Monday, January 28, 2013

Mountain Bliss

I have a new writing partner. Her name is Sasha. Her full, AKC certified pedigree name is Mountain Bliss Sasha. We adopted her this weekend. She is a 4 1/2 year old Bernese Mountain dog. We love this breed and Sasha is a sweet, gentle girl.

She was shaking when we first met her. She is not used to being away from home. You can tell that she has been loved and well cared for. Her coat is gorgeous, all curly and shiny. Her eyes are bright. She doesn't just wag her tail, she wags her whole body. And she smiles.

We were introduced to her at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs, New York. It's a dog friendly hotel next to historic, Congress Park. We stay here often in the summer--go up for a jazz festival in June and then for the horse races in July and August.

Sasha has freckles! 

We haven't heard her bark yet but she had a bad dream her first night and she yelped and whimpered which is why we helped her onto the bed.

That was okay while we were at the hotel, in a king sized bed, but here, back home, a queen sized bed is way too small so we bought Sasha her very own, extra soft and fluffy bed.

But she prefers ours so Phoebe and Lucy have claimed Sasha's bed.

Sasha is learning how to walk on a leash and go to the bathroom while on a leash. If she has an accident inside the house it will be disastrous.

On our first walk back home, I was afraid she'd jump in the river that runs behind our house. I imagined what I'd do. After calling for help would I jump in? Of course. I don't know if Sasha knows how to swim.

This whole "new family" thing must be very confusing for her. I've explained that she will be pampered and adored. That she will be by my side most days and nights. That she'll come to work with me, and travel with me, and go for long walks with me.

I also explained that Lucy is the boss, of all of us, and that Phoebe is a bit of a bully but not to feel intimidated by either one. They will grow to love her just as much as we do.

Special thanks to Sandy at Windy Mountain Kennels for allowing us to adopt her.

Our first walk in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, New York

Friday, January 18, 2013

Unicorn Dreams

I'm getting in the van. I know it looks a bit suspicious, but I'm doing it. I'm getting in. 

I did it. This past weekend I started submitting my writing. I initially typed "started submitting my work," but it doesn't feel like work. Not the writing part anyway, that was fun. But that is a unicorn of a different color. Editing is tedious and stressful and not anything a monkey should be doing. So I asked Boris, my freakishly tall friend, to help. And he was extremely patient and precise and we made it through the process without pissing each other off (I think).

My tone is a bit sassy today mainly because I read the label on my raincoat and it says, "DRY CLEAN ONLY." Why would a raincoat need to be dry-cleaned? That is ridiculous.

And speaking of dry cleaners, Mason Cleaners misplaced seven of my husbands business shirts. I spent 20 minutes today watching a revolving rack of shirts swirl in succession and still no luck.

John, the owner of the dry cleaners, thinks my husband misplaced them. That is not only improbable, it's impossible. My husband drops the same number of shirts off every Saturday. He neatly places his soiled shirts on hangers and lines them up according to their huge - light blue to the left, dark blue to the right.

Sadly, John doesn't stamp your last name on the inside collar of your shirts. The cleaners up the street does. That's where I met my second husband. His family owned the store. I stopped going there after our divorce. Who could blame me. I didn't want to air my dirty laundry in from of the x-inlaws.

True story (so bizarre I must preference it by saying true story) ...

The x-inlaws, dry cleaning store would annually clean out their basement and discard any clothes that people forgot to pick-up. By "discard" I mean family members had first pickings before they carted them off to various clothing donation centers.

I was standing in my then boyfriend/now x-husbands living-room when his mother entered with two fist full of shirts. "These fit you good Eddie," she said in a thick chinese accent.

As much as I hated to admit it, she was right, they did fit Eddie good. And I liked them. They were nice looking shirts, well made, "sharp," as my father would say.

So I took a closer look. Stamped on the inside collar was the customers last name - MAGANN. Magann--not a common name. If you google it you'll find very few MAGANN's, lots of McGANN's but very few MAGANN's.

Turns out locating "MAGANN" was easier than anyone might have thought considering the fact that the shirts belonged to Terry, my son's father (my then X, now twice removed - confused?).

"Shit Eddie," I gawked,"Terry was wearing this shirt when you met him," pointing to a gingham blue, long sleeve, 100% cotton twill shirt.

Now MAGANN is someone who forgot where he placed his shirts but I assure you, lucky husband number three, knows exactly where his shirts are--all but seven of them.

But, back to the unicorn in the van...

I have been contemplating this scenario for far too long. If you saw a unicorn in a van would you get in?

It's as if the child in me see's her wildest dreams come true, if only she jumps in. And I did. I finally mustered up the courage to submit my writing. And yesterday, I received an acceptance letter from the literary magazine, They are going to publish "A Ride With My Father" or "A Dance With My Father" or "A Dance With Dad" or "The Dance"... They didn't like my original title and I can't seem to conjure up the perfect caption. Hopefully, they'll choose something that works for them. I honestly don't care as long as they spell my name right.

Thank you Dad for an ocean full of memories and the joy that comes from writing them.

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss

xo, MOnkeyME

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Dance With Dad

My father is by my side. His cane rests just outside his reach, in the lap of an aluminum chair. We are tucked in the corner of the back row, behind a succession of synchronized seniors–a line of ladies dressed in sensible shoes and forgiving waistbands. Each turns, twisting to catch a glimpse. “Look at him go," says a lady in red. "He's really something.”

