I want to introduce you to two awesome little blogs you won't want to miss out on. The first is called Crib Notes, which is not only a blog, but a column in the New Braunfels (Can you say Octoberfest?) Herald-Zeitung. My good friend Winter, the author and my fantabulous critique partner, is a real hoot (that's Texas speak for "quirky and hysterical"). You will definitely get a kick out of her wry take on life and motherhood from her unique perspective. Check her out and show her the same crazy blogophilia (that's linky love) you've shown me.
The second blog is called Midlife Jobhunter. My good friend Julie is on the hunt for a new career. Between lazing around her lake house and raising four boys (oops, one of those is her husband!), she also writes essays and has been published a time or twenty. Just as soon as she finishes her literary manuscript (and I finish my mainstream masterpiece), we'll all be scratching out a living on the bestseller lists. HA! But first she has to serve time doin' the 9-to-5.
February 27, 2009
February 25, 2009
Since everybody has something going on Wednesday, and I hate to be left out, I decided I was hopping on the bandwagon. Hence, WTF Wednesday. So I was surfing the web and happened upon a site that reprints old (very old) news. For example, the following are actual "articles" from the Carroll County Democrat (1896) and the Tennessee Republican (1889):
- Misses Josie and Ida McDowell, two of the finest specimens of womanhood at Clarksburg, were in town Tuesday.
- Jim Hickman is shipping persimmons which look most tempting.
- Mrs. Y. P. McLemore of the 1st district died last Sunday of consumption. She was about 55 years old and a most estimable lady.
- Sam Owens is on the sick list.
- An eagle with a wingspan of 7 feet was killed in the 15th district of Henry County by Mrs. Nannie Thomas. The bird attacked a flock of geese when she killed it with a stick.
- Frank Patterson, a Negro of Shelbyville sentenced for stealing hogs, later pardoned by Gov. Turney, was arrested for stealing a greater number of hogs.
- E. T. Gill is improving.
- CORRECTION: Charley Wilson is very much aggrieved. We credited him with a girl baby at his house. He says that there is no mugwump about him, that all his girls are boys and all of his boys are Republicans . . .
- Last Tuesday in Clarksburg, that slutty whoredog at 22220 Skankalicious Lane, nobody's namin' names, flaunted her brand new fakies in front of Josie McDowell's ass-wipe husband, who had apparently never seen boobs. Mrs. McDowell's sister Ida got all up in her bro-in-law's face and whacked him upside the head with the makin'-it-my-business side of an ax. Fo' shizzle.
- Jimmy Hickman received express delivery of ten kilos of ganja via white, unmarked van. Looks like he got himself a hormone-free organic crop that should turn him a nice profit and still provide leftovers for Mrs. Hickman's On-the Downlow-Carb Brownies.
- Fifty-five-year-old Yvonne P. McLemore of Westlake died suddenly on Sunday when she rammed her pink Mary Kay Beamer into the Taco Bell. McLemore's daughter's friends' mothers recalled that McLemore had just received her AARP membership and was unable to breathe. They reported she then chugged half a bottle of Cuervo, whined something about life being over, and lamented she might as well eat gorditas.
- Sam Owens is a dumb, nerdy, sicko perv. In broad daylight and wearing his Windex clean coke-bottle glasses, he peeped inside his nextdoor neighbor Leo Funkenfeller's window while the guy was pumping iron in the nude. It was then that Mr. Owens' lenses reflected a harsh glare into his own kitchen window where his wife was cheerily preparing grilled cheese and avocado sammies. After stomping on his glasses and macing him, she called the police on his sorry ass.
- While tanning in her back yard, kindergarten teacher Nancy Thomas attacked an endangered American bald eagle with a Louisville Slugger when it strafed Fifi, her beloved pet goose. The startled eagle righted itself with a few Blue Angel maneuvers, choked on Fifi, and dropped her 300 feet into Henry County.
- After President Bush pardoned Frank "the Ay-rab" Patterson from his five-year home in Gitmo, Frank accidentally boarded the flight to Hamasville. In a cruel twist of fate, his flightmates then waged a small fatwa in his honor and porked him just for being American. (I know, bad!)
