June 28, 2009

Time for the Talk?

This morning, I found Prince Charming in a compromising position. He'd been pantsed and, well, entranced, as you can see by the smile on his face. Apparently, he died happy.

I think it's time for whoever did this to get "the talk." You know, the birds and the bees? And the package? Cuz if you look close, Charming is equipped.

Don't worry, people, I've got it covered. I'm telling their moms.

June 27, 2009

Ode to U

For a long time, I missed U. U were the perfect companion for so many years – the yin to my yan, the in to my out, the quenching water to my insatiable thirst. The one who showed me the real meaning of life. Before I found U, I didn't have a clue what I was missing.

I can honestly say that no one has ever known me so intimately and no one ever will. No one has been with me through thick and thin – not like U. U were perfect to bounce things off of. Always reliable and rarely complained – in the beginning. And it wasn't just me. Truly, U carried the load for so many. I confess, I let U put yourself in the line of fire for me and "take one for the team" many times. Maybe I should feel guilty. I don't.

But it was heartbreaking to lose U so young – too soon! And yet not soon enough. U were the perfect companion until your later years when U got so bloody bitchy. Ay ay ay, you and your two little companions, you so cramped my style! I couldn't wait till you got your own pad. You ALWAYS showed up at the wrong time! Still, when U knew your time was up, U accepted your fate and let yourself be cut from my life.

After eight years, I've moved on without U, my womb with a view to all my children. I don't miss U anymore, Uterus, but I will be forever grateful for the times we spent together as one with the Universe and for the four lives you gave me.

[OTIN, thanks for the inspiration. That was fun.]

June 25, 2009

R.I.P. MJ and FF

I sat at my desk this morning, listening to my I-tunes playlist, and about a dozen songs in a row were tearjerkers. Tim McGraw's "Please Remember Me," "If You're Reading This," and "Live Like You Were Dying," plus many sad love songs, and then I heard that Farrah Fawcett had died. I knew her death was coming, but it's still terribly sad when a personality you grew up with leaves the earth, especially with something as horrific as cancer.

Then I worried about my father, who just went into the hospital in Florida with a blood clot in his upper arm; and he's 78 and has diabetes and a pacemaker and sleep apnea and a cranky disposition when it comes to hospital food; and this blood-fucker-clot shocks me into a state of dread and makes me wonder, will I lose my dad now? Really bad timing cuz I'm not ready for it (I'll never be ready for it).

You get the idea. It was a maudlin morning. So there I was sitting at my desk, listening to tearjerkers, sad about Farrah, mourning my baby sister who died last October, worried about Dad, and feeling sorry for myself; and Tim "dirge man" McGraw is pissing me off with all his somebody's-gonna-die ballads -- and before I know it, tears are streaming down my face.

[I hate BLOGGER! It dumped my whole post, and I had to start over! You bleeper bleeping piece of bleep! -- I curbed my potty mouth just for you, Dad.]

What a crappy day, I think. Time for the cure to sappy songs: I crank the ZZ Top. Then I bury myself in my work, cuz I'm good at that and I'm good at my job and I don't wanna think about sad stuff anymore.

Then 5:00 rolls around and I call my dad in the hospital and have a nice chat with him and he says "Did you see Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital?"

NO! See what happens when I'm buried in my work? Bad shit happens. I hang up with Dad and pull up CNN to see what's going on with Michael and instead of the live feed saying he's in a coma, they say he's died. And then I stare in shock at the computer screen, watching the newspeeps and the classic Jackson 5 footage, and now I'm really in a mood. Hypnotized, soaking up whatever info they'll throw out. Tear stains all down my sorry face.

I feel today like I did in 1997 when Princess Diana died. Or when John Lennon died or Jim Croce. All controversy aside, the loss I feel is HUGE. When I talked to my other sister, Star, she said the same thing. We've "known" Michael Jackson since he was a kid -- since I was a kid. We've watched him grow up (um, well he WAS 50 years old), we idolized him and played "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" and "Black or White" and my favorite "Man in the Mirror," and all those other songs, repeatedly. We tried to dance like him, and we were there when he came out with the moonwalk (I got a huge chunk of wood sliver in my socked foot showing off my MJ moonwalking talents) and so many other ground-breaking musical feats. Plus he used to be really cute, and that transformation alone is pretty pitiful. And Farrah, well we Americans always mourn our pinups and icons like they're family.

R.I.P, MJ and FF.

