Thursday, May 31, 2012

If I were a man for 24 hours ...

I stole these from somebody's Flicker. Sorry.

Last Friday I spent the back end of the night at a rustic old bourbon bar downtown with Diplomat and Alex. I love this bar -- not because I like bourbon; I don’t, but if I did, they have some rare and expensive bourbons. I love it because it’s got a long, old-fashioned bar with bartenders who look like ZZ Top in the 60’s, and because it only has one bathroom. Seriously. One bathroom with one toilet. Who builds a bar without a urinal? It’s a dive, but they play blues on the jukebox, and they make me delicious, light pink cosmopolitans, and it's not a place where people judge.

I was halfway through my second cosmo when Alex said, “If I were a genie and could turn you into a man for 24 hours, what would you do?”

Hmmmmm. What would I do? Take a shower and leave a hair on the soap? Go to the store and forget what I was supposed to buy? Leave the seat up on that one toilet in the back of the bar? What would I do if I had only 24 hours to be a man?

Of course, the first thing I had to say was fuck women. After that ….. after that I didn’t get to say what I would do, because Alex and Diplomat took over and told me what I must do so I would know what it was like to be a man. Because, as you'll see from the list below, it's so hard being a man.

That’s a different take on an age-old question though, right? The men telling me what I should do? I ran up to the bar and grabbed a handful of napkins to write on.

1. Fuck women and get a blowjob. I said I’d have to fuck at least two women. Alex said I’d find out it’s not that easy to get a woman to … I said I thought I knew at least two women who would fall on that sword. See? I was thinking like a man already. The blowjob was actually added later, toward the end. I’m still astonished that neither of them thought of that sooner. Maybe men aren’t into blowjobs as much as I thought. I'd still like to get one.

2. Get kicked in the balls. Alex must take full credit for this one. He insisted -- even after I protested mightily -- that I had no choice but to be kicked in the jewels. He said that was the only way I would know the immense pain men can feel, which he compared to childbirth. …... …... ….. I saw Diplomat blanch. He said, no, he’d seen childbirth and nothing compares to that and he wanted to go on record as saying getting kicked in the balls isn’t as bad as having a baby come out of your vagina. Ya think??? There’s a reason why newborns’ heads are measured in centimeters, and that’s because a centimeter is smaller than an inch, and if baby heads were measured in inches no woman would go through with it. Not one. Hurts as much as childbirth, he said. Oh, Alex. I can’t wait until you’re a woman for 24 hours. Diplomat, there's a reason I call you that. You get a free pass. (I don't know who gets the privilege of kicking me in the balls. We didn't decide that.)

3. Write my name in the snow. This one, I said, is just too obvious. Besides I’ve written my name in the snow using someone else’s yellow pen(is). I said I found the penis to be more difficult to write with than one would expect. I suppose it won’t take that long to write my name in the snow, and it’s better than getting kicked in the balls.

4. Make more money. Please. It’s about fucking time.

5. Get in a fart fest with other men. I had no idea men do this. Women don’t. I knew one woman who farted against the grill of her van just to show us it made a lovely ringing sound, but nobody else joined in. And my sister is incorrigible and thinks her vile farts are funny, but again, the rest of us don’t join in. This sounds rather stinky, and if I’m only a man for 24 hours and I do this, won’t I be embarrassed the next day? What’s wrong with men anyway?

6. Lack of rape/walk through the parking lot. Yep, we got serious on this one. Alex suggested it, probably because he thinks about these things. He rarely lets me walk to my van alone at the end of the night. I think he understands better than most men how dangerous his tribe is. I do too, but even though I appreciate him walking with me, I hate to give up my right to walk in a fucking parking lot. So for 24 hours I wouldn’t have to worry about it. For 24 hours, I could be the one to walk someone to her van so she doesn’t get raped.

7. Prostate massage/ rectal wiggle. I can’t believe this came up before blowjob. That’s all I have to say about that. When I am a man, the blowjob will come first.

8. Shave my face. No way, I said. I already have to shave my legs and other parts of my body now. I want to grow a beard. But no. No. I have to shave my face. I thought I might shave a design on my face, but then I wouldn’t get laid. That I know from being a woman.

9. Deal with a hard-on in public. Hee. I hope it’s a big one and everybody stares and women want to touch it.

10. Roll over and go to sleep after sex. I protested this one. Some men like to cuddle a while. Don’t they? I mean, even if they go to sleep while they’re cuddling? Alex said no, if she wants to cuddle I either have to go right to sleep or get up and do something else. I really don’t want to be that man. I’m going to cuddle until I’m ready to go again …. which will be in about 3 minutes. Because I’m not going to waste my 24 hours by falling asleep right after sex. I'm not going to sleep at all.

11. Walk around in public without a shirt. This one is mine. I’m not going to wear a shirt because I will have large smooth pecs and a six-pack stomach and hair on my chest. Someone did bring up that I had a choice now, and I could go without a shirt any time I wanted to. But we had to agree I’d probably get all of us kicked out of the Century if I took off my shirt. No shirt, no shoes, no service.

12. Pee in a crowded urinal. Euwwww. Any women reading this just wrinkle your nose and hold your breath? I still don’t know why I have to do this. I don’t want to. I’d rather stay out in the snow and write my name.

13. Jack off before sex. Again, I protested this one. Giving myself a hand-job is just like giving anybody else one, right? I want to keep all of my virility, I said. But then I relented and said I would jack off, but only before I fucked a woman because then I wouldn’t embarrass myself by .,... you know …. popping off too soon. I really wish I hadn’t said that because ….

14. Premature ejaculation. Nope, I said. Not happening to me. Yes, they said, it must, although I believe Diplomat claimed it doesn’t happen to every man, meaning himself. He said it diplomatically though. I said it wasn’t going to happen to me because I was going to jack off. They just want me to be humiliated when I’m a man. At least I’ll still have number 4.

