The Saturday Afternoon View From My Porch

So here’s what I’m looking at right now.

At nearly 50 degrees this afternoon, I thought it seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend a little time on my back porch, revising Project Hermey under an unseasonably crystal blue February sky. The Attitude agreed, at least about it being ridonkulously nice for the second month of the year. He opted for the swings, instead of work, though, and I dare say we can’t fault him for that decision.

Whatever your Saturday afternoon brings, I hope it consists of at least some of this:


…and no so much of the white, icy stuff that’s  piled up over your mailbox.

Have a great weekend!


Because I Don’t Have Time For No Flu


We’ve been barely skating along at la Casa de Puddin this week.  To the horror of all of us, the Puddinette was beset by some rotten form of the dastardly influenza on Monday, and has been clinging to her last remaining shreds of humanity from our bedroom since. As you can imagine, leaving me in charge of keeping the household headed in something even remotely like the right direction while she’s been off her feet has been a dicey business at best. Let’s be honest, putting yours truly in charge of most things is like handing a can of gasoline and a box of matches to an adolescent nicknamed “Blaze”.

Thanks in part to the careful application of ibuprofen and her own stubborn refusal to let the family we’ve built together crumble into something more terrifying than Celebrity Apprentice, I’ve gotten enough guidance to keep it all mostly together and functioning. So far, so good. Even better, she’s thankfully started to seem like the most miserable parts of the illness are behind her.

So that’s pretty awesome.

Awesome except that…last night, before stumbling to bed, I realized I felt off. Admittedly, for me, that this isn’t saying much. Being somewhat “off” is generally consider one of my more notable and valuable characteristics. But it wasn’t a fun, wacky off I felt last night, it was, “Oy, I’m hella tired and feel weaker than a 3 hour-old spotted tadpole” kind of off.

You know, that dreaded haziness you get 24 hours before you slide deep into the grip of flu-inspired fever dreams about a Tyrannosaurus-like Da-Vinci flying the Wright Brothers’ plane from Kitty Hawk, NC, through outer space, past the asteroids, and ultimately to a new dinosaur art colony on Jupiter, never mind that the whole planet is basically a gigantic ball of gas.

Well, I’ve got a life to lead here and I don’t have half a week to give to the chilled sweat dreams. So I took to the offensive and instead spent the day praying to any higher power within earshot for my flu shot to block the microbial assault over Battleground Puddin. Figuring, though, that I had a better chance with a more active plan (aka, one less dependent on hopes, wishes, and nameless deities), I also began the regular application of what you see above.

At the moment, I am happy to report the today’s Zicam and Orange Juice Blockade seems to have largely had the desired effect. I’m not feeling “off” any more, and that’s gloriously delightful because the last thing I need is to go all weekend wondering when maybe, if I were lucky, I might not be repulsed at the concept of a few spoonfuls of chicken soup.

The weekend is coming, dammit. With a little luck, I’ll be up to taking advantage of it.

Because the weekend, see, is cookie time.

And I’m not letting anything get in they way of cookie time.

I recommend you do the same.


Five Things For The Monday After

I would be remiss in not mentioning that the After in question above is clearly a reference to yesterday’s Super Bowl, which is arguably the single biggest TV-watching holiday on the American calendar.  Honestly, I think someone should probably just have the NFL file as a religious organization so we can recognize Super Bowl Sunday as a religious holiday and be done with it. Based on the lack of traffic I encountered on the way to work today, it seems like plenty enough people were staying home in observance of Hangover Monday anyway.

But, the Church of the National Football League isn’t the only thing I wanted to mention on today’s Five Things For Monday list.

