Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Husband's Porn Addiction


It's not something we talk about.  It's something we live with every day.  The moment he gets up he gets on-line for his first hit.  Sleek lines and hard bodies flood his Instagram feed.  I'm sure he has other outlets to supply him the visual titillation he feeds off.  But, I know better than to search his on-line history, knowing I'll only find more porn.  And there's no way I can live up to his fantasy.

Because I don't look like this...


*surfboard and ocean with surfable waves required 

I didn't know about his obsession with Volkswagens and VW porn when I met him.  I was young and naive then.  I didn't know how many countless hours he'd spend with his head focused on the rear end of the object of his affection trying to make it to purr for him.  The thing about old broads is they're classic, but they're also feisty and unpredictable.  Which is why I've spent countless hours of my life helping my husband revive his mistress by push starting her.  Sometimes I get to push.  Sometimes pop the clutch.  I'll take whatever he gives me to make this marriage work.

There's been more than one side piece he's neglected me for over the years.  There've been several.  But, the first one is always the hardest to get over.  We were living in Hawaii when I found out about her.  She was a few years younger than me.  Aren't they always?  The thing was, she wasn't even prettier than me.  She looked like she'd been around the block a time or two.  Like a painted lady, if you know what I mean.  Everywhere we went on the island people stopped to stare at her.  It was like I didn't even exist.  Leaving me feeling humiliated.  


Through all of this, my biggest fear has always been that he'd pass his roving eye down to our sons.  Which is exactly what's happened; both of my sons are car porn addicts.  It was inevitable, I suppose.  After all, my husband shares this affliction with his two younger brothers.  His two brothers who are flying in today to help my husband resuscitate his old VW bus who flat lined in my driveway about 2 years ago.  So, for the next 5 days my husband will be in the garage with his brothers playing with his pickle.  

Pickle broken down on the side of the road.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Nudes


I'm enamored with nudes.  There's something so sensual and revealing about skin tones.  There's an honesty in having nothing to hide.  In being transparent and real.  About having the courage to expose yourself and not care how anyone sees you.  But, I don't do any of that.  Because I'm a fraud.

I like to give off the appearance I'm naked faced, while I'm actually wearing a face full of make-up in nude colors.  I go to unnatural lengths to appear natural.  To look like me, but way better than I actually look.  Without looking like I tried really hard, even though I did.   My dark circles, blotchy skin, age spots and zits aren't going to cover themselves, you know?

It all starts with the perfect foundation.  Which means it's completely undetectable.  But, I don't care if keeps it keeps my oily skin at bay for 24 hours or makes me look like Kate Beckinsale, I refuse to buy any cover up with the word beige in it.  Because I refuse to be defined as beige.  Now, if the color is called porcelain, buff, sand or tan, I'll buy it even though it's not even though it's no where near close to my skin color.  Simply because they sound more appealing.  Yeah, I know is ridiculous.  And, I know the only one who knows the name of the color foundation I'm wearing is me.  (Because everyone else is fooled into thinking I'm not wearing any make-up, obviously.)  And that the shade of my skin doesn't define me.  I also know I can't even read the name of the color on the bottom of the bottle with that super fine print.  Even with my reading glasses on.  So, it really, REALLY doesn't matter.  But, it still matters to me.  That's how insecure I am.

The eyes are the most important feature on anyone's face.  They are the windows to the soul after all.  So,  I want mine to convey that I'm nice and friendly.  But also, unapproachable and aloof;  to prevent people from talking to me.  Because I'm really awkward and socially anxious thus; prone to say incredibly stupid things when prompted to interact with other humans.  But, before any of that, I have to divert your attention from the dark circles under my eyes.  Which is why concealer is vital.  Lots of concealer, but still not enough to cover them completely.  Ensuring that I never wear blue eyeliner because the combination of black circles with blue eyeliner would make me look like an MMA fighter.  But, I bet if I was sporting the black eye look, I could avoid unwanted conversations even more successfully.  So, maybe I'll consider adding blue eyeliner to my stripped down neutral palate.  And maybe I'll add one of those gorgeous nude eyeshadow collections with 12 shades of naked for my eyelids that I always pine over in the cosmetic aisle.  But, I know I won't.

I'm just as picky and irrational about my lips.  I don't like the feel of lipstick and it looks too obvious, especially if it gets on my teeth.  Also, it always gets on my teeth somehow.  Which is when I realize it tastes awful and makes my teeth look yellow in comparison.  So, wearing lipstick would require that I whiten my teeth, again.  And the only thing more painful for an American with yellow teeth is the pain caused by a whitening strip on sensitive teeth.  That's why I wear tinted lip balm.  But it can't be too dark.  Or too bright.  Or too shiny.  Essentially, I want it to match my lip color exactly.  Which is why getting a tinted lip balm is ridiculous in the first place.  Because my lips are already my lip color.  I could just get a clear lip balm, but somehow that just wouldn't be good enough.

The truth is...
I feel naked without my nude make-up.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Things I Never Imagined


There are so many things that I never imagined would ever happen. Like the demise of truth and substance.  But, this post isn't about that.  This post is about stuff.  Things that I never imagined would be produced, let alone be popular and in demand.  And if there's one thing I know about, it's definitely NOT how to be popular and in demand.  Just ask anyone who knew me in high school, college, a job or in mom's club and they'll say... "who?"  Because I've always been kind of an outsider.  So, what the cool kids like has always both intrigued and mystified me.

When I was little I used to go grocery shopping with my mom and beg her to buy the sugary cereals that she didn't usually buy.  You know the kind.  The ones that are made with really cheap, coarse-grained sugar that tear up the roof of your mouth, but came with a cool prize inside.  Usually it was a bike clicker you'd stick in the spokes of your wheel that made a really annoying sound.  Those were the best.  But, sometimes you'd get a pedometer.  Those were the worst.  And they went right in the garbage.  Because who cares how many steps you take in a day?  Which is exactly why I would never have imagined that people would pay upwards of $60 for a Fitbit.  Which we all know is a glorified pedometer.  And I didn't even want one when I got it for free.

It was about this time in my childhood in the 70's when rompers and jumpsuits where all the rage.  Personally I blame Charlie's Angels for this.  Probably because I wasn't allowed to watch it back in the day.  But, I assume that they wore all kinds of sexy one piece polyester jumpsuits sensuously unzipped to expose some cleavage.  But, what do I know?  All I know is, I bought a jumpsuit from Banana Republic in the 90's from the clearance rack.  (Obviously, it wasn't a popular seller.)  It was beautiful and elegant and it's still hanging in my closet covered in a thick layer of dust.  The first time I wore it, I realized why no one in the 90's was wearing a jumpsuit or a romper.  Because, in order to use the toilet, you had to unzip (a challenge in itself if it has a back zipper like mine does) and strip down to your bra.  And if you're using a public toilet, you know you're going to get the stall with the big gap between the door, so the ladies waiting in line can see you mostly naked sitting on the toilet while cradling the top of your jumpsuit in your lap so it doesn't touch the floor.   So, can someone explain to me why are rompers and jumpsuits are all the rage again?

I remember when the Food Network first started.  And I thought 'you've got to be kidding me...who the hell would want to watch someone cook?'  I mean it's not like you get to taste any of the food.  So, essentially, you're just punishing yourself by watching the most delicious looking meal you've ever seen being prepared while you're on the couch in your sweatpants eating cereal from the box because you ran out of ice cream.  How freakin' sad is that?  Also, how freakin' sad is it that this is basically the majority of what I watch on TV these days?  And to make it even sadder, I'm usually eating seaweed crisps.  Because I already ate all the ice cream and all that's left is the healthy crap.

