May 28, 2009

Oh, Poop!

Last year, when my daughter Tyson was pregnant with her third child, she had gestational diabetes and morning sickness that lasted all day. Having birthed four kids of my own, I was no stranger to the joys of 24/7 nausea. At the time, I lived with Tyson, her husband, and two kids: 5-year-old Miss America and 3-year-old Destructo; and while we shared the house equally, I tried to let their family life take precedence. I was there for love and support, but it made sense to me that my daughter should set the ground rules for the house, while I moved in and about autonomously.

That was cool for me because my daughter is very domestic and, well, since the kids left home, I'm not. Instead, I provide fun and educational activities, like taking the kids for ice cream before dinner (coffee flavor is especially good on a weeknight), or showing them how to do cheerleader herkies off their beds (missing the overhead fan is key, although not missing it gets you style points), and schooling them in performance art. Hey, Skippyjon Jones and Miley Cyrus never sounded better than with Nana's tutelage. Yeah-ah-ah, yeah-ah-ah, it's a party in the U.S.A.!

One evening, while her husband was away, Tyson, Miss America, and I watched our favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance. We never missed it, and after the kids had their baths, we settled on the couch with popcorn, ready to be dazzled.

During a sock-hop number, Destructo tore in front of the TV speaking gibberish so fast, I thought he'd launch himself into hyperspace. He danced around frantically while holding his behind. There's only one reason a 3-year-old in potty bootcamp does that.

Tyson's eyes rolled in my direction, her face paled, and she moaned, "Mo-o-o-m."

It's times like these that you want to say to your grown daughter, "I was only kidding when I said you could always count on me." Because let me tell you, I normally balk at the combination of kids and bodily functions. It never ends well. Still, I liked to pitch in when my daughter made me. I mean, when I was needed. And how hard could it be? It's a simple matter of letting the kid stop, drop, and let it roll, right? Besides, Destructo had that "adorable" factor dialed all the way up to 11.

"C'mon, Nah," he said, extending his tiny hand.

I sighed, unfolded myself from my comfy slump on the couch, and resigned myself to my maternal task. Destructo led me down the hallway to our half-bath. I flipped on the light for him, pulled down his pull-ups, helped him scootch onto his potty seat atop the big people toilet, and handed him the "Hello Kitty" book. Who better to inspire an indoor poopfest than a cat?

Once in position, Destructo pointed with his whole arm and barked, "Out!"

"What?" I said.

"Out, Nah!"

"Geez, I get it, you don't want an audience. Girls don't mind an audience, you know. Girls go to the bathroom in pairs."

Destructo's brows dipped into a deep V above his button nose. Hmph. I exited and closed the door, when I heard him scream like a baby banshee.

"My god!" I said, jerking the door open. "Is it hemorrhoids?"

He said something in 3-year-old twaddle that I took to mean he just wanted the door almost shut. More importantly, he wanted to see me through the crack in the doorway and know that I hadn't left his fate up to the fiendish flushing machine. I'd been down that road long ago with all four of my daughters, so I gave the kid his privacy and took the opportunity to peek at the hoopla on SYTYCD. I left one foot in place where Destructo could see it and lunged on the other, as far and low as my thighs would let me, to see the TV. But I'm vertically challenged, and as it turns out, horizontally as well. Along with the bones in my pelvis cracking, I only heard Tyson and Miss America wow-ing and laughing and clapping, and generally relishing my show in front of the big screen where I should be.

I sighed and went back to check on Destructo. "You done, buddy?"

"No, Nah!" he said. "OUT!"

I felt like I should click my heels and spout, "Ja wohl, mein führer!" But I invoked some long-dormant facility for patience and gave him a few more minutes, alternately observing him through the space in the doorway and staring at the ceiling and my feet.

"You're missing it, Mom!" Tyson shouted from the living room.

"Not like I can press the fast-forward button," I mumbled. "How ya doing there, buddy? All done?"