15. Whiskey dick. So, not only do I have to pop off too soon, I also don’t get to do it at all with some unfortunate woman. I don’t think this one is at all fair. I only have 24 hours with my large penis. It should get to have the most fun possible in 24 hours. I’m going to start stocking up on Viagra. (Don’t tell them or they’ll steal it.)

16. Male privilege authority figure. Yes, I will be inherently more worthy when I’m a man. For 24 hours only. Then I will go back to being just a woman.

17. Sing falsetto. I’m not sure why I have to sing falsetto when I can soar as a woman with my trippingly light coloratura soprano voice, but this one is on the list. Alex and I sing “Under Pressure” together at karaoke sometimes. I think he wants me to really sound like Freddie Mercury. I don't think he wants me to be gay though, because that would totally ruin number 1 for me.

18. Shave my head. Oh, Alex. Just because he shaves his head, I have to shave mine. But that’s OK. I like shaved heads. And the women I pleasure will love rubbing their hands on my shiny, smooth yet scabby, head. And if they want to run their fingers through my hair …..

19. Have a hairy chest. Yes! I want a hairy chest. I love running my fingers through a hairy chest. I will have a lovely hairy chest, and I will walk around without a shirt in public with my hairy chest and my six-pack abs and my round, hard biceps. I will gladly return the hairy chest once I am a woman again though.

20. Have a woman make me a sandwich during the game. I’m OK with this one. I’m not sure what game I’ll be watching, but maybe Hunger Games will be on Netflix by the time I’m a man.

21. Go to the bathroom by myself. This is not to be confused with number 12. Women may not go to the bathroom by ourselves, but we do pee alone. Just to be clear. I’ve always said the difference between raising a son and raising a daughter was that my son was in the bathroom for hours every day by himself and my daughter was in the bathroom for hours every day with her friends. It will take courage, but I think I can go to the bathroom by myself. From what I can deduce, the drama happens around the urinal.

22. Scratch and/or play with my balls. I probably couldn’t resist this one even if they hadn’t put it on the list. I mean, having all that …. those appendages hanging out there on the front, I’d have to play with all of it. Evidently balls get itchy though, because Diplomat and Alex agreed this one will feel especially good. So I will have to scratch them, tenderly? Vigorously? I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and find out. Surreptitiously for sure.

23. Not give a shit. Ta da! Now I will really be a man! Notice on the napkin this one is not written by my hand. I was practicing not giving a shit, so Alex had to write it. I can’t imagine 24 hours of not giving a shit. I’m serious. I would love that.

That’s our their list. I have notes to give, now that I’m not fueled by cosmopolitans. A) Nothing here is about pleasing a woman. I suppose I could do that now, but still. B) And nothing is about protecting anybody. I want to be somebody’s hero, so I add that one as number 24. I'm going to stand up to a bully .... no, lots of bullies. Nofuckingbody will be an asshole around me unless it's me. I will be fierce.

Also 10/23 of these have to do with the penis and/or balls and/or something that would affect them. I am not surprised. And 5 are things traditionally done in bathrooms. I am not surprised.

We also started a list for what they’d have to do if they could be women for 24 hours, but they wouldn’t let me be in control. Then the bar closed and ZZ Top kicked us out, so we didn’t finish it even though it's already longer than mine. Being a woman is complicated. I think that list may need to be revisited when I’ve got female reinforcements.

Or maybe I’ll post what we got so far here in a day or two and the women who read here can add to it. What do you think?

Men, anything you would add to this list?

PS, this is my final NaBloPoMo post for May (which is over).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

That's not a dildo

A few months ago I ran across an article with an interesting title. Interesting to me, that is, because as I've written here last night before, I spent 20 years as a military wife. Because LtColEx and I were apart for long stretches during many of those years, the title of the article intrigued me: "A Thousand Dildos for the Military Wives."

I tucked it away in a file and didn't read it because it seemed obvious from the title what was going on. I predicted some adult toy company was going to donate dildos to the poor military wives who are left at home lonely and sexless while their husbands are off at war. Better than what I got when LtColEx was gone for weeks at a time, which was ..... nothing.

No wait, I did get something. A 5-minute phone call once a week on what's called the "autovon line." It was 3 years before I was made aware that someone at the squadron had to listen to every one of our phone calls, and the monitor couldn't be turned off. Everybody took their turn at autovon duty, so we had no privacy.

I looked forward to those 5 minutes every week, but maybe a dildo would have been less embarrassing that what some of the airmen might have overheard before I was told they were listening. Anyway .....

Tonight I finally read the article. Really read it all the way through. And ... dildos for the military wives my ass! No military wives are going to get dildos, much less a thousand of them. No, sir. What this article is about is military wives giving long-distance hand jobs to their husbands during what could only be called a virtual booty call.

This article is about a device called RealTouch, which yes, you can buy right this very minute for about $250. (And isn't it just typical the man "dildo" costs 1/6 of the price of a Sybian? This whole thing just reeks of male privilege.)

The original purpose of the device is so men can pretend they're fucking porn stars by synching up with porn movies. But the manufacturer is such a humanitarian, he decided he'd expand his market to military families, because you know, so many military wives look and act like porn stars. He's trying to contact the military so he can share this "genuine social benefit" with military couples all over the world. Step aside, Bill Gates.

I don't really want to promote this thing, but we've come this far. You might as well learn how it works.

One half of the "unit" looks like a big loaf of white bread with a slit in it. The author of the article writes that "the unit warms up, lubes up, pulses and grips any item stuck into it." That's his unit. His dildo.

The other half -- her half -- looks like .... fuck it. Here's a photo.
You wouldn't believe the shit I had to look at just so I could show you this photo.

As I said, dildos for the military wives my ass. It's a motorized, long-distance hand-job.

