Saturday, December 24, 2011

muddling through...

It's Christmas. That alone is enough to bring out the old, familiar melancholia. But I had it beat for a while. For a few years it went into hibernation. This year woke it up.

It's weird to feel like a stranger in your own life. With your own kids. In your own family that you created. Of course I knew that it was going to be different. That it would change when the girls grew up. But it changed too soon. Everything did.

I guess it's another of those times when I thought I would have more time. But you never have more time. Life happens right now. It's a fucking game of hide-and-seek: ready or not, here I come!

Part of me really wants some Christmas magic to dump all over me like a blinding blizzard and bury all my worries, fears, frustrations...sadness. Just for one day - well, maybe like, a day-and-a-half (it is Christmas Eve, after all!).

Maybe it will. Until then, I'll have to muddle through,'s never as bleak in the real world as it seems in my mind. There is a disturbing solace in that fact. It was just so much easier when the girls were little. When they didn't criticize every move I make. Hopefully they'll decide to give me a little bit holiday happiness for Christmas this year. It could happen.

Last year - another weird year (but not as weird as this one) because it was Savannah's first year of college and she was just home for Christmas - Gabi actually had an endearing Christmas epiphany. I think it might have been even before any presents or stockings had even been opened and she looked at me and said, "How did you get so good at Christmas, Mom? I was thinking about it last night, and you are really good at Christmas. You do all this stuff to make it special and it's always awesome, and I just wondered how you got so good at it."

This year they're both home for Christmas after living elsewhere. And I guess I expected it to feel either normal or special. And it mostly feels awkward. I feel unclear as to my role and I feel like I'm walking on eggshells trying so hard to please everyone - and we all know that I don't like to do that. I think I'll just take a deep breath, remember Gabi's words of Christmas past and put on my smile. If that doesn't do the trick, I'm sure there's a glass of wine out there somewhere with my name on it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

my holiday reading list

I love nothing more than curling up with a nice glass of wine and a good book in the warmth of a hot and steamy bathtub. During this magical time of year, I enjoy revisiting some of my favorite holiday tomes. I hope that you find something below that tickles your festive fancy, too!

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

"Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe."

This heartwarming story of holiday horror had me at "creeping Christmas thing." There's something in this book for everyone - Santa, crazy warrior babes who wield swords and hear voices in their heads, science, animals like dogs and talking fruit bats, and zombies. Cool, huh?

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

This delightful Christmas collection features David's breakout piece, The Santaland Diaries, which includes a passage that makes me giggle no matter how many times I read it. I don't know if it's my Catholic and then fundamental Christian upbringing that makes this so funny to me, but take a read:

"We were standing near the Lollipop Forest when we realized that Santa is an anagram for Satan. Father Christmas or the Devil - so close but yet so far. We imagined a Satanland where visitors would wade through steaming pools of human blood and feces before arriving at the Gates of Hell, where a hideous imp in a singed velvet costume would take them by the hand and lead them toward Satan. Once we thought of it we couldn't get it out of our minds. Overhearing the customers we would substitute the word Satan for Santa.

'What do you think, Michael? Do you think Macy's has the real Satan?'"

It also features other instant holiday classics like "Dinah, the Christmas Whore." While each of those tales literally makes me laugh out loud, my very favorite Sedaris holiday tale is not in this collection. My fave is called, "Six To Eight Black Men" and can be found in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. The essay shares the story of the Dutch Saint Nicholas as told to David while traveling in Holland.

Apparently Saint Nick is the former Bishop of Turkey who travels around on Christmas Eve sneaking into the rooms of Dutch kids with six to eight black men (no one seems to be able to agree on the exact number) and, depending on whether the kid was naughty or nice, will either leave presents in the tot's shoes OR stuff him in a sack and beat him with switches - possibly taking the kid back to Turkey with them. I don't know about you, but I think this would be a much more motivating story for kids than the seriously lame threat of coal.

You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
I never thought another irreverent collection of holiday humor could warm my cockles and tickle my funny bone as well as that of my beloved David Sedaris (see above). But I was wrong. Augusten's Christmas stories are awesome and brought tears to my eyes from both laughter and (yes, it's true!) that warm, fuzzy feeling some may call "heartwarming." One of my favorite passages is from an essay entitled, "Why Do You Reward Me Thus?" that goes into the absurdity of "The 12 Days of Christmas." Here's a snippet:

"...And what's the message? Did you ever notice that a lot of the alleged 'gifts' happen to be people? Eight maids a-milking, so that's prepubescent girls forced into labor, probably inserting the underwire into bras. And then nine ladies dancing? That's the sex trade. I won't even go into the five golden rings. But somebody's paying somebody off for something. Human trafficking and birds? That's a good Christmas song?

"Oh, and swans, which are the drunk, violent ex-boyfriends of the bird world. Because what would any holiday be without a little domestic violence?"

Ah, Augusten! You may just be a man after my own, shriveled holiday heart. (That, I hate to admit, has indeed gotten very warm this holiday season).