Apparently not. Destructo concentrated and scrunched up his face till it had that inflamed quality. I figured, a little forcing couldn't hurt. I didn't know any 3-year-olds with hernias, and hurrying things up could only bring this little adventure to its happy resolution—and by happy resolution, I mean the most important part of my job, the sole purpose for my existence on earth at that moment: the wipe.

He grunted. I peeked. He gestured. I sighed. He decreed "Nana be gone," and I suggested prunes. This went on for another 15 minutes, during which time I missed the poignant moments of my show. I heard Nigel Lithgow give critique of a Bollywood number and Mary Murphy shrieked that the couple "earned a seat on the Hot Tamale Train!" Their voices taunted me while I stood sentry over a toddler version of The Thinker. By then, Destructo had been at it for so long, I had to go to the bathroom.

"Be right back," I promised. "Nana will be really quick, okay? Uh, don't go anywhere." Like that kid was ever getting off the pot.

Sixty seconds I was gone. Sixty. Seconds.

On my way back, I got a whiff of the boy's poo-pourri. Fabulous! Congratulations were in order, along with a quick swipe between the cheeks, and I was back on the couch. Hallelujah!

That is, until I noticed Destructo had taken matters into his own hands. Telltale smears of his effort had somehow gotten onto his night-shirt. And his thighs. And the walls. He had completely unfurled the toilet paper until there wasn't any left on the roll, and the puddle of tissue on the floor was not recyclable.

"No-o-o-o-o!" I wailed. Why me? I already graduated Mommy School. I let other people cook for me now. I get out of the house in two seconds instead of two hours, with just my purse. I get drunk without worrying about toddlers. I have sex without birth control! I've . . . matured!

Tyson yelled from the other room. "Everything okay? You got it, Mom?"

Got it? I got it alright—if it meant a direct message from the fecal gods.

Destructo clutched a spitwad of soiled toilet paper. To be honest, it would take a trowel to get that stuff out from under his fingernails. Where was Mike Rowe and his industrial-strength disinfectant for an epic taping of Dirty Jobs?

"Sorry, Nah," my grandson muttered.

I had to remind myself I was helping my sick daughter while she incubated an unborn child—a child who was likely to require my rusty butt-wiping skills at some point in the future. My eyes rolled back into my head, and I felt faint. But something snapped inside me: a little thing called motherhood. Tyson's, and my own.

I worried about my daughter overdoing when she felt so tired and sick. Nobody had been around to help me when I had morning sickness or the complicated migraines that dominated my third trimester with my 4th daughter. I became a single mother long before my husband and I split up. I didn't want Tyson to feel that way, like she carried the load alone.

Destructo stood very still, staring up at me.

"It's okay, buddy," I said. "Not that I don't love what you've done with the place, but let's get you out of here."

Right then, I channeled the attentive, competent, no-nonsense mommy I was in my twenties and thirties. I told him to wait right there while I sprinted into the laundry room and grabbed a towel. In one swift move, I pulled Destructo's shirt over his head and tossed it, wrapped his sticky little hands and arms under the towel, and pinned him inside it, strait-jacket style. I scooped him up and shuffled past the couch potatoes reveling in TV-land, and I dropped him into my shower where I lathered and quarantined him until he was properly sanitized.

Then I stood back. "Stick your fingernails in the soap," I suggested. "Like, you know, claw the soap."

He glared at me through the shower glass and raised his arm, pointing toward the bathroom door. "Out, Nah!"

I smiled. "Sorry, dude, not this time. Nana's in charge now."

He sank in the stall and rolled around under the spray, then pressed his nose against the glass and grinned at me. "I luh you, Nah."

Oh, poop. There he goes again, dialing up "adorable"—all the way up to 11.

May 27, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Tingly's Not Good?

Sorry, no. Tingly bad.

You thought butt cleavage and camel toe were the bane of trendy women. I'm here today in public service mode to talk about the heartbreak of tingly thighs.

