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I am Myrtle, twin sister of Mary, 
Mother of the savior of mankind. 
Yes, that makes me Jesus’ aunt,
Jesus’ favorite aunt, you'll find. 

I was midwife at the manger,
In the swaddle, I put the swa,
Then with Magi had a menage a trois. 
For those of you doing the mathmatics, 
The dude who brought the Frankincense wasn't into chicks. 
I knew John the Baptist when he was afraid of H2O. 
I can even claim Jesus' first miracle, cause you know...
I’m the reason they ran out of wine at the wedding. 



I was the original Auntie Mame. 
When Jesus was missing from the Bible for those years, 
He was traveling the world with me, learning to conquer his fears.
We went to India and Persia and Ethiopia and Tibet, 
Feasting and dancing and drumming and shit. 
Learning to reject dogma and embrace karma, 
And say “Screw you” to the Sadducees, 
“I’ll find the truth inside of me”, 

Basically living life according to the Gospel of Myrtle. 
I say the path to enlightenment is pleasure…
Just make the journey at your leisure,
And even if you never reach that higher plane, 
You'll have enjoyed the trip just the same. 

That teaching got me my own cult for a century or more,
My followers were Stevie Nicks groupie hard-core…
The Pharisees called them the Myrtle Maniacs. 
They built me a temple inlaid with gold 
And followed me all over the globe. 
So, if I’m so fricking fabulous why have you never heard my name? 

Baby, the story is always the same. 
Because I wasn’t a virgin and I wasn’t a whore. 
So, men didn't know just what to use me for. 
See, I was somewhere between a chastity belt and crotchless panties.  
I refused to be in the kitchen barefoot or in the bedroom bare-assed. 
But I did ran bare-breasted down beaches from Conde' Nast. 

I did not fit neatly into verse or book, 
That is why no matter how hard you look, 
You won't find me. 
Those Bible-writing bastards left me out. 

But I am back, and ready to shout. 
Tonight, I am stepping into the spotlight to reclaim my rightful place…

I am Myrtle…protector of pleasure and procurer of good times,
Patron saint to gypsies, tramps, and thieves, and mimes,
To rock stars, surfers, poets, prophets, 
Drag queens, dreamers, schemers, 
And George Hamilton. 

I am the voice that whispers, “Follow your bliss.” 
I am disco and pink champagne and your first kiss, 
Indeed, I am good weed. 
I am butterflies and blue skies and a brand new pair of roller skates.
I am multiple orgasms. 
I am the force that drives you to follow that dream. 
If you're feeling me now, let out a scream. 

I am Myrtle. 

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Did you know that the Virgin Mary had an evil twin? Neither did the outrageous residents of Steadfast, Kentucky until she showed up to sabotage their annual Ham Happening--a three-day celebration of all things pork. But before the opening Ham Ball even gets rolling, Myrtle swoops in and embarks upon a mission involving performing pigs, a sadistic soap star, the Miss Ham Honey pageant, same sex marriage, big hair, and genetic engineering. The fate of the town is left to young festival president Tancy Sloane, a rebel in her own right, who must decide whether to stop the renegade saint...or to join her. 

The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild is sweet tea with a big shot of bourbon and a juicy slice of the supernatural. Prepare for a party on every page.

Available here on Kindle or in Paperback

 
 
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Now, that the cold, cruel winter is finally over, it is back to the boat. And though Lexington is only 35 miles our dock, it seems a million worlds away. For example, yesterday, Frank helped one of our neighbors with a project. He was paid in peanut brittle and a jug of moonshine. We’ve also been paid in bags of frozen Bluegill, a set of sliding glass doors, a pair of orange life vests, and a taxidermy squirrel.

Aside from the bizarre bartering, lake life is different in other ways, as well. There are certain items that you cannot live without if you're a Bourbonista on a boat. They are:

1) Zip ties- with a little elbow grease and a zip tie you can fix or affix almost anything, including loose skirting, leaky pipes, party streamers, electrical wiring, a patio umbrella prone to escape, an herb garden to a rocking vessel, and sunglasses. I once even turned a pair of palazzo pants into harem pants. 

2) Styrofoam noodles- if you don't want a possession to wind up at the bottom of Herrington, you attach a noodle to it with...what else...a zip tie. There is even a man that wraps his prosthetic leg in a noodle when he water skis to ensure it won't sink. 

3) Back-up propane tanks- on a boat, propane fuels everything--grill, heater, toilet, stove, water heater. Hell, I even have a propane-powered vibrator.

