Madam Moo-Moo

“What you did this morning is evil,” Madam Moo-Moo said to me after I’d been sitting across from her for not even a minute. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?” I asked. I had never been to a fortune teller before, but someone had given me a gift certificate to see her, so there I was. I already regretted it.

She took several long sniffs, as if she was having some sort of freaky reverse-allergy attack. “I can smell it on you. Pure evil! It is the devil’s work!”

I looked across the tiny table at the woman whose sanity I was beginning to question. If I had to guess how old she was, I’d have said between thirty-five and forty. From her neck down, she was dressed in a nice, expensive-looking black dress. From the neck up was a different story. Her face was beautiful, but I was distracted by several other things. First of all, she was wearing the longest, widest, and ugliest earrings I’d ever seen. They were red and green and they looked like they should be hanging on a Christmas tree rather than on a human being.

“They are not tree ornaments and they are not ugly,” she said. “Madam Moo-Moo wears only the best earrings!”

Whoah. How had she known what I’d been thinking? I had heard she could tell fortunes, but I didn’t know she could also read minds.

“Your earrings are very nice,” I said. “I also love your blindfold.” I was lying about the earrings, but I really did like the bandana that was covering her eyes. It was black and it was covered with dozens of pictures of bright, yellow bananas.

“Thank you. My banana bandana was custom-made just for me. No one loves bananas more than Madam Moo-Moo.”

I thought of something I wanted to say in reply, but I didn’t think it would go over well, so I stopped myself. Of course, Madam Moo-Moo somehow noticed this.

“Go ahead and say it,” she said in a voice that sounded very impatient. “Say what you want to say about my banana bandana.”

I hesitated for a few seconds and then I let it out. “I just wanted to say that I find your banana bandana to be very appealing. Get it? Bananas. A-peeling.”

“Yes, yes. People peel bananas. I get it.” She threw up her arms in exasperation. “Can we please move on now? I must tell you your future.”

“I’m anxious to hear it, but first can you tell me what you meant about smelling the devil’s work on me?”

“That is what I said. It is evil and it is all over your tie!”

I looked down at my tie and saw a small brown stain on it and laughed. “No, no. It’s nothing, Madam Moo-Moo. I just spilled a cup of coffee on it this morning. That’s all.”

“It was decaf coffee. The gods of coffee do not wish us to drink decaf coffee!” She then quickly yanked her banana bandana off her face. She stared at me with green eyes that were a shade of green I swear I’ve never seen before. There are few absolutely perfect things in this world, but her eyes definitely fit into that category. She both mesmerized me and terrified me.

“You’re right,” I said. “From now on, it’s just going to be regular coffee for me. I promise.”

“Good. Now we can move on and talk about you finding true love on the plane trip you are about to take.”

“That’s not going to happen,” I said. “It’s just a business trip. I’m flying to Paris tonight and then I’ll be flying back in just a few days. There won’t be any time for romance.”

She laughed at me. “A lot can happen on a long flight. Also, a lot can happen in Paris. You will see. It will be true love. You will be with the one you have been searching for.”

I thought what she was saying was ridiculous and it was a struggle to not laugh in her face. There was no way she could be right. I politely thanked her for the ‘fortune’ she’d given me and I left.

Hours later, I was at the airport and waiting in line to board my plane. My mind kept flashing back to my session with Madam Moo-Moo. Could there be any chance that she was actually right? Was I about to find my true love? Yes, Madam Moo-Moo was a bit crazy, but she really did seem to know some things.

I started to get lost in those kinds of thoughts, but then I was distracted by the woman in line in front of me dropping her plane ticket onto the floor. I knelt down to pick it up for her.

As I reached for the ticket, something else dropped to the floor next to me. It was a black bandana covered with little drawings of bananas. I looked up at the woman who had dropped it and the ticket and saw that it was Madam Moo-Moo. She smiled at me as I handed her the banana bandana.

“Thank you. We should get started. A lot can happen on a long flight, you know. And a lot can happen in Paris. Come now. It is what we have both been searching for. I think we will both find it to be very…” She waved her bandana above my head and then smiled. “Very appealing.”

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The Ballad of Mr. Carrot Man

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I was just an innocent carrot walking down the street. My day was about to get crazy, but at that moment I was just a happy little vegetable enjoying an afternoon stroll while sipping on a nice, hot pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. I was so happy that I wanted to whistle, but I’m horrible at whistling. Instead, I decided to sing a song that I’d begun writing earlier in the day.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots…”

Then I stopped singing because I was struggling to come up with a good rhyme for ‘carrots.’ You’d think one would come easily to me since I am a carrot, but I guess I just wasn’t in the songwriting zone at that particular moment.

I silently walked on and was keeping my eyes out for trouble. I’m just a tiny carrot living in a city full of humans and other creatures, so I try to be extra-careful.

It’s a dangerous city and there are street gangs on nearly every corner. However, I got very lucky when I moved here because the local gang on my block is called The Bloody Vegetarians. They look up to me like I’m sort of a god, which I really enjoy. After all, not every walking and talking carrot is worshiped that way. It made me feel very special.

