July 22, 2012

Warning to New Moms, Or, How I Asked For It

I have four daughters, and I always encouraged an open and candid communication exchange with them. We actually talked about stuff when they were growing up—highly personal stuff. That's how I gained a freakish knowledge of all things catty, hormonal, and melodramatic. While not for the faint of ego, this up-frontness takes a whole lot of complications OUT of the mother/daughter dynamic. Now that they're adults, saying pretty much whatever comes to mind is an ingrained practice. All topics, including the bat-shit crazy, gory, juicy details, are fair game. I know this isn't every mom's cup o' whiskey, but I prefer it. Let that be a lesson to you.

Take my 29-year-old, who feels competent and entitled now to pay back all the sage dating and relationship advice I gave her, lo those many moons ago when she was still sneaking smokes in the garage, ditching first period, and pretending to have cramps. I was on a "first" date the other night, when she texted me and told me to "do" something to him, which I cannot actually repeat here because MY mother reads this blog, and well, she is a little more old fashioned about conversations concerning men and sex. Anyway, I later replied to my daughter, and the convo went like this:

Me:  You're gross.

Daughter:  U did it, didn't u??!! LOL

Me:  My lips are sealed. (A) because you don't really want to know, since I'm your mother, and (B) because, well, see A.

Daughter:  LOL. I know we are past the mother/daughter privacy thing, so I have to assume it was all rated "G". Booooooooo.

Me:  Yeah, it was all G. Except when he . . . and then I . . . and then he . . . which made this thing happen . . . and then OMG! PLUS, then he did . . . and so I couldn't help myself, and I . . . Well, it's all too much to put in a text message. Let's just say it was, um, not G.

Daughter:  So in other words, he kissed u goodnight and u like him a lot. Glad I had a good time, Disney. LOL.

Me:  He sure did kiss me goodnight. He likes to say goodnight. I mean, he could not stop saying it. And pretty soon I thought, if he doesn't stop saying goodnight, somebody's gonna be saying good morning!

Daughter:  So UR the Disney whore.

Sigh. Your efforts to actively engage your children WILL come back on you like a well-chugged cerveza. Still, for me, it does feel good to be able to express myself to loved ones, knowing they will return the favor when they need to confide something important or just express something outrageously inappropriate. See, I don't judge them nor make them feel like total idiot savants for offering their unsolicited and misguided opinions, which I do accept wholeheartedly, out of pure unconditional love. And it's what makes being a mom so fun.

Just think, my daughter's probably passing all my parental wisdom down to her own two daughters right now. Aaahhh, let me just sit back and bask in the sunny glow of my greatest accomplishments.

Love you, Critter.

July 15, 2012

I Feel Faint

After keeling over, I'm now so comfy!
Where's the laudanum?
I have a new sofa. Actually, it's a "fainting couch."

Class, take your seats. Time for a history lesson, a la Fragrant Liar. I want you to put yourself in the shoes—er, the corset of a Victorian-era woman. Go ahead.

Ready? All cinched up nice and tight? Imagine tighter. You can't breathe-tight. Now imagine all that pomp and frill beneath your skirts. Not your vagina pomp and frill, but long knickers and stiff crinolines. It might be 20 degrees outside, but you are freakin' sweaty and suffocating. Where do you turn? WHERE DO YOU TURN?

To the fainting couch, of course, which catches you at the very instant you keel over.

So says, not verbatim, the Great Oracle Google. But I question the veracity of a tightly strung corset figuring into the need for a fainting couch. Sure, a bunch of women dropping like flies could necessitate a special sofa for recovery, but during that same era, women rode horseback, played tennis, and performed other vigorous activities in corsets, no problem. More likely, women had a racket going.

Thanks, Hilary!
See, in Victorian times (1837-1901), the fainting couch served another purpose. Disease. Or more precisely, the inconvenient disease of female hysteria. If you had that disease, you could get special house calls. Professionals were standing by, conveniently, to perform therapeutic treatments on you. Therapeutic, as in manual pelvic massage. I'll just let you absorb that for a moment.

And it was also likely that you'd require constant, weekly treatments that could take hours of you supining on your fainting couch under a professional's careful machinations. Anybody feeling faint? I'm making a sign of the cross right now (just in case), in divine thanks for medically prescribed sex. Tut, tut! No judging.

Ahem, so if you were a 19th century woman of breeding, you owned a fainting couch and you damn well took advantage of it if you had any inkling of its true bennies. I'd be droppin' it like it's hot twice a day! Don't you know, those Victorian women begged their old fart husbands for a fainting couch. Please, please, sir!

