January 30, 2010


Why bitch? Awhile back a friend reminded me that other female animal names exist, but we don't hear them hurled at us in anger. Can you imagine your guy being so pissed at you that he calls you a "fucking jenny?" Wow, dude, that hurt. Or take that pain-in-the-ass coworker whose best skill is backstabbing others in an effort to make herself look good (you know the one). What if she spits at you, "Damn peahen!" Um, ouch? Nope, nothing carries the same weight as a well-aimed, vehemently uttered "Bitch!"

I admit, I am a fan of this word. I am this word occasionally—no apologies. But I really don't like the word yelled at me in a manner specifically designed to hurt me. I personally don't use it on anybody else unless it's in good fun (as in, "Girlfriend, you are stinkin' hawt! You bitch!") or in reference to an authentic bitch-on-wheels while he or she is nowhere around. I have no problem with civil confrontation when it's warranted, but face to face bitch-calling just results in cat fights—of which I am not a fan—and gives women a bad name.

Let's examine the way bitch makes its grand entrance in anger. Slow motion, shall we? There's the preliminary buildup that consists of the deliverer's head either spinning to a halt or snapping upward into the lock-and-load position. Eyes zero in on you to the exclusion of all proximal happenings, lips quiver and curl while nostrils flare toro-esquely, teeth vibrate and the jaw juts out as if in a wanton lunge for your throat. And then the noise bolts out, uninhibited. Sharp and arrogant, insistent and insidious, punctuated on the rearend with a succinct "ch" that reverberates in your ear canal and sands the tip right off your tail bone.


It's much harder for dedicated potty-mouths to rasp:
  • Lying ewe!
  • Wicked mare!
  • Stinking jill!
  • Egotistical lioness!
  • Goddamn doe!
Just doesn't have the same impact does it. Sorry, guy, you'll get no satisfaction in shrieking, "Self-centered hembra!" No, we English speakers are stuck on bitch and delivering it in venomous wrapping as the need arises. It's the go-to warning of the Apocalypse.

How would it be if every time we were gifted with this moniker, our entire demeanor changed, we grew a grin, and chirped, "I knew you liked me!" If the power to hurt us with this word were diminished by a hearty welcome, those who wield it so caustically would have to resort to using something else. Of course, then I'd have to reclaim a different word for the purposes of ranting. Point is, I think we ought to get a little more creative. Switch things up.

Try it, will ya? And let me know how the freakin' hinneys respond.

January 27, 2010

You Are Dead to Me

My Darling*,

It pains me to tell you this. I don't want to—really, I don't. Alas, I've been plotting your demise. I admit, I had trouble imagining life without you as I reveled in your magnificence. You were virile and sexy, intelligent and witty—like you jumped right out of a Conroy novel—in the beginning. Indeed, you exhibited a passion that left me reeling. I adored everything about you, even your spelling.

While I was blind, you were immune to conflict. Every tweak I gave you was for naught. When I finally took a step back and critiqued you constructively, I asked myself, are you really necessary to me? Are you still relevant? Are you simply cluttering things up? What part did my ego play?

When others gasped (reading you far better than I), I knew it was time to drop you like a hot potato—so cliché. I must make sacrifices, darling. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one—so said Mr. Spock once. Besides, you are not tight. And I like tight. Everybody likes tight.

Oh, I could keep you around, try to modify your behavior, juxtapose your more salient points, or even attempt to resurrect you to some epic glory. But my trust in you would be misplaced. My darling, your entire life was scripted. Now I see your flat and flaccid impotence for what it is—you've made me look like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. And I can quit you.

From my point of view, all words are important. Except yours. Repetitive and passive, you lack the elements of style. You are hyperbole to the short-and-snappiness I long for. When I delete you for good, you'll leave a space. But only a small one. As a writer—as your creator—I must slice you and dice you, bury you in my garden, and forget about you. I'm going to make a scene, I swear it. With the proper perspective, I'll transition and move on. Because, succinctly, you are dead to me now.

This entire post, filled with darlings, will self-destruct . . . eventually.

