September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

That sneaky Mr. Fine uncovered what I really, really wanted for my birthday -- which is tomorrow (there's still time to shop, people!) -- and pretty much thought there was no way to get it, and . . . he got it for me! Peeps, I am going to see JOURNEY! Waaaa-hoooo!

Don't stop believin' . . . Hold on to that feelin' . . .

Is Mr. Fine awesome or what? (He also gave me a 10-Euro bill, which I think means I'm goin' somewhere . . .)

Okay, so sure we still lo-o-o-ove Steve Perry, right? He's THE one and only, for christ's sake. But Filipino Arnel Pineda rocks the house, people! Seriously.
And guess who's opening? Anybody remember Night Ranger? So cool. I . . . can't . . . wait!

To hear the resurrected Journey, go here:

September 26, 2009

Wee Wisdom #5

Can you say ATTITUDE?
Left to right:
Baby Bandit, Sparkplug, Miss America, the Pistol, and Destructo.

Like Miss America, my Florida nephew, the Sparkplug, just started Kindergarten. That leaves his little brothers Baby Bandit and the Pistol at home without him during the day for the first time ever in their miniscule history. This new reality came as a shock to the 4-year-old Pistol, middle child and suddenly top dog over his very mischievous 3-year-old brother. Only a few hours into his reign, the Pistol was beside himself. He whined plaintively: "I'm stressing out! I miss Sparkplug, and I just can't deal with Bandit by myself."

This is Miss America the morning of her first day at Kindergarten. I blinked back tears as I snapped this shot. Her mother could cry just thinking about it, so it was up to Miss America's father to ferry her to class.

Miss America's Poignant Pearl of the Week:

On looking into the mirror at herself while trying on some new jeans for school:

"I have a glorious butt."

My, my. Where does she get it?

September 21, 2009


There are consequences
for shutting down,
for closing off.
The moment you open up again,
to acknowledge your loneliness,
to give yourself permission to let in someone new,
to love again . . .
That's the moment
your past confronts you,
cascades over you
in icy, whitecapped rapids,
And you don't even know
you can't
the incessant
of your mossy, roughened edges.

Now I've found you,
allowed you one step forward,
turned you around,
sent you away,
pulled you back in curious,
untrustable gestures that belied my turmoil.
Yet more and more
I want to open up to you
like honeysuckle.
Orange, vibrant, pliable.
Thriving from my honeybee's attentions,
cocooned in each new morning's warmth.

I see the lies I told myself,
the fires I smothered
that I should have walked through,
emerging singed and sooted, raw and achy,
regenerating from the inside out
like the chrysalis.
But there's no going back.
So forgive me,
one more moment
to finish letting go,
saying goodbye,
releasing blame,
before I come to you
for your sweetness.

September 17, 2009

Mammoslams and Density Gams

Dear Esteemed Radiologists,

I want to thank you sincerely for the fine work you perform on women everyday. Your high-tech detection devices and keen "hey-what's-that?" skillz are invaluable. When I was in there getting my mammogram -- one of my most anticipated pasttimes cuz Radiology is now like a destination -- I noticed you did away with the frumpy, stiff dressing gowns of my great great grandmother's generation and instead opted for the more modern "mini cape" and its single set of neck snaps.

I have to say that the mini cape makes me feel more like a crusader in need of someone to rescue but with the constant threat of my boobs showing the instant there is a well-aimed burst of air conditioning. One good gust and weeeee! Suddenly you're Marilyn Monroe from your barenaked chest to your clavicle. I realize this apparel allows easier access to the boobery as I turn left, lift and plant, watch the vice grips flatten my mams into doughy sugar cookies, grimace and hold my breath (snap the fucking image already), shed tears and cry out for my mama. Or a double-barrel shotgun. So I don't want to get all up in the tech's grille about that. She's just doing her job, right?

But what I really take issue with are the paper pants. Who the hell's idea was that? I want you to know that I came into the place at 110 pounds. As instructed, I removed my slacks and slid into the industrial blue paper pants for my trip to the bone density table and gained an instant 300 pounds. See for yourself.
I almost passed out. No wonder there are no mirrors in the changing rooms.

But seriously, there's no way that tech could have known if I had somebody else in there with me, a la He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (pre-corporeal Lord Voldemort), or not. What if that wasn't my real hip you scanned, Missy? What then? And what's wrong with designer paperpants? I have a size, people. I see it in every department store, and it belongs to me. It completes me. This one size fits all mentality, oh revered body scanners, is a load of crap. And, really, how much did this atrocity cost my medical provider?

