December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

My 8-y-o granddaughter's Christmas List. Priceless.
Christmas Eve 2011, White Elephant Party
My White Elephant Prize:  A golf ball monogrammer.
Cuz I like to show ownership of my balls.

And someone has placed a suggestive frog on my shoulder and 
made me hold some kind of special, um, oil. Don't judge.
(Click to enlarge, at your own risk.)


December 21, 2011

Sucking Up the Family Genius

In my family of origin, improv is just a part of who we are. By improv, I mean, we make stuff up, not necessarily stand-up. Although, we also think we're freakin' hilarious and can offend others on command. Plus, commandeering other people's conversations through the interjection of lame word puns has been part of our hey-look-at-me arsenal for anyone unlucky enough to make eye contact. Not me, I'm saying, but, you know, the rest of my family.

So my kids have not fallen far from the proverbial make-stuff-up tree, for they too improvise. Take my eldest daughter, TG—a true and certifiable (and gorgeous) genius. Yesterday she decided she needed to clean under her fridge. Well, that part is not exactly something I would ever, EVER do in my lifetime or a nightmare. Cuz really, who cares about the dust amassing where mice gather to conspire humanity's downfall—and poop? Not me. Certainly not the mice. They couldn't give a proverbial rat's ass about public indecency. So when TG fell from the proverbial make-stuff-up tree, she lolled to the right and shimmied a little. But we still love her.

Fact is, TG cares about mice poop. Unfortunately, TG's vacuum attachment was plain ordinary and woefully inadequate and couldn't get way under the fridge to suck out the flotsam and jetsam. (No, those are not mice names. Gawd.) So anyway . . . TG fired up the genius generators and cued the improv genes.

What that means is this:  when you need something important done and you don't have the traditional Black & Decker stuff or a large wad of cash to hire out or kids who are old enough to force into servitude, you think real hard and toss around the "What the hell, why didn't I think of this sooner?" phrase to quickly and efficiently overcome any obstacle. To be even more succinct, we don't know why we think up shit like this; we just do.

To that end, I give you TG's official far-reaching sucker-upper attachment:

Click to enlarge and see the fascinating improvisational details,
revealing my daughter's true and inherited genius.
I know. I'm gonna blush and reiterate, she gets it from me.

If you're short a vacuum attachment for those hard-to-reach areas where mice poop accumulates, here are all the biodegradable materials you'll need:  two used toilet paper rolls, some duct tape, and an entire manicotti noodle (uncooked).

I dare ANYONE to out-do TG on this one.
For those of you who just came here looking for your creative cussin' combo of the week, it's the holidays and you should be ashamed of yourselves. But—for you—I'll gladly digress:


December 5, 2011

Because, Well, I Can

I'm a girl who truly appreciates a thoughtful man, so bear with me while I talk up my boyfriend. Hot Sexy Man (HSM) came back bearing gifts from his recent trips afar. He seems to have a knack for choosing just the right things for me, so I think I'm going to keep him. Because, well, he keeps calling.

Here I am with my little Destructo, 
wearing my new pearls.
(Click to enlarge.)
First, let me quote Diane Sawyer who once said, "There's no substitute for paying attention." Hardly a more apropos statement, I assure you, cuz lucky for me, HSM really listens. After I mentioned I'd never had one and thought it would be the absolute coolest, HSM came home from Virginia with a beautiful pearl necklace. That's right, my BF gave me a pearl necklace, and I liked it. Of course, we might be talking apples and oranges . . . but whatever, it's my new favorite thing.

Then last week, I discovered just how well HSM knows me—and therefore how much he can see into my soul—after only six months. See, he gave me the gift that keeps on giving, direct from Flagstaff, and I'm re-gifting it to you all. Because, well, you deserve it.

Here it is, my special book: Creative Cussin': A Mix 'n' Match Profanity Generator. And peeps, it's the Redneck Edition. Sweet! It's chock full of preciously inscribed sentiments on spiral rings, and all one has to do, if one is so inclined, is flip through and choose a feeling/attitude/outlook for the day. Does HSM really "get" me, or what?

Curiously, he also gave me some special scented bar soap with cacti embedded in it. Wonder if there's a message in that for my mouth. Hmmm, not too subtle, HSM.

So since this is the season for giving, here's your special sentiment below. Think of it as a little love in a post from me to you. Because, well, I like you.

Now I'm trying to decide where to keep this priceless gem so that everyone who visits me can enjoy it. What do you think? Shall I place it strategically, say, in the bathroom? Or as a coffee table centerpiece? What about in the foyer for those heartfelt goodbyes?

Here's a hug, and one for the road to let you know that I think you're a "Bastard Licker!"