4) LED lights- the best things in life are not free. They are $14.99 and found in the “As Seen on TV" aisle. The Brooklyn Lantern was my best purchase to date. At least once a week, I forget to unplug the microwave while running the hair dryer and blow a breaker. Without the Brooklyn Lantern, my overactive imagination would turn the dock into the set of "Friday the 13th" and I'd give myself a heart attack.

5) Plastic jugs- During the winter, they turn off the water from the dock so it doesn’t freeze. For three months, you have to transport your water from the shore. The more jugs you have, the fewer trips you have to make, therefore sturdy containers with a handle, like the ones Hawaiian Punch comes in, are more valuable than gold. 
 
Here are also a few Lake Lessons that I've learned along the way that also apply to life:

If you’re not catching anything, maybe you need to change lures.

You always want to be in a “No Wake” zone.

Sometimes in order to become self-sufficient, you first have to ask for help.

You can’t launch with one foot on the shore.


Don't kayak in a kaftan. 







 
 
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I'm having a hell of a time writing today’s blog. It’s 75°. I am at the lake. This is the view from my desk. I just went on a pontoon ride with three amazing women. I discovered a new favorite bourbon (Benchmark from Buffalo Trace), which I’m drinking as I type. Layne, in his floating house across the way, is blaring Carlos Santana from his porch speakers. And, I'm fully immersed in the beauty of just being.

Today’s blog is all about K.I.S.S., not the band, though I LOVE them. They were the first album I asked for as a child, which was very disconcerting to my God-fearing mother. By eight, I knew every word to “Detroit Rock City” and “Love Gun.”  But, alas, the K.I.S.S. I am referring to is Keep It Simple Stupid.

For years I prided myself on being a gypsy who owned blow-up furniture from Spencer’s Gifts, milk crates, and plasticware. Then, one day I turned around and had three houses, three cars, and two boats…all of which needed work and I owed money on. And, I had a career, where I was underpaid and underappreciated, but with a title that made me sound important. I realized that in my single-minded attempt to become somebody, I had lost myself. Instead of feeling like an artist, I felt like a prostitute with a pen that would write anything for anyone as long as it paid. I was creatively tapped, exhausted, twenty pounds overweight, and ready for a major change. Throughout my twenties and thirties, the questions I most often asked myself were, “What am I going to wear?,” “What are we doing this weekend?,” and “What will people think?” At forty-three, those had been replaced by “Who am I?,” “Why am I here?,” and “What is my purpose?”  I knew I wasn’t going to find the answers on the middle of a dance floor, in a boutique dressing room, or at the bottom of an overpriced cocktail in a fancy glass. But, where did one go to solve a midlife, self-discovery dilemma?

For me, Herrington Lake and a pair of houseboats named Lakematized and The Muse. So, we sold 75% of our “stuff” and moved to the water. Now, my focus is on minimalism for maximum result. Get rid of the extraneous, keep the extraordinary. Eliminate bills and social obligations so you can illuminate the people and issues that really matter. Never own an object more important than the person who could break it. Love everything in your closet. Keep real food in your refrigerator. Give away anything that is not both beautiful and utilitarian (other than art and books, there is always room for art and books). Fill your space with laughter and love , instead of possessions. Leave enough open area so your mind can roam. Breathe. Seriously, just breathe. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. 


 
 
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According to Truman Capote, "You can't blame a writer for what the characters say." I hope like hell this is true, because Jezebel Jackson, the main character from Hemlock Holler, is perhaps the most raunchy and raucous dame ever put on a page. 

Jezebel Jackson is a punk-country sensation known to her fans as The Barbarian Queen. On the verge of retiring, she is trying to perform her farewell concert, Hootenanny in the Holler, a midst death threats, the emergence of a supernatural nemesis, and protests from The Morality Maidens, a hypocritical, Evangelical group who preaches celibacy out of one side of their mouths and hatred out of the other. 

Here are a few Jezebelisms:

*Bitch wears so much make-up I bet it takes a metal cheese grater to scrape it off at night.

Well, that’s about as unfortunate as a Dominatrix developing a latex allergy.

I’d rather douche with Tabasco.

You're not a midget? Well, that’s too bad. Every bar needs a midget.

Ain't nothing that a bath and bourbon can't cure. 

Blood is thicker than water, but gravy is thicker than both.

I'd rather attend an orgy in a leper colony than brunch with her. 

Codswallop. As long as it covers nips and cracks, we’re good to go,

*She's one of those pathetic women that keeps a stack a bridal magazines under the bed and has an "I Do" board on Pinterest even though ain't nobody asked her to marry them. 

I’ve been very productive today. I shaved my snatch. It’s as smooth and shiny as fresh, waxed linoleum. Want to see?

