Sunday, December 9, 2018

If we were sharing a bottle of wine: From Poodles to 3-ways

If we were sharing a bottle of wine, I would tell you I can hardly believe the growth the vet removed from my standard poodle Crow's head is benign, because that's not the way shit has been going for me, or for that matter a lot of people, lately. I already mentioned that the vet I took him to gave him the wrong drug. I was utterly prepared for the worst. Apparently the vet didn't get all the margins though, so it's possible there's a shoe with my name on it hovering over my head.

If we were sharing a bottle of wine, I'd say I'm not really a control freak, but I hate going into the bathroom at the farmer's market where I work and seeing that my favorite of the two stalls is occupied. It reminds me that I am actually sharing a bathroom with a bunch of strangers.

If we were sharing a bottle of wine, I'd mention I'd read a few essays out of a memoir titled There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman. It's about a woman who's recently turned 40. The book is well written, and I found her essay about giving her husband a three-way with herself and another woman for his birthday interesting -- although the statistics about how many women have sex in their 50's and 60's are fucking brutal --  but I didn't read the entire book. I'm not interested in turning 40. It happened so long ago I could no longer give advice about how to do it.

I am interested in the format though, which is pretty similar to writing a blog. I thought maybe I'd outline a book about turning 60 ..... Then I realized I'd have to be married and living a somewhat interesting life or my advice wouldn't be relevant to pretty much anybody. She's an American who lives in Paris with her husband Simon. (Simon is also the name of my boyfriend, but he's imaginary and her husband is real enough to get a 3-way for his birthday.) I am a 60-year-old (still getting used to that) divorced grandmother who's raising her 7-year-old granddaughter, and whose 27-year-old daughter moved in with her two dogs and two cats four months ago, and who works a variety of part-time jobs to keep the household in heat and dog food and gas for the van where I spend a good chunk of my day every day.

I have not got a handle on how anybody should turn 60. And I certainly don't have time for sex with one person -- which would have to be covered in such a book -- even if suitable horny partners were lined up on my porch patiently waiting to get into my comfy yoga pants, much less a 3-way. Publishers wouldn't be lining up either.

Anyway, if we were sharing a bottle of wine, you'd be turning into a pumpkin, and I'd probably lick the last drop out of my glass and say, "Are you going to drink that?" And you'd say, "No, go ahead." And of course I wouldn't. Of course I wouldn't. I'd just say, "Good night."

Friday, November 30, 2018

Things that make people think of me: Day 30!

During the month of NaBloPoMo friends often send me things that remind them of me. For example, Amy sent me this fascinating factoid about the blue whale's vagina. I already knew how men act when they've got a cold. I was married for 30 years.

Credit: Nerds with Vaginas

Another thoughtful friend, Tricia, sent me this ..... I'm struggling for an adjective .... bear with ..... unusual designer pendant, which can be found on the Yves Saint Lauren website. No, your eyes do not deceive you. It is exactly what it looks like: a brass penis pendant.

I'm not sure if the choice of material is ironic. I've heard of brass balls, but a brass penis is new to me. Also, if I were to wear a disembodied penis around my neck or hanging from my ears I certainly wouldn't be proud to wear one that looks .... well, flaccid is the term that comes to mind. It kind of looks like something might drip out of it.

But it's Yves Saint Laurent, a trend setter if ever there was one. And apparently it's sold out, so darn it! I guess I won't be putting it on my Christmas list. Although at $795 I doubt anybody would wrap up that penis and put it under my tree anyway. Seems like that could be a euphemism for something, but I have no idea what. The "penis dangle earrings" are more affordable at $345.

I looked around the website at some of the other jewelry and purses. I'm pretty sure I've seen that leopard bucket bag at Goodwill and it didn't cost $1500. Who buys this shit? A set of four tires for my van don't cost as much as a little brass dick on a chain costs on that site.

Moving on.

