Sunday, February 28, 2010

That Sunday Nite Feeling

I can't help but lose myself in the future on Sunday nites.

I live in carefree weekend thoughts and feelings until about two or three in the afternoon. Then I realize that Sunday is moving along at a steady clip.

Dinner time is approaching, and I haven't yet gone to the grocery store.

I still have two stories to complete and several more to edit.

The pile of dirty laundry on my bathroom floor is still a pile of dirty laundry on my bathroom floor instead of a pile of clean laundry on my bed.

My mind quickly moves to Monday morning. What time do I have to wake up the kids? What projects are due at my various "jobs?" What will I wear? Do I have any meetings? Will I miss the finale of "The Bachelor?"

Then it's just a hop, skip and jump to Tuesday (I need to register Gabi for High School), Wednesday (the phone bill is due), and on and on.

I'm grinding my teeth.

I'm biting my cuticles. (Ugh--I need to repaint my horribly chipped nails)

There's really no reason for Sunday nite to encourage these obsessive, anxious feelings, but it does. It's a mixture of dread and anticipation. A benediction and a commencement.

It's weekend purgatory.

The only answer is a stiff drink and a hot bath.

Adieu, Sunday Nite, Adieu...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teen Beat

I vaguely remember mooning over celebrities in my youth: Michael Jackson, Rick Springfield, Johnny Depp, River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland, John Taylor (Duran Duran), Dweezil Zappa, Billy Baldwin (circa Flatliners), pretty much all of Depeche Mode, Rob Lowe, Timothy Hutton, Judd Nelson (Breakfast Club!)and I really liked Andrew McCarthy for some reason.

I know that I liked these celebrities and was interested in stuff they were doing--music, TV or movies. But I didn't obsess. I didn't have posters or buy teen dream magazines.

Over the years, instead of growing out of adolescent fantasy, I have mastered the art. With my pop culture and celebrity gossip addictions I have come to appreciate more than ever the abundance of beautiful men out there for me to have schoolgirl crushes on.

My teenage daughters find it silly, scary and more than a little bit sad.

My most recent obsession is with Tyson Ritter, lead singer for The All-American Rejects. I fully believe that if I was 10 years younger I would hit the road and go after him--and I just KNOW that he would find me witty and beguiling and I could help heal is shattered heart. He is beautiful. I love his hair and his crooked smile. He's funny and undeniably dorky. On their fan site he does Rejects TV and he is strangely fascinating and outrageously hilarious. He wrote one of the best "screw you!" breakup songs ever, "Gives You Hell." And (obviously) he's a musician--my greatest weakness.

He currently serenades me every time my phone rings, and it always makes me smile.

I don't know if crushing on hot, twenty-something stars makes me a (god forbid) cougar or a pedophile, but there sure are a lot of tasty, young morsels out there these days.

Some of my other faves include Zach Efron (I was just as shocked as you--but have you seen 17 Again?), Shia LeBeouf, Taylor Lautner & Justin Timberlake.

In the thirty-something category, I like Zachary Quinto (Spock totally brought the sexy back!), John Mayer (I know he's a prick, but he's a hot, tattooed musician prick and that is TOTALLY my type!), Milo Ventimiglia, Adam Levine (Maroon 5) & Jared Leto.

So, here's to hot men and sweet, sweet dreams...goodnite!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maybe Old Dogs Are Just Afraid

I have been riding the bus for the past two weeks.

All by myself.

I have lived in Salt Lake City for 17 years, and never used public transportation outside the free ride zone for Trax downtown.

I rode the bus with a bunch of kids from Bountiful to downtown when I was in 9th grade and here from Idaho Falls on a choir tour with my Jr. High--but that was the only time.

I've ridden the BART in San Francisco and the subway in New York City, but I was terrified in the face of needing to ride the bus to work on occasion since we are once again a one-car family.

Usually I like to present a picture of cool confidence to the outside world, but it's all a lie. I have ridiculous, paralyzing fears about common, everyday activities that pretty much everyone can do.

For example, I didn't sleep for weeks before a trip to the east coast where I was going to have to drive in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. It wasn't the traffic or getting lost that I was afraid of. It was toll booths.

Previously, I had managed to avoid toll booths in other states, namely Colorado and Florida, but I knew I couldn't hide from them on this trip.

I had visions in my head of not being prepared with the correct amount of change and having angry, east coast sophisticates jump out of their cars and lynch me for slowing down their daily commute with my small town stupidity.

My fears were unfounded. It was quite disappointing, actually. Nearly every toll booth I encountered was staffed by a smiling, helpful person who could take cash or credit card and would gladly make change as needed.