I know I'm rambling, and I'm not normally such a rambler (unless I'm commenting on Michel's or Braja's or Magaret's or Julie's or Jane's or Nikki's or -- any of your damn blogs). But because this is the saddest day of the year so far, and because I can't concentrate, and because I want it to end right here, please say a prayer for my dad (and my mom cuz she's having trouble remembering that her phone number is not the hospital's, and that Mr. WhoTheHellIsThis's room number is quite different from my father's). While Dad's on blood thinners which should dissolve the clot, I don't want to leave anything to chance. A good word sent out to the universe couldn't hurt, right?

Thank you, and y'all be safe.

June 23, 2009

Born With It

You may recall my recent boo-hooing about writer's block and the really quite inspirational Haiku I wrote as a result, which captured my tortured frame of mind quite nicely, I think. This was only one dusty footprint in an arid dearth of fiction for me; and it had actually gone on for the greater part of three years—boy, was I thirsty—ever since I received 100 rejections for what is surely the greatest American masterpiece never sold.

But woo-hoo! The dam has broken, and the water is now flowing through the gullies—thanks in large part to my writing partner Winter (the witty muse for Crib-Notes and HorseCentric), who allows me to be chatty during critique meetings. Yes, chattiness is encouraged. But only a special kind of chattiness. No mention of kids and bodily functions, no sordid true confessions (actually, the sordid ones are okay), and no whining about whether we'll ever be paid, published novelists or not. Cuz we will. No, this chattiness turns our mushy blocked brains into super powers.

Here's why. Most women don't even know what they think until they say it. And since knowledge energizes our creative juices, we can use this byproduct of natural female communication to flesh out scenes, challenge our characters' motives, and insert all manner of dark and twisty rivers for our readers to float along on. And isn't that much better than banging your brain against a blinking cursor while flogging yourself silly? (Stupid, stupid, stupid.) Because with flogging comes cussing and drinking and Haiku writing you can't show your mother. Well, I can show my mother, but maybe yours would gasp and recoil in horror. Which might actually be kind of fun. Try this at home and report back.

To answer the age-old question, YES, we were born with it: the chatty gene. It's just how we're wired. This little girl was just testing out a story idea (and as usual, the man did not get it). As a writer with biology on my side and Winter on my case (she is a slave driver), things are looking up. One o' these days I will once again have a polished manuscript to shop around. And maybe some more Haiku. Bet you can't wait for that.

June 22, 2009

The Grosser Sex?

My dear friend Julie at Midlife Jobhunter has raised three boys. Based on our many long talks about our kids, she seems certain that boys must be the grosser sex. Though moms of boys may beg to differ, one thing I can state unequivocally about raising all girls is that they have within them the capacity to defy the "sugar and spice and everything nice" stereotype with off-the-charts grossness. But I had done a fine job of putting that out of my mind until one Saturday morning last August after my car wreck.

My ten-year-old nanaboy whom I affectionately call Doodle (to his great dismay, now that he's experiencing peripuberty), his brother Kabob (age 7), and their mom, my daughter "Scoots," went with me to Enterprise Rent-a-Car so I could switch out vehicles. While waiting our turn behind other customers at the counter, Scoots pointed out to Doodle that he needed to blow his nose. Immediately, he stuck his finger up there. Why blow when you can troll, I always say. Especially if there's a big fish in the pond. Scoots and I immediately recoiled when Doodle hooked something, hauled it out, and examined it. Little Kabob, lover of all manner of grossities, grinned with a newfound respect.

Mortified, Scoots searched the room for Kleenex and found none. She pointed a stiff arm toward the door. "Outside," she said in the take-no-prisoners mommy voice. "Go . . . do something with it."

I added, "There's a bush out there, go wipe it on the bush."

Scoots looked at me in horror. "Mom!"

I shrugged. I had yet to see anything, so I was handling it just fine. Doodle sauntered outside with one finger poised stiffly in the air, Kabob on his heels to see just how his big brother was going to dispose of this most intriguing catch of the day. After much ado, they returned with only a case of the giggles.

Crisis averted, Doodle located the water cooler, pulled out a paper cone, and filled it. As he took a sip, I heard Scoots and Kabob groan. They shielded their eyes and jerked away with full-on facial contortions. "What?" I said. Scoots and Kabob just pointed, unable to speak. Doodle was still giggling.

Scoots, writhing in her chair: "He shot snot into his cup!"

I took Doodle's cup from him and gazed intensely into the water. "I don't see anything."

"That's cuz he sucked it back up in his nose!" Scoots rasped in disbelief, followed by graphic description that made some woman at the counter wince. Doodle was beside himself with laughter.