So thanks ever so much for that cheap shot to my ego. I went home and promptly swallowed a gallon of Rocky Road, a dozen Little Debbies (sorry, Michel, your package will be late), and one gigantor Cinnabon slathered with a pound of real butter and drizzled caramel because I figured I was a lost cause anyway. Thence was supplanted a ton of freakish and unholy Catholic guilt.

And even though you stiffed me out of my rubber-soled, one-size-fits-all tube socks, and you've made me a bigger person, I'll be back in two years. I hope you're happy.

Yours in diagnostics,
Fragrant Liar

September 15, 2009

Galveston and the Hazards of Travel

This is the beach at Galveston Island, where I've been for the last few days. Well, I haven't exactly been on the beach watching guys surf the whole time -- oops, did I say hunky guys were lolling about on their surf boards and taunting me with their eight-packs and beach boy good looks? No? That's good. Cuz I wouldn't want anyone to think I wasn't busy being an industrious conference worker. In fact, I was at the hotel across from the beach 99.9% of the time. You're looking at the .1% of freewheeling craziness I enjoyed. Hey, I like to let my freak flag fly.

This is the view from my room on the 15th floor of the San Luis Resort at sundown. One year ago, Hurricane Ike roared through the Gulf and devastated the island. A whole lot of rebuilding has been going on ever since, but many people lost everything. I met some of them. These folks are resilient and determined to come back even better than before. I know they will. It's not the Caribbean, but it's still beeeuuuuuuteeeeful, isn't it?

You know what the worst part is about traveling and staying in gorgeous hotels? Besides nothing . . . No, seriously, it's coming home. Take this evening when I came in. I dropped the luggage and made an immediate pit stop in el bano. I was surprised when I rose from the porcelain throne at how eerily quiet things were. Weird, I thought. Scary weird. Then I went to the sink. I held my hands under the faucet for like ten full seconds, maybe forty, while I pondered whether or not I had marbled cheese in my fridge for quickie consumption. Then . . .

WTF? Why isn't the water coming on? Why didn't the toilet flush? Where's the automatic hand dryer that blows your skin back like Tom Cruise's face on the high-speed train in Mission Impossible?

And that's when I realized -- I gotta do this shit myself? What is the world coming to when I have to handle my own levers? That's just uncivilized.

September 12, 2009

G-A-S Spells Gas

When I was five, I spelled my first word. Back then, few kids went to Kindergarten, so I learned about letters and sounds on my own. I was pretty proud of myself when I took my carefully crayoned word in to my father, who was doing his business on the toilet.

Unfazed at my interruption, he said, "Do you know what it spells? G-A-S. That spells gas."

The irony of that moment did not occur to me until just now. (Anyone who read my post, Canning the Muse, will now understand the historical significance.) That aside, GAS was officially my first word, and I got a lot of mileage out of it. I easily remembered the letters' names and the sounds they made, and from that point my older cousins could no longer spell all the sneaky things they were up to. As in, "Hurry, hide the P-O-R-N-O." Cuz I'd just head to the kitchen and say, "Grandma, what's porno?" And the whole world would light up. As an aside, that's how I learned the valuable skill of flustering the shit out of relatives.

By the time I entered first grade, I was ahead of most kids (nobody could lasso syllables like me: "Por-no. Hey, that's two syllables!") And within a year, I was writing stories. My first one, scrawled on a yellow-lined tablet while sitting in my grandfather's real estate office, was about pigs that could fly. Why yes, this is THE story that spawned the internationally famous saying. My mother still has the original, so I can prove it. (You do still have that, right Mom?)

It wasn't until after I got married and began popping out babies that I tried serious fiction (pregnancy at the rate of wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am will inspire you to make shit up in your mind just to get away for awhile). With four kids, a full-time job, and despite an absent and volatile husband, I stole an hour here and there and before long realized that writing was my true calling.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Here I sit, broken-hearted, came to share, and instead I martyred. I'm staring at colored folders containing six plotted novels in various stages of writing or rewriting, completely out of G-A-S. I'm not blocked; my muse is on strike, and I don't know why.
On this perfect rainy writing day, for all I've accomplished at my true calling, I might as well be watching P-O-R-N-O.

September 9, 2009


Happy birthday to my firstborn, TG, Miss America's mom, who turned 31 today!

