Where the hampster wheel always turns

About Me

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Middle aged underweight high school graduate
"It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged
"The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut taxes now." - John F. Kennedy

Birthday Party

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last night some friends threw a birthday party for me. My birthday is in July, so I suspect it was more a reason to get together than an actual celebration of me, but hey, I'll take it. Among our crowd we had an ecclectic mix that included a wild rabbit hunting jock, a fired Phoenix Art Museum Docent, a midwesterner who tried to marry off her five year old and a lady who lets her dogs run on her roof.

There was lots of food, conversation and fun - standard party fare, but we also had an activity planned. At trip to the Desert Botanical Museum, when it was dark, to view a Chihuly glass installation. I've seen the PBS special about his installation over the canals of Venice, Italy. I've seen the chandellier at the Bellagio hotel in Vegas, and the replica on the Disney cruise ship so I thought I was familiar with his work. For those of you unfamiliar with Chihuly, he looks just like the "Mad-Eye Moody" character in the Harry Potter movies except he forges glass with an amazing skill.

I admit, I was concerned about the whole field trip thing with this group. I just couldn't picture us leaving a place that was mixing glass and cacti without incident.

We arrived about an hour before closing. The light was spectacular, breathtaking as the sun set and the glass came to life in its waning rays.
Despite the crowd, the tripod wielding amateur photographers and the people making loud inane comments like "how come the cactus doesn't pop the glass?" the event was magical.

As we wound our way along the garden paths I was spellbound at what had been created, placed, and illuminated. I know, my little digital camera and poor photography skills don't do it justice, but since the show is leaving on Sunday I just have to share a few shots with you.

I just wanted to touch everything, but we were held back by propriety, and metal handrails.

The Dry Wash

The forests of glass and desert plants were like a science fiction production

Some sculptures seemed alive and frozen at the same time
It was like George Lucas and Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) planted a garden.

Through this lovely, surreal experience I felt sadness that by Monday it would be all packed up. It seemed so lovely, so perfect that it should be a permanent installation. But anyone who lives in the desert knows that the vibrant unexpected explosions of color are fleeting. The textures are often unexpected and the beauty is found in the contrasts.

What a lovely birthday party.

Daddy's Girl

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I recently read an article that made my head spin around. The premise asserted in the research is that fathering daughters makes men move to the left politically.

"In an unpublished article to be submitted to an economics journal, the researchers wrote: ‘This paper provides evidence that daughters make people more Left-wing, while having sons, by contrast, makes them more Right-wing.’
Professor Oswald said: ‘As men acquire female children, those men gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the “female” desire for a larger amount for the public good."

Is it really as simple as that? People’s political views are shaped by the gender of their children? My dad only had daughters. What still stands out about my childhood is the lack of sympathy shown to my “female” leanings.

For instance, we lived on a large piece of property. One day dad decided that important lessons could be taught from working the land. Lessons about education, career choices and self sufficiency.

As a young teen I was given the task of digging post holes for a fence. Post hole digging by hand is a tricky endeavor requiring stamina, coordination and strength. At the time I had no upper body strength, girly girl hands and a lazy streak. I would work on a post hole for what seemed hours, extracting dirt at the rate of a teaspoonful at a time, and then tearfully check in with my father to report how impossible and unfair this task was. Rather than adjusting the task to my abilities - which is what a left-leaner would advocate, smoke would come out of his ears as he unsympathetically bound my blistered hands and replied “This will make you want to go to college.”

Seventeen hours later, with bloody, splintered hands, dehydrated from my blubbering and having completed one post hole I had to agree with him. In the following days I completed more post holes. I rose to the challenge, (OK, I confess partly because I was going so slow that my dad hired some teenage boys to dig along side of me.) my abilities increased, as did my commitment to higher education.

My daughter-raising father also dragged me along on some of his late-night dental emergencies. Being awakened at three in the morning to make the 30 minute drive to the office only to hold the spit vacuum for some moron who decided that the rotting, pus oozing tooth that had clearly been in that state during normal business hours, needed pre-dawn emergency attention, made me think long and hard about the dental profession.

My dad was a very successful dentist, and like most children, I arrived on the scene after the trappings of success were evident. It would be easy to romanticize the profession, at which he was successful but did not like. On one of these drives I asked why he didn’t just make the guy wait until morning? A father with “female” sensitivities might have said something like he was motivated to ease the suffering of this poor soul. Not my dad. Without missing a beat, in deadpan delivery he said “So you won’t want to become a dentist.”

I know that research studies merely attempt to classify and speak in generalities about their human subjects, but I have to vehemently disagree with these findings. I think men raising daughters today do gain a window into their sensitive sides, but they also become more in touch with how hard it will be for those girls as they grow up to establish stable successful lives. They become acutely aware that these girls need skills of their own. That in the reality of this unfair and unpredictable world they need to be able to take care of themselves, to not be dependent, not to be victims.

When I left home, there was no question I was on my own. While this was a little scary, I also had a firm belief that I would be up to the task. It didn’t enter my mind that my parents would bail me out of bad decisions, protect me from my own stupidity, or financially support me. As I watch our government today enacting more and more left-leaning policies I don’t see the wisdom or the good in many of them.

Oh, and neither does my father.

Toaster Arson

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I started my first fire when I was about five. My mom still brags about her parenting techniques which “encouraged” my sister and I to be self sufficient. The fundamental format of her philosophy is illustrated by those people who teach their kids to swim by throwing them in a lake and walking away. True, more often than not, the flailing gets you to the dock, but it’s rather inefficient and I don’t know any olympic swimmers who started out that way.

Because of her style, my little sister and I developed some less than safe habits. Overly confident in my cooking abilities, I knew I could make myself some toast in our little front loading toaster oven. How hard could it be?

There I was, sitting on the counter in a pink nightgown, my little tummy grumbling. Having ripped open the bread bag and dragged out the butter as soon as the toast was finished I was poised to spread it with a boning knife. Slowly, like some sort of exotic Arabian dance, smoke started to ribbon out the sides of the toaster. Likely I had the setting on broil, but what five year old knows what broil is? What five year old is allowed to reach the sharp knives?

Curious, I didn’t know the smoke wasn’t a byproduct of grown-up cooking. Watching through the little window made opaque by the residue of former meals, I waited for the ‘ding.’ Suddenly, the inside of the toaster flashed and my piece of bread exploded in flames.

Immediately knowing I was in trouble I did what every responsible five year old does: I ran away. Knife and all. Hiding in the dining room with the boning knife as a culinary refugee I started to hyperventilate. After a moment, I peered around the door into the kitchen to see the toaster engulfed in flames. Of course, I hid even deeper.

The smoke alarms finally alerted the responsible people in the house. As my mother came running into the kitchen she handled the fire somehow. I was nowhere to be seen, and was planning on staying that way.