- E. T. Gill is improving but will still be unable to phone home as he is still unable to pay his 300-freakin'-dollar AT&T bill.
- CORRECTION: Charley Wilson is very much aggrieved. We cited that all four of his ultra-liberal daughters stumped door-to-door for Obama (oh yes, they did); when in fact, they had only stumped him on a daily basis with indecipherable riddles about who was on first and who was on second – Rush, Daddy-O, or neo-mugwumps?
WTF you say? I seem to recall giving you the disclaimer that I was bored. So, I cannot be held responsible for any damage to your psyches.
February 23, 2009
“You have to come see what your grandson is doing now,” my son-in-law George said. “Guess he found something in the pantry that he wanted.”
Apparently 25-month-old Destructo’s new door-opening skills were paying off.
When I arrived on the back deck, little Destructo was shoveling inch-long, imitation pigs-in-a-blanket doggy biscuits into his mouth. By his mother’s count, he’d already scarfed half a dozen. She had that sort of stupefied-with-pride look on her face as she watched him intently. George scratched his head, looking to me for either validation that it was okay to let the kid fill himself to the gills or an urgent warning that a poisoning was in progress and we ought to stop the madness. Certainly the child’s mother was too entranced to undertake any decision-making.
“Guess it can’t hurt him,” I said as he shoved another one into his mouth. “They’re dog treats. They must be, er, edible.”
Big sister Miss America gaped incredulously at the all-knowing adults. Even at four-and-a-half, she knew the proper protocols for dog treats did not include human consumption.
Then my daughter awoke from her trance. "Try one,” she challenged George.
George and my daughter share a mischievous love of dares. They taunt each other to try things, just so one can claim superiority over the bigger wuss who fails to show the appropriate courage -- however stupid that might ultimately prove. George hesitated only a moment, then shoved his hand in the box and pulled out a cylindrical biscuit. We all squinted as he chewed the crunchy morsel expectantly. “Oh! There it is!” He recoiled as he tasted something afoul.
Destructo happily shoved another pig-in-a-blanket into his mouth, and my curiosity got the better of me. Tugging on the box (Destructo was not inclined to share), I plucked out a biscuit, examined it for purity, freshness, and cleanliness, because I would recognize that in a dog biscuit if I saw it, and then bit it in half. Hmmm. Crunchy . . . dry . . . bland . . . dry . . . swallowable, barely. I popped the other half in my mouth, because I don’t like to leave things unfinished.
I shrugged. “Not bad.” My tongue lapped noisily at the parched roof of my mouth, and I couldn’t help scanning the deck for a water bowl.
Destructo enjoyed several more biscuits while our chihuahua waited patiently below him for a morsel to be tossed his direction, while I went for my camera. I mean, is there anything cuter than a two-year-old chowing on dog food?
February 20, 2009
Miss America: "Can I sleep with you tonight, Nana?"
Miss America giggles and smiles. "I love you, Nana."
"I love you too. You're my girl."
Miss America, smiling adoringly as she hops into my bed and slides under the covers: "Do you want to talk about my day?"
This is part of our nightly ritual. Tonight, she tells me about getting ready for their trip to Florida to see my parents and we settle in, plumping up pillows, the light from my headboard shining dimly. She shows me her new doll, which is some variation of a Barbie with long purple hair and flippers instead of legs -- an exotic mermaid with an impossibly flat stomach who bends at the hips. Talk about an unrealistic image of a woman. Who do you know that's purple and bends at the hips? Then I realize I'm laying on something hard and pointy, and discover it is Shirtless Ken. And not the Ken of old.
"Whoa," I say. "Now this is a Ken doll. Surfer dude. Look how buff he is. I could use one of these."
Miss America indicates Ken's bare chest with her chubby little fingers, then scrunches up her face. "But you need a new face first."
I stare at her. "A new face?"
She looks at me like a doctor when all hope is lost. "Mmm, yeah."
Now I practically bust a gut. "A new face?!"
She is pleased that I am grinning and giggling at her statement, which escalates into loud laughter. In response, she says in her small voice, "I do good jokes, don't I?"
"I don't get it. What's wrong with my face?"
"Um, you should look in da mirror."
I look over my shoulder at the mirror on my headboard, then look back at her. "It's the lighting."