This would seem to make my friend's case; however, let's look at history, shall we? When Scoots was in the fourth grade, she and her sisters cornered the nanny in our laundry room with HUGE green loogies on their fingers. With no escape route, Nanny Terri screamed and crumpled into a pile on the floor. After the little "snots" ran off, Terri did manage a recovery; however, she lashed them severely with her tongue. When I came in from work, Nanny Terri informed me in high-pitched Spanglish that she couldn't take it anymore and that my daughters were devil spawn (she actually said something unintelligible, but I have no doubt it translated to devil spawn).

My daughters, all lined up firing-squad style, explained to Nanny Terri that their loogies were not really loogies at all, but scoops of their moldy science experiment, fished from under the bed where it had languished for weeks. Nanny Terri refused to believe she'd nearly expired over fermented mold. Instead she delivered her walking papers and headed out the door, never to be heard from again.

I chuckled to myself as Scoots dragged Doodle into the bathroom to blow his nose once and for all. And I thought, You aren't fooling anybody, Miss Suddenly Grossed Out By Loogies. I know exactly where you came from.

Check out Midlife Jobhunter for some of the best writing around.

June 21, 2009

Dear Dad

I wonder if you ever imagined that your firstborn of six headstrong kids would grow into a woman who would take such a meandering path through the life you had given her. I wonder if you ever imagined that you'd see me become an "older" woman. Your daughter, a single mom of four, and (gulp) a grandmother. I wonder if I have lived up to your hopes and dreams for me.

I want to blame you -- I mean, thank you for my sense of humor. When I was a kid, I idolized you. You were the life of every party and the eternal fountain of jokes. I still remember some of the songs whose naughty meanings I didn't get back then, but still made me laugh. I laughed a whole lot at your lightning-quick wit, as did everyone else who seemed to seek you out for entertainment -- plus a few beers or a glass of scotch. I am still laughing with you.

You are the Master Improviser, a man who likes to work with his hands. Though we didn't have much money, that never stopped you. You constructed the additions to our houses, you built bunk beds and dressers and tables. You painted colorful murals that spanned entire walls. You built slides out of wood and metal sheeting; you made ceramics and helped mom with her kiln and some gigantor weaving machine, and you made many, many other things. And though the slides would prove hazardous to my health, we always knew you had our best interests at heart and in mind.

You never let "what it means to be a man" get in the way of doing things for your daughters. Like the time you sewed me the most beautiful dresses in the world. I was in third or fourth grade, and for whatever reason Mom wouldn't make me the patterns with that shiny satin fabric, you decided you would. You drew the patterns on newspaper and fitted them to me. You did that just for me. And when you had your first heart attack, I found you knitting hats and scarves in your hospital bed to combat boredom. Of course, you were smoking imaginary cigarettes and drinking imaginary coffee too, courtesy of good drugs (and my mother).

I remember many nights at the dinner table when family conversations morphed into mini classrooms. You took advantage of teachable moments and made them fun and memorable. I love that you are a self-taught man, that you soak up everything you read and watch on those science and history channels. Considering conventional knowledge alone, you are far more educated and aware than any PhD could hope to be, and you fostered in me the desire to be a great communicator and storyteller. And a bullshitter. How am I doing so far?

Though you don't think you raised me to be a left-leaning Independent, you surely did. Of the many random conversations of how we view and treat other people with fewer advantages than we had, I remember once, in the front seat of our circa 1970 station wagon, making a snide remark about someone's physical appearance. You brought me up short for being so unkind and reminded me that this world would be awfully boring if we all looked alike. Combined with a live-and-let-live attitude and rebellious nature that I also inherited from you, I learned the importance of acceptance, equality, and empowering people.

I once read that the greatest thing a father could do for his children is love their mother. Though it hasn't always been easy, you've done it; and you're still together after 55 years. You must know that I placed you high up on a pedestal that no other man in my life could hope to equal. Wait, I take that back. There was one man. Your father. Up until my grandpa died, he held my little heart in the palms of his hands. Guess you didn't fall far from that tree, as you are now a much beloved great grandpa.

I know you never imagined that the youngest of your six children would have left this earth before you did. None of us imagined that. On this first Father's Day since Dee's been gone, I hope you know she's giving you a big hug from Heaven, probably a few hours late, as she was wont to be in life, but nevertheless with all the love and smiles and adoration she liked to shower her Daddy with.

Since neither of us can be there with you today, I hope you know how much I love you and how much we have always loved you, and appreciated you, and wanted to be around you. You are the best father we could have hoped for.