Although my father is known for having two left feet, his stooped, stiff Parkinson's posture coupled with his unsteady shuffle and hand tremors fuse with the strong Latin beat. He is a dancing machine.

“Zumba!” shouts the instructor as she shimmies her shoulders and steps left. Her enthusiasm is contagious and we do our best to keep up.

Everything about this is new to us—the music, the movement, but mostly the memoires shared between a father and daughter.

Growing up, I didn't spend a lot of time with Dad unless you count riding quietly in the back seat of his car. I don’t remember living with him. My parents divorced when I was two years old. My mother packed all we had into a 1959 Studebaker and moved us four hours away.

Dad was always working, even when I came to visit. On most nights we'd eat supper together at Nielson's Diner or the Chinese restaurant.

"Let me check out back," Dad would say, "see if I spot any cats."

Dad liked to tease me. He'd say they used cat instead of chicken at the Panda Pavilion, so I always ordered beef.

He ate fast and chewed with his mouth open. He never put his napkin on his lap or sat up straight like my mother told me to.

At the diner, Dad let me drink vanilla milk shakes. I'd get a 7-Up at the Chinese place and if I followed him to the pub, he'd order me a Shirley Temple.

"Two cherries, please," I'd say, always the polite child.

Once he ordered me a pine float. Everyone laughed when the bartender handed me a tall glass of water with a cocktail napkin and a spiked toothpick floating on top.

During winter holidays we'd drive six hours to go skiing. I don't remember skiing with him but sometimes we'd ride the chairlift together—a slow, windy climb to the peak.

"You cold there, Pistol Pete?" he'd ask. I had no idea who Pistol Pete was, but it told me he'd rather have had a boy.

"No, sir," I lied with my braids and nose hairs iced over and my fingers and toes frozen numb.

When I reached the bottom of the mountain and couldn't find him, I knew to look in the bar. He’d have the crowd entertained with his quick wit and Irish charm, sharing adventures of marathons run around the world—more than 100 in total.

During one of those winter vacations, he took me to a drive-in movie theater. Love Story was playing and I thought Ali MacGraw was the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

I sat behind the steering wheel of Dad's navy blue model 2002 BMW–sobbing uncontrollably at Ali’s untimely death, while my father lounged on a double bed at the Howard Johnson motor lodge. A pile of quarters kept the magic fingers moving as he watched TV, ate apple pie, and sucked down cans of Miller beer.

When the movie ended and he didn't come for me, I considered driving the car back to the hotel but my feet didn't quite reach the pedals. Instead, I walked alongside the highway, following a path of headlights from oncoming traffic.

But here at the senior center, Dad makes me promise not to leave his side.

“Stretch your hands up high and move your hips, now shake, shake, shake it to the right!” bellows the Zumba instructor.

“You're doing great, Dad,” I assure him.

“I farted, Shannon,” he tells me.

“Did you crap your pants?"

“No, just farted."

“Good for you, way to hold back.” 

This is not my favorite topic, but discussing his bodily functions is part of our now daily conversations.

I never expected him to master a soulful salsa when I signed us up for the class, but I am collecting as many memories as I can. My father’s Parkinson’s disease has slowed him down enough for us to finally get to know each other.

Dad died on January 29, 2012 after years of us deliberately collecting memories.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yes, I'm In Security

I've noticed a big drop off in views and comments lately. This despite deliberately tantalizing titles such as... 

So much for sex sells. Me and My Nipples and Confessions of a Sexy Housewife are true stories. Rock Your Cock was just my way of seeing how much spam I could generate.

I kind of suck at commenting on other blog sites lately - even those I read regularly and enjoy immensely.

I'm tired of writing about my cancer. I'm ready to move on. But once again, I have no idea where I'm going.

I've joined a new social hub for writers and creative beings called OurSalon. It's a spring off from OpenSalon which is a sub-section of I've been spending a lot of time there and less time on facebook and on

I like the idea of writers reading my work and I've already formed a list of favorites and even a few, gun totting, Obama hatin' bullies that I loath.

Kerry's Wallet is featured on the lead page today. I'm feeling really good about that.

I think it's time for me to focus on writing short stories and personal essays and to start submitting. (Just writing that made my stomach flip.)  I'll still formulate stories here because it's a friendly environment but I'm not going to post just to post and I'm not going to obsess about the view count or comments.

I've been trying to write my "I flipped a kitty in less than 15 minutes" story for a week now. I also have another story brewing titled, "Now That the Drugs Have Worn Off." 

I'll head over to the INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP now to see how many bloggers I can connect with.

Truth is, I'm not really insecure about my writing because I know there are people out there that relate to it and when I keep it simple it is pretty damn good.

I've developed a strong voice here on Green Monkey Tales and your feedback and encouragement has been extremely helpful. Hell, I even see an improvement in my spelling!

For as long as I can remember, I've been saying I'm a writer.
For as long as I can remember, I've been saying I'm going to be a published author.

My estranged sister recently wrote, "Sure glad I didn't spent thousands on English lessons as you did!"

I am sure glad I didn't given up on my dream.

Be who you are and say what you feel, 
because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~Dr. Seuss


Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison