About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Heart My iPod


When the first generation of iPod came out, I thought - eh.  Ho-hum.  This coming from a music fanatic who has spent decades of hours creating mix tapes and burning mix CDs.  I felt I was in control of my playlist, it was 90 minutes of my inner DJ coming out to shine.  The iPod was a foreign creature to me that wanted to steal my DJ spotlight. 

It wasn't until the 3rd generation that it truly became a mainstream must-have.  That was when my husband waited impatiently one time too many - we were late for an event because I was waiting for my cd to burn that would accompany us on our drive.  That Christmas, Santa left a brand new toy beneath my tree.  It was small, white, fit in the palm of my hand - and held one thousand songs all at once! 

Then came the tricky part - how to play it in the cars.  The hookup wasn't easy, I didn't have a cassette deck so that adapter wouldn't work.  Over the years we tried FM transmitters, which weren't too bad - the staticky sound coming through reminded me of the days when FM radio was a new but timid trend.  But, that got old after several road trips where it simply wasn't audible enough.  Soon it felt like having a Slinky and no stairs. 

Another issue came in the form of my growing digital music collection.  I spent two years ripping my thousands of songs (only a fraction of them would fit - how the heck do I choose?!) into a hard drive, and transferring them to my iTunes.  It was quite a chore; I meticulously filled in all of the information about each song, including the year of its release and the original album artwork - not the 'Greatest Hits' that iTunes so lazily downloaded.  So many hours scouring the net for those images.  Anal retentive, perhaps, but when it was done I had the biggest, baddest iTunes in the history of Apple. 

I was hooked, and have been with every generation since.  There was the iPod Photo - oooooh, a color screen!  In came the Nano - so tiny, and then came the rainbow of colors!  Then there was the Video iPod - I was enamored and promptly set about converting my own DVDs to transfer to my little black gem (oooooh!  Black!  So glamorous!).  The 80 gigabyte hard drive was more to my liking, but still not big enough.  It was the iPod Classic that I settled into nicely with the 160 gigabytes that, at last, could handle my media collection (ten thousand songs!).

I decorated my iPods with colorful decals, each one unique.  I tend to bond with my electronics, and Apple ranks as one of my greatest love affairs.  I didn't use Mac computers, I didn't drop tons of money on Apple-brand accessories like the die-hards did, but my iPods and I were like blood-brothers.  Bonded at the fingertips.  With the iPod Touch, a skin graft couldn't have brought us closer.

Like with all relationships, the sizzle eventually becomes a simmer, as has been the case with me for the last few years.  The iPad garnered much anticipation, but it was simply a larger version of the iPod, and frankly very clunky in appearance compared to the sleek candy-coated look of its smaller counterparts.  But, now we're back down to a wimpy sized drive, and Apple's snit with Adobe rendered their lack of compatibility with Flash video very inconvenient for me.  The iPad didn't have the convenience of slipping into my pocket or purse.  My netbook worked quite nicely for any task the iPad boasted.  I've also not invested in an iPhone because the cell companies want to be greedy and clean my bank account with their data charges. 

Now that times are tighter and purchases require more thought, I look to the future that will include an iPhone and an iPad, but my standards are higher.  But.. we'll get there eventually.

My iPod Touch remains the crown jewel of my collection of various sized players.  Some I keep in a drawer for nostalgic moments.  Some I've managed to part with but never to sell - they were gifted to those in need of such a miracle.  I have devoted an entire Nano to just my holiday collection; a pretty purple one that reminds me of blue Christmases.  I nickname each of them.  My seductive red Nano - The Little Sleep Machine.  There's Blackie, Whitey, The Big Kahuna.  Each holds a special place in my heart because of the gift they've given me; a song for every possible moment.

This gift came from a man who was as unassuming as he was innovative.  A man who saw the digital future and gave the jaded internet a new life.  Music for me, and millions of others, became exciting again - not an easy task but made to seem effortless.

Rest in peace, Steve.  Your legacy is the map of a generation, and the bond that brought generations together.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here's To Good Friends...

