Monday, June 30, 2014


Tonight is the last post of June. I missed a day that I didn't make up while I was on a mini vacation, but I can live with that. I had a shit ton more things I wanted to write about this month, but I procrastinate. The clock tells me it's 3:03 am, so I'll just share a brief snippet of conversation from karaoke this past Wednesday.

I went to karaoke with my friend The Professor. Neither of us had been in a while, and we spent more time catching up than we did listening to people over-sing on the stage. A note about karaoke: Your friends won't tell you when you suck. Neither will strangers. Nobody gives a fuck.

So a couple of drunk barsexuals were trying to make out and stand up at the same time with limited success right behind me. They kept falling into the back of my chair. I told The Professor I hoped they would end the show they were putting on soon, before they spilled my cider.

He agreed, and then he said, "Going back to that conversation about whether men should complain about how they suffer the same issues as women, you know two men would not be able to do that in this bar tonight."

"I'm sure you're right," I agreed. "Probably wouldn't be safe."

He raised his eyebrows and nodded, as if he'd found a loophole.

"However," I said, "that's not because women would get upset with them. It's because men would get pissed off. That's not our problem either. That's on your tribe."

"Touche," he said. "You're right." We both laughed.

He didn't say anything else about it, and I was grateful. So-called acts of sexism directed at men by men really isn't sexism. It might be called bullying or assault or simply intolerance, but it's not sexism.

The end. I deleted everything else I had to say about it, because those who get it are already singing in the choir, and those who don't get it, won't hear the message anyway.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Help is on the way

Sunday night. I've been slacking off here so I could enjoy life outside of words on the screen. My son Drake and his fiance Montana were here this weekend, so I spent as much time with them as possible. We went out for pizza Friday night with her brother and his wife, who is currently in labor with their first child, and Montana's grandfather. Her grandad hates me, but I don't blame him. It's Obama's fault. Entirely Obama's fault. Him and his damn bumper stickers.

(I'm sure he's also responsible for Shockwave fucking flashplayer, which decides to crash every night when I sit down here to write.)

In any case, I don't care if an old man hates me because of my bumper stickers. I don't have that many and the ones I do have are just the tip of my political and social and cultural iceberg. I am his worst nightmare, and I really don't give a shit.

He's a man of my father's generation, and for all I know, if he had lived long enough, my dad might have fed his paranoia with Fox news too, and he probably wouldn't like me very much either -- even less than he did when he was alive. He died 31 years ago though, so he avoided seeing how bad I got over the years.

But even if he had lived and didn't like me, I still would have loved him, just like Montana loves her grandpa. I wouldn't have given an inch, and I would have wished we could be closer, but I still would have loved him.

Back to the weekend. We also went out last night to listen to a band. The lead singer is an old friend of my friend Alex. Turned out, Drake knew him too. Small world.

As often happens, somebody asked me when I'm going to have my housewarming party. I made the face I make and said I wasn't sure, but I'd try to have it soon. Drake laughed, because even though he doesn't live here, he's heard that question before often enough.

When we got home, I confessed I didn't think I'd ever throw that big party. I told him I'm overwhelmed by my to-do list and by the list of jobs I wanted to hire done, but haven't found anybody to do yet. I told him sometimes I look at those lists, and I can't even choose one of those things and just do it, so I sit here and scroll through Facebook and read blogs until several hours have passed and I hate myself, so I eat some chocolate and take a nap. Then I unload the dishwasher or do some laundry or practice music or write a blog post or vacuum or pull weeds or plant my garden or cook dinner, and my list stays there on the kitchen counter looking innocuous like a simple piece of paper does, but weighing on me like a piano on an unraveling rope above my head. It's embarrassing that I can't get more done.

He asked to see my lists, so I showed him. He asked me to show him what work I wanted to hire someone to do, so I walked him through. He said, "Mom, I can do most of these things. Why don't I take a few days and come here and work my ass off and get them done for you? You pay for my gas and food, and I'll do the work."

And then he fixed my ice-maker, which hasn't worked since I moved in. All he  had to do was turn on the water to the line down in the basement, which I should have figured out (except .... overwhelmed), and now I've got an ice-maker.

Then today after church we went to a home improvement store for a couple of hours, made some decisions about a dining room cabinet I want to build out and make into a bar, and bought a new screen door for the widow's walk off my bedroom.

It's a little porch that seems like such a wonderful place to sit and drink tea and read a book, but honestly? It scares me to death. Coraline is fascinated with it. She calls it her "flying place," because she thinks she can fly like a fairy. She thinks I can fly off it too. She says, "C'mon, Mommers. Let's fly!" And she means it. She's sure we can fly just like Tinkerbell. My imagination takes a different turn. All I see is a 20-foot drop to my brick patio. Right now the only thing between her and that porch if the door is open, as it often is in the summer, is a fabric screen held together with magnets.

So we bought a wood screen door and some hardware. When we got it home, it was about an inch too wide, so Drake used the electric hand saw I bought for $2 at a garage sale last weekend (serendipity!) and trimmed both sides by half an inch. Then we painted it to match the house. He didn't have time to install it, but he will next time he's here. With a lock way up high.

While we were doing that, I got out some other paint, taped a brush to the 7-foot strip of wood we'd sawed off the door, and touched up some peeling paint on the porch ceiling. Easier than getting up on a ladder. Then I touched up the paint on the porch floor too. And he cut up the branch that fell off the neighbor's tree last week and damaged the fence, which I'll probably end up fixing too, because it's really easy for people to walk away from houses in this neighborhood.