Here, take this quiz so we can get on with it:

  1. Are your thighs tingly?
  2. Are your thighs numb?
  3. Are your thighs burning?
Oh stop it! We're not talking porn, people. This is serious. On occasion, even I have tingly thighs, or to put it in medical terms: Tingling Thighs Syndrome, or to put it in unintelligibly scientific terms: meralgia paresthetica.

No, this has nothing to do with microscopic parasites scuttling gleefully between your legs. That would be crabs. (All right, raise your hand if that crossed your mind. Michel, being in Sudan does not prevent me from seeing you in the corner giggling. Mesopotamia my ass.) No, tingly thighs has nothing to do with bugs and everything to do with low-cut, skinny jeans.

My sister hipsters, wearing those tight jeans is liable to cause strange and nonsensical disturbances in your thighs -- specifically, the outer part of your thighs -- that can last up to six weeks (once you cut them off with scissors, I assume, because if you keep wearing them, tingliness will be on this, like, continuum or something). Anyway, constant pressure from the skin-tight denim compresses the peripheral nerve, or the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. (Heh, heh, I think Mensa is trying to reach me right now).

So some news report by somebody somewhere said that in most cases the condition can be relieved by wearing looser clothing. Phhht, looser clothing. Do these people know how hard it is to get a man to look at your ass, let alone your thighs, when you're wearing your great grandma's frumpy dumpy jeans? Don't they know there's a reason god invented skin-tight jeans? It's called BAIT!

So as part of my public service schtick, for which you may provide me monetary compensation by clicking some ad somewhere on this page, I must advise you that you wear trendy skin-tight hipsters at your own risk. I know I will!

And yes, tingly thighs can happen to men too. I ain't namin' names, but you know who you are.

May 25, 2009

This Is Your Brain On Drugs

Any questions?

No, I do not remember this. Thank my daughter for capturing the moment on her phone's camera. I have no doubt she put me up to it. She's always been wicked like that. Note that I am wearing a bra; just not in the traditional way. I suspect this is why the chaplain decided he better come spread the holy stuff on me.

Miss America says of this pic, "That's very imperpopiate, Nana. And it's not even funny."

Ah-ha! Now I can start embarrassing the next generation. :)

May 20, 2009

WTF Wednesday: The Horror!

Yesterday, my friend invited me to attend a Chamber of Commerce mixer with her. "Dress hot," she advised, for good-looking men abound.

Stuck in traffic on I-35, I replied flaccidly, "Awesome," my tone sucking the steam right out of the word. But then it occurred to me that I am still single and could actually meet someone interesting there. I brightened, and accepted her invitation for this evening.

But this morning, upon looking in the mirror, I saw something that made me recoil in horror. A zit. Not just any zit, but a zit positioned prominently on my chin, waving the ugly flag and shouting, Look at me, look at me, LOOK. AT. ME!

It's not enough that I've sprouted the occasional man-whisker (ever since my hormone saturation levels dwindled to the depth of pond scum). Now I have to contend with the haunting glow of a ZITgeist, and there's no exorcising it in time for the mixer -- though Holy Father of Demonomania, I have tried.

I thought getting older meant moving beyond social awkwardness, which is a sure bet to be my calling card for tonight. People will say, "Why don't you zit down over there." And "The economy is in a zitiful state, isn't it?" Or "Oh, zit! Look at the time!" All memory of me in everyone I meet will be -- yes, blemished.

Why is there no zitmus test for your social life where, upon consideration of your RSVP, an instant color would flood your eyes with a "go" or "no-go" signal. Green: Zit-free, baby. Hokey pokey all night! Or, red: Whoa there, Bride of Freddie Krueger! Stay out of the public eye!

Oh, the horror. The horror!
Update: I just found a nice coffee stain on my crisp white blouse (apparently from nearly falling out of my car this morning). Right. Over. My Left Nipple. OMFG. People won't know whether to not stare at my zitty chin chin or my boob. I am an equal opportunity disaster today.

May 19, 2009

Pants on Fire

Um, guess it's Panties Week . . .