When Starbucks came on the scene, everyone jumped on the gourmet coffee train.  Personally, I can't get out of my house to go get coffee, without caffeinating.  Plus, you have to get out of your pj's and put clothes on because there's no Starbucks inside a Walmart.  Which is why I never got into going out to get coffee.  So, I just make a pot of coffee at home.  Which saves both time and money.  Not to mention, the planet, with all those disposable cups.  Then, they came out with Keurig so you can have a  fresh cup coffee at home, every time and simultaneously fill the landfills and destroy the environment with seemingly innocuous single serve coffee packaging from the comfort of your own home.  Without getting dressed even.  Cause we're lazy Americans.  Freakin' genius!

Back in the day, looking like a dog was considered a huge insult.  Enter Snapchat.  Where you can intentionally make yourself look like a dog.  Or a cat.  Or vomit rainbows.  Not that I'm on Snapchat, because I'm not.  But the photos and videos from there have migrated onto other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.  Both of which I said I'd never join because I just didn't see the point.  That's before I gave in and created accounts and became addicted, of course.  So, don't be surprised when you see a photo that kinda looks like me, only way better, wearing a crown of cartoon flowers next month on my Facebook.  Just kidding, I'm hardly ever on Facebook.

By now you've probably labeled me as both a feminist and an environmentalist.  (I won't mention the other labels to attempt to protect my ego.)  Like someone who would use the environmentally-friendly Diva cup instead of environmentally-reprehensible tampons.  But, this is where you're completely wrong.  I figure me not using a Keurig cup fully entitles me to use disposable feminine hygiene products instead of reuseable ones.  I believe this is called cognitive dissonance.  And lastly, I never imagined I'd tell you about my feminine hygiene product preferences, but here we are.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Road Rules


I'm on my third kid learning to drive.  And through the process of teaching kids to drive, I've learned a few things myself.  Mostly, that I don't remember the actual rules of the road because I learned them 30 years ago.  Because I only know the practical rules of the road.  The things that everyone does, but knows that they aren't exactly legal.  Like you can go at least 5 mph over the speed limit without getting a speeding ticket.  When in reality: 1. this isn't true 2. there are douchebag cops out there who will go out of their way to prove it.  Which might by why my most frequent teaching technique is by bad example.  Did you see that thing I did just there?  Don't do that!

Not only don't I remember the rules, a lot has changed in 30 years.  There were no protected left turns indicated by a green arrow when I was learning to drive.  Only one solid green light and you had to judge, calculate and risk it.  Can I make this turn before that oncoming semi-truck obliterates me?  Let's see!  Because if you didn't risk it, you'd never get where you were going.  You can't just make right hand turns through life.  That's when my kid asks,  if she's at a stop light with a protected left turn, but it's currently solid green with no oncoming traffic, can she make a left turn?  Of course, I said.  But, you should probably look that up to see if it's legal though if you want to pass the test.  Did I mention back in the good old days there were no coddled protected left turns?

In addition, there were no seat belt laws or airbags when I got my license.  And bike lanes?  Are you joking?  There were no designated bike lanes on roads in the 80's.  No one biked for exercise back then.  Well ok... stationary bikes, indoors wearing leg warmers with a sweat band compressing your mullet like extras in a music video for Physical with Olivia Newton John.  Oh, yeah, and I drove way back before cellphones and blue tooth, so all you had to listen to was the radio.  (Because the cassette player ate all your tapes you got conned into ordering from Columbia House.)  So, really you were stuck listening to either Journey or Michael Jackson on repeat, depending on which of the two radio stations you could get without static.  But, the bonus was, if you crashed, you were pretty much guaranteed to certain death because you weren't wearing a seat belt, so that ended your musical misery pretty definitively.

Between my own exploits driving as a teenager and having already taught two teenage boys to drive, nothing scares me about getting in a car with my teen at the wheel anymore.  Besides my monthly car insurance bill.  Well, the music that my daughter listens to while she's learning to drive does concern me a bit.  I mean, I didn't raise my kids to like country music!  Where did I go wrong?  But, I think the thing that pisses me off the most about my kids driving is that parallel parking isn't on the driving test they have to take to get their license.  WTF?  Everyone knows the hardest part of driving is parallel parking.  I could easily ace that driving test!  Except for all those pesky rules of the road.  

Kids these days are living on easy street!
Which sounds exactly like what an old person would say.
OMG, I'm old!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to End a Conversation


We've all been in this situation: you see someone out in public, you know you know the person from somewhere.  But where?  You quickly scroll through your mental rolodex, but not before attempting to hide in order to avoid having a conversation with this person.  Because how do you talk to someone when you don't know the context of where you know them from?  Unfortunately, we all know hiding and/or pretending not to see the person rarely works.  But somehow, it's still always Plan A.  Then...they see you, make their approach and start talking to you.  They're ridiculously chatty.  They always are.  And they seem to know everything about you.  Like everything.  And you still have no idea who the hell they are.  For some reason, asking them who they are seems out of the question.  You just want to be invisible.  Or for the Earth to swallow you whole.  Anything to escape the hell that is small talk with a stranger.

 How can I make this conversation end?
Here are some suggestions:

1.  Whatever you do, don't make direct eye contact.

2.  Silently mouth your 'to do list' while they chatter on.

3.  Clean out your ears with your car keys.

4.   Mirror their every gesture like a mime.

5.  Scratch yourself vigorously like you have lice or fleas.

6.  When they pause for a moment, ask "Sorry, were you talking to me?".

7.  Take one giant step towards them until you're uncomfortably close.

8.  Stroke their arm like you're petting a cat.

9.  Pull out your phone and start scrolling.

10.  Put your index finger up to pause them.  "Sorry...Mexican food..." and race to the nearest bathroom.  

I admit, I haven't tried any of these.  Although, I've been extremely close to using that last one out of necessity.  (Thanks Chipotle.)  I know the reason I get cornered by people like Chatty Cathy (yammering on about how she's gone gluten-free) is that I lack the social skills to deal with this situation. Because I'm an introvert's introvert.  Not only that, but I'm also socially anxious and a dedicated people-pleaser.  Which must be why I foolishly try to act like I remember people when I don't.  And then nod or say "uh-huh" at the appropriate times during their monologue about their gout.  Thus, giving the extroverts of the world with extra time on their hands, like Blowhard Bob, free reign to waste my time.  Which I'm more than capable of doing by myself while I'm blissfully alone.    

I don't even think there is a polite way to end a conversation.  
So why not give one of these suggestions a try and let me know how it goes. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

History on Repeat


I know I'm not the only one who feels like the world sucks right now.  That humanity seems so off course, it's inhumane.  Not only do we abuse each other, we've also desecrated our habitat; the environment.  And things only seem to be getting worse.  But are they?

There have always been natural disasters mixed with unnatural, unspeakable atrocities. There have always been wars, powerful tyrants and disease.  Pick any point in history and you'll see that it's always been a shit show.  Always.  And every generation has always been fearful for the next generation will inherit a world different from the one they had.  Which they will.

But, it's not all bad.

I mean most of it is, but not all of it.  They're always been people who give to complete strangers, who stand up for the voiceless and the sick.  Ones who fight for humanity armed with compassion and empathy.  Who seek cures for diseases and protection for the environment.  It's just so hard to find them.  Not because there are so few, but because they are reticent and don't seek recognition or rewards.   

There are two motivations for people:  fear and love.  Fear motivates us to protect ourselves from threats real or perceived.  Love encourages us to protect others from threats real or perceived.  They coexist and are intricately intertwined.   Not only is some fear healthy, it's necessary for survival.  And indiscriminate love is as ignorant as it is ill fated.  It sets us up to be taken advantage of.