* All good writers must do this little thing known as "killing your darlings." How hard is it to delete words, sentences, paragraphs, and even entire chapters when you've put so much time into them and they seem perfect, so darling? Believe me, it's HARD! Sometimes later revisions change everything, and going back and deleting (or killing off) what no longer works is a must to maintain the integrity of your story and the writing. So this was my impassioned kiss-off to my beloved darlings. Curiously, it's made its own point.

January 23, 2010

I’m Not Paranoid, But They’re Out to Get Me

Cookies are like my crack. (Heh, I said cookies are like my crack.) Ahem, as in junkies can’t resist crack, and I can’t resist cookies. In fact, they should not be called cookies at all. They should be called crackies.

I have been known to tuck a fresh new box of Nutter Butters under my arm and scurry off to some secluded corner for a covert crackie high. (Plus, it's just not safe to share Nutters, people.) One bite, and the warmth flows all through me. My greatest fear over the holidays was that my family would find me in the bakery aisle, slumped beneath a display case with my zipper down and belly protruding, dried crumbs freckling the lower half of my face, and my head lolling to one side in a crackies-infused trance. My nanababies would place a sign over my head that read: Just Say No to Dough.

KitchenAid-666Call me paranoid, but people, guess who's driving the crackies train? None other than my daughter, Notorious T.M.G., who recently received a brand-spankin' new Kitchen Aid from her G-ma and G-pa. To think, my own parents are behind this conspiracy. The horror! Even though the holidays have passed, I face an onslaught of temptations that clearly spell my doom via my expanding waistline. TG has labored relentlessly in her mix lab, whipping up home-made batches of crackies, laced with the most potent ingredient known to man: toffee bits.

I also take issue with angelic-looking, but no less notorious, imps outside Wally World who are crackie dealers in disguise. I have been held up at charity point, people, while Children of the Crackies implore oh-so-innocently, “We don't have enough money to go to Paris, France. Boo-hoo, it sucks to be us. Can we interest you in some crackies?” And you know they always tack on a “ma’am” at the end. Despicable!

Equally disturbing are my co-workers—enablers unconstrained by even one shred of human decency—who partake of crackies right in front of me, even moaning sensually when they swallow. Oh yes! Just yesterday at lunch, having witnessed one of them inhaling a line of chocolate chip, I could not stop myself. After scarfing an entire panini, I returned to the display case and bought not one, not two, but THREE gargantuan crackies (you can't put just one on your Visa). Though I kept telling myself, "Don't do it!" once I had those crackies in my hands (what a rush!), I was destined for rehab.

It's so bad that I'm afraid one day you'll find me begging on street corners, waving a sign at passing motorists that says: Will do stuff for crackies.

Hey, I smell . . . [sniff, sniff] . . . OMFG, she's in the kitchen AGAIN! People, I’m gonna need an intervention.

January 18, 2010

Wherein I Am Dissed Bigtime

Must I be expected to remember everything that happens to me? People, if I can't rely on my children to fill in the blanks when I occasionally forget the minutia of an event, who can I rely on?

The following is an email I received from my daughter, TG, in response to my extraordinarily reasonable request for a memory filler so I could make a Wee Wisdom post about Miss America's reaction to seeing me greet my date at the front door. Certainly, when you've read it, you'll understand why I am utterly appalled!

TG: "Geez, Mom, this is your story. You're killin' me here. (I might have already been told this story a coupla times.) It went like this:
  • Miss America ran up to say hello.
  • You gave your date a hug and kiss.
  • Miss America hung back to wait until y'all were done.
  • She said hello.
  • She came to me and said y'all were kissin'.
  • I asked, if she asked, if y'all were gonna get married, cuz that is the rule. You kiss a boy, you marry that boy.
  • She said, 'No, I didn't want to interrupt their lovin'.'
  • We all laugh.
  • Mom writes a ridiculously over-complicated version of the story for her blog."
Ridiculous? Over-complicated? Hmph! People, my daughter doesn't know me AT ALL!

Next time, TG, see if I fix your punctuation!

January 16, 2010


I'm spiritual but not religious. So says the snippet next to my name on the dating sites. I dislike that this terminology somehow indicates my appropriateness for meeting strangers, but I don't mind playing along and abiding by the rules, so long as it doesn't offend my personal philosophy for occupying space and breathing air. Truthfully, I was raised Jack-Catholic, but there's no checkbox for that.