I know. Stops the heart. Everybody, thank HSM. Because, well, he's earned it.

November 14, 2011

A Potty Humor Break

No not a break FROM potty humor. A break FOR potty humor. It's Monday, for crap's sake. You're welcome.

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. So without further a-doo-doo, here's a parade of our state treasures from the Thunderbox Road project.

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 sometimes at a full gallop.

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 those critters poop everywhere you step, they should not be at all bothered by what we Texans do inside the kaboom box.

Dotti Brundrett is undoubtedly tired of all the attention rednecks get simply for being rednecks, so she put her 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.

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 real part of the Dudor Dynasty. King Henry VIII is smiling right now--or aghast.

There you have it! A fun treasury of Thunderboxes from Texas. You can find more info about the Thunderbox Road project and the talented artists who made them by visiting this website:

Was that a gas or what? I don't ever want to hear you say I never shared any of my crap.
Look familiar? This is a post from 2009 that seemed to bear repeating.

November 7, 2011

Vagina Vagina

Thanks to Hilary at The Smitten Image
for selecting this a Post of the Week. 
Click the link above and go check out
her gorgeous photography!
I am sitting on the couch in my GYN's office and we are discussing lady infections, or as I like to call them, infuctions. Doc has on his white lab coat and sits across from me with one leg over the other, speaking nonchalantly yet with some formality about vaginas and sexual intercourse and the flora that naturally exist in there but which get out of balance from time to time. Then Doc says with a complete straight face that one of the infections we women get is not an infection at all, but a colonization.

"A colonization?" I say. "Bwaaaahahahaha!"

Doc stops mid-sentence and stares at me.

I say, "Bwaaaahahahaha!" again, like a fifth grader, and then I add, "Bwaaaahahahaha! Seriously, Doc, that is so a blog post."


Well, come on. A colonization? In my vagina?

I can only imagine thousands of battle-weary farmer Johns, storming the valley with long-barreled muskets to sack Fort Hoohah. The unsuspecting natives are overrun 13 ways to Sunday and sent packing with just their loincloths, and suddenly Captain Flora's plucky pioneers have infiltrated the countryside, erecting little log cabins and rowing and hoeing a flourishing cotton crop. Say, how many settlers you think can fit into one vagina anyway, pilgrim?

Naturally, the first thing I did was Skype my eldest daughter, TG. She's not too old for her mama to explain the birds and the florabees. So what if she's had three kids? I've had four, and colonization is news to me. I must prepare her.

TG: Mom, you're talking about your vagina?

Me: Yes. And the flora.

TG: I don't want to talk about your vagina, or . . . that other thing.

Me: Flora. Not just my vagina, but yours too. And your sisters'. All women's vaginas. And the flora that's already in there but gets all crazy and greedy and starts land grubbing—

TG: Mom! You're talking about vaginas.

Me: Well, only cuz you have one. And I have one.

TG: Mom.

Me: What? You just don't like the word. Vagina, vagina, vagina.

TG: Mom.

Me: What?

TG: No.

Criminy. Who doesn't want to be forewarned, The flora are coming! The flora are coming!?


October 31, 2011

Rockin' the Peggy

When I was a gawky 13, Peggy Lipton was my idol. You remember Peggy, right? From Mod Squad, circa 1968? Yeah, her. Of course, her role as the perpetually stoic Julie Barnes taught me how to be completely aloof in the presence of boys and, yeah, girls too, and adults and, okay, everybody. Man, she was cool.

And back in 1968, I dreamed of coveting a suede fringe vest. If I could rock Peggy in suede fringe, I could be my own Mod Squad. Add some go-go boots and a little black light action, and I'm pretty sure Peggy would have been all verklempt with pride for her would-be stalker protégé.

You will therefore, my peeps, be quite distressed to learn that I never got my suede fringe vest. Or the go-go boots. And while I had a black light, what good is it if you can't rock the Peggy? Obviously, my childhood was fraught with deprivation. When a budding teen lacks her generation's grooviest pop culture paraphernalia, you just know mental scarring is inevitable. It's why I resorted to the ganja, Mom. You denied me my true Peggy.

To be entirely honest, remembering the Sixties is sort of complicated—and not because I don't actually remember them. Well, that's not entirely honest. Some of the Sixties, I did space for reasons of ganja. And other stuff. But today, recalling the Sixties is like having an acid flashback. I get a little paranoid while laughing and crying at the strange granny in a rocking chair floating above me, and I mumble, "Did I say that out loud?" Followed by, "Whoa, did I say THAT out loud?" It's all so trippy.