She looks at me doubtfully.
"How am I going to fix this face?" I say.
"I'll help you in da morning," she says confidently. "You need makeup."
"I need makeup? That's all?"
Again with the scrunchy face. "A LOT of makeup."
Miss America studies me for a moment and gestures with her hand. "You can laugh now."
"I do good jokes, don't I, Nana?"
I kiss her cheek, set Fish Barbie and K-Buff on the nightstand, and hand her Boudreaux the Bear. "Yeah, real funny. Better sleep with one eye open, kid."
February 18, 2009
Six Degrees of Separation. You know it, right? The theory that’s floated for decades about how interconnected we all are. Wikipedia (absolute authority on everything) says: Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is no more than six "steps" away from each person on Earth. In other words, person A only needs a maximum of five people in between to connect to person B -- supposing person A and B don't know each other.
Uh-huh. My problem-solving skills are stunted incalculably when it comes to math word problems. I don't know how many miles Person A is going to travel to see Person B and at what time their train will arrive if they're chugging along at 25 miles an hour while carrying ten hobos weighing 150.5 pounds each. So if that's too difficult for you to swallow too, get a load of this easy-to-follow chart.
Clear now? So I want to test out this Six Degrees theory. Call it a game. Wanna play? I'm trying to look up an old -- er, friend. He’s our first experiment: Bruce Anderson.
I’ve been thinking about you lately, as I have from time to time over the years, wondering what you’ve been up to since we last saw each other. I’ve tried FaceBooking and Googling you (that sounds so kinky -- and kinda fun), but it's like trying to find an engagement ring teed off into a Par 4 fairway (I imagine). Do you have any idea how many Bruce Andersons there are in the world?
Let's start from the beginning. Phoenix, Arizona. August 1973. My father’s friend and your boss, Delbert "Del" Kindred (a pot-bellied, beer-guzzling, dirty-joking good ol' boy), introduced us at one of my family’s barbecues. Remember? I had five brothers and sisters, a dirty cockapoo, a giant shepard mix, and at least one cat (maybe three), all circulating around a Grecian-style pool. I was 18 and you were a year or two older. Amid all the commotion, you sat down and talked to me, and we instantly connected.
Here's a picture of me from 1973 when I graduated high school. It was so long ago, they hadn't yet invented color photography. But this is pretty much what I looked like back when you first met me. Too cool for school, as they say.
Oh, and how about this picture below? That's me in 1974, right after they had invented color. Notice the feathering around my face? Ah, the seventies. That was the long shag I got just after you left. Sorry you missed it.
Unfortunately, the only pictures I have of you are in my memory. You were a slightly built Scandinavian from Minnesota. Maybe Minneapolis. Wiry and slender – all firm, tan, construction muscle – longer white-blonde hair, and mesmerizing blue eyes. I remember thinking of you as a sort of Norse god.
You probably didn’t know this, but you were an important part of my life. You were my first real romance, the first to introduce me to true intimacy. Too many prying eyes here, so I don't want to kiss and tell too much, but those days were some of the most exciting – and educational – of my very short life up to that point. And I promise you, long, hot showers have never been the same.
Two months after we met, on a sunny afternoon in October, you came by my house on Evans Drive. In the street in front of my house, you asked me to go to Florida with you. The question caught me totally off-guard, and I wasn’t ready to leave home. I had also just happened to see my high-school crush and realized I wasn’t quite over him (what a 13-year brain fart that turned out to be). It was hard to say goodbye to you – I was torn – but off you to went to Florida.
Thirty-some years later, I wonder, where are you now? Did you get to Florida safely? Are you still there? Did you get married, have children, and move back to Minnesota?
Not long before you left Phoenix, you came over and helped me paint my bedroom. It was a family project and you fit right in. Then you did something that no other man has ever dared to do, something I’ll never forget as long as I live. My father and brothers loved you for it. Do you remember what that was?
I’m not looking to rekindle any romance. But I’d love to know what you’re up to, Bruce Anderson. If you’re out there, email me at email@example.com.