When we were kids, we loved to chant (with more regularity than my bowel movements and far more fervor), "Liar liar, pants on fire!" Now, as then, humanity is obsessed with truth. Who's telling it, and who's not?

So why stop now? The lovely Jane at Gaston Studio has tagged me to play a game. I am to list three things, and you all get to guess which one is a lie and WHY. Remember, Jane challenged me to do this, but she has me beat. Her life is and has been rich with adventure and intrigue fantastic enough for a bestseller. I cannot hope to compete with those truths. However, I will give it the old "school of hard knocks" try.

But first, some business. Mom, Dad: Right now, hit CTRL+ALT+DELETE and step away from the computer.


  1. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend on the 17th hole of Moon Valley CC golf course late at night. The greens keeper drove up in his ultra quiet golf cart and warned us, with a toothy grin, that the sprinklers were about to come on and we ought to move in a hurry if we wanted to stay dry.
  2. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend on the shore of a quiet city lake late at night. The sheriff and his deputy tip-toed over a ridge to find us, brandishing badges and a really bright flashlight. Sheriff suggested we get dressed and consider abstinence since we were so young (Hey, I was legal!).
  3. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend in his bedroom by his eighty-plus-year-old grandma, who freaked and kicked me out of the house, then tattled to his parents. I fixed her by marrying him.
My parents aren't here to tell you, but they are so proud right now. Come on, people, you knew I had to make this innocuous little game all dark and twisty. It's my job! Ready to guess? Don't forget to write WHY the one you chose is a lie.
And now for your fragrant moment of Zen: See the name of this blog site above? When I later tell you which scenario is a lie, can you really be sure that's true? Or are my pants on fire? Check out my next post for the answer.

Heaven's a Bad Place

When my sister Dee died last October, we had to tell my then-four-year-old granddaughter. Dee and Miss America were very close. After shedding many tears, Miss America did a lot of deep thinking, like so many of us, trying to make sense of things like car accidents and death. A couple months later, this was our conversation:

“Heaven’s a bad place.” So says Miss America as we cuddle on the sofa watching Shrek2.

“What?” I say. “Heaven’s a good place.”

Miss America shakes her head and looks up at me with big brown eyes that reveal how much she’s learned of life and death lately.

“I don’t want to go there,” she says firmly.

“Well, you don’t have to go there now.”

“Only people gets dead there.”

I can’t argue this point.

“So I don’t want to go,” she continues. “Heaven’s a bad place.”

She opens the brightly colored spiral notebook in her lap and informs me: “I’m going to write that down in my diarrea.”

Some days, that's the only viewpoint that feels right.

May 17, 2009

Pants on Fire: Part Deux

Thanks for guessing, y'all! And glad to know I'm not alone in stories of my youthful miscreance. But now it's time to come clean. Here are the verdicts:

  1. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend on the 17th hole of Moon Valley CC golf course late at night. The greens keeper drove up in his ultra quiet golf cart and warned us, with a toothy grin, that the sprinklers were about to come on and we ought to move in a hurry if we wanted to stay dry. VERDICT: True, but it wasn't the 17th hole.
  2. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend on the shore of a quiet city lake late at night. The sheriff and his deputy tip-toed over a ridge to find us, brandishing badges and a really bright flashlight. Sheriff suggested we get dressed and consider abstinence since we were so young (Hey, I was legal!). VERDICT: True, but sheriff did not suggest abstinence.
  3. I once got caught doing it with my boyfriend in his bedroom by his eighty-plus-year-old grandma, who freaked and kicked me out of the house, then tattled to his parents. I fixed her by marrying him. VERDICT: True, but Grandma did not kick me out.
So the fact is, they are ALL true but for one eensy-weensy, itty-bitty, kinda-white lie. Guess my pants are on FIRE! Is that bad?
Surprised about the verdicts? Did you forget where you were? Hello-o-o-o!
And just to tame the curiously wandering minds out there, the referenced boyfriend and I dated from the time I was 18 through 20, when we got married. He is the "father" of my four children. [I use that term lightly, since when I divorced him after some years of abusive behavior, he went into hiding and became the pillar of Deadbeat Society. It was almost always just me and the girls.]