Now, I'm not going to say long, frequent separations aren't hard on the old sex life. They are. But the last thing I was thinking about when LtColEx was gone was giving him a virtual hand job. I had a hundred extra worries, but whether he needed a hand job wasn't one of them.

No, my worries ran more toward swapping out the guts in a broken toilet (damn ballcocks), helping Drake carve pinewood derby cars, changing flat tires, and cleaning up puke when both kids and I had the flu at the same time.

If he'd called me on the autovon line, wasted the five minutes I had to whine about how everything was going wrong, and asked for a fucking hand job, I would have emailed him divorce papers the next day. Along with the other half of his fucking unit.

Dildos for the military wives. What was the author of this article thinking? This has nothing to do with dildos or with wives. He put his finger in the "unit" and got a finger job. You can't put your finger in a dildo. Idiot.

Well, hell, I'm just disappointed. I thought maybe somebody finally wanted to do something nice for the military wives. Like maybe being a military wife had become sexy. First dildos, then Sybians. Keep the wives happy and the troops will be happy too!

But no. I was terribly misled. You can go back to watching Mad Men. No dildos are being handed out here today. Just move along.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Post Memorial Day Story

I'm glad Memorial Day weekend is over. Much as I love 3-day weekends, I've got some heavy baggage that goes with this particular holiday weekend. This one though was hot and busy and not ruined by lies and betrayal. What a relief.

In fact, in a few words this weekend was rock 'n roll jamming, long bike rides along the river, a crowded historical festival, thick, juicy steak and portabellos on the grill, red wine, blood orange and lemon sorbets, Game of Thrones .... and to honor those who gave service, a viewing of one of the worst patriotic, "blowing shit up" movies I've ever seen, Battleship. Most of that with a good friend who knew I needed to replace some memories this weekend. (Thanks, Diplomat.)

As the weekend winds down, I've been thinking about what Memorial Day originally meant. Google it if you don't know. I'm off duty tonight. I was an Air Force officer's wife for 20 years, so I've known a few people who have served this country -- just a few. And I've known a few -- just a few -- who have given their lives.

LtColEx's first assignment out of navigator school was to Robins AFB, Georgia. He was stationed in a wing made of up of two squadrons: B-52 bombers loaded with nukes and the KC-135's that refueled them in the air.

KC-135 refueling a B-52

We lived on base along with a lot of other young couples and families from the wing. It's a unique culture, the military, and I'm not going to try to explain it here. It's enough to say the men were gone a lot and the wives learned to cope if they were going to be military wives for long. Our husbands sat alert one week out of every three, which meant they lived on the other side of the base in the alert facility right beside 4 bombers and 4 135's. Eight crews had to be ready to get those planes in the air within minutes when an alert went off. We never knew when the alert might be the real thing. They were also gone for weeks or months at a time TDY (temporary duty) to other bases in other states and countries, sometimes with only a day's notice.

Somehow we learned to live with the knowledge that our husbands could leave on a mission at any time .... and that they might not come back. Ever.

I was 25 when that reality came crashing home. One of the pilots in the bomber squadron was leaving the plane, going to fly a desk at the Pentagon. We bought his lawn mower from him because his family would be living in a townhouse. He brought the mower to us, and told us he had one more flight later in the week. Our neighbor two houses down, Matt, was the navigator on that flight. There were 5 other crew members on the plane that night too.

They were flying a low-level exercise in snowy Utah, which means they were flying under the radar using instruments. It was a routine flight. These guys flew low-level missions all the time. Because it was the pilot's last flight, the wives drove out on the flight line in one car and were waiting with champagne ..... only the plane didn't show up ...  and it didn't show up.

Finally somebody -- the squadron commander probably -- came out on the flight line and told them the tower had lost contact with the plane.  They weren't sure yet what happened, but the news probably wasn't good. He told the wives to go home and wait. We all waited.

I guess even a plane that big doesn't leave much debris when it flies into a mountain going 500-600 mph. It took two days to find the wreckage, what was left of it. The plane -- everything and everyone on it -- disintegrated when it hit. There wasn't much left.

I can't really describe the shock, the disbelief, we all felt. We were so young. The pilot was 28, and Matt was 24. But the parade of dark blue cars with the chaplains and colonels and generals inside turning into, parking in Roseanne's driveway, kept it all real.

For me, it was one more tragedy in an awful period of time. My dad had suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack at age 46 just a few weeks before in Iowa. I was alone hundreds of miles from home dealing with the grief from that. Life already felt fragile, and now one more thing that could never happen had just happened.

I couldn't go to the memorial service. I was still too raw. I visited Roseanne, my neighbor, and took with me a big can of coffee, which I knew she'd need. I just didn't think I'd make it through the memorial. I don't regret that decision.

The day after the service Roseanne called me and asked if I'd go for a walk with her. She said I was the only one who had gone through a close death, who might understand. I can't believe how young we were.

We walked for a long time, all over the base. She talked about Matt, about finishing school (we were both in college), what she might do next. She wasn't sure. The Air Force was going to let her live in base housing until the end of the semester though, so she'd decide then.

And then she asked me, "How long does it last? This awful grief, how long does it last? I mean, when will it get better?"

I said, "I don't know yet. Never maybe. It's still bad. It's still almost more than I can take sometimes."

She said, "I was afraid of that. I don't know if I can get through this."

I said, "You've already gotten through a few days. You'll get through more. We don't have a choice."

What the fuck did I know? Nothing really. But she did get through it. She got her degree and she remarried a few years later. Eventually I lost track of her. Military people are so transient; she had moved on.

I doubt Matt's parents ever really got over his death though. He was an only child, and they were so proud of him. They had a big stone memorial air-lifted by helicopter and installed on the mountain at the site of the crash. There had been nothing left to bury.

