Thursday, December 31, 2009

Drink a cup of kindness

The words "Auld Lang Syne” translate literally from Scottish dialect as “old long ago.” The poem on which the annual celebratory song is based regales love and friendship in times gone past.

The good old days or more idiomatically, "long long ago."

Once upon a time.

Do you live more in the past or the present? Time tends to sugar coat memories with a sweet dusting of sentiment and nostalgia; we forget the rough spots had at a job, with a friend or in a relationship. The past is safe to an extent, no more surprises, the present and future unknown and a little scary.

The past can leave you stuck. Old scars can be sewn up but you still see the tear (stole that from Bono). But if one isn’t willing to catch tender skin jumping over a fence or going breathlessly over an abyss, unless one trusts that arms are strong enough to hold and propel through the tide, what’s on the other side will be forever out of reach.

And that’s the bitch.

And the thrill.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ode to Joy

There’s a scene in (500) Days of Summer (a breezy, un-romantic comedy with a mod vibe, shot in 1960’s pastels, the girl in tight-waist-swirly-skirt dresses and the boy in khakis, sweater vest and a tie) where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character walks, skips and dances home the morning after an evening spent with the lovely Zooey Deschanel. Hall and Oates provide the bouncy soundtrack to elation and joy in a moment of living, recognizing happiness as it exudes fingers to toes and beyond.

That’s a good feeling.

I had a day like that Sunday, a day of surprises and little trinkets of happenstance around every corner. I bet I even skipped because, often, joy happens when you simply pay attention.

Like the New Radicals songs that started playing at the exact moment I turned key into ignition and a favorite, sing-along-loudly tune filled the car.

Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
We only get what we give

Or the parking space that opened up right in front of the always busy bagel-coffee shop as I turned the corner and the so-fresh-it-was-still-on-the-cooling-racks chocolate chip bagel that melted hot on my warm tongue.

Spotting the dozen plus tiny to large icicles lining a lunch café awning when I drove past, sparkling and twinkling like Christmas lights and hoping at least one or two of the diners inside would notice when each eventually dropped like a diamond dagger into a puff of snow below.

I made every red light.

Smiling when the notes of a beloved and cheesy one-hit-wonder swelled as I merged onto the highway and cranked it louder.

I used follow, yeah that's true
But my following days are over
Now I just gotta follow throughI remember what my father said
He said "Son, life is simple. It's either cherry red or midnight blue"

The tiny box of Godiva chocolates I picked up for myself at the boutique (on post-holiday sale) because, even though my winter weight is up, a sweet treat is just that. The raspberry star is my favorite.

I have 7 pieces left in the box.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

He’ll be back at Christmastime

I had the funk, bit of the blue Christmas. Now I can’t get over how quickly the season has passed, that this weekend my glittery, sparkly chachkas will be packed away for one more year. Given out most of my presents, just a few things for the manfriend still under the tree.

Been a long time (read pretty much ever) since I spent the holiday cuddled up with bourbon-y, muddled clove drinks, a real wood fire and boy to roll under the mistletoe. He’s even got the dog for the hearth. We took a walk hand in hand down Pearl Street Mall in Boulder last weekend, an uncommonly warm December day of 50 degrees, sweater and jeans only weather, carolers and bustling and panhandlers wearing Santa hats, which begged the question, “Where did they get those hats?”

I like Christmas, could even say I love it. I adore giving gifts, packages wrapped in beautiful paper with sharp, crisp edges held with too much tape and wrapped up in tulle bows. I send out piles of cards and leave the tree lights on day and night. Bought a real, piney wreath to hang on the front door and there's snow on the ground. A white Christmas, not a blue one.

Went to a show Saturday before last at the Boulder arts center with a dear new friend I’ve known 20+ years. Driving to meet her, I was reminded how one year ago I’d gone to my first performance there alone, just me. Company is better. Things can change so much in one years’ time. Joy and regret, discovery and surrender, life and loss. My family has grown to include the girls from my past who are now the women of my present and (hopefully) future. I met men and boys, some who slid off and some who stuck as friends and more, like the old high school crush I found was just as insecure as I was then. Finally kissed him, it just took 26 years.

Syd and I meet for pasta and wine before the show, chatting wildly like girlfriends do. We were high on the company and the food and looking forward to spending time with the performers who’ve become friendly acquaintances through sometimes silly, often thought-provoking improv storytelling. At one point, they asked us watching to turn and share a story with someone sitting nearby, something he or she didn’t know, our story. Syd and I laughed; there’s much we know and much more we don’t. I was reminded of one of the last memories I have of my oldest brother. It happened at Christmas. And I’d forgotten it for some time.

My oldest nieces’ birthday falls within weeks of Christmas and growing up her decorations always included a tree, fuzzy stockings and snow. She was even born in a blizzard. She was nearly three, and a few of us gathered for cake and the gifts we could afford (always clothes). My oldest brother, estranged from his wife at the time, was drifting between Nebraska and Colorado and dropped in unexpectedly. Something of an awkward surprise. He brought with him one single red rose, perfectly kept. Don’t know how it didn’t wilt or curl from the cold temperature outside (and I knew he had to have walked there). He crouched down to her height to make himself only as tall she was, held out the flower and said very softly, just to her, “This is the first of many.” He kept his coat on the whole time, a navy blue puffy jacket, and stayed only a few minutes. Then he was gone. That niece turned 25 a couple weeks back and now has a daughter, nearly three.

When he died a year or two later, his own daughter was a toddler; she can’t recall a lot about him. And I bet this story is one that was never shared with her. So I did. It’s a good story.

Happy Christmas and Merry Cringle.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Meet Virginia

Ladies, it’s time to take back your business.

Your vagina. Say it loud, say it proud and hold out the “ggghhaaahhh” sound in the center.

Borrowed a copy of the January 2010 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine from the gym (I’ll return it once done perusing; I leave my Vanity Fairs and 5280’s, a sweaty, bacterial coated library). I read Cosmo religiously as a younger woman; it’s something of a right of passage. Interest waned in the breezy content and stilettos-worn-in-the-bathroom models, but I’m looking to freelance articles to pop culture magazines, newspapers, Web sites and the like and needed to gain a feel for content.Sunk into a hot bath and began to peel back the bubble gum pink cover. The most entertaining thing about Cosmo (any woman’s magazine really) are the bold, exclamation pointed titles on the cover, the cheeky tinglers meant to grab attention at the grocery checkout: 

100% Hotter Sex. Thrill Every Inch of His Body Using a Move No Woman Has Dared to Try on Him Before
Totally misleading. The article inside is all about girl on top, straight and reverse cowgirl. Of course men love the cowgirl, the view is spectacular coming or going, hands are free and we do most of the work. The “never dared tried on him before” is the side saddle mount. Who doesn’t know this already? 

The New Male Sex Habit That Can Hurt a Relationship (too much solo self-pleasuring, if you’re curious). 

Your Hoo-Ha Handbook. Get a Healthy, Sexy Vagina
Hoo-Ha. Blame Grey’s Anatomy and Oprah Winfrey. Grey’s writer Shonda Grimes created a fresh and amusing at first name for the vagina in an episode where a pregnant Dr. Bailey crowns. Bailey is a balls-tough lady of medicine, a doctor for vaginas' sake, and can’t embrace her vulva?

Soon after, Deepak Oprah picked up the va-jay-jay and spread it liberally in her afternoon chat fest. Sad when strong, empowered woman refer to their magnificent vaginas with cutesy names. There are giggles associated with the pure terms for many body parts - rectum, uvula, coccyx - and the happy sex bits always end up stuck to the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

Va-jay-jay is just one of the latest in a string of silly sexual terms, joining the classic ranks of coochie, cooter, heart-shaped box (read in the Poppy Z. Brite biography of Courtney Love that in courting days she filled a heart shaped box craft box with all things lovely and gory as a gift to Kurt…intriguing and distributing to know any more detail than that). Let’s retire the va-jay-jay, wish it into the cornfield and (if still needed) run new pussy platitudes up the pole: 

Commander Bun Bun
Squeaky Fromme, the no-hair-down there, clean as whistle variety (and it’s opposite, the ZZ Top) 
Squish mitten
Virginia

Next I'm looking into the editorial tone of Glamour magazine: 

Relax! 7 Reasons Guys Love You Just the Way You Are

Reason number one? Commander Bun Bun.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Word for word for word forward

Sometimes a day starts with unplugging a toilet. Like today.

I've been an absentee blogger. Blame it on work or social life or drink (it's a bit of all that), but mostly I haven't blogged because I didn't want to. The ideas swirl breezy like a wad of cotton candy in front a hair dryer nozzle, but then...

Who cares what I write?

Who's reading anyway?

Who's listening?


It's vanity to blog, no question. It's also therapy and burning off crazy energy, the kind that has me in the gym so often lately the bottom of my feet hurt from pounding on the incline trainers. Picking up the throw rug under life and shaking it out hard now and then is good for you, and I need a good hard shake. Gotta try to write more. With two weeks off work I hope to. I went through a bit of a pity-party-of-one-why-do-I-do-it phase, the creative energy tapped and suddenly finding topics off limits. But I know some people read my words, some are inspired by them, some laugh at them. Some are voyeurs. Like me.

And I think it's okay to be sad. Sometimes. I think it's always good to share your truth.

As of today I’m 10 days late. Again. At 44 “late” is a relative term given the bio clock doesn’t tick as it used to (and three pee sticks still reflect the happy minus sign). We had the chat briefly, though, the manfriend and I.

“Thought you ran on time,” he said. “Oh yeah,” I reassured, “Just a little off this month. It’s fine.”

One beat. Two beats.

“What would we do if I was?”

He doesn’t want any more children, he has one. Been there, done that, in the middle of it.

“I thought you didn’t want any either,” he said.

I did in my late twenties, a short phase nothing more, mostly because I decided and knew I didn’t want to raise a chicklet on my own and the opportunity and years simply passed by, clicked over one by one. But I would have been a good Mom.

I don’t want or need to pass a head. Nine months without a cocktail is enough of a stretch.

