Happy Anniversary to the Roswell Crash Aliens!

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Dear Roswell Crash Aliens,
I’m not sure if you’re celebrating or not, but a lot of humans are taking note of this day so I hope you don’t mind if I check in with you all. There are several news articles out there, and you are the topic of today’s Google Doodle. If you haven’t seen the Google Doodle you should go take a look. It’s cute.
I have some questions for you guys. I don’t really expect answers but if you’d like to pose as humans and leave answers in the comments section of this blog please feel free.
It was 66 years ago today that you all arrived. I suspect that at least a few of you stayed in Roswell. The desk clerk at my hotel when I stayed there looked way too much like you to not have some DNA that did not come from humans. I haven’t turned him in to anyone even though I know he was a hybrid.
Those of you that stayed, how do you like Roswell? Do the street lights with alien heads on top freak you out? Or do you accept them as good fun? Have you ever tried the Arby’s drive through? It says you’re all welcome there.
How many of you went to work at Area 51? I suspect that you guys are responsible for at least some of our technological advances in the past 66 years.
Legend has it that you lost one of your own in the crash and I’m sorry for your loss. Were you allowed to give him a proper memorial or is he still at Wright Patterson Air Force Base?
Did the remains of the ship go to Wright Patterson as well, or were they used to build the McDonald’s in Roswell? That last one isn’t in any of the conspiracy theories I’m familiar with, but the McDonald’s is shaped like a space ship so I had to ask.
What do you think of how you are portrayed in the movies? Please don’t be afraid to tell me if you’re offended by the portrayals. Hollywood doesn’t usually do a good job with book adaptations, so I won’t be surprised if they’ve gotten you guys all wrong too.
I have so many more things I could ask you, but I know you’re busy with creating new stealth technology and other pursuits, so I will end this here.
If you’re celebrating tonight, please enjoy your parties but don’t drink and fly. According to a comic I saw at the Roswell UFO Museum, that’s how you all ended up here in the first place.




A few weeks ago I saw Zero Dark Thirty. Before all three of you who read this roll your eyes, I’m not going to enter the history vs. Hollywood debate.  I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was well done and that’s really all I’m going to say about it. It did bring back a memory though.

I graduated from college with a degree in International Studies. One of the options I looked at after graduation was applying for the CIA. I looked at their application process and totally chickened out, but it was a career I thought would be exciting.

The movie made me wonder what might have happened if I’d gone in to the CIA. On the one hand, I think it would have been fun for me. I love to travel. I love to learn bits and pieces of other languages. (I can say “Hello clown” in Spanish and “Right on” in Russian.) I love to meet people from other countries.

I’m fascinated by world history and world politics. I have a ridiculous memory when it comes to remembering facts and stories. I read huge books on European history on purpose. I’ve never seen an episode of The Bachelor, but I have been known to argue with the History Channel on occasion.

On the other hand, I feel bad when I scold my cats and hurt their feelings, so there’s no way I could deliberately hurt someone during an interrogation.

I love conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries. You know, stories like “Did Elvis really shoot JFK?” and “Are aliens producing all of our advanced technology at Area 51?”.  I don’t think the CIA would encourage my interest in cases like these. And since they would know I was interested in these topics I doubt I would ever get enough clearance in the agency to access the records on them anyway.

Granted, I wouldn’t be dumb enough to post a picture on Facebook of myself with Ooga Booga where he crash landed in Roswell before going to work at Area 51, but I would want to meet him.

Yes,  for a week or so I thought it would be great fun to work for the CIA, and find out the truth about so many different issues I’ve read about. But I’m glad I never applied after all.

I’ve come to realize that half the fun of exploring these topics is that most of us don’t know the truth. I enjoy the chase. I like to read different opinions. Sometimes I think the writer is right on and other times I wonder if maybe they just arrived from another planet themselves, but I enjoy them all. I like discussing these topics with others, from die-hard skeptics to believers. So knowing the truth would suck all the fun out of the exploration.

I’m content to continue as an explorer.

Dear Grandpa Hank


Dear Grandpa Hank,

It’s been a couple of months since we lost you, but we all miss you. I think of you often. Anytime I use the Cubs glass that we always gave you to use for Sunday dinners I think of you. (Thanks for not breaking it Mr. Sox Fan.)

I think of you anytime we make potatoes on the grill, because they will forever be known as Hank’s potatoes.

I think of you during baseball season. I still root for the Cubbies over the Sox. You never did manage to convert any of us, did you?

I think of you when Dancing With the Stars is on, and I remember having to record it when you were in the hospital so you wouldn’t miss any of the episodes.

I remember showing you how to use David’s iPod, and thinking that we were going to have to go get you one.

I remember getting Grandma a cell phone so we could find you guys when you ditched dinner at the apartments and went out, and it makes me smile.

I think of you when I take pictures, and feel like a slacker. Into your nineties you printed pictures with your digital camera, and I never seem to get around to printing mine.

I love how you were interested in new technology, and not afraid of it. I’m still kind of surprised we never had to take you shopping for your own iPhone or laptop. I’m sure you could have learned to use both.

I still wear the black watch with the flowers and rhinestones exactly like the one you bought from me over dinner. I went and got another one. I never thought you’d keep the first one! But it’s okay. It reminds me of you, and makes me smile.

Most of all, I remember how happy Grandma was with you. I don’t think she would have been able to stay at those apartments if she hadn’t met you. It doesn’t matter that we weren’t related by a blood test. You were family, and I am sure we will always think of you that way.