And let me just add that all the fried Spam, salmon patties, and macaroni and Velveeta my mother fed me played no small part in my photosensitivity to the Sixties. Not to mention my father's experimentation with "drunk bananas." Bananas drenched in rum and then set on fire and offered up to your unsuspecting, entranced children who idolize you, well, that's just a cruel parental prank. Is it any wonder I spent hours at a time in Tiger Beat?

(Did you see how I laid the entire gut-wrenching grip of my teen angst on my parents? Heh. I am the master. Dude, pass the bud. Whoa, did I just say that out loud? Oh man, did I just say THAT out loud?)

The ganja groove came and went with the Sixties, but the dream lived on. So this year, I am rockin' the Peggy. Black light, suede fringe, boots, and even a far-out headband. Oh yeah, baby, yeah! Hippie Chick rules!

Outasight, man.


October 24, 2011

A Ping and a Poke

Hey, y'all, I won! On the driving range, I hit the rusty iron steer with a golf ball and a 3-wood. What a clanging ping it made! I am quite sure I succeeded in this task because I was wearing my lucky shirt. But I'm a little confused as to how my "winning" equates to me BUYING DINNER for my compadres who were clearly not as competent as I to ding a steer. Fortunately, it was "3 for 1 fajitas" night at Santa Rita.

In other news . . .

A CORRECTION. Fragrant Liar must apologize profusely for the egregious error she made in her last post, Spooning Made Easy—lo those many moons ago. See, she completely misspoke when she said, "Is his little guy willing to stand down?" Fragrant Liar is on her knees, begging forgiveness from any male reader whose ego was harmed in the making of that statement. She hereby amends the sentence to read, "Is his Gargantua at rest?"

Oooh, don't mention it.

October 2, 2011

Spooning Made Easy

Thanks, Hilary!
People, it's come to my attention that spooning, much like kissing, is highly underrated. Truly, is there anything more fulfilling than getting as close as you can to someone you're supremely attracted to, without having sex?

I mean, let's leave the bennies of coitus and, you know, that "O" thing out of the equation, okay? Spooning is a sacred and intimate, yet entirely innocent, act. Naturally, somebody—not sayin' who—might wanna take advantage and get a little sum'n-sum'n when the parties involved are skin to skin, but that just shows a lack of self control because spooning is the ultimate No Sex Zone. Obviously.

I know, I know, spooning can be complicated. But let's easify, shall we? Because, people, I really want you to try this at home.

First, assume the position, which is "fetal." We don't want to call it fetal because that evokes all kinds of birthing shit; however, pick a side, okay? Just do it, is what I'm saying. You are now the spoonee.

Second, allow your partner to park behind you. It'll be like docking the Enterprise at Deep Space Nine. Let him pull in and get comfy with his chest/belly to your back. Your partner is now the spooner. Together, you are in the Pringles position and must move in tandem to prevent crushing and crackage.

Third, your spooner must employ skills. These are advanced critical thinking (ACT) and total indifference to a really exposed derrière (TIRED) skills. For this mission, one assumes your spooner is so equipped. Here are the logistical considerations, in order, for successful spooning:

  • ACT TIRED One. Does he drape his arm across your waist? Your hip? Your shoulder? Depends on where he intends to place his hand.
  • ACT TIRED Two. To cup your boob or not. That is the question. Or hold your hand? Or tuck his hand under your belly? Or somewhere else, which I can't imagine. At all. Positioning depends on your self-esteem and whether or not you have a headache. You must guide your spooner's hand to the proper coordinates.
  • ACT TIRED Three. Does he wedge his knees behind your knees? Or drape a leg over your hip? Or attempt to "basket weave" your legs with his? May I say, Dude, wedgie every time. Anything else, and somebody gets hurt. Seen it before.
  • ACT TIRED Four. Does he cradle his chin in the crook of your neck? Or bury his nose in your hair? Unless you're Hallie Berry, you must wrangle your coif neatly to the side so it doesn't tickle his nose, causing him to jerk upright, slap his own face, and roll over.
  • ACT TIRED Five. What does he do with his other arm? Really, do you even care? It's the placebo, looks real but adds zippity-doo-dah to the experience. Your spooner can just lay on it or something.
  • ACT TIRED Six. Is his little guy willing to stand down? This is the crux of spooning. Little guy has to go to sleep for spooning to work properly. Otherwise, the TIRED act is just a sordid ruse that you fell for; and next thing you know, spooning turns to forking which is a whole 'nother post.
And there you are, spooning easified. You're welcome.

September 25, 2011

And then I offer up an excerpt of my life . . .

Trailers for sale or rent. Rooms to let fifty cents.

As my mother's music coiled around my 10-year-old eardrums, I laid in the crosshairs of an early morning sun and a late summer breeze, flat on my back with covers pulled just above my chest. I blinked lazily to coax myself awake, when something weird caught my attention: two hair-thin antennae fanning the air near my chin.

