Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Dip

Nom Nom

I'm taking this yummy and yet visually vile dip to a Halloween party tonight. It's really easy to make, tastes like looks like chopped up eyeballs and best of all, has only three ingredients. Downside, I found those $7.99/pound ingredients at the big, new super-grocery store deli back in my old 'burb. I go back there every once in a while just to remind myself where I came from.

So to make it, chop up some artichoke hearts and some roasted dried tomatoes in Italian olive oil. I don't care how much of each; this isn't science. Mix in some crumbled feta cheese and that's it. Tasty, nasty nom. Eat it on very thin crackers gourmet wafers.

I think it will go well with the host's famous and colorful corpse revivers, which he mixes in large beakers. I'm not touching his chili.* As for the non-nom part of the party, I'm taking a big pumpkin to carve, but no costume. Only one costume is necessary in a hot tub. Uh huh. That one.

Happy Halloween!

* Not that one! What's wrong with you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I will not talk about poo....and that's final!

Miss Serendipity just will not stop. I'll let this "coincidence" speak for itself, but first let me summarize the story so far. A couple of days ago I wrote about having commented on another blog that I never talk about masturbation in my classes, and the very next day I held classes, I ended up talking about masturbation in one of them. In the comments of my post, Laura from Autodidacticpoet, wrote that she talks about masturbation to little boys all the time, and further that she's had to learn what coprophagia is. (Don't ask. It has to do with poo and that's all you need to know.) She said at least my students wouldn't talk about that, and I said they could very well talk about 2 girls and a cup someday. (It has to do with poo and that's all you need to know.)

In the meantime I've been working on a post in which I defend my decision to become an art model. One of my notes reads: "The monkeys in my brain throw some mighty toxic poo. And this past spring and summer they found a new supplier who gifted them with armor-piercing poo." I wrote that Monday.

OK, that's the story so far......

Here's what played out in today's class.

Me: Something blah blah blah about citing your sources blah blah blah and make sure you engage your sources blah blah blah blah.....(I don't really remember what led up to this, so work with me.)
K: (Feet up on her desk; cute black glasses and bright red lipstick and a bob with bangs.) ... Like how we all used to be monkeys.
Me: Humans didn't really used to be monkeys, you know. You know that, right?
K: Well, sure, we didn't personally used to be monkeys.
Me: No, humans didn't evolve from monkeys. You guys all know that, right? We evolved from common ancestors that weren't anything like monkeys or humans.
K: Yeah, I knew that, but there were monkeys that evolved into humans but it was a long time ago.
Me:, that's not really how evolution works, but I'm not here to teach you biology. (And I turned my back to walk back to my desk. I should know better than to turn my fucking back on them.)
L: (Remember him from the masturbation post? The wanker?) Who doesn't want to be a monkey? Don't you want to be a monkey?
Me: (I quickly face the classroom, but it's already too late.) No, we're not talking about monkeys today... (The truth is, I was afraid he was going to talk about monkeys masturbating. Miss Serendipity is so much more complex than that though.)
L: You have to want to be a monkey. Monkeys get to swing through the trees...
Me: No more monk....
L: And monkeys get to throw poo. How much fun would that be? To throw poo? (The class laughs. I stand defeated before them.)
Me: L, I knew you were going to say "poo" today.
K: How could you know he was going to say "poo"?
L: Is it because I talked about masturbation?
Me: I not only knew you would say "poo," I blogged that you brought up masturbation and then I said it was possible you would talk about poo. Just so you know, we are not going to talk about poo today.
L: How could you know I would say "poo"? Are you psychic?
Me: No, I'm not psychic. Let's just say I've read ahead in the book.

Isn't she clever, Miss Serendipity? Just as smooth as that, she connected two dots at once. I was impressed. In fact, I was so blown away, I put my class into groups and had them work while I read a newspaper someone had left behind on my desk. I had nothing else to offer them today.

Monkey poo.  Fling it, Miss S! Fling that shit!

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: A Salute to My Sisters

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I will not talk about masturbation.....yes, I will

I hate to blame everything on Miss Serendipity. I really do, and I'm sorry I'm posting again so soon. I'm a lousy blogger.
But she's done it again. I don't know how to explain these .... dot-to-dots that I notice running through my life.  I know other people don't see them so often, but they are real, the dots and the connections. If I wrote about all of them, I'd need several blogs and more hours in the day. I must share this one though because it has to do with masturbation and I don't think I've ever written about that. Or maybe I have, but I want to again.

Last week I read a post on Jane Pratt's blog,, about how her 9-year-old daughter took to class an editor's note Pratt had written for Jane magazine that included a reference to masturbation. The assignment was simply to bring a piece of writing from an adult in her household that didn't have any thing "age-inappropriate" in it. Pratt claims she has talked with her daughter a lot about masturbation and doesn't consider it inappropriate for 8- and 9-year-olds to discuss. And then she wondered if she's the worst mom in the world for letting her daughter take it.

Before I go on, I have to share what went through my head when I read her short post. I have both been a 9-year-old girl and I have raised a 9-year-old girl. Neither of us were thinking so much about masturbation at that age. I was open with my kids about all things sexual when they wanted to talk. In fact my daughter once thanked me for being a sex-positive parent .... awwww. But Jane Pratt says she has "talked to [her] daughter about it plenty." Plenty? How do those conversations go?