The Octopus Knows- Round Robin, Week #6


Most people love a good mystery.  The mystery I am currently a part of includes an ill-fitting white suit, double agents, and a kidnapped octopus. A group of bloggers are writing the story together as a round robin. Each of us will do a small section of the story. The only rule is that each writer has to pick up where the last one left off.  It was started by the creative Laird Sapir, and you can find the first entry here. Laird is also keeping a list of the writers and the links to each person’s blog entry here. And now it’s my turn. So here goes!

When we last saw them, Braden had stuffed poor Ninja in a body bag and Simon had gone off to use the restroom.

Ninja squirmed in the body bag, trying to find a more comfortable position. After a few minutes, he gave up and settled for trying to jab Braden in the leg with his tentacles. Ninja wished again that Simon would let him get an iPad, or at least an iPhone. It would come in really handy in situations such as this. He couldn’t speak, but he could type and send text messages. He communicated with Simon using a laptop at home. Ninja also enjoyed playing Angry Birds, but had left that out of his discussions with Simon.

He also hoped that Simon wasn’t dumb enough to follow Braden’s instructions and had set off after them immediately instead of crying in the bathroom. He probably could have escaped on his own, but with no GPS device he was afraid to try in case he was not near water. Ninja wasn’t very fast on land. The humans who had altered him to his present state of being had forgotten to improve that area.

Out of frustration, he jabbed Braden hard in the leg. This time he got a response.

“Hang in there, Ninj,” Braden said. “We are almost to our destination.”

Ninja jabbed Braden again. He hated to be called Ninj.

“I apologize, Ninja,” Braden said. “I forgot. Anyway. We are almost there and I have a whirlpool tub all set up for you to use while we wait for Simon.”

After what seemed like a long time, Ninja heard a door open, then a second door. His bag got set on a hard surface, and he heard water start running. Braden opened the canvas bag, and after a minute Ninja cautiously ventured out. He was in a large bathroom, complete with two sinks and a massaging shower. He turned to look behind him and saw a large tub with the faucet turned on.

He glanced at Braden, who smiled at him.

“Go ahead,” Braden said. “You can get in. I put the jets on gentle, but I’ll show you how to adjust them. Then you can be comfortable while we wait for Simon. I hope he doesn’t wait more than an hour before coming after you. The timing will be close if we are to convince Mr. Jones that you both escaped.”

While Braden was talking, Ninja had climbed in the whirlpool tub. He decided he liked the jets. Braden showed him the controls for the tub,  but he chose to leave them on the gentle setting. Ninja still didn’t trust Braden, but he had to admit that this was a nice place to be held hostage.  He would play complacent captive and see how events played out. If nothing else, he might be able to find out if he and Simon could trust Braden. He figured he could always escape later if necessary.

Meanwhile, back in his own bathroom, Simon got up off the toilet, took a deep breath, and went to change clothes and gather his wand and other equipment. He wasn’t sure that Braden was truly on his side, and wanted to be ready for anything.

Thus ends my contribution to the round robin. For the next installment, check out Ellen Gregory’s blog right here. This has been a lot of fun so far, and I know I’m excited to see what the rest of the writers do with the story.



“I’m going home, back to the place where I belong…” And I’m sure many of you know the song.

That about sums it up, which annoys me. Not because I’m going home, but because once again a rather cheesy song from an American Idol participant nicely sums up where I’m at in life. I don’t even watch American Idol.

I’m originally from northwest Indiana, but a little over a year ago I decided to move to Arizona. I felt like I was stuck in a rut in every area of my life, and I wanted a change. Well, I got one! It’s been a hard year in so many ways, but I don’t regret my decision to move here. I’m remembering the good times, learning from the bad, and taking it all home with me. There are a lot of factors in my decision to go home, but the biggest one is that I’ve discovered I don’t like being quite so far from my family.

Home isn’t going to be the same though. My parents moved since I came to Arizona, and to be honest I’m not sure how to get to their house. Some of my best friends have moved away.  I’m pretty sure the Jen who is heading back to Indiana isn’t the same one who moved here last July too.

The question I’ve been asked the most is “Won’t you miss the weather here?” And the answer is no. I’m looking forward to a winter where everything freezes properly and I get a break from my allergies.

The trip will take about three days. I love road trips, so I’m looking forward to that. I am taking my adopted kitties, and they hate to ride in the car so I’m not looking forward to that. I did buy them aromatherapy collars and they’re all passed out right now, so hopefully they’ll sleep through the trip.

My mom and my sister are coming out here to help me drive home. Wish us luck. It will either be the best road trip of our lives, or the worst road trip of our lives. When the trip is over and I’m back home I’ll let you know which it was.


I can do this. Right? =) ROW80 Check in for July 27

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Over the past few days, I’ve had a hard time getting to my writing. Once I sit down it comes easily but getting to that place has been difficult. Perhaps I’m tired because the desert heat is sucking my energy away. I don’t know. I’m still managing to write some each day and make my goals. I’m also still way ahead on my word count, which is encouraging this week. I don’t feel like I’m stuck in the story or anything. It’s just one of those weeks I guess.

Pouncer tried to help tonight. However, she was driving me crazy so she’s been forced to shout encouragement from the bathroom. On second thought, she might just be saying “Let me OUT!” I’m pretty sure that’s it.

ROW80 check in for July 24, 2011


So, I slacked off a little bit on Friday and Saturday night. Friday night I didn’t feel well and went to bed early. I think I was just over tired. Saturday I was lured out with the promise of free dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and a trip to the closing sales at Borders. I knew I’d written a lot last week, so I was hoping I was still on track to make my end goal even after missing two days.

Tonight before I started writing I checked my goals to see how much my slacking off for two days hurt, and I was still way ahead. That made me feel slightly less guilty about ditching my characters for two days. Then I more than doubled my daily word goal for today.  Right now I’m way ahead so I’m thinking it might be time to increase the daily word count again.

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