My groggy eyes strained downward. What's this? Staring back at me was a cockroach the size of a bulldozer with a waxy brown body that could move faster than a wind-up Hot Wheel. I cringed at the thought of its ugly underbelly on my skin and barely opened my mouth to call for help. What if it scuttled into my throat?


My hands were stuck under the covers, the roach rocking atop my chest like a ship in shallow surf. Despite all efforts to be perfectly still, I could not stop breathing.

In my Technicolored imagination, the beast was plotting the nearest breach. Any moment, it would plunge into my nostril, feelers smoothed back along its shiny body armor, while prickly legs skittered frantically toward my brain. Lodged up there for the next decade, it would have nothing to eat but my brain matter.

My eyes cut to my six-year-old sister in the twin bed across from mine, sound asleep and sucking her thumb like a starving piglet—which was actually quite brilliant. Plugging one's mouth and positioning one's fist that close to one's nasal orifice was the ideal blockade for behemoths on the prowl. But my fate augured differently and, finally, I succumbed to tears.

Now it has to be said, roaches had long been the bane of my existence. It didn't help that school friends liked to bastardize my name by calling me Kimmie Cockroach. That only fueled my loathing and instilled in me the feeling that I was the Isaac Newton of roach lore. What else could explain the gravitational pull of the entire cockroach kingdom to our Phoenix home, a modest clapboard dwelling on cinder blocks? Their invasion bordered on the tyrannical and included the spaces between our walls, the pipes under our floorboards, and the empty crannies of our attic. They crept like insurgents under the cloak of night and scattered in all directions when we surprised them with lights. Caught with their putrid bounties, they tore gleefully across our linoleum like frisky dogs with wet butts. I envisioned them frolicking in our cesspool below the caliché, buoyed by their unflappable endurance in the evolutionary hierarchy.


My feeble call to Eryn through clenched teeth sounded guttural, but I feared startling the vermin into doing the unspeakable. If Eryn didn't wake and come to my rescue, time promised to march a thousand years with me in the same fossilized position, roach-rammed into catatonia. The signpost was up ahead. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.

My parents would be grief stricken. "No, it can't be! She was the good daughter." My siblings would stare and poke at me and jump on my bed just to watch me bounce like a two-by-four with no way to retaliate. Our relatives would visit en masse and remark how sad it was that I never blinked anymore. Walter Cronkite would appear dumbstruck on TV news, reporting that doctors the world over were confounded about my mystery ailment. Walter would take off his black-frames, rub the tears from his eyes and choke out, "And . . . that's . . . the way . . . it is."

Eryn might be the single witness, if only she'd wake up! I clamped my lips together and threw my voice, "Eehhnnnn!"

Then the beast lurched to attention, its legs in pounce position. I'd seen cats do that very thing before they attacked!


"What!" my mom said as she entered my room.

She must have seen my terror. She hurried quickly to my bedside and, with one swoop of her hand, hurled the roach into the air. I feared its escape, but my mother was already committed. In a belligerent frenzy, she stomped the carpet, twirling and lunging and shouting obscenities. The hammers of destruction were her bright red Keds, and she crushed the beast like Rice Krispies under white rubber soles.

Snap, crackle, pop!

"You guys get out of bed now," my mother said, as if nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary had occurred. She then slipped into the bathroom and returned with a wad of toilet paper, entombing the carcass before flushing it down the toilet.

A fitting burial, I thought. Maybe upon seeing their kin washed through the poop chute with its body dismembered, the other roaches that lived down there would be too scared to venture into my room ever again.

Humming King of the Road, Mom departed without the cheers, fanfare, and confetti she so rightly deserved.

Eryn popped her thumb out, yawned and stretched, completely unaware of our close brush with the sinister shadow of sepsis. Just as well. A six-year-old thumb-sucker might not have handled it as well as I had.

From my memoir in progress:  Growing Up Cockrill:  Mostly True Tales of My Childhood.

September 10, 2011

I Know Stuff

That's right. I said it. Contrary to the rumors, I have learned some things about life—like seventy-three terazillion things, to be exact. (Frankly, no one even knows I can count that high, so I'm really showing off if I remind my family of this milestone, which I totally won't do, in case they feel inferior.) But please, go ahead and call me Teacher. You know you want to.

Look! I'm Doris Day!
Listen, I fully expect to continue learning the hard way until I get to toast my century mark or until I have learned every single thing there is to know or until my brain reaches capacity—whichever comes first. Till then, here is just a sample of my vast cerebral knowledge:

Lesson #1:  Fear is one of the most toxic obstacles to authentic happiness. So is apathy, but I really don't care about that. Too often our decisions to do or not do, stay or go, say yes or no, are based on fear. I say, Take a chance. This is no time to shrink, Cowgirl. Lean into the discomfort so you can experience the joy.

