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F*ck Ya, That’s My Dream

Ever since I was a little girl watching Laverne & Shirley and Punky Brewster, I have wanted to be a sitcom writer. I knew I could never be an actor, for various anxiety-related reasons. But the actors don’t choose (in most cases) what comes out of their mouths anyway. That is controlled by the writers. So, that is what I wanted to be.

I never really believed that that dream could come true. Recently, I have thought, “What the hell. I am going to believe that it could be a possibility. And things like when The Mindy Project began following me on Twitter for no apparent reason get my hopes up. What if they realize my genius?

I was losing faith that there would still be shows like that for me to write these days. In recent years, everything became a “reality” show (although I believe that they actually have writers too. Really real, right?) Now everything is a serialized horror anthology. Not my style at all.

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

But then there is The Ranch on Netflix. It restores my faith in the half hour comedy with a little-drama-thrown-in-to-grow-the-characters format. Plus there are LOTS of swear words, which the 12-year-old boy that lives inside of me loves.

The premise is that professional football player Colt (Ashton Kutcher) returns home to the ranch to live and work with his goofy brother Rooster (Danny Masterson) and their grumpy father Beau (Sam Elliott). They spend lots of time with their hands up cows’ asses, and the rest of the time drinking. All the dialogue is very easy going and it just feels like Ashton and Danny showed up to hang out for the day. Ashton even looks like he might just wear his clothes from home. Then maybe Sam Elliott is just grumpy because he came in expecting to actually make a real TV show, although he seems in on it as well. It just seems like something I would love to be a part of.

One of the few occasions where Ashton Kutcher is not wearing a baseball hat. Photo: Netflix

One of the few occasions where Ashton Kutcher is not wearing a baseball hat.
Photo: Netflix

In the episode I watched today, the sexy weather girl Tanya Showers was giving the lottery results on the Bennetts’ television. All the men were hypnotized by her. “First reading the weather, now the numbers. Is there anything she can’t do?” My brain jumped ahead to the punchline before they got there. Maybe everyone’s would, but I like to think I have a talent for it. I relish the predictability.

But then the cliffhanger at the end of part (season?) two totally surprised me. I was actually mad at myself for not predicting it, because they did foreshadow it in the preceding episodes. But it was still good.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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What I Learned This Week – 9/25/16

I know 9/25 was yesterday, but the rules I set forth for my blog say that a “What I Learned” can be posted on Sunday OR Monday, but must always contain Sunday’s date to reflect the previous week.

What? Your website doesn’t have rules?

This week I learned that dreams come true.

I have told parts of this story before, but here is the definitive version.

When I was in middle school I found a kindred writing soul, my asbestos friend. (I have mentioned her on here before.) We both would write stories about what we were interested in at the time—cute boys at school, the New Kids on the Block, etc. Some of these were only a few pages long, and many were rated-R. Sometimes we would let the boys at school read them. That was fun, because they didn’t seem to realize that girls could have minds as dirty as boys—and that we could put it into cohesive sentences to share.

SIDENOTE: Ten years later I was working at a national drugstore chain. I waited on one of those boys. I asked him if we had gone to the same school, knowing full well we had. He asked my name, then left, still looking puzzled as if he didn’t remember me.

He asked his mom if she remembered going to school with a Jennifer Friess. His mom went to a trunk she kept of his school mementos. He was a bad boy then, so there probably weren’t many academic or attendance awards in there. His mom pulled out some of the stories my friend and I had written back in the day. I may even remember him telling us about getting in trouble when his mom found them back then. But, well, SHE must have liked them because she had kept them.

He came back into the drugstore about a week later and told me that. I still am proud of that. His mom must be our first fan.

In high school, my asbestos friend and I would sometimes ditch lunch to go to the computer lab and type stories. Not for homework, but just to get the ideas out of our heads. That was like 1992. I never thought I would ever be privileged enough to have a computer in my own house—such a luxury item.

On Saturday, we sat behind the same table and sold our books. Mine self-published (on my own laptop—my how times change), hers by a small publisher. If I had told that short girl in high school wearing the XL T-shirts (ME) that that would one day happen, she wouldn’t have believed me. And she would have probably gone right then and slit her wrists at the thought of all the work to get to that point. So, maybe it is good I can’t talk to her.

Two dreamers.

Two writers. Two authors. Two dreamers.

We may not have big fame and fortune, but who says that won’t be ten, five, or maybe even a year from now?

I don’t believe it will ever happen. But, I believed that once before about having book. Now I have three. This journey I am currently on continues to surprise me.

Today, it actually scored me a free T-shirt from the local Co-op! Research pays off 😀

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Save

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Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare

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When I first heard there was such a thing as doggy daycares, I thought it was a GREAT idea! Cute little dogs, running and playing all day while their owners were at work. I didn’t have a dog at the time. And when I did get my furry daughter Dave, I couldn’t afford to enroll her anyway. There was one in the city I worked in, but not in the city I lived in.

Then I got the great idea to start my own doggy daycare. I could take my dog there with me, to work every day! I wouldn’t have to miss her! I wouldn’t have to pay to enroll her! I could be making money off other people’s dogs! I could have it right in my own town and alleviate my two hour daily commute!

Why, Dave could be my mascot!  She could also be my mascot for my dream of a Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.  Hmmm.  There must be someway to combine the two business ideas.  Customers who don’t pay up, their dogs get ground into hot dogs!  Wait, too gruesome?  Scratch that.  Just a cost-cutting idea 😉

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

I love organization. I could have spreadsheets about what dogs get fed how much and what kind of food. I could make forms for prospective clients to fill out and submit with their proof of vaccinations and emergency info. I could keep have a file full of dates when I need to nag the owners to get me new annual shot records.

I made a mental plan to get a job at a doggy daycare for a while so that I could get paid training and pilfer their best practices. I looked up all the closest ones online. I watched their job postings. I even took an American Red Cross Dog First Aid class (required or highly recommended to work for most of these places).

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

At one point, I even had a job offer from one. At the time, it did not fit the requirements I needed for a job to support my family’s needs. Which, was kind of a huge bummer.

It seemed like a great plan and I held on to that dream for several years. But I finally gave it up. Mostly because our Pointer Parker is such a troublesome dog, he turned me off to spending all day, every day, with dogs. As I speak, Parker is pacing through the house. He will momentarily pee on the floor is I do not jump right up and let him out. It doesn’t matter that he just went out two hours ago. Or that I purposely left his water dish empty since breakfast so that he would not drink the whole thing all at once. I really do not like him. And part of that could be that he took my dream away from me. One of the few I ever had that seemed like I would be able to make it work.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me.  Don't let the Santa hat fool you.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me. Don’t let the Santa hat fool you.

There. I just let him outside, and back in again. Of course, while he was out there, he danced the Riverdance in the mud puddles. He comes in covered in mud (and I know what else) from head to toe. He is entitled and ungrateful. He is actually a cat.

Cats would never be allowed at Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare.

I have returned to my ultimate dream: early retirement. I might need the help of the lottery to make that one happen.

Jennifer’s Wiener Hut

My gramma used to live on the top floor of a 7-story apartment building. I would stand on her balcony and watch the residents and visitors come and go from the parking lot below. I could also see the busy 5-lane road that served as her building’s address.

Across the street was a shopping plaza. It did not contain some of the busier stores in town, but there was lots of traffic that passed by. At the very front of the plaza was a tiny gas station, back when they still made them that way. It had two old-school square pumps out front. I believe it may have even been full service.

But you have to remember, this was probably 25 years ago.

The gas station closed and sat there empty for a long time. And that is when I developed my business plan.

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

I wanted to someday use that building to open Jennifer’s Wiener Hut. At the time, there were many restaurants along that road. And being at the front of the parking lot right near the street, I would have had great frontage.

I would have put a drive-thru on both sides of the building. This was pretty forward thinking for my age at that time, as I had never seen a Rally’s with that set-up. I would have had my sign be a giant hot dog at the top of the building that said “Jennifer’s Wiener Hut”.  It would be drive-thru or walk up only, no indoor seating.

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

I would have served hot dogs and sausages. I would have offered chips as sides. I figured I could offer almost anything on the menu as long as it didn’t require a fryer. (I’m scared of bubbling hot oil.)

My restaurant would be known for getting the cars in and out fast. (This would be an advantage of having a limited menu.) People with only a half hour for their lunch would think of my restaurant first. People who were in a hurry would be my target customer. Unfortunately, that would make for a rather crabby customer base.

It’s not that I think hot dogs are the greatest food of all-time. They are not. Although they are a great food choice for picky eaters at a fair or festival. And sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot.

Although, according to the book “Never Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog” (I used to send copies of this book out to stores at my old job), I am sacrilegious because I usually only eat ketchup on my hot dog (and sometimes onions). But, as my mom would say, “Hot dogs are just made of the leftover parts the meat companies can’t use for anything else”. So why should it matter what way I choose to consume it?

I love hot dogs the most because of the kitsch/camp factor. Hot dog advertising over the years is so cute and happy. Just picture the smiling, dancing hot dog with his friends popcorn and fountain pop on the drive-in movie screen. And think of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. (But that is a whole post of it’s own. Someday.)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

Over the years I have purchased items with hot dogs on them, and in the back of my mind I always thought maybe I would use them someday in my hot dog stand or as a decoration on the shelf that would go around inside my stand, up by the ceiling.

Hot Dog Towel

Hot Dog Towel

On Mackinac Island, there is a yellow hotel across the street from the Straits of Mackinac. It has a little hot dog stand in front of it between the street and the water painted up yellow and white, just like the hotel. I took a picture of it so that I could remember it as a model for Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

The gas station I dreamed of converting is long since torn down. But I still think it is a good idea. And because I would be the owner, I would hire other people to actually work in the hot, steamy, tiny kitchen. I would just beam with pride that I own a business with my name on it and am making money from it.

And if the hot dog stand didn’t work out, I could use the same name for a male strip club 😉

MackleMORE Week – Tuesday

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MACKLEMORE-1

Lyrics from “Ten Thousand Hours” by Macklemore+Ryan Lewis

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