*That Jesus on the crucifix around her neck looked downright embarrassed to be hanging between those fake boobs.

I’m a firm believer in working hard and playing hard…sometimes I just forget the working part. 


Lord, my twat is all over Twitter...again. 

Swine flu...I think they should call it donkey flu cause it makes you feel like ass.

*If she'd stop thumping that Bible and actually read it, she might act better. 

I prayed about it, and God told me to tell you to shut your big, ugly pie hole.







 
 
Throughout the song, “Ironic” Alanis Morissette asks, “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?” The answer is, "No. Hell, no." Most of the examples she gives are not ironic. They are just unfortunate. And some are just outright asinine. 

Here are a few examples: 

And isn't it ironic... don't you think
It's a black fly in your chardonnay…I can't even begin to see how this is ironic or even could be. I suppose if the brand was Spider Web Chardonnay it might have a bit of irony to it. 

It's like rain, on your wedding day…ironic, NO. Unfortunate, yes. 
Your parent’s divorce becoming final on your wedding day… that's ironic.. 

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day...
okay, maybe if the lottery numbers he played were also the day of his death like 04-10-20-14.

It's a free ride, when you've already paid...This is not irony, just ask for a refund. Now, getting cat scratch fever from a feline named Lucky. That's ironic. 

It's like ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife...First of all, why are there10,000 spoons? Secondly, what do you need a knife for that badly? Third, this is not ironic. 

Mr. Play-It-Safe, was afraid to fly 
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye 
He waited his whole damn life, to take that flight 
And as the plane crashed down he thought, "Well, isn't this nice"?
 …nice, NO. ironic, NO.
If Mr. Play-It-Safe insisted upon driving and a plane crashed into his car killing him, then that would denote irony.

It's a death row pardon two minutes too late. This is definitely some very bad timing, but irony would be if the death row inmate had invented the electric chair that he was going to be executed in. 

It's meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife...no, meeting the man of your dreams and and finding out he was your brother...closer...but still not completely ironic, 

I need to calm down and pour a cocktail. This song came out in 1995, I think it's finally time for me to let it go and move on, don't you? 
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For today's blog, I'd like to share the first chapter of my new novel Hemlock Holler, which will be out in June. 

CHAPTER ONE     

 An ancient power swam beneath surface of the earth like an electric octopus. It tentacled out to sacred spots around the globe and summoned both men and monsters back to Hemlock Holler. The strange souls drawn there were prone to regularly committing a litany of unsavory sins ranging from murder to moonshining, pornography to petty theft, and everything in between. But, the Holler and its residents had an unspoken pact. It would keep their secrets, if they wouldn’t reveal the extraordinary events they witnessed within it.

In the not so distant past, it was as common to look out your window and see a man morphing into some otherworldly creature as it was to spy a common grey squirrel. Chants of covens of witches casting spells to the full moon drowned out the cicada’s harsh chorus. And ghosts were as abundant as the Golden Ragwort that grew wild through the woods.

The force seeped out into nearby small, Kentucky towns causing occult occurrences and imbuing the inhabitants with unusual talents. Its influence reached as far as the outskirts of Lexington. In the seventies, a scientist from Transylvania University spent six months prying information from the locals and documenting the phenomenon. He vanished before the study was ever published. And life went on as normal…or abnormal, as the case was.

Then five years ago, for reasons unknown, all things supernatural stopped. Now, an ennui as dense as kudzu blanketed the forest. The only break in the boredom came every summer when punk-country sensation Jezebel Jackson barreled into the region for her yearly homecoming concert. She had moved away to Nashville two decades ago where she started breaking chart records, laws, hearts, and a fiddle at the end of each show, but still considered the Holler home.

So, each June, for three days, she came back and hosted Hootenanny in the Holler, a music festival of bacchanalian proportions. Hordes of hippies with backpacks full of energy drinks and hallucinogenics descended upon the land. They surfed in on a wave of patchouli and transformed the fields and forests into a colorful tent village. The drag queens that made up a significant portion of Jezebel’s fan base erected the elaborate Glitter Dome as their weekend home. And, her punk following showed up with nothing but booze, partied until they passed out on the bare ground, and used leather jackets for blankets and rocks for pillows. Peace, love, music and the unique odor of high-grade marijuana permeated the air for a full seventy-two hours. Bands ranging from Bluegrass to Metal Funk played back to back. Dancing bodies filled the fields. Then, as quickly as they arrived, the Festie Folk were gone back to jobs where they were forced to hide their tattoos under long sleeves and go by their proper, God-given names instead of Starshine or Bubble Boy. And again, for another year, tedium regained its reign.

