Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at the Lair...

posted by Aunty Cindy, Jo-Mama, and Posh

'Twas the week of RWA National conference and the Lair felt eerily empty with that preternatural quiet that could mean nefarious plots were afoot...


A lone figure descended a back staircase, headed for the kitchen, a full tray in his hands and a look of consternation on his handsome face.

"Sorry, Lars," Paolo said, as he slid the tray of food onto the counter behind a beefy, Scandinavian hunk who was washing pots and pans, "Aunty Cindy turned thumbs down. She said your Swedish surprise is more of a shock, and not in a good way. According to her, the only one who will eat it is Ermingarde the Dragon."

Lars gave a long suffering sigh. "Then why did you bring it back to the kitchen instead of taking it to the dragon's turret?"

"Well, because... er, um, you know..." Red stained Paolo's high cheek bones, lending him an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp.

He was interrupted by Marcus, in full gladitorial regalia, checking in from his security sweep. "You simply must get over your fear of that over-grown lizard, Paolo. Just because she singed your trousers that one time is no excuse. A little mano-a-mano wrestling match with her should do the trick."

As the hapless Paolo choked over the thought of wrestling the dragon, Marcus and Lars exchanged knowing winks over his head.

"I'll take it up there," Marcus conceded with a good-natured shove. "Zach is there right now, mucking out her weir and I'm sure he would welcome the help."

"Zach got left behind too?" Paolo asked, clearly startled that the captain of the hockey hunks was not on vacation with the rest of the staff. "I mean, I understand why I was, since I'm the newest cabana boy, and I heard you gladiators used some kind of lottery system, but..."

"He said something about taking one for the team," Marcus explained, when the beeping of Lars's phone interrupted him.

"It's a text message from Sven," Lars exclaimed. "Bad enough that he left me a fifteen page color-coded flow chart about how to manage his kitchen, but he checks in every two hours." He peered at the screen then chuckled. "He sent a photo. Seems he and the gladiators went to the Magic Kingdom."

Paolo and Marcus leaned in for a look.

"What is that they are holding?" Marcus asked around guffaws.

"Looks like mouse ears," replied an astounded Paolo. "With feathers? Did somebody finally pluck that confounded rooster?"

"Boys!" Posh said sternly, striding into the kitchen sporting a fearsome scowl and snatching the phone from Lars. "It's no good looking at the pictures now. You'll just be even more sullen and sulky than you have been and you'll be even less use in the kitchen, though that's hard to imagine."

Posh gazed at the downcast faces and her expression softened. "We're all completely bummed about being left behind. What we need to do is think of a distraction."

"Distraction?" Paolo asked. "What could make us forget everyone even for a minute?"

"I'm glad you asked," Jo Mama said in her most teacherly voice, entering from the hallway. "I've made up a plan."

Posh arched an eyebrow. "Like a lesson plan?"

"Oh, no!" Aunty Cindy huffed, descending the stairs in a swirling, embroidered dress she picked up on her jaunt to Turkey. (Posh had thought it was a wedding dress for a young woman, but Aunty would neither confirm nor deny.) "I have had quite enough learning for one lifetime, thank you very much. No more lesson plans, Jo Mama!"

Jo held up her hand, commanding silence as all the best teachers do. She pulled a hitherto-unseen chalkboard from the butler's pantry. "Everyone calm down. I've studied our dilemma and, using ratiocination - "

"Lord, there she goes with the big words again." Posh rolled her eyes in an alarming circle.

" - Okay, then, using logic," she shot a sharp look at Posh, "I have discerned the only viable solution to our lack of entertainment - "

"And aching loneliness," Aunty Cindy said, head buried deep in the fridge as she searched for anything edible. "Don't forget the loneliness!"

"That, too," Jo sighed. "I actually thought there would be less drama with everyone gone," she muttered. "Maybe I should have taken a few days off myself."

"Well don't keep us in suspense, Jo Mama," Posh said, pushing Aunty Cindy out of the fridge. "You tell us what the plan is and I'll whip us up some supper. Real supper, not that so-called Swedish surprise."

She began pulling things out of the fridge and Aunty Cindy's eyes widened. "What are you making, Posh?"

"Never you mind, missy. Just listen to Jo Mama and prepare to be dazzled."

"As I was saying," Jo said, a hint of impatience coloring her normally professional delivery, "we need a plan that utilizes the resources we have available."

"You mean them?" Aunty Cindy eyed the boys dubiously.

"Us?" the guys asked, looking just as wary.

