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mapleleafThe colors of fall are beautiful–if the sun ever comes out. It’s been gloomy and chilly and drizzly, which is depressing EXCEPT for my secret gloom/chill/drizzle protective shield: MONKEY DRAWERS! If it’s a sunny day, I wash them and hang them on the line, and they come in smelling like fresh air and the rosemary in the porch planter. If the day is damp or cold, I wash them and put them in the dryer and put them on still warm and soft.

Old Man Dysthymia just can’t compete with flannel pajamas printed with happy monkeys.



Is it cold? Is it damp? Is it gloomy?
Are viruses making you sick?
Come closer and please listen to me:
Go put on your monkey drawers, quick!

Make sure they’re sufficiently roomy.
Make certain the monkeys all smile.
Make sure there are flowers, all bloomy.
Bananas are part of the style.

Your mileage may vary–don’t sue me
If this doesn’t coddle your woe.
When I feel all graveyard and tomb-y
My monkey drawers make the woe go.

Yes, I know that this is actually a monkey TOP, but ladylike delicacy forbade my posting a picture of actual drawers. Additionally, there is only so much room on the server, and a photograph big enough to show any drawers large enough to fit me would have taken entirely too much space.

Wishing you a happy Thursday and sufficient flannel,


writing prompt: What does your main character think of monkeys, real or representational?

I am MomGoth. I don’t read dark fiction–there are quite enough real boogermen in the real shadows, thank you very much. But, whenever I start feeling too dark and dismal and can’t seem tohello-kitties rise above it, I focus on a little thing that makes me happy, and that rescues me. I mean, I’m no good to anybody when I’m sitting around feeling defeated, am I? So I’m glad to have these sparks in my universe.
Look at these — what one of my grandsons, when he was very young, would have called cootie-pies (cutie-pies). I totally LOVE Hello Kitty! My poor #4 daughter, who was more of a dinosaur-and-cars kind of kid, was gifted with many a Hello Kitty because I wanted them. Yes, that is MY Hello Kitty toothbrush in the back. And that is MY Eastern Kentucky University pin on the big kitty’s bow.

I bought myself the big kitty for Easter one year. #4 daughter got me hooked on ST:TNG. The first episode I saw, Deanna Troi had a big bow in her hair and a wide-eyed look through most of the show, and I thought she looked like…. You’re way ahead of me. So I had to get this one, because she’s holding a baby Worf. Isn’t that sweet?

So I keep my Hello Kitties close at hand and look at them when I need an Awwwww fix. Happy, happy MomGoth. 🙂


Writing prompt: Have a character give someone a gift that he/she would like him/herself but the recipient obviously wouldn’t. How does the recipient respond? Does it trigger or open or reveal something about the recipient that was latent or hidden before? Does the recipient begin to like it? Does the recipient never like it? Does it change their relationship or the relationship of the recipient and someone else?

It’s time for another of MomGoth’s Little Sparks of Happiness. I tend toward depression … mild, chronic, constant anxiety and despair is the default (can one have MILD despair…? sort offoamysoap “what the hell, what else can you expect” style of thing), but I am fortunate in that I can rise above it by paying attention to the little things that make me happy. They are often odd things–that, I cannot help. This is one that never fails, and here is a picture of some. It is neither phlegm nor snot, but a precious little pile of foamy soap. Why foamy soap touches my “the world is, essentially, all right and a good a place to be” button, I do not know, but it does. My mother knows this, and, if she uses a public facility before I do (a good trick, in and of itself), she’ll come out smiling and say, “Foamy soap!” if I’m in luck, come out shaking her head and say, “Slimy soap” if I’m not. So here is:

MomGoth’s Happy Little Song About Foamy Soap

Whenever I feel that the world is too sad,
Unpleasant and lacking in hope
I check out the bathroom and often I’m glad
To find that they have foamy soap.

A handful of bubbles that’s better than dope!

Whenever I struggle to keep myself calm
To push down the panic and cope,
I go to the kitchen and fill up my palm
With anti-anxiety soap.

It ought to be sainted–please write to the Pope.

Okay, that’s enough of that. So anyway, I went to the doctor today for a follow-up check on my wrist and leg and have to take anti-biotics for the scrapes where I fell on the dog food and, in spite of all the first aid, the scrapes are getting infected. Ick. She hasn’t gotten the x-ray readings yet, but will get them before the end of the day. She’s looking at my vitals that the assistants took, and she says, “Blood pressure is good… Weight is good….” I’m like–“Yeah, if I were a Sumo wrestler.” I checked the height/weight chart when I got home and I’m definitely well into the “overweight” range. Life, eh? Life.


Writing prompt: Who would your main character like to see sainted?

The poet Keats wrote, “I have been half in love with easeful Death,” and I go, “No way! Really? Me, too!”

I can’t remember a time when I was afraid of death. Lest you think I’m just begging to get my bluff called, let me tell you that I came within a few minutes of checking out from anaphylactic shock–hope that’s spelled correctly, ’cause the spell check hasn’t got a clue–and I wasn’t afraid then, either.