May 14, 2009

Panties in a Bunch

A few years ago, I was part of the coolest chain letter scheme ever. EVER!

The deal was this: when you received your chain letter, it contained a list of ten women, and you were to return the letter to the first person on the list. The kicker was that you returned it to this woman with the size and style of brand-spanking-new panties that she specified by her name. (Yes, not only was her name there, but the size of her butt -- in panty vernacular). Then you sent the letter to ten more people and added your name and panty preferences to the bottom of the list. The idea is that the next person to receive a letter with your name on the TOP of the list sends you some brand-spanking-new panties!

I hesitated for all of five seconds -- totally embarrassed, of course (eh, heh, heh -- I do crack myself up. Where-oh-where has my modesty gone? Mom, did I ever have modesty? Oh yeah, puberty). But off I went to the mall in search of size 8 cotton bikini undies. I bought a cute pair for about $10 and sent it to the lucky lady at the top of the list plus ten more letters to select recipients with my name at the bottom. If they each send it to ten women and then those women send it to another ten each, well, the possibilities are endless! I could get panties from Fiji!

So I waited. And waited. And waited. Until one evening after work, a puffy manila envelope sat on the kitchen counter waiting for me! That's weird, I thought, having nearly forgotten about my little foray into panty mail (no jokes about snail mail, please -- that's just rude). I opened my package and there they were: a lacy pair of pink thongs! I heard a choir of angels singing from on high. I squealed. Woo-hoo! I got undies in the mail! I held them up for everyone in my family and showed them off. Check these out! Somebody sent me underwear!

"Ew!" Was the reaction I got.
Me: What? They have the tags on! They've never been worn!
Them: Ew!
Me (twirling them in the air and singing): You're je-e-ealous, you're je-e-ealous. Cuz I got u-u-undies in the mailbox, and you didn't. And I'm taking 'em for a spin. And you're no-o-o-ot.

The next day, I told my coworkers. They shook their heads. "Underwear from strangers? That's just wrong," they said. And, "You're weird." But I would not be brought down to their level of cynicism. My panties were gifts from the universe. Or at least some woman who got that chain letter with my name at the top of the list.

And then something miraculous happened. I got another pair of brand-spanking-new panties in the mail. This time a stretchy gold lamé thong -- we're talking the Cadillac of lingerie. A few days later I got two packages, each with a sleek new thong. The following day I got a fifth pair. Soon I began running gleefully to the mailbox after work, eager for the day's sexy surprise. Over the next three weeks, I acquired about 14 new pairs of thongs from total strangers! It was like panties from Heaven. Blossoming in butt-floss, I supplanted my old raggedy panties with these lovelies. Not bad for my $10 investment, huh?

I was sad when it all came to an end. It was pathetic really. I'd be standing there, staring into an empty mailbox, whimpering, like a crackhead whose dealer had just croaked. Somebody broke the chain. Somebody let me down. Somebody thought it was icky and wouldn't play. If only I knew her name. I'd send her a letter -- and I'm not telling what I'd put in it.

May 12, 2009

Queen of the Universe

I am a writer. This interminable affliction has spread just about like my butt over the years. Not only do I create the silliness on this blog, but I am a serious novelist. Well, "serious" is not really a large part of my vocabulary (unless I use it like Seriously, dude! In which case, I'm probably not serious). But I can get real serious about writing humor. Even the fact-based features I wrote for Playgirl (yes, it still exists) were loaded with wry puns and turns of phrase. But my heart is in novels. As an instant gratification bitch, you'd think I would pooh-pooh the raw titillation that is 300 pages of fingerbanging a keyboard. But I do like a challenge. It's kind of like the difference between slow, steamy, thorough, tantric sex and a quickie. Ya gotta trade off once in a while. Seriously.