And you have to pick the people you procreate with carefully. You could come out with some goofy looking Little Lord Fauntleroy boy with Annie-esque curls or manly girl (everyone is beautiful in their own way, sure, but have you seen paparazzi shots of Adam Sandler’s offspring? She’s toddler sized Sandler in a dress. She’ll grow out of it, yeah? Yeah?) Cross the manfriends ginger beard, light eyes and freckles with my bluish white pallor and spots and we’d produce something nearly see through, like those tiny tank fish whose dark eyes and spine are the only part visible in a clear floating shell.

I’m not (First Response® and a recent episode of Nip/Tuck tells me so – no brown nipples, belly bloat or hormonal acne), still the first serious conservation we’ve had relationship wise.

And it lasted all of a minute and half. I’m okay with that.

I'll be back to chat. I have to come back. My longtime love, gum chewing, sexy beast Dave Grohl said it well:

It's only words, they're just fucking words. But I meant every word for word for word.

Forward.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm good with my vagina

A blog quip over at author Stephanie Klein's place and the home page of people.com this morning planted boy-girl couplings and sex thoughts in my grey matter.

More than usual.

Strumming about in a newish relationship (the real deal kind, one that’s lasted through a couple of holidays and both our autumn birthdays), I still have trouble naming it. At 38 and 44 respectively, "boyfriend and girlfriend" sounds too Grape Bubble Yum and hands over the sweater, just the tip. Same sex has a lock on "partner” and “lover” (pronounced lovah) makes me think of hippies with overgrown pubes. Introducing him as a "friend" sounds as if we're just doing it (that's the "fling").

So I do "manfriend." He calls it "seeing someone."

A perfect storm of circumstance and failure to keep ones pie hole shut have forced a public confession of infidelity from Tiger Woods. He doesn’t confirm sinking his putter in another gals green, but the PR sanctioned note of apology says it without saying it.

If I sat a long time and thought good and serious, I’d be hard pressed to name coupled friends or acquaintances where one or both haven’t strayed. Or wanted too. Whether sexual encounters, long term affair(s), a drunken kiss in the coat closet at the office holiday party or simple flirtation, people cheat all over town. Coupling is good, like the comfort and warmth of sleeping, just sleeping, with two arms tight around you. Really good. But so often it becomes (or begins as) a situation held together by money or stature or spawn or fear of being alone or feeling this is my prize, something I own and something I deserve.

Simple Simon says if you want to date and/or dip around, be single or polyamorous.

Flings are adventure without strings, nibbling from the buffet and I went through a long period of just that. My last, eleven years younger and cute as an old-school Kennedy, happened while I was wholly and without question uncommitted and absolutely single. The fling wasn’t, in fact he was living with a woman long-term. I was having a relationship (casual as it was), he was having an affair. He simply liked being (his word) “bad.” Years ago I went to watch Bill Maher do stand up. His perspective on why men stray is they simply want “different” (his word).

Commit to and pick one dish off the menu and forgo the scent and tongue feel and savory taste of tapas and appetizers and small plates. Husband means eating at home. So does wife.

And Elyse Keaton is gay. Now. After three marriages and five children, Meredith Baxter (née Birney) has come out as a "later in life" lesbian (Kelly McGillis recently called it too). Hard as I shake my Magic 8-Ball I can’t predict with absolute certainty my sexual future, but given the only female genitalia I’m interested in is my own, I’m confident to go out on the hetero limb...

I like men. And boys. More so the men.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Namaste yay yay

This morning as I begin my yoga practice mindfully I will create an intention, bring awareness inward to breath and focus my energy on a person, an aspiration, a dream, a hope, a purpose or something I wish to change in the world or in my life (yoga isn’t just patchouli, kumbaya and hocus-pocus, bitches). Today my intent is restraint.

Funny.

Having spent much of the past couple-to-few years railing wildly against it (figuratively, like a device or means of restraining, a harness for the body or spirit) I call out to my quiet self to bring the needle to center. To fill the sometimes empty holes with more joy and self-love (dirty) instead of food or drink or casual people and casual situations. It is a good, wise and difficult thing to know your foibles, to be fully aware of triggers and behaviors that ring the alarm bell to a fire in the hole. To know you’re not really at peace, not really being truthful or loving enough, not really being accepting of what and who you are in the moment.

So this morning I forgive the eating to the point of sickness. I forgive how effortless the bottom of the wine bottle appears when it’s just me looking into it. I forgive being torn between something that feels real and like I’ve always heard it should be and someone who can still bring me to the edge of temptation since that’s how it always was.

The love of self is real, regardless of sometimes sliding. I trust myself.

Mostly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good food, good meat...

There’s a huge Tupperware bowl on my kitchen counter. Not comically massive but one round, large and deep enough to soak ones feet in should they be so inclined. It's filled with fresh fruit.

Three turkey trots scheduled tomorrow and the first suggested (when asked) that I bring a fruit salad. Not entirely off the cuff given my host (and myself) are fans and regular crunchers of all things raw. That and I have the touch with salade de fruits, fresh and never canned ingredients in interesting combos, seasoned with a sprinkle of cassia cinnamon and dusting of brown sugar (never white...gosh, I hope I have brown sugar). Trip to the organic market left me a bit uninspired, however. Wanted to go with fruits known to help with digestion and remedy belly bloat (melons, pineapple, papayas), but I couldn’t find my ju ju, the vibe. Instead I loaded everything that smelled sweet into the cart, thinking whatever didn’t make it chopped rustic in a serving bowl I’d devour in my daily diet.

In no particular order I’m working with:

one smallish and rather hard pineapple
two samsuta tangerines
one cantaloupe
one honeydew
four kiwis
one asian pear
one package of blackberries

The final product will be inventive and awe-inspiring or a head scratcher.

After afternoon dinner down south I'm heading north for dessert (word on the street is both cranberry cake and pumpkin cheesecake) with the holiday hostess with the mostest. Her home will be fully decorated for Christmas, including trees on several floors, themed like those you find at Macy’s. There will be wine and loads of good company.

Final stop (fingers crossed) a drop-in on my adoptive Mormon clan, an interesting and eclectic mix who always extend a holiday invitation (no matter what they read in the blog). Plus I come home absolutely sober.

Last year I cooked a small meal for one, turkey breast, maybe boiled red potatoes and fresh green beans. I don’t recall being overly sad, but missing the company. The tradition. I may have taken myself to a movie but I don’t think so. Grateful to find myself this Thanksgiving healthy and happy and well looked after. Makes the missing less so.

Actually, it redefines what family really is.

...good God, let's eat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving thanks

Received an incredible Thanksgiving gift this week. Not that we give gifts at Thanksgiving, turkey legs wrapped in foil (other than Reynolds aluminum) or tulle tied around steaming mounds of apple and onion stuffing.

Feeling a bit bleak and adrift in the boy-girl-relationship-duck-duck-goose pond and wondering what the hell kind woman I really am, I turned to a friend whom I met for the first time in leg warmers and parachute pants. Fate and serendipity (plus Internet sleuthing) brought us back into a space separated only by miles.

She gave me a song.

Oh why you look so sad
The tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now

It wasn't about a boy. Not really. In the scars sewn up but where you can still see the tear, folded neatly into my emotional baggage is the feeling of simply. not. mattering. Believing regardless of words or actions the affection is fleeting or could dissolve with little effort.

Don’t be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
Cause I’ve seen the dark side too

I woefully dislike the word “deserve.” No one deserves or has a lock on happiness or love or fidelity or family or friends or self-worth. These things are earned. I tried, really tried for so long to carry the load up heavy steps of acceptance. But I was too fat. Always too cheeky. Too smart. Too dumb. Too threatening. Too closed off. Too scared.

When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

Genuine female-to-female relationships are often impossible. We expect so much, we hide so little. We mistakenly forgo the permanent women in our lives for the momentary men. We fall in love with the wrong people and return to our women as they feed us, “He doesn’t deserve you.” Deserve.

So if you're mad get mad
Don’t hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now

I’ve been judged, have you? Anyone living out loud, off script has been. Those who can't accept your falling down insist you stay there and suffer. Take one more kick to the ribs then forgive. The cost of redemption just a small piece of your heart.

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you
Hey, what you got to hide
I get angry too
Well I’m a lot like you

I’ve been hurt by those whose blood I share. Have you? Those who wanted, demanded, plugged into a vein drawing more, more, more. I didn’t stay for the cutting, not theirs . I blood let in private because you can't hurt me like I can hurt me.

When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
Cause even if you're wrong
I’ll stand by you

Blind love isn’t real. Unconditional love is. Unconditional, not limited by conditions. Simple and complex as that. No matter the outcome, no matter the secrets revealed, I’ll be here, running the other way when you flee out of fear. I’ll catch you.

And when, when the night falls on you, baby
You feeling all alone
You won't be on your own
I’ll stand by you

I leave the door unlocked, and some choose to walk through it in the dark. I have much to be thankful for.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Watching the clothes, like Chrissie Hynde

Sitting in the overstuffed chair-ottoman combo, I'd just finished my second and last glass of red (told myself I had to ration). Tonight, home alone and left to my own devices (dirty), clicking through Facebook and gossip blogs waiting on a load of towels to dry. Yes, Virginia, even a fun and frolicking pepper pot spends an odd Friday night doing nothing more than her laundry. I do, however, sit atop the washer during the unbalanced and banging spin cycle. I am, after all, me.

Told myself I should blog. Haven't in a while, sometimes tired or written out, often unsure of what and how to share some personal tales and torrid thoughts. Toyed with the idea of exploring more under the veil of fiction, blur the line between me and me.

I do love to write, express the noise from the buzz in my head.

"Fine," I ration, "If you blogged exactly one year ago tonight, you will not break the self-imposed-two-cocktail rule and drink until sleep is dizzy or you find old trouble. You will write."

And one year ago tonight I blogged.