There's something about somebody else working with me that energizes me. I work better in collaboration, or at least with people around. Maybe it's the accountability. I don't know. I've done a lot of work -- in spite of feeling stuck and overwhelmed -- here all by myself. And that's as it should  be. It's my house. It's my work to do. My responsibility.

But having someone here to work with me, to brainstorm with, even for just an afternoon, doing things I'm not comfortable doing myself or simply not strong enough, damn it .... It felt  good. And it's such a relief that he's willing to come back and help with a few of the big jobs.

For a few seconds, I felt like I might eventually get all settled in and have that big party. At least I'm getting close to imagining it.

That's my weekend. That's why I haven't been writing about vaginas or women's issues or what I want for Christmas this weekend.

It's not easy to admit I can't do it all, but I'm feeling better about it tonight. Maybe I'll be writing about a party sometime in the future.

Tell me what overwhelms you. Does the feeling make you put your shoulder down and get 'er done? Or do you find ways to avoid the LIST and then feel like a failure? I can tell you I'm looking for more of the former in my life and less of the latter.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Musing on life #56

"Life is one big meat market. Online dating is just a picture menu." ~ Coquette

 The quotation above comes from Coquette, my favorite advice columnist. She's brutal, sarcastic, funny, intelligent, kind of terrifying, and unrepentant. I love reading her razor-wire responses to those who dare to write to her for advice.

After I read these two sentences though, I thought, Fuck me. I'm a vegetarian in the meat market of life. It explains so much.

I could carry this metaphor to its ridiculous end, and talk about fish and those that got away, and those I threw back. Or pigs. Or chickens. Or even squids.

But I'll just sit over here and eat my carrot and shut up now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Words of wisdom for cookie-lovers

“Sex is like a Chinese dinner. It ain’t over ’til you both get your cookie.” ~ Alec Baldwin

Oh, Alec Baldwin. Wise and handsome and wearing a suit. Sigh. I've decided you're going to be my imaginary boyfriend from now on. It's probably best if we don't meet in real life though. I'd hate to find out that you're just like all the rest.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recipes for foods I never eat

How'd you like the photo of that guy in last night's post? Mmmmm. Yeah. That's why I don't date.

Moving on. Those of you who don't cook or who hate vegetables won't give a shit about this post. Feel free to jack off to last night's photo or make a late-night run to Taco Bell.

Remember earlier in the month I wrote about buying into my first CSA this summer? I knew I was going to get some produce in my weekly orders that I would never buy at the grocery store, and every week I've gotten at least a couple of things I've never even eaten -- mustard greens and flowers, sunflower micro-greens, garlic scapes, collard greens -- along with vegetables I don't usually buy like radishes and turnips, and the things I do buy, like beets, salad mix, carrots, and summer squash. I'm excited to see what I get each week, and it's a challenge to eat all of it by the time Monday rolls around again.

One thing that helps me is the weekly newsletter where they tell me what everything is. Hey, I would have had no idea what the collard leaves were. They also include a recipe for one of the vegetables. I thought I'd share their recipes for radishes and collard greens, as well as the modifications I made to them. (Seems I can't make any recipe, even for something I know nothing about, without changing it.)

The first one is for roasted radishes. I really don't like radishes the way I've always eaten them, which is raw and salted. I don't like spicy foods so .... radishes. Yuck. They taste like hot dirt.

However, I did find out I love them roasted, which means I've eaten my little bundle of multicolored radishes all three weeks all by myself. Here's their recipe for 

Baked Lemon Radishes

1 bunch of radishes (cleaned, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise)
1.25 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat to 375. Place ingredients in a bowl and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until almost fork tender. Finish with lemon zest and more salt if desired.

My notes: This recipe didn't have enough dimension for me as it is, so I chopped up some fresh rosemary and added that to the mix. Earlier in the season when the leaves were nice (not holey and bug-eaten), I experimented with eating them too. So I cut them into 2" pieces, and after the radish roots were done, I sauteed all of them together in some garlic-infused olive oil. Believe it or not, radish leaves taste good, if you like other cooked greens. I felt pretty bad-ass eating the entire plant, especially one I never liked before.

Also, the radishes shrink as they roast, so I made a serving for just me from 6-7 large radishes. I think roasting would work even for late -season radishes that are too hot and kind of pithy.

The second recipe I just tried tonight. I changed it pretty radically. Here's the original.

Kickin' Collard Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens cut into 2" pieces

Heat oil in a large pot. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble, and return to the pan. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens and fry until they start to wilt. Pour in chicken broth, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until greens are tender.

My notes: You could make it that way, but don't use a teaspoon of black pepper. Way too much. Use your own judgement. I didn't put in the red pepper flakes, because I don't like spicy food. For people who do, I'm sure they add one more dimension that's pleasurable. You could finish this recipe off with hot sauce if you really like a kick.

I doubled the bacon. I don't think I need to explain why. I also used a lean, center-cut bacon so it was meaty. The bacon simmers for 45 minutes, so fatty bacon won't hold up as well.  A ham bone would work too, and add more smoke and meat.

I also threw in a bunch of blue curly kale, just because I had it. I think you could add any cooking greens you want, even radish leaves.