Jack-Catholic means that, while I was baptized with holy water, a Sunday spent nodding off in a pew was rarer than a Pat Robertson reality check. A Jack-Catholic is a bit of a rebel. Explains some things, right? Amen.

When I was four, my nine-month-old sister lingered on the verge of death by pneumonia. The attending clergy in the hospital refused to issue last rites since she hadn't yet been baptized. That pissed my dad off. Thankfully, my sister survived (Amen!)--no thanks to anybody with a presumed direct line to the Big Guy Upstairs. Afterward, Dad turned his back on the church, and thus began my life as a pagan. Let me amend that: a proud pagan, with only thin threads to organized religion. I know, blasphemy in a blog . . . Whatever.

Now don't go trying to convert me. I have a firm belief in the oneness of science and creation, and an open mind to the universe's possibilities. Plus, I'm 80/20 on the benefits of sin, and a smartass. Ask anybody.

I think so many of us thumbing our noses at the church comes down to one thing. The religious rites. So okay, confession time. When people drink the blood of Christ (I know it's metaphoric, no letters, please), I get creeped out. Why not just offer the congregation some wine, in our own cups—no sharing spit? Just say, "Belly up to the altar, folks." Then, we can talk about this Eucharist business rationally, including that snacky-poo thing on JC's body. Um, can you say cannibalism? Why not just add a cheese plate? We could pretend it's from the goat of JC and nobody gets hurt in the making of this sacrament. And what's with the constant sit-down/stand-up pewmanship through an entire hour-long mass? It makes for a lot of grunting and sighing, and who doesn't prefer to do that at work?

As a Jack-Catholic, I'm obliged to fall back on tradition from time to time. I like to call it the Just-in-Case Doctrine. One might say I convert to Convenience-Catholicism on an as-needed basis. Like when I look up, roll my eyes benevolently, and pray, "Good God!" or "God help me!" and the occasional but always reverential "My God, I'm going to kill him!" Is that so wrong? A good poke at the pope and a saint du jour can buy a little time if I ever need it—or get me off the hook. Can I get a witness? Amen!

January 12, 2010

Wee Wisdom #7

Miss America's Poignant Pearl of the Week

On wearing the new pink sweats she got for her sixth birthday:

"These pants make me walk like a woman."

Happy birthday, my girl! You keep me laughing, always laughing.
May you forever walk like a woman.

January 10, 2010

I Don't Speak Wine

I don't speak wine. I have, however, acquired quite an appreciation of certain wines. Problem is, I don't know if I appreciate a certain wine until after I've drunk it. The intricacies and nuances of wine selection are lost on me. Therefore—and I can't emphasize this enough—I cannot be in charge of choosing the wine. Listen, I've done intensive self-analysis on this and come to these conclusions: I'm cheap, indecisive, cowardly, and lazy—all of which springs from a quirky internal force that screams: "But what if they don't like me?"

At a restaurant, my wine appreciation can be summed up like this: "How much does this bottle of Malbec cost? Seriously? Hmmm. What have you got on tap?" Why would I spend my hard-earned pittance on a crapshoot? If I don't like it, I won't drink it, and I'll have no excuse for my behavior. Translation: Cheap.

People, I have loitered in the beer and wine aisle at the store, poring over wine labels with glazed eyes and a big question mark over my head for days in fear of choosing poorly like that greedy guy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade who chose the pretty chalice. We all know how that one ended. Choosing from the shelf is like ordering takeout sushi in Nagasaki where the menu is all in scritchy-scratchy swishes. How do you know you're not getting slimy sea worms or poison puffers? My luck, I'll take home the wine that causes people to lurch and gag when the stuff cascades over their unsuspecting tongues. Translation: Indecisive.

In deference to that same logic, I have picked out the most expensive bottle, thinking surely this will be the tasty stuff; surely my guests will think I'm sophisticated; surely they'll think I know something. Recent evidence proves I don't know shit, and an outrageous rumor is spreading across the country: Winetard! Therefore, I can't be responsible for anybody's wine consumption when it may suck and anybody may want to hurt me. Translation: Cowardly.