Blogging Buds: In the spirit of Six Degrees, stop a minute and think whether you know a Bruce Anderson or someone else who might know a Bruce Anderson. He would be 53-55 years old now. Ask your significant other, ask your friends, blog about it and link back here. Is there someone you want to look up via the Six Degrees theory? Pass along this message, and let’s see if it's more than a theory or six degrees of bullshit.
February 17, 2009
The pictures below are of us sisters, Dee, Eryn (our middle sister), and me the eldest. We were at our parents' home in Lott, Texas (2001), and this was one of my favorite memories with both sisters. We all lived so far apart, it was hard to get us together at the same time, and when we did, it was just like we were kids all over again.
My sister went on international mission trips for her church and dressed as a clown for all the kids, which suited her personality to a T. She was nothing if not the life of the party. She was an unstoppable force from the moment she entered a room until she left it. No one got out alive without her leaving an impression.
Dee also had a real talent for singing, and it was in her early forties that she really took that talent from her church choirs to the next level by performing as lead singer with a band called Outside Over. She rocked the house at every gig with her sultry, smoky voice. An unusually melodic blend of Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. She would absolutely love it, looking down on us all today, if you would drop by and say hello -- listen to her music on our tribute video here. That's Dee singing in the background (just some old cuts that the music guy at her church happened to save -- thank God), but that ain't your grandma's church music! If you make it to the end of the video, you'll see her sing at one of her best friends' wedding, a fabulous version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Enjoy.
I love you, Dee Dee. Your "power" is touching me today, and I miss you incredibly. Mimi..
February 15, 2009
I don't like to shave my legs. Or my armpits. I especially don't like shaving the ol' hoo-ha or the funky curly-Q's stretching for the sunshine beyond my undies. Who even started this silliness? I'm guessing the same guy who made skinny-as-a-wire-hanger the goal for all "beautiful" women more preferable to the buxom image of a healthy farm girl. He must have thought raging monthly hormones and vise-gripping cramps and squeezing a watermelon out a hole the size of a kiwi just wasn't keeping women busy or challenged enough.
Why can't we be like the Europeans -- just this once? Legs like a Clydesdale? Be still my heart! Pits like an orangutan? Yeah, baby, yeah! Crotch like a woolly mammoth? Hubba-hubba-HUBBA!
All this to say, I got this product in the mail. I admit, I love mail that doesn't come from a bill collector, the IRS, or somebody who's already pre-approved me. And it was FREE! The excitement made me recklessly giddy. It's called Smooth Away. Thing is, anything with "smooth" in it has me immediately suspicious. I mean think about it. Smooth sounds good at first, until the after-effects hit:
- With this revolutionary cream, you'll be able to smoooooth away that cellulite.
- That Don Juan over there with all the busty blonde chicks on his arm is one smoooooth player -- but, sweetie, he's looking at YOU!
- This here moonshine will go right down your throat just as smoooooth as you please.
- [Trip over own feet and faceplant for the pleasure of large crowd] Smoooooth move, Grace.
- Or my personal favorite: Your special lubricant for the smooooothest back-door entry you've ever felt. Come on, bend over!
So things started out ominously. But my Smooth Away package promised: Gently exfoliates while removing hair! Whee! Removes hair instantly and pain free. Wahoo! Discovered in Europe. Yip -- what? But wasn't it Europe who set the standard for Chia legs? Now I'm wondering if that hair-brained shaving idea came from some lazy Parisian artiste who couldn't be bothered to brush all the leg and pit hair of his nekkid models onto the canvas. Sacre bleu! Quelle gauche! Not too fun there, is it, Henri?
Okay, so I tore open the package, pulled out two pink paddles -- one large and one mini-me (which look like rubber house slippers for Hobbits) and microcrystalline pads that adhere to the paddles. My legs were perfectly primed. I hadn't shaved them since 1999, so they would be a real test for efficacy. Directions said buff in small circles right, then left. After my shower, I dutifully did the "wax on, wax off," and it worked.
However, it took me ten times as long to do both legs, crotch to toes. Cool thing is the product came with some good smelling lotion, similar to Bath & Body Works' Plumeria, which is labeled as a hair growth inhibitor moisturizer, and the whole procedure promises that the hair will come back in finer, weaker, and lighter. That last part remains to be seen.