Here are the top 10 reasons I get jazzed about writing:

  1. I get to make up stories about people in quirky situations and conversations that make me laugh. Gives me an endorphin buzz cuz I crack myself up.
  2. I get to say things through my characters to people about their wrongdoings that I wish I had the presence and quickness of mind to say in real life at the moment the wrongdoing occurs. Like, Hey you, skanky girl, did you just cut in front of me? And I WILL write about you.
  3. I get to immerse myself in new worlds, adventures, and misadventures, and form tight bonds of friendships, and fantasize sex scenes. Screw you,!
  4. I get to leave my desk after a productive bout of writing, especially after I've been "in flow," with a huge sense of accomplishment. Sometimes I beat on my chest and yell like Tarzan. The cat loves it.
  5. I get the chance to work out life's little complexities, uncovering the right words with the right nuances that give me those revealing "ah-has!" And for about 60 seconds, I think I'm a real smarty pants.
  6. I get to figure out what motivates people (real and fiction) to behave in ways others might not understand, and then dole out the reasons in bits of personality, history, and (gasp!) deep, dark family secrets. Bwa-ah-ah!
  7. I get to fool people into thinking the story is going one direction (Hey, what's around this corner?) and surprise them when it goes in another. BOO!
  8. I get to experience every range of my characters' emotions, from pain to titillation (I just like saying titillation), joy to sorrow, excitement to dread. I always loved the teeter-totter, too. When I was a kid, I mean.
  9. I get to be immersed in a new romance, first dates, first kisses, and first sex. It's my job to kiss and tell!
  10. I get to be in charge! From a character's appearance to his actions. I am the unequivocal Queen of the Universe!
As much as writing jazzes me, it also takes it out of me. But in a good way, like jogging ten miles (now that IS funny). But sometimes my mind won't let it go, and I'll dream about something I can use in the story, which usually keeps me awake, staring at the ceiling. Usually a damn sex scene . . . Seriously.

May 10, 2009

Dear Moms of Mine

Dear Mom,
Since it's Mother's Day, I'd like to thank you for giving me a good start in life, and for always being there for me while I haphazardly tried to undo your deft handiwork as a grown-up. Of course, you gave me the genes for this life, including this organic rebellious streak and stubbornness. Of that, I am betting you will accept ownership. There is much of your nurture involved in my nature. You know what I'm saying, right? Of course you do. Self-awareness and acceptance of who you are is a prominent shared trait.

I am reminded of the moment I discovered you were a real person, and not just an infallible, mythical creature who regularly wielded the last word and tried to coerce me into liking every ugly dress you held up for me in every department store we ever went into. It was when I was about ten and I saw for the first time a family movie -- a soundless reel-to-reel recording of our life -- played in a room full of siblings and relatives. It's so vivid in my mind. The camera panned over to you, wearing your circa 1965 sleeveless dress and short, dark, flipped-ends hair-do, and red, red lips, from which you mouthed very sweetly: Fuck you. I liked that side of you, and I decided you could be as cool as my dad after all. Heh, heh. It's the little things. Even though you didn't always understand me, you accepted me as I am. I love you for that too.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Moms Who Are My Daughters,
Since it's Mother's Day, I am proud to say I raised you right, but, um, I guess I could have done a better job in some areas. Like the Nutty Professor, I sometimes failed to predict the results of experimental formulas until surprising results spewed out of my maternal test tubes in a suspicious green haze.

Case in point: The summer night when all four of you were still teenagers, and I kept yelling downstairs, demanding quiet so I could go to sleep and get up for work the next day. I'd have gotten up and walked down there to let you see the ire in my eyes, but I was naked under the covers and not inclined to leave the comfort of my bed. However, you all dissed my edicts repeatedly, until I was so mad, not even my nudity, grogginess, or dignity would keep me from letting you know it. This, I determined, was going to turn out badly for you. You would all have to go to bed now, and transform from inconsiderate, self-centered, hormone-flooded little bitches into the blissfully quiet angels I dreamed of before I actually had children.

