Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Change" You Can Believe In?

A cashier handed me this twenty yesterday after I bought groceries for my mother-in-law.

Obviously, the handwritten message brings up all sorts of questions. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? And why? Is someone trying to tell me something? And doesn't it look like a man's handwriting?

I've always been intrigued by the things people write on money. For a while, my oldest son collected dollar bills on which someone had stamped one of those cartoon dialogue bubbles with "I grew hemp" just above George Washington's head.

There's also a website where a person can track exactly where their money has traveled, as long as it is encoded with the link, and the serial number has been registered, and other people have actually submitted notes on its progress.

What's the most interesting thing you've ever seen on money?

Friday, May 29, 2009

finally, something to look forward to

On Tuesday next (that's Old English for those of you not in the know) Survivalist Bear Grylls will be accompanied by comedian and actor Will Ferrell on an adventure in some "ice-bound Swedish mountain ranges" on Man vs. Wild. (Discovery Channel, 10 p.m. EDT)

I think it's sad that the only thing I have to look forward to in life is a television program where I can watch Will Ferrell drink urine and eat reindeer eyeballs. But there it is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Star of the Sea

The name Maurita Mason came to me when I thought I was going to be a romance writer, and would therefore need a name that no one could possibly connect to me. I didn't know at the time that an author's real name is usually located next to the date on the copyright page.

For a while I considered Vicki Stone, a shake-up of letters from my maiden name. My dad invented that one, and I might still use it someday. You know...if I ever finish a manuscript. And get it published.

But I've come to identify myself with Maurita. She is me, and I am her. If I were walking down the street, and someone yelled, "Maurita!" I would turn and look, in exactly the same way I still respond to "mom" in public. In the same way I nearly panicked when a co-worker called me "Chickie" one time - my Yahoo Chat incarnation.

So where did I get Maurita? From my given name, Laura, and from a friend who was very dear to me at my first job. Her name was Marita. And Mason is a family surname from my mother's side, and merged magnificently into the Margaret Mitchell-esque author's name I was trying to create. I'm very fond of the initials MM (salute to Lermie), and I also used them previously at Journalspace when I was Moira McGartland and not yet gossamer.

I Googled Maurita Mason earlier, to see if it was safe to give out an email address of that name to someone from work. It isn't. But it led me to discover that Maurita means "star of the sea," which I think is the loveliest thing ever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poem Without Permission

Crash landings and small craft warnings
seeds and grasses in
the cross wind of the plains.
This defiance is perilous:
darting in and out
a ground skirmish
with a young buffalo, the size of a continent,
who seems not to notice
but who avoids stepping on any of us.

Huge and tiny

(copyright 1999 Rick Smith)

I discovered a wren's nest in one of the blackberry bushes last week. I think these are some of the most beautiful bird nests in nature because they are as well constructed as a woven basket, so small and tidy, and they're often built using hair from local animals. In this case, the mama bird used hair from my horse's mane or tail (the black). I'm not sure where the white hair came from - possibly a neighbor's horse - or maybe a long-forgotten artifact from a white horse I used to own. (How long does it take horse hair to biodegrade?)

The eggs are smaller than my thumbnail; the nest no more than two and a half inches across.

I'm sure I'll claim the nest when it's been abandoned, to add to my weird collection. At least I don't pin dead butterflies to cardboard, or something equally morbid.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Unwilling to be a conduit for negative energy, the writer fed all her thoughts into the shredder located at the base of her skull, until absolutely nothing would come out.

Except this.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

When I say "Where in the world is my son?" I really mean it.

Having a son in transit is almost as bad as having a son in Iraq.

The last message I got from my son the soldier was on April 22nd. He said the Army was "80% sure" he would be flying out of Iraq on May 2nd for his mid-tour leave. If not then, it would be the next day.

So here I am, never far from a telephone, waiting for a call from my world traveler.