  1. If you watched the game or commercials or basically have been paying any attention to the post Super Bowl media, I don’t have anything new to tell you.  The Patriots won, but more because the Seahawks lost the game for them than anything else. Pete Carroll and the Seattle offensive coaching staff seemed to have forgotten that you have to Have the Lead before you worry about Giving the Other Guys a chance. With 30 seconds left and down by a score requiring a touchdown, there’s no such thing as a “throwaway play”.  Well, unless the play you’re planning hoping to execute is intended to throw away the game. In which case, Achievement: Unlocked!
  2. Dear advertisers, don’t make commercials about dead kids unless you’re advertising a zombie TV show. Especially, you, Insurance Company I Won’t Name Because You Should Have Known Better, seriously, there are a ridiculous number of ways you could have gotten your point across without making the entire US football-watching and nacho-eating public go, “Maaaaaaaan, buzz kill, dude.” In fact, Ad Companies, listen carefully to my advice here: I might buy your stuff someday if you make me chuckle. I will not buy your stuff if you go fear mongering to the year’s largest TV-watching audience. PS: I think you’ll find today’s helicopter-trained parents are more than capable of finding plenty of things (usually more made-up than real) to be terrified about with regard to their children. They don’t need any more help.
  3. Good for AB Inbev for making a Budweiser ad that tries to unapologetically sell beer to the people that like their beer. That’s a much better idea than trying to convince craft beer drinkers you can make Bud styles that are maybe, kind of, sort of, craft-ish? (I’m looking at you, Bud Black Crown) But, uh, next time you wanna beat your chest and go “Yeah! Bud! Beer me, dudebro!” maybe consider not mocking the other brands in your multinational conglomerate beer portfolio?
  4. I have a headache today. No, it’s not because it’s Hangover Monday. It’s because I drink 500% more caffeine during weekdays than on the weekend and every Monday my brain has to send me a reminder that it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, stupid idea. But every Monday, I figure, screw my brain, what does it know anyway? Then I order 800 ounces of espresso.
  5. This morning, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meetings in Chicago, the 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, the Coretta Scott King Awards, and, yes, the Caldecott and Newbery Medals. I’m 110% certain that this presentation is a eleventy billion percent more important than any of the nonsense I wrote in items 1-4 regarding yesterday’s football game. So here’s a link to today’s ALA Youth Media awards, where you can watch the entire awesome presentation while simultaneously making a list of books to read and/or maybe suggest to whatever kids touch in your life in 2015.

Seems like a better idea, at the very least, than That Bastard Insurance Company’s plan of Convincing You To Worry About The Inescapable Death Coming At Children From Every Direction.

Meet you at the library.

Well, as soon as I get some ibuprofen.

And maybe some more espresso.


Five Years Later, What Am I Even Doing Anymore? Well, Besides Cookies

Yes, contrary to what you’re probably thinking, I am aware of the elephant in the room. In fact, I’d say this tweet of mine from yesterday fairly well points out that elephant, paints it pink, calls it smelly, and nicknames it “Priscilla”:

Of course, complaining about it doesn’t change a damn thing. Case in point, later that same day, I was busy posting to Instagram about getting’ mah double chocolate on. But nary a blog post in sight. An Instagram, sure, but certainly not a blog post.

The point is, let’s be honest, I have posted more about baked goods in the past month probably than ever before in the history of the interwebs. Like, going all the way back to the dark times of 1993 when you had to be a pocket-protector-sporting Nerd-with-a-much-deserved-capital-N to have access to websites. And most of the websites were either glittery text or pictures of naked people from the Netherlands.

I mean, the website of naked people were from the Netherlands. I was never sure of the country of origin of the naked people themselves. It wasn’t, um, apparent.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t all naked people on Dutch websites and maybe I’m not posting baking posts quite that much, but it’s definitely been Bake-r-rama around here since November.  And considering that my PPW (Posts Per Week) stat is down to some miniscule value that I’d need a supercomputer, a team of mathematicians, and some irrational numbers with funky symbols to accurately define, I’m pretty sure that means my Cookies Per Post stat is through the roof.

I mean, really’? Cookies? Baked goods? Is that all I’ve got?

Admittedly, there’s surely nothing wrong with baked goods, per se. Hell, everybody who’s not a worshipper of the Fell Demonic Goat People enjoys a tasty baked thing from time to time. But I started this blog with the intent of writing about stuff that was on my mind, to practice for writing books that might someday end up on a shelf. Whatever happened to be on my mind at that moment of writing ended up in the posts, then, regardless of whether it was a genuinely thought about being a parent, or 473 rambling words about why Q-Tips are better than the store brands of…well, whatever you call Q-Tips and aren’t Q-Tips.

Wait, are they swabs, maybe? I dunno. If you ask me, “swabs” is a hundred times worse than moist. It’s way up there with “boner” in the pantheon of awful words. Which is why, no matter what brand goes in my ear, it’s a “Q-Tip” and not a swab.

