Oxymoron Diaries

Oxymoron Diaries
Oxymoron Dairies on sale now

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's a Happy Day in The Oxymoron Neighborhood

It's a Happy Day in The Oxymoron Neighborhood.

Okay, I am gonna brag just a wee bit ... received my first royalty check last weekend. Feels pretty dang good.

This is me dancing for joy ... or what I would like to look like when I dance for joy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Numb Feeling

Oxymoron Diaries|Numb Feeling. I've had this one in draft mode for awhile now, simply because I was too ticked at myself to write it. Ticked at myself because the oxymoron "numb feeling" I'm talking about is inspired by my own thumb. Yes, my thumb.

Okay, so here's the story ... I was making a vat full of spaghetti sauce about a month ago. When making a VAT of anything, you need BIG cans of ingredients. On this particular day, that would mean a can of tomato puree the size of a footstool. Kinda hard to get one of those suckers open, but I gave it my best shot. Unfortunately, my best shot ended with blood splattering the backsplash of the sink and me screaming obscenities. It also ended with my thumb now having a numb feeling over most of its surface.
oxymoron diaries | numb feeling

oxymoron diaries | numb feeling

I'm thinking if after a month I still can't feel a dang thing when I touch my thumb, that perhaps the can lid that sliced through my thumb must have severed a nerve.

Hence the numb feeling. Hence the numb thumb.

Hence the oxymoron. Hence the blog post.

oxymoron diaries | numb feeling

Oxymoron Diaries | Twelve Ounce Poundcake on sale now

Monday, April 9, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Fragile Strength

Oxymoron Diaries|Fragile Strength. This oxymoron phrase has been rolling around in my skull for a few weeks now, but today seems to be the day that it pops on out and enters the real world. I heard this in a song recently, don't remember which one right now, but it reminded me of something I've had written on a piece of paper laying on my desk for years - "I'm strong on the surface, but not all the way through." Truthfully, I think that phrase came from song lyrics, too.

It may seem impossible to be fragile and strong at the same time, but I think a lot of women face that scenario on a daily basis. I know I do. Some days more than others. Men, too, I'm sure.

oxymoron diaries | fragile strengthThink of it this way ... you KNOW you have to get something accomplished that is very important, but you also have a million other commitments and a million other items that need to be accomplished that are very important. Plus you may be the only person around you who has her act together most of the time, but some days after the important stuff is done, you literally fall to pieces. You were strong enough to accomplish your goal, but the second it was done, YOU were done. PERIOD.
oxymoron diaries | fragile strength
Doesn't happen often, but SOMETIMES you just want to take a sabbattical and be responsible for nothing and no one. Some days you want to let the fragile side take over and have someone help YOU, instead of the other way around. That doesn't mean you aren't strong, it just means you're human.

Everybody needs to take a break and rejuvenate. Make sure you do that.
I know I need to put a little more PINK in my day planner sometimes. (Anything pink in my planner means it's personal time.) When I start feeling fragile, instead of strong, I know I need to take a step back after I've accomplished that pile of important stuff and take a deep breath, be fragile for a moment, and then go out and kick some more butt.

Yeah, kicking butt gets me over that FRAGILE mood in a nano second. Today I am going to murder some weeds in my garden. I'm gonna kick their butts!

oxymoron diaries | fragile strength

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Click Start to Shut down

Oxymoron Diaries | Click Start to Shut Down. Yes, I am having computer issues. And yes, if I click start and shut down it usually fixes the problem. A lot of times people forget this quick, easy little fix. In fact, when my sonny-in-law was in Czech doing missionary work after high school, his team had a technology guy. But the rule was "Don't call the Tech Guy unless you have already clicked start to shut down."

Thoxymoron diaires | click start to shut downe pain about it comes in with the preparation to shut down. You can't just click start and go for it. Well, you can, but you might lose some important stuff. For instance, I needed to click start and shut down last night. But before I could do that I needed to X out of 8 webpages, 4 word documents, 3 excel spreadsheets, and 3 programs.

Hmmm, maybe therein lies the problem ... too much running on my computer.

Excuse me while I click start to shut down ... or not.
oxymoron diaires | click start to shut down

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About The Oxymoron Diaries ... new Fiction on Amazon

Abigail Nutter has walked a fine line between the apathetic urge to hang out a welcome sign for blood relatives, in-laws, out-laws, kissing cousins and stray animals or digging in with cold emotion and a quarantine sign, boarding up windows and padlocking doors against intrusion.

The Oxymoron Diaries' Twelve Ounce Poundcake, tells the story of Abigail Nutter,a local writer temporarily forced into multi-generation serfdom, disrupting her daily life in sadly amusing, mildly psychotic ways. As evidenced throughout the telling by random sprinklings of oxymora, she routinely takes her inspiration from everyday life, causing her family to frequently prefer she write her column in invisible ink. From 'plastic glasses' to 'nice and sleazy' and 'cold as hell' to 'safe sex', each chapter is subtitled by a relevant oxymoron, subtly teasing readers with the upcoming possibilities.

Abby's mother, Eve, a control freak, and her editor, Kemper, a sixty-something nymphomaniac and plastic surgery junkie, add to the endless instances of oxymoron humor, but no one more so than Belly, her nearly ninety-nine year old grandmother and self-proclaimed living fossil, who has been dropped on her doorstep for the winter.