June 19, 2009

Freaky Friday

Friday morning, I woke up as I do every morning with a major stiffy. Only this time, it was more than stiff, it was petrified. Pain radiated from my upper back all the way over the top of my head, with special emphasis on my injured neck from last year's car wreck. I rolled out of bed and trudged to the shower, where I spent a long time just standing under the hot stream as it loosened up my muscles, relieved the soreness, and gave me hope that I might salvage this day with a little more self-doctoring. Got out the muscle stim and BioFreeze, and two hours later, made it into work.

Fifteen minutes at my desk, and Freaky Friday kicked into high gear. My chest felt tight and my upper stomach cramped. I felt clammy, lightheaded, and short of breath. The pain worsened until I wanted to double over. I managed to find two Tums and an aspirin, while deliberately pooh-poohing the worst-case scenario. I mean, I'm not old enough for a myocardial infarction. Besides it's just rude. "Pardon me, did you just have a myocardial infarction?" "Oops, 'scuse me." Of course, I'm not old enough to be a grandma either, but as they say, facts is facts.

So my co-workers called 911. Within 30 seconds, sirens wailed toward our building and suddenly the penthouse was crawling with six hotties in EMT gear. Six? For little ol' me? Why, I do declare, I'm just like Scarlett at the barbecue. And those supposed gentlemen were even trying to get me to loosen my bra and unbutton my shirt! Great balls of fire, Mammy! I don't mind sayin' I was mighty thankful they gave me oxygen after that, cuz I was swooning!

Anyway, we talked about possibilities, including something called "referring pain" from other parts of the body, like the neck. Still, after assessing my symptoms and the ECG tapes revealed I was not in imminent danger, they left it up to me about going to the hospital. Cap'n Butler -- I mean, the muscley EMT in uniform, with long sideburns and an armful of tattoos, highly recommended it. I did NOT want to go. But I finally agreed, so the stretcher was brought in and I was loaded upon it. My coworkers gathered around and wished me well, waving at me like I was on a cruise ship. Bon vogage! Bring back souvenirs! Don't eat too much!

Safely delivered to the ER, all my EMT suitors abandoned me (Fiddle-dee-dee), and the nurses got busy sticking me with needles. It took them three tries to not go through the veins in my arms so they could install the IV thingamajig. Then came the pasties, those sticky ECG pads for the leads, even on my legs, which had not been shaved for an eternity. (You'd think with all that time I spent in the shower that morning, I could have found a razor.) Soon wires were shooting out of me everywhere. I looked like the Borg Queen.

Meanwhile, I was the lucky recipient of drugs (totally better than bloggy awards - sorry my lovelies). I drank something green and yummy and nummy for my tummy (blecgk!), and an Ativan of unknown dosage. I must say. I do like Ativan. It made me relax and nod off and make statements like, "What a pretty butterfly up there on the ceiling." And "Did I just say that?" And to my daughter who simply appeared in the chair across from me, "Hey what are you doing here? What a nice surprise."

In La-la-land for most of the afternoon, Freaky Friday went by really fast. Things I don't remember: many blood draws, some kind of scan, and even a lone trip to the ladies' room. I hope I flushed and washed my hands. Hell, I hope I wiped!

Hours into the experience, I actually saw the doc, whom I'd earlier thought was some orderly out at the nurses' desk. He'd been on and off the phone yacking it up, so I was surprised to know that he was suddenly my cardiologist. Honestly, as soon as he opened his mouth I thought I was talking to Bob Marley sans dreads, as he had that "island" accent. He also bobbed a little bit, as if some reggae tune kept playing in his head. If he'd had a little ganga in his back pocket, I wouldn't have been surprised. Anyway, Dr. Bob assured me that in all likelihood it was not my heart, but he ordered a stress test for next Tuesday to be sure. Then he released me to my daughter's care and a trip home to Tara -- I mean, Buda.

Hey, wait. My daughter? When did she get there?
Update: I just remembered that laying on the hospital bed, I was talking to a handsome 40-50-ish guy from Cuba. I was mesmerized, but he was the chaplain and he gave me some sprinkles of God-light or something I was surely lacking. I thought I had dreamed the whole encounter, but apparently not. He was all flirty with me too. Or maybe that was the part I dreamed . . .

My daughter asked me today, "Did you think he was good looking?" I said, "Oh yeah!" Then she made a face. So apparently, I embarrassed her. But I was on drugs -- and potentially my death bed -- so I'm excused, right?

June 18, 2009

Little Bastard

Okay, so facial hair. What's up with that? BTW, if you're a guy, this does not concern you; you are whisker jaded. Besides, women don't have facial hair! Now go clean your tool.