From deep within its fiery core, Hemlock Holler yearned for something more to happen...something sinister and spectacular…luckily,it didn’t have long to wait.




 
 
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In our household, gorilla is a verb. It is usually being yelled at my husband, Frank, when he is in the midst of attempting to open, fix, or adjust something. "Don't gorilla that" means "Please take your time and stop manhandling it...or rather ape-handling it...before you crush it like a coconut."

Here are a few other nouns, which I think make pretty groovy verbs as well. 

He ran through the glass door, shattered it, and unicorned himself with a shard. 

I got no sleep last night, so I am zombied today. 

I don't feel like walking. Will you backpack me?

That bitch totally Judased me. 

He drank way too much and throw rugged.  

He totally Titaniced the test, and now has to attend summer school. 

I don't like being fishbowled; stop judging. 

I need to get a solid eating plan, so I don't Kirstie Alley anymore.

I am so mad, I am going to Zippo on someone. 

The glass of spilled wine tentacled across the floor.

Shhh....I need to light bulb and come up with a plan. 


Let me know if you have any words you like to use and abuse.

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PictureImage by RainbowLoveGraphics.
Contrary to popular belief, I have been keeping my Freak Flag at half-mast. But I am ready to raise it to the top of the tallest flagpole and let it whip in the wind for all the world to see and judge if they feel so inclined. 

I've written a diatribe on "Fuck What People Think," and sworn to make and hand out rubber bracelets with the "FWPT" logo. I've declared my liberation and vowed, "I will flee to the forest, 
To be reraised by wolves" in a poem entitled, "Feral."  I've read every self-help book on the shelves on the topic. And still, I struggle on a daily basis with allowing other people's opinions to stop...or at least slow me down...from living the life I want to lead. 

After losing a friend to a heart attack last week at the age of sixty-two, I realized with every fiber of my being that life is too short to hesitate, for even a moment, in pursuing a passion or grabbing a good time. This ends TODAY. Here are the five steps I'm taking to free myself from the foolishness: 

1) Fun Over Fear. Whenever I start to make a decision, I'm simply going to ask myself, "Would it be fun? Would it make me happy?" If the answer is yes, I'll ask, "Will it hurt anyone else? Like actually cause them pain or distress?" If the answer is no, then I'm doing it...regardless of being ridiculed or reviled. 
2) Feel Fat? Screw that! Since gaining thirty pounds, I have postponed trips, activities, photos, and shopping until I get thin again. No more. I will never let feeling fat get in the way of participating in the feast of fantastic experiences that make up a well-lived life. 
3) Find a Fetish.  So now that I'm feeling fine naked, I can fully express myself in the boudoir by exploring my freak there, as well. I am going to indulge my desires and find a fetish that suits me. Right off the bat, I'm thinking a combo of Stigmatophilia (tattoos and piercings) and Trichophilia (body hair). 
4)  Focus on Friends and Family...and friendly strangers. I can't be obsessed with what others are thinking or saying about me, it I'm focused on what I can think, say, or do to make a positive impact on them. The easiest way to take your mind off your own troubles is to help someone else overcome theirs. 
5) Forget Failure. Just because I fell on my face in the past does not mean it will happen this time. Even if it does, the fact that I'm still here means failure isn't fatal. What folks call failure is actually just an experience that chose not to follow the rules. 

I close with words from the fabulous Lucille Ball, 'I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done." Now, look out your window, you should see my Freak Flag flying high.


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Welcome to my words! Join me for your daily dose of Bourbonista madness.as I attempt to complete the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge. 

 
 
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Second Grade, Math Monday.

When students went head to head
For the coveted title of Multiplication King.
There had never been a Multiplication Queen on the scene,
No girl had ever won, but I was determined to change that.

Finally, it’s my turn.
I’m going up against Walter the Whiz.

Ready to make it mine,
I step to the line,
Lucky pencil in one hand,
Determination in the other.

The teacher flips the flash card…hard.
6 x7=…
42, I scream fast and first.
But in the excitement,
I’ve released my pencil.
Spiraling through the air, like a missile it flies,
And hits Mrs. Wilson square between the eyes.
“Donna Jane Ison, you could’ve blinded me.”

I decide right then and there,
That numbers are dangerous.
I decide right then and there,
That I will stick with words.
Pencils that are busy with sentences and such,
Do not put people’s eyes out much.

For years, I lived this lie.
But, recently, I realized that as a girl,
You gotta’ get good at math.
Because, ladies, life is a numbers game.