Shortly I learned that I was about as good of a hider as I was a cook, and my mother rooted me out. As her hysterical lecture droned on I held fast to my story: “I did not start the fire.”

Now, maybe the rest of you have always been more evolved than me, but I suspect there are a few of you who also have tried to cover your tracks. It’s pretty innate in me. More so than I would like to admit. When I screw up I don’t want to be found out, yet I’m incredibly bad about covering my tracks. I still live the adult version of the kid in a pink nightgown hiding behind a chair clutching a knife.

Recently I was asked to take dinner to a new mother and her family. I called, made arrangements for the drop off, planned a menu...I was happy to do it, but had a busy day. At one in the morning I bolted upright in bed as I realized that I had completely forgotten to take the dinner. The poor little family was probably huddled near their front door starving to death.

Sadly, my brain spent the first two panicked hours of my insomnia trying to come up with a story that would justify my ineptitude. The varied stories involved severe head trauma, rabies infection and loose bats, but they seemed rather implausible. It was the little girl in the pink nightgown all over again.

While sleep evaded me, reason did not. There was only one honorable way to put out this fire. I waited until it was an appropriate time to call, and explained that I was a complete moron. Of course they were gracious, but there was no assuaging my humiliation. Not until I delivered dinner later that night did the pit in my stomach relax.

Ideally I would like to cease committing emotional arson, but since that is unlikely I need to continue to practice ‘fessing up. Because the reality is, if you just put the knife down and come out from behind the chair before you’re asked, the punishments are generally much lighter.

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I know a visit to a cemetery is just not enough; I'm not sure what would be enough. How does one show gratitude for sacrifice?

Especially on holidays that seem to have lost their importance in society, it is my goal to impart to my children an understanding that the life they live is a blessing bestowed upon them by the sacrifice of others. While Memorial Day honors those soldiers fallen in combat, we had to include a recognition of those soldiers who served at all.

Fields of bronze plaquards remember life after life that sacrificed a portion of their time on earth in defense of our nation. In defense of our family.

Our National Cemetery is unlike any other in the nation. There are no rolling hills of greenery. No lushness. No cool waters. It is a harsh place that humbles me each time I go.

Sand crunches beneath our feet as we pass through row after row of of the departed. Some fell in combat, cut down too soon. Some passed recently after full lives. Some are buried with their sweethearts. Some with their children who preceded them in death. My throat chokes at the numbers. I've never met a single one of them in this life, yet as I bend to replace an askew flag, to brush some sand off a headstone that receives no tending, I feel deeply connected to them.

In another section of the cemetery, out of a program comemmorating the day, strains of patriotic songs waft through the air. I don't want to be with the crowd. Neither do my children.

Gathering my little family together, we read "In Flanders Fields." Flags instead of poppies blow in the wind, yet the effect is just as sobering. We read a 1983 speech by President Reagan honoring the day, and his words help give purpose to the grief: "As a tribute to their sacrifice, let us renew our resolve to remain strong enough to deter aggression, wise enough to preserve and protect our freedom, and thoughtful enough to promote lasting peace throughout the world."

Planes fly overhead, and one peels off in missing man formation. I notice a single soldier has stood, with his head bowed, by a single grave for our whole visit. I tear as he mourns a loved one. The sadness I feel is surpassed by my gratitude. Another gift these fallen have given me.

May we never forget.

She Could Have, But She Didn't

Monday, May 25, 2009

During the Revolutionary war, America fought for her identity. Sacrifices were made in behalf of an idea that would be bestowed on her ancestry. The idea that within a life well lived, anything was possible. That people have unalienable rights and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness belong to each of us. The American Dream.

Since it’s inception, America has demonstrated her greatness in her restraint. Soldiers from all her armed forces have spilt blood around the world in defense of the weak and in defiance against evil. After overthrowing the dictator, unseating the oppressor, defeating the tyrant America has left in the wake the invitation to extend the liberties she bestows upon her citizens upon those she has liberated. As famously quoted, all she has asked in return is for some land to bury her dead.

In the vacuums of power, she could have conquered, but she didn’t.

To ‘remember’ is one of God’s great commandments. We are commanded to ‘remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ As we remember on this holy Memorial Day, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, let us recognize that the numbers of those who have died is great. The number of those willing to die is greater. To volunteer for such service, to ask your family to support you in this endeavor creates a debt which we all incur, but too often neglect. Yet, soldier after soldier makes no demand for our attention. Once, in an airport I thanked a uniformed soldier. In a sobering exchange he didn’t swell with congratulations. He merely replied, “Maam, it’s who I am.”

It is often in the things we don’t do that we most reveal who we are.

In recognizing this Memorial Day may our remembrances include reverence for the fallen, honor for their sacrifice. Too many Memorial celebrations are merely ‘days off’, and barbecues. In neglecting to include remembrance, let us not reveal we are disconnected and ungrateful. May our omissions be small and our commissions revere.

As I take my family to the National Cemetery, and try in some small way to show my respect I pray my actions demonstrate the gratitude in my heart. Please let it not be said of me this day “She could have, but she didn’t.”

My Bad Back

Friday, May 22, 2009

I've got a bad back. It was a gift from my Father and my two infant children. I remember many a time my Dad was laying on the living room floor immobilized from the pain. A couple of times he 'lived' there for a few days, amassing quite a little nest of magazines, snacks and ibuprofen. I always thought it was weird, and a little lazy.

That's what I get.

About ten years ago as I was juggling two squirmy infants, two lukewarm baby bottles and a how-to parenting book, my back suddenly seized up. One would think just freezing in space would have neutralized the pain. It was so unbelievably sharp it felt like someone had taken a rusty, hot fireplace poker and impaled me.

Dropping to my knees, an infant in each arm I formed a little baby dog pile on the floor of the entry way. Unnamed infant number three, was unable to crawl, so I just balanced her on my bicep. Unnamed infant number two was a different story. He could crawl. But not in the good way. He was so excited to have mommy playmate down on his turf and he crawled over my legs and torso eliciting squeals of pain from me he thought was funny.

Once again I was rethinking this 'having children' thing. I've seen dogs that can call 911 when their masters need help. I should have gotten a puppy. Lassie would have saved me. In contrast, my children both broke out in a wail because they weren't being held properly and then each pooped their diaper.

There, immobilized on the tile floor I was starting to panic. The phone was in the other room. I could not even roll on my side. And, the air around our baby dog-pile had gotten rank. Hubby wasn't due home for hours. This was bad.

Eventually I made it to a phone, dragging one baby in each arm, pushing slowly with both legs and I breathed through the pain. It was worse than labor. I felt like some sort of wounded marsupial with all these babies clinging to me.