Throughout history, these ideas have been doing battle for power.  Protect ourselves or protect ourselves as a society?  Whenever we make progress as a society, a backlash occurs and we retrogress  to some extent.  This is why history repeats itself.  But, that doesn't discount the growth and advancement of civilization as a whole.   

The thing we should fear the most is feeling disenfranchised.  Because the powerful prey on the disenfranchised. Thus, giving power to whomever sees fit to abuse it.  And some one will.  Some one always does. Just look at the history books.  

RECOMMENDED READING:  On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Magnified


I was reading in my favorite chair in the bedroom when he approached and told me he had a surprise for me and asked me to stand up.  Don't most people get asked to sit down for a surprise?  Was he going to kiss me?  I mean, I know reading Dostoevsky is a huge turn on and all, but in the middle of the day?  With all the kids at home?  That's when he went down to the garage to get some tools. When he came back up, he locked himself in the bathroom where I heard him screwing around.        Then he invited me in.  To see the lighted, magnifying mirror he'd installed.

WTF WAS HE THINKING?

Sure, things had gotten bad over the years.  As my eyesight worsened, I began to need to wear reading glasses to pluck my eye brows.  And while the glasses make it easier for me to see the stray hairs, the frame of the glasses impede my ability to get to them with the tweezers.  I should mention that bathroom lighting is the worst for such a delicate procedure.  Every woman knows that there is only one place where you can see every single outlying brow hair.  And that's in the review mirror of your car.  Which is why I started plucking my brows in my minivan. Which might be why he bought this mirror for me in the first place.  Because it might be embarrassing when the neighbors see your wife walking out to sit in the car parked in the driveway in her pajamas to pluck her eye brows.   

But, have you looked at yourself with a lighted mirror at 5x magnification?  It's horrifying!  You can see every pore, black head, zit, age spot, wrinkle, chin hair and potentially cancerous legion, not to mention my moustache.  Since when do I have a mustache?  Why didn't anyone tell me how hideous I am?  My husband did tell me he originally ordered a mirror with 10x the magnification, but when it arrived broken,  he sent it back and got the more myopic option.  Thank god!  You can probably see the microscopic bugs on your skin with that kind of amplification.  And no one wants to be reminded that we are actually vile, disgusting creatures chock full of bugs and bacteria!  

I really do get that his heart was in the right place.  But really, getting a woman over 40 a magnifying mirror is seriously the worst gift you can give.  It really only magnifies all the things you hate about yourself.  Because that's what mirrors do.  I was better off seeing myself through the filter of my failing vision.  Which looks alot like the soft lighting in that Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds commercial.   

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Unplugged


My relationship with technology can best be described as, "it's complicated".  So when I take an annual camping trip where I know I won't have any cell service, I'm completely elated.  But, also filled with a little dread.  What if something happens to my dad, my oldest kid I left home alone or our dogs in his care, and no one can reach me?  Also, what if someone posts something completely bizarre on my Facebook wall or tags me in a horrible looking photo and it stays up for days before I can delete it?

What'll happen when I'm unplugged?

I'll tell you what happens.  I tune into nature, that's what I do.  Watching the fish jump out of the freshly stocked lake.  Why do fish jump anyhow?  Well, I can't google it, but I bet they're trying to escape because they suspect they're going to get brutally murdered by some guy with a hook.  Then there's all those birds flying in formation like an intricately choreographed flash mob.  How do they all spontaneously know the next move they're going to do like people musicals always do?  All these wonders of nature, drowned out by my kids fighting about whose turn it is in the canoe next.  

Time I would've spent on my phone looking at photos on Instagram, I spent judging other campers.  Like who buys a pastel yellow tent?  It looks like it was meant for a puppet show.  A creepy, stupid puppet show, just to clarify.  Tents are supposed to be classic, neutral shades, like the inside of an Eddie Bauer store.  And what I mean by that is, completely boring.  Also, who brings their own porta potty camping?  The guy across the way from me, that's who.  The only thing worse than using the campground toilet is using one that looks kinda like a shower stall, but with nylon walls that illuminates the silhouette of the shitter who brings a flashlight with him to use it.  I didn't want to know this information, it was thrust upon me.  But, I do want to know who the hell thought that was a good idea and who the hell cleans that shit?  Now, back to the lady in tent the color of a lemon drop who's wearing silk pajamas to bed.  WHO WEARS SILK PAJAMAS?   Does she have a water bed in there too?  Hugh Hefner?  

While over at my campsite, my son brought an MRE from back when my husband was in the army.  Which was over 12 years ago now.  Never mind, that I packed all kinds of fresh food that I painstakingly prepped and cooked on-site, my kid wants a dehydrated, preservative filled meal that was packaged in 1993.  I did not typo that date.  He ate a 24 year old package of chicken and rice, which, I'm sure wasn't even "good" before it expired.  I know it wasn't good when he ate it because he offered me a taste.  And in my defense, I'd already finished the first book I'd brought with me and I'd judged all the surrounding campers, so there wasn't a whole lot left to do.  Except guard the peanut butter from the chipmunks and ground squirrels intent on stealing it from us.  Why aren't ground squirrels allergic to ground nuts like the rest of America is?  I was actually bored enough to google that, if only I had a connection.  But, I probably would have googled how to kill a pesky rodent with the least amount of blood.  Because the blood might attract bears.

The thought of bears did keep me up at night.  Did I put all the food back in the car?  Did I leave the caramel m&m's out on the picnic table?  Wait, did I bring them in my tent to hide them from the kids?  This is how I die.  Attempting to fight off a bear to protect my candy stash.  Sounds about right.  But, that didn't keep me up as long as the incessant owl hooting in the middle of the night.  Which, if you haven't heard an owl hoot in real life, sounds like a person trying to imitate an owl hooting.  And that person won't shut up for like 2 hours.  Finally, when it stopped, that's precisely when porta potty guy started snoring.

The next day, it started raining.  And it didn't stop.  It rained for hours.  Over 20 hours.  You know how the sound of rain makes you feel like you have to pee?  That guys porta potty right next to my camp site started to seem really appealing.  But not as appealing as peeing next to a tree in the rain.  Or in my pants in the tent.  Or getting eaten by a bear.  Although, I hope the bear would see that the lady in the silk pajamas is a much better option than me because she'd go down smoother.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Technohypocrite



I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm technologically illiterate.  The thing is, I'm really pretty disinterested in electronics altogether.  Which is weird for someone who uses them pretty much all day, every day.  Making me a technohypocrite.  In my defense, it's virtually impossible not to be connected in today's over connected world.

I've told myself time and time again that I'm not going to sign-up for anything else that requires a log-in and a password.  Because I can't even remember the ones I have.  But, every time there is some ridiculous reason for me to sign up.  Like it's required by my kids' schools, so I can academically stalk my children.  As if I don't stalk them on social media already.  Adding one more thing to my 'to do' list.

But first, I have to create a log-in that makes sense so I'll remember it.  For instance, ILOVESTALKINGKIDS. But, that may set off some alarm bells for the school administration, like I'm a pedophile or something.  I'd use my real name as the log-in, except the first time I tried to log-in I used it, messed up somehow and now it registers as taken. So now, I have to come up with something really boring, that's probably a lie like Knittingmom.  (I don't knit.)  But, that's already taken. As are most of the other mundane things I've thought of.      

And now I have to make a password that's 10 characters long consisting of 6 letters (at least one of which should be capitalized), 2 numbers and 2 symbols (excluding the < sign, because that might demean the other letters or symbols in front of it, you know...political correctness and all).  Making this a long and infuriating process.