Jane: (from the kitchen where she's fixing dinner) Sweetie, please don't play with Mommy's vibrator. You'll run down the batteries and then it won't work when Mommy needs to masturbate.
9-year-old daughter: But, Mom, Barbie and Ken just had sex and he had his orgasm before her. Now he's asleep in the Barbie fun house and she needs to get her cookie masturbate too.
Jane: OK, of course she does Just remember to put it back in the dildo basket by my bed so I can find it when I need it. 
9-year-old daughter: I will, Mommy. Thank you. Barbie says thank you too. (Buuuuzzzzzz.....)

Pratt got a variety of responses from hellz yeah, she should take mommy's masturbation writing into class; fuck 'em if they don't like it to more sensible responses like the one I posted:

Talking to your kids about masturbation is admirable. I talked to mine about it too. And when I did, I told them it was something they should do in private. With boys in particular it’s necessary to have that talk at the "I need to hold on to my wiener 24 hours a day" stage. It's the private part that's important. Both in practice and in speech, masturbation is a culturally sensitive topic. So I also expected they knew better than to get up in front of the class and talk about it, which would include not talking about Mommy talking about it. And I walk the masturbation walk myself. I don't stand up in front of my college English class and talk to them about masturbation. I could, and probably in a way that would entertain and scandalize them way more than thesis statements and annotated bibliographies. But it’s not a dildo I intend to fall on just to prove a point that masturbation is natural and feels good and lots of people and monkeys do it. I don’t think a suggestion to your daughter that she choose a more appropriate piece of writing would have taught her the wrong lesson.

Yes, the  red text is important. I didn't teach a class after I posted that comment until today. I held individual conferences for two days last week instead of meeting with my classes. In fact, by the time I crawled into my class from my death bed today, I'd forgotten entirely about my  assertion that I would never talk about masturbation in class. I was suffering (terribly) from a scratchy throat and a congested head, so we watched several short videos to support our discussion of argument fallacies. One of the videos was a Monty Python clip, which I've posted below. I didn't even notice one of the characters used the word "wanker" in it.

But one of my students, L, did. "He called the guy a 'wanker.' What does 'wanker' mean?" Now earlier in the quarter this guy also said he didn't understand why Michelle Bachman shouldn't eat a corndog in public.

Michelle Bachman giving head to a corndog.

I'm not sure if he's serious or if he's fucking with me, but my syllabus says no questions are stupid. So. "What does 'wanker' mean?"

I stared at him. Several students snickered, but nobody helped me out. They just looked at me with those Lord of the Flies eyes they get sometimes.

"Really, I don't know. Is it somebody who wanks? What does wank mean?" He seemed sincere, damn it.

I sighed. "It means to masturbate. A wanker is a masturbator and to wank is to masturbate. It's a British term." How do you like me now? Giving the etymology and everything.

Another student, E, corrected me. He said, "It's more than just a masturbator. It's a gay guy who masturbates another guy."

"What?" I said. "I've never heard of that."

"It's true," E said. "Look it up. Look it up now."*

"No, I'm not looking it up," I said. "I never wanted to talk about masturbation with you guys in the first place...."

"Why not?" L said. "I do it all the time." I glance over at the interpreter for my deaf student to see if she's getting all this. Yes, I know sign language.

"Well, there's nothing wrong with that, L, but I've just made a fool of myself by talking about it. I just posted a comment on someone's blog last week, after our Monday class, and said I would never talk about masturbation in one of my classes. And now I've said it 37 times, you wanker. I just can't believe the timing." I told them about the post and what I said. I did not show them, and they did beg.

"What's wrong talking with masturbation?" L said. He gets this really sincere look that probably works for him with the girls.

"Nothing is wrong with masturbation." They all laugh. I wait for them to get control. "It's just that we're here to talk about argument fallacies, not wanking."

"Give us an argument fallacy about wanking," someone shouted out.

"No, I'm not talking any more about masturbation. I'm not saying that word again in this class."

See what I mean? Things like this happen to me every day. Can this be coincidence? Or is Miss Serendipity a god, a clock-maker? The woman behind the curtain in the Oz of the Universe? What do you think? Are these dot-to-dots all coincidence, the product of the over-active imagination of someone who needs to toss out her foot-long, 50's style "massager" and buy a bullet or a rabbit?

And the other question is, would you let your 9-year-old daughter take your piece of writing that mentions masturbation to school? Am I really a prude in disguise?

One more thing. Please don't send me any photos of yourself masturbating. I don't think it's all that OK really. (That includes you....and you know who you are.)

* I did, when I got home. It's a popular word in the Urban Dictionary, which is where I get my cool. Look for yourself, ya wanker.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mom? Is that you standing naked in front of my class?
Miss Serendipity must love me in spite of my bucket list resistance. Or maybe she's trying to show me I really do have a bucket list that I need to take charge of. Occupy the bucket list, if you will.

Remember I wrote last week about living on Wisteria Lane? Get this! In tonight's episode of Desperate Housewives Susan, who is taking a fine art class, was unexpectedly confronted with a live, nude model. And then because she giggled the instructor told the class they'd have to work in nude so they could get rid of their inhibitions, but that's not the reticulation here.

The reticulation is that I have committed to being a live, nude model for a friend who is an art professor! For his class. I couldn't do it this quarter because we were both teaching M/W/F classes, but next quarter I've been unexpectedly assigned the coveted T/Th classes. So I'm going to get my background check and stand in front of a bunch of art students dressed only in my skin* and I'm going to tell you right now the whole thing scares the shit out of me ..... and that's why I'm going to do it.

Mark assures me I won't look like a freak--or at least he implied I won't be the most freakish model he's used before. I am a little afraid I'll remind the students of their mothers, but they're adults. They know where to find a therapist. And it's not as if I am their mother. I'll just be a naked middle aged woman who doesn't have any clothes on. That's all.