Of course, hubby didn't answer the phone. We were relatively new to the area so I didn't know many people let alone have their phone numbers memorized. I kept dialing hubby over and over, to no avail. Finally, scrolling through the received call directory I just started trying numbers. The first was an air conditioning company. "Wrong number" I said. The next two didn't answer. I was getting more and more panicky.

The third number I tried I got a hit. The husband of a woman I had met at church answered the phone, no she was not home but I could have her cell phone number. Since I was still flat on the floor, I didn't' have a pen or paper and completely insecure in my ability to remember a number while suffering from blinding pain I frantically looked for something to write with.

The only thing within my reach was an M n M. In a MacGyver like moment, I bit the top off the M n M , licked it and wrote the number in wet brown candy across my arm. Hanging up on the man I quickly dialed her cell phone.

"Um, Hi, I'm not sure if you remember me, I just moved here with the two babies...?
"Oh, yes, who could forget you?"
"Yeah, well, um, I was wondering if you could come peel me off my floor and change two poopie diapers?"

God bless this saintly woman because she was right there, got me in to bed, cleaned up my progeny and saved the day. Each child was snuggled into me, asleep with their head on a bicep. Handing me over to hubby she gave explicit instructions to call if we needed her. I started to laugh, which made my back seize in pain, which made me yelp - which made everyone roll their eyes. Yeah, um, we might need you to move in.

Eventually I was mobile again, with explicit instructions on lifting, carrying, reaching - you know, all the things a mother of two infants can easily give up.

Since then I've been fairly diligent about the stretching, strengthening, yoga - the list of things that will help my back remain pain-managable.

Every now and then, usually under great stress, I wake up in the morning and can't quite sit up. This morning it's pretty bad. I suppose it's my children's fault. They had to go and grow up on me. Since I haven't lifted them in a few years, I'm completely out of shape.

Still, I know, I will get to return to my now-favorite past time later this morning, on this first day of summer. When, they wake up, jump in bed with me and each of them snuggles up, their head on a bicep. It's just like old times.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today is the last day of school for my children. The first days of summer have such a sensation of freedom about them... unless you're a parent.

I'll admit that my children are much easier to handle now that their ages all fall in the double digits. Still, I know what's coming.

"Mom, I'm bored."
"Mom, there's nothing to do."
"Mom, don't make me do more chores."

It will go on and on and on.

The funny thing about it all is my children actually enjoy each other. They play very well together and by world standards are completely spoiled. Somehow, there is a kid code that insists that they have an insatiable desire to be entertained, be with friends and avoid work.

I wish I could say I was different, but as a former lazy child slob I sang the same song not too many years ago.

Somehow even the slothfullest among us can overcome these tendencies. I've actually held a job, kept my space tidy and upheld general rules of hygiene despite my parent's earlier predictions. The interesting aspect of this maturation is that my parent's cajoling had nothing to do with my rise to responsibility.

Magically, around college, I just outgrew it. The question for me as a parent is do I keep acting like one day they'll listen? Or, do the wiser thing and cut my losses?

Living in constant fear that one or more of them will live with us until they're 40 means I can't give up. While my nagging likely has little impact on the final outcome, it will have a profound impact on any notions they might develop that living with me after the age of 18 is remotely desirable.

So kids, enjoy your summer of scrubbing toilets, working on math drills, and picking up dog poop. I'm merely reinforcing the idea that you'll want to do more with your life.

Until of course, you become parents yourselves.

Broken Zen

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My first yoga instructor was named Ted. He was a soft spoken man who never, and I do mean never, exited his seated position. Regardless of the poses we were attempting, he remained seated on his mat and explained what he wanted us to do. It was an interesting technique, and without demonstration, I performed most of the poses inaccurately. At the time I thought he was the laziest teacher ever, but child care was included with the class and I had two toddlers so I would have found standing with my forehead against a wall for an hour worth it.

Ted soon moved on to different yoga pastures leaving our little class without a teacher. A few weeks later Phil was hired. Phil was a twenty something guy who owned one set of clothes, smoked like a chimney and refused to comb his long hair. Regardless of how many classes I took - and Phil taught four days a week - Phil had the same outfit on. I suspected he lived in his car.

Phil had a different style than Ted. He was very hands on, in an appropriate way, and after I got over my aversion to his hygiene I found myself learning quite a bit from Phil. I warmed to him the day he showed up with a shaved head. It showed off his earrings.

One day a uniformed woman came in to our class and announced that Phil had moved to Tibet. I suspect Tibet is better than a Datsun hatchback. Abandoned once again our disoriented little group rolled up our mats and went home.

Bev was hired next. Bev was an interesting teacher who chose to berate certain students into higher effort. Because most of Bev’s class was of the over 70 set, I was often the target. Some days it worked. Many days it didn’t.

Ted the Lazy, Phil the Stinky, Bev the Bossy have nothing on my new teacher.

The first day I entered the class a couple of weeks ago, I found a spot at the back, unrolled my mat and began to prepare. Usually it’s hard to find space in the back of a yoga class, so while the front of the room was completely full, I had my pick of the back, for which I was thankful.

Suddenly, in walked my new teacher, Lance. Good grief, no YMCA yoga teacher I had ever seen had looked like Lance. He was straight out of central casting. Bulging muscles rippling out of his muscle shirt and short shorts. I realized why there was room at the back. All but one of the members in the class were women, and they were clustered around Lance the Luscious like some sort of 80’s movie.

Despite the demand by most of the women for his personal attention, Lance was leading a very nice class. He was instructive, fluid and so far by my assessment not just a pretty face. About 3/4 of the way through the class we were all twisting our way into “Eagle Pose” A tricky balance pose where your arms twist around each other, your legs twist around each other and you stand on one foot in a squat with your arms reaching toward the sky. (If you don’t understand what I just said, this will illustrate why Ted the Lazy was such an ineffective teacher.)

So there we were, balancing and squatting with a gong solo being played on the CD player when suddenly, clearly, audibly poor Lance the Luscious became Lance the Loud.

Exploding with human effervescence worthy of a locker room, Lance passed gas like he had fallen on a whoopie cushion. The entire room lost their zen, devolving into a cacophony of giggles as poor, blushing Lance attempted to pretend like nothing had just happened. The unfortunate thing is gas is funny. Always. Yoga folk often refer to it as wind. In my experience, wind is more discreet.

Interestingly enough Lance’s appeal seemed to diminish on the spot. People actually scooted away from him.

It was bound to happen. You pack a hot room with 20 or so tofu eating, spandex wearing humanoids listening to gong music and you're just asking for trouble.

Suddenly my unwanted real estate was prime.

Yesterday in class, people didn’t cluster around Lance like they had. I had to fight for the back. I much preferred him on everyone else’s pedestal.

Leaving class a woman commented to me that poor Lance will never live down his fart. She is probably right.

There but the grace of God go I.