But, it's nothing compared to my battle with the CAPTCHA.  Which is more of a war, that I'm losing.  Maybe I'm not human, because I can't seem to prove to my computer that I'm not a computer.  Seriously, who can read those things?  Even with my reading glasses on, it's like they're written in Klingon or something.  And last time I checked, Klingons aren't human.  Or real.

Don't even get me started on anything that requires a security question. Because it's always some obscure question.  Like:  What elective did you take in the fall of your freshman year of college?   Or:  Who's your favorite Astrophysicist?  And then there's: Where were you when you realized you sold out and your dreams would never come true?  I mean, not only is it depressing as hell to traipse through your past and recount this stuff and divulge it to your computer overlord, but really...who can remember this stuff?  I can barely remember to give my diabetic dog his insulin twice a day!

I would complain about e-mail, but I rarely read them anymore.  Same with group texts.  And for someone who puts so much information on-line with my blog and social media, I'm really skeptical of those discount cards offered by supermarkets. Are they collecting data on me?  Which is totally ridiculously paranoid and hypocritical.  Which is why I use my old phone number for this purpose.  Somewhere, some 70 year old guy with my old land line is getting coupons for tampons and zit cream at the check out.

I guess I have to admit, I love to hate technology.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Minority




I'm the first to admit it; I know nothing about being a minority.  I'm a white, privileged woman living in a white, privileged world.  And I have a lot of white guilt about that.  No matter what I do, I'll never know how it feels to be a minority.  At least I'm a woman, so I know what it's like to be discriminated against, sexually harassed, marginalized and objectified to keep me grounded.  Thank god for that!

If I have one complaint about where I live, it's that my neighborhood isn't ethnically diverse.  It's white.  It's so white, that if you mixed everyone in my community together, cumulatively we wouldn't even constitute off-white.  Even in summer when everyone has a tan, it's still as white as newly fallen snow around these parts.  I don't know exactly why that is, only that it is.

So, last Saturday after I went out to dinner with my husband downtown, we stumbled upon a bar with live music.   And when we went inside, about half of the patrons were African American, as was the band playing that night.  I felt guilty for even noticing.  But, coming from my homogeneous world how could I not notice?

And I started thinking about the one and only time I was in the minority, which was when we lived in Morocco.  One of the reasons we left Colorado Springs for Africa, was to experience what it's like to be immersed in a completely different culture.  Where we'd be the minority.  Which we were for a couple of years.  And people would stop and stare.  Point and whisper.

But, no matter what we did, or where we traveled, we were still white and privileged with the entitlement of having American passports.  Quite simply, even as foreigners, we wielded a huge advantage of power, without even trying.  I came to the realization that there's no way for us to truly experience what it's like to be in the minority.  Or the challenges that come with it.

All any of us can do it encourage, celebrate and protect diversity.   

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Porta Potty Hell


There are two things that are extremely important any time you travel anywhere in the world:  1.  Consuming enough roughage to poop.  2.  Having a place to poop.  Because, the older you are, the more you realize that life is really all about shit.  Repugnant, putrid, vile shit.  Only a small fraction of which is actually excrement.  But whether it's literal or figurative shit, it's all a waste.  Welcome to the shitshow that's adulthood!  Here are some porta potties provided for your convenience.

I could smell the stench, carried upwind on a balmy mountain summer breeze, before I even saw the repugnant toilets at the campsite.  I always seem to forget about this vital component of camping.  And with four nights in a tent, avoiding the camp toilet is completely unavoidable.  Sooner or later you're going to need to use it.  But, sooner if you're a coffee drinker.  And what adult doesn't drink coffee?  A masochistic psychopath, obviously.  The same kind who camp regularly.

When you just can't hold it anymore, that's when you'll have to do the walk of shame to the camp toilet.  Don't forget a flashlight, because other than daylight, there is no other light source in there.  But, since I can never remember to pack a flashlight, I bring my phone.  (Which is how I captured this great photo of one of the camp toilets three years ago.)  Perhaps most importantly, don't forget the wet wipes!  Because chances are, there won't be any toilet paper.  But, there will be flies.  So many flies.  Which, after the noxious fumes is the second reason to hold your breath before going in and squatting over the potty. BUT, DON'T FORGET TO TAKE THE PHONE OUT OF YOUR BACK POCKET FIRST!

The bad news is, no one can hold their breath, squat over the potty, do their business (especially #2), clutching their phone and a package of wet wipes without peeing on themselves or taking a breath.  It's impossible, trust me!  And the only thing worse than using the porta potty in the first place is being passed out in the porta potty.  I don't actually know that from experience, it's just common sense. In addition, don't ever look directly into the crapper.  I think that's pretty basic.  But there are two valid reasons why one might do this unconscionable act.  1.  Is this going to overflow?  2.  Am I done?  (Sometimes it's just a habitual thing if you're doing #2 to look in the bowl to ascertain this.)

While you're doing Lamaze breathing to hold the squat hovering over the seat, clenching your phone, the dim light illuminating the sign that says not to put diapers, feminine products or garbage into the toilet because they're extremely difficult to remove.  Well, duh...that sounds really reasonable.  Until you consider there's no toilet paper.  And then you look at the wet wipes you brought with you.    While I'm normally a decent, respectful, environmentally conscious human being, I'm sure as shit going to throw that potentially toilet clogging, environmentally hazardous wet wipe that I wiped myself with in there.  Because I'm no masochistic pack-in, pack-out psychotic homemade from a flannel cloth and essential oils reusable wet wipe user.  Because at this moment, I don't give a shit about the environment! I'd say I'm going to hell for that, but I'm already there in porta potty hell!  And judging from the rife stank, so is everyone else at this campground.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Voices in my Head


I have lots of voices in my head and most all of them are self-deprecating.  But, this post isn't about those voices, it's about how your own voice sounds in your own head.  And realizing you don't sound anything like what you think you do to other people.  In fact, you don't sound anything like you at all.  And you definitely don't sound anything like Aretha Franklin or Frank Sinatra.  Especially when you crank up the music in your car and sing along.  The lady next to you at the stop light can verify this. You don't.  But, you do sound ridiculous.  Especially when you're singing an Eddie Vedder song and you can't decipher the words so you're mumble singing/making up your own lyrics.  I may have firsthand knowledge of this.  

And it seems that most people's voices sound better to them in their own head, than they do in person.  But, then what do people who do sing well sound like in their own head?  This question has plagued me for a really long time.  If I ever nabbed an interview with Adele, I'd love to ask her how disappointed she is when she hears her own voice on the radio.  Like is she just a little disappointed or is she massively depressed?  If her music is any indication, I'm going to say it's the latter.  And what about those people who can't sing, but go on nationally televised singing competition only to embarrass themselves because no one told them they're awful?  Plus it's not the 18th century anymore; no one has to "break it to you" that you're an awful singer.  All you have to do is record a video of yourself to know instantaneously and definitively if you can or can't sing.  And who in the 21st century hasn't done that?

Then there's the more everydayness of your voice.  Do you have an annoying accent?  Are you a loud talker?  I was recently out in public with a loud talker.  We were in a quiet place, having a conversation.  Ok, it was more of a monologue really, because a conversation implies there are two people conversing.  To counteract this, my replies became more hushed (and I'm already soft spoken to begin with), hoping she'd get the hint.  My social cue fell on the deaf ears of my loud talker.  I was at her mercy (as was everyone else in the vicinity).  All while the voices in my head were screaming, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"  But, a loud talker is better than a close talker though.  And they don't seem to be able to read social cues either.  Like if I step back away from you, it's because you're way too close to me.  "DO NOT STEP CLOSER TO ME!", the voices say.  A good rule of thumb is, if you can see my uvula,  BACK THE HELL UP!  Even worse than both of those, is an adult with a child's voice. Think Jennifer Tilly.  And unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to fix that.