I made my way to the end of the street and saw three members of The Bloody Vegetarians standing on the corner. Horatio, their leader, waved to me. I silently wondered how he got to be the leader of his gang. Was he the bloodiest of them or did he cause the most bloodshed in others? Either way, it was probably best that I didn’t know.

“Yo, Mr. Carrot Man! How’s it hanging, boss?”

“Top of the morning to you, Horatio. How is all in our fair city today?” I asked.

“Dude, it’s not good for you. Someone is looking for you. Someone very scary.”

“Where is he? Or is it a she?”

Einstein, another of The Bloody Vegetarians, chimed in. “It’s a man. Well, it’s a male. A male bunny. He looks crazy, Mr. Carrot Man!”

I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. “Do you know where he went?”

Horatio scratched his long and scruffy beard like he was in much deeper thought than my question required. “I don’t know, man, but I bet he’s not so far away.”

“Not so far away?” I asked. “I was just writing a song with those lyrics in it. Hey, by any chance, can you think of good rhyme for ‘carrots?'”

Vito, the usually silent member of the gang, yelled out, “‘Merits’, man! ‘Carrots’ and ‘merits’, you see?”

“Merits?” I asked.

“Yeah, man,” Vito proudly said. “It’s the plural of merit. It means good qualities.”

I nodded and gave it some thought. Merits. Yes, I liked it! Now that I had this great new word to use, I wanted to immediately get back to work on my song. However, fate had other things in store for me. Fate and one rapidly approaching, very ugly animal.

There he was – the most demented looking bunny I’d ever seen. All three of the Bloody Vegetarians screamed and ran away, leaving me alone with this horrible monster. He was looking at me like he wanted to eat me for dinner.

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I ran away as fast as I could, but the bunny was much faster than I was. He got ahead of me and quickly stopped and blocked my path. He turned and we stared at each other. I suddenly realized that I had seen him once before.

He was the same demented bunny who had killed my cousin Fred earlier in the year. But he hadn’t just killed Fred. He’d also done unspeakable things to Fred’s corpse.

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The freaky bunny charged towards me. I didn’t want to end up like Fred, so I decided to fight. I quickly removed the lid from my still very hot pumpkin latte drink and I hurled the cup at the bunny’s face.  The still-steaming liquid splattered all over his head, from his ridiculous looking ears, down to his obnoxiously long whiskers.

He screamed in agony for several seconds and then he started to calm down. The bunny bent over and licked some of the drink that had landed on his little paws. He looked back up at me.

“This is absolutely delicious,” he said. “Is this a pumpkin spice latte?”

“Yes. From the Starbucks on 8th Street.”

“This is the tastiest thing I’ve every had in my life. Even tastier than your cousin Fred,” the bunny said. “I must go to Starbucks immediately and get one of these.”

I was going to say something to him about Fred, but I decided to let it go. I’d never even liked Fred very much. “You’d better hurry. The store is going to close soon.”

The freaky bunny nodded at me and then he ran off. I sat there for several minutes and thought how lucky I was to still be alive.

I got up and started walking again. My new gratitude for life caused energy to flow through me and I was overcome with joy. It made me want to sing. And this time I got even further with my song.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots. Don’t judge us by our orange skin…but judge us by our merits!”

I was thrilled with my new lyrics and I finished writing the song later that day. I’ve  even recently began work on another new song, this one all about pumpkin spice lattes.

But that is a song for another day…

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The above story was inspired by a writing challenge that I’m participating in. The name of the challenge is the #WingWritingChallenge and it was created by writer J.C. Wing.

The prompt for this particular challenge was the words “far away.”

I had a lot of fun writing this one. I hope you had fun reading it. Have a great day!

P.S. – Go get a pumpkin latte. They’re delicious.

 

Today is my ONE YEAR Anniversary of Not Smoking!

I’m very, very happy to announce that today marks one full year since I quit smoking. I smoked for a VERY long time – over 30 years.

During those decades, I tried to quit smoking dozens of times by using various techniques. You name it and I probably tried: pills, nicotine gum, the patch, hypnosis, etc.

I think none of it worked for me because I didn’t really want it to. Like most people who smoke for a long time, I absolutely loved smoking. I had no real desire to quit. Part of me always knew that I’d quit someday, but I just wasn’t there yet.

But then things changed for me after I met and married my wonderful Lisa. I just love her so incredibly much!  I knew that I wanted as many healthy years with her as I possible, so the smoking just had to go.

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Several days before I quit, I had set August 8, 2015 to be my last day smoking. I told myself that I was going to do it cold turkey. I didn’t want to cut down first and slowly ease my way off of the cigarettes. I also didn’t want to use any sorts of products, such as a patch, that contained nicotine. Those can be very effective quitting methods for a lot of people, but they take a little bit longer than I wanted to take. I wanted to get all nicotine out of my system as quickly as possible so that my body could start healing as quickly as possible.