Lesson #2:  People are going to judge you. Resistance is futile, and while you don't want to internalize their judgment, you can accept that judgment happens, just like shit. And accepting your story—your whole flawed story, including those things you're not proud of or that embarrass you—regardless of the ambient chatter, is the path to overcoming fear and shame. I say, So what? I do what I want with whomever I want. Plus, I am writer—beware.

Lesson #3 Patience is a virtue—and a bitch. Seeing what you want unfold naturally before your eyes, like a flower shooting from the earth toward the sun, is pretty cool. But the value of waiting for the full bloom increases or decreases with your level of fulfillment, and the pivotal moment inevitably arrives when you must stand tall and say, I'm all in with this, or I'm leaving it behind. Case in point, my Fantasy Football team, led by QB Drew Brees. Dude, what happened with the Cheeseheads? I'm totally gonna have to get rough with him.

Lesson #4:  All problems have a life span. Sometimes they go away on their own, sometimes you need outside help. But more often than not, pain and suffering is resolved by making decisions you don't want to. Giving yourself permission to let go, to forgive, to be free, to give your heart away or to take it back can seem as easy as going off your meds and chewing an entire fiery habañero. Slowly. Stone-cold sober. I say, This misery gets no more power over me. I choose to pursue happiness—with some peanut butter crackies and a big ol' pitcher o' milk. Naturally.

Lesson #5:  A good man is not hard to find. An extraordinary man is. Like it or not, part of discovering who's extraordinary for you is opening up and exposing your aorta—and sometimes other stuff—at your own peril. It is leaping and having faith that the net will appear. Sometimes you get a bloody lip and a rug burn. But I remind myself I'm worthy while exploring whether he is. I say, Be patient, lean into the discomfort—and the joy—shrug off other people's judgments, and know that soon enough the extraordinary relationship I deserve will appear.

Can I get a witness? I know stuff. That'll be two-hundred dolla. Class dismissed.

August 29, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

I like surprises. I really do. Not the kind where your pooch leaves you a mammoth I-can't-believe-you-left-me-alone-with-what's-her-face-for-the-whole-weekend dump in the middle of the carpet. Not the kind where your teenager discovers she's oops-wonder-how-that-happened skipped a period. And I'm not too sure about the I-told-my-parents-about-you-and-YOUR-BLOG announcement, cuz . . . holy first impressions, Batman! Those heart-stopping surprises can leave you pinging around the room like a crazed pinball in search of a deep, dark hole. But I'm talking about fun surprises. Man surprises, cuz when a man surprises you with his good intentions, you get a feel-good smile out of it. At some point.

But, as we all know, there are right ways and wrong ways for a man to surprise his woman. For instance:

Wrongway Surprise Exhibit A, which says:  But I Was Doing You a Favor
After Winter put her cake in the oven, she went to the store, leaving her husband Adam "in charge." Adam, a self-professed "excellent baker" from waaaaaay back, took it upon himself to exhume their daughter's birthday sheet cake from the oven and frost it. How hard could it be, right? You pop that sucker out of the oven, cut it in half, plop it on a plate, and slather the creamy stuff all over it, just like you do to your face in the morning. He must have been thinking, When she sees what I have done for her, I am so getting laid tonight.

I give you now Surprise Exhibit A, for which we all got a good laugh and Adam got a good tongue lashing, and for which (I am betting cold, hard cash) Adam did not get laid.

Even though it looks like it, this hand-frosted masterpiece has not been, nor would it ever be, attacked by rats or raccoons or humans who are not blind. Plus, Adam's bakery exploits necessitated a replacement cake, prepared in record "OMG we don't have time for this" time by his harried wife.

Wrongway Surprise Exhibit B, which says:  But You LIKE Surprises
Lacy's husband Wayne, always a kidder, strategically placed an intriguing trinket in her bathroom shower, hoping she would come upon it and be pleasantly shocked and awed, followed by uproarious laughter and phone calls to all her friends about how he “got” her good. He must have been thinking, She's going to be reminded how much I make her laugh, andslam dunkI will surely get laid tonight.

I give you now Surprise Exhibit B, the sight of which caused his wife to highjump six feet into the air, clutching her ample bosom, while shrieking his name like an evil banshee, and for which (I am betting cold, hard cash) Wayne did not get laid.

Note also that Surprise Exhibit B is considerably larger than a real cockroach and therefore inspires higher decibels. And since Waynerdog repeated this little trick with me, his unsuspecting roomie (because he could), I can attest to the part about highjumping, bosom clutching, and evil banshee shrieking. As a side note, turns out Wayne can scuttle out of a room just as fast as a cockroach.