As the actual .... event ... looms closer, I'm sure I'll find all kinds of things to panic about: shaving, cellulite, what if one of my current or former or future students is in the class. OMG! What if one of my current, former or future students sees me naked!?!?

Oh, but Miss Serendipity wants me to get back to the topic: her. My life on Wisteria Lane**. I wonder what could happen next. Lynette Scavo wants to get laid. Gabby Solis is the head of the PTA. And Bree Van de Kamp is working in a soup kitchen. Yeah, let's go back to Lynette Scavo. I hope she gets a cookie, and I don't mean from the soup kitchen. Are you listening, Miss Serendipy?

Of course I will report later on the modeling. How difficult can it be to stand naked in front of a classroom full of strangers? At least they'll pay attention to me, which is more than some of my students do.

I have been reticulated again. It tickles and delights me. And maybe makes me look a little insane .... like I give a fuck. I can't decide whether to post photos of some of the product. I hear the students sometimes gift the model with drawings. What do you think?

* No saggy, baggy elephant jokes please. My self esteem is particularly fragile right now.
** Still not writing about the dead body. Suck it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Don't Need No F&%^ing Bucket List!

The other night...or was it early morning...I wrote about how I don't have a bucket list, but how Miss Serendipity leads me to things that should be on my bucket list and then I cross them off the non-existent bucket list. I was really writing about theatre, but the bucket list was there, probably in the footnotes because I don't have one. There was that time I was going to make a vision board, but I didn't finish it. OK, I cut some photos out and left them in a pile on the coffee table. Whatever. I have neither a vision board nor a bucket list. Ask me what's on my bucket list and I'll just give you a stupid look and change the subject to your bucket list.

Anyway, after I published that post, I checked for new posts from my regular blog porn and the only one there was about ... you guessed it from the title of this post so it doesn't count .... an entry The One True Sue wrote about a bucket list contest she'd entered*. Today as I was flying to Greece in a private jet waiting for my malware software to clean up a nasty critter that infested my computer, I went back to my blog porn and the first post that came up was Laura Mayes' latest post at Blog con Queso and it's about .... don't bother to guess because of course its about her bucket list, which she calls her life list. What the fuck? I thought. (Yes, I think in words, not in acronyms. I did not think WTF?)

Oh please, Miss Serendipity, don't make me write a bucket list. Unless the purpose is to win that contest, which I don't even have a link to, please don't make me write a bucket list. I've done similar visionary bullshit before. I've written what I want on pieces of paper and done all kinds of rituals, with or without people, during full moons and dark moons and even while I rode around in the night sky on my broom, and none of this shit works. Writing the things I wish I could do on a bucket list makes them no more likely to happen than I am likely to spontaneously start farting Mozart. I sometimes suspect just the act of asking for dreamy things like .... no, I'm not going to list any .... just the act of asking makes the Universe laugh and hold them there, just out of my reach.

Damn it.

Miss Serendipity is fucking with me. She does that. Then she hits me over the head a couple of times--metaphorically if I'm lucky--and I'm supposed to listen. A bucket list. The next thing I need to do, as if I didn't have enough to do, is write a bucket list. It's nothing but a recipe for disappointment. I know it is.

But I'm going to write a bucket fucking list.

And find that contest. I'm not doing this for nothing. Sorry, Sue. You're gonna have some competition. It won't be much, trust me, but I'm not doing this because I think anything good will come out of it. I need a higher purpose; I need competition. (I sure don't need no fucking bucket list.)

*She didn't post a link to the contest though because she doesn't want the competition. She's wily, that one.

There's a list in this bucket somewhere.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays: On Your Mark...

All the World's a Stage

Shakespeare may have been writing about my life when he wrote "all the world's a stage." About a year ago a friend nagged me mercilessly encouraged me to audition for a play he was stage managing. The play was Wit, a Pulitzer prize-winner about an English professor who's dying of cancer. I didn't expect to get a part, even though the story hit pretty close to home, minus the cancer, knock wood. Just auditioning, I thought, would stretch me enough. It was a step, something I'd never done, something that scared me more than a little, and if I just did the audition, I could cross it off my bucket list. So I did it .... and it was fun!

All we did was cold readings from the script and hell, I can read. And I can act. I do it in real life all the time, so that night, I acted like an actress. The scariest part was when the director, Matthew, asked me to read for the lead, a monster of a part and one I certainly wasn't ready for. He told me later if I'd had any experience, he really might have given me the part. Thank you, Jesus, he didn't. But he did give me several small ensemble parts, much to my surprise, and so a diva was born I made my entry into the community theater world. 


As soon as Wit was over, I auditioned for Octette Bridge Club. I wrote about that last week here.  Lil was a much bigger part, lots of lines and, although it wasn't a musical, I had to sing and play the piano. My addiction deepened. It wasn't just the time on stage because I'm not really a diva. I've been working one small step at a time through a severe performance phobia for years, so I'm not always sure I even like the time on stage. It's the community, the working together to bring about the production, and the feeling of belonging that has spilled into every area of my life in the past year. I've met dozens of new friends, and only one of them has turned out to be the shallow, fake stereotype you might expect of theatre people. I rarely go out these days without running into at least one person I know from the theater world and sharing a moment. It's....well, shit. Anything I would say about that would be too mushy for Reticula to write. I love these people, man!