I can thank Jay for sending me some excerpts from novels that I can never unsee. Apparently Literary Review gives out an award for the worst erotic writing each year. Go read the article, if you dare. I'll wait. Don't read it aloud. Someone might hear you and think you're actually ..... just read to yourself. Skim. Don't go too deep.

This year's winners were all men. No surprise there, and I'm not going to explain why. See the end of this post for a hint as to why. I was surprised though to see James Frey (any wonder his name rhymes with "lie"?) and Haruki Murakami listed as winners. I mean, these guys actually make a living writing shit like this? And go on book tours? It's not fair.

Elvira was so inspired by this sentence, she had to illustrate it: In his mind he pictured her neck, her long neck, her swan’s neck, her Alice in Wonderland neck coiling like a serpent, like a serpent, coiling down on him.

Why are you reading this blog post when you can be paying to read these guys? 

I'll end both this post and the month of November with the last thing my daughter Elvira sent me from the easy chair three feet away. It's possible not all men will find it funny. We did though. Thanks for reading this month. I have more to say in the coming days and I'll be posting my Christmas list, so don't go away!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

If we were sipping bourbon: Day 29

Salted maple old fashioned

I thought maybe tonight we'd share a nip of bourbon if you don't mind. A new speakeasy opened up not long ago near me, and they serve a tasty salted maple old fashioned, although I still prefer the original. They'll also make you a virgin Moscow mule in a copper cup if you'd prefer to keep your wits about you. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to celebrate 29 days in a row of posting on this here blog. One more to go after this, and then I'll start breaking promises about how often I'm going to post again.

If we were sipping bourbon at the speakeasy I'd tell you I've learned something from working at the farmer's market, which is one of several part-time jobs I have. And that is that people come in many shapes and sizes and heights and ages, and wear all kinds of styles of clothes,  from jogging shorts to ripped jeans to tight skirts and teetering high heels, and have all kinds of body embellishments .... or not ... and sport a million different hair styles, and it's all just fine. Some days I watch a few thousand people walk past whichever store I'm tending, and while I notice many of them, I don't judge because after the first few hundred, it just doesn't matter at all.

Oh sure, if somebody is wearing something really unusual or they have certain body parts hanging out more than most people I might glance over at Gary, who sells chicken patties, and raise my eyebrows. But most often I find myself feeling grateful that I get to be in a place where we're all so different. I grew up in what was a pretty homogeneous small Iowa town. I desperately wanted to get out of there and meet some people who didn't look like me, so working at the market -- even in a smallish city in the midwest -- is a fulfillment of that dream.

At the market, I talk to so many kinds of people. I love the diversity. One day I helped some young African men practice their English at the dairy where I work sometimes. Milk. Cheese. Eggs. One man has a huge head of dreads, and he wears them in a knitted hat the size of Santa's sack. Coraline and I love to get Moroccan soup from the Greek lady down the aisle. We still can't pronounce "harira" like she does, but we keep trying. Some people are strapped into wheel chairs and don't seem to know where they are, but their caretakers are relieved to be out on a field trip. Others come on a bus together from a group home and they're so happy to be out at the market together, tasting samples, and often holding each others' hands. A nearby charter school will send classes of kids some Thursdays for lunch. They are excited to get some freedom and are so well behaved. Groups of office workers power walk through on their short lunch breaks. People come to the market from all over the country and all over the world. Marshall, the chocolate guy, finally put up a map with push pins so he could keep track.

Marshall's map

I just realized I wanted to make two points. One: I love working in a place where most of the people who come in are happy to be there. It's so different from teaching, because most of the people I've taught over the years didn't really want to be taking a writing class. I felt like I was holding them hostage. But I'm almost always happy when I'm at the market, even if I am on my feet on concrete for upwards of 8 hours that day. One guy might give me a lecture on internet phones (I have notes somewhere). Another will ask if our buffalo (flavored) cheese curds are made from buffalo milk and then laugh at himself when I tell him I've never milked a buffalo. A regular customer will give me a weekly update me on her recent surgery to reconstruct her breasts after her third bout with breast cancer. A new mother who was pregnant the last time I saw her will show off her new baby. An old friend might stop by and sit down behind the counter to visit during my slow spells. I feel privileged to talk with all of them. OK, most of them. Out of thousands of people, a few assholes will always creep in. I don't take that home with me.