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Tom Petty - Circus (Walls)

I consider myself blessed to have some of the most amazing friends.  Each one is a stone in the path of my life, as I journey my way toward whatever my end may be.  Some come and go, some stay awhile, and then there are those who walk beside me for the duration.  Whether near or far, virtual or flesh and bone, you are appreciated.

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Here's To Good Friends!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy's Choice


It is rare that I can't appreciate an artist's work because it's been eclipsed so monumentally by their antics, but Amy Winehouse is an exception to that rule.  When she first came on the mainstream radar for me, I was too busy to pay much attention.  By the time I ever first heard a song by her, her troubles had all been splashed across tabloid after tabloid, with video evidence to back up most of the claims.

Tragically, Amy had 'short shelf life' tattooed all across her.  We can hope the best for these train-wreck celebrities, and some sail through to old age and are the better artist for it.  Amy Winehouse wasn't destined to be one.  She was someone who took "Live hard and die young" to heart.  Her refusal to change was apparent in the song Rehab. While a groovy number with great jams and catchy rhythms, it was a defiant rebel yell to the concerns for her state of mind.



This isn't going to be a sudden idolization of Amy from the ashes of her tragic end, nor am I looking to make a pariah of her legacy.  I'm listening to songs right now, Back To Black, You Know I'm No Good, Stronger Than Me, and I'm hearing what she's telling me.  She made her choices, and created a lifestyle, and it eventually claimed her.

Legacy?  I wonder.  IHow sad to be leave a legacy of being a tabloid queen, a troubled performer, and someone who couldn't care enough to see the ride through, just another unfinished story that will simply become a True Hollywood Story in a sea of many. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby, Be Mine

Driving down a California highway on a breezy day is the best way to rediscover your pop bliss.  I have experienced moments with Shaun Cassidy the likes of which I've never found with any man in the flesh.  It's that tingle I get when I hear the opening beats and the tambourine, then the guitar comes in, and soon I am "Da Doo Ron Ron"ing all over the place. 

Long ago, in a faraway time, I was a little girl with Michael Jackson stickers plastered all over my Trapper Keeper that I carried to classes in junior high, and I was in love with a boy who argued with Paul over who was the better lover, and danced his way into my life with his slick, groovy sounds.  Nobody did 'tenderooni' like MJ.

But then I grew up, and as I did, so did Michael.  He morphed into this unrecognizable person that I never quite understood, and I'm not going to sit here and profess to know whether the accusations against him were true or false, but the truth is I have had a very hard time listening to songs that should have been innocent fun - P Y T (Pretty Young Thing) - without hearing in a whole new light.  And his songs grew more extreme, but for whatever reason I just wasn't getting the message.  One could say we just drifted apart.

Today, as the wind tossed my hair around and I thumped on the steering wheel in time with the songs on my party mix playlist, I didn't skip ahead as I've done for so long when I heard the familiar opening notes of this song, Baby Be Mine.  It was a brief moment of remembering a moment that I shared with a young man finding his way as I began to do the same. 

So, for that few minutes, I let myself be young, and I let Michael be young too. 


Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Piano Men




          It should have been a spectacular way to spend our sixth anniversary last November.  I rarely enjoy going to big concerts, so large you end up watching the entire performance on a video screen.  Pointless.  Save a hundred dollars and wait for the DVD.  I prefer small venues like the open air Mountain Winery in Saratoga on a gorgeous starry evening where I’ve seen the likes of The Beach Boys, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers – all idols of mine, and of course the greatest songwriter of the twentieth century, Willie Nelson.
          But, this would be an exception.  This was two legends on the same stage, side by side, face to face. 
          Alas, thanks to the “pig plague,” as my husband Roger calls it, having struck one of the singers, the concert was to be postponed.  I’m not usually one to anticipate things of a good nature, I tend to dwell instead on the worst - but I’d been so looking forward to this evening, and to have it cancelled the day before was such a letdown.  So, our anniversary concert was now to be our Valentine’s concert, rescheduled in February.
          We headed out to the San Jose Shark Tank, also known as the HP Pavilion.  Fighting traffic all the way, the evening didn’t start well and wasn’t improving with the bland Japanese dinner at a local café.  Shelling out twenty dollars for parking was just the icing on the cake! 
          Making our way through the crowd, Roger and I found our seats in the second to the highest row in the enclosed arena.  The stage looked pretty tiny from where we were in the middle of a long row, and our crowd seemed like they wouldn’t be too out of control.  Soon enough, however, a young couple came to plop in the vacant chairs beside us, bouncing around and giggling.  Realizing they were in the wrong seats, they climbed to the row behind us.  Little did I know how unfortunate that would be!
          Eventually the lights dimmed, and dual spotlights crossed each other as two grand pianos rose up from beneath the stage.  Then, slowly, they entered from either side, walking with the gait of two aged men who’d walked a million miles of stage between them.  They met in the middle with waves to the cheers that surrounded them.
          There stood Elton John and Billy Joel, two men who had written and sung epic soundtracks that have encompassed much of my lifetime.  My eyes stung slightly at knowing I was in the presence of greatness, sure as an artist stands before a painting by Picasso and is transfixed by its agelessness.  As they sat at their pianos facing each other, I could hear the beginning of one of my favorite romantic songs tinkling out through the audience. 

“So excuse me for forgetting but these things I do – you see, I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue – anyway, the thing is, what I really mean is yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen…”  Simple in its words, with the earnest of an everyday love, their voices blended, going on to duet each other’s hit songs. 
Eventually, Elton took the stage alone, and gave a fantasmic performance with graphics from his colorful albums floating in a sea of lights behind the band.  The only thing to deter Roger and I from becoming completely lost in the sweeping melodies was the over-excitement of the high-pitched screaming from the row behind us.  The young girl’s animated voice pierced our ears over the amazingly loud concert, and as Tone Deaf Minnie Mouse sang and yelled, her inebriated companion shouted “It’s a party!” to which I promptly turned around and “politely” replied “No, it’s a hundred dollar-a-ticket concert that I did not invite you to ruin.”  This seemed to quiet them down for a few minutes, but not nearly long enough. 
The summery ballad Tiny Dancer that always takes me back to a rare, happy memory of my youth.  The mysteriously dark Madman Across The Water, and the forever rebellious Goodbye Yellow Brick Road that evokes a time of survival as I came of age. 

Elton’s gnarled fingers still had a touch of grace as they danced across the ivory and black keys, his voice as powerful as ever as he told tales of wisdom and introspect.  This has always been what’s drawn me to his songs – the inner soulful search and an angst that I would come to understand too well as the decades passed me by all too quickly.
“He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day, when the New York Times said God is dead…”

After Elton’s commanding set, Billy took his place on the stage.  He began with a joke at his own aged expense before he began to pound the keys in front of him in a rollicking frenzy.  “Hi, Billy Joel couldn’t make it tonight, I’m his dad.  But it’s okay, I know all his stuff!” 
The songs that followed transcended the memories of my teen years, flowing into adulthood.  Like Billy, I have grown from an angry young person to someone who has tempered themselves with the time and tide of a long-lived life.  Ironically, when I hear these songs, the first association I have is my stepmother.  This music told a crazy tale of a turbulent time, these heated songs were played over and over to showcase her dislike of life, and of my brother and me.  And yet, over the years, I’ve found my own echo in the words.
He sang to the appreciative crowd with his early rebel songs such as Movin’ Out and My Life, songs about taking a stab at independence.  The industrious tribute to the blue collar worker Allentown still rings true today.  Billy even rocked out with his guitar while “having a senior moment” in trying to remember the tongue-twisting lyrics to his middle-aged revolution We Didn’t Start The Fire.  Not bad for sixty plus years of rough living.