Octette Bridge Club

And now? Well, now I'm involved in two plays at the same time: "Master Harold" ... and the boys  and Scrooge. And with both of them, I'm crossing another experience off my unwritten bucket list.*

I'm not acting in "Master Harold" ... and the boys. I'm the stage manager, and Matthew, who gave me my big break in Wit, is the director. When he asked me to do it, I reminded him that I'm somewhere below a neophyte, but he said he was fine with that. He said he's a teaching director and he knew I could manage a stage. So I said, "Sure. I'll do it." Because that's what I do. I say yes and then I fake my way through situations like this in total ignorance. I had no idea what a stage manager does, because it's been radically different in each of the plays--yes, all two of them--I've been in. But I said yes because sometimes I just say yes and let the consequences roll.

And it's been a great experience: four gay guys and me putting together a powerful play on racism and relationships in 1950 South Africa. I'm not sure what stage managers normally do, but Matthew has involved me in every aspect of the play. I've given stage directions, talked about character development and story arc (that part I'm not faking), taught choreography, posted rehearsal times on our FB wall ... and one of these days Matthew will step back and the play will be mine. He'll show up for opening night and that's it. He gives a lot of responsibility to his stage manager, and I've learned a hell of a lot in the past few weeks. He also says I should direct my own show someday, but I think I'm fine just playing a supporting role. And I can cross stage manager off my bucket list--not that I knew it was on there when I said I'd do it.

A couple of weeks ago I also auditioned for Scrooge. I wasn't sure I would audition; in fact, I thought I would chicken out. The phobia. I didn't want to have to do the singing part of the audition.** I've done one musical audition for A Piece of My Heart, and I didn't get the part. But I got to play my guitar for that one; I was doing something I do in real life. I didn't even really prepare for it because it was the morning after opening night for Octette. Besides I knew I wasn't really right for the part, so I didn't expect to get it. The Scrooge audition required a musical theater number, and I've never done musical theater, so I was going to chicken out.

But as we were leaving our rehearsal, Matthew said, "You should audition. There aren't many women in there." I said, "No, I don't have a song." "Just sing 'Happy Birthday,'" he said, and then he went up to the table and asked the woman manning it if it was too late for me to audition. She handed me a clipboard and I did what I do. I followed Miss Serendipity right into that audition.

I stood in front of the director, music director, stage manager, producer and all the other auditioners and I sang horribly. No, really, it was bad. I decided to sing "Cry," a song I sang to my kids as I rocked them and that I now sing to my granddaughter. And I started it, but the music director said he wanted to hear my high register. So instead of switching to Mozart or something soprano-ish, I just bumped "Cry" up a few whole steps and warbled and shook through the entire song. I was blazing with embarassment when it was over, but I stayed for the cold reading too .... and I got a part! A real part with a name and lines and everything. My very first musical, after all these years as a musician. Cross another one off my bucket list.

So now I'm working on two plays at once. And let me tell you what that looks like. "Master Harold" ... and the boys rehearsals Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday nights from 6:30-9:30. Scrooge vocal rehearsal today at noon because I'm missing the ones scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, and then a two-hour choreography rehearsal tonight. And another choreography Thursday night. It's a lot. And it's so much fun!

Choreography! I love dancing, but I've never done choreography before. We worked on one song for two hours, and I could have stayed and done it another two. Not true of my male partners. The first one only made it through half of the rehearsal and had to sit out the rest. The second one was grabbing his knees before we were done. (This is a whole other post, the problem of men my age not being able to keep up with me. Yes, that sounds arrogant, but it's a fact. And kind of a problem. Think anything you want about that and it's probably exactly what I mean.) OK, it wasn't my fault this time that my partners couldn't keep up. I wondered what I would do for exercise once it was too cold to ride my bike ...... now I know.

And here's the reticulation of these two plays. Matthew directed me in Wit and now I'm stage managing with him. The Scrooge director is the Octette director's daughter. And he is in the cast, along with another of my sisters from Octette. And one of the other ensemble members from Wit is also in the cast, singing soprano with me, as is my friend, the Wit stage manager. The wife of the director who didn't cast me in A Piece of My Heart  has a part. And I'm sure before it's over, I'll notice other connections.

This is a rather dry recitation, a resume if you will, of my theater experience. I have stories, interesting experiences, but when I'm in a play, it takes a lot of time. I don't get a chance to write much. Even as I write tonight, it's almost 3:00am and I've got 20+ conferences to do with students tomorrow. But I'm going to try to be better at writing short snippets and sharing them now that I've set the stage.

Next act....bed.

* It's kind of pathetic, but I don't really have a bucket list. I could probably write an entire post about my lack of bucket list, and maybe I will. Someone once asked me, after telling me a few things on his, what was on my list and I couldn't come up with one thing to tell him. But I do follow Miss Serendipity and often I retroactively add experiences to my bucket list. I learned a long time ago not to want anything too much, not to ask for what I want, and that lesson is still being reinforced today so .... I don't have a bucket list. I don't expect to get what I ask for. But I do know when something that should be there has been crossed off. Maybe someday I'll meet somebody who helps me believe in the bucket list..... Maybe that should be the first entry on my list.

** People who know me will probably be puzzled by this. It's true though. This phobia exists and I do battle with it as often as possible.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life on Wisteria Lane

For a while now my daughter Elvira has been complaining that my life is more interesting than hers. It's true, what she says. I have been cursed by an evil fairy at birth blessed with an interesting life. I was born a red-haired small town scandal, and I've been given interesting stories to tell since. The past few years I've experienced enough for seven memoirs, but all seven would have to be published posthumously. I don't need for my life to get that interesting. Not everyone in my life owns a Prius, you know; some of them actually own guns and pick-up trucks, and those are the ones who would make the most interesting stories.