Plus, if God wanted me to drink mashed, fermented grapes, he'd have installed pop-tops. What's with corks? Those beer guys got it going on. No need for pricey gadgets to pry out a floaty stopper that would rather be jammed in that little hole for eternity. No need to sniff and swirl and sip and spit—just chug. And no foo-foo pretentiousness—burping is totally allowed. So I'm boycotting corks. Translation: Lazy.

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, burgundy, chardonnay, prosecco, malbec, yada yada. It's all Sanskrit to me—I don't speak wine. And at this rate, I will never catch a buzz.

January 9, 2010

Genius Discovered!

Over at Screaming Me-Me you can find a caption contest from time to time. The moment I happened upon her site, I was hooked into the idea. I was also totally heebeejeebeed out by the picture, and with that kind of inspiration, one must join in the fray. In fact, I entered one caption and then thought of another. There in front of my laptop, in private, I bathed in the warm flashes of one idea after the other, in a veritable caption frenzy. My famously nimble mind (forget about that last post) not only fostered a cornucopia of captions, but in my creative genesis, I became . . . a captionista!

Talk about an achievement! And look at this bold symbol of my ascension to grace. Does that not look like another important international symbol of celebrity?

Oh, people, I was so WRONG when I vowed not to make any New Year's resolutions for 2010. I should totally have proclaimed, I shall win a caption contest and become a badass captionista (I just added that badass part because, frankly, captionista lacks the intimidation factor necessary to strike fear into the hearts of anyone daring to compete with me. Obviously, I am not one to be trifled with). So if I'd made that incredibly challenging NYE resolution, then all of my out-of-the-gate unachievements accrued since January 1 to date would by now have gone the way of the 8-track. Oh, yes. One caption win has that much power.

So thank you, Screaming Me-Me, for discovering my true talent and appropriately rewarding me. People, go here and witness my genius: FL's Genius Photo Caption

Of course, it's possible that a long dry spell could intervene between this achievement and the next. Hmmm. Wait, forget I said all this. Just forget it, will you? If I never win another caption contest, I'll be incomparably humiliated. So really, forget I mentioned it. I beg you.

January 6, 2010

Taken to the Cleaners

In the middle of the night, I wake in a heart-pounding sweat. Holy crap! I took my suede coat in for dry cleaning and FORGOT about it! In the dark, I realize it's been there for at LEAST two months. Panic grips me. The bastards probably sold it or pawned it or gave it to their middle-schooler. (Hey, I'm petite.)

Don't forget. Don't forget. Don't forget, I tell myself. In the morning, be sure you go straight over there and give them hell for not calling with a friendly reminder: "Ms. Liar, your beautiful coat's ready for a night on the town!" Don't forget. Don't forget. Don't forget.

In the afternoon, I head to the store with my daughter. "I forgot!" I shriek, running half off the road. "We've got to stop at the cleaners for my coat. Those bastards should have called me!"

Daughter rolls her eyes.

Into the cleaners I go. "I'm here to pick up my black suede coat," I announce. Then I tap my fingers on the counter, impatient to be reunited with my beloved wrap (which I haven't worn at all this year because I got a new pea coat better suited to the arctic outbreaks we're having in south central Texas because the rest of the country just HAS to share their winter woes).

"I'm not seeing it," the ridiculous woman says. "When did you bring it in?"

"Well," I stammer, "about two months ago. I forgot, what with the holidays. Who could blame me? Perhaps you should check your racks."

Off she goes, affecting bewilderment, and returns emptyhanded. Surprise, surprise. She is in cahoots with the thieving staff, or she herself has absconded with it, have no doubt! She says faux helpfully, "Let me try one other place."

I give her the stinkeye to show my disgust at her incompetence and betrayal of my trust. Another five minutes go by, and I turn to give my daughter a shrug through the window. For good measure, I scowl emphatically to be sure she's clear on the depth of my displeasure.

The colluding clerk speaks: "I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm not showing it in the system. I've checked our affiliate sites, and it's not coming up there either."

Damn, they paid you off! Somebody got greedy! Why can't you just admit it?

"Oh really," I say, my nose wrinkling. "So, it's disappeared?" She tries to use good customer service on me, and I sneer at her in a way only the insanely disgruntled can. Then I huff out, feeling a little impotent about not being able to slam the door.