Rightway Surprise Exhibit C, which says:  But I Was Thinking of You the Whole Time
Hot Sexy Man, or as he likes to be called, HSM, spent the earlier part of last Friday night in the liquor store where he chatted up 24-year-old hottie distributors and taste-tested their finer offerings. While there, HSM texted me, "I got something for you." He must have been thinking, She's going to think I only have eyes for her, and this will get me laid tonight.

On his arrival several hours later, I was presented with Surprise Exhibit C.

I really did dig it and, of course, you see how much we drank once the bottle was opened. I will let you guess how this one turned outif you dare risking your cold, hard cash.

(In the interest of full disclosure, cuz I know you peeps have come to rely on my honesty, I am still and always a virgin.)

August 22, 2011

August, Best Revealed in Pics. And a modicum of, you know, prattle.

I know. It's crazy how long I've been MIA, but it's only because August has been filled with a crap ton of life. The good kind. That translates to consumption, people, if I'm honest:  food, drink, adventure, work, love, and a little bit of heartache. Some things I captured in pictures, some I didn't dare. Here's the quick recap:

I wrote and edited a book. Technically, I ghostwrote it, but people, an entire freakin' book. In four days. I might have died from lack of TV and Internet but for the cool sister-writer company, fascinating subject, and relaxing ambiance of our remote Round Top farmhouse. Plus, she paid me.

Hot sexy man interlude:  One evening, I listened to a salsa band and danced on a crowded patio with said hot sexy man. We were the only ones dancing merengue and cumbia, and I didn't care. Let a few Coronas be your inspiration, people. And perhaps animal print.

Got to be both entranced and thoroughly bewildered by 2001 A Space Odyssey. But this hot sexy man interlude was well worth it. The man both entrances and bewilders me too.

Took part in filming a lipdub at the Hemisfair in San Antonio. It was ten billion degrees out—because that is the convection oven that Central Texas has become—and I zipped around in a golf cart with a crazed woman and her megaphone while cute cameramen dashed madly about, dripping sweat. But what a fun project! When it's ready for viewing, I'll post it.

Bestie trades in her megaphone for me!
Afterward, we returned to my bestie Winter's house in Canyon Lake, slurped pinot grigio (oh, how pinot loves me), reveled in girl talk, and gazed at the stars and the moon. There may have been some howling and crooning, but I don't remember.

BTW, you can see Winter at HorseCentric. Excellent blog about all things horsey.
Our view of Canyon Lake.

Last week, took a six-hour drive to Fort Polk to see my youngest daughter and her family. Held my gorgeous grandbaby AJ—when she would let me. At three months, she only likes her mama right now. But soon enough, she will develop a taste for candy and shopping.

Here she is NOT HAVING IT.

Her father and I both walked around saying, "She hates me."

Fortunately, the other one and I have a mutual admiration thing going. Jazzy B stole my heart at the moment of her birth almost eight years ago. She is most definitely third-generation firecracker.

While in Fort Polk, went to the shooting range with Sergeant SIL and fired a couple hundred rounds of his Glock and a couple hundred rounds of his AR15. Was all over the map with the Glock, but the AR15 won my heart, especially when I kicked a volleyball down the range—with bullets. Somebody, sign me up for an action movie! At the far end of the range, 440 meters out, was an itty bitty white target, which I hit repeatedly. Iron scope, people. When the SIL brags to his buddies that your shooting is better than some guys in his unit, we can all be proud.

Had long, wonderful, meaningful talks with my little girl, who's grown into a smart woman with a big heart and some good advice for her mama. When did the shoe get on the other foot? This is when you get to feel really proud she's yours and that her family is so awesome. And that her liquor choices are actually drinkable now.

Hot sexy man interlude:  went skinny dippin'—and did not get caught. Unlike last time, when I was rudely advised of some sort of policy matters. Who gets all businessy at one in the morning? I say, a little adventure is good for the soul. (Sorry, no photo.)

I fed horses, then groomed and rode a sweet old paint named Cody, for whom I felt instant love and affection. Partly because he didn't—nay, couldn't—buck me off. Afterward, I gave him a shower. Think he liked it; he asked Bestie for my number . . .

Then I did something no one has ever asked me to do before: I swept dirt and pebbles. Only for you, Bestie!

Went to see Conan (holy mother of hunky barbarians—didn't need the witch to be spellbound) with my other bestie, roomie, general troublemaker, and Truebie partner, and with whom the subject of food porn has taken on an intriguing life of its own. Um, hold that thought for another post, while we go grocery shopping.

And? I shaved.

See? August has been busy.