"Not them," Posh said, chopping onions and potatoes while a large iron skillet heated on the stove. "Our beloved Bandita Buddies!"

"Exactly," Jo beamed. "Our Buddies. Since we are temporarily without our resident bartenders, 14 of our storytellers and a passel of cabana boys, we need our precious Bandita Buddies to keep our spirits up."

"Meanwhile," Aunty said, flinging her arms about in a (melo)dramatic fashion, "I will lead the boys to the shrine of Mary I had built in the first floor of the cellar. I was so inspired by the Higgins House, built where Mary lived when she was in Ephesus, that I had one built. I'm sure the boys and I can drum up some help from the Blessed Virgin..."

Jo Mama rolled her eyes and Posh smirked. "If Aunty Cindy is the spiritual leader today, you KNOW we're in trouble!"

So, Bandita Buddies, you are ON! We need you desperately. Please tell us about your favorite thing to do when you find yourself suddenly, inexplicably and definitively ALONE.

Can't recall the last time that actually happened? Dream a little dream for us! Books? Bubble baths? Movies where you don't have to share your popcorn? What is your favorite alone-time pursuit? Or would you just like to come hang out with us and see what Posh is cooking? Do tell!


Kate Diamond said...

Things I like to do on my alone time: (a) taking a bubble bath while reading a book (b) writing a "snail mail" letter to an old friend (c) indulging in extreme navel-gazing journal entries.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WOOOO HOOOO! Congrats to you, Kate!

You've captured the Golden Rooster for the day and given us three extremely useful ways to occupy our time!

OH NO! I think Lars just grabbed a copy of My Reckless Surrender and a bottle of lavendar scented bubble bath! Marcus has found a quill and parchment, and Paolo is removing his shirt!

Jo-Mama! Posh! HELP!!!


jo robertson said...

Hi, Kate! Congrats on winning the golden rooster, although he's been quite wily. We're not really sure if he's around the Lair or in Mouse Land, yuking it up with Mickey!

jo robertson said...

Okay, Kate, I'll bite. What are "navel-gazing journal entries"?

jo robertson said...

I'm not touching those dudes with a ten-foot pole, Aunty Cindy. They've taken Kate's suggestions and run amok with them.

Head for the hills!!

jo robertson said...

Seriously, though, thanks to AC for starting this clever post and Posh for finishing it up so nicely and finding super great pix.

As to alone time, now that my grown son lives with us, I really miss running around the house naked. Hey, we've been having very hot weather. I have a good excuse!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jo-Mama,
You know, like when you write in your journal or diary and you debate with yourself on the meaning of life. Or whether if a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody around does it still make a noise...

Uh oh, I think Paolo's eyes just glazed over!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

SHHH! Jo-Mama, don't give the guys any ideas about running around nekkid! Though I'm thinking a few of our BBs might not mind... AHEM! However, this is a PG rated blog. ;-)


Jane said...

I like to watch my favorite movies(LOTR trilogy, The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, The Mummy), browse for bargains on eBay, give myself a mani/pedi. I wish I could bake cause then I could stuff my face and nobody will know.

Virginia said...

When I am totally alone which doesn't happen much, I love to read. I like the quite time alone with a good book.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jane,
I LURVE your choice of movies! I know I've got The Mummy around here somewhere... Here's hoping the boys don't start pretending they are Rick O'Connell! ;-)

I do like to indulge in some of my fave snacks when I'm alone. The other night it was just me, a lovely bowl of homemade guacamole, and an industrial sized bag of tortilla chips... HIC!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Virginia!

There's nothing like reading a good book when it is quiet and you are UNinterrupted. (Aunty looks meaningfully around while Marcus scribbles on his parchment)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

BTW, Kate, I'm ROFLMAO at your YouTube link for Jane Austen's Fight Club!

PinkPeony said...

I like to Google people I've gone to school with, ex-boyfriends, friends I've lost touch with. Another time suck is on-line window shopping or hanging out on the Apartment Therapy web site and looking at all the decorating ideas. My latest time suck is a web site called "Curbed" which highlights NYC real estate. Old romantic movies from the sixties are also a favorite if I can get then on Netflix. They had "About Last Night" on the Retro station the other night. Man, all that awful eighties fashion...big shoulder pads...yes, I'm guilty of wearing it too.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Good morning Banditas and BB's, I was alone a good bit when my son was visiting out west these past two months. I read a LOT! I also like to watch those long, long movies like LOTR, Pride and Predjudice, the whole Star Wars series. Just totally immerse myself in them then crash.