In my mind, I saw myself stopping at the halfway point on the staircase, where the top steps were hidden behind a wall, and I would then peel the skin off your hides with my threatening proximity and the severity of my tongue lashing. Oh, you were so going to get it! So off I went, stomping down the stairs, grumbling and gearing up for the meteoric grilling, when my foot slipped on a well-worn spot in the carpet. Upended like a light switch in the "on" position, I landed on my butt on the stairs and bounced, one by one, to the bottom, planting my wobbly bits on the hard chill of foyer tile. Out in the open.

I stood up in the soundlessness that washed over my nakedness, like a deer with headlights, and jabbed one rigid finger in the air at each of you bad, bad, bad, BAD seeds. The words began spewing at high velocity from my mouth, accompanied by giggles I could hardly control because your faces revealed your shock and awe at my unorthodox entrance. In fact, with your eyes trained on the full wrath of your mother's naked effort to make believers out of you, you were speechless. Exactly the sort of golden silence I'd hoped for.

I think I've made my point here. Learn this from my mistakes, daughter mommies of mine: In matters of discipline, always wear pajamas to bed, just in case you need to get up and kick some kidlet ass!

Even though I don't always understand you, I accept you as you are. And even though you don't always understand me either, I hope you try. I love you, my precious beauties.

Happy Mother's Day to All the Moms in My Life!

May 6, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Peter

OMFG. The Universe works in strange and wondrous and awesome ways.

My friend Cindy, after viewing Penis Week here on Fragrant Liar, sent me a couple pictures she took on Saturday of a mushroom growing in her back yard. Look at that little guy, posing for us. I'm going to call him Peter.

May 5, 2009

Thunderbox Road

Happy Cinco de Mayo, America! Ay! Ay! Arriba!

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than to entertain ourselves with the latest in colorful Texas architecture, affectionately known around these here parts as the Thunderbox.

In Texas, we take our crappers seriously. It's probably the biggest reason some Texans think we should secede from the union and become our own country -- when you spew a big enough load of shit, you really need an additional place to put it all, along with a hefty dose of isolation. But seriously, you can find more info about the Thunderbox Road project and the talented artists who made them by visiting this website:

So without further a-doo-doo, here's a parade of our state treasures.

This little beauty was built by Ben Beckendorf. I think it boldly goes where just a few people have gone before and captures the harmonious spirit of Austin, the live music capital of the country. Hang up yer hat, Bubba, it's time to do yer doody.

(click on the images for bigger, more detailed views)

This Thunderbox was by Gwendolyn Listerman. I feel certain she has captured the majestic beauty of Texas' ranch life with these wild horses. The secret message underlying this project is not lost on me, though. When one has to go, one has to GO, and one will frequently proceed at a full gallop to get to the Excrete Seat.

This gem was made by the dynamic duo of Betty Rhodes and Greg Glowka. I think they did a fine job of illustrating farm life in Texas. Ya got yer billy goat and ya got yer rooster, and naturally, they all git along jes' fine. And since they poop everywhere you can step, they should not be at all bothered by what you do inside that kaboom box.

To enhance the meaning of coyotes howling at the moon, Tami and Charles Kegley, give us a giggle with the mental imagery of Moonin' on the Range (sing it with me now, Mo-o-o-o-n, mo-o-o-n on the ra-ange, where the deer and the antelope play. . . ). No coyotes allowed inside, though. We don't want any animals hurt in the usage of this facility.

Dotti Brundrett is probably tired of Texas rednecks, so I'm guessing she put her realistic aquarium powers to good use with the fish tank theme. Masterfully done, too, you ask me. I believe the meaning behind Dotti's choice tells us that once you're inside and doing your bidness, you will need to hold your nose or asphyxiate yourself. Really, clothespin the schnoz, folks, cuz Texas has a bad enough rep, what with that revolving door on Death Row thang.