A church-like atmosphere overtook the stadium with the jaunty rag Only The Good Die Young, leaving every woman in the hall wishing that she could be the innocent Virginia he was trying to lead astray.  ”They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait, some say it’s better but I say it ain’t.  I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints – the sinners are much more fun ‘cause only the good die young..!”
 The tribal sounds of The River Of Dreams jubilantly played, from his last original album of music, aptly titled Famous Last Words, released in 1993.  Few know that Billy did release one more album after, a classical composition that fulfilled a long-awaited dream of his. 
But nothing stilled me such as hearing my own personal theme song, Always A Woman, played out before the hushed crowd.  All of my life I have felt nobody could write a more appropriate song to describe my longings, my quirks, my reasons and rhyme.  It was a moment of pure shivering magic that I hadn’t felt since seeing Liza Minnelli belting out New York, New York.  I remember that night vividly, as I’d waited for so long to see such a moment, only for it to be more bittersweet as the strain was apparent in her once magnificent voice.  Still, magic is magic.

The two icons then joined together once again to lead the crowd in a sing-a-long of such classics as Bennie And The Jets, a song that brought back memories of singing quietly to a sweet little namesake kitten as I nursed her to health.  The golden Candle In The Wind with the ghost of Marilyn Monroe vividly reflecting off of the stage.  We were all carried away to our younger days as they pounded furiously on the ivories with You May Be Right (I May Be Crazy), the proclamation of a half-crazed generation.
It was beautifully appropriate when the harmonica sweetly played over the melancholy piano notes as they serenaded us and each other with Piano Man, the song that introduced the world to a young songwriter named Bill.  A song that still encourages us to look around at the people who are stones in a path to where we want to be.
The three hours these men shared with us are likely to be one of the sweetest memories I will cherish.  As I listened to each bit of their lives, I reflected on my own.  It saddens me to watch my idols grow older, but comforts me to know that what they’ve gifted us with are songs in the key of life. 
”Son, can you play me a memory, I’m not really sure how it goes, but it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man’s clothes…”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's All Wrong, But It's All Right


Song: It's All Wrong, But It's All Right - sung by Michael Johns
Narrated by Kymberlie Ingalls

Who are we to proclaim what is wrong, and what is right for anyone but ourselves?  What decides your moral compass?  What guides you?

Is yours a world of blacks and whites, or are there glorious shades of life that blur the consequences set by others? 

Temptation is a powerful weapon used by some to tease another's mind, and is an aphrodisiac to a mind weary of their mundane lives. 

We all need flights of fancy.  Where does your mind wander when called out to play...?  What dark sin do you wonder about? 

What is your wrong that feels so... right..?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Love Song



There once was a time when love meant something.  Does such a time still exist, in this modern world of isolation and warfare?  Is love still something to live and die for?  Can we look through the rubble and the dust to see it, were it right in front of us?  What is the love that you see?  Tell us about it... Tell us your story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mean



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Taylor Swift - Mean 
(mobile users, click here)


I've played this song about five times in the past three hours.  My husband asked me "Why do you like this song so much, anyway?" 

Because it's catchy, kinda funny, and very relevant.  I can't help but be taken back to a time when I was just a kid, and thinking just this in my head as the blows came down upon my scrawny little body.  "Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me." 

The thought still crosses my mind today.  Karma is a very curious beast.  She's usually on your side when you need to be, and we need to hope we're not on the receiving end of her justice.  It's quite inevitable - I've had my share doled out to me.  I take my lumps, try to learn from them.

What I don't want is for someboy to think of me as a bully, looking up at me with fear and spite in their eyes, whispering "All you're ever gonna be is mean...."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Changed For The Better



Wicked - Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel - For Good


My friends have been on my mind a lot lately.  I sense change is on the horizon - losses of many kinds.  The thing about friends is that each one is a wave in our ocean, coming and going with the tide.  Some are steady and strong, some wash away leaving debris in their wake.  Some crash and are gone. 