Ahem. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that I haven’t been posting posts in my post-posting space lately because of a weird subject/entertainment paralysis. See, I’ve attracted a few followers over the last five years, and there are enough people subscribed to Puddintopia on this day in 2015 that I honestly find myself fretting that I should try and write something worthy of your attention. And because I’m never sure what topic I think might be enertaining, I end up not writing anything at all.  Instead, I just stick to editing Project Hermey, or whatever book I’m working on instead.

But that’s as back-assward, if you’ll pardon the expression, as having a one-eyed parrot wearing a pirate.

So we’re getting back to basics around here. No more “topics” unless something happens naturally. Posts for the rest of 2015 are going to be streams of consciousness, pulling in whatever flotsam happened to be bouncing around in my noggin at that moment, no matter how ridiculous, poorly informed,  or random.  If I end up ranting about revising a book for 2 consecutive weeks because that’s all I’ve got on my mind, well, then, that’s what I’m going do.

My hope is that you’ll hop aboard a kayak with me, ready to brave the rapids of my daily thoughts.  If you choose not to, I’ll understand completely. Some people really prefer blogs that actually have a point, and the last thing I want to do is suggest I’ll always have one.  Likewise, I can’t promise whatever’s on my mind will be immediately illuminating.

But I do hope it mostly be entertaining.

Grab your Q-Tips, then, boys and girls, because I’m getting the band back together. It’s time to revisit the old playground and see what pops up along another 120,000 word-long adventure to nowhere.

What got me thinking about all this—besides being sick of looking at the same picture of the cookies from my most recent post, two embarrassing weeks ago—is that on this day, five years in the past, way back in 2010, I decided to take the first step of an adventure. It was the start of my long delayed life’s journey to find out if I could be a real writer or not.

Since then, I’ve written a ridiculous volume of words (well over a million), including not quite a thousand blogs posts (this one makes 998, to be precise) and six (!) novels. I’ve survived the query trenches and signed with a real, honest-to-the-ancients literary agent who believes in my voice and work and fights every day to get my words bound, printed, and put on shelves.  I’ve connected with more great writers than I’d have ever thought possible, a tribe with whom I feel a belonging I’ve seldom felt before.

And above and beyond all of that, I’ve worked day after day after day at the craft of making words, so that I’m confident enough to say that today, this day, I can make the best words I’ve ever made in my life.

But that’s not enough, just know that. I will keep working, too, because tomorrow’s words can always be an improvement upon today’s, and I will—not, I must—strive to make sure that they are.

After five pretty awesome years, I see that the post about the cookies put me at  crossroads I didn’t, until just this moment, understand I had reached. But now, seeing it, I see to only way across is to keep moving forward. No turning. No change of course. No veering to see if that turn might be the wrong left to make at Albuquerque. I want five more years and thousands of more readers.

From now on, then, while I might still make plenty of cookies—and I’ll certainly Instagram every last one that comes out of my oven—the only thing piping hot and aromatic around here will be blogs posts, not baked goods.

And you can take from that whatever understand you’d like.

Thank you for five years of rambling and nonsense, puddintopians.  I hope I’ve managed to give you a chuckle from time to time, and I hope even more that you’re looking forward, like me, to five more years of wondering what’s going to come out of my head.

Now get out there and have a great weekend…and try not to set the place on fire.



When Life Gives You Balance, Make Cookies

This week hasn’t been all sunshine and peacock glitter, I have to admit. I got some news earlier that gave me the unhappy feeling of being simultaneously shocked, mad, and hugely disappointed. It like was that thing where your stomach gets all cold and drops to your brand new argyle socks, yet you’re so mad you want to want to throw something, too. You know, like a Winnebago.

But then we got some goods news that outweighed the not-good news and my feeling of #HollowRage faded.

So…balance. That’s what I got this week, balance. And as we all know, balance means cookies!

I mean, not they’re exclusive to balance or anything. I’m pretty sure the Great Elders of the Old People in Yesterdaytimes dictated that Things such as it being Thursday, getting a Microsoft security update, the sun rising in the east, sending out a tweet, and hey-look-I’m-growing-hair-in-funny-places are all occurrences that herald the making of cookies.

Who am I to dispute the wisdom of the Elders?

So then, here’s to having your own Elders to tell you when it’s cookie time.