Afterwards, for years, every time a dark blue car drove down the street, I froze and held my breath and prayed, "Please don't let it pull into my driveway. Please don't let them come here." I felt so guilty, hoping it would pull into any driveway but mine. Of course, I didn't want it to pull into another wife's driveway ..... I just didn't want it in mine. And obviously, it never did.

So this Memorial Day, at the very end of the day, I'm telling this story because I remember. I remember those 7 flyers who didn't come home. And I remember all the others who came and went through my life who did come home. And I remember the service LtColEx gave to his country and how proud I've always been of him for that. And how glad I was every time he came home safe.

There's a saying in the military that goes something like this: If the military had meant for an airman to have a family, they would have issued him one. Bullshit. They serve with honor and pride, and their families serve right there beside them .... and carry on when they don't fucking come home. I was grateful for every day that dark blue car didn't pull into my driveway, but I still had to worry that it would.

To all those who serve and have served, I offer all I have: my gratitude. 
Thank you.

Arlington Cemetery

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In memory of you

Memorial Day weekend. Bleh. It's one of those weekends for me. One of those weekends that is colored by difficult Memorial Day weekends in the recent past. A weekend to dread. But those aren't the stories I want to tell.

Today was our annual Memorial Day service at church. The student minister read a story to the kids about a kid's grandfather dying and how the kid was encouraged to tell a story about him. And then people who had lost a relative to death in the past year came up and lit a candle. They were encouraged to say something about the person, tell a story maybe. None of them did. A few said something like, "She was a really nice person. People liked her." It's intimidating to be put on the spot like that.

I have to admit my mind drifted during that part of the service. I was feeling kind of bad because I'd forgotten to have my Aunt De's name added to the list. I started thinking what I would say if I'd remembered and gone up to light a candle. I would say she was always kind and funny and she seemed to love it when we'd go visit them wherever my uncle was stationed with the National Park Service -- Yellowstone, the Platte River in Michigan, Estes Park. There were 7 of us, and one time we took both grandmas. Aunt De never seemed to mind the utter chaos and commotion we brought with us when we visited for a week.

Maybe that's because she always kept a drink behind the canisters in the kitchen, and she sipped on it all day until she could drink in the open after 5:00. She smoked one Pall Mall after another, which made her voice nice and gravelly. And she fed us exotic foods like escargot and smoked salmon. Every single time we visited she made snails because I loved them so much, and she showed me how to make them too.

I remember hating to leave so much that one summer I cried most of the way home. Only I would have gotten in trouble for crying, so I'd just let my eyes fill up with tears behind my sunglasses, but not let the tears spill out. I did it over and over on the long trip back to Iowa from Wyoming. That's what I would have said if I'd remembered to have her name put on the list. I can remember her without lighting a candle at church though.

Then during the offering something happened that made me start thinking .... no, let me describe that first.

The pianist played a lovely song during the offering. I was right next to the piano, and I just closed my eyes and listened. Until the last arpeggio, the last note ..... Oh my god, do not tell me he played a song with an unresolved chord at the end!My jaw literally dropped. (And, yes, I know the correct usage of the word "literally.") I was stunned.

And then in the silence of the sanctuary, as the last note died unresolved and just hanging there waiting for .... well, for fucking resolution, of course ... I heard giggling --no, tittering -- to my right. I looked over and several friends who have sung with me before were openly looking at me and laughing.

I opened my eyes wide and whispered across the row, "He did NOT just do that!" They just laughed harder and shook their heads. I wrote in big letters on my bulletin RESOLVE said "Pssst" to the pianist. He glanced over, read it and simply smiled a tiny bit. The nerve!

That whole exchange, which took less than a minute would have meant nothing to most people who observed it. But people who've played music with me know I can't stand an unresolved chord at the end of a song. Can't fucking stand it. Maybe it's my little touch of OCD. Doesn't matter. Just because Wagner did it, that doesn't make it right.

But that little incident started me wondering during the sermon about the stories people will tell after I die. Will somebody tell a story about how I couldn't stand an unresolved chord? Or will they tell other stories, ones I don't realize made it on the list of things remembered?

What stories will my kids tell? The ones where I'm the perfect mother, which I tried so hard to be? Or will they tell what I call the "bad mommy" stories? The ones we laugh at now. And the ones I still can't laugh at that don't seem to have harmed the Drake and Elivira as much as they did me. What stories will Coraline tell about her Mamá?

What stories will my friends tell? The ones about how self-centered and rude and stubborn I can be? Or the ones that made them laugh?

I don't think there's any way to predict or control such a thing. Pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein died in 1894, and still the story of how his wife used to play an unresolved chord on the piano to get him up in the morning -- because he couldn't leave it unresolved and had to get up to resolve it, and while he was at the piano doing that she would hide the bed sheets -- is one that's common among musicians. In fact, I couldn't name a single thing Rubinstein composed, but I've known this story for years. (Supposedly Mozart's children did it too so he would pay attention to him.) Could Rubinstein and his wife ever have imagined people would remember that story about them? 

I ask you: What stories will people tell about you? Or, better yet, what is the one story you want people to tell after you die? The one story you want people to remember you by? 

(And if you haven't lived that story yet, when will you?)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to lose a serial killer

Chicken Grrrl and I drove up to a city north of here for a party tonight. A friend of ours realized his dream of learning to play guitar in the past year or two, and he'd put together a band. They wanted to play a show for their friends and family in an old mill that's been made into a venue for  bands to play on Saturday nights. The invitation said to bring a guitar if you play, so I stuck one of my electric guitars in the van, but didn't take it in with me.

The band played a good long set, and then they asked if other people would come up and play or jam with them. I had thought maybe Chicken Grrrl and I would get up and play and sing a couple of songs, but it was pretty much a boys' rock 'n roll jam. Nevertheless, I allowed myself to be talked into getting my guitar and eventually getting on stage.

I totally faked it up there. I didn't know most of the songs they were playing, but they had some lead sheets and it was all pretty disorganized at that point, so I didn't stand out one way or another. I was OK standing up there playing and being the surrogate guitar player for all women everywhere.