Every man - and woman - really does need a throne. David Querbach has fashioned just the right thunderbox for ye royal highney. Go in style in a perfectly appointed mini-castle, and you'll feel like a king or a queen (or both - hey, I'm not judging - this is Austin).

Last but not least, Ken and Donna Malson really got their hands dirty with this one. Notice the intricate detailing in bas relief on the outside of the box. Their strategy was probably to make it so their customers paid more attention to their design than to what was going on down under. Of course, that's assuming there's some detailing inside -- we already know there will be some relief.

There you have it! A fun treasury of Thunderboxes from Texas. I don't ever want to hear you say I didn't share my crap with you.

Whew! I feel better!

May 4, 2009

No One's the Bitch!

Guess what? No One's the Bitch! Who knew? I just became guiltless!

Actually, that's the name of my sister Austin WriterGrrl and good friend Jennifer Newcomb Marine's new book, which officially comes out in book stores and on today, Tuesday, May 5. The full title is No One's the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers (Globe Pequot, 2009).

Today is a great day to buy this book!!

Jennifer co-wrote this book with Carol Marine, her ex-husband's wife and stepmom to Jennifer's two daughters. Carol, btw, is a fabulous fine artist. Jennifer and Carol's attempts together at trying to get along for the benefit of the kids culminated in a work that is a humorous and helpful take on navigating the minefield that so often exists between moms and stepmoms.

And here's why this book is so relevant:

Over a thousand new stepfamilies form every day! Imagine all those women out there, dealing with a stepmom or bio-mom and slogging through resentment, power struggles, miscommunication, a lack of shared purpose, and worst of all, boatloads of stress. We need a new model for partnership between the two women “stuck with each other” in this situation. When they work together, marriages are stronger, children are happier, and there’s less hair loss all around.
Not only that but, seriously, you or someone you know can really use this book. The fighting, the nagging and ragging and sandbagging, the putting the ex/hubby in the middle. You know it's true, and isn't that hard to watch -- or live? Life for stepfamilies can be miserable for everyone, but it doesn't have to be. Say it with me now, "It doesn't have to be."

We have three ways to buy No One's the Bitch (Don't you love that title?):

  1. Online at Amazon (we're hoping to get the book to spike to Number One on Tuesday and hopefully we'll hit our target, since it's still bouncing around in Amazon's Top 10 Hot New Releases in Stepparenting and Divorce); or
  2. At the No One's the Bitch website starting Tuesday, May 5; or
  3. At a special reading at BookPeople in Austin this coming Friday, May 8, at 7:00 p.m., with Izzy Rose and host actress Laura Lane (The Nanny, Vagina Monologues).
Whoever you know that needs this book, point them in the right direction. And if you suspect you may need it too, go take a peek at the book's Intro.

And I'm still claiming to be guiltless!

May 3, 2009

The Mindless Manhood Muse Rests

After sort of taking measure of the man, I’m wrapping up my impromptu Penis Week here at Fragrant Liar. Next year, it’s on the calendar! So get jiggy with the following links to three truly fascinating, head-shaking, and stunning sites (that are safe to click and not porn, for you scaredy cats):

If you own a penis, or you just want a giggle and great information that you won’t find anywhere else (about men and their penises using automobile references), this is the place. Gentleman, start your engines:
This site is good for women too!

If you're a fan of Stephen Colbert, and even if you're not, this is the must-not-miss penis page on his site, Wikiality, the Truthiness Encyclopedia: Vintage Colbert. You must be a Real American to partake in the insanity.

If you love puppetry, I’ve got the place for you. You’ve never seen anything like this, people. Seriously. We’re talking Penis Origami in the flesh! It’s true. Check out these two guys who entertain the world with dick tricks:
They entertain at parties and go on tours, people! Fittingly, down under.
Out with a bang! Was it good for you? No guarantees the ubiquitous penis won't come up on my radar screen - and yours - before next year's Penis Week. I am a single hetero after all. But for now, the mindless manhood muse rests.

To all those who appreciate the penis, we salute you!