Well, there you have it! My favorite yuletide reads. I also love more traditional, childlike wonder-filled tales like The Polar Express and Auntie Claus, but nothing works the holiday magic for me quite so well as a snarky take on an often-simpering holiday - and throwing in a few meaningful, good-will-toward-men and peace-on-earth tidbits here and there doesn't totally suck, either.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

nobody knows christmas better than hallmark and lifetime

Check out lessons learned from holiday movies on celebutant:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

when bad christmas songs happen to good people

Every year we are blessed with a glut of new holiday music from our favorite singing sensations. After all, we need every artist who has ever been signed to a record label to share their version of “Jingle Bells” or “Let It Snow” with our waiting ears. This year Michael Bublé came out with a complete holiday CD, following up his previous EP that featured just a few tantalizing tunes that left his fans eager for more seasonal singing from the velvety-voiced crooner. The album, called Christmas, went on sale at the end of October, and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint. However, there is one track that goes terribly, terribly wrong.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the song “Santa Baby.” This syrupy-sweet, somewhat sensual song is usually sung in a Betty Boop style that flirts with and teases Ol’ St. Nick in a manner that turns the jolly old elf into a sort of sugar daddy. Well, our man Michael has taken this song and made it his own, changing the term of endearment throughout the song from” Baby” to “Buddy,” “Pally” and even “Papi.” Papi, by the way, is what Sofia Vergara should call Al Bundy on Modern Family – not what Michael Bublé should be crooning to Santa.

And that’s not even the worst part. At no point does Michael take the song in an ironic, comedic direction. Oh no. He keeps the flirty, teasing tone and sings the song as smoothly and earnestly as he sings other classics like “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” As the song plays on he promises Santa that he’ll “wait up for you, dude,” and implores Kris Kringle to both “fill his stocking” and “trim his tree.” And, I know what you’re thinking – but it’s not just my dirty mind that makes that creepy – a friend’s 13 year-old boy heard the song and said, “That’s not right.”

After my first listen, I felt like I needed to take a shower. And I had to wash all memory of that song out of my hair before I could enjoy a second listen to even the non-creepy songs on the CD. “Santa Buddy” left a frightened and confused taste in my mouth for the dulcet sounds of Mr. Bublé, and that was something I thought could never happen. I don’t know who is ultimately to blame for this travesty against Christmas music – whether it was Michael’s idea or his producers – but the only way this song could ever work would be if Neil Patrick Harris was singing it – with tongue firmly in cheek. That would make sense.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

It's that special time of year again when Christmas overtakes, well, everything. In honor of that magical spell (and in order to be a total conformist) I once again offer up my holiday gift of jolly seasonal blogs. I hope you enjoy!

To kick off the 21st Century Wonder Woman 2011 Christmas Season, I'm starting with a list of my favorite things about this time of year - offered in no particular order (keeping in mind that I sort of have a mostly love-hate relationship with all of this, so even things that feel my love might get a little bruised in the process).

Numero Uno:
Seasonally-themed overpriced coffee concoctions at Starbucks. Yes, I am a part of the evil Starbucks machine - and if you have a problem with that, you can suck it! While it all starts with the return of the pumpkin spice latte in autumn, that's just the precursor to wonderful delights such as the eggnog latte, gingerbread latte (I've never actually tried that one, not being a huge fan of gingerbread even when it's not in my coffee) and my penultimate favorite - the peppermint mocha (I prefer mine white and with no whip). Sometimes I break down during other times of the year and order a venti white peppermint mocha with no whip in the middle of summer - but it always tastes best during the holiday season. Yum!

Numero Dos:
Christmas music. My love of this festive cacophony of sleigh bells, choirs, Bing Crosby - and sometimes Elivs - is two-pronged: I love nostalgic classics that take me, much like that well-known ghost of Christmas past, back to those innocent holiday days of yore. I also love hearing new renditions of those beloved favorites as wrapped up and sung by the likes of Glee, Michael Buble, Diana Krall and She and Him. My all-time favorite song, though, is Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." I like the melancholy in the song as I think melancholy owns a front-row seat in the holiday season. Secondly, I love to make fun of all the ridiculous and cheesy songs that pollute the holiday airwaves - and no mention of holiday tunes would be complete without a nod to the many inadvertently pervy songs that fill me with mirth and delight upon each listen (for more on this topic, check out my blog from Xmas 2008). Not to beat a dead horse, but there is also an awesomely sick and wrong Christmas tune by Fall Out Boy that you must check out: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out.

Trois: Decorations. Oh yeah, baby! Even cheesy, horrible, overdone decorations make me happy. I don't necessarily want to live in the midst of them, but I do appreciate the enthusiasm and garish taste that goes into them (for more, see my blog watch of my neighbors' decor from Thanksgiving 2010). This year I am trying something new on the decoration front. After a viewing of Elf the other nite, I was inspired by Buddy's paper chain and snowflake explosion at his evil dad's house - a style that one friend has deemed "trashy chic." So, trashy chic it is! The first phase of trashy chic started last nite (see pic, above) with the hanging of the inaugural paper chain. Awesome!