I've been on stage with a guitar in my hands a lot now. I wasn't uncomfortable even though we probably sounded like a beginner garage band on a few songs. People were drinking and talking and probably not paying much attention to us anyway.

After I dropped off Chicken Grrl though, something happened that did make me uncomfortable. I was driving through downtown in the right lane when a huge pickup next to me swerved over into my lane. I had nowhere to go, so I hit my brakes, swerved as far as I could and tapped my horn to let him know I was there. He moved back into the left lane.

The truck looked something like this, except it was all tricked out.
I slowed to let him into my lane, but he didn't move over. OK, I thought, he didn't want to change lanes, so there's a possibility he's drunk and that's why he swerved. Damn that was a big fucking pickup. It was silver and customized with what looked like missiles or turrets sicking out of the back and the big front grill. I stayed back just in case he decided to occupy my lane again, but he slowed down and I finally just passed him and made a right turn. I crossed all the way to the left lane of three, and as I did, I noticed the pickup was behind me, in the lane to the right of me. He was too big to miss. That was weird. He hadn't been in the right turn lane when I turned.

I had such a huge crush on Rutger Hauer.
We both stopped at a stop light and he pulled up beside me. His truck had one of those hemi engines that sound like a low, loud, dangerous purr. I could feel him staring so I turned and looked. He was bald, in his 30's, and he looked angry. I'm not sure how I'd know his angry look, but something about the sound of his powerful engine and the cold stare reminded of Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher. It was 95 degrees here today, and I suddenly felt ice up my back when I met his eyes. Oh, please, I thought. What a drama queen. I looked away, but my peripheral vision told me he was still staring. Creepy.

I continued through downtown, as did he in the lane beside me. I passed other cars so he was a few back when I left downtown and drove across the bridge. At a red light just over the bridge, I pulled into the left turn lane. I noticed the truck was still in the straight lane, one car back. Good, I thought. I'm just imagining things. He's not following me.

I turned and headed down a dark, bumpy street toward home. The levy rose up on one side and a small isolated neighborhood of only a few blocks was on the right. About a block down the street I glanced up and saw the big grill and headlights of the silver pickup in my rear view mirror. He'd evidently turned left from the wrong lane. That was the second time he'd done that. Now I was afraid he was following me.

I considered my options. The street was going to come to a T soon. I could turn toward home and see if he still followed. Or I could turn left and head back toward the city and just drive around. I tried to think where the nearest police station was, but I couldn't remember.

I decided to stop being so fucking paranoid and turned right toward my home. Half a block later, the pickup swung around the corner behind me. Shit. Probably just somebody who was going home too, but for some reason I had the creeps and I don't get the creeps very often.

I needed to decide what to do fast. My next turn was a left into my neighborhood and the one after that was a left onto my street .... which has a big locked gate at the end. Very effective for stopping high speed chases and drive-by shootings. Not so great if I'm being followed by serial killer in a giant silver truck after midnight.

I had one other choice -- besides driving around until he wasn't behind me any more. Go to the emergency room of the hospital just up the street. I slowed so I could catch a green light, then sped up and turned into the hospital parking lot. I knew there was not only an emergency room but also lots of cops patrolling there.

I pulled to the front of the lot, stopped and hid beside a pickup, killed my lights and watched. The truck didn't follow me into the lot, but I didn't see him go by. He could have passed while I was pulling through the lot though. I waited. Another car went by. Then a cop car.

Now what? I wondered if I should send my kids a text telling them goodbye and that I loved them. But, no. You can't get a text back once you send it and if I was OK in the morning that could be embarrassing.

Shit. Now I didn't know where he was. He could have just pulled over to wait and see if I'd come back out. Finally I pulled down the driveway to the street and looked for him. Nothing. Another cop car cruised down the street toward me and turned into the parking lot. I considered stopping him, but what would I say? A pickup truck was behind me and ..... Silly me.

I turned right, away from home, and then right again at the light. Nobody behind me. I drove through the neighborhood and out to a main road. Still nothing. Finally I took another way home and came into my neighborhood from the other side.

You know how your imagination goes wild when something scary happens? I did not want to turn down my own street toward that gate. I imagined doing it and then looking up to see that giant grill and headlights rumbling behind me, blocking my way out because that's exactly what would happen in the movie. Serial killers are always one step ahead of their victims ..... I did it anyway.

And nothing happened. I unloaded my guitar, unlocked my door, and stepped into my nice, cool house.

I'm going to stop taking my imagination with me when I go out. And I hope I never see that silver truck again .... unless Rutger Hauer is driving it.

I'd be chopped up and rotting in a shallow grave by now if Rutger Hauer had been driving that truck.


This is the third time I've done NaBloPoMo .... and it's the first time I don't have anything I can write. I guess the rules are that any post counts, but that doesn't seem right to me, to count this post as a post. I'm going to have to call this month a fail on the 25th day. Maybe I'll have something to say tomorrow ..... Sorry.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Link this

Isn't it amazing the people who want to be friends with you through social media? I've become friends again through Facebook with lots of people I never would have been in contact with otherwise: people I went to high school with, relatives, people who simply dropped out of my life for various reasons. There are people I haven't connected with, of course. The first boy I kissed, the first boy I fell in love with, other high school friends, other relatives, my mom. OK, I'm connected to my mom through the telephone. We all need boundaries.

And then there are the people out there in Real Worldland I never want to see again. Like my first divorce lawyer, MD. My first divorce lawyer who recently sent a request to link with me on LinkedIn. My first divorce lawyer who fucked up my divorce so bad I'm still trying to fix shit years after I fired his incompetent ass. My first divorce lawyer who will be the one and only asshole to blame if I end up living under a bridge someday, because he did everything he could to ruin my life and I still don't know if he totally succeeded yet.