Abby's husband, Bryan, who she fondly calls Moh, except when he's in trouble and she calls him Mohby Dick, is dismayed when two months later Abigail suggests their uninvited guest live with them permanently.

Hence ensues many emotional ups and downs, laughter, tears and heartbreak before the Nutter family realizes that with a touch of humor and a sprinkling of unconditional love, they can turn burdens into welcome loads. What surprises them the most is how Belly does not fit into the burden category as much as they anticipated. Broken marriages, broken families, and broken bonds turn out to weigh so much more than a ninety-nine year old sprite of a woman.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clean House is an Oxymoron at My House

I admit it. My house is a mess. In fact, my house is such a mess that the minute you walk in the door, the phrase "Clean House" turns into an oxymoron.

Didi O'Neil on Amazon
Clean House is an oxymoron at my house right now.

A Domestic Goddess, I am not. Even on a good day my home is not spotless. The only time it really bothers me is when my mother is coming over. But I have a plan for that - I simply tell her the grandkids spent the week with us. Yeah, I blame it on the grandkids.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries - Wedded Bliss?

My husband and I are arguing about whether or not his memory
is his shortest feature ...

Wedded Bliss?

Lyrics with an Oxymoron flair ...

Lyrics with an Oxymoron flair ...

 It's everything you wanted, it's everything you don't
It's one door swinging open and one door swinging closed
Some prayers find an answer
Some prayers never know
We're holding on and letting go
by Ross Copperman
(I heard this on an episode of The Vampire Diaries on The CW)
oxymoron diaries
The Oxymoron Diaries

Oxymoron Diaries | Cheap Gas

Oxymoron Diaries | Cheap Gas. The only thing I need to say about this oxymoron is ... $4.19 a gallon in Toledo, OH today.
NOT cheap gas.
oxymoron diaries | cheap gas

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Hate & Love

Heard a song this morning that is a beautiful play on words, so of course I fell for it hard. "Hate & Love" by Jack Savoretti w/ Sienna Miller. Thank goodness for iTunes. Here's a little bit of it ...

Sunshine and rain
Make a beautiful thing (ohhh..)

Everything you are is everything I'm not
Night and day, light and dark
Everything I'll need is everything you've got
All your hate and all your love

(I heard these lyrics on an episode of The Vampire Diaries)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Working Vacation

Oxymoron Diaries | Working Vacation. Jeff Foxworthy the comic and actor once said that "you must be a redneck if you live anywhere where the temperature varies 50 degrees in one day."

Well, I live in NW Ohio and usually in late March it averages around 44 degrees. Yesterday it hit 84 degrees and the low was low fifties. Not quite a fifty degree variance, but darn near close! In fact it's been in the low to mid eighties for almost a week. And the week before that it was in the seventies. Most years we have 15 inches of snow right about now!
oxymoron diaries | working vacation
So, what to do, what to do ... today, what to do. I don't wanna work. But I gotta.

So, I have mapped out my day to include relaxation AND work. I've done my Top 5 Things To Do Today and those five include "play in the garden dirt" and "sit on the patio doing nothing." The other 3 are business-related.

oxymoron diaries | working vacationUnfortunately, one of the 3 that are business-related includes "finish up paperwork", so maybe the garden and patio will have to wait. Not enough hours in the day my friends.

In my defense, I am way behind because we had a major electrical issue that could have burned the house down, so most of this week has been spent with large portions of the house in darkness before our favorite electrician could decipher the problem. I'm told it's not good when you turn on a lightswitch and all the lights blink furiously while simultaneously making a SIZZLING sound. Not good at all. Did I mention that they then simply went dead?

Turns out we have two problems. The sizzling circuit has been corrected. The electrical panel that was manufactured by a company that's been nicknamed "Fire Pacific" has not.

Hmmmm, I think I forgot to add to my Top 5 Things to do today the following ... purchase more smoke detectors. Right after I finish my paperwork.
oxymoron diaries
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Click here for a FREE Kindle download for your PC, iPad or smartphone.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries The Video

Hope you enjoy the very first Oxymoron Diaries video! I made it just for YOU! Love ya, Didi O'Neil.   http://animoto.com/play/OQLmmwHX9alRZOhqQouWGQ

Thanks for watching!

Oxymoron Diaries | Light beer

Oxymoron Diaries |Light Beer. I have never been fat in my life. Never. A little above what all the charts say is my ideal weight, but nothing too outrageous. In fact twice when I was pregant I gained 20 pounds and still weighed under 125. Well, this past year was a bit different. And I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized several items of note.

One, my office is now at home and we live in a ranch home. A sprawling ranch, but a one-story just the same. No stairs to work off calories. No stairs when I lug laundry to the utility room. No stairs anywhere.oxymoron diaries light beer

oxymoron diaries

Two, our beloved dog Belva Dear Holyfield developed a massive infection that antibiotics could not cure and we had to put her to sleep. I walked Belva every morning and every night almost every day we had her, almost 5 years. We have since adopted two goldendoodles who were supposed to be only 40 pounds and have turned into 80 pounds and 65 pounds respectively and are still growing. I don't walk them, they walk me. In fact, just this morning I landed face down in the back yard when Izzy decided to make a run for it while I had her leash in my hand. My knees are currently muddy, my chin is muddy, my pride is muddied for sure. So, as of today, they don't get walked much. Hence, I don't get walked much.