So I poured a Hansen Vanilla Cola over loads of ice (chances are I’ll crunch through it on my right back molar despite the new sealant over old) and tuned to an 80’s station over Internet radio on the Squeezebox™ (dirtier), a gift from the manfriend. He’s a gem, knows and keeps on hand the kind of wine I drink and brand of soy milk I prefer. We shared a cozy late Sunday afternoon, him splayed on the couch reading the paper, me in the kitchen rustling up an herb-roasted chicken and sweet potato oven fries supper. I think we’re segueing into relationship territory, but I’d still introduce him as “My friend, 'Manfriend'” in social circles if we had any; he’s yet to meet my friends or spattering of family and vice versa. Whether that’s on track or something else I can't say. He strikes me as a one-woman-guy. I don't entirely know what kind of girl I am, but he is the cheese to my macaroni.

Funny I wrote a year ago about my unhappy-hypothyroid. This morning I went for the annual “well woman” exam, the yearly lube and tube, feet firmly planted in heated metal stirrups covered with fuzzy mittens-cum-pot-holders printed with the Valtrex logo (which doesn’t instill much confidence in expected cooch cleanliness.) Today marked the end of a nearly years natural approach to treatment; a few months into the traditional daily pill meant to trick my throat gland into performing, after much reading and research I approached my doctor and suggested a holistic plan - more soy and iron fueled spinach in the daily diet, yoga and coconut oil and selenium and Vitamin D3. She agreed. Three tubes of deeply burgundy blood now await spinning and lab analysis. I've been more tired than usual, get the blues on occasion and my finger and toenails are brittle regardless of the biotin supplements that make my hair grow even faster and thicker - all signs of an endocrine system off kilter.

They inspected my still gray-black big toenail; her assistant called fungus, the doctor bruising from traumatic injury. We all agreed I should simply paint over it. Did I mention the diaphragm fitting? Something slightly porno, off-putting and oddly hilarious about reaching deep into oneself to fish for a hard edge while in a gown that ties front and another set of eyes at stool level. Talk about comfort with one's body and health (the secret to swift removal, ladies, a good hard push or two - Kegel it out.)

Funny I wrote a year ago about a live performance at the art center in Boulder. This past Saturday returned for a theatrical dance program, “40 Women Over age 40.” Each year (although this was my first) choreographer Nancy Cranbourne puts together a dance company of ladies over the age of 40, some former pros, some not. The show was titled “Feels like Falling” and many of the avant garde pieces dealt with loss and the process of healing after. Although I couldn’t really groove on interpretations of sour relationships, marriage and motherhood, the idea of figuratively and literally falling to the ground and laying alone for a bit before other arms pull you back to feet - with help from your own legs - was moving. And I saw something else. The soft bellies, the frontal pooch, the near FUPA. The small, converse slope of stomach found in even the most fit, sinewy bodies of older ladies. Jutting out just below the breasts, it looks happy and made from whole milk and sweet sugar cookies, like the tummy on a toddler girl.

Most ladies get them. It is our destiny. And a nice soft spot to allow ones head to rest on, lips to brush and hands to explore.

And it smells like sweet sugar cookies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Voices inside my head

Day starts on my back, digging up from the rabbit hole of slumber, huddled into down and high thread count. Into new light, an awakening of bones and spirit. Body pulls itself in opposite directions, feeling for strains. Breathe deep, six counts in and six counts out. Focus on the day ahead and where my head will sit in it. Sadie knocks from the outside side of the bedroom window, pulling natural claws into a screen that pops back into its frame with a soft clunk. I don’t want to go to school. Just five more minutes. Is the back tight or tighter? Daily dose of two aspirin will soothe that out. Hips feel open. Carry a good deal of stress and anxiety in our backs and hips, women especially. Six counts in, six counts out. Can I make 9 a.m. kick boxing or stick to a solo hour on the incline treadmill? Little scared of sweaty pounding with a self-diagnosed runners toe. Fungus sounds gross, runner toe strong. Bought a new OPI shade, something in a gray, that will cover the muted purple nail bed nicely. Want to go for a wax, quick check says it’s time. $55 for a clean work area. Maybe just go old school, power to the muff. Old fling texted. Really haven’t the desire or need, his 32 years, stomach and wavy Kennedyesque hair aside. I like the perfect spoon and arm across my hip the next morning more. Ladies days approaching, if tender nipples have anything to say about it. Dentist tomorrow, one last day to chew ice on the right side. One old friends birthday Thursday, one old friends test results, for the one breast. I love that girl.

And all this before coffee.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gems and germinations

As do most writers, tinkers or creative types I leave a trail of scribbles. Papers and notes, a jot here and there, ideas and concepts and quips. Some sit in this laptop, some in scraps and bits tucked into books, on old tablets and in the digital voice recorder bought for such a purpose; I leave the tiny metal wonder next to my bed to record fleeting thoughts and funny shenanigans as they occur. Grand idea, but I can’t figure out how to retrieve hours of sound bites from the myriad of folders I’ve created. Like dead artists before me, perhaps the musings will become my lost tapes.

Funny to come across tiny archives and trifles of thought, to revisit the space my head was in or realize how distance has changed circumstance, what a moment became or didn’t. Some seem outdated, some precursory and others fortune telling.

Some unfinished, some still in the making, some simply tidbits.

EeekHarmony
Are you ready to meet the love of your life?

Probably not. Or more to the point, nope. There's a buffet and it's okay to snack, at 20 or 40. Yet eHarmony® constantly asks from the glow of the 24 inch tube if I’m ready for the real thing. It’s worse than the constant stream of questions at family picnics past:

Dearinee, when ya gonna settle down? Find that special guy?

Last (and only) time my Dad asked I said I’d give him a thousand dollars if he found him for me.

Umfriends
Note: I failed to put words around the topic, but bookmarked this link. Months ago. Oh the stories I could tell, but won’t. Not now. And mine wouldn’t have been so sappy, easy and ill conceived. Those who can’t do write about it, and badly.

My birthday with Ben Wa
I thought they were Ben Wa balls. The initial thought, “Hmm, I’ve never given a sex toy to another woman…or man for that matter. How novel! Hmmmmm, maybe too novel?” Even the cheeky explorer in me found it an odd birthday gift, ancient Chinese secret metal spheres designed to be worn by a woman in a most curious of places. And jussoyaknow I’ve sat with Kegel balls, meant to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, create gentle stimulation and improve one’s…ummm...grip. Mostly they slid out slowly as I typed a piece of marketing collateral. Not a huge turn on but sure, I’d give Ben a whirl.

I soon discovered, however, the lovely inky blues spheres that tinkled like soft chimes from within are used to massage ones digits. Palming both balls in one hand, you roll them clockwise than counter to improve dexterity and strength. My best girl gave them to me to preserve my tools, my implements. My hands so I can write. Aside from a red ink ballpoint pen my Mom coated in acrylic, oily gold model car paint and gave me at college graduation, a symbol of the solid 14K pen she wished she had the money to buy, those balls were the only gift I’ve ever received that called upon my desire to write. I still have that faux gold pen, most of the paint since flaked off in tiny gleaming shards.

Scarlet H and a first date
Surprising life lessons to be learned in the form of a facial rash, a mark on the puss. I have a rash on my chin and am somewhat vainer and less comfortable with it than a strong woman should be. I bring it up first, just so you know that I know I have a pink blossom budding. And no, it's not the herpes, but a simple rash. I have a doctors note. Vanity aside, I bought Bette Page worthy red lip gloss, daring the bumpy mound to shine like a light on a Broadway marquee. I can’t hide it so I’ll tie a bow on it.

I wore it (the lip gloss and the rash) the night I first met him after weeks of talking by phone and chaste discovery. Dinner, wine and holding hands. Just a kiss goodnight at the car. The next night, music and amazing food and sitting close, stealing kisses and a little more under the table. Herbed flatbread, warm and salty with a chewy bite, dunked in hummus. I could eat it every night. Martinis $2 off and a band more enjoyable than some I’ve spent hundreds to dance along live to. He had all the pieces I’d been longing for...the hand on my lower back guiding gently from behind, pressing knuckles between fingers. I can’t recall a more perfect evening in recent memory.

He was here when I woke up this morning and told me I snore, at least right before REM steals me away. That he knows that is monumental in itself. I rarely sleep, or sleep well, in bed with another body. A lounging, lovely Saturday morning laughing at the cat and slowly emerging into the day and scheduled to do’s. His razor stubble left even redder patches on my chin. I didn’t mind.

Hair, there and everywhere
For women there are three types of hair - short, long and Mom. Of the three I prefer (and sport) long, longer yet when seen from behind and in an arched position. It tangles and goes a bit Rasta after a night sleep and sticks to fresh body butter slathered on skin yet I never wear it back. I feel like an onion with ears, a bald girl when slicked close to my scalp.

The aversion to short hair may come from childhood. My Mom insisted on the classic bowl cut, the mushroom cap, the bangs-all-the-around style of the 70’s sported by Toni Tennille of Captain n’ Tennille and Tootie from “The Fact of Life.” I kept only the bangs. Bangs are the new botox.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Four letter word

So what. I said it.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of, is all you need. That it squeaked out not in a quiet moment, a soft gaze over soft jazz or atop a mountain but in the midst of a rollicking and pants off wild ride took nothing from the intent. It surprised me, sure. If it had a sound effect it would be the swwwoooopp of pulling a needle quickly away from a vinyl record. After a fitful night of non-sleep caused by a knot of odd anxiety rolling at the base of my spine like a chimed Chinese massage ball, I slipped quietly out of bed the next morning. A true ruse of running out for eggs and the Sunday paper (we needed both) and chance to escape.

Briefly.

Of course I came back and as is my mantra of truth and not assuming (you and me and ass make three) I spoke of it. Yes he heard and no wasn’t surprised. Yes I said and yes meant, in that moment and others. No wonder it creates tingly balls of nerve endings. One word with no less than 28 usage examples noted in websters.com. It’s a noun, a verb and an idiom, my favorite being:

–verb (used with object)
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.

Benefit greatly from.

It means everything and nothing and something. Gosh I love words. See, I did it again, just there.