Finally, I didn't use straight chicken broth, and that's what made mine so amazing. I didn't have 3 cups of chicken broth here, but I did have some revved up soup stock I'd made a few months ago for a chicken and wild rice soup (like Panera's). I made too much stock, so I froze a bag of it and hoped it would be useful some day.

So what I used in place of chicken broth was a rich homemade chicken stock thickened with half-and-half. When I dumped the thawed stock into the greens, the half-and-half had separated out and it looked like a curdled mess. As it heated up though, it smoothed back out and took on its original creamy texture.

And, OMG, this stuff was delicious. I'll probably never recreate this recipe, but it was super rich and nourishing. It's definitely soupy, to be eaten with a spoon in a bowl, unless you decide to drain off the broth. Next time I try it -- if I get collard greens in my order again -- I'll probably add some whole raw milk to the broth and maybe some butter. I can imagine adding some carrots too, for a little sweetness. You could put in anything you like in a soup and it will taste fine.

It's no wonder I need to lose weight.

You can make both of these recipes with produce from your local farmer's market or vegetable stand or grocery store. If you try them, let me know how you like them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Don't bogart that lube

What else can I say? You saw it for yourself. A stoned vagina can orgasm without even a touch -- and I mean a big, wet, crashing oceanic orgasm. Look, Ma! No hands!

Of course, I have never been stoned on marijuana, because that would be illegal in all of the states I've lived in, but if I had ever been stoned, I certainly don't remember feeling spontaneously orgasmic. Thirsty, yes. Hungry, yes. Lazy, certainly. Spacey, uh huh. Paranoid, unfortunately enough times it wasn't worth it after a while.

Orgasms were the last thing from my mind -- if I had ever been stoned, I mean. Pot was not an aphrodisiac.

Apparently if I'd ever thought to distill the essence from the pot though, mix it into some coconut oil, and spray that slippery concoction onto my lady bits, I too could have been clutching the sheets and rubbing my thighs like a cricket to the rhythm of my own heaving internal ocean. Mmmmultiple times. (No fish jokes, please. And you know who you are.)

I guess we were too busy blasting Led Zeppelin and scarfing down nacho cheese Doritos to invent mary-va-jay-jane. Too bad. I might have been in prison all these years making bitches my bitch rich by now.

So the producers of Foria claim women don't actually get high from spraying their nether regions with liquid cunt blunt. They just get warm and tingly and, if they're lucky, multi-orgasmic. Which begs the question, is this pubic doobie (I'm done, I promise) edible?
Yes! In fact, on the website an application of Foria is called a "serving size." You know what I'm thinking, don't you? This can only be a good thing for women who like to serve a box lunch at the Y. The more he or she eats, the hungrier he or she gets. Munch away, I say! Have another serving while the tide comes in, and I clutch the sheets.

Dude, that was a nice fantasy, but alas, I can't buy Foria and neither can most of you. You'd need a doctor's slip and you'd have to live in California, because this product is made from that evil herb, marijuana. I'm disappointed, aren't you? Not even a free sample to be had. I wish we all could be California girls.

Oh, well. It's back to orgasms the old fashioned way for those of us who don't live in the golden state. I guess I'll watch that video again and see if anything inspires me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Somebody hand me those forceps.....

Vaginas are trending, and not just here on Reticulated Writer. Seven people sent me articles about this guy who got stuck in a marble vagina in Germany. And I thank you all for thinking about me. I love it when you send me porn articles about vaginas when you see them in the news. And I get the hint: no more serious shit. Write about vaginas now.

So this stupid exchange student from -- want to take a guess? -- the United States decides he wants a photo op of himself coming out of a sculpture called Pi-Chacan, which in Indian Peruvian means "make love." Clearly, it's a vagina.

So he makes like a human penis, inserts himself, falls, and gets stuck in the big stone vagina. That's what happens when you don't use protection, you dick. What a douche.

In an interview his mother said, "I'm not one bit surprised. He didn't want to be born the first time. My due date came ... my due date went. I felt like a whale. I wanted him out. I tried cod liver oil, warm brandy, and long walks until I was too drunk to stand up even when I stopped pooping long enough to get off the toilet. The little fucker still wouldn't come out. It took 22 doctors, a pair of forceps, and a giant vacuum cleaner to force him out of my vagina. Who can blame him though? It was warm, wet, and happy hour* in there. He's been trying to climb back into a vagina since he turned 14. He's just like his father."

OK, I made up that last part about his mother, who is probably hiding from the press in her bedroom closet wishing she'd just let him stay in her vagina. But it did require 22 firefighters to extricate the human penis from the sculpture. I'm not sure why they didn't just call a midwife. You know how men hate to ask for directions. It only took them half an hour, using their bare hands, which any woman who's given birth will tell you is a pretty easy delivery.

I'm sure after this incident the university where the statue is located will erect signs to prevent further accidents. How about "Slippery when wet. Use caution or you might fall in"? Or "You can look, but you can't climb inside the pretty vagina." Maybe "Condoms required when body-fucking the vagina. Lube suggested." "Vagina can be dangerous. Proceed with caution."

I was going to make a joke about statutory rape, but rape jokes aren't funny.

I fear this young man will suffer unfortunate consequences from his plunge into Vag Land. Unless he starts wearing sunglasses and a fake mustache, this will probably be the last time the human douche gets laid in a very long time. He doesn't seem like he knows his way around the vagina, much less the more important bits of the female anatomy.