Three, beer. Yes, beer. I have never been a beer drinker. I always drank one of two options - Dewars Scotch with water or Skyy Vodka on the rocks. I don't drink a lot, but when I do, these are my preferences. Then the economy took a tumble and I needed to economize somewhere. My husband is an avid beer drinker, so I thought I'd try that route. I have never liked beer. Never. Well, maybe a cold Corona or a Dos Equis at a Mexican Restaurant. But never ever at any other time would I ever drink beer. Hated the stuff.

Then I discovered ale. Ice cold, creamy, dark ale. So cold it turns into a slushie. And I could have a couple pints for under six bucks usually. So for the past year I have primarily ordered cold ale. Also known as BEER. And now I have what might be described as a beer gut. I woke up one morning and voila ... beer gut. oxymoron diaries light beer

I'm not making this up.

The funny part is I'm talking to my mom yesterday and she brings up that she has a "thick middle" going on. Now, my mother has always been pretty tiny. Not scrawny, but she is petite and prides herself on her diet and the way she takes care of her body. She's terrific. She's over seventy, swims at the Y, does aerobics, walks like crazy. She's a dynamo. Like I USE to be!

So when she mentioned her thickening middle I blurted out, "Have you been drinking beer?"

She hesitated and said, "LIGHT beer!"

I laughed and said, "Mom, when it comes to beer, it ain't about the calories, it's about what it's made of. Notice how people that drink hard liquor are skinnier than people who drink beer?" I don't know if this is true or not, and I know some of you are gonna yell at me, but hey, just an observation on my part.

I continued, "Hence the term "beer gut". You've never heard of a "vodka gut" or a "scotch gut" or a "wine gut" have you?"

She didn't argue with me, which means she is mulling this over.

So, I am mulling over swearing off beer until I lose some weight.

In fact, I'm back on the Dewar's Diet.
oxymoron diaries light beer

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Oxymoron Diaries | Twelve Ounce Poundcake | Didi O'Neil | Excerpt from Chapter Nine | Big Sip.

The Oxymoron Diaries | Twelve Ounce Poundcake | Didi O'Neil | Excerpt from Chapter Nine | Big Sip.

(Used with permission of the author.)