I hired MD because I thought he was one of the few ethical lawyers in town. He had represented a friend whose nasty nightmare of a divorce lasted years. She went through several lawyers before she finally found MD. Her husband's lawyer, CL, was a small celebrity here in our small city, mostly because his son is a big celebrity in Hollywood. CL is also known as one of the nastiest of the nasty divorce attorneys. And as is often the case with bullies, people fawn all over him, especially in the small county family court where my divorce proceedings took place. It was disgusting to watch.

Anyway, it turns out the magistrate in charge of my friend's divorce case and CL engaged in a little illegal ex parte hanky panky at a party one night. The magistrate gave CL physical evidence to use against my friend in the divorce, and my friend got wind of it. She insisted her lawyer, MD, turn them in to the judge.

During the investigation of the magistrate, her other unethical and illegal activities came to light, and she was sent to prison for embezzlement. It was kind of stinky for the county court. The judge wasn't very happy with CL, and he admonished him for his unethical behavior. Spank!

And then, behind closed doors but not privately enough, he admonished MD and said he should never do anything like that again. In the eyes of the county judicial system, MD was not a hero. But I thought he was. I wanted a lawyer with high ethical standards, good moral character. So I hired him.

And I still regret it.

When LtColEx decided he wanted a divorce, he promised he wouldn't hire CL. But his first lawyer stopped working for him, and he hired CL instead. Game on. It was MD and CL in the ring again for the first time since my friend's gruesome divorce. I was stupid enough to think we had the advantage -- ethics and all that shit. I'm not that naive now.

MD fucked up every single part of my divorce he could possibly fuck up, from the spousal support to the military retirement and survivor benefits. My personal opinion is that he wanted to suck CL's balls so bad he wrapped my case up and gave it to him as a gift. The way he fawned and groveled when we went to CL's office for depositions was embarrassing. I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd dived under the table and ..... uh huh.

Skipping ahead past the years of legal wrangling and custody battling, we finally signed a divorce decree that I knew was full of errors. I had no choice about signing it. Or that's what MD told me. But it wasn't over yet. The lawyers still had work to do on the military retirement and other things with long names and longer acronyms.

A year later it still wasn't done. After the decree was signed, CL and his expensive suits went AWOL. He refused to respond to LtColEx or to MD. Finally LtColEx found another lawyer. And a couple of months later, I fired MD and hired a competent lawyer ....... who looked at my divorce decree and shrieked in terror. It was that fucked up.

For $9.00/minute though, she was willing to try to fix it. Nine fucking dollars a minute.

Lots of things were wrong in the divorce decree, both numbers and language. I knew it when I signed it. I knew we'd be going back to court over it.

But the big thing MD, the arrogant bastard legal expert with 30 years of experience and hundreds of military divorces under his belt, missed was the deadline for filing for my half of the military pension (which is guaranteed to me by federal law) and for the survivor benefits (SBP) that would kick in should something happen to LtColEx -- like if he died. We'd been paying the premiums since he retired in 1999, but because the fucking lawyers didn't do their jobs (and told us we couldn't do it ourselves), I lost everything--military pension, benefits, health care. Everything.

And he not only missed the deadline, but the language was all wrong in the divorce decree, so the military finance office wouldn't accept it anyway. The whole document was a clusterfuck put together by two lawyers who together have at least 70 years of experience under their expensive belts.

That's what my new $9/hour lawyer had to fix.

I wish.

After a several more years of lawyers going back and forth writing an amended divorce  decree and more depositions and getting it through the court with one continuance after another,  and after paying over $11,000 to my second lawyer, I finally got my retirement benefits back. But not the SBP. That was turned down again.

And it matters. Because if anything happens to LtColEx, I will lose the retirement pension again. And I didn't put in 20 years as a military wife to lose my benefits because of an incompetent asshole of a lawyer.

Who wants to link up with me on LinkedIn.

LtColEx says I'm the best insurance policy he could have. When I was getting our big trilevel ready to sell, he came over to help. I walked into the kitchen, and he had put 2 bags of cement on top of a 6-foot stepladder and was standing on them painting the top of the skylight.

I said, "You know if you fall everybody will think I pushed the ladder."

"No, they won't," he said. "You're the best insurance policy I've got. You'd be crazy to let anything happen to me."

True that, Colonel. I stood ready to throw myself under him and break his fall should he tumble off the ladder. What's a 175-pound man falling 8 feet onto my body prone on the ceramic tile compared to living under a bridge?

The past few weeks I've been going back through years of divorce documents, putting together a packet to send to a military board of corrections to try once more to get the SBP reinstated in my name. It was difficult retracing that journey. I found a whole shit ton of anger and sadness in those boxes of documents. And expensive fucking incompetence. Not that I'm bitter. Ha!

I hope she's on my side this time
But I'm done now, I think. Tomorrow LtColEx and I are meeting so he can sign the form and look over what I wrote to the board, what I hope is a persuasive plea for mercy. And then I'll send it in and try again. No lawyers this time. Just me, trying to fix what they fucked up.

Wish me luck, 'K? I need it. I'd ask for justice, but if justice existed I wouldn't be in this mess and MD and CL both would be disbarred and living under their own bridges.

As for MD and his LinkedIn request, I ignored it. But I really think it's too bad when  LinkedIn sent me the email asking me to link with MD I didn't get to choose between "accept" and "choke on balls." Maybe I'll write to them and suggest it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The V Clone (NSFW)

I promised a vagina post for today and not to brag or anything but I'm not only posting a vagina post, but a vagina with clones post. Boo ya. Multiples!

A dedicated reader sent me a link to an interesting product called the Clone-A-Pussy molding kit. Well now. Obviously someone intelligent .... someone with class .... someone educated came up with the idea for this kit. I mean, there are hyphens and capital letters in the name of the kit. That alone tells me I should expect a high quality product. And someone -- obviously someone worth quoting -- said this will be "...the erotic experience that lasts a lifetime." As I tell my students, quoting a source is a good way to add authority to your writing. Yay, pussy-cloners!