My best girl from high school closes every phone call and every voicemail with “I love you, Kitten.” And it feels fine, good and warm in fact. I close cards and letters with it, sometimes include a “much” before it to emphasis and second that emotion.

I love soy milk lattes.

I love how Tiffany blue the sky gets in Colorado the day after a snowstorm.

As does Eddie Rabbit, I love a rainy night.

And I love how my guy makes chocolate chip pancakes on lazy Sunday mornings and laughs at cartoons and let’s me choose the wine or movie (then says, “That’s what I wanted too”) and calls to say hello and leads his own life and still opens the car door for me even when he’s driving mine and makes me feel connected to something besides myself and that he didn’t feel the need to parrot it back but simply said I was his girl too, even though I beat him at 80’s music trivia.

What’s not to love?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I just forgot to get married or give birth

Even at 44 my lady business runs like clockwork, so precise and every-26-days you could set a watch or bake scones by it.

Sidenote: For those who shy from discussions of the menstrual type (men), herein the monthly activity will be referred to in easier to swallow terms. And sorry for putting that “Red Badge of Courage” image in your head.

My Grand Ole Opry still blossoms regularly in a pink sprinkle and blood work shows the hormones of a teen girl. Chances are I’m past healthy child-bearing years (and remain a staunch safety girl) but most sexually active, hetero women with intact plumbing have the moment of “Could I be…?” while awaiting her monthly Salsa Shakedown. I never really dwelled on baby-head-scented desire. Much like cats that are drawn to and rub furry on humans who don’t care for cats, kids dig me. I like kids, they’re generally funny and open and see the world through different eyes until taught (or forced into) other ways of thinking. But I’d rather lease than own, Auntie vs. Mom. Had a brief spell of the baby fever in my late 20’s but think it had to do more with mostly chaste living and wanting penetration. Not that I haven’t picked out names for my non-spawn; for a boy Elvis, a girl Priscilla, for either Lux (male as in The Cramps Interior, female as a character from the novel "The Virgin Suicides.") I could jump the celebrity bandwagon and join the ranks of Apple Martin(i), Pilot Inspektor, Moxie Crimefighter or Peaches, Pixie and Fifi Trixiebelle Geldolf.

I’m liking Sassafras Molasses. Kash.

I’d be a fun parent (spoken as a women who’s never been one), tough but fair. One who’d encourage jumping hard into puddles after a big rain. I’d fill my home with music and books and heroes like Patti Smith and John Lennon, J.D. Salinger and Jane Austen. Make homemade Valentine cards with loads of red glitter and a crinkled tin foil star for the top of the tree. I’d dress my girls in both leggings and Pat Benatar t-shirts and floaty dresses; my boys in Toughskins and button up plaid shirts with short sleeves and real buttons. And no Crocs. Ever. Crocs are the shoes lining the wall in the waiting room to hell.

I wouldn’t ask my girls to sacrifice more or dream less than my boys. I’d try not to yell much and I’d never hit. I’d hope they grow up kind, and find others kind to them.

Aunt is a good gig, me the cool one who always had gum in her purse, who talked freely about penises and running after big dreams. I got to buy cute outfits and spoil on birthdays (still do). I never had to clean up vomit, just hold hair back after too much drinking at the bachelorette party.

Over dinner Monday the manfriend and I talked family, about the roles of men and women and how daytime TV is reverse-misogynous, showing Mom as the superstar nurturer and Dad the mostly absent provider. A current commercial for Wii Fit Plus called “Working Mom” follows the flow of a beautiful (of course) woman rising before her still sleeping hubby to feed the kid, don perfect fit spandex and pony for a session of Wii Yoga, then into a tailored business power pantsuit and the office where she’s portrayed as a high powered decision-maker. She even picks up groceries on the way home, where Dad sits in front of the flat screen, socked feet up on an ottoman.

I’ve always believed I could have it all - adventure and education and goals and a warm home and a career and a family and a hand to hold. I just never believed I could have it all, all at the same time. Something would undoubtedly suffer. I was a college freshman already living on my own for five years at 21, had both a degree and nearly a decade of work experience at 26, slowly built the career I wanted and owned a home all my own at 34 and now embrace a successful, happy, actualized and content woman of 44. But I never gave time to a relationship, a real one. Until now. I couldn’t fully consider caring for another person, as I'd want to, perhaps until now. I have a family, one built of blood and friends and companions that hold me up and me them and love me exactly as I am. Unconditionally.

And right now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grace

Bang-up job beating the crap out of myself the past couple days. Negative self-talk and self-doubt that stings like the snap of a wet towel to the ass.

Buddhist psychology says "What we think is what we become,” a message my Thursday morning power yoga instructor opened class with. She related how her “birthday month” (love she claims it) got her thinking of the past year, leaving her a bit stuck on loss and hurtful events, leaving energy there.

I was unhappy lying there in a supine posture, deep breathing and trying to focus on melding muscles and strings of tendons to mind and intention. I didn’t like my body; in a down dog glance I saw not strong legs and shapely, fully functioning thighs but thickness and weight. My poses for the next hour were weak and shaky and I just wanted to be done. During inversions I sat for a long time in child’s pose even when encouraged to, “Try something, play. Do a posture that makes you feel strong, or something you fear. “ I silently scolded my Buddha belly and arms too full and round to reach around to bind hand to hand.

Last night when he held me naked from behind, tucked into the stacked spoons we take before rolling out and adjusting into sleep, I felt his hand on wobbly flesh. How can he find that sexy?

KaPow, tubalard

I’ll again embrace and appreciate my physical power and strength, stop the beginners’ bad habit of looking around and judging. I’ll frog stand on my head again, hold a fully branched, strong and rooted tree. I’ll be held again and it will feel sexy and warm. Again.

A silver and white cat with beautiful, goofy blue eyes that cross has been coming around this week. He’s declawed, mostly clean and vocal, hungry for both food and attention. I fed him so now he comes every day, all day, and creates chaos for Sadie the feral cat. Today he found his way up an easy tree limb and down into my fenced private patio (Sadie’s domain) where he stayed, regardless of my half-dozen-plus attempts to physically remove him. Later he shit on the patio. I felt anger welling up as I worked to write copy and set up schedules and update my laptop and take a call from the boss, all interrupted every 15 minutes or so by growling and crying, hissing and the threat of territory fighting. Later he pissed on the patio. I threw a glass of water at him in a final bid for peace. He ran off but returned tonight, this time to be shooed with a broom, the fear in his eyes palpable, the crouched running on low legs. I won by teaching him to fear me. Later I watched a video of a friend who is a storyteller tell a Jewish folk tale about meditation and fear and the “what if’s” that feed the chatter in our monkey minds. What if that cat physically hurt Sadie? What if the damn thing keeps coming back to bother me? What if I really am the fucking cat lady?

Hard punch in the face for the hypocrite who claims to love animals but balks at the inconvenience

I put flyers up in the neighborhood, first asking his owner (should he have one) to reconsider day-and-evening-long roaming for his safety and to inquire if anyone’s pet had gone missing. Tomorrow, should he return, I'll pet him and offer kibble if he's hungry and find him a home or shelter if no one is looking for him. Because I can’t not.

The job I have, the work I do, is both easy and handsomely rewarded. I can do it with one eye elsewhere most days. I’m good at it and know I’d be better if challenged but I smell the same sock in a different shoe. How meaningful is what I produce? My own creativity flows constantly, like a spigot, but gets tied up in lazy, tired fingers at the end of the day. I envy bloggers whose words have birthed books and sometimes think mine are better. Because I think I’m a real writer. Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m talented or seeking approval or merely lucky or comfortable or just a copy editor. Maybe all of it. Maybe none.

Swift upper cut to the jaw, taste a little blood in my mouth

What if I believe in what I am, in strength and real beauty, in lust and who cares for me, in compassion and the artist? What if I ask for and feel a healing kiss on fresh bruises.

What if instead of hitting out I find small grace?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do I smell bacon?

My girl called yesterday to catch up. Snow and a lazy weekend and a new job and school kept us out of touch a few days.

She’s got the swine flu. They say.

Even after a home alone call to 9-1-1 and ambulance ride to the E.R. (because a normally healthy 23-year-old shouldn’t suddenly feel breath shorten to shallow gulps and extremities go numb) docs chose not to test her for the actual piggy bug, or anything else. They called swine flu, strapped on some oxygen, pumped up the fluids and sent her home in four hours. The cost of the H1N1 test runs $300+ and results take several days (here I thought home pregnancy sticks akin to peeing on a $10 bill). Simple math tells me the number of swine flu cases may be inflated at best, lazy at worst. Call the disease of the moment, the media fueled epidemic, the Lifetime TV movie starring Valerie Bertinellii. How many men and woman simply in need of 1000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 or lacking imagination have been diagnosed with sleepy folks syndrome, a.k.a. chronic fatigue?

H1N1 was spun on the post-9/11 terror alert “Wheel O’ Fear” alongside the recession.

I think I may have the swine flu or a variation thereof, the “Pig Out” malady. I’m not unhappy or unfulfilled or sexually frustrated (far from it), just filling my pie hole on a constant basis, like the mighty grizzly storing up for winter or woman in her first trimester (and no). Last nights remedy included dinner of shrimp with roasted eggplant, tomatoes and feta, Australian red licorice and large bowl of corn popped in coconut oil washed down with a magical elixir - very good tequila mixed with very good ginger ale and the juice of half a lime. I call it the “Two Titties Out” because much like the “Creamsicale” - Vanilla Absolut stirred into ginger ale - they go down easy, as do I after a few.

Other symptoms include a bitch cough lingering since late September, the surprise, annoying kind that rattles up dry from nowhere and scares small animals and the occasional sneeze (I love to sneeze, it’s like cleaning out my brain, leaving it damp and crisp and smelling of lemons).

Sickness happens. Sometimes cells display uncontrolled growth, invasion or metastasis, for no reason other than they do. Sometimes the chemicals in gray matter don’t fire as they should. Others determine, “You have this, you are that.” They name it, you own it.