Being an island really isn't the answer to avoiding hurt.  Like with anything, joy and sadness are the yin and yang of any relationship.  Right now it's difficult to find the joys, but sooner or later my yellow brick road will lead me there.

"And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.  Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun; like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood.  Who can say if I've been changed for the better?  I do believe I have been changed for the better... because I knew you, I have been changed for good..."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Almost Hear You Sigh



This song, with it's blend of classical guitar touched with a drop of contemporary to give it a modern feel, takes me back all these years later to a dusty, smoky room with faded wood lining the walls, a dimly lit bar with sad men lined around it, perched on their stools and begging for mercy from their half-empty glasses.  There was always one, Ed, who sunk his quarters in night after night, playing this melodic Stones tune, singing out loud to a heartbreak that you'd swear was on the chair next to him, with the way he stared vacantly at it.  I don't think she was ever too far away, certainly not far enough away to ease his haunting. 
Ed and I had a bit of a kinship for a bit.  Two lonely souls who leaned on each other from time to time.  Next time you have another shot of been-done-wrong, think of old Ed and raise a glass to all of those who've come down the line on that same train.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Empowerment

I am not a morning person by any means, but on a rare occasion as I'm struggling to wake, I get a song lodged in my head that starts with a slow beat and builds throughout the day until I feel the blast that pushes me into the stratosphere of energy that gives me the boost I need to make it through. 

What is your empowerment song?

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Reba McEntire - Turn On The Radio  (mobile users, click here)
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Janet Jackson - This Time  (mobile users, click here)
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Nikka Costa - Everybody Got Their Something  (mobile users, click here)
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Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive  (mobile users, click here)
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Just A Touch Of Love  (mobile users, click here)

Monday, February 14, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - A song you used to love and now hate.


Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy


What is there to say that we don't all know?  When it came out, it was catchy, groovy, and oh so wildly popular.  I should know - my first job as a telemarketer, and nine out of ten answering machines had this song on it!  Ay yi yi.  I will say this though - as tired as the song is, watching the video is still worth hearing it one more time..!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - A song that describes you.