      “I didn’t hire you to think straight. I hired you for your slightly askew perspectives. And I have the utmost faith in you. So do Fritz and Alfredo. They’ve given me carteblanche to offer you anything you want. They’re even talking syndication.” She held up a folder of paperwork. “You can’t pass up this opportunity.”
      I sat silently, my thoughts racing. “I’ll have to think about this,” I finally said.
      “Go ahead, think all you want. The offer will still be on the table for as long as it takes you to decide, or rather as long as it takes me to convince you.” She stood up behind her desk and put her hands on her slender, lipo-suctioned hips. “Let’s go find a Bloody Mary somewhere, Abb. I’m not opposed to getting you drunk to get your signature on these contracts.”
      “I could use one right now,” I muttered still in a small amount of shock over the Skyline’s unexpected, but generous offer. “But only one.”
      She arched an artificially enhanced by-way-of-tattoo eyebrow at me in skepticism.
      I grabbed our coats and headed out of her office toward the elevator. Tossing her coat at her as we reached ground level, we exited the building and made a right turn, walked two blocks, and found M’Larkey’s around the corner from the police station.
      As we entered, Kemp waved to the bartender. “That’s Shamus,” she said to me as I took my coat and flung it on the back of my barstool.
      “Hi, Shamus,” I said. Lifting myself up and onto the stool, I extended my hand across the bar and shook Shamus’ massive hand.
      “We’ll have two of your special Bloody Mary’s, Shame,” ordered Kemper.
      “Are ye sure the Missy here can handle one of me specials?” he asked, a look of doubt written across his authentic Irish face as he motioned toward me.
      “Quite sure,” she replied with a laugh. As Shamus tended to our drinks, Kemp asked, “So what’s going on with Belly lately? You look more stressed than normal.”
      I laughed at her suggestion that I might be stressed. Stressed was putting it mildly. Instead, I simply said, “We’re thinking about asking her to live with us. Permanently.”
      “You’re not serious.”
I grimaced. “Yes, I am very serious. I can’t stand the thought of her living in some rinky-dink studio apartment with a bunch of strangers. Not to mention The Eve being so near-by will make Belle crazed,” I blabbered. Turning my head toward Shamus, I said, “Hey, Shamus? I could use that Bloody Mary sometime soon, darlin’.”
      He turned and set a tall glass in front of each of us.
      I wondered what made them so special as I took a big sip. My eyes started to water as I lost my breath. Not only was my drink fiery hot, it tasted as though it was made with Irish Whiskey instead of vodka. And if I wasn’t mistaken, there was a raw egg sitting at the bottom of my glass.
      “You should have warned me, Kemper!” I spurted, wiping off my chin.
      “I assumed, Dearest Abby, after Shame asked if I thought you could handle one of his specials, you might surmise something rather exotic might be in it.”
      “Kiwi fruit and a stone crab claw would be exotic in a Bloody Mary. Irish Whiskey, hot lava, and raw egg is not exotic,” I choked.
      “Better not let Shamus hear you say that,” she warned as she took a small, safe sip from her own glass. “But back to Belle. When did you come up with this ludicrous idea of having her move in with you forever? And were you drinking at the time? Because if you were, it’s not binding.”
      “I have been drinking more than usual lately, but I was stone cold sober when I came up with this idea. Scotch was involved immediately afterward, though,” I confessed as I carefully took another sip of Shamus’ concoction.
      Kemper sat, shaking her head and muttering to herself something about how could I possibly allow a ninety-eight year-old woman to sidetrack my budding new career? She finally turned her head back toward Shamus, then plopped her chin in her upturned palm. “Well, Abby, whatever you decide, I’m sure your work won’t suffer.” She held up the contract folder she’d brought along.” So don’t turn down the offer just yet. Okay?”
      I exhaled sharply. “I haven’t decided anything yet, Kemp, about either topic. Right now I’m just trying to go over the last two months in my mind and determine if her living with us is the best thing for everyone; not just Belle. There are a number of pros and cons, as My Other Half has so eagerly pointed out to me the last few days. Not to mention, if I’d only considered asking Belle to live with us before this week, I wouldn’t have spent the previous weeks losing my mind trying to figure out a way to eek out from the paltry allowance the bank doled out, all of the things she needs for The Eve’s version of Home Sweet Home. This expectation is irrational, at best. At worst, it’s a purposeful, devious manipulation of Belle’s financial resources. Limited as they are.”
      “Tell Your Other Half to suck it up and go buy Belle everything she needs, Abby. Make it easier on everyone, including yourself.”
      “No,” I said. “Belle steadfastly refuses to allow any of us to pitch in, Kemper. Consequently, when we go shopping for apartment necessities, I grab a cart for her and a cart for myself. I try to inconspicuously toss a few things for her in my cart when she isn’t looking and then stash them with her own things when we get back home.” I took another sip. “This ploy has proven successful to a point, but I can’t exactly sneak a sofa into the house.”
      “She won’t need a sofa if she’s living with you, will she?”
      “No, but she’ll want to furnish her space at our house her own way. After all, I turned it into a den before Belle moved in. And if she ends up going to Estherville, she’ll still need absolutely everything.” I frowned. “The real problem isn’t just the money issue, though. It’s getting her to make a decision about buying anything at all. The Eve’s put a lot of ideas in her head and Belle seems almost afraid to do anything The Eve hasn’t suggested. This ranges from color scheme to her choice of lamps. Everything seems to be predetermined in Belle’s mind.”
      “Which means The Eve should have taken care of these issues before she brought Belle back to Ohio to stay with you,” Kemper interjected with a flick of her wrist.
     “Yes,” I agreed. “Or better yet, instead of hauling most of Belle’s worldly possessions to the nearest Fort Myer-area Salvation Army Collection Center last November, she should have packed it up and brought it north with them. Considering The Eve charged The Trust for Belle’s moving expenses, she should’ve loaded up the van they rented with more of Belle’s possessions. I can’t for the life of me figure out what The Eve and Sane and Rational brought north besides Belle. Her mattresses and at least a few pieces of furniture would have been a marginally good idea.”
      “The Eve obviously forgot that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And obviously Sane and Rational did not live up to his name this time.”
      I nodded. “You’re right. What might have looked like junk to them may very well have been perfectly fine to Belle. What ninety-eight year-old woman has brand new House Beautiful-type belongings?” I asked, still taking very small sips of my drink. It was growing on me, though. “People that age have a tendency to be quite frugal. They usually have well-used, but adequate possessions. Even most rich people at age ninety-eight don’t buy things they already have.”
      “That’s my personal plan, Abb, but how sad for Belle to be ninety-eight years old and own absolutely nothing.”
      “I get more than a little irritated every time I think about the insanity of the situation,” I said, then touched my lip, checking for habaƱero-induced blisters. Finding none, I added, “My newfound philosophy of no Eve-bashing has been a challenge to keep lately, because I’m pissed off at her on a continuing basis over this money matter. Consequently, our treks to all of Belle’s favorite stores are simply exhausting, both physically and emotionally. A type of painless torture, actually.”
      Kemper started to say something, but I held my left hand in the air in front of her as I reached down for my shoulder bag with my right, extracting a small notebook and pencil.
     “I got it, Kemp, don’t worry.” I wrote down Painless Torture, then stowed it away until the next spontaneous oxymoron spouting.
      Trying to catch a glimpse at my own personal version of A Little Black Book, she stretched her neck at me. “See, Abby? Twice a week wouldn’t be so hard. You have any number of ideas written in that little notebook already. It would be a breeze for you, Darling.”
      “Kemper. Any moron can come up with an OXYmoron. The hard part is coming up with an explanation to go with it that pertains to people’s everyday lives.”
      Kemper shook her head in frustration.
      “Anyway, back to our original conversation. Belle’s shopping trips have been just one more issue that crops up to antagonize Moh and my relationship, since for some reason he feels compelled to tag along with us. It drives me bonkers,” I said as I thrust my hands out in front of me. “He’s not a shopper under even the best of circumstances, Kemp, so following a ninety-eight year-old woman around who insists on always pushing the shopping cart is not exactly a shit-load of fun for him. Nor is it fun for me either, actually. I’m nearly sick to my stomach with a pounding headache by the time we get home. Belle walks so slowly, the customers behind us get visibly angry.” I pondered the last of my drink and eyeballed the raw egg at the bottom of my glass.
      What the hell! I thought, then tipped it up and slugged it down my throat, feeling only briefly the slimy egg slide over my tongue and disappear. I was slightly surprised the hot sauce hadn’t hard-boiled the thing by now.
      Shamus stood watching, hands on hips. “You were right, Livingston. She can handle it,” he said wryly, wiping my dribble from the bar in front of me. It was hard not to dribble with my lips numb.
      I grinned and then went on without skipping a beat. “Luckily, Belle can’t hear people rudely mumbling under their breaths and hasn’t noticed that sometimes I resort to turning around and running my middle finger discreetly over my cheek, sending them scurrying off into other directions, away from the woman with the wild look in her eyes. Namely, me.”
      “They’d run for cover if they saw what you just did with that egg.”
      “I didn’t want to insult Shamus,” I whispered.
      “Honey, I have never yet sucked down the raw egg in the bottom of one of Shamus’ drinks and as you’ve noticed, he’s still talking to me.”
      “Why the hell didn’t you tell me that before I tipped my glass up?”
      “I never thought you’d actually slurp the damn thing!”
      I shook my head and looked over at Shamus, who was smiling broadly. “I’ll have another one, Shame, but could you hold the protein this time? Please?”
     He nodded and grabbed my glass.
     I added,  “Easy on the whiskey. Keep the hot sauce, though. No offense, Shame, but I don’t usually drink my breakfast.” I cracked a smile at Kemper as she began to protest and then interrupted, “It must be the company I’m keeping this morning.”
      Ignoring my slight, she pursed her lips together in thought. “I’m trying to imagine how you discreetly flip people off. It’s no fun if you don’t thrust it smack dab in the air at their faces!” She demonstrated and Shamus whipped his head around with a questioning look on his red-bearded face.
      “That wasn’t meant for you, Shamus, honey,” she explained. “Don’t get yourself all in a mood. I was just showing Abby the proper way to give someone The Finger.”
      He shook his head back and forth in doubt. “Anybody that sucks their first Shamus’ egg down like the Missy here just did, needs no lessons on flipping someone off, Livingston.”
      I smiled. “Thank you, Shamus. I think.” I paused, and then continued. “Not everyone is nasty and impolite, of course. On occasion someone does offer me a polite smile and a knowing look, as if to say, ‘I’ve been there and done that, so you are a saint in my eyes’, which mellows me for a few seconds and helps me regain my much needed patience and composure. Moh, embarrassed however, will vigorously ignore all nearby impatient customers and simply walk off to other areas of the store to squirm aloneespecially after noticing my occasional hand gestures.” I rubbed my middle finger on my chin as if I had an itch to scratch. “I think he’s afraid my looks can kill and doesn’t want to be either a witness or an accompliceor possibly even a victim. He resembles a lost child most of the time. I’ve considered putting nametags in his clothing so that someone might eventually make an announcement that there is a little lost child by the name of Mohby waiting at the front desk. Tracking him down while also trying to keep track of Belle is not amusing to me in the least.”
      “The Number One Rule to successful shopping, Abby, is to leave all men at home, where they belong!” she spouted. “How do you still shop in Toledo anyway? People know your face by now. While you are not even remotely famous - by the way, syndication will change that to some extent. You are a local celebrity. I can imagine that total strangers spontaneously shout oxymora at you in very unexpected places.”
      “Ain’t that the truth,” I nodded, pulling a number of such incidences from my memory. “All too often an unfamiliar person will wave at me and then yell through the crowd, ‘Hey, Ms. Nutter. I’ve got a good one for you!’ Then he’ll drag his obviously with-child wife over to me and point at her stomach while cracking, ‘A little bit pregnant!’ I usually deadpan a simple, “Almost Impossible.”
      Kemper took her mirror out of her handbag and checked her make-up, blotting under her eyes. “Quit making me laugh so hard, Abb!” Her expression suddenly turned serious. “That would make a great column, Abb.”
      “I’m saving it for a rainy day,” I smirked. “The situation is funny, but Belle doesn’t understand these interruptions. She thinks my job is more of a hobby, like quilting or painting seashore watercolors.”
      “Well, she better get to used it, because if you go to twice a week, plus a website and blog, the possibilities will be endless. Blog is the new black, you know? You’ll be even more recognizable. There will be a lot of promotion to go along with it, too.”
      “One more reason NOT to sign those contracts, Kemp.” I cupped my chin in my hands and leaned down to suck my Bloody Mary from my tall straw, something I was actually able to do now that there was no egg on the bottom of my glass.
      “You’re a people-person. What’s the problem?”
      “I’ve still got the Belle dilemma on my brain. In addition to oxymoron interruptions, there’s the issue in regards to her making decisions. Any decisions. This is complicated by the fact that when she does actually make a choice, she ultimately decides the item she wants is too much money. Like I said, she isn’t rich, but she also isn’t indigent, so she can afford, within reason, to buy what she wants. I can never convince her of this, though, so our shopping adventures have digressed to deep discount stores. Very deep discount. Very, very, deep, deep discount,” I sang and nodded my head simultaneously.
      “Stop it! You look like one of those toys people suction cup to their dashboards.”
      “Lately, I feel like I’m suctioned cup to someone’s dashboard and traveling at a very high rate of speed,” I said, still bobbing my head. “While I’m in no way adverse to saving money, Belle stubbornly refuses to buy anything elsewhere that might be cheaper at one of these places instead. Most things are only a dollar, with a few bigger items being more than that, but not much more. At these prices, though, quality is an issue. My philosophy is that you get what you pay for, but I can’t convince Belle of this. Consequently, she’s determined to buy, for example, a mop for a dollar. She doesn’t care that it has no way to wring the water from it except with her bare arthritic hands.”
      “Mohby doesn’t go with you to the Dollar Stores, does he?”
      “Unfortunately, yes; and you know how he walks a very fine line between being frugal and just being a cheap bastard. I worry every time he gets excited about a new item he found for a buck that he’ll soon have me shopping there for year-old groceries.”
      “If that happens, you’ll have to put your foot down. Either no more deep discount stores or Moh is barred from your shopping excursions until further notice. I can’t have people seeing you in places like that!”
      “Why not? Unlike your own un-average self, I am your average Jane Blow citizen, and as frugal as the next. Besides, I can’t decide which option would be most beneficial for my sanity. Both options would serve their purpose. In reality, though, I know neither option is practical, since Belle will never give up her discount stores and My Cheap Bastard Half will never alter his cheap bastard perspective.”
      Kemper piped in immediately, while motioning for our check. “The only solution then, is for you to stay home while Belle and Moh go shopping together.”
      “Dream on, Kemper,” I retorted, then finished my Famous Shamus.
      “Go ahead and dream, Dear,” she said as she scanned her tab. “After all, William Dement said something like, ‘Dreaming allows us to be safely and quietly insane every night of our lives’.”
      I climbed down from my bar stool, grabbed my coat and bag and threw a ten on the bar top. “In that case, I think I’ll go home and take a nap now, so that I can safely and quietly dream about feeling insane.”
      Looking closer at the tab Shamus had given her, she grabbed mine that I had yet to even look at and said, “Hey, Shamus? How come you charged me five bucks a piece for my Famous Shamuses, but only charged Abby three?
      Shamus pointed to a hand-written sign hanging behind the bar. It read, PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS’ ATTITUDE. He then clarified further by saying, “If you don’t like the bar’s rules, Livingston, you have two choices. Either go out the front door and turn right. Or go out the front door and turn left.”

           I looked at the ten I’d thrown on the bar and smiled, “Keep the change, Shame.”
      Shamus was growing on me.

Oxymoron Diaries | Pink Slime

Oxymoron Diaries | Pink Slime. Okay, again, I realize you are probably scratching your heads. But again, just think about it. When the word "slime" pops into your head, do you usually picture it PINK? I don't. More like infectious green, or yellow-ish or brown. Or that dark purple that bruises turn into. Get the picture? Definitely not PINK!
oxymoron diaries|pink slime
I'm sort of ticked off about the whole thing actually, so I am not even going into the details of this secret addition, aka intrusion, to our diets. The rant might go on for days.

oxymoron diaries|pink slimeOkay, okay, you made me do it. It's simple. I don't want that crap in my burgers. In fact, from what I've read, if pink slime is included, there very well could be a higher incidence of actual CRAP in my burgers!

Now I know why, when I use to grind my own beef, it was bright red and stayed that same bright red for a year in the freezer, while store-bought turned colors quickly. I guess it's time to get out the Kitchen Maid meat grinder attachment again and go looking for good deals on chuck roasts.

All I know is that I will never eat another burger again unless I know it is fresh ground on the premises with no pink slime added.

I'm gonna call this my Anti - Pink Slime Diet. Bet I lose weight.

Yep, Pink Slime is definitely an Oxymoron and today's addition of The Oxymoron Diaries.
oxymoron diaries|pink slime
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Twelve Ounce Poundcake

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Good Morning

Oxymoron Diaries | Good Morning. At first glance you may be scratching your head, but think about it for a minute. Not every morning is good, right? In fact THIS morning at MY house is at the very best borderline. Don't get me wrong, I'm a "my cup is half full" kinda gal. If you've read any of my blog posts you know that's true. I take lemons and make lemonade on a routine basis. But sometimes ... like this morning ... if I'd said "Good Morning" to a certain person sleeping on the couch, I might have lost a limb.
oxymoron diaries good morning
"Why? you ask. Well, basically because the dogs barked all night long. Barked all night long from the family room, where that certain person can't seem to get up from the couch and walk to the bed at night.

My theory is the dogs bark every night because they want this certain person to get up and leave them to their own space. They want him to turn off the TV. They want him to turn off the lights. They want to sleep without disruption from "Hillbilly Handfishin'" or "Swamp People." (Did you know those two shows I just mentioned didn't come from my imagination? They are actually televsion programs that supposedly intelligent, normal people like ENGINEERS watch routinely. I swear the dogs are barking because they know if they see one more fake gator rolling around in the swamp, they will chew the cord from the wall and electrocute themselves.)

oxymoron diaries good morningAs of right now I have been in the family room for 45 minutes. No barking. No nuthin'. The dogs have been fed, the dogs have been watered, the dogs have been outside and done their duty. Kinda makes you wonder, huh? At this moment, it has turned into a Good Morning.

Okay, I'll stop venting about that certain person now.

Actually, I have another example of when Good Morning may not apply. How about the Sunday morning after Daylight Savings Time? This occurred last weekend and it wasn't a good one at first glance for a number of reasons.

First of all I live in Ohio and was in Las Vegas for a business meeting last weekend. So I was already jet lagging from the three hour time difference after arriving at my hotel at 1 am (4am Ohio time). I had a conference call at 6 AM Vegas time that I couldn't miss, so I got just a few hours of sleep. But that was still a good morning to me because I love my Friday R Squared conference call. The people on that call are the wind beneathe my wings.