Growing up, in grade school, I didn’t know any kid with ADD or ADHA. They had “ants in the pants.” Now society insists on behavior veering left or right as something out of order.

dis⋅or⋅der [dis-awr-der]
– noun
1. lack of order or regular arrangement
2. an irregularity
3. breach of order; disorderly conduct; public disturbance

A soul killing word for a fresh generation of artists and dreamers and dirt diggers and scientists. I still have ants in my pants, good ants. I’m happily irregular.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If it makes you happy it can't be that bad

Playcation To Be Resumed (TBR) mid-December.

Time away from work is time off schedule and daily trips to the gym the past 10 days trickled to twice weekly…or so. Happily regular exercise is part of my every day routine; sadly I feel the lack of it in both my core and my head. Happily I spent much of my recent time off naked and he likes all the bits, jiggly and not.

I found the Macys at Park Meadows Mall in the vanilla-ice-milk suburb of Highlands Ranch (a 45 minute or so drive in mid-day traffic) offers by far the best selection of bosomy dresses, slimming tunics and dark washed trouser jeans. And sadly the surliest employees, many who speak little or interesting English and offer help only when asking to corral purchases to the nearest register. Oddly enough, in a land of overly processed women who shop instead of work, wave ring finger diamonds the size of rock candy and push children in strollers costing roughly the equivalent of a used car, the ladies restroom is outdated, filthy and mostly broken and smelling of prunes and poo gas.

It was there I found a special birthday dress, fabric soft to the touch and with a low scoop neck, shirred at the shoulders and above and below the rack. I felt cute and happily exposed in it when worn to the hip sushi-martini-steakhouse where I spent my special Monday night with special company. Sadly one layer of stretchy ruching snapped at the right shoulder on only its second outing and it’s going back (a return, not an exchange) because what kind of sap pays $90 for a dress that self-destructs?

Happily I kept the pale-blue-colored glass sake bottle we drank and candle placed in my red bean mochi ball I made a wish on before blowing out as a sweet souvenir. It's sitting on my mantle.

Time to clean the ‘fridge of salad fixings and Greek yogurt, real whipped cream in a can and other perishables gone bad the last two weeks. Happily nearly every day was spent lunching and visiting with dear old/new friends, dinners sitting close at cute boutique restaurants that don’t advertise on TV, snuggled in for movie night, relaxing with home-cooking and company, soft pretzels and peanuts and beer at the old ball game. And the sweets. Hazelnut mocha and chocolate mousse cakes, all for me.

Sadly didn’t get nearly the writing done I’d hoped to. Too happily busy living it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I got some wild, wild life

Never a good sign when Sadie the feral cat starts low growling. It’s usually the between 3:00-and-4:00 a.m. wake up call to warn of an animal encroaching on claimed feline territory, coming for an unwelcome visit or hump.

Back in July I heard her alto groaning directly outside my bedroom window. The sloped roof connects to a small patio with a high privacy fence, the top border as wide as a balance beam. Near the gutters I saw four baby raccoons, tiny and perfect like they were drawn out of a Disney cartoon. As soon as they sensed my presence all stood upright at attention on back legs. If they could talk I imagined it sounding something like a murmur of, “What? Huh? I dunno? Huh?” The yearlings were curious and one began a slow waddle toward Sadie on the vulnerable side of the window, me at the screen. There had to be a Mom (a larger variety than this cuteness) nearby and I suddenly flashed on sharp nails on disturbingly human looking raccoon hands tearing into cat fur.

Ran downstairs to find Mom on the patio indulging hungrily in the small bowl of dry cat food I‘d accidentally left out (I never leave food or garbage out; it’s an invitation to the wild buffet). First thought, get Sadie off the roof. I opened the front door and called for her; she knowingly took off towards a large tree bursting with late summer branches and a quick getaway.

As someone who’s worked with rescues (albeit my view of myself as a modern Dr. Doolittle was often misguided, hence many bites and deep scratches) I have little fear of animals and understand when to use approach and avoidance. I fetched and unleashed a large pitcher of cold water on the uninvited guest who climbed the 10 foot fence in seconds flat, leaving deep claw marks in the redwood stain and hovering on the balance beam edge.

Mama was a warrior. I swear she turned and assumed a Kung Fu pose as the bitch stared and snorted me down. Good for her. I wielded the corn broom, snorts growing louder and more intense as I shuffled her in the direction of an escape tree. The sigh of relief once I’d rid her from the patio was brief as I looked up at four tiny raccoons stranded at the edge of the roof.

“What the hell did I do?” I realized, “I just Orphan Annie’d baby raccoons.” My heart sank until a rustling in the trees and thump told me Mama had found an alternative route back and was racing towards her pack. She wouldn’t leave without them. No amount of wet or rounded sticks and slightly freaked out girl without her glasses on at four in the morning would tear her family apart. Mama looked at me and me at her, a silent truce. She then showed her babies the way out, one-by-one down the balance beam patio edge to the tree I’d just chased her into. I simply stood and watched the slow procession in awe of the wild beauty of nature and these wonderful, creepy creatures. The last nugget veered off path, taking a quick turn towards me. The dumbest (or the bravest) it stopped and looked, then rejoined the fuzzy parade of five and marched away into the night.

Very early this morning I awoke to odd, heavy steps outside that same bedroom window and came face to face with three new bandits, one large and two small. It was cold and wet out, rain quickly becoming fat rain. Looking something of a fool, I made myself big on my side of the glass, calling out “BOO!!!” and “Git! Git!” with arms overhead in an attempt to shoo them off.

I watched them like TV from the safety of a pane of glass for a half an hour, marveled as Mama settled into and cleaned one then the other, nursed. Watched the kits wrestle and roll and gently bite each others ears; funny how animals from kittens to puppies, raccoons to toddlers play in the same manner. Finally they slept, balled up together like the lemur pile at the zoo, wedged safely between an overhang of roof shingles and deep crevice of skylight. I crawled back into bed, getting up every few minutes to watch again, check for changes. When I awoke next they were gone.

I spent this morning washing piles of raccoon scat off the sloped roof outside my bedroom window.

Bit of raccoon Wiki-trivia:
During the mating season, males roam their home ranges in search of females in an attempt to court them during the three-to four-day-long period when conception is possible. These encounters will often occur at central meeting places. Copulation, including foreplay, can last over an hour and is repeated over several nights.

Men, take note.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tottie Hottie

Thing about local fairs, they don’t have to try too hard. Forget the wide-brimmed sun hat snootiness of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, overabundance of strollers and 80’s rock bands at the Taste of Colorado and herbal jazz of the Capital Hills People’s Fair, small town events are tidbits of vanilla ice milk suburbia.

This weekend I stopped by Broomfield Days, an annual event that closes Main Street for blocks and features loads of small businesses selling services, arts and crafts (like “Health Jewelry,” handmade trinkets guaranteed to cure your ails, mostly turquoise-y looking beads on leather straps.) The police and fireman were on hand with the "Say No to Teen Drinking" smashed car; the recent televised PSA/morality tale of snapping necks and texting while driving delivers more of an impact (pun intended). New this year, live music (kid friendly surf jams) and bouncy cages.

I arrived in the afternoon, thinking the late summer sun kinder to my trout belly colored skin. Thought I’d dressed appropriately, right down to sensible shoes, but a few minutes in and my low profile Chuck Taylor’s were off, toes in need of cool relief. The festival was awash with booth after booth of massage hawkers, insurance companies and holiday crafts. Decided to give myself over and acclimate with a fair staple, the jumbo turkey leg.

Never had one (seemed cumbersome and odd to gnaw on) but at three in the afternoon the morning banana had worn thin and they smelled good on the grill, smoky and charred. Worse thing I ever put in my mouth and mine has stories to tell. The skin (usually the best bit of any bird) was thick, chewy and fleshy, like biting into a deep fried foot. Each tentative bite began with a crackle of bumpy flesh, meat impossible to engage. I quit the $7 monstrosity after it dripped a hard stream of hot bird juice onto my skinny jeans. The $6 Killian’s helped wash away some of the taste.

Fair food is about the smell and the greatest olfactory draw is the waft of oil, deep fried anything. I was intrigued by “Texas Tators,” a spud cut on an old school Ron Popeil vice-like slicer that curls long strings and ribbons, fried in oil, sprinkled with salt and yours (a small serving) for $5. Add “cheese” (the day glo orange liquid sold in pony keg-like cans at Costco) for a $1. People were lined up a dozen deep. Bad at math and more a student of Jethro Bodean ciphering and "go-zin-ta's,” even I see the high profit margin.

I’m going into the fair foods business, packing up an RV and traveling coast-to-coast hawking oily wares. And it starts with a sorely overlooked hungry mob food, the Tator Tot.

Tator Tot Pie, a.k.a. "Totties." The staple, deep fried, overly salted and served in a pie pan, topped with brown gravy and cheddar. Bacon bits extra (the "Tottie Oink.")

Tator Tot Sweeties, a.k.a. "Tweeties." Tots on a stick, rolled in crushed Captain Crunch cereal, deep fried and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Comes with a side of thin white icing for dipping.

The “Stickie.” Old school simple, tots on a stick, tempura battered and deep fried, served with honey margarine or ketchup.

Tot Italiano, or “Titties on a Stick," an alternating stack of tots, wedges of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and salami, rolled in breadcrumbs, deep fried and served with marinara (also known as chunky ketchup).

I’m going to make a million dollars.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 27, 1986

Googled what is statistically the most common birthday month and answers fall all over the yearly calendar. In my circle, it's September and I put it down to holiday and super bowl humping.

Yesterday had early birthday lunch with the ladies. Funnily enough all the cards had to do with shopping, drinking or working out. No sex cards (yet) but all good habits for a long, happy life. The subject turned to “How did you spend your 21st birthday?” Many of the ladies were married by then, some raising families. I clearly recall my leap into unadulterated adulthood.

