Showing posts from January, 2019


“Sounds good,” said Gemma. “See you there.”

Phone to her ear, she tilted her head and smiled. “I’m looking forward to meeting you, too.”

As Gemma hung up, an excited giggle escaped her. She glanced at Darren’s photo on her laptop screen.

He’d written to her a few weeks ago, and he was refreshingly different. No creepy comments about how sexy she looked in her profile pictures. He wanted to talk about what books she liked, which restaurants, what she’d studied in school. He was such a gentleman, waiting two weeks to ask if he could call her. When they’d talked, he had the deepest, richest voice, like melted chocolate. Her heart fluttered.

After Tom died, Gemma hadn’t wanted to date again. But she was twenty-eight, and it had been a year, and Mindy had talked her into it.

“I don’t know, Min. Isn’t online dating… weird?”

“Are you kidding? My sister met her husband online. They have kids together!” Mindy had enthused. “Don’t be so 1996!”

Gemma took a deep breath. Maybe Mindy was right. Sh…

How to Kick Butt at Karaoke – Even If You Can’t Sing

In my opinion, karaoke is one of Japan’s greatest inventions, along with anime, Haruki Murakami, and pachinko machines. It’s way more fun than it should be.

Maybe you’ve been to a karaoke bar and watched your friends sing. Maybe you refused their requests to go up on that stage because you didn’t want to make a fool of yourself.

Maybe afterward you thought to yourself, “Hmm. I know I sound better than those drunk chicks who murdered ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’.” Maybe you watched The Voice on TV and you were like, “Dang, I sing better than that guy.” Maybe you might, just might, be talked into singing next time.

Here’s the Secret

Having an amazing singing voice is NOT the secret to kicking butt at karaoke.

The key is knowing which songs YOU sound good on. Even someone with a great voice doesn’t sound great on every song. Carrie Underwood singing Tracy Chapman would not sound good. Luciano Pavarotti singing Guns N’ Roses would really not sound good.

If you want to do karaoke, sing in t…


A couple of weeks ago, I was staring at the ceiling, wide awake. It was 4 AM.

I rarely get insomnia. However, after a whirlwind December in which I did all the Christmas things with my family, hosted a birthday party at my house (attended by a dozen wild and crazy 10-year-olds), and managed to sprain my ankle, my brain had finally slowed down enough to consider the event scheduled for four days later.


It’s one of those words that sound completely different depending on what mood you’re in. If you say it lightly, happily, it sounds like crickets chirping outside your window on a peaceful summer evening. If you load it down with the dread I was suddenly feeling, it sounds like an evil curse from Mordor growled by an orc.

The actual surgical procedure, an excisional biopsy, didn’t sound so bad. I’d had so many needle biopsies lately (see: The Sinister Breast) that I was starting to sympathize with pincushions. This was yet another biopsy, just on a larger scale. I had found a s…


“She’s been like that ever since she arrived.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Inconclusive. Her family found her like this. Sitting at her dressing table, just staring into the mirror.”

“Can she see us?”

Bert waved his hand in front of Darla’s face. The brown eyes didn’t blink.

“If you ask me, I bet it’s all those drugs she took. Hollywood is a crazy place.”

“She’s an actress?”

“Was. Apparently she was really big in the 70s.”

“Huh. I’ll have to look her up on IMDb.”

Darla looked around as she entered the huge space, filled with light. Her mouth dropped open in awe. Up toward the ceiling – or was it the sky? – she could just make out something shiny and faceted, like crystals, blue and pink and purple, winking like stars.

When she looked to the side, she saw that the crystal-like things were all around her. They drifted, like jellyfish through a calm ocean, above and below her and in all directions. Reflected in their surfaces, she could see people, their images flickering, then reappearing…

The Sinister Breast

Sinister has always been one of my favorite words in the English language.

Just hearing it gives me chills! It means evil, ill-fated, unlucky. It means something bad is coming. It’s an omen. It’s Halloween.

Not until adulthood did I learn that sinister can also mean “left.” Like the left side of your body. According to legend, during certain periods in history, being left-handed was considered unfortunate or even malicious.

When I acquired this knowledge, apparently my left breast was listening and chuckling to itself. Shortly thereafter, the little imp started screwing with me.

Part 1: Boob Wars

At age 27, I discovered a lump in my left breast. There I was, in the shower, and there it was, under my fingertips, the size of a chick pea. I poked, needing to feel it to believe it.

Then I freaked out a little. I had no health insurance or paid time off at my temp job. Worse, I had a tendency to overthink everything. I obsessed over the idea that I might have a fatal disease in my 20s. I ha…