Let's have a show of hands: How many of you would have climbed into the vagina rock to take a selfie. Be honest. I won't judge. Once I licked a 4-foot-tall ice vagina on a dare, even knowing I might end up stuck to it like that kid who licked the flagpole in A Christmas Story.
Anybody? Selfie in the stone vagina? Bueller?

*I stole that line. Thanks, Wild Bill, wherever you are.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sorry, dear. Not tonight. I've got a headache.

I have many things to write about, but I can't write tonight. I'm not going explain why; I'll just say I'm elementally exhausted, and I can't put anything about myself or anything else into words here tonight. I know my words are merely shadows on the cave wall, but shadows or not, words cause reactions and pain. I want nothing more than to not react  again tonight, when I don't feel the safety of my own words.

Maybe tomorrow.

Summer Solstice musing

Summer Solstice is my favorite of the Sabbats. The longest day of the year played out in the embracing heat of the new summer. In years past I would have planned a ritual with a party after. Not this year. I'm not ready to throw parties yet. I wonder if I ever will be.

Besides I had a busy day planned. My daughter Elvira and I were going to hit as many of the annual garage sales as we could in my historic neighborhood and the neighboring one. She cancelled after I'd already gone out for several hours, because Rock Dad has the flu, and she had to tend his music store. Later in the day I was going out with another friend to visit a local sex store and then maybe get some dinner and drinks. After that Rock Dad was supposed to play a show at a downtown bar, but he had to cancel because of that flu. Within the space of about 10 minutes all of my plans for the day disappeared like smoke in a downdraft.

So I walked around the neighborhoods by myself, picking up a few bargains and engaging in a few conversations, but mostly just browsing and moving on. I found a jig saw for $2 .... or maybe it's a saber saw. I don't know the difference and I don't care, but I know I need one. And I found some books and games for Coraline. I came home when the sun hit the apex, and my bag was full and heavy.

I stripped off my sweaty clothes, turned on the fan and stood in the breeze while I decided what to do with my unexpected free time.

I decided I might as well check Facebook, although I wasn't terribly enamored of a conversation going on there. I wrote a long answer to a question a friend asked on my Reticulated Writer Facebook page about last night's post, and just as I was about to walk away from the keyboard and fix some lunch, a message popped up from my friend The Hot Italian asking me if I wanted to go to a nearby glen and hike.

I considered the 3 hours I'd already spent hiking around the neighborhoods as I typed in my answer: I just needed to get something to eat and then I'd be ready to go.

And now instead of feeling like I'd been abandoned, I felt fortunate my afternoon had cleared so we could spend some time together. We message back and forth a lot, but we rarely see each other face-to-face, even though we live 15 minutes apart. We've been friends -- close friends -- for over 4 years, and we've never gotten together on the spur of the moment. And yet in so many ways, she was the perfect person to spend Summer Solstice with.

I'm just going to list some of my impressions from the day: limestone stairs, dirt and rock paths, splashing waterfalls, meandering streams, sitting on a fallen tree breathing in those negative ions that come from water rushing over stones, talking about sexism and addictions and strap-ons (I might have given advice to a lesbian about something I know dick about) and artificial vaginas (that's another post, and I'm not talking pocket pussies), about relationships and 25% and change and the mysteries of tarot and people who smoke on the path with no regard for those of us who want to smell nature, about the past and the future and letting go and crazy fuckers and who owns angst, about the lives we want to live and the lives we're forced to live.

We ended the hike by climbing up a tall stack of uneven limestone stairs, soaked in sweat and friendship, muscles aching and, speaking for myself, with a full and satisfied heart and a great need for a drink of water. We agreed we deserved ice cream, but we didn't get any. Next time.

Oh, Miss Serendipity, I love it when you disappoint me by turning my plans upside down, and then throw a perfect Summer Solstice gift at me just because you can.

It's days like this I wish I could hold on to. Summer has always been that way for me -- so hot and sweet and much too short. I needed the reminder that I've been spending a lot of these pre-summer days alone -- working on my house, playing music, reading and writing, working on my house. I have so much to do here, it's overwhelming. I haven't even been on a bike ride this season because of all the work on my to-do list. I thought I would be done with so many things and moving on .... but I have to be patient. It's hard.

And yet, I'm also fitting in some important unplanned time too -- a weekend trip to visit Drake and Montana, an evening spent listening to a blues jam and playing pool with my theater sister Trick Shot and her fiance Lights, and today's hike in the glen with The Hot Italian. Summer is the time for following whims. Please, Miss Serendipity, find me more whims, and if it pleases you, toss in an elf or two to finish those chores in the night while I sleep.

If you could do anything on the spur of the moment, what would you do? Who would you do it with? And what the hell are you waiting for?

Friday, June 20, 2014

When you don't feel shiny

I posted a video titled Shine: 10 Women Strip Down & Share Their Thoughts On Beauty & Body Image. I'll repost it below in case you missed it.

I intended to write a long post about body image, about this video and other body-empowering ideas that have come my way, about getting naked, and about why many of us can't don't do it. It turned out this topic is harder to write about than I expected. I have a lot to say, but I'm not in a good place to write about it. In fact, I'm struggling with the entire topic from my personal issues to the restrictions society and media place on women's bodies to films like the one below that are supposed to empower women.