Last summer Elvira started comparing my life to Desperate Housewives. If you're a fan, you can understand why I would protest. Totally unbelievable plots peopled by rather stereotypical characters that somehow entertained Elvira and me enough that we've watched it for six years and will probably fly our flags at half-mast next spring when the final episode airs. Nobody's life is really like Desperate Housewives though, is it? Of course not... right?

Last summer, shortly after I moved into the 'hood city, I told Elvira she was exaggerating. I said, "Elvira, I think you're exaggerating. Nobody's life is like Desperate Housewives. And besides, I'm not a housewife any more. Since your father, Lt Col Ex, dumped me for a much younger sociopathic liar who used to flatter me by saying she wanted to be me when she grew up and who dyes her hair the same color as mine moved out, I've been teaching...."
"Mom," Elvira rarely lets me finish a sentence. "Face it. You're just like Bree Van de Kamp."
"Bree? Bree? I'm not like Bree! She's a tight ass perfectionist who let both her husband and a boyfriend die while she watched and drove her son to..."
"She bakes muffins and her house is perfect and all kinds of crazy things happen to her. You're like Bree."
"You're just saying that because she's the redhead. How cliched is it to have a blonde one, a redhead, and two brunettes? I think I'm more like..."
Another crazy redhead
"You're Bree. Look at how you kept our house. It was perfect."
"Not all the time. Remember how Hoghead went home and had glitter all over his clothes that one time and I let all the weeds grow up in the...."
"How many times did you vacuum every week?"
"If I  had a lot of papers to grade, that was a treat I gave myself. I'd grade ten papers and then I'd get to vacuum for ten minutes or wash the...."
"Yeah. Bree."
"And besides, I don't live in the suburbs any more and I could never get the carpet in this house as clean as..."
"You're Bree," she repeats herself until I'm exhausted and give in sometimes, but not yet.
"Elvira, Bree is an alcoholic who can't drink wine any more. I drink wine by the box, so I can't be...."
"It's not just the cleaning and the baking. Look at the shit that happens to you!"
"I've certainly never let anybody die right in front of me, although if your father, Lt Col Ex, choked on a chicken bone right now I might...."
"OK, look at what happened the day you moved. You were standing out in the yard talking to your friend, Linda, when you received a text. Just as you pulled your phone from your pocket and looked at the message, the almost full moving van started to roll down the driveway and you watched it crash into the house ..... the house you'd closed on the week before and didn't own any more. And the text was from your close friend who is a lawyer..."
"He just wanted to see how the move was going. He didn't know about the truck when he sent the...."
"....who is a lawyer and whom you had arrested earlier this summer, Mom ... anyway, your friend the lawyer texted you just as a moving truck rolled into your house and nobody was even surprised that the truck rolled into the house. Mom, you're Bree."
"I don't really think it was necessary to bring up the arrest. You know that was painful for both...."
"Mom! That's not the point!"
"It's true that when I called Starr...."
"Your handyman's name is Starr*! One more for my side."
"I love Starr. He's so hot."
"Sorry. It's true that when I called him he didn't even say hi when he answered. He just said, 'What happened now, babe?' OMG, he's so cute! Did I tell you about the time Colorado and I were standing under the skylight while he was fixing the roof and he had on shorts .... "
"Yeah, nobody is surprised any more that you live on Wisteria Lane."
"I live in a gated community now, I'll have you know." **

We've had a variation of this conversation a few times, Elvira and I. She feels kind of cheated that she's 20 and her life is less interesting than her old mom's life, so when she's bored she'll call and get a story. But Desperate Housewives? Really? That seems a little....well, then again, maybe Elvira has a point.

So the new season started a few weeks ago and .... just to catch you up ... Gabby Solis's abusive step-father showed up and attacked her in her house. Her husband Carlos walked in just in time and cracked him over the head and killed him. Now, Carlos has been to prison before, so he didn't want to go back,and besides the step-father deserved to be killed several times over. As they were pondering the situation, the other desperate housewives showed up to help Gabby get ready for her leg of a neighborhood traveling dinner party....well, anyway they walked in.

Bree took control and guided them into hiding the body until the party was over, and then taking it out and burying it in the woods. Then she went home and fucked her hot police detective boyfriend. She eventually broke up with the hot police detective boyfriend and now he hates her .... fuck me, this is so familiar .... And now her daughter is making sex swings and selling them on the internet .....

OMG! I've had an epiphany. I really am Bree Van de Kamp! If I walked into a friend's house and her husband had just killed her abusive step-father, I would so lead the body-burying party. And I would also tell Susan to shut the fuck up and stop whining about it. And I would also fuck my hot police detective boyfriend....OK, that's probably not relevant....but I would so boink that guy in spite of his jumbo ears, and I would break up with him even if it was the last thing I wanted to do. I would do all of that, and the scary thing is ... it's something that I could imagine really happening in my interesting life, and I wouldn't feel one bit of remorse. Not one bit. Well .... maybe about breaking up with the hot police detective, but I'm sure he'd turn into an asshole who deserved it. Inevitably if I went out with him, he'd turn out to be a total asshole and proud of it.

