical and surgical history and medications.
After placing those with my purse, I was ready for Wordzzle. But then my husband came in to ask if I could help him in the garage. Before retiring, he ran an automotive computer diagnostic service there, so it is not just a garage, it is a G-A-R-A-G-E.
We’ve been havng some car troubles. He was moving some of his other projects out of the way to make room to work on a vehicle. He wanted to store an old car engine in the second-story storage area, so he needed to pull the chain to raise it, while I steadied the 500 pound motor his hoist was holding. Hands down, that hoist is one of the most useful items in his G-A-R-A-G-E.
My husband asked if I had received an email response about an online order that hadn’t arrived. So I checked my email, deleting 37 pieces of junk mail, filing 12 messages to read later, and answering five messages from friends. While I was at it, I decided I might as well check my other two email accounts. I found two messages from friends in Brazil, so I used to help me write responses and translate them because my Portuguese is rusty.
Then I realized that I had paid for my mother’s Meals On Wheels up through the week that just ended. So I wrote a check and walked to the post office (a block away) so it would go out on Monday.
As soon as I arrived back at the house, my famished husband came in from the G-A-R-A-G-E and asked what was on the menu for dinner. He rinsed the beans and placed them into the top of a steamer and threw the cooked chops into the microwave while I sliced cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad. Lacking something wonderfully obscene like cheesecake, we would have fruit and yogurt for dessert.
We ate dinner while watching a so-so Jimmy Stewart screwball comedy (You Gotta Stay Happy) stopping it once to clean up the kitchen. After the movie, my husband had a few more tasks for me in the G-A-R-A-G-E, including removing rust from tools with a wire brush and polishing some of them with silver polish. (He is a little obsessive about his G-A-R-A-G-E tools.)
After my husband went to bed, I logged into my blog. I found several comments I needed to moderate, some from Friday Flash 55, which reminded me I needed to read and comment on some of those.
Roughly twelve hours after I had first turned on my computer, I clicked on the link to Raven’s blog and pulled up someone’s Wordzzle. Before I read two sentences, I remembered I had promised an organization I belong to that I would set up a blog for them by Monday. At 6 am Monday morning, I went to bed. I might get five hours of sleep before I had to get up for my doctor’s appointment.
The rest of the week was pretty much a repeat of Sunday, so I still haven’t read all of the Wordzzles from last week. (Sorry.) As you can see, I am organizationally impaired and suffer boggled-mind syndrome.


The above is 90% true. I had to fudge a few magazine articles to fit in butterflies and African violets, but I did read two articles in the bathroom that day. We hoisted some big-ass piece of machinery in the G-A-R-A-G-E but I didn’t know what it was called and my husband was already in bed while I wrote this, so I made it into a car engine since we have hoisted several into the storage area on earlier occasions. But the details don’t matter. The pattern is what is important.
The above describes the motif of my life. It sometimes brings me wonderful and unexpected surprises, but it also frustrates me, and those around me, to no end.


That being said, I am going to take a hiatus from Wordzzle for a few weeks. I have some projects I have been postponing including some digital photo retouching and freelance art work. I will try to get back to last week's Wordzzles that I missed to add comments. I’ve neglected laundry, mail, bills, my husband and the cat.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Friday, October 2, 2009

RUST BELT - Friday Flash 55

This post is in response to
The idea is to write a story in exactly 55 words.
Click on the yellow link above to join the fun or read others’ stories.

His VW seemed to be held together with wires and duct tape. Large patches of rust covered the hood and driver’s door. Rust had eaten several holes all they way through the metal.

But Max was sixteen and it was his first car, so to him it was as good as a shiny new Porsche.

My first car was a $300 used Corvair ---you know the one Ralph Nader decided was unsafe at any speed. I needed it to get to my student-teaching assignment each day. There was a hole in the back-seat floor, so passengers could watch the asphalt zip by. On Mother's Day 1967, on my way back to college, I was rear-ended at a stop sign which forced my car into the one ahead of it, totaling the car. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

I purchased my next car in August of 1969 after I returned home from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps. It was a spanking new Volkswagon Beetle which my new husband totalled in 1971.

Luckily my run of bad luck with cars ended then.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Thursday, October 1, 2009


(Click on images for larger views.)

Now you can purchase matted prints of CJ's original art work and pay by PayPal.

Each print is hand-signed by the artist and matted to fit a standard-sized frame (in the U.S.) so it will fit an inexpensive frame from a discount store or one you have custom-made.

Shipping is free to anywhere in the U.S. If you want it shipped elsewhere, please send an email message for additional shipping costs:

You must have a valid email address and a PayPal account.

NOTE: Colors may vary somewhat from what you see here due to our scanner and your monitor settings.

Purchase procedures:

1. Choose the print you want.

2. Send an email to to reserve the print. Please do not email us unless you fully intend to make a purchase.

Each item is unique. There is only one available, with that exact image and matt color combination. In order to avoid two people purchasing the same item, you must reserve the item by sending an email with "Print Purchase" in the subject line and the Title and Item Number of the image you want in the message. In the unlikely case of duplicate requests, the first email received will be able to purchase that item.

3. Once we receive your request, we will respond to tell you that the item has been reserved for you. (If you do not hear from us immediately, please be patient. Occasionally, we must be away from our computer for up to 5 days at a time, but very rarely.) We will add a SOLD sign to the item on this post.

4. MAKE PAYMENT: Come back to this post within 5 days. Based on the size of the print, use the pull-down box at the bottom of this post to choose the purchase price. Then click on BUY NOW. If payments are not received within 5 days, the SOLD sign will be removed and the item will again be available to others.

5. Once payment has been received, your print will be mailed within 7 days.
Shipping is free within the United States.

6. Questions???
1) Questions of a general - add a comment to this post.
2) Specific questions about your order - send an email to

(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Matt Sizes