Are we alone? Ladies, I don't mind telling you that I appreciate facial whiskers like Frankenstein appreciates a good bonfire; like my cat Matilda appreciates a terrible-two-year-old with a flyswatter; like guys appreciate their Mr. Machismo being called Señor Chihuahua. Oh yes, that much.

This morning on my way to work, I'd stopped at a red light and noticed my visor mirror open. I proceeded through the light and reached up to flip it shut when the sun shined at just the right angle along my jawline, and there in my reflection, doing the poo-poo-heenu-heenu, was a silvery chin whisker with the length of a pube and the sheen of dental floss. I jerked in horror and swerved my car, nearly running a guy off the road. As he laid on his horn, flipped me the bird, and mouthed a litany of profanities through his window, I wondered, How in hell did I miss this sucker? Astronauts could see it from outer space.

Immediately I tried to rub, swirl, scrape, and otherwise pluck that sucker out with my bare fingers. Out! Out! Little bastard! To no avail. Without tweezers then, I was forced to huddle in my cubicle the entire day where no one could look at me and shiver in disgust.

Is it me, or was the Big Guy Upstairs hittin' the Tekillya a little too hard when he made us estrogenders? Think he was stumbling around up there in the clouds, giddy at how hysterical it would be if he planted a couple tufts along Evie's jawline? Time-released follicles engineered to sprout a little surprise just when we started to really appreciate our femininity? (And don't get me started on the incongruous female moustache.)

I guess he could have just been confused, right? Afterall, the BGU had never made a woman before. He surely had to be looking at his Miraculous Recipes book and debating over how much hair was too much and how much was just not enough. Let's give the girls just a smidge, right here. I could be wrong. I was wrong about something just last month.

You'll have to excuse me now. I'm marching into the bathroom to take matters into my own hands. Yup, I've got the Antidote. $4.95 and all sharp, shiny jaws of high-precision, slant-tip stainless steel.

Say hello to my leetle friend, Bastard ManWhisker!

P.S. I told my daughter I would not blog about the whiskers on her chin, cuz she doesn't want anybody to know, so I'm not going to tell you.

P.S.S. Boys, you can come back into the room now. Just put your tool away.

June 16, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Blocked

Some of you know I'm working on the editing/rewrite of my novel. It's a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, I'm a rusty after being away from the manuscript for awhile. My creative juice is a little watered down. Plus, much as I love my story and I'm anxious to finish it, some days it's not easy changing up the things that need changing up. Like today. Who can so easily kill off all her darlings? So I hope you'll indulge me as I send this little gift out to the universe, in gratitude. It's my personal love Haiku for all things creative.

Writer's block is vexing me,
Flexing, hexing, perplexing me.

June 15, 2009

A Wild Hair Up My Ass

I'm having hazelnut coffee on our back deck, as I do every Sunday morning, when I see something that bothers the hell out of me. Around our deck on two sides is a bench, and on the side where our gigantic palm tree resides, you can't sit on the bench because the palm fans drape across it. I think, that sucker is out of control, spreading out rather than up (kinda like me). Worse, some of the fans rub and slap against my bedroom window on windy nights. The noise it makes reminds me of a bad horror movie; and I wonder, is it those damn palm fans? Or is it Jeepers Creepers? My cat hates it when I make her sleep with me just in case a monster breaks in.

So enjoying my java and watching the morning breezes bat those palm fans against my bay windows, a wild hair up my ass says, "Go! Get those clippers and prune that sucker." Apparently that's all I need to get anything done lickety-split, a wild hair up my ass. Despite being yardwork averse, I fetch the pruners and proceed toward the offending palm when my daughter TG comes out onto the deck with her coffee.

"Where are you going with those?" TG asks, taking a seat at the patio table.

"Pruning the palm."

She stands straight up again. "What? You'll kill it. Remember the peach tree?"

The event where I supposedly murdered an unsuspecting peach tree from over-pruning occurred in another house when TG was a teenager. How she remembers anything from her teen years is beyond me, as I know well what she was up to. Plus I don't remember all that much of mine and some of my friends swear they don't remember a thing. It was the early seventies after all.

"What are you talking about?" I say indignantly. "I didn't kill it. It was dead already. I just, um, cut it back some." Okay, I cut it back a lot. But I didn't do a George Washington on it.

At this house, most yard work is done by TG or her husband Prince George. TG likes yardwork. Prince George does what he is told. Despite TG's skepticism about my pruning abilities, I approach the palm.

My daughter Capeeta, visiting from New Orleans, saunters outside with her coffee then. "What are you doing, Mom?"