Billy Joel - Always A Woman



“I am a wise young woman who likes to laugh…”  I was fifteen at the time of writing that line in a writing exercise in sophomore English.  The classic “I am” poem – fill in the blanks.  My teacher said that it was brilliant, a fine example of irony.  I don’t know about that, but it’s stuck with me all these years. 
            Today, I’d like to introduce you to me.  In writing about my views, my perceptions, my opinions, and the events in my life, it’s time now to present a more dimensional picture.  Often perceived in a certain way, few ever look to see the whole package, and really there is so much more to this book than it’s rigid binding. 
            “Never judge a book by its cover.”  So it is said, but the fact is that we do judge on the spot.  There are no saints among us.  Tell me you’ve never done it, and I’ll spit in your eye.  Yes, I’m guilty of the deed as well, though when the opportunity was taken to dig, it was well worth the effort. 
            Someone posed a question to me recently: “Do you believe yourself to be extraordinary, or are you ordinary?”  Thinking about it, the only answer that came was.. “I am alternative.”  Posing the question to others, some of the responses were quite interesting, and at the end of this reading, I invite you to ask yourself the same.
            But, back to me, it is what we were discussing, no?  Perhaps it’s being another year older than I was yesterday, though I could swear it’s been ten since last August.  I am a lover, a fighter, and a friend.  Having loved some of the most amazing people, I’ve come through some hard battles to wear my scars proudly – not all metaphorical.  Look around me to see friendships that can tell a thousand stories.  The family photos that you see are much deeper than the glossy, shallow smiles.
Interesting facts about myself: shockingly, I’m not nearly as witty, charming and stunningly beautiful as I appear on paper.  It’s out of the closet that I am a “Fanilow” (oh, the longing to be Lola at Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, with yellow feathers in my hair!).  I have broken my little toes four times on each foot, the most recent being just three weeks ago.  Ouch.  Classical music and good conversation turn me on.  My online social life is legendary.  A collector of things, a hoarder of memories.  A pop culture junky, a former disc jockey and current videographer, and an artist.
I’ve been writing stories since the age of seven.  Three years ago an unfortunate incident with an ATV left me wondering about ever walking normally again.  My movie heroes are Norman Bates, Jaws, Lorelei Lee and King Kong – ask me why sometime. Annoying my kitties is a favorite pastime, because watching them spin in circles chasing a string tied to their tail makes me laugh hysterically.
            I’m funny, believe it or not.  This is inherited from my mother – she was a champion prankster, and “Mischievous” was her middle name.  To know me in most situations is not to see my humor, but yes, I can be funnier than a squirrel that’s taken one too many nuts to the head.
            Working for a comedy club brought me into marketing and promotions.  There was a knack for that, even thought about trying the stage myself - knowing I can write a good joke because one of the comedians stole a few and performed them without permission, but they got laughs.  I even went so far as to look into it again a few years ago, but there’s just one tiny problem that prevents me: stage fright.  Ah, what could have been.
            My love affair with music.  I’ve been a groupie of disc jockeys as long as I can remember, and have met some great ones, including the Wolfman himself. Now that was a day to remember.  Music drew me into this world as I grew older, and off to school I went.  Ran our little student station for three years, and had a rather popular on-air show as well.  For a non-profit station, we had higher ratings in our genre than most Bay Area commercial stations – I spoke to half a million people from that microphone on any given day, and I miss that connection still.
            There have been a lot of jobs, having worn the hats of several industries.  Retail, restaurants, a nanny (kids were great, the parents not so much), in marketing, in broadcasting.   Trained to run a bar – but was too young upon graduation, therefore no job for me. I’m going to own a bar someday, though, a quiet little neighborhood pub. I now do video work for the local racetrack as a side gig.  My husband and I own an industrial business.  Never lasting very long at any one job, often working two to three at a time, I’ve always soared at the jobs that are not paid for – perhaps knowing I won’t be fired is what frees me.
            I’m a Leo, and every bit of it.  Stubborn, controlling, argumentative, and opinionated.  Complex, moody, frustrating, loyal and fierce.  Forgiving when I want to be, and known to carry a grudge for longer than I can remember why.  Temperamental, but I know the value of an apology.  Rushing headlong into life is my way, though have learned to take the lessons that can be to my advantage.  I am a fool – one that’s lost her way.  Haunted, wickedly so; this is what brings me just short of being pretty on the inside.
I am a redhead, and it happened like this:  Born a blonde - my eighteenth summer was spent working with a guy that had the rudest attitude you ever did see.  Oh, we fought so bad, we were fired by the owner’s daughter of this little restaurant every day that we worked together, and yet we just kept showing back up, scheduled or not.  One day we were going at it and he shouted at me “you know, you really oughta color that hair of yours red so that people will know what a flaming bitch you are as soon as you walk in the door!”
            The very next day… and ever since… true story, I swear.  And that story’s gotten me many a free drink at the dive where I learned to shoot pool and perfect my flirting skills.  As you can see, there’s a bit of a storyteller in this old girl.
            I am a singer.  Literally tone-deaf – but in the car I will sing like I am Janis Joplin on her last performance while the iPod blares in the background.  Balls to the wall and full of soul.  However, no Idol dreams for me.
            Then came the party girl – I’d tell you those stories, if I could remember them.  A good chunk of my twenties disappeared into those deep bottles.  I’m pretty sure I had a great time doing so, either that or managed to block out some necessary evil.  But the one where I was caught.. well, that’s a story best kept to myself for now.
            I am spoiled by my husband, and am loved.  In the tradition of my grandfather, he is one of the greatest men to walk this earth.  Sure, he has faults, but his greatest gift is
that he puts up with me.  With all of my quirks, my bumps and lumps and issues, of which there are more than a TV Guide subscription. 
Above all of this, I am a writer.  Thank you for taking this time to get to know me.  I do hope we’ll chat again soon.  I’ll be leaving some new words at your doorstep shortly.