Okay, so weighing the options here: sixty seconds of shaving in the shower, or 10-12 minutes buffing and buffing and buffing and buffing and buffing?
Since I missed some hairs buffing, even though I went over those spots, I'll keep my razor, thank you, much as I hate to shave. However, there were some benefits to Smooth Away. It's great for the upper lip (not saying I needed that), good for travel when water for a razor is scarce, and a decent two-fer when you want to shave AND exfoliate.
Not so good for the hoo-ha, though. Trust me. Stop now, and step away from the va-jay-jay.
February 13, 2009
As I am currently a single woman with a heart divided -- relieved that I don't have to get all gooey-chocolatey-smarmy-over-the-top about an arbitrary, commercialized, non-holiday event; yet torked that I don't currently have a sexy man to sic my inner wild child on with a crazy seductive pole dance (now where did I put that pole?) -- here's my exact sentiment for the holiday:
February 10, 2009
Oh, man, Frankie! In response to my last post in which I whined about how older women seem to be in flux (and apparently it’s not just me), a nice reader named Frank posted comments that resonated with me in a big way. He said:
"To me there is a difference between wild child and real passion. I find that my meter that once pointed solidly to the crazy side, now points more toward a yearning for emotional as well as physical intimacy. The once out of control fumbling has been replaced by intentional action. Frequency has been replaced by quality."I won't hold that frequency crack against you, Frank. I'm just happy your meter’s pointing. But I hope you don’t mind me quoting you, because you make a compelling argument for pursuits of passion being more satisfying, long-lasting, and meaningful than anything the dormant wild child of our youth could generate. And you're right, we keep looking back, trying to resurrect our youth because we're pummeled day in and day out by airbrushed ads that define for us what beauty and coolness ought to be.
I'm thinking that the expectations many of us have for ourselves, whether we're single and looking or married and bored, are based on the wrong criteria – outdated, ineffectual, and dumb standards of behavior and attitude that may have served us once very well (they did get us beer, hit-and-run sex, and numbers on bathroom stalls), but now aren’t enough. For me, it makes sense to ask why I would want to redeploy my wild child which, if truth be told, was also the instigator of the worst trouble I ever got into. They didn’t call me "T" for my ta-tas.
In fact, we need a shift in outlook, an upgrade of standards, a new definition for sexual beings in "midlife" (ick, is that four letters?). Otherwise, we're just setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment -- and expensive psyche sessions. With the wisdom, confidence, playfulness, and honesty of our years (plus a gym membership), we have the potential to create deeper, more meaningful, and passionate intimate relationships without feeling like we should go bar hopping or get it on in the backseat of a car -- although my back seat is plenty roomy and I never say never.
So Frank, thanks for the attitude adjustment. Girls, you won’t believe it, but it seems it took a man to give me the insight I needed. How crazy is that?
February 7, 2009
After reading a few racy blog posts recently, I got to thinking how totally tame my blog is compared to much of my old writing, like the feature articles I wrote in Playgirl once upon a time. What used to be a sure-fire way to embarrass my daughters is now referred to in hushed asides or cackled over as entertainment during a girls-only weekend.
Read the one about the merkins! Do the one about the queefs! Does Size Matter? Ex Sex? Tasty Spunk? (Okay, that last one was fiction. Seriously. It did not happen.)
Out of Playgirl mode for a couple years and living with my daughter and her 5- and 2-year-olds have effectively sanded off my saucier edges. I think all women tend to supplant their younger, more adventurous, wild woman for their inner manager and caretaker at some point; and they do it so often and for so long that they sometimes forget how to have fun, how to be adventurous, how to be playful. And when you realize the wild child is still in there -- timid now and nostalgic for the old days -- maybe you're not so sure how to resurrect her or breathe any life back into her at all. Those doubts, that you might not even have known you had, triple in size when you become single again.
Me? I am always self-censoring in case the little ones overhear something; always stashing the porn and paraphernalia into secret hiding places where I forget about them (until the cat drags them out); always walking that fine line between the sassy, sensual, sexual being that I am and the stereotypical cookie-baking midlifer who gives up, gets fat, and goes to knitting classes where she laments cellulite, varicose veins, and thinning lips. I'm not sure what people expect of me these days because while those things are on my radar screen, I still feel like I'm 30-something -- but infinitely smarter, bolder, and sassier. So how is it I still feel like I'm fighting against a stereotype?