Of course, the kit can't really create a clone of my ... or your or anybody's ... pussy, because that would require DNA and kinky shit like that, and I'm pretty sure a rubber pussy doesn't share DNA with my lady parts. But the manufacturer does promise "an EXACT rubber copy of any vagina." It's right there on the ad. So I forgive them for their egregious misuse of the word "clone." And vagina too.

Obviously the geniuses  who came up with this rubber brainstorm didn't mean you can make a replica of your actual vagina. They mean, as they say in the text, a replica of your outer vagina. We have Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues to thank for the expansion of the word "vagina" to include all lady parts that are .... you know ..... down there.

I may be the last woman on earth who hasn't done this, but I'm going to admit, I've never made a copy of my vagina. Or specifically the "outer portion of [my] vagina." Perhaps I'm behind the times, but I've also never been asked for a copy of my vagina. The real thing, certainly, but never a copy. Is there something wrong with me? With my vagina?

When I first saw this I had to wonder, is this kind of like those plaster hand molds we all made in kindergarten? The ones where we stuck our hand in plaster and then after it hardened, our teacher helped us wrap it so we could give it to our moms for Christmas? Is this something a woman might do in the privacy of her own bedroom so she can wrap it up and surprise her sweetie with it on Christmas morning? Is this what you get for the husband who has everything?

What would he use it for? A paperweight at the office? A toothbrush rest? A wall plaque?

But then I read the instructions. Here, you can read them too ....

Notice it's not really like the plaster molded hand. With this kit, first you make a mold. (No wonder I've never done this. I don't even like to use the word mold in the same sentence when I'm talking about my vagina.) Then you use the mold to make the clone.

So one would mix some kind of molding powder (yuck) with water to make some globby stuff, and then one would "insert a vagina" ..... Wait a damn minute. Insert a penis I could understand, but insert a vagina? How the hell do you insert a vagina into anything???

All I can think of when I read that is those metal baskets with the gooey pink silly putty the dentist uses to get an impression of one's teeth. But that can't be right. Teeth are hard, rigid. They can be inserted into goo. Lady parts -- labias for example -- are soft and smooshy. How could a labia be inserted into goo to make an impression? It would smash against the goo if the goo were stiff enough to hold an impression. And as for vaginas, they're pretty much anti-insertable because they're basically a tube made for insertion of something else. What am I missing?

Damn it. This is physics, right?

I can see all sorts of other problems with this invention, like the possible presence of hair or goo collecting in delicate tissues, not to mention ..... well, nevermind. Enter at your own risk.

After making the mold, one is instructed to pour in the "liquid rubber," (oh, the irony) which will set up and make the copy of the vagina. It looks so easy on the website. It sounds so messy in real life.

And yet how else will you get "your own treasured collection of life-like vaginas"? The same vagina over and over, I would assume. Made from the same mold. The same smooshed "outer vagina" mold. The "shallow likeness, without a hole".....

In layman's* terms, this is not a pocket pussy.

Maybe it's been too long since I was in a romantic relationship, but I can't really imagine giving a guy one of these "naughty homages." I mean, can you imagine wrapping the thing up and taking it to a restaurant .... sliding it across the table during dessert and saying, "I got you a little something, baby"?

He unwraps it, turns it over and around and says questioningly, "Ummm. Cool? Ummmm ..... What is it exactly?"
"It's a copy of my outer vagina. You know, sweetie, a pussy clone."
"Oh. I see now. That's .... so thoughtful."
"I knew you'd like it. That's why I made you an entire collection, so you can keep one at the office, by your bed, in your workshop, in your car ... You do like it, don't you?"
"You're so crafty! This is exactly what I needed."
"I knew you'd love it. Just making it for you was an erotic experience that will last a lifetime."
"Thank you, baby. I love you .... and my new pussy clone too."
Kiss and fade.....

This is why I don't date.

The only thing really commendable about this product is that it was made in the USA, and it's apparently endorsed by Rosie the riveter's great-granddaughter.

I hope this post doesn't encourage you to buy a pussy cloning kit for only $26.00 (on sale), but if it does, please report in. Tell me how it works. I promise I'll think of an appropriate pseudonym to use when I write about you here. Something clever like pussy cloner or rubber twinkie or coochie copier. Think about it, mmmmkay?

(Disclaimer: Reticulated Writer is not responsible for any injuries caused by the Clone-A-Pussy molding kit.)

* Every pun is intended. Every single one.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh, for one good sex blog

I knew when I posted about Susan Crane Bakos' sex blog, Sexy Prime, last night I was going to regret doing it. I argued with myself about it for quite a while, but finally decided to go ahead and post it. I wish I'd done just the tiniest amount of research first. I'm grateful for my friend Matreshka for digging where I should have and posting more information (below) on my Facebook wall today. Now I really wish I'd listened to my gut several times over the few months when I read Bakos' blog and saw the big sociopath!!! sign go off in my head.

I'm not kidding. I do have a sociopath warning system and it's gotten more sensitive in the past couple of years. I smelled it on her blog, but her posts about dying drew me in. I should have known better. She may be dying. She may not be dying. She may be dead. She may never die. It doesn't matter. I don't deal with sociopaths. (They don't like me much either. Oil and water, the sociopaths and me.)

How do I know she's a sociopath? There were several clues on her blog, but I'm not going to go back and pry them out. Sociopaths are like bugs: I find them interesting to study, but I don't want them crawling on me.

In general, people who say they don't care/can't care about other people are on the sociopath end of the scale. People who lie about who they are and take advantage of other people, and then either laugh about it, brag about it, or try to rationalize it as the other person's fault for being too human .... yeah, same. People who can utterly and without any feeling at all dismiss other people and their feelings .... Sound familiar?