As I've said many times before, I don't have an accent.  I know it's amazing, but it's totally 100% true.  None.  None at all.  What I do have is a gentle alto voice.  Unless I'm yelling at my kids.  In which case, I have a loud shrill voice that carries about half way down the street and I take on whatever accent is most condescending in the context of what I'm yelling about.  I'm not proud of this.  But if you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about because you do it too!  No one makes it out of this parenting gig without sounding like Maleficent losing her wings.  NO ONE, I SAID!

But, when I've got a cold my voice takes on an entirely different tone.  In my head it sounds like I take on a whole husky, sexy Demi Moore kinda vibe.  Which I really kinda like.  I wish I sounded like that all the time.  Except, I know I don't actually sound like that.  Unfortunately, I know I sound like Sylvester Stallone when I'm congested.  Accent, mumble and yes, even the droopy eyes...ALL OF IT!  Which is what I actually sound like right now.  Because apparently, colds don't take a summer vacation.

What do the voices in your head sound like?


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Hate Your Hobby



Hobbies make people interesting.  But, they also make people really annoying.  Like the guy who does CrossFit who has to tell you how many Tabata squats he can do or what the hell a Tabata squat is.  Or the bird-watcher who stops you mid-conversation to tell you about the Rufous-Sided Towhee that just flew overhead.  And if your hobby is shopping, video games or binge watching any series on Netflix, rest assured that I don't want to listen to you talk about it.  But what if you're married to someone whose hobby you hate?  And you are contractually obligated to endure it?

Ok, maybe hate is a strong word.  I don't necessarily hate my husband's hobby.  But, it is really annoying.  Especially because I hate birds and he loves them.  Which is how I know about the Rufous-Sided Towhee and that the screech at the beginning of Northern Exposure when they show an American Eagle is actually the screech of a Red-tailed Hawk.  Blasphemy!  But, the bird watching isn't even the hobby that's annoying.  Because bird watching for the most part is a quiet, unobtrusive activity.   But, being in a rock band is much louder and way more obtrusive.

Don't get me wrong, I love when he performs.  And he's a really good guitarist and he even sings sometimes too.  His guitar solo on Alice in Chains' Man in the Box is off the chain.  However, to get that good, it requires practice.  Lots of practice.  Lots of listening to him play Don't Stop Believing by Journey.  Over.  And over.  And over again.  I really can't stand that small town girl.  It's a one night stand that never ends.  Ever.  Not only do I get to hear it all the time, but sometimes he starts practicing in the front room directly adjacent to the office where I am, at 6am before he goes to work.  SIX IN THE MORNING, I SAID!  No one even wants Jessie's Girl at that ungodly hour, never mind a nameless small town girl.

Then there's my hobby.  People have told my husband he's so lucky that I pole dance.  But, the truth is, he really doesn't reap any rewards from it.  (Maybe on Valentine's Day, if he's lucky.)  Because I practice when he's at work.  So he only sees me dancing on Instagram like everyone else.  Unless I pole dance weekend mornings.  Upstairs with the doors closed trying not to wake our teenagers.   But, he can still hear the (muffled) music and me thumping when I land hard on the floor.  And then there's the swearing when I can't figure out a new trick.  And usually when I'm practicing I'll have the same song on a loop.  The last time I annoyed him this way on a Saturday morning, he interpreted the lyrics "I wish I was the driver" through the closed door as "I wish I was in China".  Which he probably really did wish.  When I'm done, all he can see are the bruises on my body in weird places and me complaining about how sore my muscles are.  My god, he's so lucky!

But really, the people who hate our hobbies more than we hate each other's are our kids.  Because starting ridiculously early on the weekends, while they're trying to sleep in, they get to hear Foreigner and Audio Slave.  Sometimes at the exact same time.  Which seems like ample punishment for us having to endure their accelerated teenage metabolisms and their indulgent sleep schedules.  So, I guess it all works out really.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DMV


My third kid has started driver's ed.  You'd think I'd have this whole process all mapped out by now.  Instead, I've blocked my other teens learning to drive out of my mind completely.  Well, unfortunately not completely.  I remember enough to dread it.  Being terrified sitting helpless in the passenger's seat of my own car with my kid at the wheel.  Then being shocked and horrified (not to mention, broke) when my kids got their licenses and I had to add two teen boys on to the car insurance.  But, the thing I remember the most vividly is the DMV.  Which in Colorado is actually called the Department of Revenue.  But, if I titled this post that, you would've thought this post was about pot.  And now that I think about it, it probably would've gotten more readers.  Whatever.

With my first kid, the anticipation of him driving was completely traumatic.  For me anyhow.  And with my second one, I want to say I was a tad more relaxed, but I wasn't.  And no one was as relaxed as he was.  Because about 5 months after he got his driver's permit, he lost his wallet with his permit in it.   Requiring that I drive him back to the Department of Revenue to get a new one.  The thing is in Colorado Springs there's only one office that handles driver's permits for the entire city.  Making it insanely busy.  No problem.  We'll just get there before it opens and wait outside so we can be the first in line.  Only, when we got there at 6:55 am (it opens at 7) there was already a long line waiting for the door to open.  Shit!  At least I brought a book with me.  And I had an extra one in the car, just in case.  But, surely it wouldn't take that long.

After we filtered in and got a number that's in a random order so you can't calculate how long you have to wait, there weren't any seats left.  After a couple of hours leaning against the wall and shifting to alleviate my aching back, while constantly surveying people whose numbers got called to steal their seats when they got up, we could finally sit down. Time ticked away with the loud distractions of people talking on their phones in the one huge waiting room we were all crammed into while I read my book.

Until it was lunchtime and the clerks cycled through their breaks one at a time.  Reducing the number of open windows to serve customers for 2 hours.  We were so hungry we started fantasizing about the soggy tuna sandwiches they were likely eating in the back room.  Which is basically the brink of starvation. We couldn't risk leaving, because you know our number would be called while we were out.  So, I left my kid there as collateral, while I ran to the 7-11 down the street to score us some soda, chips and candy bars.  The sweaty hot dog rotating on the warming roller was tempting, but I was sure it would require me to use the public toilet in an untimely, urgent way.  And if they're understaffed at the counter, I can't imagine the state of the restrooms.

I'd already finished one book and got the other one from the car on the way back in with our food rations.  We weren't leaving without a permit.  Another hour and a half and several chapters in my second book later, our number was finally called.   We filled out the obligatory paperwork, he had his photo taken and a mere total of 7 hours later, my son had a receipt for a driver's permit he'd receive in the mail in a week or so.  But instead of getting the new driver's permit in 7 days (that took longer), my son found his wallet with his original driver's permit in it at a friend's house.  Are you kidding me?  And that's when I almost killed him.  It's also why I dreaded going with my third kid to get her driver's permit, because I've already done my time!

My daughter had gotten a perfect score on her written exam at her driver's education class two days before.  All we had to do was take her paperwork to the Department of Revenue to get the permit.  But, this time, I made an appointment at the office in Pueblo (a 50 minute drive south of Colorado Springs).  I brought a book and snacks, just in case.  We arrived promptly at her appointment time with all the required documentation and we were sent directly to the counter.  Finally, I'd beaten the system!  Or had I?  Because when they went to search for her test results on their new convenient electronic system, they couldn't find it.   And there was nothing we could do to rectify the situation.  (Trust me, I tried.)  So, we drove all the way back home permit-less.