Our cows
How do I know I'm Bree? OK, a couple of weeks ago I made the raw milk pickup for our little herd  share co-op.  Chicken Grrrl came over to get her milk, and as we were carrying a large cooler full of several gallons of milk in half-gallon glass Bell jars from my van to her car, my neighbor across the street, Melvyn, called out, "Hey, baby. Whatcha got in there? You need some help?"
I shouted back, "No, we can carry it."
"You  know I love you, baby. Whatchoo got in there?" Melvyn is in love with me, partly because I'm so lovable and partly because he's an alcoholic, and I attract fucked up men.
"It's a dead body. We don't need to involve you. Love you too."
"OK, baby. You let me know if you need help."
"OK. We don't. It's only one body. We've got this."
As we strained to lift the cooler into the back of her car, I looked up and saw two cops half a block away, walking up the street toward us, just seconds after my conversation with Melvyn. I laughed. "Looks like we're busted with this dead body," I said.

The cops stopped to visit. One of them asked if we lived nearby. I said I lived in the green house there, and  I sure appreciated them walking the neighborhood. He said they worked for the hospital, so they weren't really patrolling for criminals. I noted they had guns and that seemed like a helpful deterrent to crime.

"You could be dealing drugs right in front of me and I wouldn't say anything," the cop told us.
Hmmmm, I thought. (Yes, I really do think, hmmmm, sometimes.) Hmmm. I wonder if he's trying to score some pot.
"I don't think you need to worry about me dealing drugs in front of you," I said. "Usually I'm more discreet than that."
"Well, you could and I wouldn't do anything," he said. I didn't direct him to either of the two drug dealers on the block.
"What if we were carrying a dead body in a cooler?" I said. Chicken Grrrl gasped behind me, as if we had really carried a dead body to her car just minutes before. Then I heard her giggle.
"If you were carrying a dead body, we'd probably have a discussion about that," he said.
I laughed. "Oh, you wouldn't offer to help? I've heard dead bodies are heavy," I said.
"No, I probably wouldn't help," he said. And they soon walked on, leaving us to our cooler full of dead body milk.

Here's the thing: If we'd really been carrying a dead body, I wouldn't have done anything different. Chicken Grrrl would have vomited in the street beside her car, but not me. I would have joked with Melvyn and with the cops about the dead body. And then I would have taken it somewhere--not saying where--and dug a hole and buried it.

It's not that I'm a killer, nor do I want to be. I'm not even a hater. And I'm certainly not a sociopath. Hell, I come out on the opposite end of the spectrum on the sociopath checklist. And I don't think I invite trouble. But in certain kinds of situations, I tend to take control and clean up the mess. And then I make Jello shots bake muffins and make sure life gets back to normal ..... well, what I call normal. For a while .... until the next interesting thing happens.

I've known people whose lives were not interesting, people who either lived through other people, or just didn't live, as far as I could tell. I'm glad I'm not either of those. But sometimes having an interesting life can be a challenge too. Like when calling the police becomes the last reasonable option or a moving van backs into your house, or when a dead body needs to be dealt with. Sorry I can't write about the latter here, should it ever happen, because that's another thing Bree knows how to do. She knows how to keep a secret, and so do I. One thing about an interesting life: even if I keep a few secrets, there will always be more stories to tell. I've been avoiding telling an important one, but my muse Delores isn't going to let me do that much longer. Interesting isn't always funny, is it? Sometimes it's just ... interesting.

* The really sad thing is that Starr died in the middle of the night of a heart attack just a couple of days after he repaired the damage from the moving van crashing into my house. He was only 30 years old. Sometimes no matter how you spin it, an interesting life isn't a funny life. I've got a lot of stories to prove that.
** I live in a neighborhood with locked gates that block the street every two blocks. They were installed in the 90's to prevent high-speed chases with drug dealers and drive-by shootings. It seems to have worked. I drive much slower after I turn down my street, and I still haven't shot anybody.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alt Uses for Breast Milk

Some recent text conversations with my daughter, Elvira,* about breast milk.

Elvira: I'm afraid Baby Girl has pink eye.
Me: Is her eye irritated and glossy? Pink eye will make her eyeball glossy.
Elvira: It's pretty red. I can't tell if it's glossy. What should I do?
Me: Doctors usually don't treat pink eye any more. It goes away in its own in time, but it's highly contagious. Let's keep an eye on it.
Me: Hee.

Next day...

Me: How's Baby Girl's eye today?
Elvira: It's fine. I put some breast milk in it.
Me: You put breast milk in her eye? Really?
Daughter: It's supposed to have healing properties.
Me: But in her eye?
Elvira: Just a little bit. It worked.
Me: I never would have considered putting breast milk in your eye.

A few days later, from the commissary....

Me: I'm picking up some Desitin to keep at home. Do you need any?
Elvira: I don't need it. I use breast milk.
Me:  It's for diaper rash.
Elvira: I know. I use breast milk.
Me: You put breast milk on her butt? 
Elvira: It has healing properties. She had a little diaper rash so I squirted some breast milk on it and it went away immediately.
Me: I never would have considered putting breast milk on your butt.


Elvira: Breast milk cures razorburn. LOL
Me: I want some!
Elvira: OK.
Me: W00t!

Elvira and me, we don't need no fucking Silk'n SensEpil. We've got breast milk.

* She chose her own name. It fits.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Five Tiny Spoons

Dionne Quintuplet Spoons

A funny bit of serendipity occurred while I was in Iowa last month. Mom was showing me her new dining room hutch and the drawer she had for storing Grandma's silver and some other old things like curling irons she heated up on the wood stove and a set of five old spoons. Mom said, "I used to choose one of these spoons every morning to eat my breakfast with. See, each one is a different one of....oh, what were they called? There were five babies that were born..."