Cuatro: Food. Well, cooking food, to be exact. Every year I cook a big Christmas feast for my friends and assorted loved ones. This is one of my favorite, favorite things to do and is typically the only gift my friends get from me - so it helps me be a cheap bastard, as well. Eschewing turkey and the usual holiday spread, I decided - o so many years ago - that it would be cool to make a meal from a different country every Christmas. That way we could try new things and learn about traditions around the world at the same time. As a mother of young kidlets, I thought this idea was genius. The first year I made a Mediterranean feast of stuffed leg of lamb, dolmathes, lemon rice, tortellini salad, mussels and assorted meats, cheeses, olives and breads. It was such a big hit, that I was forbidden from moving on to any other countries in subsequent years. A few years ago I was able to convince everyone to partake of a "traditional" Victorian Christmas feast (I even boiled the pudding!) This year, having made the Mediterranean feast on Thanksgiving (at my brother's request), I will be making prime rib, crab legs and various delectable accompaniments to complement those main attractions.

Cinq: Glitter, sequins and other shiny things. Christmas is one of the only times of year when it is entirely acceptable - nay, encouraged - to light yourself up just as brightly and sparkly as the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Hells yeah! You can wear glitter on your clothes, on your legs, in your hair - even on your eyelashes. And this is just seen as adorably festive rather than cheaply whorish! How can you beat that?

SIX: Charity, generosity and an abnormal tendency to be just a little more forgiving, helpful and aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. I always tried - in the midst of overblown materialism and the inevitable "gimmes" - to make my kids conscientious of not only taking their grandparents for all they can get at this time of year, but giving something back to those, who whether due to stronger marriages or better all-around mental health, don't have six different sets of grandparents to spoil them rotten. Much to my delight both of my chicas have come through with a deep concern for others - and they show it. Gabi (even while owing nearly $600 in fines) has been joyously giving away any dollars she has in her pocket whenever she passes by a grizzled fellow with a sign asking for help. She just can't go by and act like they're not there - she is compelled to dig into her pocket and give. Savannah has been into "adopting" kids at Christmas - and even adopted Jesus one year!

Well, there you have it. Just a few of my favorite things about this time of year. Undoubtedly you will be subjected to more holiday musings in the days to come - so stay tuned!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

(poetry stop)

dull grey tape
slapped across the mouth
my heart
my brain
salty wet trails
the bindings
shatter the deafening

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a sad state of affairs

I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I became a slobbering, mushy, sentimental mess. And nothing seems to bring it out in me so consistently as Glee.



A stupid Fox series about a high school glee club leads me to reach for the tissues and wish I wore water-proof mascara.

Whether it's Kurt and his dad so honestly and tenderly navigating the terrain of teenage homosexuality and bullying or evil Sue Sylvester mourning the loss of her pure-hearted sister - I just can't hold back the tears.

If it's Tuesday and I happen to catch an episode, I'll also be sniffling and wiping away tears. The first time it happened I thought it was a fluke. I must have been premenstrual or oddly weakened by stress/illness/work/lack of sleep/lack of exercise/lack of wine/too much wine (you get the idea).

But no -

It happened again.

And again.

And (shamefully) again.

I don't want to think too hard about what this pattern says about me. I like to think that it means I'm a gentle and delicate flower who is so empathetic and compassionate that even a fictionalized portrayal of human suffering or triumph or struggle or self-realization touches my tender heart and leads to the subsequent saline and snot snivelling that shortly ensues.

But I don't know anyone who will buy that delicate flower shtick.

Maybe it's early-onset menopause. Maybe I'm bi-polar in the face of musical dramedy. Maybe it's just one of life's mysteries. Whatever it is, I don't think it's going away...for now I guess all I can do is try to avoid TV on Tuesday nites or stock up on the tissues.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

defeated least that's how I feel. In so many ways. About the most important things.

I know that I am not able to be the hard-ass, consistent, rational person that Gabi needs me to be. I hate her hating me, if only for a moment.

I've always told my girls that my job is to be their mom, not their friend. And I still believe that. But when the 'not their friend' feels like enemy, it's really hard to persist.

Especially when you're trying to be yourself at the same time.

It seems like there comes a time when a parent feels like they've denied their own 'whatever' long enough and they want to embrace it with a vengance. My mother did it when she remarried, and I, as a teenage girl, felt rebuffed.

I have tried not to make my girls feel the same way, but at the same time I recognize ways in which I grasp at some separate identity and feel like I somewhow 'deserve' it and; therefore, give myself permission to indulge myself. Which, in the moment, makes my life easier, but ultimately feels like a disservice to my daughter, which is a horrible offense that I will flaggelate myself for again and again.