Did you know this is an incredibly unique and crazy day? I mean, besides popping out almost seven pounds of baby girl 31 years ago, as of 7:20 this morning. (OMG, squeezing a watermelon out a hole the size of a kiwi . . . still makes me feel like passing out. I remember saying to the doc, "Uh-uh, I'm going home now"). So, back to unique and crazy. Apparently any grade-schooler can tell you that the number 9 has extraordinarily magical and brain-numbing properties, like this:

The sum of the two digits resulting from 9, multiplied by any other single digit number will equal nine.

What? Oh, yes. It's true. If you're having trouble making friends, you might want to try this because you will be like a god and people will reward you with statues. Like Pythagorus (don't try to say that too fast if you have a speech impediment -- I about bit my tongue off). No really, people will flock to you. Or is that birds? Anyway, let's find a random example. Oh, here's one. Today's date: 09/09/09. Translated to the math continuum or the consortium or the conundrum (is one of those close?), that's 9 + 9 + 9 which equals 27, right? Now add the answer, one digit at a time. Here, I'll help you: 2 + 7 = 9.

I know! Right? Wait now. Hold that excitement for the big guns. 'kay? Let's look at something else totally sort of random like 9 x 62. That equals 558 (Someone told me the answer; she was 5.) I don't have a chalkboard, so you're on the honor system. You're doing this with me, right? Break it down to the lowest number possible, a little dancey kind of jig that goes like this: 558, or 5 + 5 + 8 = 18. No, that's not 9. You people are so impatient. If you keep going down, adding the single digits together, you get this: 18, or 1 + 8 = 9.

OMFG! It's freakin' 9 again. How'd they do that? Not quite as exhilarating as 99 bottles of beer on the wall (unless you've tried that in a single night -- no, I don't have pictures), but certainly just as thought provoking, wouldn't you say? I have a brand new and fascinating appreciation of numbers now. Well, the 9 anyway. I can take or leave the rest.

And now I'll leave you with one last, incredible tidbit -- yes, that was an oxymoron for all you oxymoronics (that's oxy drug of choice + moron = your name here). Ready? September 9 happens to be the 252nd day of the year. So guess what? 2 + 5 + 2 = __. Don't make me tell you!

I wonder what happens when you turn 999 upside down? Of course, I could be getting into geometry with that one or some kind of spiritual PLANE. Am I getting smarter by the second, or what?

I have to go lay down now. I must reserve some energy for cake.

Happy birthday, TG! I love you more!

September 7, 2009

Vajayjay to Staycay

What a week. Nestled for five days in the vajayjay of Texas to work a conference, followed by a four-day tech hiatus (and by that I mean no computers, no blog, and no brain drain), and I'm now in staycation status – kind of like stasis but without all the excitement. Okay, that's not quite true (hello-o-o, Fragrant LIAR). I did some fun stuff, spent time with great old friends and contemplated new ones. But mostly I was content to vedge.

Speaking of TRUE, while in the vajayjay, I was determined to catch my favorite guilty pleasure, courtesy of the Gaylord Hotel's HBO, but it turns out their HBO was the "family" channel version. Family? WTF!? Screw family. And isn't "HBO Family" some kind of perverse oxymoron? I want to see vamp sex. For free! Not a disappointment I'll take to the grave, but truly biting.

Besides, I stay in fancy schmancy hotels for the stuff I DON'T get at home, like room service ten times my per diem, wake-up calls that shoot you upright out of bed wondering where the fire is, and total respect from people who think I'm important and call me Your Honor. Never mind that I have to pay out the wazoo for everything from soup to nuts. There's always that per diem reimbursement, pats on the back from the boss, and generous thanks from the truly fine people we serve during conference, including the occasional small contingent of eye candy and potential toothachery which I am loathe to discuss with total strangers in a public forum (hey, email me . . .).

Did I mention that the Gaylord is the size of a continent? Bridging the distance from my room to the convention center was like trekking from Calcutta to Khartoum, on foot. Oh but for a friendly camel with a comfy hump and an in-flight movie.

Since I was deprived of my True Blood fix, upon returning home I hit Blockbuster and rented the first season DVDs (talk about blood sucking; they drain you by the episode). All family members under the age of consensual vampire sex have been relegated to the upstairs shelter wherein Hannah Montana and Sponge Bob rule. Popcorn and red licorice at the ready, I'm headed for Bon Temps.