"The Dionne quintuplets?" I asked.
"Yes, that's who they were! The Dionne quintuplets," she said. "They were very famous back then."

A year ago I'd never even heard of the Dionne quintuplets. They were famous in the 1930's for being the first quintuplets to survive after birth, but that was long before my time. They were, or are (two are still alive), older than my mom.

The Dionne Quintuplets

I knew about the Dionne quintuplets because I talked about them a lot this past winter when I played Lil, "the zany sister who plays the piano and breaks into song," in a community theatre production of The Octette Bridge Club. The play is about eight Irish Catholic sisters who meet for a weekly bridge game. The action takes place in 1934--the year the quintuplets were born--and 1944. Lil was particularly enamored with "those tiny, tiny babies" who were "so small one could fit in the palm of your hand. In the palm of your hand!"

You'd think doing a play with seven other women, all playing sisters, might be fraught with drama--the real life kind--but it wasn't. The eight of us became remarkably close over the weeks of rehearsals and productions--almost like real sisters only we didn't fight. But we did help each other put together costumes, nursed each other through colds, got together early to run lines or work on music. And we even supported each other through some pretty tough times.

One sister's grandmother died in hospice the week of production. She couldn't come to the dress rehearsal because she had to be at the funeral home. But she was back for opening night, holding it together by a thread. The play ends when, after an especially emotional revelation, Lil suggests they all gather around the piano and sing "You Are My Sunshine." My "sister" Nora said to me before the performance, "I don't think I can get through that song tonight." She was facing the audience and the back of the piano. I was playing the piano with my back to the audience, facing her. I said, "You just look at me and we'll get through it."

So we played the last scenes, and luckily we were all supposed to be crying anyway....then I led the sisters to the piano to sing us out of the show. Nora took her place in front of me as I hit the intro notes. I looked right into her eyes and gave her the biggest smile I had, trying not to cry myself as I saw her struggle. But she bravely smiled back and we sang, and she looked for all the world like she was having a great time singing with her sisters. The lights came down, we hurried off stage, and then had to come right back out in pairs for our curtain calls. As we faced each other from opposite wings waiting to go out together, I could see Nora was still struggling. So I kept smiling at her as we met in the middle and walked back across that stage together and took our bows...The show must go on, right? Falling apart was for later in the dressing room.

Nora wasn't the only one who needed her sisters during those weeks. A couple of weeks before production, I had to have my standard poodle, Pippi, euthanized. My daughter and I took her into the vet's office and held her while she died. And then I went to school and taught, and I went to Octette rehearsal. As soon as I got there, my oldest "sister," Martha took me in her arms and let me cry a while. She'd been through it before. And my other sisters took their turns hugging me and commiserating. But the show goes on even when it's a practice run. We took our places on stage and started running the show.

Everything was fine. I played zany Lil and talked about how I wished I could see those tiny babies, and how we were going to be even more famous than them because our picture was going to be in the rotogravure. Everything was fine....until we got to the end of the first act. I didn't even see it coming. The sisters were sharing a moment of remembrance of their late parents, crossing themselves and saying, "God rest their souls." And Lil, after a theatrical beat to let the audience see how much we missed them, starts to sing one of their Daddy's favorite songs. And it goes like this:
Old dog Tray ever faithful
Grief shall not drive him away.
He is gentle, he is kind,
No better friend you'll find,
No better friend than old dog Tray.

I got about three words into it before it hit me what I was singing and I started crying. My seven sisters realized it when they saw the tears roll down my cheeks and they started singing louder to get me through it. Martha took one hand and Alice reached across the bridge table for the other. By the end of the song, all eight of us were crying. The director, assistant director and producer stared at us from their seats in the house for a few long seconds as we sniffed and dabbed. And then the director jumped up and said, "You aren't supposed to cry there. It's way too early to start crying." Then we all laughed, and Martha told him I'd just had to put my dog to sleep that morning. So he gave me a big hug too and we took a break.

All that to say, I knew nothing about the Dionne quintuplets until last winter, and yet if you mentioned them to any of my seven sisters from Octette, I think they would all experience the same rush of memories I did*. And here was my mom showing me a full set of spoons, handles molded into the little girls' likenesses and engraved with their names.

I wish I could say my mom gave me those spoons to bring home with me, but she didn't. I have to admit I covet them. It's mostly because they belonged to my grandma and my mom used them as a child. But I also wish so much I could show them to my Octette sisters. We talked about the poor Dionne quintuplets and how tragic their lives were....but I probably won't end up with the spoons. It's better not to expect things like that to happen.

I'll just enjoy the moment of serendipity. And be glad for my sisters--both the ones I share blood with and the ones I shared Octette with.

* I'm just starting rehearsals on a new play; one of my sisters and the director, our honorary sister, will be in it with me. Nora beat me out for a part in a play that goes into production this week, and it's being directed by Octette's assistant director. We see each other several times a week at the theater (different theater). I'm also stage managing a play there so our rehearsals overlap. Most of us are friends on Facebook, so we've kept in touch. We may not be as close as the Dionne quintuplets, but we forged an amazing connection in those weeks we played sisters. After a while, we weren't even acting any more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Where'd You Get that Unusual Dildo?

Dildos. I don’t know why I have to keep writing about them. How interesting can something that's little more than a shape be. It's just phallic, nothing else, right? Maybe I feel compelled to give those curious people who are looking for good, solid information a place to land as they’re doing their research--people who find my blog by googling “dildo riding blogspots” or “dildo mit pats” or “dildo porn kilts.”*

And yet I feel a little guilty because, although I found my friend’s dildo, Squildo, to be quite the adorable little guy….ish, lately some dildos have come across my radar that….well, let’s just say I question whether their actual application to the vagina would result in the kind of giddiness a girl expects from a phallic substitute.