Saturday was a Good Morning kinda day, too.

I then worked all day Saturday at a very stressful meeting and then had to go to a company gathering that started at 9PM. Got back to the hotel at 1AM. Add in Daylight Savings Time and it was actually 5 AM Ohio time. Had another meeting at 9 AM. Didn't sleep a wink because the alarm clock in my room did not have an obvious way to adjust the time to DST so I was terrified I would over sleep and miss my meeting. I was giving a presentation first thing and could not possibly risk over-sleeping.

The biggest problem was that my phone, laptop, iPad, and alarm clock all had different times on them so I had no idea what time it actually was! I had to call down to the desk and ASK the front desk "What time is it?" They laughed at me. I did not laugh back. Definitely not a good morning when I finally got on the elevator that day.
 oxymoron diaries good morning
In my defense, it turned out the alarm clock automatically adjusted for DST. Who knew? Also in my defense, I once asked for a wake up call at a Marriott hotel for 5:30 and they didn't call me until 9:30. I now never trust them to wake me up on time.

Later in the day as I was flying home I was beating myself up that I had let the morning get to me, since as I said, I'm a "my cup is half full, not half empty" kind of person.

I felt better though after I read that Daylight Savings Time causes traffic accidents and emotional trauma.

I kid you not. You just can't make this stuff up.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Oxymoron Diaries | Drink Responsibly

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Oxymoron Diaries | Drink Responsibly.

I don't know what you all are doing this fine St. Patty's Day, but I am being a bit of a bore. No green beer. No Guinness. No Irish whiskey. No nothin'. It's been a crazy week after a crazy Las Vegas weekend last week, so I am layin' like broccoli (veggin' out!) At least broccoli is a green vegetable, so I am borderline in the party mood, right?

As for drinking responsibly, I know I'll get arguments with this one. There are several viewpoints. Some say that a wee nip here and there, even daily, can be beneficial to your health. I suppose I agree.

Awhile back there were so many who disagreed with the above statement that the entire country went dry. Constitutionally dry. That view had a more religious basis to it, but would have made drinking resposibiliby simply drinking illegally.
In Honor of St. Patrick's Day|Oxymoron Diaries|Drink Responsibly
So, what do you think? In Honor of St. Patrick's Day|Oxymoron Diaries|Drink Responsibly

Me? I believe everything in moderation. But when it comes to alcohol, my view is that a single drink is a waste of calories and a waste of money. If I'm gonna drink, I'm gonna drink.

Consequently, I don't drink very much, because i don't have the time nor the energy to drink copious amounts of alcohol and feel like garbage afterwards or waste time that I could be doing something else more productive.


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Oxymoron Diaries | Delicious Buffet

Oxymoron Diaries | Delicious Buffet. Another back-from-Vegas entry into The Oxymoron Diaries.
Buffets always sound good in theory. But face it, after a long day do you really want to stand in line to pay for your food, stand in line to get a table, stand in line to grab a chicken leg, stand in line for a diet coke, and then stand in line for dessert ... all while hanging on to your meal ticket, your purse, your jacket, and your kids simultaneously?

Throw the location in there and a Vegas Buffet is anywhere from 25 to 50 bucks. Serious mula for having to wait on yourself.

Gone are the days of cheap or nearly free anything in Sin City. Prices are on the rise. Unless, of course, you are a steady gambler and you can get some stuff comped.

Little ol' ME? Not a steady gambler and no comps available. oxymoron diaries

 Of course, if I DID become an actual gambler and was able to earn those delicious comps, I'm thinking Vegas would still be ahead and I'd still be in the hole.

Gambling be damned, I haven't even mentioned the idea of a delicious buffet in theory yet ...

Seriously, do you really want to eat anything that 10,000 people have sneezed and breathed over?

Not me, kiddo. My son and his family were in a wedding in Niagara falls recently. Two of them picked up a PARASITIC WORM from the buffet (confirmed by the CDC) that took weeks to get rid of. I'm not making this up!

Consequently, Delicious Buffet is definitely on my list of oxymorons and is the newest addition to The Oxymoron Diaries.

Update - I was reminded of another reason that buffets sort of suck ... calories, calories, and more calories! Pigs at the trough mentality, since you want to get your money's worth, right? Yep, definitely an oxymoron.
oxymoron diaries

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Frugal Gambler

Oxymoron Diaries | Frugal Gambler. Just back from Vegas and as I said in my recent post, Oxymoron Diaries|Comfortable Stilettos, Sin City is ripe for the pickin' when it comes to oxymorons.

Today's addition is Frugal Gambler.

Since my feet were killing me on a number of occasions, I really had no choice but to grab the nearest stool and sit down. Not my fault that the only available stools in Vegas are smack dab in front of slot machines, right? Right! Since I have a rather addictive personality, thank goodness the stools were all in front of the penny slots!

I'd never been to Las Vegas before, but I have gambled a few times in my life. Not a lot, but a few.
Years ago we drove up to Windsor, Ontario to the casino on the riverfront. Parked the car in the designated area down by the river and caught the shuttle to the casino. Saved A LOT of money that day by accidently leaving the wallet in the car! Could only gamble with what was in our pockets, which wasn't much! oxymoron diaries frugal gambler

Have been to the casinos in Detroit, Michigan, too. Only about an hour away from us, so every once in awhile we'll take a break and go up to Greektown Casino in downtown Detroit. But there is always a method to our madness. Hubby gets $100 and I get $100. When it's gone, it's gone. We always stop midway through our trip and have some grape leaves, hummous, and assorted good food, and always end the day by going to The Astoria Bakery across the street from the casino. The best dang chocolate covered pretzels ANYWHERE!