Back in the car, I vent to my daughter about the criminals I've been doing business with. She ventures that I may have dropped it off somewhere else, while I mutter obsenities and threats of murder. But I consider this as I march through the grocery store. Finally, beside myself with loss, I head home with a heavy heart. I'll miss you, Suedey.

At home in our broom closet is a buttload of giftbags, which I reuse repeatedly, as long as the giftee will let me have it back. Above the bags is a rack for hanging things. As I remove a pink bag for Miss America's birthday present, I spy something black and velvety, with ever-so-subtle scuffs on the shoulder. Suedey!

Wait. The bitch has been here the whole time? I only dreamed I dropped it off? And actually acted on that? O.M.F.G.

People, keep this on the downlow. Daughters will just accuse me of midlife mayhem and cajole me (about getting older and forgetful and crazy) until global warming becomes a Rush Limbaugh crusade. Pinky swear it! Shhhh!

January 4, 2010

Words I Can't Get Out of My Mind

It's a rare thing for me to be so completely blown away by a blog post that days later I'm still thinking about it. We bloggers are usually just too casual or flippant to make that deep of an impact on our readers. But blown away I was when I read the words of Jimmy Bastard in his post, "Behind the Cloak."

Do me a favor and go see what I mean. Prepare to be entertained and, yes, blown away.

Tell Jimmy that Fragrant Liar sent ya.

January 3, 2010

Kickoff 2010 and Embarrassing Photos

Happy New Year! It's Day 3 and already I'm well on my way to accomplishing nothing. I've been off work for nearly two weeks and all the little things I had planned to get done during this time at a lackadaisical pace have been squandered beneath the grim reality that I am lazy, just like my mom always said. As a result, I am supremely happy that I didn't make any New Year resolutions because at this rate, I'll hit 2011 with zero achievements to show for the entire 12 months preceding. Therefore, I think I can place my advanced predictability skillz in the Success Column. Score one for me!

Now for the embarrassing photos of my New Year's Eve:

This snapshot, while not particularly embarrassing for me, is sure to come back to haunt my nanaboy, since he's not normally into fluorescent pink earrings. He gets props, though, for getting into the spirit and not caring what anybody thinks. He rocks.

His mother, cute as she is, turned out to be the New Year Peacock. This would not be her most embarrassing snapshot of the night.

As for me, because there were children in attendance, I was forced to keep my clothes on all night. I know. Sad.
In this portrait, I'm showing off my party animal skillz. It's the glasses, in case your own skillz are too sucky to figure it out, and, well, they're crooked. Incredibly, I was still able to see much better while I wore these babies. In fact, I saw my way to the cranberry cream cheese dip more than anyone else in attendance. 

What's embarrassing about this picture is that I'm wearing UT colors.
Here's my daughter the peacock, sans plumage, showing off her Texas Caviar, made with fresh black-eyed peas, peppers, onions, and seasonings. Yum! Real southerners eat black-eyed peas to ensure good luck all year long.

It totally worked for me last year; I didn't get married once.

Here I am getting drunk on all the good luck I can spoon in. Wait. Here I am on my way to getting drunk.That's it.

What's embarrassing about this photo is that everyone knows you don't eat black-eyed peas until January 1st. Plus, I double-dipped and didn't tell anyone. There, my need to confess all sins has left me publicly humiliated. Happy?

But seriously, if you double-dip and nobody's paying attention, how bad can it be?

Here's an example of just ONE of our illegal fireworks. Bottle rockets were pretty much the cous de gras of our wild and crazy celebration.

What's embarrassing is that these giant sparklers actually are illegal in Texas, a state once reputed to be the epitome of the Wild West. Nowadays, we just execute people.
Here I am with the boys at midnight. I know there's something embarrassing about this photo, but I can't get my head around it. Hmmm. Or maybe it's actually quite perfect since I am flanked by two of the cutest elfins on the planet.

At 2 a.m., my mad partying skillz gave out and commanded, "Go to bed," which I did, staring at the bottom of my nanaboys' top bunk and enduring the party din until the final revelers left at 5:30 a.m. and my vino hangover kicked in like a South Pacific tsunami. However, I survived without having to pay my respects to the Porcelain Gods of old. I believe I have actually, finally, grown up. A little.

How was your New Year's?