People who aren’t afraid of death scare a lot of people, which is one reason why Goth stuff freaks so many people out. It makes sense that it does–if you aren’t afraid of death, maybe you aren’t tied strongly enough to life. Maybe you don’t respect life. Maybe you don’t respect other people’s lives. Those fears are understandable, but usually overblown.

I’ll admit, though, that I’ve had times when I’ve been a lot more distressed about living than I’ve ever been about dying. When I reached a point at which I felt the pull of the restful dark was much, much stronger than the pull of the kaleidescope of living, I went and Talked to Somebody.

She gave me a project that’s been a rich joy ever since: She told me to make a list of the things that made me happy. The little things, minute things, not things like elections being won by people I voted for or the people who grace my life with their presence, but things that are too small to matter… but do.

Every so often, I think I’ll post things from my list. Here is the first:

Skies as blue and clear as David McCallum’s eyes. I’ve been grooving on that since the ’60’s, when he played Ilya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The clarity and purity of those skies are truly celestial. That those qualities can show up in human eyes… here on earth, to see in a human…. That makes me want to dance.


writing prompt: What color eyes makes your character feel some emotion more strongly than any other color?

Okay, so we had this party Sunday. Charlie’s birthday was last Thursday, S-I-L’s birthday was last Friday, and mine is coming up, so we bundled all three together. We had apple crisp, brownies, Sock-it-to-me Cake (I meant to post the recipe, which is a little different from most, but I forgot to bring the recipe to town with me–duh!) and the leftovers of my vegetarian Mexican casserole from earlier in the day.

What I was given: My Mom gives me stuff all year and, when I object to her spoiling me, she says, “This is for your birthday.” But OF COURSE she also gave me something for my birthday. She bought be a GORGEOUS green glass bead necklace with a green shell pendant. When I can get to my scanner again, I’ll post a picture of it.  I’ve been mad (in the sense of obsessed) about green glass beads ever since I read this poem:

'Overheard on a Saltmarsh'

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.

Give them me. Give them me.

Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I want them.

I will howl in the deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.

 	-- Harold Monro

I used to have a wonderful string, but they fell apart and I used them to make bracelets and earrings. Now I have a new necklace–tra-la!

–Oh, I just popped out the door. Leah was passing, and I had to talk to her about some projects. More about them anon (cool word meaning “later”, in case you’re not a Shakespeare fan). —

Okay, so I also was given a little ceramic turtle with ceramic tail, legs and head suspended from the shell by wires, so that they wiggle and clink. My 4-yr-old grandson promptly grabbed it and, just as I said, “Please be careful with that and don’t pull on his–” he pulled the head off. <sigh> He likes to test his limits. I got frustrated with him a couple of weeks ago and smacked his little paw, and he’ll never let me forget it. I don’t want to teach him violence, so I apologized to him and told him I was wrong, that this is NOT how we should treat each other and I offered to go into time out. So now he wants to see what I’ll do if he does things I don’t like. This time, we just put the breakables out of his reach, but when there isn’t such a crowd to show off for, he and I will have a quiet conversation about it and I’ll lay out the rules, which will include Time Out. I took the turtle home and used my jewelry-making needle-nose pliers to fix the head.

I also got a gorgeous desk lamp, a cork/magnet board and a padded push-pin board for my office wall. My precious husband is finishing my office and painting the walls and trim, and he’s worried that I’ll ruin his work because I pin things on the wall. So the daughters gave me stuff to “incentivize” me to do otherwise. I already promised him I wouldn’t stick pins in his pretty wall–I appreciate his work and like the new environment and know the difference between an unfinished room and a finished one and wouldn’t dream of spoiling it–but I don’t mind them thinking badly of me if it means I get pretties for my new space. –Grin–

Got a book on herbs and spices and one on the history of salt for use in writing my Culinary Chronicles. Got a book on story structure for use at writing workshops–Oh, that reminds me, I’m here at the library today, and the Adult Outreach Coordinator said that a former member of the Library Board asked her to look into setting up a creative writing class, so I’m going to get with the member and we’ll work out when and exactly what and I’m going to do it. Wheeee! Volunteer (like I need another thing on my schedule), but it’ll be doing something I love. 🙂

Our #2 daughter said she had bought me my presents, but then she found something else she KNEW I wanted, so she bought that and gave it to me “from the chickens”–she keeps chickens for the eggs and I love the little peepers. It was a bottle of my favorite perfume; I was totally out, and I don’t feel right without it. I only use a little bit, so nobody can smell it except people I hug. I like it that nobody knows I wear perfume except people I like.

Another daughter gave me a lap desk for my laptop, so I don’t roast my legs every time I work and a blank journal. I’ve never used a journal (except for this and LJ), so I don’t know what I’ll do with it. Oh, I tell a lie–I kept two journals after my depression hit me: one about my pain and sorrow and another one about my joys and delights. Both were equally effective in different ways. If anybody wants to leave a comment with suggestions about what to use my blank book for, I would appreciate it.

Well, that’s enough for one day. Hope I remember to hit Publish instead of Save this time!


Writing exercise: (I make these up myself; I don’t take them from my exercise books) You (when I say “you” it could also be one of your characters) have a birthday party. Let your presents from various people imply how they view you or feel about you. What would characters give each other? What would you give various characters? What would they give you?



Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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