My first bus venture was chaperoned by a lovely woman with whom I work. She is a regular on the bus, and since she lives nearby she kindly volunteered to help me navigate the messy world of public transit.

The night before my maiden voyage, I sat down with Savannah and quizzed her on what to expect, how to "tap on" and "tap off" and any other insider tips she could give me. Gabi chimed in and regaled me with tales of all the scary people she and her dad have met on the bus.

That first trip went off without a hitch and I felt pretty confident that, just like with the toll booths, the reality of bus travel wasn't nearly as seedy and dangerous as I imagined.

Then I needed to ride alone. I meant to accompany my friend again, but she catches the bus at 7am, and I am more afraid of getting up early than I am of bussing it alone.

I psyched myself up for my solo trip by choosing the perfect outfit. I wanted to exude the air of urban confidence and street "credo" that I believed regular bus riders must possess. Armed in skinny black jeans, suede boots, t-shirt, jacket and artfully draped scarf, I threw a book in my bag and headed out the door.

I walked to the bus stop and proceeded to play it cool. Casually standing there like it's where I belonged. I pulled out my phone, checked my email and played some solitaire--in between looking down the road for the bus every eight seconds or so. Moments like these make me want to smoke. Smoking is the perfect waiting activity.

Once on the bus I smugly congratulated myself on totally pulling it off. Not one passenger, or even the driver, looked at me strangely or challenged my right to be there. I settled in and realized the best part of bus riding: I wasn't driving.

In fact, as my bus prowess grows, I wonder why I didn't do this sooner. I hate driving. If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is hire a driver. I love not having to point out the stupid mistakes of every other driver on the road--and my daily incidence of four-letter words has decreased drastically.

The other night on my way home I glanced over at a slumped man in two oversized coats sitting across from me with his nose buried in a book. He was reading "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe." I was playing solitaire and trying not to get "bus sick."

There are many helpful signs on the bus with tips like, "Know when and where the bus departs." and "Cell phones can be a powerful tool. Use your phone's light to attract the driver's attention in the dark or bad weather." But my favorite is, "Do not walk in front of the bus."

I had made about five bus trips on my own, and was feeling pretty good about myself when I noticed that we were approaching my stop and I was the last person left on the bus. Until now, I hadn't had to pull the little cord to signal that a stop was requested. Even after all of my progress, I was terrified of that dirty, germ-infested yellow cord.

I didn't want to do it wrong (whatever that means) and end up looking like a huge idiot who knows nothing about riding the bus. I even thought about just riding along until the bus stopped again and then walking back to my house from wherever I was let off--it couldn't be too far away, could it?

There was an intense debate going on in my head about how stupid it would be to ride along past my stop when all I had to do was pull a cord. Everyone else can pull the cord. Even the druggie kid who had been sitting next to me loudly explaining that he just got out of jail and was heading to donate plasma could pull the damn cord with finesse.

So I did it. And the bus stopped at my stop. And the driver said "Have a good night." And I walked home. And the world kept turning. I smiled to myself and thought, "Hell, this is one old dog that just learned a new trick!"

But I still hope someone else is there tomorrow to pull that cord.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wino No Mo'

I am about to do something I have never done before: give up wine for the duration of Lent. In general, I usually resist giving things up, especially things from which I derive so much pleasure and contentment.

"No!" my girls both exclaimed when I told them. "We like wine mom. She's happy. She's calm. She's... happy!"

I told them that I refuse to believe that there can be no happiness without wine. However, I understand their concern. It is my ritual to unwind with a glass, sip some more while I take my bath and melt into the night a lot less ragged than I start out.

Typically, I choose to add something during Lent--like exercise or daily devotions. I tell myself that I can benefit more from the addition than any subtraction. This year I'm mixing it up.

Tonite is my farewell glass of wine. I am soaking it up as I write this. Every ounce of pretentious wanna-be wine aficionado that exists within me is screaming to be heard. As I luxuriate in the velvet texture of the wine caressing my tongue, I exult in the vibrant fruit, followed with a lingering peppery finish.

I take a long sniff before each sip, and then roll the wine around in my mouth--drawing out the experience as long as possible. This may be the longest it's ever taken me to drink a glass of wine. (I think I can drag this out another five minutes or so!)

To give my daughters a light at the end of non-wine mom tunnel, I decided to mark the calendar hanging in the kitchen with the countdown of my Lenten sacrifice. As I numbered the days, I was delighted to get to '40' one whole week before Easter!

But I knew it was too good to be true.

I went online to investigate. Lo and behold, Lent does last 40 days; however, you cannot count Sundays--so you really end up depriving yourself for 47 days. FORTY-SEVEN!