I am so lost for an answer, that I am ready to -seriously- try to bring in her dad. As Terri says, what's the worst that could happen? I already feel completely alone (except for my amazing friends and family) and couldn't end up any worse off. The question I have to ask myself is if I truly have no attachment to an outcome with her dad. My inability to write her off is akin to inability to write him off (once upon a time). Although, I would never reach my end with her. The concern is, have I definitively reached my end with him in respect to Gabi--so that I have no expectation whatsoever of his response, help, denial, etc.?

Terri has initiated "Operation Graduation." An intervention to try to get Gabi on track to be able to graduate on time. She is almost half-way through to graduation, which requires 27 credits. She has 5.5. She should at least be close to half of the requirement, but isn't even one quarter of the way there.

And she doesn't care.

It doesn't matter to her. She doesn't see any impact to her life if she doesn't have a high school diploma or doesn't learn to do things that may not seem fun or be her first choice, just because it's what needs to be get a paycheck, to pay the bills, to have a fucking roof over your head and food on the table--let alone a night out or a vacation.

I have utterly failed to create in her a sense of responsibility or accountability or even the idea of consequences that are real enough that doing the minimum required is worth it.

My friends are on board to help fill in the gaps I leave. To remind me of what I need to do. To take on doing some of that on their own to support this awesome girl that we love and, I know, to support me (whom they love, awesome or not).

I am so grateful for that.

And I feel so inadequate that I am obviously incapable of doing this on my own.

And the truth remians that it will, most likely, turn out ok. And she will be fine and possibly amazing--with or without my inadequacy.

But as a parent that's not enough to make you relax. Or sleep well at night.

And, as Terri keeps telling me, "There is no way to fix this."

There is no magical solution. There is nothing I can do--no matter how awesome I might suddenly become--to really make any of this different. And I have to find a way to live with that--without copping out or giving up hope--no matter how tempting that momentarily feels. I will, regardless, go into battle again tomorrow. And I might do okay or I might get my ass kicked. So it fucking goes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baggage Claim: You Spin Me Round

There's some baggage you never want to claim as your own. And it's not just that nasty-ass carry-on you inherited from your great-aunt. All too often it's the knock-off Louis Vuitton that, although you knew it wasn't the real thing, still made you feel special until some snotty bitch with a "real" bag came along and burst your delicate bubble.

It started with an Easter basket. For him. Not from me.

He was lucky enough to have a son who was named after him--and his tactic was to play the whole thing off as a case of mistaken identity. Of course the gift was meant for his son, not him!

This, compounded with one hinky thing after another (my robe, night gown, and other miscellaneous clothing usually left hanging in the closet was mysteriously hidden; my drawer in the bathroom was moved; he was "too tired" to have sex and "just wanted to snuggle"), led me to become highly suspicious.

Unfortunately, I was the one to discover the basket and I--despite whatever 'cool girlfriend' cred I try to have--opened the card and read it. It said, "You spin me right round baby, right round."


I think one of the handles just broke on my knock-off Vuitton.

To be completely honest, this guy was too old to know that song. He was about a decade-and-a-half older than me and not cool enough to know Dead or Alive. I had only tried out the Vuitton for fun--but after a while I truly loved it and didn't even see a knock-off when I looked into its eyes.

So, despite all the warning bells, he just had a way of talking me out of leaving him. I taped that broken handle back on and kept trying to pass my bag off as genuine (or at least passable).

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Mortal Coil

Whether we are shuffling off or shuffling through...the mortal in this coil reaches moments of acute intensity.

Today I accompanied Savannah to a funeral. It was for the father of her best friend. I had never met the man, although I had heard his son speak of him on more than one occasion.

We got the news on Saturday morning. That the world of someone we all cared about so deeply had been altered forever.

It breaks my heart. The funeral broke my heart. I cried and I felt emptied out and spent after.

This was my I-don't-know-what-number funeral. I've been to a few dozen, I'm sure. But this one I found quite heart-wrenching.

Maybe it's a mom thing.

I love this kid. I love him almost like he was one of my own and it kills me that he has to deal with this heavy burden and turmoil.

And it destroys me that his little brother (Gabi's age) was at the podium pouring his heart out when we entered (late--after a 30+ minute delay on the freeway to allow lifeflight to land for a horrible accident that occurred just moments ahead of us on the road) after the loudest, creakiest door in the world.

And this boy wasn't answering his phone when they tried to contact him Saturday morning with the news. While Savannah and Gabi and I were driving to Subway to get her friend a dose of his favorite comfort food, Savannah confessed to me one of her greatest fears: that something would happen and she wouldn't have her phone or wouldn't hear it and she wouldn't know.

It bowled me over to hear her so emotionally exposed. She is usually so outwardly stalwart. Part of me melted.

One of the last things the younger brother said before returning to his seat was that he'll never forget how--the night before he died--his dad called him for no reason. His dad asked how he was, who he was with and told him that he loved him.