For example there’s this metal, steam-powered, steampunk vibrating dildo. At first I thought, Ouch. That metal looks terribly cold and unforgiving, but then I read on. It’s powered by steam from a pressure cooker. OK, let’s break this down. These are adjectives describing nouns that should not be put into a vagina: 1) steam-powered (Hot! Pressure cookers are meant to kill botulism, not vaginas), 2) metal (cold, hot, and Mama Bear says this is too hard), and 3) steampunk. Huh? What’s steampunk about this thing? Stay on your own side of the playground, hipster.

The funniest thing about this Robodildo is the name of the website where I found it: It’s a sign. Wherever Squildo is, he must be laughing at the irony.

And then there’s this homemade dildo DIY video**. Homemade from ice, that is, using condoms and toilet paper tubes right in your own kitchen. In various sizes. He doesn’t mention flavors, but why not? If you’re into that sort of thing ... but please tell me you’re not. Who would let this guy stick an ice penis into her coochie? And why would he want to make an ice dildo in the first place?


The guy tries to explain it. He’s obviously heard some criticism of his craftiness, maybe even been called gay before. He says “If you’re so closed-minded you don’t know how to please your girl with more than your dick, then … ah … she’s prolly gonna try to find a guy like me after a while after she gets tired of you just … I guess … screwin’ her for five minutes…” Ummm, yeah. I’ll take the five minutes of dick any day over however long he can go with his weinersicle.

To his credit, he does give one safety tip, really the first thing I thought of. He says to wet it first or you’ll end up like that kid on A Christmas Story. And then the fun will be over, Frosty.

And finally, Halloween is drawing near and even dildos like to dress up and go out to all the parties. I think Squildo might be inspired by this Mythos dildo. Hand-made and sold on etsy. (I'd just recommend hiding this one from the male members of your family. They probably won't play with it in the way it's intended to be played with.)

Oh, I could go on and on, and I’m not even an expert on dildos. They just seem to fall into my lap—cyberly speaking, of course—and I have to share—cyberly speaking, of course, because you can't buy these things at Walmart or So what about you. Seen any cool dildos yourself lately?

* Yes, this is how my adoring fans find me. It makes my epeen so hard to read my sexy keyword searches.
** If you get all the way through this video, I'll send you an ice dildo made by my own hands in my own kitchen.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'll Take Mine with Hair

I'm a loser. No, really, I am. I didn't win the way too expensive and probably doesn't work anyway piece of shit Silk'n SensEpil I wrote about last month. Seriously, it's probably an expensive piece of shit that costs $500 effective, painless hair-removal system that costs a lot less than professional laser treatments or decades of painful waxing. The Reticulated Daughter* thought my story was the best one on the blog where the Silk'n SensEpil giveaway was posted, but someone else won the super dooper hair zapper. Someone whose story, according to the Silk'n SensEpil people, was better than mine. Someone who is a product endorsement blog whore better storyteller than I am.

Reticulated Daughter checked the blog--another product endorsement whore's ummmm .... blog--daily to see if I'd won. She was only two years old the first time she stole my razor and shaved her legs. She wanted  that fucking Silk'n SensEpil. She wanted it bad. She planned to be hairless from her eyelashes down to her toenails within minutes of its arrival in my mail slot. So she checked compulsively to make sure I was ahead, and she reported back that nobody had even come close to telling a better story than mine. I tried to keep a Zen attitude. Whatever happened would happen. Duh. But I was excited every time she reported in. I wanted to be hairless from my eyelashes down to my toenails too.

But I didn't win. I tried not to become too invested, yet obviously I was. I became depressed. I stopped shaving. I didn't shave for at least 5 days weeks. I took solace when Sean, the crazy brother on The Big C, put it all into perspective. He said, "Women used to let their follicles grow wild like nature intended. I remember when going down on a woman was like snuggling, open-mouthed, with a baby lion. It was absolutely delightful. Now, it’s like licking a dolphin’s blow hole." And I thought, fuck yeah. I don't have to shave just because a bunch of porn stars are doing it. What's next? Labiaplasty? Fuck those Silk'n SensEpil people. I don't need a dolphin's blow hole between my legs. I'm better than that.

But today as I wedged myself into the Lycra bike shorts I swore I'd never wear, I looked down at my legs and realized pretty soon I was going to look like an orangutan on a bike. Not a pretty sight. Certainly nobody deserves to have to look at that. I'd rather be a dolphin's blow hole.

As I lathered up and shaved my legs, inspiration struck. I may not be a product endorsement blogger whore successful commercial blogger, but my readers were all patiently waiting to see if I won I do know how keywords work and I do know what happens when you use certain words over and over in a blog post. Words like really fucking expensive and probably a piece of shit but I'll never know because I can't afford to be hairless from my eyelashes down Silk'n SensEpil. I know because people find my blog by using keywords like "frosting vagina" and "gay nipple torture pasties."

Yeah, I didn't win. Someone else told a better story. If only I'd coined the phrase "Vietnamese blow job" I might have won .... because nobody has ever used that phrase before. I might even have started my new career as a blog whore. But instead ..... I'm just a writer. A writer who has to shave her legs ... and her blow hole. Sigh.

* I really need to think of a clever name for each of my children so as to protect their privacy and yet represent them in their truest light. Any ideas?