I was in college FT and working mostly FT hours at Crossroads Mall in Boulder (now defunct, leveled and rebuilt as “Twenty Ninth Street”). Had a full weekend shift that day, not unheard of since most weekends were spent working and, in truth, I had little time for universal University debauchery. When you work at a mall you become part of its community, a member of its village, creating friendships, developing crushes, hooking up with the manager at Foot Locker. I’m certain my friend and Abo’s franchise owner brought over pizza for lunch (a big slice, maybe a candle plus a drink). The girls (I worked at Piercing Pagoda and in all my years there we had just one or two male employees) brought me a huge bouquet of helium balloons. Since the Pagoda was a large open kiosk I felt doubly special as shoppers and passers-by would comment and ask, “Is it someone’s birthday? Happy Birthday!”

My shift ended as the mall closed. Funny how strolling while holding anything celebratory makes one feel like the center of attention - balloons floating on a string, cradling a bunch of flowers wrapped in crinkly paper, a wedding bouquet. It’s an invitation to special. I stuffed and maneuvered and arranged and re-arranged the helium monster into my tiny 1978 Dodge Colt, the interior filled to capacity with latex and ribbons. I batted them back defensively over and over on the drive to Boulder Community Hospital where my niece had been born the night before, September 27, 1986. Best friends born 21 years and a day apart.

Can’t wait to give my niece her birthday present. I’m busting a bit in my own excitement, like those balloons squished against car windows. She inherited my taste for quality be it food or wine or bath products or people. Most importantly she gets/got that hard work makes it happen and fuels the indulgence that much more. And we devour month-long birthday freebies – the $10 Gift Card from Victorias Secret, your choice of lip gloss trio or to-die-for birthday cake scented body wash at Sephora, restaurant desserts and appetizers. A sweet treat from Cold Stone Creamery. I need to get taken out more this month; time’s a wasting.

It’s good, another year on this side of the grass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ga-gung, ga-gung

Realized recently how often I speak and write about loss. I start stories with, “My Dad used to…” and still remind myself tomorrow would have been my oldest brothers 48th birthday. Annoying I suspect, like the parents who talk non-stop about their children or the pet owner who refers to her cats as babies. Photos included.

With so many celebrity deaths permeating the media this year we speak of each passing in terms of how the life and work of someone never known personally or in intimate circles touched us. Speak of loss as it relates to us, what we lost in proxy. Madonna was soundly criticized for her spoken Michael Jackson tribute at the MTV Video Music Awards this weekend where she juxtaposed milestones in her life to his; "I" came up a dozen times. I didn’t find what she had to say and how she chose to say it self-serving. I understood that was her reflection and recollection.

I was just months into what would become (and remains) a long family estrangement when Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with cancer, pancreatic and it sounded bad. Sad news for a presence beloved by millions and stored in memory jars for the drops he left on celluloid (like mine, watching “Dirty Dancing” on VHS at a college girlfriends condo in Boulder, flattening out real pasta made with eggs and flour from a machine and quipping shyly at the sexy parts). Patrick Swayze resembled my now oldest brother in a remarkable fashion - a favorite family story is how he’d been stopped in Wal-Mart by a young girl with stars in her eyes, begging for an autograph. They could be doppelgangers; I couldn’t enjoy any of the shirt off action of “Ghost,” seeing only an oddly familiar and blonde biological face on screen.

When I first heard Swayze reportedly had “Months…Weeks To Live!!” (as exclaimed by the parasitic tabloid media) I panicked. I saw my brothers face, the brother I’d lost not to death but a cauldron of long simmering circumstances. His spouse didn’t/doesn't like me, didn’t/doesn't want me around. He was one of my best friends and of course he chose her. He should have. Of course it destroyed me a little. A lot actually, for awhile.

Swayze just died from his cancer and each time I see the face with dates listed below it I go to panic and teary sadness. Because it's 20 months later and I still don’t speak to my brother. I know he asks about me, I know he’s had some updates. But we don’t talk.

And I don’t know how to change that from here because I never thought myself worthy of anyone choosing me. Of putting fear on the line, saying I didn’t belong in a corner and lifting me from the ground. I've learned I am, but it doesn't always fit as tight or comfortably again once the puzzle pieces get wet.

The networks are replaying the interview Swayze did (his last) with Barbara Walters tonight. I’m already geared up for the tears, selfish perhaps but a physical reaction to what I’ve lost that’s sadly and comically and ironically a 15-minute drive away.

It's still a feeling, a heartbeat. Ga-gung, ga-gung.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You can't spell "truth" without TMI

Last night I opened "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck. I opened it to a random page, as if I were cutting a deck of cards. "Figure Out What Your Career Really Is" headed the top of the page. Just answer this question, and you’ll find your answer: What did you do the evening of September 11, 2001?

My answer comes with a side of too much truth, as usual:

I want to make a living telling stories. Mine and others and not the words and tales that sell corporate ideas. I don't know - strike that, reverse it - I'm too afraid to make it happen. To sacrifice for it. I’m too scared to fail at the only real gift (besides always being the girl who could make everyone laugh) that I believe I have.

I stayed up all night the evening of Sept. 11th, wide awake and realizing for the first time how quiet the world can be with few cars on the highway near my window and no planes in the air. Alone in bed. Very alone in bed.

The next night or two I went out to hear live music and drink dirty vodka martinis and talked with the bartender, a beautiful new friend and rock-a-billy girl named Maddie who told us a friend of hers worked in the second tower (or was it the first?), a waiter at Windows on the World. And she hadn't heard from him.

I don’t know if she was telling the truth.

I still write marketing drivel. For the most part I like it.

I still hear the traffic out that window.

There are many evenings and moments and litmus tests that spark and cement who we desire to be. In fifth grade when my short story about Johnny Appleseed was turned into a live class play. At 17 absorbing the words from HR while security watched over me and a roomful of men and mostly women twice my age just laid off from the night shift on an assembly line. The first positive comment scrawled in red on a freshman creative writing paper.

What I did the evening of September 11, 2001 was try and comfort myself, figure out where to go from here and with how much fear or not. I do the same in my writing, in the words, even if only in the therapy and vanity of a blog.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Your balls are mine

FOUR day weekend?

Am I the only sap working today and possibly some of Monday?? No prospects, no BBQs, no love? Damn writers’ deadlines.

I should become the saucy spinster lady now and save myself the time. Where did I leave those cat eye glasses with rhinestone trim and butterscotch hard candies?

Starting today I keep all the balls that come on my porch.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You can't handle the truth

Still a bit mystified by the coroners conclusion and labeling of Michael Jackson's death a "homicide." I get that an injection of sleepy juice ultimately did him in, but he paid a medical doctor (and handsomely) to provide it, striking up a deal for his personal care. Sure never trust a ho or a junkie, neither perhaps in their right minds, but the question becomes...

Do we charge McDonald's workers and the guy who invented deep fried Snickers with fatty assassination?

Or point a finger at Ed Hardy for the death of good taste and his questionable fashion sense? A "Love Kills Slowly" tee may not mortally wound, but at minimum makes a guy look like a douche.

Drunk dialing can mean hara-kiri to relationships, a two-for-one legal beat down of Grey Goose and AT&T.

I’m considering litigation against nature and its accomplice, the sun, for crispy frying my epidermis and killing plump cells. Argue all you want that I could have slathered on a thick layer of sunscreen, I have paperwork. I don’t need personal responsibility.

Guess we can’t be trusted. Our outcome in life, our happiness and sadness, has to be the result and fault of others, no? The blame game. It’s not me creating me, it’s you.

To quote Pretty Woman, "Work it, own it."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)

Pragmatic enough to believe life has a beginning, middle and end. Empathetic enough to know loneliness can be great when a spouse or love leaves first, the other of a pair wanting to follow. It was that way with my Grandpa and Grandma, my Dad and his wife.

Today was my Dads birthday. I prefer was because birthdays define life and blood and the first cry, a joyful noise. But today there's no cake or voice on the line to tell me crankily I spent too much on a gift. I think of him often, odd triggers like when I hear any song by Johnny Cash or crave fried green tomatoes and potato pancakes. Or watch “Shrek.” When I sing “Margaritaville” and replace the real lyrics with, “Nibbling on spongies, watching the grungies.” The family secret of what he called brazil nuts. The clicking sound of tongue on the roof of his mouth, loud like the pop of a cap gun, when something tasted good.

Thought of him when an old friend got in touch yesterday afternoon asking if I could spare a couple minutes. She’d found out her Dad is facing a cancer, a bad one, a scary one. She said it’s not enough time, that there still too much of him to know. Maybe we’re never meant to have enough time to devour it all, family or friends or anyone. Maybe we have to feed and savor constantly like hummingbirds, until we can't drink anymore.

My Dad would have liked to know I have a manfriend. Forget education or career or house or health or happiness, in small town Pittston, PA the measure of success is based on landing a traditional relationship and babies for the girls. I used to wonder if (or how often as I got older) chat at the extended family table turned to a knotted brow and chin down question of, “Is she gay, Joe?” (I think the term would have been “gay” at best, “dike” at worst.) I’ve always been one to buck tradition, still do to a large extent. But once my Dad found that kind of happy late in life, he simply would have liked me to have that kind of happy too.

Pablo Picasso's last words were, "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink anymore." I've come to appreciate my Dad's drink of choice the salty dog, his "juice."

I drink him in even now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chocolate Frosty

Household repair flummoxes me. So do appliances using water and odd furnace noises. Wish I was better at basic home repair.

Frustration builds because I know I can. Kinda. I’ve painted the powder room and master bath, crisp edges and smooth, even strokes. But tried to install a towel rod over said fresh paint and got only two large drywall large holes. Even used dry wall “boing” screws, the ones that are meant to expand and explode for a snug fit. The whole thing pulled out before Egyptian cotton met metal.

I’ve patched the remnants of an upstairs leak in the kitchen ceiling; in low light you one can barely see it (thanks in part to orange peel spray spackle). The kitchen and bath linoleum need replacing, a job I believe I could possibly do (in the words of the once immortal and now nutty Jesse Jackson, I “keep hope alive.”) So why in-the-ever-loving-fuck-bits can’t I level the washing machine? Shown how to easily do it, watched it go down, tried after a load of heavy towels knocked the basket off-kilter and landed the white monster square on my foot, no more level to end than begin. So instead of relying on what the machine can and should do, I ensure my presence for the spin cycle, pressing bum against cool metal to hold the load stable. Admittedly, the rumble is nice in the nether regions, but it does take away from an otherwise busy day.