And I promptly made another appointment down in Pueblo to get her permit.  But, only after getting a copy of the results of her written test e-mailed to me.  Now, I only need to get a new ink cartridge so I can print it out to have tangible physical proof when we go tomorrow.  I'm bringing 3 books, 2 meals and a tent. I don't care if we need a camping permit or not!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ma'am

Definition courtesy of Urban Dictionary

I was a teenager the first time I ever heard someone referred to as ma'am.  I was visiting the south where it's considered to be a sign of respect.  But, much like "bless your heart", it always came off as condescending to me.  Maybe because I was a northern girl raised on sarcasm and cynicism.  Taught never to believe what someone says and only trust a fraction of what they do.  Ma'am never had a place in my (blessed) heart from the start.

Now that I'm in middle age (well...if I live to age 94, I am anyway) I absolutely detest being called ma'am.  I do get it when I'm ma'amed by people who are significantly younger than me, to whom I'm a relic.  But, the people half my age, aren't hung up on being polite.  So, they avoid the whole situation by not calling me anything.  Or acknowledging my existence.  Because most of the time they've got their head buried in their phone and they don't even see me.

No, it's the people my age or older, who were brought up to be polite who are the worst offenders.  Not only do they see you because they aren't distracted by their phone, because they probably don't know how it works or can't find their glasses to read a text (ahem...like me), but they will also make direct eye contact.  And then categorize you by age by the crow's feet around your eyes.   Any woman under 30 is still a "miss" and anyone else is a "ma'am".

Unless...you get the flatterer (AKA: Eddie Haskell and if I have to explain who that is, you're definitely a "miss").  The flatterer sees your scowl lines and gray hairs and absolutely knows you're without a doubt a "ma'am"  but "misses" you.  In a completely condescending way.  Also, there is usually some kind of payout that acts as motivation for this flattery.  Like a tip, commission or free pass to heaven involved.   You know you're being belittled and so do they.  And yet somehow, even through that massively thick layer of bullshit, it's still better than being "ma'amed".

Which is why I've constructed a short list of things I'd rather be called than ma'am:

Hey
You
Sir
Bitch and/or bastard (I'm no sexist)
Douchebag
Jackass
Idiot (interchangeable with moron or stupid)
Ugly (I had a co-worker call me "fea", which is Spanish for ugly.)
I would even take honey or sweetie which I also find demeaning.

Somehow, in our culture, being called old seems worse than any of the things on that list.
Basically, I'll respond to almost anything, besides Ma'am.  


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Twenty-Five Years


Next week I'll have been married for twenty-five years. It was a big church wedding with my big Catholic family.  Which was the tradition in my family.  But, things started to go wrong when the venue I'd reserved over a year in advance burned down a few months before our big day.  Then, when I chose an ivory dress, my mother told me my grandmother would disapprove, so I begrudgingly decided to get a white one.  I had it specially made after seeing a gorgeous photo of an extremely expensive dress in a magazine.  Although, my cheap, WHITE imitation didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.  But, I wore it as is anyway to spare the seamstress's feelings.  Without a veil to hamper my glorious, teased hair, despite my mother's protests to the contrary.  It was the one thing I asserted myself about for my own wedding.  And, to this day,  I still regret not wearing a flower in my hair.  As if the flower would've distracted from the enormous, flat bows on my sleeves.  Or the huge earrings.  WTF was I thinking?  None of it really mattered anyway, because the photographer we hired, was about 75 years old with thick coke-bottle glasses which obviously weren't thick enough because all of our pictures are blurry.

I didn't know it was the prelude for all the screw ups yet to come.  

And now here we are 25 years later, with 4 kids, a house and at least a hundred home improvement projects to do that will never all get done.  Because there's too much other stuff going on.  And how can we afford to do stuff on the house when we spend all our money on car insurance for our teenagers to drive?  But, even more importantly, how can we get away from our kids and take a trip, just the two of us, for our 25th anniversary?  A year ago, we talked about going on an exotic, romantic trip to Bali to celebrate.  Or, more like I talked about it and my husband said, "Wouldn't that be weird without the kids?"  Well now that you said that it would!  I haven't wanted to bitch slap him too many times during our marriage, but that was one of them.  I'm just not a violent person.  Ok, there are the times I've given him a backhand swat with my arm or a flying round kick nailing him right in the ass (I'm incredibly accurate, if I'm bragging), but those are totally in fun, even if he gets a little butt hurt.   

This is not the part of the post where I say, "Guess what?  Surprise! We're going to Bali for our anniversary!"  Because between house guests and kids activities it's not going to work.  We can't even fit in one night away in a hotel in Denver (an hour away from here) for god's sake!  In fact, we don't have any plans at all.  Last night while I was cleaning up the dishes after dinner I announced, I didn't get you anything for our anniversary.  To which he responded, I didn't get you anything either.  Ahhhh...romance.  I imagine we'll go to dinner.  Maybe at Golden Corral.  I'm joking.  Or am I? When we're done eating we'll try to find some live music, but there won't be any because Colorado Springs on a Friday night is pretty lame. But, on a Tuesday night it's even more lame.  And that's hard to do. So, we'll probably take a romantic stroll together through the aisles of Home Depot to shop for our never ending home improvement projects.  And then arrive home about 8pm.  With our kids wondering why we're home so early.  Then we'll get into our pajamas, settle in on the couch and watch cooking shows.  The way we do every other night.  Unless we switch it up and watch a home improvement show.

Because if it ain't broke, why fix it?
What can I say?
 I'm a romantic.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Head & Heart


I'm constantly fighting a battle between my head and my heart.  Torn between what I should do and what I want to do.  What I know to be true and what I want to be true.  And what I know to be lies, but still ruminate on as if they're true.  It's a vicious and exhausting cycle that I can't seem to stop cycling through.

I'm an emotional decision maker.  I always have been.  Which is odd because from the outside, I'm not an overly-emotional person.  I don't cry easily.  And I'm not an easy laugh either.  But, when I do either, they are genuine.  I also don't get attached to people easily, because when I do my soft heart is left defenseless.  Which is why my mind builds walls.  

My head is much smarter than my foolish heart.  My brain can rationalize, analyze the facts, consider the risks and predict the final outcome.  It's just that my heart is so much stronger than my head.  Because my heart can manipulate my head into conspiring with it.  Like the time I wanted and pleaded with my husband to adopt two more kids.  Luckily, unlike me, my husband's logic usually and easily wins the battle over his emotions.  Which is why we only have four kids instead of six.  And in hindsight, I can see he was right.  He's always right with that kind of stuff.  (I hope he doesn't read this.)

The problem is, while my heart is generous and compassionate to others, it tends to be hateful and vicious to me.  I carry all of my irrational insecurities around in my heart.   All the feelings that I'm not good enough.   Then I berate and brutalize myself quietly, chambered off from the rest of the world.  And reality.  It's what I've always done.  And not to brag, but I'm pretty damn good at it!

Except, now I know I'm doing it.  And that it's holding me back.  That I have to use my head to rationalize myself out of the situation.  But, I already know that my logic is underutilized and thus, ill-equipped to deal with the steady barrage of self deprecating thoughts and feelings.  And I know what I have to do. I have to fortify my head if I'm to have a fighting chance to rescue myself from my malicious and ruinous heart.  Riding out the emotions, while continuing to reason that all the lies I tell myself aren't true.  Hoping one day,  I'll believe it.  And that my head will one day win the war over my heart.  To save myself.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Proud


My oldest son graduates from high school today.  But, that's not why I'm proud of him.  High school is actually pretty easy to graduate from.  Plus, it's an expectation.  It's your job as a kid to go to school and to graduate from it.