He seemed so comforted that the last things he and his father had said to one another was that they loved each other.

After the funeral, Savannah and I revealed to one another that--no matter how unlikely it is that something unspeakable may happen--one reason we always tell/text each other (and Gabi) I love you (even unnecessarily and somewhat stalkerishly) is just-in-case. We would know that our last conversation left no doubt as to how much we loved the other.

I heard a program on NPR on Saturday (as I was driving to pick up Savannah so she could comfort her friend) about grief. The woman speaking gave one of the truest descriptions of the mourning process. She said that grief comes in waves. It doesn't come in order or stages or neatly-defined steps that end in acceptance.

Grief is as wild and awesome and overwhelming and unpredictable as the ocean. It overcomes us in waves--sometimes we see them coming and sometimes we are caught by surprise. But the comfort is that the wave always subsides and we can catch our breath.

There is no right way to grieve. And those waves come at us days or months or years after our loss--and the pain can be as acute as in those first moments that changed our world forever.

While it tears me up that I can't protect my children (or their friends) from facing the depths of loss and learning how to live with the life that follows in its wake, I am encouraged that before we drove away today they were laughing (literally) and holding on (figuratively) to one another in friendship and strength--and that is the love and acceptance that keeps us afloat in the midst of life's most overwhelming waves.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

teenage dream?

I don't care what Katy Perry wails about on her multi-whatever album...the teenage dream I'm living in is much more challenging than letting some guy put his hands on me in my skintight jeans.

I am the mom.

I am wrong.

End of story.

As a kid--from my earliest memories--I was waiting.

Waiting for one of my parents to throw in the towel and either a) take us to a motel or grandma's to spend the night or b) get sick enough from the drink to cease all aggression toward the other in the face of their own self-destructive rage.

Waiting outside the bathroom door while my mom took a bath. Talking to her the whole time, keeping her engaged, making sure she didn't off herself between turning on the water and the water losing enough heat to make her uncomfortable--at which point she would get out, towel off, and resume being my mom.

Waiting for news that my dad had taken his own life. He threatened to do so often enough that part of me had to accept the possibility in order to protect the part of me that would have to bolster up my brothers when and if this ever actually happened.

Waiting for the Utopian un-reality of The Brady Bunch or Family Ties to show up in my life--establishing once and for all the glossy, Hollywood natural order.

Waiting to grow up and move out and have my own kids and make their childhood completely different from mine.

Waiting (so to speak) for the other shoe to drop.

The wait is over--and I wonder, sometimes, if anything is really different--let alone better.

Despite the lack of (comparative) drama, unrest, fear and insecurity in the day-to-day life I tried to create for my spawn, there has still been ample drama, unrest, fear and insecurity.

Some generated by yours truly. Some not.

All of it landing squarely in my lap--where I, upon feeling its ever-present weight, instantly deploy my own special (if somewhat schizophrenic) combination of defensive AND offensive tactics. The whole while breathing (with every breath) a prayer for peace, love, safety, comfort and grace to explode in the hearts and lives of my girls.

Caught up in the very real struggles of their lives, I tend to forget that my darling offspring could have it so much worse. After all, wasn't that one of my prime objectives--to make the childhood they experienced as soft and safe and nurturing as the womb they each burst from before wailing their first and most primal wail?

But yet, they disdain. They are vexed. They are tormented--with tears choking their words and thoughts and vision and hope. Today is as bad as it can get for them in their personal prison--and they will not be consoled.

They can (and they do) languish; comfortable (I tell myself) in the safety net that is me.

Maybe non-catastrophic-consequences kids are the product of:
The fear of creating a catastrophic-consequences kid who feels the world rests
on her shoulders and is constantly gasping for air as she suffocates under a
scratchy wool blanket of anxiety
A family environment where the world actually rests on the parent's shoulders
and kids are free to fuck up all they want without the world ending--leaving
the parent(s) gasping for air as they suffocate under not only anxiety but
guilt compounded by depleting bank accounts.

Does part of my inability to do anything right in they eyes on my second-born come from the cocoon of relative normalcy I tried to spin around her since the doctor slapped her adorable, newborn ass?

Like many a case that has gone cold, I know deep in my bones that the riddle of this current struggle may never be solved.

But that's not to say we won't find a sense of peace. A way to live with it. A loyalty and bond usually only known by those who have been in the trenches together--clinging to one another, crying, shaking and seeing in the other's eyes the truths that only the two of you will ever truly know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resting my eyes

This morning as I drove to work I couldn't help but be struck by the gorgeous sight of our snow-kissed mountains against the ice-blue winter sky. I pulled out my sunglasses to stave off the brilliance of the sun, and as they settled into their comfortable perch on my squinting face, I wanted to be putting those sunglasses on somewhere else.

Preferably poolside.

Oceanside would be even better.

With hot, shirtless cocktail waiters and complicated drinks with umbrellas.

I could just keep driving and end up in Vegas--or LA. I could drive toward the airport instead of downtown and end up...anywhere.