Drinking Problem

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I started drinking when I was four. My parents held a hip office party in our home, and I was allowed to be a cute, pajama clad attendee - who was unattended.

With the libations flowing freely, I was able to gather a collection of corks. Corks can bring hours of entertainment to the right people. I know a guy who does a cool magic/party trick with a couple of corks. As an inventive four year old I built structures and fortresses with my cork collection. The best discoveries are often the result of accidents, and as one of my taller towers fell, one of the corks landed in someone’s drink.

Unseen, I extracted the soggy floater with my less than clean hand, licked the cork off and resumed building. The next building toppled, some of the corks fell on the floor - so I decided they must be cleaned off and dipped them in the unwatched drink of a nearby guest. Again, I fished the bobbers out with hands I had crawled on the floor with, licked the corks and my hands and went back to work.

Soon my attention span had been spent and I began wandering around the party, cork in hand. Entertaining myself I dipped the cork in any unattended drink I could find, fished it out and licked it off. My little ritual was very entertaining, and because I was so short, it went unnoticed for quite a while.

Long enough that I started to not feel so good. Long enough that when I was finally discovered partygoers thought it had just begun. Long enough that after being forced to ‘say goodnight’ I toddled out of bed and threw up in the bathroom sink. I still remember how yucky it felt.

Having hit rock bottom, I vowed then and there I would get sober. And while I admit, there have been a number of times when I’ve been tempted to go off the wagon... usually motivated by my family, to date, I’ve been 13,145 days sober, give or take a day or two.

Can This Get ANY Weirder?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Generally, I don’t care for doctor visits; I consider them a necessary evil. Doctors themselves are fine, as long as I don’t see them in their office. The whole experience goes against the way I naturally roll.

Rushing to be on time for an appointment only to sit forty five minutes in an uncomfortable germ infested waiting room where sick people have congregated for the last ten years, sniffing, coughing and reading the same outdated People magazine - because let’s face it, no one wants to read the Popular Science. We only want to look at the magazines we’re too cheap or too ashamed to subscribe to.

So there I am, with my People, trying to decide if celebrity #1 Chi-chi Spinoza looks better in the same outfit celebrity #2 Zola Bandita wore to a different function when this couple walks in holding hands. I think, “aww, how sweet, I remember back when my husband cared if I lived or died and came with me to appointments.”

As they signed in I couldn’t tell which one was the patient they were so connected. They selected seats to my left and began to talk about their upcoming weekend.

In baby talk.

“Should we go swimming at my pawent’s house?”
“Oh, I wub, yew in a swimming sooot.”
“Awww, baby waby yew are soo sweeeet.”
“Wubby bubby, what are yubby going to say to my daddy?”
“Dat I lubby you!”

I’m caught in one of those car crash kind of moments. I know propriety says to quit eavesdropping, but I just can’t turn away. I’m wincing and straining to hear better at the same time. As they conversation progresses, the couple moves closer and closer together until suddenly, they’re making out!

Pretending to be engrossed in the People magazine, my mind is reeling. This is no little smooch session. There are arms groping and she’s got her leg swung up on his chair. Shouldn’t someone stop them? Should I throw a Popular Science at them to break them apart. I’m staring at the one-way mirror check-in window wondering if it’s part of anyone’s job description to throw water on the waiting patients.

Sadly, no one appeared with a hose, so the display continued for good five minutes. Baby waby, Wubby bubby and me. There. Alone. In the waiting room. Talk about third wheel. I was praying for the door to open and somebody, anybody call my name. It was like the doctor lotto. Pick me, pick me, pick me..............

Thankfully, the outside door flung open. While the lovers didn’t even pause, I was thrilled to have someone else join us. Maybe I could forge some sort of bond with the entrant and we could silently roll our eyes at each other as the couple remained oblivious to our judgements. I was so excited for my new friend.

In walks Cowboy Bob, in full rodeo regalia. Tight wranglers, boots, hat. OK, not what I was expecting, but maybe he can fashion his belt into a whip and stop the inappropriately amorous display. Wait, he’s already carrying a whip.... no, it’s a leash.... it’s a dachshund on a leash. It’s a dachshund, on a leash..... in a hot pink dress.

Are you kidding me? I am not at the psychiatrist so WHAT THE HECK??? This is quickly turning into some sort of live Dr. Seuss skit.

Cowboy Bob’s wife follows him in, sits down and begins to talk to the dachshund. Yes, in baby talk. I put my face in my hands trying to stifle my chortle. It didn’t work, it only amplified my loud snort.

I know no one is going to believe this, so I pull out my cell phone and turn on the camera. I have no idea why I was trying to be discreet - this crowd would not have noticed normal ‘ol me in the corner, but I was pretending I was texting while aiming my camera at the dachshund and the wife. Snapping a blurry photo just as the doctor opened the door to call my name I leapt to my feet feeling a bit like I was being released from prison.

As we walk to the examination room the doctor asks “How’s your day?”

Truthfully I answered, “Dull, till I got here.”

Who's Your Mama?

Friday, May 15, 2009

In general I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day. It has always seemed to me to be a contrived holiday that guilts people into unnatural behaviors that they would never come up with on their own.

Surprisingly, this Mother’s Day was spectacular! I awoke to a gaggle of snuggling kids, who not only had showered in the last 24 hours, but also brushed their teeth! I think at that point my joy was full. But there was more in store.

I was then treated to breakfast. Traditionally the “Mother’s Day” breakfast is a conglomeration of random samplings, mostly inedible and cold. Decorated with greenery pulled out of a wilting bouquet purchased somewhere around midnight Saturday night. After being presented with the unappetizing platter, everyone would stand around not only watching but goading me to eat.

“Mom, eat the egg. I made it for you all by myself.”
“Which thing is the egg?”
“The gray thing.”
“Mmmmmm.” As I try to control my gag reflex.

These moments don’t really feel like a celebration of “Mother” rather some sort of Candid Camera/Punked skit. Yet, they play out over and over all across the nation.

So imagine my surprise AND delight when this year I’m presented with not only recognizable food, but delicious food. Eggs Benedict and fruit. Home run for the celebrants.

Then, EVERYONE gets ready for church. By themselves. On time. No screaming, crying, fashion crises, lost shoes, face paint, ripped jeans, mismatched colors. They looked like a snapshot out of a Sears catalog. Including hubby.

We head for church and I’m thinking “This is the best Mother’s Day ever!” While I’m not a fan of the annual “sainted mother” soliloquy that’s usually delivered, I genuinely feel celebrated, appreciated and full.

Walking in to church on Mother’s day patrons were greeting other patrons and exchanging pleasantries of the day. One of the Bishopric walks in with us and makes a comment about the program and my children being mentioned in the program. I, of course am still basking in my Benedict glow and think this is a reference to Unnamed child number three’s birthday this week.

How wrong I was.