But mostly I'm struggling with my body and how I feel about it. And that's the lens through which I saw the film.

I can imagine many women will feel empowered by Shine. Empowered to do what, I'm not sure. Feel better about themselves? Feel more normal in their bodies? Think about their bodies as art? Dare to get naked for a reason other than sex or taking a shower? The film has everything necessary for empowerment, right? Music, soft lighting, pretty voices, smiles, a great message.

So why don't I feel empowered? I don't feel any different about my body after watching the film -- much as I enjoyed it -- than I did before. One reason is that all of those women appear to be under 30. I asked the filmmakers about that, and they responded, As far as older women's representation, we totally agree. We feel the same way which is why [we] sought to cast women of all ages for this project. We were looking for the most diverse group we could find, but for some reason only younger women felt called to participate. We talk a lot about society's under-representation and youth obsessed culture in our feature length film, The Goddess Project, which we plan to have finished by 2015. We would LOVE to see more media that showcases this, and hope in the future to create more films that share this message!

 So I didn't imagine it. Of course I didn't imagine it.

A friend on Facebook wrote: "Not sure it's really about being naked...but about a willingness to take a huge risk and doing so with others who are risking the same and the power in numbers (no matter how small.) THAT is what I think is truly empowering no matter what we wear (or NOT wear)."

I don't disagree with her about the power of numbers and taking a risk together. But I do think it's about being naked. I think it's about being naked and knowing our bodies -- no, my body is not acceptable when it's naked. Nobody could make a beautiful, empowering film about my naked body.

I don't think my reaction is the one Holli and Sara were going for. Or maybe they're too smart to be married to expectations when it comes to their work. I hope so.

As my mother has told me so often, I think too much. I'm doing it now. I truly feel joyful that those 10 women shared such an uplifting experience. I smiled the entire time I watched it, every time I watched it. It's beautiful, and I hope those 10 women get a lot of mileage out of that experience. I'm grateful they were willing to share so deeply of their experience.

So first I enjoyed it, and then the thinking started, because I needed to write something, and right now, naked bike rides and topless book clubs (that's another post) and films about young women stripping down and allowing their bodies to become art .... none of that has anything to do with me. I'm not doing that. And nobody wants to see me do that.

And let me stop right here and say I know it's not about exhibitionism, other people seeing and wanting to post photos on Instagram. Or mostly it's not. I'm not an exhibitionist.

No, it's about the horrible, hurtful, cruel comments people make about women's normal bodies if they aren't young and slim and smooth, and how those voices have become the voice in my head. Maybe in your head too.

My word for 2014 is "unpack," and I expected to unpack some body issues this year. I've had little no success. After my trip to Chicago and an unnamed state park north of the city where I participated in a nude photo shoot, I thought I had unpacked some shit. And I did for a couple of months, before I backslid. Hard. It's depressing. It's affecting my social life. I'm not sure anything will help, but I'm going to try writing and see what happens.

So I'm grateful that Sara and Holli sent me the link to Shine, and encouraged me to experience and examine my own reaction to the film. OK, they really wanted me to review it, but I had to make it all about me. Bloggers. What are you going to do? Like I said in yesterday's post, this topic has been coming at me from several directions recently, so I know I've got some unpacking to do.

I hope the 10 women in Shine carry the experience with them as a shield against the many messages women receive and swallow about our bodies. And I hope the film encourages more women -- women of all ages and body types and abilities -- to find the beauty in their bodies too.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shine: Ten women strip down ....

Photo credit: The Goddess Project

Recently .... OK, maybe as recent as last September when I took an adventurous trip to Chicago and beyond .... the topic of nudity -- public nudity or women undressing in public or both -- keeps coming up. And you know I have to listen when Miss Serendipity whispers in my ear. Even when she whispers, "People need to get naked. Think about it."

Oh, don't worry. You don't have to see me naked. But I would like you to watch something two young women filmmakers, Sarah and Holli, sent me. Sarah and Holli traveled in a mini school bus all over the country a couple of years ago creating footage for a film they're making called The Goddess Project. Bump your cursor up against that link, and you can read and watch all about it.

They also made a short film titled Shine, and that's why they contacted me. They wanted me to watch it, and see if I wanted to share it with you. So I watched it, and I definitely want you to watch it too.

I have a lot to say about this film and the topic of women -- naked women -- but not tonight. For now, I'd rather you just watch the film, which is only three-and-a-half minutes long, and take a look at The Goddess Project website to find out more about their journey and future plans. Donate, if you feel inclined.

Let me know what you think about this video, and I'll do the same tomorrow.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Washboards and shitters

I'm trying to catch up after my adventuring this past weekend. I drove somewhere into the mountains of Ohio to visit my son Drake and his fiance Montana. I only got lost once twice, but I made it to their house, albeit an hour later than I should have. It was a long drive, but shortly after I got there, when Montana suggested we go to a washboard festival, I was ready to rock and roll.

Not kidding. We went to a washboard festival, and it was way more fun than the name would suggest. I wanted to go for two reasons. First, I've got plans to go to a blues jam near my house this week, and last week they posted on their Facebook that they needed a washboard player. I thought, Hey, I don't play the washboard. I should learn. So I wanted to go the festival and buy myself a washboard. Turns out I could have bought one on Amazon, but that would have ruined all the fun.

