Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Someone to hold her hand

Her 5th deviled egg
My daughter Elvira brought over my granddaughter Coraline, who turned 2 last week (and insists she's 5), about noon today to spend the day and the night. We had a busy day. We started by making deviled eggs for lunch. I keep up a running commentary as I cook or make food with Coraline now. It's like I've got my own Food Network show, and she's the only one in the studio audience. "And now we finish with just a sprinkle of smoked paprika to complement the tang of the mustard and the creaminess of the eggs...."

After lunch we threw the ball for Kohl, the granddog, watered the tomatoes, read a bunch of books, sat on the potty a dozen times both with and without success, and took a nap. The nap was for my benefit.

Then we headed over to a local botanical garden that has a big, creative play area for kids with lots of water features, sand boxes, fairy houses, caves, edible plants, and bees. We spent several hours there exploring and discovering things like snails and pale blue dragonflies and sensitive plants.

Back home we got into dry clothes, grilled some chicken and corn on the cob for dinner, and then took Kohl for a long walk as dusk fell, talking about the meaning of red and yellow and green lights, and when to walk and when to wait. A big bowl of homemade yogurt with blueberries, an apple, and about 30 books later, it was 11:30 and Coraline was fighting sleep. She missed her mommy, and wasn't ready for the day to end.

She didn't want to be held or rocked, so she tossed and rolled on my bed trying to get comfortable as I sang to her. Finally I persuaded her to lie still, close her eyes and just hold my hand as I sang the same song over and over.

Like a ship in the harbor,
Like a mother and child,
Like a light in the darkness
I'll hold you a while.
We'll rock on the water,
And I'll cradle you deep,
And hold you while angels fairies
Sing you to sleep.

As her muscles relaxed and her breathing slowed, I lay on my side facing her, her tiny hand curled around my fingers, and watched her give in to her dreams. And as I did, I saw superimposed over her small arm the arm of a much older woman -- a woman even older than I am. The arm of the woman she will be decades from now.

I thought of the times she had trusted my hands just today -- the many times when she reached out without looking as she navigated a long, man-made stream studded with rocks, knowing my hand would be there for her to grasp so she wouldn't fall; when she rested her head in my hand as I lathered up her hair and sprayed it clean over the kitchen sink; when she touched the hot, foil-wrapped corn after I told her it was hot, and I grabbed her hand and held it to a cool dishcloth to dissipate the pain; when I lifted her over a toilet that seems big enough to swallow her up because she likes using my potty ... when she fell asleep missing her mom and sleeping in my big bed instead of her own.

And I offered up a prayer to whomever may or may not be listening for that woman of the future. I prayed that she would remember the feeling of someone holding her hand and loving her as completely and fiercely as is humanly possible -- because I do, just like I have loved her mother and her uncle.

I prayed that all the nights she falls asleep snuggled up to her mommy's breast or curled up next to her daddy's side or holding my hand while I sing to her will stay with her like a warm, soft invisible cloak that she can fold around herself whenever she needs comfort, even after her arms are mottled with age spots and her skin has grown thin and wrinkled, and my ashes have long since been spread in someone's garden ... or lost if I know my kids.

That, I think, would be more important than knowing how to make deviled eggs and studying the mating habits of dragonflies, learning to pee on a toilet and that yellow means "be careful." 

Although those things are certainly important too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Notes from the bike path

After a slow start this season, I'm finally riding my bike with some degree of addiction regularity. Riding feels better than anything else I'm doing these days (except spending time with my kids and granddaughter). Sometimes I ride the same route 3 or 4 days in a row, and even so, I never know what's going to happen out there.

My next-door neighbor asked me today if I had ever watched My Strange Addiction.  I said I'd seen a couple -- one about a woman who eats tires .... She said there was one about a woman who eats remote controls, another who eats her own hair follicles, and one about a guy who rides his bike 8 hours a day, even while he's working. He rides so much his hips have worn out and he can't walk right, but he won't get surgery because he won't be able to ride while he recuperates.

I said that one I understood. I had just come home from a 26-mile ride, and I was standing in her front yard still in my sweaty spandex capris wondering if I could go out later in the evening and get in another ride.

Addicts are people who eat tires and remote controls, not people who ride bikes.

The other day on Facebook a friend whom I'll call Doc -- because he's a doctor -- said I could assume I'd achieved an acceptable level of aerobic punishment if I got home from a ride  sweaty enough that I couldn't wait to take a shower. Obviously he's a runner.

First, my clothes dry pretty fast on a bike ride when I'm trying to keep a steady 14-16 mph pace over the miles. And yet, I do come home sweaty enough to wring moisture from my clothes on a hot day. And I definitely need a shower.

But whether I must take a shower depends entirely on whether I've completely depleted my stores of energy 10 miles back. Today my ride calculator said I'd burned over 1200 calories, and I'd eaten a small apple with peanut butter in the previous 14 hours. Fuck the shower; I wanted food.

In fact, I can come in splattered heels to neck in goose shit (that was Monday night), and I'll still have to consider whether I need a shower before I eat. Speaking of food ....

(photo credit: centralpark.com)
The Canada geese are thick out there this summer. Nasty shitting hissing flapping fuckers. They didn't used to bother me, but this year their numbers have tripled. I'll just pick up to a good fast pace and there they are spread across the bike path like they fucking own it, especially in the evening when I tend to ride most often.

The other day I rode earlier in the day and didn't run into one flock on my way out. They were all down by or on the river. On the way back though, they were all there, flock after flock crowded on the bike path. If they could talk, I'm sure they'd say, "Damn it. You're early today. We weren't ready for you, but here we are now. By the way, your shirt looks lovely with our shit splashed all over it." Damn birds.