Walking into the normally reverent chapel, I’m met with an overzealous welcome as people nod, smile, rise from their seats to shake my hand. Now, in my own mind I am a celebrity, but this usually does not pan out in real life.

We all sit in a comfy pew and I reach for a program to see what the special stylings for the day are. Unnamed child number one snatches the program from my hands before I can read it. I’m horrified. I thought I had broken the grabbing habit out of my children’s repertoire back in the toddler years. Clearly I’m a failure as a mother. Hubby starts to snicker, which only makes me madder. I harshly whisper at her for the program back and the people sitting behind us burst out in irreverent laughter. How rude! Like they have perfect, non-grabbing children. As I turn to see who it is I mentally admit, OK, they do have perfect, non-grabbing children, but still.

Unnamed child number two says in a slightly snickery voice, “Mom, do you want my program?”

I’m torn between my desire to restore order and my desire to regain my stolen program and swat unnamed child number one over the head with it. I notice other people are laughing at us. I look to my left and a family smiles and waves. Look to my right and a woman winks. What the heck? Like this kind of discipline hasn’t played out EVERY Sunday for as long as children have been allowed at church.

I take the program offered by unnamed child number two. It has a lovely pink insert inside. I pull it out and realize it’s a collection of quotes from the younger children in the congregation about their own mothers. Awwww.

I begin to read.

“She tucks me in at night,” “She is nice,” “She makes me cookies,” Awwww.

Then, I choke on my own spit as I read Unnamed child number two’s quote:

“She’s one HOT Mama and she’s nice.”

The wife of the family behind us puts her hand on my shoulder and can’t control her own giggling. My face turns a florescent hot red and I’m a little dizzy. But, after I quit coughing and realize why everyone was so attentive on my arrival, I attempt to laugh it off and move on with the service.

The service was lovely. I had calmed down and returned to normal temperatures. Unnamed child number two is completely proud of himself. So all is well.

Then, before we’re dismissed from the chapel, the Bishop stands up to share a few words. Holding up the insert he decides he wants to give a re-cap - in case anyone missed it. I’m not as dumb as I look. I know where this is going. Suddenly my bag on the floor needs immediate attention as I hear over the speaker system, “She tucks me in at night, she is nice, and then with a snigger not befitting of a man of the cloth he says “And of course, Unnamed child number two “She’s one HOT Mama!”

Is this church or a roast?

I don’t know why I thought it was over. Not only did I spend the rest of the Sunday being referred to as HOT Mama, but this entire week I’ve fielded phone calls for HOT Mama.

Most of me cringes in humiliation. Part of me wants to embrace it, because I am clearly a success as a mother as their indoctrination has been a success. They can cook AND punk me all on the same day.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've recently listened to a series of people describe things they'll "never survive". A bad meal at a restaurant, not getting invited somewhere, having to give a public talk. It made me remember this memorable event...

I was hazed pretty badly starting in Junior High, moving on up through high school. I won’t chronicle all of it here, but one experience in particular was pretty bad. Who knows what makes someone a target, but I had a huge bulls-eye on my back.

One would think joining the Cross country team was pretty innocuous. Most people who joined our team are a bit nerdy, socially challenged and weird. It takes a certain personality to say, “Hey, after a long day at school, I’d like to go run 15 miles in the sweltering heat.”

Cross country is not a social sport. It’s very hard to carry on a bonding conversation while trying not to barf up a lung. At a meet, you don’t find out how your team fared until all the points are added up, and often we would be told the results the next day so it wasn’t like there were moments of rapturous cheering as we crushed the competition. But we were really good, and often did crush the competition.

One strike I had against me, joining the team as a freshman, was I was fast enough that I had to train with the boys. From a coach’s perspective this was a good thing. As a social retard, this just made me more of an outcast with the girls.

After a mile warm-up on the track we’d be sent off on various workouts, broken up according to ability. The town I grew up in is a picturesque collection of mountains, tree lined streets and rural history.

Often, out on these runs, we wouldn’t see anyone else. Running through a tree canopied section of town called the Arbolada, the boys cut through the town cemetery.

Being a huge fan of the shortcut, I followed, only to quickly notice the cemetery was not deserted. Hiding behind the tilted headstones and tall grass was a pack of the older girls. I came to a wary stop as one girl grabbed my hand and announced they were excited I was on the team. Uh oh. And, as an official member of the team I needed to be initiated. I felt queasier than I usually did on my daily run.

Like possessed ants they descended on me and stripped me of all of my clothes. Thankfully they left my shoes on as they ran away laughing. I crawled behind a headstone, and while I was not physically harmed, I was so emotionally traumatized I had to remind myself to breathe.

There in an awkward squat, because no one wants to sit bare-butted on a headstone from the 1800’s; the imprint would not be flattering, And really, who knows what ancient lichen would do to my baby-soft skin? I racked my brain for a plan. I didn’t know anyone who lived close by, and frankly, if I did, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t go ringing their doorbell naked. That sort of idea would work better with strangers. "Hi Mrs.Lake, um, can I use your phone?" "Oh, Mr. Lake and your parents are both home? Yes, I would like a towel, thank you." Then later that evening, "Honey, your little friend Aselin came over today..." Yeah, nix that plan.

After about an hour I decided I had to try and get back to the locker room. School was only about a half a mile away, and it was getting dark so the shadows were in my favor.

Peering out from behind a low rock wall and the cemetery sign I made sure no cars were coming. Planning my route down the road, I scampered from bush, to tree without incident. About a third of the way back to school I was able to harvest two large dry palm bush fronds. Thank heaven it was a bush and not a tree, because at that point I think I would have tried to climb the tree, someone would have seen me, and reported crazy naked girl in running shoes climbing the palm tree.

Like a bad Benny Hill skit, I scampered the rest of the way to school holding a frond in front and in back. Traffic was light, but unfortunately not non-existent. I received a few honks and waves, but being preoccupied, I was unfriendly and didn’t wave back. This may be why I was never voted Homecoming Queen.

Somehow, I had waited long enough that the rest of my team, and thankfully the football team, had all gone home. I made it to the refuge of the locker room ditching my fronds in an undersized trash can. My hands were trembling so badly that it took a number of tries to open my lock.

After dressing and strapping on my backpack I proceeded to walk home. I had a long time to think about what had happened. One of the great life truisms, is that good lessons often come out of bad experiences.

After this experience I repeatedly expressed a newfound appreciation for my clothing, despite how out of style I had previously perceived them. I think it was this point when at my very core I decided that clothes are less important than covering.

I also gained a profound distrust for the draw to belong. Being initiated wasn’t so fun. I learned that the people who create a sense of belonging for me are those I can trust on a deep level. They don’t use me or my weaknesses for entertainment, and they have a loyalty found in true friendship.