TG says with trepidation. "Remember the peach tree?"

Capeeta eyes me accusingly. "The one she killed?"

I sigh. "I didn't kill it. I pruned it. Generously."

They stare at me with skewed and doubtful faces. But I am not deterred. In fact, I am emboldened knowing my cat will thank me. I crouch carefully under overhanging palms whose branches are lined with sharp, needlepoint barbs. My shirt gets snagged and my shoulders get stabbed, but I ignore these inconveniences if for no other reason than to save face -- a yardwork-averse woman with a large cutting tool in her hands is no one to mess with. I position the pruners around thick branches, some of which are brown and withered -- dead without my help -- and I cut.

Capeeta's 34-month-old son hangs on her leg and cries plaintively for her attention. Poor child hasn't pooped in a week. "Later," she says. "I'm watching Nana."

TG's 34-month-old son begs for food and water. He is no doubt wracked with hunger pains, but she says, "Not now, I'm watching Nana."

It us under these watchful eyes, that I clip off the bottom dozen branches. After ten minutes of diligent snipping (my arms, hands, and various other body parts skewered by palm barbs), I say proudly, "Doesn't that look better? Now it will grow up instead of out."

"It's lopsided," is all the ingrates can say.

I clip off two more branches and haul the cut palms to the back fence. While they sit on their lazy behinds, I toss each fan over the fence (behind our house are empty acres and acres of weeds and brush). The wind picks up each one and tosses it back at me. I run for cover as the barbed fans strafe my skin. I glance furtively at my daughters, still sitting at the patio table, still watching me, and smiling evilly.

I did not think about taking a before picture, so you get the after. I think all my spontaneous hard work made the palm tree look better. What do you think? And if you would like to write spontaneous letters shaming my daughters for ridiculing my efforts at spiffing up the place, please do so at fragrantliar@yahoo.com.

June 11, 2009

Butt Tatts

First, how many of you out there fell for my naked photo in front of Butt Hole Road? Raise your hands. Go ahead, ni-i-i-ice and high. Keep 'em up, I'm counting . . . That's like two bazillion of you. I had no idea how awesome my photo fakery was. Must have been the bling. Of course a girl like me would never show up naked to a photo shoot without her coral necklace. For the record, I would never plop my naked butt down on dirty, pebbly pavement. Unless I was on Ativan, probably.

Okay, so it's Butt Week here at Fragrant Liar. (Not really, but I like to say, hey, speaking of penises, or speaking of vaginas, or speaking of butts . . .) So here ya go:

When seven-year-old Kabob and his mother Scoots (my daughter #2) came over to our house for a celebratory birthday barbecue, they were most anxious for the rest of the family to see Kabob's visionary handiwork.

"Look what he did!" his mother proclaimed proudly. "He put on his own tattoos. Show 'em!"

Kabob then turned around and dropped his shorts.

To those of us chowing down on Prince George's slow-cooked-all-day brisket at the dinner table, we were what you might call surprised. Even his mom hadn't expected a full monty. One second the moons were shining brightly, a self-applied tattoo on each cheek, and the next it was all over but the gasps and giggles. In fact, it happened so fast, I didn't even see what the tattoos looked like.

I'm afraid Miss America couldn't see them either, since Kabob was facing her when he pantsed himself. She did see a little something else. Having seen her little brother's waterworks, I guess Kabob didn't make much of an impression, but I, for one, will never forget it.

Here's Kabob in a recent photo. At least, I think so. It's hard to recognize him with clothes on.

From my Fall 2008 collection.

June 7, 2009

The Void

A short departure from my usual fare . . .

In that vague space between consciousness and sleep, disjointed images once slipped in and out of my mind's eye like old carousel slides, whitewashed and spotted from exposure. Each lingered only a moment before morphing into the next, as I spiraled backward in time. Back to the days when my hair was blonde and baby fine, turned-up nose a spot of clay on my face, toddler legs exploring the art of balance. Still smaller I shrank, to the size of a speck, floating in a void as black and empty as space, where I could reach out and touch . . . nothing. Inside me was the same. I thought, perhaps this is the place where I began. Before feelings, before touch, before knowledge. Before I knew the brilliant glare of the sun in my eyes.

It scared me, these 60 seconds I call The Void. Not only the first time, but every time. It would find me on the hazy fringes of slumber, until my racing heart would rouse me. In my adolescence, I'd lie awake, puzzling and fretting that it was a sign of something broken deep inside my brain – another reminder of my seemingly endless quirks. As a teen, I didn't like being alone in that space yet felt driven in search of answers. What was The Void? Could I get stuck there? Was there some deeper meaning?