Let me tell you about my son.  He's confident, charismatic and industrious. And yes, obviously he's adopted because he clearly didn't get any of these traits from me.  He got a work permit and a job at age 15.  Not because we suggested he get one.  But, mostly because we'd always told him we wouldn't buy him a car.  That he'd have to save up his money and buy his own.  Which is exactly what he did.  Last summer at age 17, he'd saved enough to buy a 1972 International Scout.  He was so proud the day he bought it.  He asked me to do the honors and start the engine so he could check the timing,  the first day it was home.  That's when I inadvertently crashed his car into my 1969 Karmann Ghia. (You can read that story here. )  Don't worry, his car sustained no damage.  Even though he had a car, he couldn't drive it.  Because he'd never driven a manual before.  After only two lessons with his dad, he was a pro.  Then he researched how to fix nearly everything on his car on the internet and spent countless hours fixing it up.  Spending about $2000 of his own money in parts.  He even painted it himself.


Photo Credit:  Ember Loerzel
Special Guest Appearance:  Clyde Loerzel
He loved that car.  I'd often look out my bedroom window and see him in the driveway standing and admiring it.  Who could blame the kid?  He'd worked his ass off to get himself the exact car he wanted.  Until one day, when he realized how much he could sell it for.   Then, unbeknownst to us at the time, he promptly quit his job.  And then to our complete shock,  he sold his beloved car and made $2000 in profit.  The man he sold it to was so impressed with my son, he finally asked him how old he was right before the sale.  18, he told him.

That's when he started shopping for a "new" old Scout to invest in.  And he found one.  A newer model from 1979.  In South Carolina.  That wasn't running.  And he had it shipped to our house sight unseen.  Not only that, when he couldn't secure a driver through a broker after trying three times, he cut out the middleman entirely and hired his own driver.  WTF was he thinking?  

One rainy day, it arrived and he rolled it off the truck and he and his dad towed it up the driveway.  He'd already bought the parts to get it up and running.  And within a week, he had a working vehicle again.   

Until...

he lost the key.  The only key to his new car.  He looked everywhere for it.  Then, he called a locksmith.  And determined that  $150 was too expensive.  Because, of course,  he'd be paying the locksmith with his own money.  So, he decided to hot wire the car.  And  buy a new ignition and key for $10.  Installing it took him a whole day.  But, he did it.  And promptly made two copies of the new key.  (The next day, when I was doing laundry, the old key fell out of the dryer.)  

That's why I'm proud of him. 
Because my kid has life skills...
and he can hot wire a car.   

Monday, May 15, 2017

Just Like Riding a Bike


The sun was shining, the temperature was balmy, but not oppressive.  None of my kids were home and my husband and I were headed to a wine tasting.  When I had an idea.  The tasting was only a few miles away and it was the perfect day to ride our bikes.  Never mind that I haven't ridden my bike in years.  Why haven't I done that again?  This is gonna be fun.

Just like riding a bike.

But first, my husband needed to perform emergency surgery on both of our bikes.  Because while we hadn't used them, our kids have.  And they left his with a flat and mine with wonky brakes that needed to be tweaked.  So after an hour and a half of preparations, we were ready to get on the trail.  Life slows down on a bike.  You notice how green the grass is.  How invigorating the breeze is on your face.  It's liberating.

That was the first two minutes.  When I was riding downhill on a smooth paved road.  And then we hit the dirt trail covered with small stones.  Still going downhill.   I'm so gonna wipe out.    Wait, why didn't I wear a helmet?  I always tell my kids to wear one.  And I've only been on this seat for about 5 minutes and it's killing my crotch.  It's all coming back to me now.  

Just like riding a bike. 

Now, I remember why I don't like riding a bike.  Because the bike rides your crotch.  And I'm a girl, with less equipment down there.  So, guys with junk....how does that work?  Where do you put your balls?   How can it possibly be comfortable?  And you can tell me about those padded seats and bike shorts, but I can't imagine it completely solves the issue.  This is why I don't like bike riding.  

Because it's just like riding a bike.  

And the worst was yet to come.  Because, after the wine tasting, we needed to get back on the bikes and head home.  Which was all uphill.  Because where I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at nearly 7,000 ft elevation, there is no flat stretch.  Not for miles.   So, we hop on our bikes and start pedaling.  

Life slows down on a bike.  Like how is it even possible we aren't even half way there yet?  I feel like my heart is going to explode.  Then, I notice how green the grass is.  And how it's filled with dog crap.  What kind of ingrate doesn't pick up their dog's shit?  How invigorating the breeze is on my face.  While a bug flies up my nose.  But it very well could've been my mouth or eye.  My ass burns, my thighs burn and so does my crotch.  

Nothing makes you feel quite like riding a bike.  
Which is why mine will remain parked in the garage. 




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day Gifts


Not only am I a pathetic gift giver, I'm also terrible at receiving gifts.  Especially if the gift comes in the form of a compliment.  Those are the worst and I'll make you take it back.  The thing is, I'm both a little bit picky and a lotta bit practical.  Flowers?  They're expensive for something that's going to die in 3 days.  Jewelry?  I'm not going to wear it.  A spa gift card?  I'll regift it to someone who actually likes spa treatments.  

It's not that I'm a bitch,
I just really don't want gifts. 

Unless you can gift me my teenage metabolism back.  Or make my kids pick up after themselves.  And I'm talking every day, not just on Mother's Day.  Not that they'll do that on Mother's Day either, mind you.  Although, if I were presented with a trip to Bali, I wouldn't pass that up.  Because an experience is the best thing you can get or give.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Two years ago on Mother's Day my husband got me an Amazon Echo.  Which was a fantastic idea on my husband's part.  Except that, it doesn't follow any of my commands.  (Just like my kids.)  So, I end up shouting "Alexa" over and over before I start shouting obscenities, until I finally unplug it.  Last year, my husband got me a foot bath to soak my feet in.  Which I just took offense to.  Are you telling me my feet are gross?  Also, I'm going to have to clean the thing out after every time I use it, so obviously, I'm not going to use it.  Because I'm lazy and it's just one more obligation.  Not that my husband didn't try, he did.   Wait...maybe I am a bitch.

Anyway, this year, I bought my own Mother's Day gift.  I was shopping at Costco when I saw it.  They were on display, all shiny and beautiful.  And with a manufacturer's instant rebate for $35 off too.  New stainless steel pots.  And there's no way my husband could've bought them for me.  Because if he did, he'd be considered sexist.  Same as if he got me a vacuum or a blender.  But, if I buy them for myself for Mother's Day, I'm a fiercely independent, post-modern feminist.  The irony isn't lost on me.  Maybe next year I should get myself a cast iron Dutch oven even.

But, really my fondest Mother's Day wish is that buying my own gift means that my husband will buy himself his own gift for Father's Day.  Oh, well...that and world peace.  But, I think world peace is always implied.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Barefootin'


There comes a time, after the snow melts and also after a few weeks of anti-fungal treatment because you forgot to wear your flip flops in the shower at the RV park, for your feet to make their summer debut.  Most women delight in sandal season and kick it off with an industrial strength pedicure and a coat of bright polish.  But, I'm not most women.

I hate spa treatments, including mani-pedis.  Among the many reasons for this is that I don't want to pay for women to gossip about how gross my feet are in Korean.  Not to stereotype or anything, but in my vast pedicure experience, three times, I've had a pedicure, they've all been Korean.  Wait, I think I've only gone twice.  Anyway, obviously I have a huge pool of data to draw from.  And no one should see my feet that close up.  Even with a mask on after my feet have been soaked in disinfectant.  What kind of psycho wants to be a nail technician?  Or a dental hygienist?  They are two of the grossest jobs.  I'm personally doing my best to make the job go extinct, by reducing demand, but so far it's not working.