Last, I learned that one does, in actuality, survive these disastrous kinds of things. The next day, despite the prodding, I refused to disclose much information. I thanked my teammates for leaving me my shoes, and confirmed I got back to school in one piece, but that was it. It was very unsatisfying for the perpetrators.

Interestingly enough, the whole thing did seem to initiate me. I became much more comfortable in my own skin and felt much less intimidated by the jerks I had previously held in high esteem.

Thank You

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I’m not sure how to adequately show my appreciation to you for reading my blog. The blog started as a late-night blackmail dare that involved a headlock and crying, and has become a fun part of my weekdays. I’ve gotten a number of e-mails and comments asking questions and making requests, which I hope to accommodate.

Yes, I will write the cockroach story soon. As well as the colonoscopy, patriotic sheep painting, and cemetery run. These requests from those who have watched the train wreck of my life are always welcome.

Thank you for forwarding some of your favorites as near as your neighborhood and as far as Antwerp. The greatest compliment is a forward. Well, and a nice comment.

Yes, the stories, so far, are all true.

Yes, I am fixated on my Nemesis, the Blog of Note. Partly because of her continued poor content. Mostly because I continue to be poorly balanced.

No, I’m not currently in therapy, although I probably should be.

The children are unnamed in the blog, but in real life they do have names. Although, I often forget their names, so they have/had healthy therapy funds.

So far, everyone referenced in the blog is still speaking to me.

No, I don’t have many friends, but I’m up to 23 followers- some of whom will even show their faces!

And to you special readers who have recently joined and gone back and read all the earlier posts, a special award. I just wish it wasn’t motivated by the stomach flu.

So,to all of you, thank you, thank you, thank you.


The Hardware Store

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My maternal grandparents were a huge part of my life as a child. They spent a lot of time with me, after school and on weekends, treating me like I was the most important person in their world.

My grandfather in particular went out of his way to find the time to be with me. He was my personal taxi service for all of my school years. My grandparents were no different than the kabillions of other grandparents throughout history. Their job was to spoil me, break all the parental rules about diet and bedtime, and send me home when they were done.

Picking me up from school and transporting me home should have taken about 10 minutes. One day, we stopped for forbidden ice cream. I was not allowed to have sugar as a child, and while I see the reasoning in my parent’s thinking, at the time I would have preferred they cut off my right arm and let me eat sugar.

Grandfather was sensitive to my young cravings, and stopped at the local ice cream shop for a scoop of strawberry shortcake ice cream on a sugar cone. I couldn’t have loved him more at that moment.

Needing to come up with a reason why it took us over an hour to get home, (I wasn’t going to rush this rare opportunity), Grandfather said with a wink “We stopped by the hardware store.” Being of deviant intelligence, I got his code and relayed the information to my waiting mother.

The hardware store was our little secret. I adored the hardware store. The invention of cookies and cream flavor notched up my esteem for the hardware store significantly. Grandfather even let me order chocolate sprinkles, which is nirvana on a cone for a ten year old. Whenever he picked me up I would plead for a trip to the hardware store, and being a grandparent, it was virtually impossible for him to say no.

Despite the ridiculous frequency of our hardware trips, my mother never did discover the ruse. I let her in on the secret a few years after he passed away.

Sometimes, when I’m particularly introspective, I take myself to the hardware store and order a scoop of cookies and cream with chocolate sprinkles on a sugar cone. Somehow I don’t feel alone; it feels like he is with me in that flavor. This week, I sat with my treat, and missed the unconditional love my grandfather gave me. Everyone should have someone who loves them like he loved me.

Everyone should get to go to the hardware store.

Evolving Language

Monday, May 11, 2009

As my young children have learned to speak, I’ve enjoyed the cornucopia of their mispronunciations. Because they catch me off guard, but are so cute, these words have become staples in our household.

While harvesting fruit one day, three year old unnamed child number one gleefully exclaims that she loves picking ‘straw-bi-dees’. I have not eaten a straw-berry since. Straw-bi-dee shortcake, straw-bi-dee ice cream and straw-bi-dee syrup all taste much better when you say it the new way.

Other classics are ps-getti, caller-pittar, and maz-a-gine - some of which I have to pronounce very slowly in order to say them the new, correct way. The fun in all of this is that the children are completely unaware of their mispronunciation and as we reinforce these words they become our special family language.

While driving down the road one fine day we we’re having a family discussion about some upcoming foreign travel. Discussing the different languages the children would encounter we explained that they would be exposed to Spanish, Italian, French and then got stuck on Monaco. I wasn’t sure what the official language of Monaco is.

In the silence, as I tried to figure out what language that would be, unnamed child number two blurts out a loud question. MOOOOMMM? What language do they speak in the Philli-penis?

Hubby almost drove the car off the side of the road. I hit my head on the dashboard as I doubled over in laughter. Once I gained enough composure to look back at the little darlings, I lost composure again as six wide eyes stared at hubby and I completely oblivious of what was so funny.

It was one of those moments as a parent when you have to decide how much information to share. I opted to explain the gaffe as they all erupted in uncontrollable snorts and giggles. Inappropriate humor goes over well with this crowd.

We still hope someday to take a G-rated visit to the Philli-penis and discover their exotic language.

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2009

All parents screw their kids up. It’s part of the circle of life. Mine did a number on me, and while I’ve come to embrace the neuroses that make me who I am, I do worry about how badly my own kids have it and if they’ll be able to decide to be happy regardless of their circumstances.

For each of them I keep a labeled jar for their future Therapy Fund. Infractions like repeatedly calling them the wrong name elicit a deposit of a quarter. Answering the phone when their friends call in a heavy foreign accent and insisting my teenager is the president of the Flock of Seagull’s fan club - well that one can bring up to a dollar. To ameliorate any guilt pangs that may arise, I plan on giving them the jar when they’re 18. They can either take a trip around the world or enroll in a few months of paying to someone listen to how bad it was to be raised by me.

As a mother I have worked very hard to prepare them for the real world. For instance, I have taught each of them how to perform the dance move ‘the worm’. They all can play the refrain of “My Sherona” on the touch tone telephone, and they all know how to make a mean egg drop soup. I’ve likely thrown in a few other lessons along the way like learning a work ethic, being honest, serving their fellow man, blah blah blah.

So imagine my delight while sitting around the dinner table enjoying a lovely dinner I had crafted, unnamed child number one insists that they must chew with their mouth open because it’s physically impossible not to. I am pretty sure I haven’t punched this child in the mouth and caused serious swelling recently, so I can’t figure out how it can be physically impossible to close one’s mouth. I take a few deep breaths while watching food bits fly out during the inane explanation.

I’ve read the parenting books. I know how to raise kids. I repeat under my breath choose your battles. Choose your battles. Choose your battles.