The second reason I wanted to go should be obvious: washboard festival. I wanted to be the first in my class to go. No telling what a person might see at a washboard festival. I wasn't really expecting much, but we knew we could get some bourbon chicken there if nothing else.

Turns out the washboard festival was bigger and more fun than we anticipated. They had 4 stages with bands from all over the country, a bunch of vendors -- both food and stuff, and even a little free carnival for the kids. We were impressed by almost everything, including the tricked-out washboards. (I confess I did not take this photo, but somebody did take it at that very festival.)

I even bought a washboard that I will learn to play and probably even take to the blues jam one of these nights. It might be a while before I add on cowbells, cymbals, clown horns, and tin cans.

I don't know if you noticed up there, but I said we were impressed by almost everything. One thing I didn't enjoy was the many derogatory comments I heard about President Obama, and the assumption that anybody within earshot would agree that he's an idiot who has ruined this country. The casual derision threw a note of ugliness into an otherwise wonderful occasion.

Here's an example. Montana and I needed to use the pair of portable toilets we found down a side street. I had just been wondering why so many people seem to poop in those things instead of doing it at home before they leave. Seems like way more than you'd expect, like maybe they save it up or something. I haven't figured that out yet.

Anyway, we finished and a woman with a little girl took one potty and Drake took the other. Montana and I snuggled up against a brick wall that was still warm from the sun and hadn't taken on the night's chill. As we stood there puzzling about poop, a middle-aged guy walked up and noted that both potties were in use.

"Looks like the Obamas are full," he said. Or I think that's what he said. Another one of those derogatory comments, that I know.

I stared back at him for several seconds deciding what to say. I imagine I had that look on my face that causes my daughter Elvira to slip her cell phone into her back pocket because she expects I'm going to take it away. The guy apparently didn't notice; he was still laughing at his own joke.

I stared at him a little harder. "I don't get it," I finally said, with no warm brick wall in my voice.

He gave one of those "aww, c'mon" frowns, laughed again and said, "Shitters. They're shitters. The Obamas are full. The shitters ...." And then he laughed again, totally in his own shitty world.

I did not laugh. I'm not sure what Montana was doing. She's a paramedic. She was probably going over the procedures for pulling a middle-aged asshole's head out of a portable toilet full of shit while holding her future mother-in-law back with her foot.

I was still staring at him, trying to decide whether to engage, and knowing my time was better spent just enjoying the warm bricks and the odor of porta-poop drifting on the night air.

I opened my mouth and took a breath just as Drake came out of the toilet and gestured for the guy to go right in. He may have whispered, "Hurry up. Your life is in danger out here. You're safer in the shitter. Move along."

As he walked up to us I said, "I'm being good. I didn't say much."

"I know," he said. "I heard." He got us walking down the street away from the temptation to push that portable toilet over on its side. He avoids having to bail me out of jail, just like any good son does. He also doesn't want to have to defend my honor to the type of person who calls the President a shitter.

You know, I don't give a fuck what that guy thinks of President Obama. I really don't. Opinions and assholes and all that. But the very least he can do is respect the office of the President of the United States when he opens his stupid mouth in public. The very least. I had to live through not one, but two, Bush presidencies. And let's not forget Reagan. I kept telling people there was something wrong with him, but nobody else seemed that concerned with a little touch of the Alzheimer's. All those agonizing years of economic destruction and flagrant lies and bungled governance, and I never resorted to calling them shitters to strangers. I can't understand why this guy can't get through the rest of Obama's term with a civil tongue in his head.

The fact that the majority of the people there would have laughed with him is no defense. Obama won the election fair and square -- at least as much as our election system allows for such a thing. So shut the fuck up and take your shit in the free public shitter. The toilet paper is free too.

Anyway despite those few seconds, which I have made far more important than necessary, we all enjoyed the washboard festival. People were laid back and polite. Not many were walking along smoking and polluting the air behind them, which can't be said for a lot of festivals and fairs. The drinkers were corralled in the beer garden. Lots of families walked around enjoying the music, the food, and the rides.

Most important was spending time with Drake and Montana. I've learned that peace is usually more important than trying to teach a stranger a lesson about civility. Or maybe he's just lucky Drake zipped up quick and got him the hell away from me. We'll never know.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And now a word from our sponsors .....

Just sit back and relax .... I've been listening to people play washboards and hiking in canyons. Unfortunately dog poop happened as well. I'm not telling that story. I'm pretty sure it was illegal. Back soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Prepare for station identification ...

I'm off on an adventure. Back Monday .... late.

If you read it on a bathroom stall wall or on Reticulated Writer,
you know it's true!

Friday, June 13, 2014

How much is that doggie in the window?

I lived with a dog most of my life until my standard poodle Pippi Longstockings died almost 3 1/2 years ago. She had been sick for a long time with bladder cancer, and in doggie diapers most of the last year of her life. Our vet wanted me to put her to sleep long before I was ready -- not for her comfort, but for my quality of life. Fuck that. We went through a lot together: raising 2 kids, a nasty divorce, an emotional move into the city, and one final Christmas. I took care of her until she really did need to go.

Everybody, including me, assumed I would get another poodle within weeks of Pippi's death, both for companionship and for protection in the cold, scary city. But I didn't. It was the first time in my life I didn't have to take care of anybody, and I enjoyed the freedom. I kept thinking I'd get another dog soon ... and then when I moved .... and then soon. I still haven't found another dog.