Lured by the mystery, I prodded myself, Do it. Go back there and see. I dare you.

Now, with the wisdom of living half a century, I see The Void as a beginning and an end in itself. A black hole that opened up for me as a refuge. A place I invented when I desperately needed somewhere else to be. At three, I was molested. I recall being bare and exposed, made to lay back on a couch in the shadows of a den with drapes drawn while a pubescent boy with freckles and a white t-shirt talked softly to me, lowered his mouth on me, did things that left me feeling strange. Not quite good, not quite bad – that came later.

He was the son of a grandmotherly babysitter whom my parents trusted. A son too old to be playing doctor, too engaged in intimate, grown-up acts to claim a childlike curiosity about anatomy, too calculated and covert to make the excuse of not knowing any better.

I still remember. Do you know I do?

I carried my secret for seventeen years. By then I had tired of telling myself, Hey, no big deal. With a stone face, I confided in a high school friend, and though she showed the shock and empathy I needed, I could see she doubted that memories from a three-year-old could be so intact. I was certain my mother felt the same way when I later gathered the courage – and belligerence – to tell her. To be fair, I only gave her the abridged version, the one that tiptoed around the details, the only one my wounded soul felt strong enough to part with. Would she sit in judgment? Look what you did. Look what you let happen. Or would a more careful exposition make her cry? I shouldered enough guilt for both of us, and I might have cried too. Because the truth is, I could no more describe what happened in adult terms than I could vocalize them at three. When I tried, the grueling effort of description disintegrated into a lumpy cancer in my throat.

My shame faded with time and acceptance, and The Void has not called for me in many years. Now when I remember the shadowy den, instead of succumbing to the dark space I become an unyielding force keeping vigil on my three-year-old self. Guarding the perimeter for someone who looks like a friend but is not. Who begs for trust but speaks lies. I am not afraid to stand in his way, not ashamed of who I am or who I was then. I embrace my three-year-old self the way I wish someone could have back then; and I rock her close to my heart, dry her tears, tell her how good and worthy she is. And I dare him to come back.

June 5, 2009

I Wanna Be Sedated

Last December, I got pain injections in the facets of my cervical spine and adjacent trigger points, ultimately so that I would quit complaining so obnoxiously to God and all his minions. This pain in the neck comes courtesy of the guy with a revoked driver's license who ran a red light in his bigass truck and t-boned me, which sent me spiraling through the intersection. (Hey, thanks, buddy! This barrel of fun is the gift that keeps on giving.) So here for your reading pleasure is my first experience with facet injections.

The nurse invites me into the belly of the surgical denizen, where she says I can keep the skivs and socks, but everything else must go. Nurse then draws the curtain so I can undress amid gurneys, beeping gadgetry, and shadowy, probably naked figures from the other side of the curtains.

Now in my world, skivs are synonymous with thongs, and to be honest, these cheeks haven’t seen full coverage since the ’80s. Back then butt floss was all the rage, and on my sleek behind, they looked sexy. These days? Not so much. I still wear thongs for one reason: wearing them is akin to wearing nothing at all. On the comfort scale, "nothing at all" is right up there with warm velvety throws and cuddly plush toys — and, well, morphine. The fact that my ass has surpassed the half-century mark is inconsequential. People, comfort rules my underworld.

So I slide my arms into wrinkly cotton hospital couture, peek-a-boo to the back, and fumble for the tie thingies so that my limited modesty will have at least that. But there's only one tie thingy so modesty be damned! Pinching the flaps closed with one hand and balancing on the other, I climb awkwardly atop the gurney, into the chaise lounge position. All I need now is piña colada tanning lotion and a potent cocktail.

Nurse returns with a swish of the curtain. “You want to be sedated?”

Oh yeah! Just what I had in mind! But she looks unsure. "Is this a trick question? I thought I was supposed to be sedated.”

Nurse: “It’s up to you.”

“Me? We’re talking big needles in the spine here. How much will I feel it?”

From the other side of the curtain, a woman shouts, “You will definitely feel it!”

I cringe at Nurse. “Sedation, please. Make it a double.”

Ten minutes later, I am retrofitted with an IV, scribbled on with a purple marker (X marks the spots, Indy!), and adorned with paper booties and a paper shower cap. I’m then wheeled into the O.R. where my twelve-year-old doctor and a small crowd prepare to poke and prod me into a pain-free life.