Unnamed child number two passes gas so loudly I think we’re being dive bombed by an air tanker. Unnamed child number one starts to gffaw, causing the contents of the uncloseable mouth to projectile around the placemat. I slap the table glaring at both of the savages that have been allowed to grace my presence. I half rise to my feet and they both cower in fear. Order has been restored and pleasant conversation resumes.

Patting myself on the back I mentally point out that I’m a really good parent. Most people today allow manners to devolve with no repercussions whatsoever. My children will not leave my house not knowing better. We’re having a nice, genial conversation about the goings on at school. I’m doing such a good job...

Suddenly, out of nowhere, unnamed child number three has some sort of gag reflex while taking a huge drink of milk. Spewing the milk all over the main dish, the side dishes, each of our eating plates, smattering the entire family and most of our drinking glasses one would have thought it was staged the lactose distribution was so effective.

I wipe milk off my neck and arm and stare toward the end of the table. There are no words as our eyes meet. In a gunfight at the OK corral moment the other two innocents at the table back away in fear as unnamed child number three starts stuttering a feeble explanation.

I quietly clear my plate and walk over to the cabinet where I keep their Therapy Funds. Lifting each of the jars I pour them into my Spa Fund.

Lesson for today, I can be happy regardless of my circumstances.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

I’ve been spending some time at our local YMCA lately. It attracts an interesting cross section of humanity, sort of like the mall in workout clothes.

Sitting huddled against a block wall for shade from the setting western sun I’m watching a myriad of characters at the pool. A dad brings his two daughters for an afternoon swim. They’re a cute little family, but I can tell they don’t swim much. The older daughter lectures her younger sister on not touching her stuff as they remove their t-shirts and shorts. I immediately feel gratitude that I’m the older of the siblings in my family. The poor younger daughter is wearing a salmon colored hand-me-down swim suit six sizes too large. The straps are tied in knots to hold the thing up and the crotch hangs below her knees and you can see parts no one wants to see. I avert my eyes as the dad coats them in twelve gallons of sunscreen.

Turning to my left a woman preparing for a water aerobics class asks if she can sit next to me. We begin to chat and she explains she needs to rest a bit before she gets in the pool because her knees are bad, her shoulder is bad, the hearing in her left ear is bad...listening to the inventory of all of her maladies, I feel bad. Across the pool the aerobics instructor gathers the class. My buddy rises and gingerly enters the water. There are four lanes of swim team between her and the class. I’m curious how this is going to go down.

With an agility I did not expect she rolls her body over the first lane line and engages in a game of aquatic frogger. Hops to the left, jumps forward, step backward - after a few minutes she successfully evades the entire young swim team and joins her class. Triumphant, she waves at me before she starts boogieing. I clap for her over my head and yell “You Go Girl!” The younger of the siblings turns to see what I’m hollering at, which stops her descent into the pool. I’m just praying she’ll get in fast.

I’ve done my share of the skinny dip. In the water, you’re safe from the scrutiny of land. (See previous post “Wholly Inappropriate - Feb) She’s standing on the step looking at me to which I shoo her into the water. She grins and jumps in. Whew... I hope I’m gone when it’s time for her to get out.

Thinking all the good people-watching is done for the day I open up my book. Before I can even read a word I notice a cute elderly couple enjoying the water together. They both have t-shirts on which is prudent in the Arizona sunshine. They’re darling together and playfully splash each other in a sweet sunset exchange. Passing the younger sibling, they’re making their way to the steps to get out. Like some sort of bizarre synchronized swimming routine, they link arms and ascend the steps.

Of course, this is not going to be normal. Yes, they have on t-shirts. He’s also got on a large crucifix necklace, cotton bermuda shorts, his belt, and socks. Linked to the well dressed swimmer is his sweetheart in her t-shirt and white nylon shorts. ‘Wet’ and ‘white’ do not go well together - especially when you’re 80. I’m concerned about the wet-shorts contest and hoping as they make their way to the locker room they go faster than I’m expecting. As they pass by I smile and look down at the book, only to glance up and notice that the little lady has no concerns about the soaking wet nylon white short’s she’s sporting. Her vibrant aqua thong is providing all the coverage she needs.

I’m clearly overdressed for this crowd.

Unintended Consequences

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This spring I returned to my childhood home with my family. Returning to the place of my formative years always brings on a session of introspection. On my father’s property is a magnificent oak tree. It’s branches fan out making it a perfect climbing tree. It towers over there pasture in which it stands, and its canopy spans at least 25 yards. It’s a spectacular specimen.

Strolling around the rural property the spring grass was growing tall and I felt the fresh coolness as the blades brushed my calves. I meandered down to the shade of the tree. As a child I spent lots of time in this field. When the grass grew tall enough I would press trails and rooms into the the blades like a life size ant farm. I would spend hours in my little lair reading, catching ladybugs and assembling hook rugs.

I know, it explains a lot.

Still hanging on the tree, from years ago is a yellow nylon rope that used to suspend a plastic tire. The tire lays on the ground nearby. It’s not in good shape, from the last time I played on it. Yet it still hangs there, somewhat ominously.

When I was about 10 years old, my neighbor Nicole and I were climbing the tree and swinging on the swing. We took turns winding the tire and then playing with the centrifugal force as the rider would extend and then pull her arms in adjusting the spin rate. It was great fun.

I was winding Nicole on what was destined to be the most spectacular ride of the afternoon. Nicole suggested that I had wound enough, and I kept telling her how fantastic it was going to be.

Suddenly there was a weird creak and then a loud bang as one of the sections of the nylon rope passed its torque limit and unraveled. It would have been of little consequence except it took with it a chunk of Nicole’s scalp ripping out her hair and leaving the worst rope burn imaginable on her face.

In ten year old panicked horror I simultaneously moved to help her while mentally springing into C.M.A. mode. I told her I was going to the house to get first aid supplies, and that when she went home she should tell her parents she fell off her bike. As I ran toward the house I started to cry.

When I returned, Nicole was gone. I sat under the oak tree for a very long time, alternating crying and dry heaving. I kept staring at the tuft of hair intertwined with the frayed ends of the rope. It was the most awful thing I had experienced and I didn’t know what to do.

One would think this kind of thing only happens to children. Unfortunately more than once in my life since then I’ve planned something spectacular only to have it blow up, usually in someone’s face.

There is much wisdom in slowing down. In listening to someone you disagree with, and just taking a little bit at a time.

Smaller rides can be fun, and while Nicole eventually forgave me, or at least started talking to me again, I still sicken at the fact that I just wouldn’t listen. That fact has left deeper scars on me than were ever on her.

Deep Fryer

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Food Network has been one of the greatest additions to my life. My family only recently purchased cable. While most of the channels that we are paying for are complete crap, the Food Network has opened up culinary horizons hitherto unavailable to me. I’ve learned how to make all kinds of unique offerings, most of which my family has willingly eaten.