August 1, 2011

Shopping with Roomie

My roomie, Loops, is truly what a great friend should be—like a sister. I can pretty much tell her anything—and I have—and I know she won't sit in judgment. We have more fun together than ought to be legal sometimes and, fortunately, her awesome husband is completely cool with that.

So this afternoon, after pool time, we're at the grocery store. I send her on a mission to secure a cucumber for the salad I'm going to make for our regular True Blood Sunday feast. She finds one, holds it high, and YELLS to me across the produce aisles. "Koko! Is this big enough for you?"

I squint to see, which is unnecessary because people can see zeppelins right there from the bleachers. I think, I've never seen a cucumber with that sort of girth, and I imagine her firing it into the air while I go long behind the peaches.

"That'll do," I say, motioning her over. "Let me have a better look." It's important to examine produce before you buy it. I mean, sometimes vegetables that are too large are not juicy and tasty enough, so, you know, I have to be sure.

Image is larger than it appears,
and it is HUGE.
Loops brings it to me—all proud—and shakes it in front of my face, but she won't hand it over.

"Oh really?" I say, plus superlative words reserved for shock and awe. "That big boy's mine. For my salad."

It quickly becomes a tug-of-war. I grab one end, she has the other. We are engrossed in the behemoth produce for a few minutes, till we notice the old guy sneering his disapproval while maneuvering his cart around us.

You know that only inspires us to be troublemakers, right? Because that's appropriate in a grocery store. But never fear, civilized people, and my mother, we mature within minutes, right after we sheathe the prize. For safety reasons.

Surely, this needs no caption.
But Loops has it in for me, snapping photos whenever I pick up something ripe for innuendo. In most aisles, we are giggly tweens.

Here are just a few highlights from our shopping excursion that are safe to post.
Like I'm not going to share the Rodney!
No! You cannot steal my mojo.

A little light reading for later. But I can't choose just one!

Woot! HEBuddy Bucks50 points for Koko! 
Let's just say Camera Girl spun the wheel for ONE point.
And then there's the payback thingy. You do it like this:  When Loops isn't looking, open the hummus and have a taste (mmm, good); then put the lid back on, align it with groceries that need to be put away, and wait for Loops to discover it.

"Oh my god! Look at this!" Loops shouts. "Oh my god!"

I screw up my face. "That's . . . ew!"

At her husband, she shoves the tub of hummus and shrieks, "Did you do this?"

Husband says no, makes grunts of extreme disgust. Loops has quite the little freak-out over grocery store etiquette and uncivilized shoppers, which is kind of . . . well, totally satisfying.

In a sisterly kind of way.

July 28, 2011

Toe-Chi and the Pedi-Bitches

People, these are serious times. Some major shit is happening in the world, which is why I feel compelled to discuss my toes. I have ten of them, and mostly they look normal. In fact, I was once told by two hunky podiatrists at a Lake Travis marina that I had absolutely beeeuu-tiful feet. Of course, I had on a bikini and they weren't exactly looking down when they said that. Still, I think they look okay.

But because my feet are so sensitive, I avoid drawing attention to them. What if someone decides he simply can't stop himself from petting them? Cuz that is like lighting my ass on fire. Touch the "dogs" and I pretty much teleport to the next galaxy over.

So you can imagine how I feel about pedicures. Those pedi-bitches are all combat on your feet—like ancient toe-chi warfare—scrubbing and rubbing and exfoliating your tender insteps with the zeal of a Canadian seal clubber. Plus, my pedi-bitch speaks zero English. She nods a lot, smiles and giggles at me—all innocent and friendly like—which only prods me to reciprocate in a feeble attempt at polite communication. But what she's really doing is conning me into letting her engage in her Vietnamese torture tactics. She then turns to her cohort doing my friend's pedi and hai-ching-dows something totally gossipy about what a silly, squirmy white girl I am. Obviously, I speak hai-ching-dow, so nothing is lost on me.

Then with my feet in her grasp, the pedi-bitch deftly sets me to writhing and wriggling and recoiling and grimacing. And even though it's consensual? I can't watch. I'm too busy fighting with an industrial-strength massage chair that tenderizes my back into pulpy flank steaks and vibrates my eyeballs with the ferocity of a jackhammer. By the time I get out of that chair, I'm exhausted and a little ready for a barbiturate.

Given my clear aversion to such cruelty, why would I go through this? Simple. My plain jane feet look awesome all dolled up. Something about buffed, polished, shiny toenails that make you feel sexy everywhere else, as if you might use those feet for something, you know, provocative later.