Nurse has me scoot from my gurney to the adjacent operating table, doing my best impression of a drunk crab, then roll onto my stomach. My hospital gown flops open and my entire backside from the neck down is flashing like a neon sign. It hits me that I am overdressed for this affair — in black silk socks and a lacy yellow thong — while my audience is in scrubs and party masks. I am instructed to hang my chest over a folded pillow, forehead pressed into the table, posterior fanned into the full-moon position under glaring overhead lights — the kind you never want to see your ass in because they reveal every single imperfection you have — and some you didn't know you had. This moment, like no other in history, will commemorate all fifty-three years behind me.

I sense that all eyes are aghast at my personal business, parading around in slutty paraphernalia — at my age — and I wait for the giggles to erupt. But the only giggles are mine. “Just injecting a little humor into the air,” I bleat, wondering suddenly if they thought I'd farted.

Only the anesthetist speaks. “I’m going to sedate you now.”

I gasp, “Please hurry.”

An hour later, I wake in the recovery room. I don’t even remember that I have an ass. My daughter pulls her car up to the side door of the building as if she’s picking up a small appliance from Sears, and I wobble out there and slide into the front seat. I do not remember the ride home.

I underwent that procedure three times, and in two weeks I'll take the next step in treatment with facet denervation (rhizolysis) that will block the pain more permanently. But you can pretty much count on me not running out to buy traditional briefs from Wally World, just in case I have a Jack Nicholson moment. There’s just no substitute for a comfy thong. Even at my age.

June 2, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Getting Lucky

Okay, people. My kids watched this movie over and over again when it first came out back in '87. Who doesn't love the Chipmunks? NOW I discover that those boys' female cunterparts (the CHICKmunks) are horny little thangs. Witness their attempts to "get lucky" -- not with Alvin, Theodore, or Simon, but with SNAKES! Cobras that rise up to the challenge, dare I say. WTF? As my friend Airman Mom says: Happy Hump Day!

Some sneaky, pervy animator is busting a gut every time these randy tarts show up in some kid's DVD player. Who knew?

Getting lucky's what it's all about? To what lengths will these little tramps go to get what they want? Just a warning, people, the next generation is dancing and singing to chickmunk erotica right now. Those cute mini-voiced vixens are charming the scales off unsuspecting ssssssnakes -- and the chipmunk boys are watching!

Of course, I LOVE the adult humor and sexual undertones, but those bitches will probably get lucky long before I do. WTF?

You're going to be singing this song all day long now, aren't you?

June 1, 2009

Do You See Me?

Just when I thought I'd gotten over my bad hair day, this happened:

Miss America asked me to cut her bangs. I'm real handy with the sharp instruments, and I'd make a fabulous hairdresser if only I could control the need to stab finicky customers like me. She said, "I need my bangs cut so the boys won't notice me."

My first thought: This girl cannot be related to me. Of course, the "boys" are her older cousins, so I guess it's okay. "Boys always try to trick me," she explained.

I hesitated to refute that statement, as she has learned one of the fundamental boy/girl conundrums. And you guys wonder why you can't figure us out? We females learn long before puberty to disguise our honorable intentions so we don't get caught up in your evil game of trickery. Are you writing this down?

I pressed for more info. "What does that have to do with your hair?"

She shrugged. "If they can't see me, they won't trick me."

Aaaaahhhhh, here lies the raw pearl. She wants to change her look so the boys don't recognize her and therefore press all her buttons. Her logic makes perfect sense because we females are so attached to our hair and the belief that it defines us in some way. Why else would nice, amiable women threaten to do bodily harm to their hairdressers when they yack and snip a little too much (or a lot too much); over- or under-process our color; or otherwise pay no freakin' attention whatsoever to what we asked for in the first freakin' place? Where's that C-4 when you need it? Or in the interest of world peace, a recyclable paper bag for your head?

Perhaps my hair obsession means I could use a good intervention (or therapy). But the room would no doubt be filled with men or deeply spiritual people who know shit from shallow when they see it. But tell me if you don't agree with this, girlies: the cut, the color, and the style can create a mood that's reflected in our actions. When our hair looks good, we feel good -- inside and out.

Don't you know, researchers say men report having more and better sex when their women come home happy from the beauty parlor? You don't? Okay, I just made that up, but I'll bet $5 that's true. I can assure you, I'm more likely to do the deed if I feel sexy, and great hair plays a role in that -- maybe too big a role, but we're not here to discuss my neuroses.

Miss America wants to feel different. Not only different, but better, more liked instead of picked on. I get it. It's not reality, but too often it feels like reality. And sometimes you just want to try out a new look and hope the world thinks you are as awesome as you feel. Then you don't mind so much if they can see you.