It's not that I don't take care of my feet.  I clip my nails regularly.  Well, when I finally locate the nail clippers.  They're usually in my sons' shower.  Which helps explain the 20 minute showers they take.  Then, I use a PedEgg a few times a year to cheese grate off the thick callouses.   And I push back my cuticles annually, whether they need it or not.  So, it's a very strict regimen, obviously.

After all the obligatory maintenance is complete, that's when I go full-on glamming them up.  Not because I want to, but because with age, toenails get thicker, yellow and deep ridges appear.  Even without my distance glasses on, I'm repulsed when I look down at my own toenails.  Never mind when I sit down, pull my feet in and inspect them close up with my reading glasses on.  It's akin to looking at your face with a magnifying mirror.  Which only an esthetician should do.  Which is the third grossest job.  Extracting blackheads and popping other people's zits, really?  Anyway, this is the part where I paint my nails a gorgeous extremely pale pink that makes it look like I don't have polish on at all.  And even with my reading glasses I manage to glob it up and I will have to remove it and do it at least three times.  The third attempt is marginally better than the first, but by then I've just given up.  Plus, all my friends are middle-aged too and can't see my feet clearly from 5 or 6 feet away either.  So,  it really doesn't matter anyway.

Then, it's time for the big reveal.  So I slide into my flip flops with the arch support because I traded in the cheap Old Navy ones for a more comfortable, stable and orthopedic-friendly version years ago.   And that's when I douse my feet in sunscreen.  Even then, after reapplying several times throughout the day, I'll still have a tan line from the straps of my practical flip flops all summer long.  Which will be the least hideous thing about you seeing my bare feet.

 Do not make direct eye contact with my feet. 
 You've been warned.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Graduated


Later this month, my oldest will graduate from high school. With lofty goals and dreams for the future just like every 18 year old.  Not knowing that the dreams he has right now are completely delusional.  I know this because all 18 year olds are delusional.

First of all, they're 18, technically a legal adult, but they're not actually adults.  Because adults pay their own car insurance, health insurance, utilities, phone, food and rent.  And that's the minimal list.  The more extensive list includes deodorant and q-tips.  Because hygiene.  Which means most people don't reach adulthood until about age 30.  Or even later.  And some never even get there at all.

I was no different from any other 18 year old, other than the fact that I had a really sweet mullet and looked like Jeff Buckley's twin brother.  Yes, I said brother because I was a huge tomboy back then and I had no chest to speak of, so I was mistaken for a boy quite a lot.  Also, because I dressed like a boy back then.  Which might be why my dream when I left for college was to get a business degree then move to New York City and open my own men's clothing store.  Getting married and having kids weren't a second thought.  No.  And nope.

And then I went to college.

But, that summer before I did, I met a guy.  Yes, I still looked like I drove a Subaru.  But, I didn't.  Not that there's anything wrong with driving a Subaru, cause there's not.  But now, two of my big plans changed overnight.  I wanted to get married and have this man's babies.  I know it's gross, but that's life.  Also, the gross part is over and you can open your eyes and keep reading now.  My big plans didn't even make it to freshman orientation and they were already defiled!  

Who am I?  

The thing is, who really knows themself at 18?  All I knew was I was still going to college for business so I could pursue my dream of living in a concrete jungle, as my mom used to say.  It was only after my sophomore year that I finally figured out that I hate business.  I hate selling things.  I hate money.  And I hate numbers.  None of these things interested me at all.  Which became really obvious after I failed an accounting class.  There's no better teacher in life than failure.

So, everything I thought about myself was a lie.

But, I had to come up with a major.  And fast.  Then, I thought about all the classes I really liked and came up with Political Science.  The best thing is, there's no actual science in Political Science.  Also, no math.  Which is secretly why the US doesn't have a balanced budget.  No one in politics can do math.  It's not a prerequisite.  All you need are ideas and words.  And you don't even have to be accurate with those.  This is how I got a degree in something I hate.  Because I found it horrifically fascinating.  I may as well have a philosophy or liberal arts degree.  It's that useless.  Which must be why I went on to get a master's degree.  Obviously, I didn't get one in English Literature, cause I had to look up whether you capitalize master's degree or not.  And then I went on to start two additional degrees I never finished.  Because if I had my choice I'd be a student forever.  

But, you've gotta graduate sometime.

And get on with living your life.  You're gonna screw up.  You're gonna doubt yourself.  You're gonna realize you can't run away from problems or numbers.  That there's no perfect job, no matter what it is.  And you're gonna be depressed about all of those things and all your myriad of failures along the way.  But, none of these things define you. You do.  By what you put back into the world.  The truth is, it doesn't matter much what you do, as long as you do something in your life that fills your soul. So, share, give, create, inspire and love.  This is what you're here for.  And when you come to this realization, that's when you've truly graduated summa cum laude into adulthood.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Reading


Every day in the late afternoon, I sit with a hot cup of tea and read.  While it may sound indulgent to make time for books, it's more of a necessity for me.  It's my solace from the responsibilities and constraints of adult life.  With my nose in a book sitting on my couch, I can go anywhere and live a thousand lives with none of the pesky real life consequences interfering.  I know this sounds all sentimental and Reading Rainbowish.  But, it's not all that simple.  I want....no...I need, a challenge.  Lately, in response to the politics of our president, I've made a conscious effort to read more books written by foreigners, minorities and women.  Bonus, if the author fits all three categories.

I'm aware I'm not saving the world. 
I just want to understand it. 

When a friend recommended I read, Reading Lolita in Tehran, it seemed like the perfect fit for me.  1.  It's a memoir.  2.  It's set in Iran.  3.  It's about a secret gathering of women from Iran reading forbidden Western classics.  A perfect fit in theory anyway.  Because: 1.  I've requested Nabokov's  Lolita from the library no less than five times and returned it unread every time.  2.  I can't get over the fact that in the book an adult male obsesses over his sexual interest in a 12 year old girl.  3. And this is the big one...I currently have a 12 year old daughter.  But, I'm not actually reading the book Lolita, I reasoned. I'm reading about other people reading it. I can do this.

So, I started in on the first chapter.  About how Professor Azar Nafisi established the reading group after she resigned her academic post in Tehran.  And then, they began reading Nabokov and that's when I lost interest and put the book down, which I almost never do, not sure if I'd ever finish it.  In the interim,  I read three books before I finally picked it up again to give it another try.  The truth was, I didn't lose interest in reading the book.  That's just what I told myself.  I was so averse to Lolita, it was to the point of being hostile.  This about a book that I'd never read.  Which when I think about it, seems utterly ridiculous.  Especially, when I think of myself as an unprudish, open-minded reader.  It's just a book.  But, it's never just a book. 

Books have power.  
As evidenced by the power Lolita has over me.
And I haven't even read it.

I was ready to give Reading Lolita another chance, reluctantly at first.  But, I did love hearing about the women in the group and what their lives were like a world away from mine.  If nothing else, this was worth another cup of jasmine tea and a couple more hours of my time.  They'd already finished discussing Lolita and now were on to reading The Great Gatsby, and other books after that.  Not only did I end up finishing the book, I really liked it.  What I look for in a book is transformations.  I want the characters I read about to evolve.  And I want to cultivate an understanding as to why they did.  

But, this book only left me with more questions.  Why am I so antagonistic about reading Lolita?  After all, I've read and loved books that are confrontational.  Ones that are gruesome and horrific.  With repugnant characters.  Why is this book holding me hostage?  Obviously, there's only one solution.  I have to read Lolita.  After all, it's a classic for a reason.  And I need to know why.

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