My second point is that it really doesn't matter what you look like, especially in a place like the market. Or it has come to not matter to me what people look like, and that has made me less self-conscious about how I look. People are all so different, they start to look alike in a way. They're all just someone to meet and share a minute or a few seconds of friendliness with. It's namaste, and would you like to try a cheese curd or some kettle corn?

I will say -- the bourbon will say -- one thing I've noticed is that most people don't have round butts. Some do, but I'll bet it's fewer than you think. We are a nation of people with flat glutes. It's not just you. 

Also, being thin doesn't seem to make people happier or more friendly. It doesn't make them less. It just doesn't matter. And sometimes the grouchiest looking people have the nicest smiles if I smile at them first and say "hi."

Sometimes working with the public can harden people and make them bitter, but the market tends to do the opposite. I hope you can come see me there some day and we'll share some chocolate milk or some caramel corn, depending on where I'm working that day.

Was one bourbon enough for you? Because I need to get to bed. The more I write the more I have to say, but I'll save some for tomorrow.

How about you? Do you love your job? How does it make you feel about people? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Quiet times: Day 27

I'm not going to say life is chaotic around my house, but it can be a challenge to find a few quiet minutes.

For example, the other day I thought I'd lie down on the couch for half an hour or so and read my novel. (Not a novel I wrote, or course, but a novel Meg Wolitzer wrote titled The Wife, which was made into a movie that stars Glenn Close, which could make me hate Meg Wolitzer if she weren't such a clever and engaging writer. Also she probably writes instead of taking naps. sigh.) I digress.

Coraline was engaged in her own rest period upstairs and Elvira was out, so the room was quiet. My eyes started to close -- pretty much like they are now -- and I decided a 15-minute nap was in order. I set my alarm for 15 minutes and settled in, already starting to drift off. I just love a good power nap, don't you?

I was sound asleep for about five minutes before Elvira came home. Her footsteps on the porch woke me up. She banged her way into the house and threw a big plastic bag down on the floor. Of course the 3 dogs got up and started barking and milling around, clicking their toenails. I kept my eyes closed. She went into the kitchen and graciously unloaded the dishwasher, which necessitated some banging around of dishes, pans, and cupboards. Finally she went outside to smoke a cigarette. I dozed back off. She came back in, slammed the door and went upstairs. To her room above the front parlor. Above my fucking head. She walked around for a while. Coraline came in and did a few cartwheels or jumped off the bed a few times. I don't know. I covered my head in case plaster should start falling.

Finally it was quiet up there and the dogs settled down. I drifted .... From the fire station up the street came a firetruck, sirens blasting, racing past on the street half a block away. I listened to it fade into the distance and drifted off again ..... only to startle awake when my text notification went off ... three times. Damn it. I risked a glance at my phone. The texts could wait. I only had 5 minutes left now. I closed my eyes again and fell asleep, desperate now for just a few minutes. I had to get up when my alarm went off to get ready to go out. This was my only chance to satisfy my nap urge.

I was there. I was almost there when my phone started to ring. I picked it up .... a fucking telemarketer. Assholes. I hit dismiss and resolutely closed my eyes again. Twenty seconds later I was slipping into a dream when the notification for a voicemail went off and jolted me awake yet again. It's not bad enough they call, but they leave partial messages that tell me to press 1 to talk to a representative. Dumb assholes. I didn't let that stop me.

I forced myself back to sleep .... for all of 30 seconds and that's when my alarm went off. Naptime was over.

No sleep deprivation here. Nope. No way.

Another example. Tonight after dinner I told Coraline we needed to do our meditation before she went to bed. We try to do it every afternoon or evening because it noticeably helps her focus better at school. We only sit still for 6 minutes, but I'd like to work up to 10. Ten peaceful, empty-minded minutes to sit in silence. We invited Elvira to sit with us, but she decided to meditate on a cigarette outside. Out she went with the dogs.

