Thursday, April 30, 2015

Light the Beltane Fires

Tomorrow, for those of us who celebrate the Earth traditions, is Beltane. May Day we called it when I was growing up in a small town in Iowa. We celebrated all the Pagan traditions. We danced the maypole at school every year. And then after school, we ran home and made May baskets, usually little paper candy cups or construction paper cones with pipe cleaner handles, that we filled with small candy, popcorn, and dandelions or violets we picked out of the yard. Then Mom would drive us with our little baskets all over town to hang on our friends' doors. We'd run up to the door as quietly as possible, hang the May basket on the door handle or knob, knock on the door and then run as fast as we could back to the car. If we were caught, our friend got to, or had to, give us a kiss. When we weren't out delivering, we waited by the door for someone to show us some love by bringing a basket to our door.

When Drake was finally old enough for May baskets, we were living in New Hampshire, just north of Boston. I couldn't wait to take him out to hang May baskets. I was so disappointed to learn that our friends had no idea what the hell we were doing when we ran up, rang the doorbell and then ran away. So much for tradition.

Beltane isn't just about kids dancing the maypole and hanging baskets on their friends' door knobs though. It's a holiday that celebrates passion, fire, sex. A time of putting out the household fires and then rekindling them from the Beltane flames. For me, it's the beginning of summer, even though technically that doesn't happen until summer solstice.

This year, I'm thinking about things I need to let burn away, and new passions I need to rekindle. Or kindle, as the case may be. I've been feeling stuck for quite a long time now. Even through the process of buying a house, moving, starting a new job ..... something feels stuck.

I'm not unhappy, mind you. I just don't feel passionate about anything, and I want to. I need to.

So I'm thinking about the things I need to let burn out, the things I need to extinguish, and I've come up with two I absolutely need to let go of now.

One is Facebook. I  know I've threatened it before, but this past week has been torturous. I don't even want to say why, because I don't want to have that conversation. I'll just say that sometimes being on Facebook makes me dislike people I really don't want to dislike. Facebook allows people to show a side of themselves that isn't necessarily true. It allows people to present an inauthentic self to the Facebook public, and this week that aspect got to be too much for me.

Also, the personal updates are so rare these days, I waste hours every day scrolling through, and then stopping to read a whole bunch of articles I don't need to waste my time on. It's interesting, yes. But all that shit doesn't leave space, man. I have no space left in my head or in my day. Facebook is the Pacman of social media. It gobbles and gobbles and gobbles.

And for an extrovert like me, it's like vodka to an alcoholic. I'm never alone and I crave that connection.

So I'm going to read my messages, which are really like emails these days, and anything I'm tagged on, and I'll respond to invitations, but I'm not reading my feed for a while. Big fucking deal, you might say, if you aren't as hooked as I am.

If you knew how much time I spend, you'd know it is a big fucking deal. As soon as I decided to quit it, I wanted to post something on Facebook and start a conversation.

That's one thing. The other thing is my March failure: sugar. A reader posted on my blog Facebook page that I didn't really fail when I lost the battle on day 15. I went 2 weeks, which isn't like giving in after a day. So maybe I need to set my goal a little lower, and shoot for another 2 weeks. So that's what I'm going to do. Two weeks with no (or little) sugar. I don't think anybody will be hanging May baskets on my door, so I should be OK.

Now that I've decided which fires I'm going to let go out for a while, I need to kindle or rekindle something. And I have no idea what that is. So tomorrow I'll do a ritual and see if I get any clarification. In the past year I've been teased by some possibilities -- music, writing, work -- but I'm still stuck. In every case, the right people weren't in place to make something happen.

You might wonder, given this is the sexy Beltane I'm talking about, whether a new relationship is something I'll look for. And the answer is no. I won't be looking for an intimate relationship. I have a couple of friendship slots that could be filled -- anybody want to be my bestie? -- but I'm not going for the impossible. I need to stoke passions that are real, healthy, and fulfilling.

I'll probably still talk about dating though, because I'll still talk about sex. I can't help that.

So, bring on the Beltane fires. I'm ready. Ready to smother the addictions dressed as passion and light a fire under something new and exciting.  Let the orgy flames begin!

Note: While it may seem like I failed at blogging every day, the past few days I've been focusing on my classroom blog. I've even surpassed my once-a-day goal there this week. I don't think it's anything that would interest any of you, but I have blogged every day this month like I intended to. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Starting my birthday list: follow along

Just so you know, my birthday is July 19. And, yes, that makes me a Cancer with a side of Leo. If that matters to you. I was all set to write about masturbation tonight, but since my birthday is less than 3 months away, I thought you'd appreciate my starting a birthday wish list for you, so you can get me something really cool for my birthday. I'm going to have a big party this year, and even though the invitation will say "No gifts," we all know that's bullshit. 