 I hiss at them so they'll be intimidated and get out of my way faster. It usually works, but this year a few of them have gotten uppity and tried to attack my bike as I slowly passed. Assholes.

Last summer a lone goose ambushed a friend who was riding along the bike path minding his own business. The evil gander meandered onto the path out of nowhere; my friend hit it, went over his handlebars and landed on his shoulder. After surgery he ended up with something like 8 pins in his shoulder. I don't know if he's riding his bike this summer, but I think it would be hard to get back in the saddle after something like that.

There are lots of hungry people in this city. I don't understand why they don't do like Bob Cratchet and bring home a goose for dinner. Yummy, free goose.

One night I rode out about 8 miles and had come back about halfway in a fairly isolated area -- no houses or businesses nearby. Right there on my side I saw a grocery store cake in a plastic cake carrier upside down on the path. It wasn't there when I rode by the first time. And I hadn't passed anyone going the other direction in quite a while, nor could I see anybody ahead. What the fuck?

I slowed and examined the cake from my bike. It was close to 9:00, I hadn't eaten dinner yet and I was getting pretty hungry. That cake looked like a gift, and I certainly don't give a shit if my frosting is on the top or the bottom of the cake. Of course, I prefer cookies to cake, but life doesn't always hand you a cookie. Sometimes it's a fucking cake.

Sometimes people try to kill me. I mean strangers who don't even know me. Here are two examples, but I have more.

One evening I was riding on my street a couple of blocks from home when a guy suddenly opened his car door. I was giving myself enough space just in case such a thing should happen, but the funny thing this time is that the car was running. And the guy wasn't getting out. Not even his foot was out.

I hit my brakes and slowly passed him. When I looked down into his face, he looked .... I don't know. Busted. After I rode by, he closed his car door and stayed in the car

I think he did it on purpose. A friend said maybe he was going to steal my bike. I don't know. Some people are just mean, like it or not.

Monday I got the walk sign at a stoplight. I was just about to ride into the intersection when a man came to a swift stop in the walkway right in front of me. I hit my brakes and stopped inches from his passenger door. He was on the phone and was looking to the left. I waited. He didn't look to the right where I was .... inches from his door.

His 3 kids did though. They were laughing about him almost hitting me.

Finally, as the time on my light was running out, a guy in the next lane honked at the asshole and yelled and pointed. He took the phone from his ear and said, "What?" He still didn't look to the right of his car. The guy pointed and gestured toward me, and finally he looked.

Then he said, "What?" to me.

Fucking idiot.

I said, "You might as well go ahead and turn. I already missed the light."

He still didn't get it. His kids did though. They thought it was hilarious. I guess they didn't realize if his driving was unsafe for me, they weren't safe either.

He went back to his phone conversation and turned the corner. I think he still didn't know he'd been seconds from running over me. I had to wait for the next light.

Several times I've seen couples riding together -- a man and a woman. And they're wearing matching shirts. Not ever the same couple, but the shirts are always red. No logos.

Who does that?

Monday, July 22, 2013

No, you did not bait that fish with your bits

About a month ago I wrote a post about a new show on Discovery Channel called "Naked and Afraid." I finally watched it, and I'm here to report back. You can go read the original post if you want, or I can summarize.

OK, I'll summarize. In the episode I wrote about, two people, a man and a woman, are dropped off for 21 days in an inhospitable area of Africa with no clothes on (lots of blurring, but butts are OK). They are allowed to bring one item. In the episode I watched, the man brought a knife and the woman brought a cooking pot. Both proved to be invaluable, but neither were helpful when they needed to catch food.

What was supposed to happen was that the woman would try to catch fish with her genitalia. It said so right here in this newspaper teaser my friend The Professor gave to me one night at karaoke. "...[U]sing her ladyparts as bait to catch fish between her legs." The bits baiting was verified in an interview with the woman on the Discovery Channel website, so I had to watch it just to see that.

Guess what? That's not the way it went down at all. Not even close. In fact there was no mention at all on the show of her using her bits to catch the fish.

One of the few things the man, who was big, burly former Army ranger or something, did was discover some catfish in the muddy stream they lived beside for 3 weeks. (He got a little thorn in his foot and spent most of the episode lying around whining about that. He did manage to make a fire after 3 days though, so he wasn't totally worthless.)

Anyway, he was hopping around trying to stab a fish with a forked stick he'd sharpened with his knife. I guess it's harder to catch fish that way than you'd think.

The woman, on the other hand, sat down in the stream of muddy, 2-inch-deep water with her legs spread in a V. As the man spooked the fish and they fled downstream, she caught 3 of them between her legs and threw them up on the bank. That's it. I can't even make a joke tying catfish with pussy. Go ahead. You try.

I don't know about you but I imagined her standing in a river with her legs spread wide, her large and obvious outer labia dangling pink and tantalizing in the water, yelling, "Here, fishy fishy fishy! Come and eat some tasty pussy!" And then her look of both surprise and guilty erotic pleasure as she felt the first nibble on her bait  lady bits .... That's what I imagined.

It was nothing like that. Those fish had no interest in her crotch. They were just trying to get away from the man's stick and blindly swam between her legs because they had nowhere else to go.

What a huge fucking disappointment! And that was the uncensored version. Here's a clip if you want to see it for yourself. Go ahead and be disappointed too.

I see somebody is supposed to be taken out of the next show in a medical emergency. I might watch that, but the fact is: Been there, done that. "Survivor." Michael falling into the fire and burning his hands. And then a dozen more pussies who left the game in seasons after that.

If they want me to watch the show, they've got to make better use of those two people being both "naked and afraid." Otherwise it's just 21 days condensed into an hour of whatthefuckever.

Did any of you happen to catch the show? What did you think? Will you watch another episode?