I want to know what Posh is cooking, onions and potatoes sounds like a good start to most anything. Add some bacon Posh and I am there! Oh, that is something else I like to do when I am alone, I mess around in the kitchen try out recipes or make them up.

Helen said...

Well done Kate have fun with him and great ideas to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Whoo Hoo Ladies I do love getting time to myself and yes my favourite thing to do when this happens is to get compfy on the recliner with some chocolate a drink and a packet of chips close by and of course a great book to read. Since the kids have grown up and moved away (althought they do all drop in lots) I usually get Saturdays to myself and that is my day LOL even id Hubby is at home he is usually watching the TV and I read in the family room love it.

But I gotta say I would love to come and visit the lair and see what Posh is cooking up sounds good.

Have Fun

Caren Crane said...

Kate, darling, I DO hope you were ready for the Golden Rooster to visit you! Keep him away from all sweet treats, for your own sake. He's a little hyper!

I love your list! My master bath has only a shower, so I miss the bubble bath days. Once the last of the kids leaves the house, I think I'll take over the guest bath!

Snail mail is such a treat to receive. I love to actually put stamps on things and MAIL them. Good choice!

Aaah, navel gazing. Yes, my navel always longs for a good, long scrutiny. *g* The subsequent writing is icing on the cake!

Caren Crane said...

AC, watch the boys, they are HIGHLY suggestible. They are bound to try any and all suggestions made by BBs today, so be sure to knock before entering any room in the Lair!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, feel free to hide in the butler's pantry with the chalkboard. The boys are scared of the board - especially the gladiators. Not sure why! It just confuses the hockey hunks, who keep expecting you to map out plays. *shrug*

Caren Crane said...

Jo, did you have to mention nakkididity? We can barely keep a loin cloth on Paolo as it is! Ack!!

Caren Crane said...

Jnae, when left all by my lonesome, I have been known to have all-day movie marathons. Actually, my daughters like that, too. I think a day filled with the A&E 'Pride and Prejudice' followed by all episodes of 'Cranford' is just the thing!

Caren Crane said...

Jane, you need to come see me for baking lessons. We will keep on baking until you can do it blindfolded...and then we'll eat everything! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, when I was younger, I didn't really understand the "silence is golden" thing. However, after being raised in a five-kid household and having raised a three-kid household, I now understand!

Did anyone see 'Date Night'? When Tina Fey was describing her dream of being all alone in a hotel room, drinking diet Sprite, I almost lost it laughing. That's my dream EXACTLY!

Caren Crane said...

AC, 'The Mummy' movies - all of them - are often played at my house. One of my favorite indulgences, whether alone or with friends, is 'Moonstruck'. Such a great screenplay!!

Yes, keep the boys out of the Lair theatre, please. No action films when Cassondra isn't here to restore order!

Caren Crane said...

AC, PLEASE tell me Marcus is NOT indulging in navel-gazing journal entries!!

Caren Crane said...

AC, I adore the Jane Austen Fight Club video. What a hoot! If anyone missed it, check this out: Jane Austen's Fight Club. It's a riot!

Caren Crane said...

Pink, I'm glad I'm not the only one who Googles old friends (and boyfriends). It's fascinating to get a peek into the lives of people I haven't seen in, oh, 30 years!

I've been thinking of 'About Last Night' recently. It must be in the airwaves!

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, darling, please come cook with me! I'll gladly add bacon to the potatoes and onions, which are going straight into some hot oil in the huge iron skillet. The start of any balanced breakfast, right?

Next up are the buttermilk biscuits, if you want to get those started. I need to pop into the pantry and find the cinnamon apple butter. I put some up last fall, but the boys go through it really fast. Maybe there's a jar stashed behind the...well, I won't say where my hidey place is!

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, I also love a LOTR marathon, whether alone or with others. There is nothing like 8 hours of back-to-back Middle Earth!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, you and your husband sound like me and mine. He watches TV and I read. Sometimes I watch TV and he reads, but usually I'm watching a movie and he ends up watching it with me. Unless it's Cranford or P&P!

Deb said...

What fun in the Lair today! I'm so glad I dropped by. Paolo, mi amore, come hither, and I will soothe thy dragon-troubled brow. ^~^

Those few, rare times when I am alone are a little strange: no Disney Channel blaring, no chattering, no snoring from the DH. Strangely enough, I sometimes find myself at a loss. But, I get on the internet and check out FB and the Lair and other sites I like. Reading is ALWAYS an option, too, and it can be done in relatively quiet instead of the above-mentioned noises.