You'd think that after 40 days, one more week wouldn't seem like much. But it does! Even on the eve of Day 1, with a full glass of wine of ahead of you!

I am weak.

I am sad.

I do not deny these things. (That's why I chose to give up wine, specifically, and not alcohol, in general--this gives me a beer and martini loophole!)

So, this is my Dear John letter to wine--for the next 47 days, at least (damn those Sundays!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Anti-Bachelorette

Every week when we watch the latest episode of "The Bachelor" and the inevitable invitation is put forth, "If you'd like to be our next Bachelor or Bachelorette contact us at..." Gabi insists that I should call them.

She is convinced that I would make a fantastic Bachelorette.

I always just shrug her off, but this past week I actually gave it some thought and, much to my delight, was able to identify quite clearly why this is such a bad idea.

First of all, the participants in this modern dating freak show are constantly going on and on about how they just KNOW they are there to find true love...and a HUSBAND! I would KNOW that I am there to visit exotic locales for free, date a bunch of guys at the same time without having to worry about how they feel about it (they volunteered!), get oodles of adoration and attention--and drink. A lot. Love? Husband? Meh...

Secondly, all of these women always have their hair perfectly (well, for them) coiffed and appear in full makeup. This would NEVER happen with me. I would be the train wreck Bachelorette who shows up with my hair messily pulled back, yesterday's mascara smeared under my eyes (there is a LOT of drinking, not to mention late nights, on this show!) and my wardrobe, rather than evening gown after evening gown, would most likely be an endless array of wifebeaters, holey jeans and either boots or flip flops depending on the season or locale.

Thirdly, the Bachelorette or Bachelor tends to go on and on about how they are falling in love with EVERYONE. They are excited, vulnerable and desperately afraid of heartbreak. I would be the one who doesn't fall in love with anyone. It is hard enough for me to let my guard down and open myself up to intimacy when I'm only dating one man--and for several months. I think it would be emotionally impossible for me to be open to love when I knew I was jumping from man to man in order to entertain America (oops! I mean, to find true love).

Finally, I couldn't stare at a wall of photographs of desperate, fame-seeking men and act like I was agonizing over which idiot to cut loose this week. I'm sorry, I think I would know immediately who I just couldn't stand and would be all too happy to send him on his way to continue seeking love in artificial, public forums far, far away from me.

I just don't know if America is ready for a cynical, unkempt, foul-mouthed Bachelorette. Thankfully, we'll never have to find out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dating Don'ts for Clueless Guys

Contrary to popular belief, my many years of dating have not been fruitless. Quite the opposite. These varied, often hilarious, sometimes sad and almost always mind-boggling experiences have given me a font of knowledge about what NOT to do. And, it is my fervent belief, that the more I learn about what I DON'T want the closer I come to possibly recognizing what I MIGHT want should it buy me a dirty Belvedere martini, laugh at my jokes and tell me I'm pretty.

To assist my future Mr. Maybe (and save countless millions of other women from enduring the following) I share my list of the top things men should NEVER do when engaging in the treacherous and titillating ritual of courtship:

(in no particular order)


1) with "I just really want someone to spend time with--maybe go to the movies or have dinner with. And, of course, sleeping together would be great."

2) me your porn collection.

3)...say "If it wasn't for my dog I'd be hanging from the rafters."

4) a confrontational Dr. Drew/Dr. Phil psychoanalysis of me, my failed marriage and my (apparently obvious) intimacy issues on a first date (or ever, really--that sort of emotional abuse is pretty much my territory anyway).

5)...say "I'm sorry if I'm acting like a dick." The minute the phrase enters your mind you are DEFINITELY acting like a dick. I don't need you to bring more attention to it or invite me to comment. That will NEVER end well.

6)...schedule a date and then call the day of to say you don't have a car so can we meet somewhere close to a bus stop, THEN once we meet at said bus stop say you don't really have any money so can we just go for a walk or maybe go dutch for a crappy cup of coffee, THEN (why am I still there?) ask if I can give you a ride home because you just spent your bus money on coffee.

7)...constantly talk about a) your ex-girlfriend b) all your other girl "friends" c) your parole officer d) why your bad habit of choice (pot, alcohol, unemployment) hasn't adversely affected your life--in any way--at all--really.

8)...invite me for coffee and, after a cursory greeting, say "A lot of women do NOT look like their pictures, so I like to do something really non-committal in case I want to escape--but if she seems cool, I'll take her out to dinner. Shall we see how it goes?"

9) or answer calls from another girl you're also dating while we're together.

10)...after you've emailed/texted/facebooked or answered a call from another girl, ask my advice on how the conversation went/what she might be thinking/how you're treating her

11)...expect to kiss, hug or do anything else to me after committing any act listed 1-10