Every couple of months I look online for standard poodle puppies near me. I always find a couple of good possibilities. And then I don't follow through, for several reasons.

1. I can stay out as late as I want without worrying about finding a nasty mess somewhere in my house -- probably not on the tile floor. I can stay out all night. Or for days and nights. I can shut up my house and travel whenever I want. I've never had that kind of freedom before.

I kept my son Drake's dog Duke this past weekend. He can't be trusted with the run of the house, so I had to put him in the laundry room. I went to church, and then I went out to lunch with a friend. I had planned to go from there to a play, but I realized Duke had been shut up for almost 6 hours, so I came home. We went for a lovely walk, and I enjoyed his company, but I couldn't do what I had planned to do.

2. Poop. Poop is nasty. Poop wasn't quite as nasty when I had half an acre of yard, but my yard is small now. Did I mention Drake's dog Duke was here for 2 weekends in a row, and .... poop. Poop on the bricks by the compost. Poop on my lawn mower tires -- the tires I have to walk behind while I mow. Poop on my shoes. Poop. When Drake and Montana bring both dogs, they leave twice the poop. Ugh. Poop.

3. Standard poodles are expensive, somewhat rare, and I refuse to live with any other breed of dog. Also, I don't give one shit what anybody else thinks of my refusal to live with one of the many other breeds and mixes. I only live with standard poodles. I don't want to analyze or defend or even argue my choice. I only live with standard poodles and that's final.

4. I'll get 10 good years, maybe 12, and then my heart will break again. One reason I haven't done the deed is because Pippi will be a tough act to follow.

5. Back to #3, vet bills and grooming can get expensive. I can do neither myself.

Those are my reasons for not getting a new dog. They're pretty similar to my excuses for not dating.

My reasons for looking every couple of months are almost -- but not quite ... yet -- as compelling. 

1. I rarely go for long walks like I used to, because I don't have a dog to take me. I feel safer with a dog, even though Duke and I were attacked a couple of weeks ago by another dog. I still feel more secure when I walk with a dog. And I enjoy the companionship. On the other hand, I can't take a dog cycling with me, so I'd have to consider whether to walk or ride. Gray area.

2. I suppose I feel more secure with a dog in the house. A loud bark will often scare away a would-be intruder. Then again, I don't often feel insecure here in my house anyway.

3. Somebody to talk to. I'm not going to explain that. I don't talk baby talk though, and I don't refer to my dog as my child.

4. Somebody to clean up spilled food. I've got a 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter. This task is not to be taken lightly.

I guess that's it. I see myself as a dog person, but I'm a dog person without a dog. An uncommitted dog person. I may be in the same situation with a dog as Elvira says I am with men: I expect one to fall out of the sky into my lap and that's the only way I'll have any interaction with one.

So far, the sky has rained neither men nor standard poodles.What a pity, because I really can't make a decision. Although not making a decision is at the same time making one, isn't it?

Anybody got a young black male standard poodle they want to unload? Anybody? Bueller?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Let's put this in perspective, Dick Tracy

I thought I would write about vaginas tonight, but something more immediate came up. 

You may have noticed I really haven't followed through with my plan to go on 10 Dates with 10 Men. I have reasons -- good reasons -- and pretty soon I'm going to share those reasons, and probably bow out of the whole thing entirely. For reasons.

One of those reasons is the ridiculous shit that happens after I date a guy. I'll go into that too, but for now, I'm sticking with what I learned tonight.

I was here at home enjoying a lovely evening with my 2-year-old granddaughter Coraline when my phone announced a text message. Probably Elvira, wondering when I'm bringing Coraline home, I thought. I checked.

Nope, not my daughter. Instead it was 1 of 10, whom I will be writing about in more detail soon, and it won't be flattering. I told him I didn't want to see him any more over a year ago, but he has never stopped testing texting me, trying to get me into a conversation or to meet him somewhere.

My friend Alex told me I should never ever answer him, and if I did I was showing my intention to continue a relationship with him. So I haven't. For over a year, I haven't answered his texts. I don't know how many texts he's sent. I really don't care. I find them intrusive and pathetic, but I refuse to engage.

Tonight's two texts read, "Heading to [a local bar we met at one time]. Need to kiss your cheek .... gently." .... "Actually I meant your supple lips ..." Nice way to intrude on a lovely evening with my granddaughter, asshole.

I was pissed. When I took Coraline home, I showed the texts to Elvira and her fiance Rock Dad. Their friend Stu was there, so I read them to him too.

After Elvira and Rock Dad responded with the appropriate laughter and disgust, Stu said, "I guess you could consider yourself lucky."

"Lucky?" I said. "I don't call it lucky that I can't get rid of guys I don't want to date, but the ones I'd like to date don't stick around."

"To be fair," Elvira shot in, "you don't want to date anybody."

"Not anybody I've met ... yet," I said.

"No, really," Stu said. "At least he didn't trace his dick on a piece of paper and send that to you."

"What? What?" I said. "Why would he do that?"

"Because that's what guys in prison send to women," he explained. "They send drawings.  You could have gotten one of those."

"Well, I thank you for putting this into perspective for me, Stu," I said. "Instead of reacting with utter disdain that this asshole won't leave me alone after over a year, I'll be grateful he isn't sending me prison drawings of his dick like kindergarten hand prints."