And just in case you don’t, I’m ready to offer suggestions.


Now Is The Winter Of Our Attempted Content

I feel like I’ve given myself a bit of reputation. No, not for being “the guy you want to get under the bleachers at football games.”  That was only eth one time, I swear! I was, um, a sophomore and didn’t know any better.

Who am I kidding? The only time I was ever under the bleachers, I was eight years old and hunting for quarters. I had a master plan that would culminate in buying a thousand year-old bag of Potato Crispys™ from the vending machine in the teacher’s lounge while my dad coached high school volleyball.

Or maybe it was the Dunkin’ Sticks?

At any rate, the reputation I was referring to was actually for being a curmudgeonly old curmudgeon about the long, grey, frozen days of winter.  Which, for those of us in the middle-to-upper parts of North America, have just officially gotten underway. Obviously, here, I’m not talking about the okay part of winter, those two weeks from the 20’s of December to the first few days of January, when everyone is cozy and stuffed with warmth, joy, and cheer—by which I mean copious volumes of holiday alcohol.

But alas, in the past few years, as the shine has worn off the new year and the Season as faded to memory, I’ve gotten as cranky as a retired accountant with a perfectly groomed, lush, green lawn…and a brand new teenage neighbor draw to it like an owl to a Tootsie Roll pop.

I’m talking cranky to the point where last year I even kind of made myself sick with the tremendous amount of whining I did in mid-January about the cold and ice and snow. I don’t think even my kids complained quite as much the last time I made them wash my car.

Which bring us to today, early January, 2015. It’s the time of year where everyone’s taking their new plans for personal achievement for a spin and testing to see if there’s a realistic shot in the Sixteen Icy Hells of Puratis of them being managed. And yes, that includes me.  In general, I try not to be Senor Resolution Guy.  In fact, I used to rail against New Year’s Resolutions altogether. But then, I was basically for most of my mid-twenties, I was King Contrarian for several Very Lame Reasons (including, but not limited to, dumb youth). In other words, I’d happily rail against just about anything traditional or culturally accepted by large numbers of people. See also: why I wore black shoes with white socks and refused to play golf, read the Harry Potter novels, or enjoy coffee until my thirties.

Thankfully, though, all that turned out to be nothing more than a two-decade fad and I’m all better now.

Which means I’m allowed to make New Year’s Resolutions without even being ashamed of myself.

This year, though, I’m not getting all crazy. I’m not adopting some wacky pinto bean diet or swearing on my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that I’ll workout (with a towel present at all times, naturally) every day for the next sixteen weeks. I mean, sure, I’d like to better myself and all, but that sort of over-reactive silliness just ends with hard feelings and gym memberships you can’t get out of without a four-year waiti gng period and a signed, notarized letter from the Senator in the state where your fitness place is incorporated—which is, conveniently, almost never your actual state of residence.

What I would like to concentrate on this year isn’t exactly Earth-shattering. I intend to write a little more (that goes double for here), complain a little less, spend more time with my kids when I can (especially while I still can, before they have no more need of me), read more books, and whenever possible, simplify our life. I want to focus on the experience of being in my early 40’s and less on the collecting of stuff that’s just going fill up space in my basement.

And, hell, let’s shoot for the moon: I’ll cut back on the beer a bit, while I’m at it.

In keeping with my list of basic goals for the year—which I just realized sounds disturbingly either like a self-help mantra or a country song—for the next few months, you’re not gonna hear any belly-aching out of me, no matter how much Winter! January and February dish out.  Instead I’m going to build a bunch of fires, wear my fuzzy flannel Superman pants, and drink as many gallons of coffee and cocoa as it takes to keep my cheeks rosy and my demeanor sunny.

Because, sure, it’s going to be –15 degrees or something ridiculous tomorrow, but that’s no reason to have a bad attitude.

At least, not until we run out of marshmallows.

That’ll be when things start getting’ real.


A Festivus Grievance: What’s So Wrong With ‘Moist’?

As everyone who lived in the 90’s and has any taste whatsoever knows, Festivus is a holiday celebration observed every year on December 23rd. It starts with an unadorned pole – because, let’s face it, nobody’s got the time or patience for fancy tree decoratin’ – and then you get together to enjoy many time-honored Festivus rituals, including the Airing of Grievances, the Festivus Meal (of Convenience), and the Feats of the Strength.