"I feel like Ashley Judd's character in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," my darling girlfriend shared the other day, "Like running away to a hotel and just disappearing for a while."

I've felt like that many times. I felt like that today.

Driving away from everyone I answer to. Everything I'm responsible for. Everything I see every day.

Smelling the salt in the air--seeing that first glimmer of sunlight dance on the water as the ocean comes into view on the horizon--is like a shot of adrenaline to my faltering heart. I want to be on a beach or in a room or on a road where no one knows me and I can pretend to be whomever I feel like for a little while.

I just want to rest my eyes for a little bit. Just a minute.

To order room service and take too many baths and prance about in my fluffy, complimentary robe before I jump on the bed. To make a mess that someone else will clean up.

I've often fantasized about going 'round the bend and winning a stay at a sanatorium. To be clear, my fantasy doesn't take place in a psych ward--it's more like Canyon Ranch for tired moms who want to do simple things, like pee in private. (To be fair, in the past couple years I have enjoyed more bathroom privacy than I've had in almost two decades, but the sentiment still rings true.)And the people in white coats pour wine and offer massages instead of serving jello and offering shock therapy. Although it's hard to know off-hand which course of treatment would best serve the likes of me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super What?!?

The Oscars aren't until the end of the month!

Priorities, people! be continued (when I don't have to be at church at the crack of dawn...)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Self-medicating PMS Nite In

I was a raging bitch all week. And now, on Friday nite, I am giving myself the medicine I need.

I started peeling off my coat, scarf, gloves, blazer, t-shirt, boots, tight (a little PMS-too-tight, to be honest!) jeans, and lacy underthings as soon as I walked in the door. The trail of clothes led straight to the tub. After pulling back my hair, I started for the water and realized something was missing. I nakedly sneaked down the hall into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of magical fermented elixir.

Finally, in the extremely hot tub with my chilled vino, I turned up my iPod and settled into my soak. After replenishing the hot twice, I was sufficiently puckered and decided to get out.

I traded in the tub for sweats and a tank top (AH!) and got ready for a nite of pre-menstrual comforting indulgence. In addition to the requisite bath, wine and sweats, here are the other ingredients I find crucial for a (hopefully) successful PMS bitch exorcism:

-Reese's peanut butter cups


-E! (y'know...the news!)

-Spider Solitaire (I'm an addict!)

-A heating pad

-No kids

-Pasta (or sometimes, sushi)

-Scented candles (you know what you can do with your smart comments!)

-A new episode of "Supernatural"

-Diet Coke

-Feather pillows and soft blankies

-Miraculous (inexplicable) quiet from the neighbors

So, here's hoping I greet the 'morrow with slightly less edge and a smile!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

who i'm sleeping with lately...

my bed has become quite full as of late. full in a way i never expected. every morning i wake up tangled in the sheets and surrounded by my three persistent bedmates: my iphone, kindle and netbook.

yes. i have become a technology whore in bed.

but i have my insomnia to blame more than anything. my long-standing feud with sleep has hit a particularly rough patch again. not only am i unable to sink into the gentle arms of slumber, but those incessant voices in my head will not shut the hell up!

hence, the electronics menage a trois (or quatre) taking place in bed nightly.

i like to listen to my violin features station on pandora in an effort to soothe the savage beast. then i will play some spider solitaire until my vision starts to blur. at that point, i will pick up the kindle and read. sometimes i get a little crazy and read before i play solitaire...y'know, to keep it fresh. and sometimes i'm typing this very blog (or any number of un-published ramblings) instead of reading or playing.

when i'm not snuggling up to my gadgets, i'm settling down with bobby goren, sam & dean winchester, aragorn, maximus and harry potter. these fellas are highly successful at lulling me into such a wonderful sense of comfort and familiarity that before i can even notice, i may be asleep.

i know, i know! i have already heard all of your recommendations about better ways to fall asleep and protestations against why my habits are counter-intuitive to a desire to slumber. let me take this opportunity to assure you that i have tried all the "correct" ways to induce a sound nite's sleep--and what i end up with is a frustrated cycle of unending stops and starts and futile conversations with myself about relaxing, meditating, letting go, sleeping, not sleeping, that unfortunately-placed itch that i have to scratch, what i'm going to wear tomorrow, that bill i forgot to pay, the workout i need to start, the pain in my neck (really--there's an actual pain in my neck!), what time is it?, how many hours until i have to get up?, crap! now all i can think about is that i'm not sleeping...and it goes on.

over the years (actually two decades) that i have battled the ugly monster of insomnia, i have learned that the best way to get myself to sleep is to trick myself into it. that's why i have stimuli that can distract my unending inner-monologue, self-examination and sleep (or non-sleep) obsessiveness long enough for the sandman to sneak on in and do his magic.

i know it's not perfect, but at least i'm not (not) sleeping alone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a pain in my ass

I have a pain in my ass.