Things I’ve done solo (and successfully) in almost ten years of homeownership:

  • Changed the doorbell
  • Replaced the handle lever and large pink diaphragm looking plug on the toilet (had my ballcocks removed and replaced with leaner, meaner flush valves)
  • Stained the deck
  • Tripped a GFI

Pathetic, I know.

But then I can do other things, like ask my gym to reduce my monthly membership from $49.95 a month to $34.85, which they did. Or scrub my little home top to bottom, feeling accomplished now that everything smells of lemon and almonds. Or stuff a comically large chicken breast with garlic and shallot butter, coat it in panko and parmesan and bake at 350 degrees for half-an-hour and serve it alongside fresh greens beans with burnt butter. Or be up for an 8:21 p.m. Saturday night Wendy’s drive-thru in pajamas because I want a sweet, cold treat.

Simply enjoy the pleasure of my company and still want some.

So I don’t mind so much that I can’t level the washing machine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fire Down Below

The ultra-sensitive reaction may be more medical than situational.

Something yeasty is rising in the south (readers biologically related or uncomfortable exploring the nuances of said region should possibly flip over to TMZ for celebrity gossip or the latest on the reality-star-swimsuit-model murder).

I’ve been ingesting a Tiffany blue pill daily, doxycyclin, for a simple facial rash. A “light” antibiotic, I got over the easy morning nausea quickly. But erased from my memory is one unfortunate side effect of antibiotics to a woman’s reproductive system. Ions ago I took tetracycline to manage mild acne and the resulting, occasional ricotta cheese after-effect became a regular annoyance. But since moving to a lifestyle where pills and potions and prescriptions are few and far between, I’d been immune to that special lateral itching and burning. Until now.

The ladies feel me. Men, imagine if I held a BIC lighter to your ballsack.

This simply does not fit into the daily plan. Forget spinning class, I'm super sensitive and "aware" of there and not in a good way. Flame throwing, pulsating like it has its own heartbeat, I sort of want to hold an icy cold can of Pepsi to it.

Ventured to the nearest Walgreens for over-the-counter relief that came in the form of a $20.99 insert. Looked a good deal like the Mrs. Grass chicken noodle golden flavor nugget, a soft and squishy pellet. Once inserted soothing and cooling should wash over and in, and my pink Vicky Secret flannel shorts report a more tolerable sensation. Can only hope after Riesling-lulled sleep to awake to nothing more than a a bad memory. “One-day treatment” was printed on the box after all.

I have things, and people, to do.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens

There are areas in life where one should not settle or skimp. Love and friendship of course, but some less heavenly inspired. The basics and a few of my favorite things.

Condoms – Took the Avanti Bare for a couple trips downtown this weekend. Avanti is somewhat of a legend, said to feel like you’re not wearing nothing. So why so thick? A bit like those yellow plastic kitchen gloves with the skid resistant palms stretched thin. Felt okay in testing, but left a residual itch, perhaps my sensitive nature versus polyisoprene latex substitute. Best bang for my buck, LifeStyles®. Solid price performers and a wide variety, including fruit flavors (a vanilla, chocolate, banana, strawberry and blueberry fun pack). To steal a line from “Juno,” not certain I’d go for junk that smells like pie. But I do likes me strawberry.

The ladies will Kiss Me full on the mouth after trying Blinc mascara and true-blue original mineral makeup (the originators, not the drugstore imitators). Blinc adheres then dries as hollow “tubes” of color to lashes and it don’t come off. Sleep in, excercise in or fuck in it and a little water and gentle fingertip rub is the only thing to beg release. I converted years ago to mineral foundation, wary at first. But the sheer, almost cool and creamy base of bareMinerals® and philosophy® supernatural (none of the cool cosmetic companies capitalize) cover like little else. During my recent run with a chin rash, even the doctor was amazed once a wipe of brown paper towel and water revealed the extent of my pink explosion. She exclaimed, “That is great makeup.” She was right.

Kitty Litter - You cat people know it, the non-brands with the generic and kitschy names like “Kitty Pride,” “Litter Nuggets” and “Piss Jewels.” Nope. The stuff clumps so solid and sticky you could spread it out front and create a driveway. Go for the crystals, splurge on the lavender scented bits.

Recently become a fan of body waxing, the brazilian in particular. Stings a bit closer to the bull’s-eye, but the effects are long lasting and impressive. However given the $50 price tag and six-week maintenance schedule, the quest for a clean work space may be better served with a package of three Noxzema Bikini Shavers for $3.99. Don’t forget to swipe!

Men – Real men will insist on picking up the tab but like that you offer from time to time. Real men cover you up in a quilt, want you to come first (and often) and recall the restaurants you’d like to try. Real men get more handsome each time you see them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Julie & Julia & Jodie

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
- Julia Child

I feel the same way about men.

Saw “Julie & Julia” this weekend (bit of ego stroke to marquee the pupil before the teacher, pop-culture momentary flash before legend, but then bloggers have big egos) and in the best possible setting at Cinebarre, a theater chain serving alcohol and real food. Simply ask for a cold beer or basket of fried pickle chips (called “The Big Lebowskis”…dirty) and a young boy silently serves you in the dark. Meryl Streep, of course superb, a cameo by the always sublimely funny (and tall) Jane Lynch and Amy Adams, who need only smile brightly and bring a self-proclaimed bitchy character to warm life.

Dare you to leave the film not craving a creamy sauce or martini.

But Julie Powell of the “& Julia” is an unlikable chick flick heroine; I didn’t find myself rooting for her. I assume some dialogue and most of the blog snippets read in voice-over come mostly verbatim from Powell’s blog which spawned first a book then the movie. Can’t find the original blog in full online (since it can be ordered bound in soft cover from Amazon for $7.99) but I didn't care for the simplicity of her writing, the kind of entries that begin, “Today I…” and the mind-blowing unimaginative for a food blog, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

A Google search of Powell reveals an extramarital affair and how she’s less than favored in her former blog community. Some of that speaks to gossip and, of course, publishing envy. Perhaps the movie dumbed it down, made the blog bites bigger and easier to swallow, but as a copy writer by day and blogger by night I expected something special. Only the best blogs get book deals.

Right?

The foodie in me understands and envelopes the fulfilling, sensual act of wrapping moist lips to sweets and savories. I could jump on that apple cart, earn chatty women followers, become a food blogger. Find a gimmick, then once established break out the stuff that touches beyond the snap of a carrot, exotic ingredients and lush colored staged photos.

What Powell got right, right away, was “the hook,” the easily identifiable branding. I got a business card this weekend. A recruiter in Denver looking for writers to populate an urban Web site with words, one where each piece can translate to dollars based on online popularity and hits. I checked the site and found in order to submit work, one must first categorize where those words fit, define the style. In 370 posts and four years I'm not playing a character, not writing life as I wish it to be or how I want you to see me but how’s it’s unfolding and my place in it. Maybe that’s difficult, if not impossible, to categorize.

Suppose I could write only about sex, that sells. Speak openly to desire and passion and living off script with panties down. At 40. The easily-identifiable former fatty enjoying sweaty palms. The woman who refers to herself as a girl, with the heart to tame a feral cat but who hasn’t yet been in love. Or even long-term like. And if that story ended happily, paired off with "the one" like the cargo on Noah’s Ark all the better. The hook.

Valerie Bertinelli could play me in the cable version.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eat, drink and be wary

When did I become such a delicate flower?

I eat well, fruit or veggies at most meals, mostly non-processed foods, lean protein and little to nothing fried. I sometimes envy those who can eat or drink anything, anytime and any quantity with seemingly no aftershock. One late night Taco Bell run and I’m a twisted sister. Even an otherwise “healthy” bowl of slightly-too-salty risotto last night led to a two-hour carb nap followed by bloating lasting into this morning; thank goodness for roomy cotton sundresses and forgiving panty elastic. Then again, a pasta dish that requires 6 tablespoons of butter and absorbs 6 cups of liquid (in this case half vegetable broth, half water) is the recipe for heavy belly moaning.

I embrace the time spent in yoga where we detox, twisting and turning, bending and wringing out the ascending and descending colon from the inside out. I finish class with a feeling of draining from my sinuses and head, feel the blood feeding all my limbs.

And therein lies the rub, the conundrum. The "Twilight Zone" sad twist when Burgess Meredith's glasses slip from his face and shatter. The more effort spent pursuing a healthy lifestyle, from getting enough cardio and sleep to eating “right” and the more I become its bitch. A couple days away from hard and committed exercise (no pansy-ing around with the treadmill set on 3 but the stuff that hurts) and I’m cranky and fuzzy and did I mention cranky. Don't sleep, don't write. Eat like crap, feel like crap.

I’ve created a feel-good monster.

I fondly recall the late-night-early-morning ritual of chili cheese fries (a pound, and always very yellow cheddar) inhaled at Denny’s after hours of drinking and dancing. Sometimes pancakes loaded with butter and running with syrup. I’d awake the next morning energized, fueled by carbs and cheese enzymes, the chili adding a pink glow to my cheeks. Now a bowl of popcorn washed down with a Fat Tire and I bloat to 4 months pregnant from salt and oil.

Yes, the new work badge photo resembles nothing of the round, puffy face previously lamented on it; I have an actual chin and cheek bones. And hells yeah, even though there’s still more of me to love, men do and I let them because I’m comfortable and sexual in the skin (stretch marks and all) I’m molding into shape. And sure, clothes are cuter at Macy’s than the big girl shop.

But son-of-a-bitch, is an occasional Pop-Tart too much to ask?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smells Like Teen Spirit (revisited)

Said I liked him.

Like. Like a 16-year-old. I'm 44 next month.

He said nothing, just pulled me in tighter and kissed my back.