(For more information about Festivus, I recommend Wikipedia, Google, or basically anywhere on the internet.)

Sadly, it’d be a little difficult to share a Festivus dinner with all of you, what with this being a blog and all. I can’t really fit you in my house as a group and I, believe it or not, I don’t have even enough chips and dip to go around. 

Although we DO have a lot of cookies.


This being the internet, though, it The. Perfect. Place for The Airing of Grievances.  Sadly, though, much as I would enjoy it, I don’t have the time to sit here and type out a post detailing of all my grievances. It would end up 5000 words long and would read like the spit-flinging ramblings of a man with a beard housing a large family of rodents.

I like to pretend I’m not that guy.  Yet.

But I DO have one grievance  I can’t lit slip by.  I’ve got a problem with you people and you’re all going to hear about it.

What the hell is SOOOOOOO wrong with the word “moist”?

Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, sooner or later I hear them complain that “moist”is just The. Worst. Word.  Nobody likes it.  Nobody. Apparently it’s just evil and wrong, to be counted up there with Hitler and Pharaoh and New Coke.

Well, I’m here to set the record straight.  There’s nothing wrong with the word “moist”, and I don’t want to hear anyone, ANYWHERE complaining about it again. Because, moisture, see, is a good thing.  A damned good thing. One of the best things, actually.  For instance, all that cake you people seem to love so much? Moist cake beats the holy living tar out of those bone-dry cupcake pucks little Ellen’s mom gave out at her birthday every day of the week and twice on birthdays. Cake that isn’t moist is like summer without ice cream…a sad, boring, depressing waste of time.

And that’s certainly not the only thing good about “moist”.  A million things are better moist that not. Brownies, because dry ones make the angels weep, usually on broken teeth. Steaks, because I know you can remember that shoe leather your grandfather used to char grill and then force you to eat. Would you believe it started life as a lovely piece of sirloin? Moist spring grass is delightful, and I bet you can even smell right now. Hell, even your physical form is better moist. Dehydration kills, you know. And hangovers suck mostly because you’re not moist.

Moist, my friends, is a good, good thing.

Okay, fine, so maybe, just maybe, there’s one or two connotation of “moist” that isn’t everyone’s favorite.  But, come on, in the long run doesn’t the good that comes from moist  far, FAR outweigh the bad? I mean, admit it, even the moist you don’t like is kind of important and helpful from time to time, if you know what I mean.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

So, hey, let’s all give “moist” a break, okay?

Still not convinced?  Fine. Let’s instead talk about words that are really awful. Like, “boner”, for instance.  Boner is a terrible, horrible, awful word. You can’t even use in everyday conversation without being labeled some kind of deviant. Even worse, “boner” is often best remembered as the derogatory nickname of that one poor kid in your high school. Damn word probably ruined his life. And yet, as awful as “boner” is,  you people cling to the idea that “moist” is the worst thing you’ve every heard.

Well, it’s not. And I challenge anyone to look me in the eye and say with a straight face that ”boner” is better than “moist”.

I bet you couldn’t even read that with a straight face.

So, in the coming year I expect to hear a lot more support for the word “moist” than you people have been giving it. It’s a good word. A helpful word. And, believe me, I can come up with even worse words than “boner”. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear them.

And that, puddintopians, is (more than) enough grievance out of me.

Have a great Festivus! May your holidays be happy and silly and full of delightful, moist things! Enjoy yourself and your loved ones, no matter who or where you are.

Have a cookie or two for me, and, uh, try not to set the place on fire.


The 2014 Puddintopia Writer’s Gift Buying Guide

It’s a tricky situation: the clock is ticking down to Christmas (or the sixth night of Hanukkah, or Fesitvus, or whatever your holiday-based gift-giving deadline happens to be) and no matter how much brainstorming you do, you’re just not sure what to get for that writer in your life. You could spring for some new books, because I’ve yet to meet a writer who wasn’t a reader first. Let’s face it, though, your house is already overrun with books that haven’t yet been read,and you’re tired of having to move that stack with the copies of Little Women, Ender’s Game, and Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows just to get to a new roll of toilet paper.