Most of us have run into one or two of them. They're awful, but they manage to fool a lot of people because most of us don't think that way. And we don't imagine other people do either. And they are good at being charming when they want to be. They are so good at managing the people they want to keep around them, and yet they're hideous to those they don't want anything from.

I could write a lot about sociopaths. I've done the research. I'm not, however, licensed to diagnose Susan Crane Bakos. She claims she's borderline (BPD). I doubt it, but who gives a shit? I really don't. As I said sociopaths don't like me and I don't like them. I suppose it says something that I really just wanted to read about Bakos' death story. Hmmmm.
I will share a few of the documents that brought me to my conclusions about her. This first one is an account in her own words titled "How (and a Bit of Why) I Stuck So Many Women with the Check." Typical sociopathic behavior and excuses.* I wanted a shower after I read this.

And if you're still interested, here is the blog post Matreshka posted on my Facebook wall titled  "Never Have Dinner with Susan Crain Bakos." The author, Kyria Abrahams, actually did a photo shoot with Bakos. The comments are interesting. And so are the comments on this article, "A Brief Glimpse Inside the Hate-Filled Mind of a Con Artist." 

I was going to stop there, but I want to share one more blog post, "Ridiculous White Woman ... Hold My Pocket," which is a response to Bakos' article about why she prefers sex with black men. Note the comments toward the end where people start telling tales about her scamming them.

Anyway, what were we talking about when I went off on this tangent about sociopaths and that one up there in particular? Oh yeah. Sex blogs. Other than the one on masturbation, which is pretty topic specific, I don't have a good sex blog to recommend. I'm sure there are some good ones out there, but I haven't run across them. I wish I had something delightfully sinful to offer.

How about this? Tomorrow I'll write something about vaginas. And you guys can let me know if there are any good sex blogs out there. Anybody?

* There's even a style of writing here that is similar among the writing of other sociopaths I've read. I've found some research about unusual and similar speaking patterns in sociopaths. I wonder if any has been done about writing styles. Bakos' style is very similar to that of a sociopath I know in real life. Pretty fascinating. I wish I were in a position to do the research.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Some Favorite Blogs

I hate cottonwood trees. Every year when the cotton wood trees fluff, I get sick. Fucking cottonwoods. I hate being sick, especially on a weekend that should have been busy. A weekend when I spent too much time in bed -- and, no, not diving for cookies under the covers. Sleeping and reading my Kindle. Fucking cottonwoods.

I spent today volunteering at a big-ass fundraiser for our local Aids Resource Center. People paid large bucks for a chance to consume gallons of wine from a dozen or more vendors and eat tasty nibbles from another dozen or so of our best local restaurants. I'm not sure how many hundreds of people attended, but it was some good people watching. Sorry, no photos today. It was all for the cause.

I felt pretty good the whole 6 hours I was there in spite of the temps in the 80's, but I crashed when I got home. Straight to bed for a long nap. Some friends pleaded with me to come back out, but I told them I'd already taken off my bra. I'm sure I don't have to explain that.

I stole this photo from somewhere.
In lieu of writing anything at all interesting myself tonight, I'm going to share a few of my favorite blogs. I'm pretty fickle about blogs. I spend too much time on Facebook, so when it comes to blogs, I read friends' blogs and a few others I find particularly amusing or helpful. Otherwise, I'd rather write than read.

1. The first one I'll just get out of the way is The Bloggess. She's funny, broken, quirky, and everybody probably already reads her and loves her. She's into taxidermied animals and metal chickens and she started a red dress thing that circles the globe now. She's currently on a book tour for her book which is on the New York Times best seller list and blah blah blah. Who doesn't love Bloggess?

2. My favorite sex blogger isn't one I started reading for the sex. I started reading Sexy Prime because Susan Crain Bakos was dying, and her posts about her own death are heart-breaking, yet inspiring. I linked to the first of the "end game" posts. She hasn't written since January 15, so I don't know if she's still alive.

It's a pretty good sex blog too, although it's not porn so if you're looking for that ... well, you know where to find that. I don't read many sex blogs, much as I like to talk and write about sex. Most of them are worthless-- the bloggers are either uninteresting pathetically self-centered or they can't write for shit or both. I've seriously considered starting a secret sex blog, but I'd hate to keep company with a lot of those hacks. Don't bother with this one. See the update in the next post. I should have added that some sex bloggers are sociopaths.

Speaking of sex blogs, one of the writing bloggers I read, Jen at Writing Ourselves Whole, is writing a daily masturbation blog called Coming Home to celebrate National Masturbation Month. I think that's pretty courageous, and somehow she doesn't come across as self-absorbed like so many other sex bloggers do -- even though she's writing about self-serve cookies.

3. My favorite political blog is the ultra-liberal Wonkette. I can't keep up with all their posts, but when I do have time to read, I always get a laugh mixed with a little outrage.

4. Wait, I lied. My favorite liberal political blog is Margaret and Helen. I want them to be my grandmas. Common sense just oozes from the page when these two elderly bloggers let loose a post. Even if you're on the conservative side, you might enjoy them.

5. Another favorite, especially recently, is It Just Gets Stranger. Eli just participated in his first ironman competition -- and probably his last. His description of the race is a good read though. Otherwise, he pulls some funny stunts with emails and texts. A little too close to what David Thorn does on 27bslash6, but still entertaining.

6. If you haven't read David Thorne, go there right now. He's hilarious. I don't know if he really does the shit he writes about, but if he does, a bigger, funnier asshole has never lived. I included him even though he's not really a blogger.

7. This last one is because I hate even-numbered lists. My very favorite blog is of course the Reticulated Writer. But you're already here so you know that. So I'll just remind you that it's OK to like RW on Facebook, and you can do it by clicking that button on your right. I'd be quite flattered and you never know when cookies will follow flattery.