Speaking of breeding, is it coincidental that the Victorian era saw a huge spike in fertility rates? I think not. Perhaps manual pelvic massage included other, shall we say, special instruments? That, or wives were so grateful for their disease relief that they actually had thank-you sex with their old fart husbands and thereby produced heirs.

I am feeling faint and hysteria.
How inconvenient.

So we've come a long way, baby, but I think in this case, we women totally got robbed. I, for one, am contemplating a return to simpler times, where female hysteria was a perfectly acceptable reason for stopping mid-day to get a good hand job. I'm asking my boss about instituting a new policy tomorrow.

Ho hum, it's all stormy and rainy outside in Austin, and to be honest, I feel a strong bout of hysteria coming on. I better go lay down on my fainting couch. Good thing I have a medical practitioner on speed dial.

See you in a few hours.

July 10, 2012

It Was a Dark and Stormy Sunset

I love sunsets. When I go to Mexico—or any coastline, for that matter—my mission is to catch every sunset, usually from a reclining position with a cold beverage in my hand and something utterly profound percolating between my ears. Same for the lake. There's just something about the sun melting into the horizon that makes me feel happy. Maybe because it means I've conquered another day and can relax before the next one rises to make demands on me.

Waiting for the sunset.
Or maybe because I know that after the sun sets, the stars come out. Which means, with the vast universe growing before my eyes, I can utter profundities about my infinitesimal smallness and ponder my existence with all the philosophical credentials of a single-celled organism. They don't call me Princess Amoeba for nothin'. I am single and I have a cell. Therefore, I am primed for the kind of insightful commentary that reinforces my position in the evolutionary hierarchy. Like, Blah, blah, blah, I'm supposing all kinds of shit that reveals how truly little I comprehend about the universe's grand mysteries—but I did hear some of us are going to catch an astral plane, if we make some crazy connection. Me, I'm not so sure. But anyway, pry out another cork and put on some tunes, will ya?

While that sort of esoterica is actually quite stimulating for me, I would never bore you guys with it. Nay, nay! Cuz without concrete answers to the questions of why and how we highly intelligent Earthlings fit in the galaxy, this pondering consumes two perfectly good minutes that are better absorbed by a good dirty joke and a coupla giggles. Case in point, your most recent two minutes here. Oh, but wait, I'll make it up to you. Have you ever read The Grand Canyon? By Bea Gapusi? You're welcome.

Sunsets, on the other hand, are much simpler and require far less profundity, which I would gladly utter if you insisted. I mean, I don't want to disappoint anyone by not uttering when my utterances have been requested.

This is a dark and stormy sunset.
Anyway, when I spent the day at my pal Julie's house on Lake LBJ, it was with great anticipation of another watercolor sunset—something to soothe my soul. Instead, we got pummeled by a storm. Thunder and lightning and sideways rain. Crazy cool! And because living out on the water is one of my highest aspirations, didn't matter so much that I didn't get my sunset. Just being there, present and fully engaged with my good friend, I got what I came for:  happiness.

And cold beverages. But, again, I'm not currently uttering profundities. Unless you insist.


July 2, 2012

Where in the World is FL?

Maybe you're thinking right now, what the hell happened to that damn Fragrant Liar? Which would be rude, because I would never use your name in vain, probably, but whatever. I get it. You're no doubt mad at me. And to that I say, Get in line.

Other than ensuring that the people who love me most can shake their heads and yell all Cher-like, "Snap out of it!", mostly I've been reflecting on and reconstructing—and deflecting and deconstructing—the last year, in which I invested considerable time and energy to a lost cause—precious and perfect though he was to me. Am I richer now, or poorer because of it?

Wasting a whole year of your life saps tremendous energy, leaving you little more than a shadow of your former self, which would be ideal for Halloween, but not so much for bikini season. But I'm not thinking it was wasted. Loving someone completely can never be a waste, though mostly the sting of loss prevents me from feeling much else—other than cravings for sappy rom-coms, pizza, and Corona. And frogs. Maybe if I kiss enough frogs, it won't sting anymore.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For some, it cripples their emotional capacity and facility for love, and even someone who loves them beyond measure can't save them from themselves—though not for lack of trying.

Sometimes, he is the caliche to your monsoons, and your rich nutrients just can't seep deeply enough to oxygenate—or resuscitate—what lies beneath. Sometimes, even though he has every single piece of you—every. single. piece—you have to find a way to get you back.

I'm still looking for a way. But I am still here. If only it wasn't bikini season.