New clothes always make a nice gift, right? Except your writer already has a frayed bathrobe, doesn’t routinely wear anything more than the offending robe (and, believe me, after years of daily wear, it’s pretty doggone offending) and maybe a dirty, 10 year-old, paper-thin concert tee-shirt.
You’ve tried to get them fancy coffee before, too, but the last you went that route, he or she snarled like a feral cat and said something about soul-cursed heathens.

It doesn’t help that whenever you ask for gift ideas, your writer mumbles something about space lobsters, time wolves, “asynchronous chronostats”, or some other string of words that mostly don’t seem to be based on any common language you speak. That assumes, of course, you can even get a response at all, as opposed to an empty stare, a panicked look from haunted eyes, or, worse, getting ignored completely.

Well, I’m here to help! With the 2014 Puddintopia Gift Buying Guide For Writers, we offer five foolproof ideas guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any writer.

  1. Wardrobe Accessories – Every writer needs something to wear that most people wouldn’t think had any practical use. Does your writer complain that the sound of sunshine creeping across the bedroom floor is too distracting, let alone the houseful of other noise-producing humans? Sounds like they need some noise-cancelling earphones.  Or, instead, are they type of person who’s always cold, and forever trying to warm perpetually frozen digits or ice-cube like toes? Fingerless gloves go a long way toward keeping hands toasty warm without hampering fingers that need to fly over a keyboard. And insulated fuzzy slippers (preferably bunnies, if you can find them, of course) will make them forget all about their near-hypothermic tootsies. So rather than ask for a gift idea, ask your writer what little, physical inconveniences can make writing a challenge for them.
  2. Consumable Vices – Everyone tortured creative type I’ve ever met has a special little crutch they depend on to help them get through a project. I use a handful of M&M’s as daily motivational tool.  Some writers I’ve met swear by a glass of wine to lubricate the ol’ word-maker. Hunter S. Thompson used, well, lets not talk about what Hunter S. Thompson used. It’d probably be easier to list what he didn’t use. At any rate, find out what helps to fuel the fires of creativity in your writer and set a little of that under the tree for them.
  3. Scrivener, or other writing-support software – Personally, I swear by Scrivener, and can’t fathom drafting a novel with out it these day. Writers, though, can be special like snowflakes (and just as fragile) when it comes to blasting new material from the word cannon, so get a license of whatever they úse to help them along the way.
  4. Tablet or other mobile drafting/editing device – We live in the wondrous future, where personal computers come in the form of flat panels just like the ones (well, smaller) that Captain Kirk once used to sign orders while in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  And although the early few generations of tablets were mostly good for reading books or watching cat videos on YouTube, the newest ones are capable of the full monte of drafting and editing tools your writer uses to turn a fuzzy, bourbon soaked idea into a manuscript. These things are infinitely more convenient to whip out and use productively during, say, a son or daughter’s two-hour basketball practice than that cumbersome, battery-eating old laptop of 2010. And with price tags ranging from Wow! to Well… to  Whoa., there’s a budget, feature set, and tech configuration out there for anyone with a mind on getting today’s word count down during those unfortunate times when the writer in your life has to actually put on pants and leave the house.
  5. Understanding – Yes, living with your writer can be patience-trying at best and downright maddening at it’s most difficult. They’re often moody and distant, can be more absorbed in the make-believe world in their head than talking about the one you both live, and usually remember more details about their book characters than their own cousins. Writing can be a painful, frustrating endeavor for everyone involved, and there’s certainly no guarantee of ever having more to show for it than whatever words finally end up on paper. So this holiday season, why not give your writer a sympathetic look, a warm hug, or a whisper of support the next time he or she is banging their head against the breakfast table between their bowl of Lucky Charms and their plate of buttered toast?
  6. Lemons – What do you mean, why lemons? Lemons are adorable, round, and full of goodness. They’re fantastic stress relief squeeze balls, they can be made into a delicious beverage or delightful desserts, can keep your apples and avocado from turning that disgusting brown, and with all that vitamin C? Heeeelllllooo…no scurvy here, thank you. Oranges are okay, too, I guess. But lemons, man,  you can’t go wrong with lemons.

And that’s it. If you can’t find something for the dedicated, partially tortured writer in your life from the list above, well, I did say “lemons” didn’t I?

Good luck, gift givers. And may whatever Krampus-filled holiday you observe be filled with smiles and joy and a mere minimum of grouchy word-slinging.

Happy Holidays!