MsHellion said...

I think my "favorite" alone-time pursuit will lead us into the field of TMI, but I'm sure you can guess.

Other wonderful alone-time pursuits I enjoy are:

1.) Sprawling on my couch and reading; or sprawling in my bed and reading. I did this last night--Eloisa James' new novel is perfect for this.

2.) Cooking. Granted food is better shared, but if you haven't actually cooked a dish before, sometimes it's best to try it out before you try it out on friends. Plus if you're making something homey, the scent of comfort food bubbling in the background as you sprawl and read makes you feel better.

3.) Going through my shelves of DVDs and pulling out a "theme" of movies to watch. (I.e. I might watch North & South, The Young Victoria, and Sense & Sensibility; or Must Love Dogs, Leap Year, and French Kiss) Watch them while eating brownies. Or eating popcorn. Or ice cream is good. I prefer to be eating something.

4.) Going to a bookstore. You can't feel too alone when surrounded by books. Also there's that little boost when you get to BUY a book at the end--it's a win-win.

5.) Watching Harry Potter movies--for some reason watching Harry battle stuff alone (well, he does have Ron and Hermione, but when it's at the end, he's alone usually) makes me feel better, like we all have things we have to battle alone but it will all work out. We'll be reunited with friends again soon. Silly, yes, but it's my thing. *LOL*

jo robertson said...

Ouch, I don't blame Pablo. That's too much existential philosophizing for me! There are too many grandkid screaming in my ear to think about trees falling in the forest LOL.

jo robertson said...

Hey, naked is good! I'm thinking I wouldn't mind. Uh oh, Dr. Big just walked into the room from the shower. On second thought, maybe not.

Boy, it sure is quiet in the Loop and the Lair with so many Banditas and Buddies gone!

jo robertson said...

That sounds wonderfully relaxing, Jane.

Yes, Virginia! Reading is the go-to sport around the Lair. Definitely!

jo robertson said...

ROTFLOL! Aunty Cindy does love her guacamole! Homemade?? Sounds yummy.

Hey, Kate, I missed the YouTube link. Can you post it again?

Pink, those are some major time sucks! But they sound sooooo fun. When I shop online for books or books on tape, I can while away hours.

jo robertson said...

Ooooh, those big shoulder pads! Thanks for mentioning them, Pink. I'm here to say I loved those babies even if they look completely awful in pictures. There was an 80's movie with Michelle Pheifer (sp?), who's a tiny little thing, wearing those huge pads. Sooooo hilarious!

jo robertson said...

Yummy, Dianna, what's the latest recipe you tried out? Share, girl. I'm getting hungry!

Ooooh, Helen, that's one of the joys of retirement, isn't it? You finally get whole days to yourself. So relaxing!

jo robertson said...

Great list, MsHellion. I'm going to borrow some of your ideas. I haven't visited Harry and the Gang in quite a while.

Oh, Deb, I feel for you. I remember those days when I felt I was never, ever alone. I used to pretend I was going to the bathroom. I'd lock the door and read on the toilet. The first words my kids learned were "Privacy please!"

jo robertson said...

Hey, what's all this fear of nakkidity??? I'm thinking Paolo and Marcus would shine in that venue.

Oh, right, PG blog. Big heavy sigh! Someone's always ruining my fun!

jo robertson said...

Posh, I'm soooooo all over those buttermilk biscuits, but are you sure Paolo and Marcus are deserving of them?

jo robertson said...

Thanks for the link to Jane Austen's Fight Club, Caren. That was absolutely hilarious. I'd never seen it before.

Okay, off to watch again. Love it!

catslady said...

Reading always wins when I have spare time but I must say the computer comes a close second lol.

peggy said...

My alone time I enjoy a good book.A hot bubble bath and just setting out on my swing an do nothing.Have a great time at disneyland.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay Pink,
I'm off to check out Apartment Therapy coz mine could DEFINITELY use some! And I don't just mean the inhabitants. :-P

Please feel free to come into the kitchen and assist Posh! With those potatoes and onions, I think (HOPE) she is whipping up a big tasty FRITATA!

And yes, guacamole goes GREAT with a fritata, Jo-Mama. You know me TOO WELL! ;-)

off to find avocados

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

SO glad you could join us today! It would be waaay too lonely around here without our wonderful BBs. There are plenty of books in the Lair library if you wanna check it out.

Thank you for soothing Paolo's troubled brow! I'm sure Lars and Marcus won't be a bit jealous as long as you give them each a turn... OOPS! I believe Zach has returned from the dragon weir and needs some extra attention.



Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Movies... in ANY form, REQUIRES popcorn! ALL the boys know how to make the hot buttered popcorn like they served in the old time movie theaters. It's a requirement for employment here in the Lair.

And I LURVE your observation about the Harry Potter flicks and Harry having to face his problems alone, just like we all must. Thank GOODNESS we can find refuge here in the Lair after facing down any nasty problems!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Feel free to join Helen and several others in the Lair library! No need to climb up the ladder for a book on the top shelf. Marcus will gladly handle that task... And you might even get a peek at what the gladiators wear UNDER those tunics... OOPS! SORRY! PG-blog! PG!!!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Peggy,
A swing on the front porch (or back porch depending on the view) sounds like a wonderful idea!

Zach! Fetch a hammer, Aunty needs help hanging a swing!


gigi said...

I like watching my chick flicks and my DVD's of The Tudors.

I like hopping on the treadmill when I am alone.

gigi said...

Oh yeah, I spend a lot more time on the computer when I am alone. Like right now. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Gigi!

Glad you are spending time online with us today!

Jo-Mama will keep you company on the treadmills we have down in the Lair's workout room. ;-)

I've got season 3 of the Tudors moving up in my Netflix cue. Better get Lars to fix a BIG BUCKET of hot buttered popcorn.

drooling at the thought of Johnny Rhys-Myers

Caren Crane said...

Deb, I promise you'll have more quiet moments when your daughter is older. I don't recall if you have more than one child! Really, though, my girls are a rising senior and junior, respectively, and they are so busy now that I actually have some windows of quiet I never had before!

My son is grown and long gone, but I am still recuperating from his early years. Ay-yi-yi! He was far needier than the girls ever were. When he comes to visit now, it's almost always right before my normal bedtime and he always, always wants to mess with my computer and then TALK to me about it. Ack!

I'm just afraid that when the junior graduates and heads to college, I'll have trouble getting used to the silence I now dream of!

Caren Crane said...

Hellion, I love your list! All really great pasttimes. I also like it that you have themes to your movie marathons. I tend to do that, as well. Nothing like a day filled with, say, John Cusack. I like to run my Growing Up With John list:

"Better Off Dead"
"The Sure Thing"
"Say Anything"
"Midnight In the Garden Of Good and Evil"
"High Fidelity"
"Must Love Dogs"
"America's Sweethearts" and the recently added
"Hot Tub Time Machine"

I love John!

Caren Crane said...

Catslady, I find myself drawn inexorably to the computer, too. Like, RIGHT NOW, when the house is empty and I could be finishing season 1 of 'Heroes'. Yes, I am WAY behind the times!

Caren Crane said...

Peggy, I want a swing! I would love a porch swing, but don't really have a porch (we have a Dutch colonial). I'll have to get one of those free-standing ones. You know, whenever I convince my husband it's "essential". *g*

Caren Crane said...

Gigi, I was getting hooked on Tudors and then my husband got me hooked on Heroes. I will be back on Tudors as soon as I've exhausted Heroes, though. We have the Netflix disc so we can instant stream movies to our TV through our Wii. That has been so incredibly addictive! I have watched the entire run of more shows than I care to admit...

jo robertson said...

Speaking of Tudors and the like, did you watch PILLARS OF THE EARTH based on Ken Follett's massive book, Caren?

I was hoping for another ROME, but it wasn't nearly the same quality. Still I do like Rufus Sewell.

jo robertson said...

Think of me next time you're on the treadmill, Gigi! I love to do it, but ONLY if I have a really compelling show to watch. Right now I'm watching Season 3 of Dexter. We don't have Showtime.

jo robertson said...

Peggy, a nice fragrant bubble bath is my go-to pampering activity. But not in the summer! I like to make the water really hot.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Catslady! Reading and playing on the computer. If we did a poll, I bet we'd find those are the top winners. You're in good company.

Someone tall is growling for dinner (cough, cough, Dr. Big), so I must see if I can talk him into a salad instead of stroganoff.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Ladies and "Gentlemen,"

It's usually reading for me when
the house is empty, oh,& blogging.
It's quiet now with just Honey &
I in the house. DD2 just picked up her boys. Immediate silence! Until
they return again in the morning!

Pat Cochran

jo robertson said...

Hi, Pat! Thanks for stopping by. Isn't it such sweet blessed peace when they grandkiddies go? Love them to death, but you know, whew! I feel that way every Tuesday when I have 18 month-old Emma. Don't know how you manage more than that!