And I can tell you what it's not:

It's not...

...January in all its depressing, dismal glory decision to only drink on the weekends (was I drunk when I came up with that one?)

...the lovely layer of fat provided by the extra 8 pounds or so I've been benevolently housing since the new year

...all the crazy, wiry silver (yes, SILVER!) hairs that I obsessively tweeze out of my skull every time I am near a mirror and tweezers are within reach (I'm seriously considering putting some in my purse) empty bank account

...eating only seafood and vegetables and fruit (and having NOTHING ELSE in the house--all the better to avoid temptation!) in a misguided effort at getting rid of those previously mentioned evil 8 pounds

...the reinstatement of my dear friend insomnia--working on about 10 hours of sleep in the past three days inability to stop neurotically chewing on my own fingers--biting my nails and cuticles like I'm stranded on Everest and starving to the point where I am driven to consume myself (or die trying)

...having two teenage daughters and being in the last year of my thirties (my youthful, "you're not old enough to have teenagers!" jig is almost up)

...nearly deaf, inconsiderate neighbors who play their television at decibel levels that probably caused their hearing loss in the first place--and then their alarm goes off incessantly starting at about 5am--and it just whines on and on and on because they are frickin'* deaf and can't hear it unless I throw a shoe (or other handy object) at the gal-durn* shared wall between my bedroom and theirs

*I'm trying to keep it PG, people!

...the parade of assholes constantly (and for no reason) slamming on their brakes (repeatedly) in front of me on the freeway on the commute home from lovely, overcast, gray, dirty, freezing cold Salt Lake City (Utah may look awesome dressed up in celebrities and money and parties held on mountains that are above the frickin' inversion--but it is just another Hollywood lie that gets people to pull out their wallets and contribute to someone as stupid as Kim Kardashian--although she does have a booty that won't quit--who drops over 100 grand on a @#$&%^!*#%?%^@#!!! watch)


My pain in the ass is NONE of these things.

It is a literal PAIN. IN. MY. ASS! I have a knot, or trigger point (for those who can pick up what I'm layin' down), in my ass. And it has tormented me ALL DAY! I have a HUGE archival document sort of situation going on at work (like hide and seek, but with electronic files) that pretty much keeps me glued to my chair.

That is not a conducive situation to a pain in the ass.

All day I had to find excuses to get up and wander to an area where I would not be observed so that I could dig my knuckles into my ass in hopes of releasing said trigger point. But--alas!--I am not trained in the ways of releasing trigger points, and after HOURS of self-knuckling, I am still in pain.

I took a super-hot bath.

I am sitting on a heating pad.

I continue to knuckle.

I broke down and drank some wine(HEY--don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my ass of pain!)

But I find no I shall wallow. But I will not make you follow. Save yourself while you still can. Don't follow me down this ass-pain road to ruin!

Run! In the name of all that is holy--RUN!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

anonymous kisses

While I was at Terri's the other day, I saw a commercial that said the average person has had 28 first kisses.

"How do they know?" I scoffed.

"They surveyed like ten people, and that was the average," Terri calmly explained.

"I don't think I could even name every person I've had a 'first kiss' with," I said with disdain.

"I could!" she declared.

By Terri's reasoning, if you averaged someone like her: a serial monogamist who has been with her now-husband since her early twenties--with someone like me: an exuberant kisser, who has been single all but nine years of my adult life--you are likely to get an average of 28.

As I pondered this, I started to think that maybe I was a first-kiss slut. I remember many a party in my youthful days where I handed out kisses like candy.

If you were having a bad day, I might try to kiss it better.

If you were having a great day, I might kiss you in celebration.

If you asked me for a kiss, I would most likely acquiesce to your request.

If Prince's song "Kiss" came over the speakers, I might kiss Terri. (And yes, she kissed me back!)

"They probably polled like 10 people and came up with their average," she said--throwing me a bone.

While I wanted to feel bad about handing out kisses in such a cavalier fashion, I just couldn't muster the requisite remorse. And tonite I remembered why.

As I was leaving Gracie's, I walked past a jaunty fellow who, in addition to being a sharp dresser with a charming southern accent, sort of stepped in my way as if to stop me.

"You look familiar...have we met?" I asked, after a double take (and sort of falling into his arms).

"I don't know. Did we make out once?" was his reply.

"I don't think so," I said, "but you never know."

"There's only one way to find out," he quipped.

And thus commenced a first kiss. An anonymous and entirely pleasant first kiss.

As we parted, we both smiled--with a twinkle in our eyes--and I continued out the front door into the cold of a January Utah nite.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My friends and I have an ongoing debate about what, exactly, qualifies one to be labeled a cougar:
- You have to be at least 10 years older than the fella to be a cougar
- You can't be a cougar in your 30's; you have to be 40 or older
- You have to make more money than the boytoy to be a cougar
- You have to be a celebrity to be a cougar
- If the dude is closer in age to your daughters than to you, you might be
a cougar

This discussion stemmed from my dalliance with a couple of rather young (okay, very young) twenty-somethings over the summer, and has continued thanks to my entering the final year of my thirties. I'm not particularly fond of the term, but it does make me giggle. And I dare any woman to say "no thanks" given the chance to have a strapping young male tell her she's hot. That's just going against nature.