Fifty is the new forty. Forty is the new thirty, etc. etc. I agree. But those numbers still carry stock images of what women those ages are supposed to look and act like. Now a lot of us are called cougars, and with that comes a whole 'nother set of misperceptions (and a whole 'nother post). The category of "older women" is in a state of flux, and I'm feeling a bit like I can't win . . . Is it just me? Or do other women feel this way?
February 5, 2009
What a week. I went from dragging ass across my death bed to laryngitis and sounding like a raspy, dirty old man to laughing so fully and hard I couldn't stop the tears. And it's not even the weekend yet! That fast and furious kind of a roller coaster ride reminds me how alive I am, right now. Of course, I'd much rather do without the sicko histrionics, but swinging that pendulum from "just shoot me now" misery to "no, don't stop!" exhilaration kind of puts things into perspective. Pardon my Pollyanna, but sometimes you're so damn grateful to be alive and well, the little things that might otherwise set you off just don't matter.
It helps that last night I spent a couple hours with four of my most favorite friends on the planet -- collectively and affectionately known as the Hoo-Ha's. I look forward to our Hoo-Ha Happy Hours and gatherings from the time one ends until we see each other again. We've been together for over ten years -- through marriages, affairs, childbirths, deaths, and divorce -- and I imagine we'll still be sipping our drinks, telling closely held secrets, and laughing irreverently when talk of kiddos and empty nests, facelifts and wrinkles, men and sex are no longer our obsessions. Well, we may never quit obsessing about men or sex.
It helps that today I talked to my mom. Nothing major going on, but the sound of her voice from so far away makes me feel good and reminds me that I am loved in a way that no one else on earth has ever or will ever love me. Hearing Dad shout "I love you, Mimi!" in the background was just cream cheese icing on top of that deliciously rich family cake that only tastes better as the flavors age.
It helps that tonight my two nanaboys were only too happy to walk briskly with me around the 'hood, skipping along beside me in their black and blue Ba Ki Do uniforms and making small talk about their day. Sometimes a lot more can be heard in the quiet ramblings of children when their parents aren't around, but someone else whom they trust a whole lot is.
It helps that my two oldest daughters were with me to share dinner and conversation and to watch our fave Grey's Anatomy. Being together with a common purpose -- McDreamy and McSteamy -- makes for a great girls' night in. That my daughters like me a whole lot more now than they did as teenagers (and vice versa) gives me hope that we'll always be close-knit like the family I had growing up.
And it helps that I got in a good workout, hacked out this oh-so-goddamn-rosy blog post, and look forward to lunch with a dear writer buddy tomorrow -- which is, by the way, FRIDAY. On my bed lies a curled up calico kitten who, when not scratching the hell out of my arms, thinks I'm a pretty cozy and safe place to hang out. I don't want to disappoint her, so g'night, y'all.
February 1, 2009
In honor of my buddy Irish, over at Irish Gumbo, I'm going totally random today. Why? Because IG's randomness has infected me, and I need someone to blame for this 6-day onslaught of the mysterious and insidious non-influenza flu, which my doctor has proclaimed I have.
So, last Wednesday, on the second night of my wretched illness, I get up at 3:00 a.m. to hurl. I haul ass around my king bed in the dark, holding out for porcelain. The vague passageway into my bathroom is the last thing I see; my hands groping for a light switch the last thing I feel.
Flash forward I-don't-know-how-long. I feel some kind of coldness on my back and shoulders. The back of my head is sore. I dream I am laying on a hard surface. Travertine feels good on a nearly naked feverish bod. As I'm rousing, trying to figure out where I am or if I'm still dreaming, I realize I am indeed laying flat out in my bathroom and I still have to hurl. I abandon all attempts to move, and hurl right there -- somehow, into the cat's bowls, which I can't see but can feel between my legs.
Mind you, I have a large bathroom, and I am at the far end of it from where I passed out at the doorway. So how did my feet get out so far in front of me, when they had hardly kept up with me before the lights went out? It seems I did a double-twisting front flip and, with perfect aim, landed astraddle the cat's dishes.