And I liked it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

5:02 a.m., as of yet undefined

It’s an awful thing when pets are sick. They can’t really tell you where it hurts or if tummy trouble is temporary from chewing loads of tissuey paper products or something more serious. After a couple of hours running after and tending to a vomiting cat, scrubbing out drops of warm poo from light-colored carpet, hoping the worst is over.

Do I commit to the day, make coffee and sign on the corporate network, show my boss a braggadocios level of commitment, or curl back up in now cool sheets and duvet?

Might as well blog.

Sad to watch the blog community shrink and dissolve. I check in often, sometimes find new words but mostly see hands on the Facebook side. I don’t chide the F-Book, it’s existence has returned lovely friends, allows me to silently stalk and feel more connected to a very quiet world at 4:32 in the a.m. where old habits die hard and the desire to reach out and touch inappropriately is at its strongest. I miss the writers, the good writers, the ones whose stories and daily tales made me chuckle or made me think, made me sprout small crushes or hopeful valid electronic friendships. Can’t have enough of the human touch, warm from a laptop or otherwise.

Real life is a glorious distraction of late, both a blessing and bigger blessing. I’ve been bitten and smitten, giggling with old girlfriends for hours on the phone, sharing secrets. A month or so with a new friend who opens the car door, made me breakfast in the morning, let’s me touch him constantly. Strolling hand-in-hand, sitting side-by-side in a restaurant both. Feeling special. I like feeling special. He came over Saturday and fixed my washing machine. It’s all a contact sport, to feel connected to something real and organic. The girlfriends and the manfriends and the flings and the undefined.

Got a text from the fling just this Sunday morning, that kind of text. I stared at the four letters followed by a question mark for a hard 30 seconds or so before laying the phone down, leaving it and walking out into the sun for the day and the as-yet-undefined-one-month-new-friends house for the night.

Curl up or coffee? Jump into another writers day or nestle deep, wrapped up in the comforter, letting the good thoughts replay?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Smitten Kitten

Curious thing about a job in busy corporate America is the abundance of paid time off. Holidays, vacation, personal time. The twist is the cog never stops and often the worker bee is a one-man band, meaning taking all allotted time in a calendar year can be tricky. Thus the “one day aways,” a planned day from the office. Years and years back, a one-day-away on the horizon, my then boss asked, “So what are doing with your day off?”

“I’m spending it at the library.”

After a chuckle, I explained not just any library but the Boulder Public Library, and back in the day when cash was scarce the BPL provided an afternoon of cheap escape. I could lose myself for hours in biographies and non-fiction, flip through issue after issue of Rolling Stone. When hunger hit, a leisurely stroll the café that sat on an open windowed bridge over the Boulder Creek. Chicken salad sandwiches on rosemary bread and an exotic iced tea. Sometimes a chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookie. And words. Millions and millions of words, books tattooed with history and fading date stamps inside both covers.

Now living nearer Denver than Boulder, I hadn’t been in years until this afternoon. A new old friend was sharing fables and her true (and false) stories of childhood. She’s a storyteller by trade and I hadn’t yet had the chance to hear her speak. She integrates stories and movement, yoga. She’s both a beauty to drink in and listen too, many times my head cocked very far left as I absorbed Indian folklore and fairy stories. We don’t share stories enough anymore, allow children to whisk their imaginations away to Indonesia or a dark forest where a gold tree shimmers with diamond leaves or a embrace a brave mouse as he transforms through bravery and selflessness into a grand eagle.

That she encourages me to share my stories, in more formats than here, is a compliment of the highest order. I'm in awe of her.

But when did the parking at the library become paid? Free on Sundays, but a not too gentle reminder of cash strapped times and monies needed to fund simply exploring, opening to ideas, sharing in a community. Provide a place for the homeless to go BM (stole that from Family Guy.)

There really is no other town like Boulder, Colorado. After a hug goodbye, took myself on a stroll down the pink paves of the Pearl Street Mall, stopped in a sweet shop for a childhood favorite, grabbed an iced coffee with a sprinkle of the same sweet cinnamon I now stir into my mug every morning, felt the sun beat on my shoulders. Walked past the outdoor terrace of a little Italian place where just a Sunday ago I’d shared small plates with good company while drinking in Chianti and passers-by.

I think I’m smitten again. I know I am.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(They Long To Be) Close To You

Two lasting-into-today memories of Wednesday night.

Sadie the Feral cat made a friend. She played it wild and coy at first, eyes popping with a comic “boooinngg!!” when she spotted the foreign object. But it was hot and stormy, inside better than out, so she settled in front of a cool floor vent, one pupil fixed on the stranger in the house with the deep voice and unfamiliar person smell, but legs contently meatloafed beneath her.

Watched her make a move, stealthy at first, a quick walk between the room-for-two-sofa and coffee-table-steamer-trunk. One lap and a look up. A hand extended and fast exit. Second slower stroll and slight head bump into fingers. Third time stopping for a proper scratching, the touch of someone brand new, more than likely (besides the vet) the only other set of human hands to come in contact with her curry-and-pepper fur.

She shamelessly paraded back and forth, back and forth, not quite giving fully to the touch, controlling it as happenstance, a brush by while she passed, paused then returned. Over and over.

Lovely to watch her open up like that.

Then a night of slumber and nothing more with warm company, soft snoring and a sometimes whoosh of warm breath on my neck.

It was a good Wednesday night.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Too Much Monkey Business

I keep up with the urban hip, the language of the street, G. Recently came across a truly bad, unfunny-although-intended article online about the proper etiquette for casual relationships. In it, discovered a new word:

umfriend
–noun (see also uhmfriend, um-friend)
A person with whom you are in a physical, but not necessarily romantic, relationship
usage: “Hi, Mom. This is Steve my…umfriend."

Second definition is a bit more base in nature - “Noun used to describe someone who you are banging, in the stage before he/she is your legitimate boy/girlfriend.” Obviously written by a man because women rarely to never use the word “banging.” Then again, most of the euphemisms for intercourse are silly sounding:

porking
throw some bologna
the beast with two backs
(sounds like what a guy who hangs out at the Renaissance Festival would call it if any guy who hangs out a Renaissance Festival ever actually had sex)

“Hanky panky” is retro and fun, “bumping uglies” makes me giggle. How about some fresh, ambiguous terms:

Tom Foolery (all capped, like a character from a Dickens novel)
checking the oil
frosting the cake

Won’t be long before Miriam Webster picks this up. New words for 2009 include “frenemy” and “sock puppet.” Hmmm, sock puppet...

Bet I could work that in.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Friends, with potential

"You’re gonna marry him."

The comment came jokingly from the nurse’s assistant at my doctor’s office. She’s feisty and funny and somehow in minutes spent together over blood pressure readings we’ve become friends. She’s invited me to her 2010 wedding. Took it as intended, funny and dusted with her sharp-smart-ass-edge. After all, this is the woman who at a visit for unexpected bleeding after one rather overly-enthusiastic night with the former fling proclaimed, “Maybe his cock was just too big.”

She’s engaged to a Johnny Depp looking fellow (so says the pictures taped to the nurses station) and dammit if girls don’t want their girls to land a fella. Most do. I do too, as well as want my girls to be adventurous and independent and unencumbered by rules of society or puritanical moral code. But that’s a blog for another time.

She simply and sweetly wants me happy like she’s happy. After all love, and gravitational pull, make the world go ‘round. It’s an odd yet lovely facet of girl relationships to wish happily-ever-after upon your friends. Before even knowing his favorite food (oh, tortellini), color (blue maybe, certain he’s color blind) or birthday (shit, November 29) your girlies have you hand in hand in matching bands.

Jesus, no wonder men feel pressured.

So I have a new, um friend, whose company I enjoy a great deal. Who laughs when things really are funny, who is quieter than me (not difficult), available, read the entire blog - back to 2006 origins - yet still asked me out the first time proper for dinner, who picks up the check and pays the cover and guides the small of my back with his hand and drives when we go out and makes plans and whom I think about often. Together we’re two people who do the cool things in the Friday section of the newspaper and who want to explore and discover. And who get naked together.

This could be the start of a beautiful, um dunno.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Underneath your clothes

Paid the best compliment recently:

"I like* how comfortable you are with yourself."
*like-love, don’t exactly recall the word

That it was said while fully naked in bed, and directed to me, made it a lasting ah-ha, life affirming and period-at-the-end-of-the-personal-growth moment.

There was a time I wouldn’t buy a top without sleeves. Can you imagine not being able to shop with abandon as the cute camis and strappy dresses passed by? Even on the hottest day of summer, I wouldn’t dare show my upper arms. Bat winged and fleshy, so many women are inclined to keep that under wraps. I see it in the ladies at the gym who choose oversized, probably mans size L or XL tees, shoulder seams droopy and sleeves hanging to near elbow.

I wear Old Navy cotton tanks. Have drawers full of them.

Used to wish I was a girl that could throw on shorts and flip flops, a little cotton tee or tank and run around all summer. But shorts cut me funny; I go for a kicky capri or snappy tunic and sheer sundress over leggings. Shorts on the wrong body type give the illusion of crotch eating fabric, taking bigger bites with each step. I have two pairs of shorts in my closet. One a khaki-ish mid thigh with frayed edges I wore snug in heavier days that now hang lower as the day progresses. Still, comfy and utilitarian. The other one of my first thinner purchases, an INC bermuda sporting tiny white and gray stripes, the fabric pattern called “Fruit Stripe” (think the gum). I like those shorts, mostly because I clearly recall the moment in Macys I first zipped into them.

Funny the things we hide and cover up, the things we believe bright spotlights shine upon. The chin rash is slowly clearing, thanks to steering clear of makeup most days and one more week on antibiotics that bring queasy mornings, every morning. Thank goodness for Panera Bread strawberry yogurt smoothies, small piece of baguette on the side; drat that crusty bread is the only thing that settles the urp. I’m feeling a bit Stay Puft Marshmallow Man around the middle.

Still he liked how comfortable I was all-the-way naked. He said later he liked me naked. Later still that he loved (yes, definitely love not like) something I can do while naked.

Being naked approaches being revolutionary; going barefoot is mere populism.
- John Updike

Search me