It hasn't helped that Shal's daughter Abi blurts out, "That reminds me of Becky!" while watching "Cougartown" with her mom. But, to be fair, her comparison is more about copious amounts of wine drunk from ridiculously large glasses than dating habits.

The truth is, I think I'm in a twenty-something dating state of mind. Let's face it, I didn't do a lot of dating in my twenties--I had a baby and then got married at 23. The problem is that most guys my age did do a lot of dating in their twenties, and even in their thirties, and many of them now want to settle down and have a family. OR they have little kids and are looking for someone to love their spawn as much as them. Which is not a bad thing to want--it's just not what I'm interested in.

I want to play. I want to hang out and go to movies, and see bands and have drinks. I want to try new restaurants and visit art galleries. I want to be spontaneous and do things I've never done before. I want to be silly. I want to be a little bit irresponsible. I don't know if this is some kind of pre-emptive empty nest syndrome or my version of a midlife crisis, but being on the brink of "on my own"--not a wife or a mom of little kids, but just a woman living my life--makes me somewhat giddy and I want to ride it out.

In preparation for my impending fortieth birthday which is coming in a little less than 50 weeks, my friends have offered (or should I say threatened?) to throw me a cougar-themed party. My preferred definition of cougar is related to being at least 40 years old, so the theme is perfectly timed. There's been talk of cocktails served by shirtless young men and lots of animal prints. It sounds horribly awesome! So I figure I should keep the cougar-vibe alive for the next 11 months or so...but only so my friends won't have to come up with another idea for my big birthday bash. I'm always thinking of others. That's just who I am.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The other side of the coin

I usually like to think/talk/write about the things I enjoy about being single or dating or basically NOT being in a "relationship." (I have to put that word in quotes because that's how I say it. That's how I think it. That's how I respond to that word...I like to diminish its power or impact or meaning--even when I'm just writing about it and not trying to avoid being labeled as in one!)

So...I decided to make a list of things that I actually like about being in a relationship. (I'm actually kind of surprised at how brief the list is (and how many of the items are related to kissing)!

**Hearing "Hey Babe" or some other familiar, term of endearment that only a blood relative or romantic interest usually utters

**Kissing hello

**Someone to sit with me on Friday nite while I watch movies, eat pizza & drink wine (I thought of this on on Friday nite!)

**Kissing goodbye

**Someone who at least pretends to care about the minutiae of my day as I drone on and on sharing either a) something I think is desperately funny or b) something I think is desperately idiotic and, therefore, must be bitched about

**Backrubs, neckrubs, footrubs, just plain rubs, I guess...(I know that my list might seem heavily weighted to the physical, but that is the main area that is least abundant in my life--I have lots of emotional and social and fun support/oulets, but not so much physical contact with others in the human race)


**Feeling sexy & having someone to appreciate it (I often feel sexy but it's nice to have someone who notices, confirms your feeling and lets you know they like it!)

**Cooking and eating with someone who loves it--sharing smells, flavors, textures, creativity, laughs and (of course) kitchen kisses!

That's all I can come up with so far.

Maybe I just haven't delved deeply enough into myself and my reasons for being willing to continually revisit the dating (and potential relationship) scene. I know that I like to date and I like to have someone I'm excited about and I like having someone who's excited about me...but I think part of me has become pretty disconnected (whether that's a defensive move against potential hurt, disappointment or continued single-ness, I don't know) from the whole idea of falling into like or (heaven help me) love.

I think if I'm gonna really put my hands all over this, I'm going to have to spend some more time sitting in this inquiry. I don't really want to...but I'm afraid that I have become too compartmentalized and I need to integrate and open up some place of vulnerability, openness and acceptance if I want to be able to invite in a true possibility of like (baby steps, people!).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hands All Over

I hereby (after several glasses of wine, a rousing round of SingStar, yummy dinner, divine cake and wonderful company provided by my friends and their offspring) declare the journey into the final year of my thirties UNDERWAY!
It was always destined to happen, and here we are.

While I feel (and look) so very young (I KNOW you agree...) I do know that this is some sort of milestone (of sorts). I plan to embrace this year fully--accepting all that it has to offer, and not shying away.

I received the new Maroon 5 cd for Christmas (loves to Terri!), and the title song, "Hands All Over" is going to be theme song of this year--and not in just a dirty, sexual way (although that may happen, if the fates deem it so!) but in a willingness to take on all comers in life this year--career, family, love, spirituality, etc. I want to dive in to the deep end.

And, I promise to share. The good, the bad, and (yes) the ugly.

Stay tuned...39 here I come! (Woo-hoo!!!)