"Yeah, Mommers, he's right," Elvira said. "Unless you're getting dick tracings, you've got nothing to be upset about."

"Dick Tracings!" I laughed. "That's a good one!"

They all looked back at me with blank faces.

"Dick Tracings .... like Dick Tracy," I explained, still laughing. "Didn't you do that on purpose?"

"Well .... yeah. Because it's a thing. I didn't make that up. Dick Tracys are a thing," she said. "I'm not being clever."

So now I know: dick tracings are a thing called Dick Tracys. Did you know that? Surely I'm not the last to know. Tell me this is news to you.

When I got home, I googled it. Nothing came up for "dick tracings." At least nothing about guys tracing around their penises and then sending a photo of the drawing to women. But Urban Dictionary did show an entry for "Dick Tracy" that defined it as follows: "What to call yourself when you are tracing your own penis. Your roommate, Trent: "Dude!!!! What in the fuck are you doing?!!? In MY room?!? Naked?!?! With MY markers and construction paper?!?!?"
You: "Shhhh...this is some Dick Tracy shit... calm down Trent."

The only other entry was about a teacher who got in trouble for offering to trace his penis for a couple of students. Trust me. That's not a thing.

You'd think if this dick tracing really was a thing Google would know more about it than Stu, wouldn't you?

I guess I'm grateful for my kids for putting things into perspective. I'll write more about 1 of 10 soon, and put these texts into perspective for you the best I can. Unfortunately, his texts are just one more example of the kind of inexplicable, unpleasant behavior I inspire in some people. Lucky me. I'm afraid that too has become a thing.

Have you ever sent or received a Dick Tracy? Anonymity guaranteed!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Moving on ....

I finally brought my guitars home today. That was certainly an unnecessary ordeal. What many messages, face-to-face talks, unanswered calls, and unanswered knocks on the door didn't accomplish, two police officers did. I have no idea why shit got that crazy, and I'm not even going to guess. My imagination is only so good, and my time is precious. Too much of both has already been wasted on the situation.

I have learned a couple of lessons though. One is a repeat that's hard to put into action: If a woman starts dating a male friend, and she tries to get close to his friends and immediately make them her friends, maintain distance until her motives have been determined. I've learned this one the hard way and more than once. The other part of the lesson is that you'll probably lose the male friend anyway if he stays with her, because .... well, because. Who gives a shit? It's a thing that happens. As my daughter Elvira tells me, friendships are fluid. She's such a Buddha.

Second ... duh. Don't loan guitars to said girlfriends to use as props for sexy photos. Even I'm rolling my eyes at myself over that bit of stupidity. I'm not going to say I'll never loan a guitar. I've got one out on loan now, and I won't be worried if I don't have it back 2 years from now. But never again for a frivolous reason.

I'm sure more unpleasantness will surface from this stupid bit of assholery, but for tonight I can only report that Free to a Good Home finally, finally, got to have a band practice. As we were playing through a new song we're learning, I realized a sense of euphoria that only comes from playing music with close friends. The kind of friends you'd ask to witness your will or share an orgasm on stage.

At one point Chicken Grrrl said she had decided she would sing the part of the song that sounds like an orgasm ... ah ... ah ... ah. And I said I'd sing the harmony, and we could have a double orgasm on stage in harmony.

We looked over at Joe, who was standing there with a blank expression on his face, just holding his bass. I said, "Joe, we're talking about having orgasms."

He said, "I wasn't really paying attention. I was thinking ...." 

I said, "That's how I know you're like a brother to me. You don't even listen when the two of us are talking about having orgasms together right in front of you."

He said, "Oh, I know what you were talking about, but I was thinking about two other women while you were talking."

Flattering. Like a brother. Then he told us every man fantasizes about making two women come at the same time, and Chicken Grrrl that would never happen except maybe in porn.

I said, "Even so, you'd have to have a plan .... Ready ... set .... come!"

Get it? Come instead of go. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, I hope I don't have to call the police again for a long time. I've needed them for four situations in the past month. The first was somebody breaking into the house next door to steal the copper pipes. The pedophile who lived there is in prison, and it's in foreclosure. Those of us who live nearby are not going to let thieves do any more damage than was already done by the former owner.

The second time was when a dog attacked Drake's dog Duke while we were on a walk.

The third times were while I was trying to get my guitars back after they were held hostage for over three months.

And the fourth time was this afternoon when I got home from picking up my guitars. Somebody kicked in my back gate last night and broke the lock. For now, it's booby-trapped, and my friend A Man Called Horse is coming over to fix it tomorrow. It will be better than ever when he's done.

And so two more lessons came to me today. First, no matter how much bad press they get, the police can be effective guys to have on your side. The two who wasted the taxpayers' money helping me this past week were courteous and efficient. It's kind of embarrassing that I had to bother them with something so stupid and avoidable, but neither of them treated me like that.

Second, hold your good friends close and kick your enemies to the curb. It's easy to become cynical about people, and I'm guilty of that, but focusing on the friends who love me feels a lot better than obsessing about the idiots who prefer to wallow in their own drama. Running around the barnyard pecking and squawking is for the chickens, and we all know how smart those birds are.

In this year of unpacking, I'm grateful this is one nasty experience I can unpack and put behind me. Moving on ..... I think it's about time to write about some vaginas.