I have fantasies that I will have my own show one day. It will be titled something catchy like “The Quinoa Queen.”

While folding laundry today I’m watching this show called “Deep Fried Paradise.” I love fried food as much as the next guy, I mean, really you can fry anything and it tastes good. Okra, opossum, flip flops. But I rarely eat fried food, because like most of people, I also possess the knowledge that it will kill you.

The format of “Deep Fried Paradise” is they show you how the item is made, interview the ‘chef’ or creator, and then interview some of the loyal patrons. Traditional marketing strategies dictate that you advertise using people who the general public would like to be like. It has tricked millions into trying tobacco, soda, electronics, beer and the Snuggie.

The first fryer offering they were sharing came, of course, from the south. Chicken fried bacon. Yes, you read that right. I’m going out on a limb here, but when ALL of the patrons in your establishment are over 400 pounds there aren’t too many people who say “I wanna eat chicken fried bacon so I can look like him.”

They spoke to “Bubba’ (not kidding), the self-proclaimed biggest fan (pun intended) of chicken fried bacon, and trust me, most people wouldn’t want to sound like him either. He actually said he considered the flour in the batter his vegetable serving for the day. And, as he masticated another chunk, through his full mouth he proclaimed it was a “heart attack waiting to happen.”

I know some people who have had heart attacks. They universally say it wasn’t any fun. Someone should tell Bubba.

The second offering was deep fried dill pickle slices. For this cuisine they interviewed the mayor of the town where they supposedly were created. It’s a sad day in mayor town when the most exciting thing you have to talk about was the creation of Deep Fried Pickles in your town 75 years ago. At this point I’m screaming at the television “DO SOMETHING!” I know our love of the fryer is quintessentially American, but please don’t let the idea to bread and fry something be the pinnacle of your civic success.

The final item on the fryer menu still makes my stomach turn. Of course, who wouldn’t think of deep frying a hamburger patty. On the surface this seems rather innocuous, there are a whole bunch of deep fried sandwiches out there. But a trip to the kitchen reveals that they’re frying todays burgers in the SAME oil they started with 90 years ago. After 90 years of repetitive heating and cooling, doesn’t the oil turn into a lethal carcinogen? The next shot of the simmering meat cakes makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

Recent studies don’t bode well for the American physique. I’m disappointed that my beloved Food Network is promoting this lifestyle, but concede that too many of us are not that concerned about what we eat. As I finish folding my last pair of boxer briefs, I realize - I’m not tuned on to the Food Network at all - it’s the travel channel. This realization brings me great relief, and confidence that I won’t be planning my next vacation to “Deep Fried Paradise”

Another Bad Hair Day

Monday, May 4, 2009

I’m not a picky girl. I have no delusions of grandeur about myself. I don’t wear much make-up, and what I do wear I bought at WalMart. I shop for clothes, maybe twice a year, sometimes less. When I do, I shop the bargain racks. And, as previously mentioned, I still have some clothes I wore in high school. “Fashion disaster” has been used to describe me more than once, and I don’t mind at all.

So you would think I would be somewhat insulated from personal aesthetic trauma. Oh how wrong you are.

Last month my selfish hairdresser of six years decided to marry the man of her dreams. I was totally supportive of her dating, but I can’t believe how incredibly egomaniacal she has been in getting married and moving to California. My mind is reeling that she could actually leave me. I mean, I see her three times a year! What will she do without my revenue?

Just goes to show, you can’t save people from their bad decisions.

So how hard can it be to cut my hair? I style it with a blow dryer. I sometimes even use mousse. I know. Ooooo.

About twenty years ago I worked for Vidal Sassoon as a hair model. The first show I did was really fun, the stylist was fantastic and the weeks after the show I still sported the attitude to match my sassy hair.

When I got called in for my second show I was really excited. It was about 9 months after the first. Many of the photos from the first show had been used in salons and print ads so I was all jittery with hair excitement.

I was beyond pleased when I arrived at the salon to meet the new stylist I was assigned to; he was edgy, sassy and WAY gay. In stylists this is usually a great thing. After the obligatory hair wash (even though I had washed it six times the morning before I came in) I was seated in the chair getting the fantastic platonic head massage that makes hair appointments worth showing up for.

In assessing my “face frame” as he called it, he announced his evil plan. I was to get a 2” long entire head bob, with a wave perm. Every pore in my body started to sweat. Time stopped and suddenly I realized I got one of the defective gay guys. Crap.

This time, I was smart enough to walk out with my wet hair.

You would have thought I would have learned.

Only a few short years later I was sitting in the chair of another edgy, sassy gay guy. The ambiance was right. He had promise. As he started razoring away, a technique I’d never experienced, we chatted about life. Half way through the interesting hair attack he revealed he was the stylist for a family of ten that I knew. I started seizing right in the chair. We called the family “The Bad Hair Family”. All ten of them had REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad haircuts. As he styled my new do, I realized I could have been adopted by them. Tears welled up in my eyes as I handed over a wad of cash paying for the monstrosity atop my head.

When I walked in the door at home my hubby stifled a grin as he said “You look like one of the _____ (bad hair family)” I wished I had been a ninja, I would have kicked him in the head. Unfortunately, my assault skills are limited and I just whimpered onto the couch.

Fast forward to today. I just tried a new stylist. She came recommended. I look like David Cassidy. My former stylist has ruined my life.

Next time you see me I will either be wearing a hat or singing the Partridge Family version of “I Think I Love You” off key.

Nemesis Update

Friday, May 1, 2009

I've always imagined I would have a nemesis. The yin to my yang. As a pre-teen I would walk about a mile to school each day. During the walk I would create different stories about people who lived in homes I passed, concoct different adventures I was on, and give identities to the people in the cars that passed. These people were all fascinating. They had glamorous interesting lives and many of them also had nemesises.

What is the plural of nemesis? Nemesises? Nemi? Nemesissies? Oh well.

My problem with my personal nemesis is that while I've always known I would have one, I also imagined I would be the dominant of the pair. The reality of my relationship with her is that not only am I not the dominant of the two, but I'm really the commercial during her favorite show. I'm the gnat on her windshield, the microbe under her fingernail. It's not fun to be irrelevant in the contest between us. She's at 677 followers, I'm 19. Sigh.

Today she's announcing a giveaway. How can I compete with free stuff? I LOVE free stuff. I'm tempted to become one of her followers so I can compete for the free stuff!. I can't even imagine keeping you from the opportunity to have free stuff... here she is http://www.remembermoments0823.blogspot.com/


I'll just have to resign myself to the fact that more people are interested in free stuff and lists of whether or not she drinks soda from a straw.

So my 19 loyal readers, in the sprit of the republic that this blog aspires to be, would you like me to answer lists of lists? Or do you prefer the random musings of an overactive brain?

Maybe I could give away "The Van"...