And then someone completely HAWT and utterly kissable recently said he liked "Red, always red." And I thought, hey, that's an invitation . . . Red it is. Plus, that same boy thinks my feet look symmetrical. I'm pretty sure he meant my feet look like a celebrated international rock star's, but he cagily downplayed his—I think we can safely assume—insanely bizarre fetish with the always charming "your feet look symmetrical" card.

To be honest, my feet are not my best feature, but all dolled up they're darn close. Here, have a look at my roomie's and my feet, shown here after a particularly torturous toenail treatment. I'm on the left with an Asian-inspired, diamond-studded black flower on my hallux (that's "big toe"—you had to learn something while you were here).

Note, Roomie's second toe is longer than her hallux. She tells me that's an indication of advanced brain activity. Clearly, I belong on the short bus. But that's okay. My feet are symmetrical, and that's something when there's some serious shit going on in the world.

This was also seen over at Studio Thirty Plus, where we still know stuff

July 11, 2011

Heaven's a Bad Place

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

“What?” I say, refraining from spouting my jaded philosophy on heaven with a four-year-old. I stick with the basics. “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 in the recent months since my sister died. My sister Dee and Miss America were very closean understatement if ever there was one.

“I don’t want to go to Heaven,” Miss America says firmly.

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

“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 reaches for her brightly colored spiral notebook, opens it 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.
This is a Fragrant Liar rerun from April '09. Thanks for indulging me while I devote time to writing deadlines that actually net me cash.

July 6, 2011

Are You Vulnerable? I Know You Are But What Am I?

Lean into discomfort. I'm inspired by that idea. Oh, and the fact that I'm inspired by something? Means you should brace yourself.

Dr. Brené Brown talks about discomfort in her spiel about The Power of Vulnerability. She says vulnerability is at the core of our shame, fear, guilt, grief, and struggle for worthiness—and probably insanely bizarre fetishes, although I'm not going to say which insanely bizarre fetish so you don't think I'm picking on you, or so I'm not the first to tell you that the fetish you revel in most is insanely bizarre—no, I wouldn't even bring that up. Obviously. Ahem, so this core of vulnerability is also the birthplace of creativity, joy, belonging, happiness, hope, gratitude, and love. Think of it as, Out of a nasty, slimy oyster springs a double fudge chocolate cake.

People with a strong sense of belonging, love, and worthiness are "whole-hearted" people, and they also have these things in common: courage, compassion, and connection—plus a willingness to let go of who they thought they should be to be who they are. Which is totally where "to be or not to be" comes from. Shakespeare was whole-hearted, though he probably wasn't the whole of who he said he was. More like a pseudonymous shell for other-hearted Bards. With fetishes. But stop distracting me.

Brené Brown says that making connections with other people is why we're here. Also to enjoy ice cream and cookies, but treats weren't part of Brené's study. She says to allow connections with other people, you have to allow yourself to be seen, and for deeper connections really seen, which leaves you wide open and vulnerable, sometimes excruciatingly so. Cuz like, what if they notice your flaws? I totally have this weird freckle on my back. What if someone sees it and gets all judgey? But it's not just being seen physically; it's revealing who you are inside as a person. For instance, how did those insanely bizarre fetishes come about? Who instilled them into you, and was he ever prosecuted? And why have you embraced them as your go-to means of, you know, satisfaction?

I think I'm a whole-hearted person. Whole-hearted people fully embrace their vulnerability. Check! I admit, I am often right out there, pretty much letting it fly. Though good manners do rein me in. Usually. When I have self-doubts, it's not easy to blast through them, but I know I gotta if I really want something.

Whole-hearted peeps believe their vulnerability is neither comfortable nor excruciating, just necessary. Check! Like when you need to go from A to Z, you have to stomp on LMNO to get there and you can't be all squeamish about it.

Whole-hearted peeps are willing to do something, to risk being vulnerable, without a guarantee of the outcome. Check! Like I'm seeing this guy, and OMG, who knows how it could end up. He could have three wives in four different countries. One in a Gobi Desert tent cultivating an insanely bizarre fetish; one swinging from the tree canopy in the Amazon—herself an insanely bizarre fetish; and one buried in two places. Still, I feel compelled to engage in judicious risk-taking anyway because, well, I like him. A lot. And I own my story here, as Brené says. Plus maybe I just want what I want when I want it. That has been said about me before… with that tone.

Thing is about vulnerability, you can't selectively numb out of it. You can't numb yourself to what makes you feel bad without also numbing yourself to what makes you feel good. Plus, pretty sure feeling vulnerable means you're alive, and human. Probably. Of course, I numbed out once and totally screwed myself into thinking I was going to die. At any moment. Never having enjoyed a single insanely bizarre fetish. Well, I wouldn't call it insane.

All that to say, be brave and lean into your discomfort, people, and then you can lean into joy. I hope we've all learned something here today.