Coraline got into position criss-cross applesauce in an easy chair. I sat on the couch, took off my slippers and grounded my feet on the floor. We took 3 big deep breaths together and then I pressed start on the timer on my meditation app. Gooooonnnnnnngggggggg. The gong gonged and I tried to clear all thoughts from my head. Once the gong had faded, the only sounds were the clock ticking, some muted traffic noise, and my own tinnitus. Ahhh.

But what is that? A high-pitched tone intruded. High high C, if I wasn't mistaken. Steady and insistent. Surely that wasn't coming from inside my head? No. I'm not supposed to be thinking. Let that thought go. The sound persisted. Faint. Steady. About half a step below a dog whistle.

I heard the side-porch door open. Oh for fuck's sake. Surely she hadn't smoked that cigarette that fast.

"I know you're meditating and I don't want to interrupt," Elvira contradicted, "but can you hear that sound? It sounds like an alarm going off."

Sigh. I turned off the meditation app and slipped into my slippers. "I'll come check."

"I don't think it's the next door neighbors," she said. "They seem to be just watching TV or something." I was outside by now, the pitch much louder now. "I don't think it's the purple house. Theirs didn't sound like that the time I accidentally set it off."

I walked through the falling snow to the back of the house. The sound was urgently annoying, like a super loud malfunctioning florescent light. It was definitely louder in the back, but I still couldn't pinpoint the location ....

And then it just stopped. At first I wasn't sure it had really stopped, but it did. Fine. Whatever it was I wasn't going to figure it out tonight.

Back inside, Coraline and I got back into position, and Elvira settled into another chair. I reset the timer. Goooonnnnngggggg. Eyes closed, I once again attempted to clear my mind. 

Crow, my standard poodle, started lapping his tongue in and out of his mouth, making a loud licking sound. I fucking hate that sound. Notice your annoyance and let that thought go, I thought, although I wasn't supposed to be thinking. He gave a few more laps and then settled down. Good.

Growl. Growl. Kohl. Elvira's border collie. Growling because Crow was in the room. It's constant. The growling whenever we all settle into one room. He hates Crow. Growl growl. I fucking hate that sound. But I tried to see my annoyance in my quiet fucking mind and let it go on by. Clearing my mind. An intense itch erupted next to my nose. I don't think you're supposed to scratch, I thought. You're supposed to just notice it and .... I scratched. I couldn't stand it. Clearing my mind now.

Growl. Growl.The furnace came on, reminding me of the $200 service call I'd paid for earlier in the day. You'd better fucking heat this house, I thought. Ooops. Letting go. Growl. Growl.

Either my mind started to clear or I started to doze off. I'm not sure, but Growl. Growl. I felt a soft plop on the couch next to me and a loud purr started. Gandalf. I sat still. Growl. Growl. I tried so hard to let my thoughts just slip out of my mind. I focused on breathing through my nose. I felt a small paw pushing at my leg. Growl. Growl. Push push. He bumped his head against my wrist. Growl. Growl. Push. Push.

Finally he settled down alongside my leg with his head on my arm. Growl. Growl. His purr was loud, but not distracting. Deep breath. Growl. Purrrrrr. I'm getting there. Growl. Growl. Gandalf suddenly decided he needed to lick his butt. He furiously licked licked licked licked licked. Growl. Growl. Lick. Lick.

Will that fucking furnace never shut off, I thought as a hot flash started burning its way out of me and my entire body flushed with a layer of sweat. I want to whip my scarf off so at least my neck will cool off, but I already scratched my nose so NO. Growl. Growl. Oh. My. God. I'm noticing that my body feels like it's engulfed in flames under my skin and I'm letting that thought go. Growl. Growl. Breathing. Emptying my mind. In. Out. Growl. Growl. In. Out.


Meditation over. Growl .... Growl. Sigh.