We are judged by our weight, our bra size, the width of our thighs.
The number of sexual partners, the number of husbands, the number of children.
Hours spent at work –vs- hours spent at home.
Hours spent with a man –vs- hours spent alone.

To understand the damage that numbers can do,
You gotta’ get familiar with fractions and percentages, too.

80% - the number of women who will have HPV by the age of 50.
1 in 50- the number of women who admit they actually like their bodies.
$11 billion dollars- the amount spent by American women on plastic surgery last year.
17% - the number of congressional seats held by women.
1 in 3- the number of women who are sexually assaulted within their lifetime.
77 cents to one dollar- the amount that KY women are paid as opposed to KY men.

In addition to the somber statistics,
There is magical and malevolent anti-feminist formula.
No matter what numbers you put in the answer is always the same.
Allow me to demonstrate:

Subtract the ideal from your actual weight and age,
Divide this by the discrepancy in wage,
Subtract the number of hours in each day,
Spent on self-loathing, regret, and shame,
Add in the year you first came,
Divide yet again by ten.
Subtract the double standard in morality,
Add in acts of brutality…
That you’ve committed against other women,
Give or take a few and divide that by two,
And the answer is less than and never enough.
That’s powerful stuff.
I’ve called a truce with the times tables.

In order to stop the epidemic of conquer and divide,
I have to learn to add and multiply.

One girl + one girl united in the common cause of mutual advancement.
Two voices speaking out  x four hearts hearing = eight
Eight who are greater together than alone
Eight women, two hands each… that reach

To others offering support and guidance.
Sisterhood squared…
Until millions are standing side by side exponentially expressing
Their belief in themselves and each other.
Girls, we have got to get good at math.


 
 
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Today, we'll have a little Bourbonista Banter with Designer Joanna Haberman of Dragonfly House Designs

Joanna began creating original pieces at the age of twelve with a pair of crocheted slippers...only one was completed. That was when she realized she wanted to make hats instead, because you only have one head. As a Designer and Fiber Artist she focuses on upcycling, repurposing, and fulfilling others' visions through custom commissions. Her first venture in vending was selling friendship bracelets with her best friend from a card table in her front lawn in 1990. Her items still continue to be sold at Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, Good Foods Market, and various other fairs and events. 

The Bourbonista: If you could be any animal on the planet, including those of the cryptozoological variety, what would you be?
Joanna:  Dragonfly. They go through a painful metamorphosis, but they are skilled hunters, and have an appealing grace to them.

The Bourbonista: Painful metamorphosis...I don't like the sound of that. I prefer pleasurable status quo. What six people, they can either be alive or dead or a combination, would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
Joanna:  Newton, DeCarte, Einstein, Tesla, Hawking and Masaru Emoto.

The Bourbonista: Just thinking about that dinner conversation makes my head hurt...or maybe the headache is due to the copious amounts of bourbon I drank last night...either way. If your house were to catch on fire, what is the one possession you would grab?
Joanna:  Wallet/Purse. Replacing your identity is a process!

The Bourbonista: Someone stole my identity once. They brought it back. Being me ain't as much fun as it looks. If your life story were turned into a biopic, who would play you?
Joanna: Anne Hesch

The Bourbonista: I can totally see that. I think I would want Robert Downey Jr. in drag. I think with his life experience he could capture the essence. If you were a booze, which would you be and who would you want to drink you? Joanna: Absinthe. I'd want people to experience an altered state of reality in order to open their current perspective.

The Bourbonista: The last time I took a trip with the Green Fairy I woke up in a barn wearing nothing but tap shoes and a Mardi Gras mask, but that's a whole different story. What is your favorite word and why? 
Joanna: Synchronicity. We are all interconnected, with gifts to share together, and recognizing synchronicity is the act of acknowledging those connections and feeding them so that they can thrive.

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Joanna's latest venture is Newsboy Caps, made from upcycled materials such as suit jackets, dress pants, and dress shirts. Having recently expanded her retail exposure of them to four stores in the downtown Lexington area, she is very excited to offer a variety of creative headwear options for many different tastes and personalities!

You can find examples of her hats at the following locations starting now and expanding over the next few weeks:

Bleed Blue Tattoo             Meg C Jewelry Gallery               Mulberry & Lime                        The Hive
527 S. Upper                    119 N. Mill St.                           216 N. Limestone                      156 Deweese St.
Lexington, KY                   Lexington, KY                           Lexington, KY                           Lexington, KY
859-255-4465                                                                    859-231-0800                            859-243-8545

Contact Joanna about custom orders at Dragonfly House Designs.

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Welcome to my words! Join me for your daily dose of Bourbonista madness.as I attempt to complete the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.