And you know what’s very cool? In the days leading up to my last day of smoking, I had no doubts at all as to whether or not I’d be able to quit. I absolutely knew I was going to do it this time. My mind was made up and my heart was totally in it.

After my last cigarette, my body definitely went through withdrawals and I did physically crave cigarettes. My mind didn’t crave them, but my body still did. That part of it wasn’t easy. But I knew it was just a temporary situation and I just had to wait it out. Sure enough, in a very short time, the nicotine was totally out of my system and the physical cravings were completely gone.

With each passing day, I felt better and better. Over the past year, my body has healed a lot from not smoking. I’m now more physically active than I’ve ever been before. Lisa and I take longs walks together almost every day and I feel fantastic. Also, I’ve grown to appreciate nature in ways that I never had in the past. If you had told Smoker Buddy a couple of years ago that going on Nature Hikes was going to be something that he loved doing, he’d have said you were crazy!

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Ex-Smoker Buddy thinks much, much differently.

I am a very proud ex-smoker and I am never going back again.

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My, my, my, it’s a Beautiful World

I like to keep things light and fun here on the site, but man, the world sure has been filled with a lot of hatred lately, hasn’t it? Here in America…in other parts of the world…everywhere. It seems like more and more people hate each other every day. Yes, it can be argued that there’s always been a lot of hate in the world and unfortunately, that would be be a very valid argument.

But the thing that drives me crazy is…why does it have to be this way? People hate each other because of having different skin colors, different religions, different politics, different opinions, etc. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Why can’t we all just be friends? Yeah, I know, probably too much to ask for there, huh? Okay, then why can’t we all just try to respect each other? That shouldn’t be too much to ask for, right? Would it really be that difficult for everyone to try to do?

What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding? More importantly, why are those things so hard to achieve?

It’s all actually very simple…or at least it should be. We may never all totally get along and I understand that. But we should not hate each other just because we’re different from each other. If you really hate someone else just because they’re a different religion or color than you or have different politics than you, then you really need to WAKE UP and look at the real big picture.

Beneath all of the hatred out there, it really is a beautiful world. And it’s not even that far beneath the hatred. It’s right there…for all of us. There’s so much out there for all of us to enjoy, for all of us to love.

So, let’s not waste it all because of stupid things like hatred. All we have to do is be nice to each other and try to respect each others’ differences. It really is that simple.

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#BeingBuddy: All Hail The King of Procrastination

Greetings, my good people. I am Buddy Gott, The King of Procrastination. No, no. Thank you, but no kneeling is required. Please stand up. Now sit down. Now stand back up and take two steps to your right. Do as the King says, my minions! Okay, I’m kidding. I’ll stop. Please relax now and make yourself comfortable as I tell you about my life in royalty.

I’ve held my title of The King of Procrastination for a very long time. I’ve wanted to give up my crown for many years, but I kept putting it off. (Get it? Haha!) Seriously, though, I am happy to report that I’ve been working on recognizing my problem and I’m changing my ways. I’m procrastinating less and less and there’s even been talk that I may get impeached and I’ll no longer be the King.

But even though I’ve been the King, procrastination certainly isn’t exclusive to me, is it? I know quite a few people who have problems with procrastinating. I see my friends joke about it online nearly every day.

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So, why do we all do it? I guess the answers are different for each of us and can change from day to day, but for me, it’s usually because of some element of fear. As I’ve been learning more and more lately, fear has played a very large part in my life in many different ways.

What kind of fears do I have that make me procrastinate? Well, let’s take a look at something like me writing this posting. I write a new post every week and I usually have very little trouble writing them. However, for whatever reason, this week’s posting made me feel intimidated. I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything good for a topic. Then I came up with a topic (not this one) and thought it was rotten and I abandoned it.

Looking back now, it wasn’t a bad idea at all, but I’d gotten myself into a negative kind of funk and then things started to spiral. I was doubting everything I was going to do and it had all started with fear. That’s basically always been the main reason why I’ve procrastinated with my writings. Whether it’s a posting here on my site, or work I’m doing on a book, I often put things off because I’m unsure of what I’m going to create or I’m unsure of the quality of it. Then I put those things off until later…or until never at all.

But here’s the thing. When I actually do whatever it is I was afraid of, it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be. I’m not claiming that everything I do is wonderful, but doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing at all.

So, if you’re like me and there are things that you hesitate doing because of some sort of fear you have, try your best to push through it. Don’t put it off until later if it’s something you feel you need to do or that you want to do.

Just do it as soon as you can. The sooner you do it, the sooner it won’t be something that’s bothering you. Do it now and chances are good that you’ll feel better almost immediately. And not even because of what you did or how you did it.

You’ll mainly be feeling better because you didn’t quit. You had a goal and you met it. You won.

Plus, if you do those kinds of things now and don’t put them off until later, you’ll have less of a chance of being the person who replaces me as The King (or Queen) of Procrastination.

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Oh, sure. You might like the idea of wearing a crown. I understand that. Just remember, though, that not everyone looks good wearing a crown. You could end up looking creepy.

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VERY, VERY CREEPY!!!