We've stopped by a few casinos in our travels through Michigan, Tennessee, and the Carolinas and even gambled a bit on a Gulf Coast boat excursion one day. Never hit big, but never lost a lot either. Probably because we stick to our rules, which basically is one rule - NEVER EVER USE AN ATM CARD ANYWHERE NEAR A CASINO!

My other rule is whenever I cash out of a machine, I take the cash slip and put it in my purse. I continue to play with the cash I brought with me. When the cash is gone, I stop gambling. On the way out of the casino I stop by the cash-out machine and get cash for those tickets in my purse. I have never lost a bunch if I do this, but I have won enough to make the stay worthwhile and not go home grumpy.

I've decided that if I want to save money and not lose a bunch gambling when I'm anywhere near a casino next, I need to accidently leave my wallet in the hotel room and pack my foldable flats for when my feet start screaming at me so I don't plop down at the nearest slot machine - or worse yet, a blackjack table.

So, why is Frugal Gambler an oxymoron?
oxymoron diaries frugal gambler
Well, because even if I follow ALL of my rules and don't lose much, gambling is the same as flushing money down the toilet. Period. In other words, there is no such thing as frugal gambling. It gets expensvie the moment it enters your mind to stick that bill in the machine. You'd be better off donating that money to a charity and getting a tax write-off. In fact, I know one you can donate to ... how about the "Oxymoron Diaries Get Out of Debt Charity."

Just kidding. Keep your money.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries | Homeless Households

Piggy backing on yesterday's Oxymoron Diaries | Short Sale, today I've added Oxymoron Diaries|Homeless Households. This was brought to my attention when doing a search on twitter for #oxymoron. The tweet had a link to a BBC Mobile article on Housing in England. Here's the link to the article. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17298906.

I really hate to do back-to-back posts on such un-funny things as short sales and homelessness, but inspiration comes from all sorts of places and sometimes God throws it right in your face so you'll pay attention.

Not that I need a push to think about the housing crisis, as nearly a decade in the real estate business has put that subject matter smack dab in the front of my brain.

So back to Homeless Households.

Yes, apparently that's an oxymoron, as households living in a home (with or without a mortgage) is the American Dream. And the British Dream. And the World Dream, in fact. Doesn't matter if that dream is a brick two-story, a bungalow, a hut in the jungle, a farmhouse, a cave, a commune, or a cardboard box.

So, maybe Homeless Households isn't an oxymoron in this housing crisis. Maybe it's actually becoming a redundancy?

All I really know is that we need to make sure that the phrase Homeless Households isn't redundant for any more families than necessary.

We need to help make sure that Home is where the heart is.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oxymoron Diaries just got a Featured Post on the Activerain Network

Oxymoron Diaries just got a Featured Post on the Activerain Network. Check it out here. It's titled Oxymoron Diaries|Short Sale.

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Oxymoron Diaries | Comfortable Stilettos and Just back from Vegas, Baby!

Oxymoron Diaries | Comfortable Stilettos. I'm just back from a meeting in Las Vegas and boy, oh boy, was it ripe with oxymorons. In fact, I have a new appreciation for the term Oxymoron.

First on my list is Comfortable Stilettos.

Hard as a tried, my feet were a hurtin' from the git go.

I needed to wear heels for my meetings so I had no choice. Plus my new blue suit was a bit conservative and the length on the skirt was about an inch too long. The only thing I could do to change that quickly was to up my heel height, right? Yeah, right. Ouch.

Below is evidence of the crime scene. Believe me when I say these suckers were 5 inches if they were an inch. Only a three quarter inch platform though. They looked fantastic. My legs were gorgeous. Problem was my toes were fire engine red when I took them off.
Platinum Stilettos

You would think I'd learn my lesson, but no. Heaven forbid I hit the Strip in comfortable shoes. Not with all those long legs, micro mini skirts and sky high shoes going on all over the place. I refused to look like I was from Ohio.

So, pair #2 looked like this ... even higher and with a 1 inch platform. Plus peep toes, so all that height made my toes try to squish out the little peep toe. Double ouch. Double red.
Black Stilettos

I finally resorted to my foldable flat ballet slippers that I never leave home without. I looked like a dork, but I wasn't screaming and wincing with every step I took. I did, however, put on my favorite cap so no one would recognize me looking like a dork. If I had been wearing capri jeans or a skirt I could have pulled it off, but I had on long flared brown dress jeans and had to tuck three inches of fabric into the back of the flats. "Dork" was probably an understatement. The people I was with made me walk in back of them ... way in back of them.
Foldable Flats

My only relief before I resorted to foldable flats was to sit down and try my luck at the penny slots.

Hence, my next post will be titled ... Oxymoron Diaries|Frugal Gambler.

I did notice at the airport on the way home that pretty much everyone, every man, woman, and child had flip flops on and their toes were fire engine red. So I don't feel quite so stupid or vain.

Stay tuned for Frugal Gambler, Delicious Buffet, and perhaps a few other Oxymoron Diary entries.

Later ... I gotta go soak my feet.
Epson salts and the whole nine yards.

Love ya ...
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Friday, March 9, 2012

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