To be honest, I don't wear flip flops (or thongs, as we called them when I was a kid) because they give me blisters between my toes, nor do I spend much time on the beach (find me a redhead who does and I'll show you a cancer .... skin cancer). Still, I would love a pair of these flip flops, which I would maybe frame and hang on my dining room wall. Or maybe I'll just spray them with paint and walk down the sidewalk toward my house, although come to think of it, the person who's most likely to be following me would be some ancient, 35-year-old alcoholic pushing a shopping cart full of stolen scrap metal. Hmmmm. 

I still want them! So do you, right?

Apparently you can create flip flops with anything on the bottom of them. What would you want your flip flops to say?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dick will make you slap somebody in the face

I didn't say that. Alexyss K. Taylor says it in the video below, which is one of the funniest I've ever watched. I chose a short (2:43) excerpt from a longer one titled "Penis Power." She has many others, and they are addictive. Once you start watching her, it's hard to stop because she's so unpredictable. If you're interested in her, here's her Vagina Power website.

That's her mother, btw, on the show with her. The woman with the priceless expressions, which were apparently the real thing. I could probably make my mom look like that.

(The title of this video on Youtube says Tylor is a preacher. She's not, damn it, because that would be even funnier. Check out her Wikipedia page for her credentials.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Public service announcement: Dog farts

I didn't have time to write tonight because I've been researching dog farts. Listen, you can laugh, and you can even commiserate, but you don't know. This dog farts more and stronger than any dog I've ever known. I live in a big house with many rooms. He fills it up. The house. Fills it with farts. There's no escape. We live in a cloying, noxious cloud of dog-butt emissions in every room.

He even wakes me up in the night. I've been sleeping with a floor fan on already, even though it's not at all hot yet, just to keep the air moving in my bedroom, so I don't suffocate in my sleep. I wake up with my eyes spurting tears, gasping for air, swearing. I've ordered a gas mask from Amazon, but I'm afraid even that won't help. My imaginary boyfriend Felix won't even spend the night here any more.

I've tried lighting candles, of course, but they can't keep up, so my house just ends up smelling like lavender dog farts. I finally stopped because I was afraid I'd blow my house up, and I wasn't sure how I'd explain that to the insurance company. Accidental dog fart explosion?

I'm surprised the neighbors haven't complained, but maybe they don't want to get close enough to my house to complain. They've probably ordered gas masks from Amazon too.

I'm not sure how he can bear spending as much time as he does (and it's a lot) licking his balls with his nose is right down there in the gas-ass zone. I'm surprised he doesn't pass out. I suppose the male of any animal that can lick his balls will go at it under any conditions.

I have been feeding him the same dog food for the past 4 months, so it's not a food change issue, although he's worse if I feed him meat. Which makes no sense because dogs are supposed to eat meat. It's hard to tell what makes it worse though, because it's a nightly occurrence. Yeah, it mostly happens at night when we're stuck in the same room together -- either the living room or the bedroom.

My research told me exercise might help. He gets lots of exercise, so that can't be the answer. Or maybe he eats too fast. What does that even mean? He eats like a dog. How do you determine what's fast eating for a dog? I've tried simethicone, the ingredient in GasX. First I tried one capsule, but that didn't touch it. Then I gave him two. Zero reduction in silent, but deadly, emissions. I considered just giving him the entire bottle, but I'm not sure how much GasX constitutes an overdose in a 55-pound dog. Not that I care much at this point.

Finally my Google search turned up someone who recommended yogurt. Swears by it. Says a tablespoon gives her at least 2 days of relief. It's not something I would have thought of, because I've never heard of humans eating yogurt for fart control, but OK. I just made half a gallon of yogurt. I decided to give it a try.

Last night I scooped out some yogurt with a tablespoon and held it down for him to lick off. He didn't wake me up once in the night. And then this afternoon, I hit him with another tablespoon of the magic.

Guess what? So far, not one stinky fart tonight, and it's after 1:30 am! Zero. He's laying right beside me with his butt pointed my way and ..... nothing.

So let this be your public service announcement of the year. Yogurt gets rid of dog farts. Or at least it has held them at bay for 24 hours.


Or, that is, it held them at bay until I wrote all of that above. Fuck me. Just as I was about to hit publish, my nose was hit with the horrible, rotten egg odor once again. I can't fucking win.

I guess it's back to Google. You can tear up my PSA and throw it in the trash. If you don't hear from me again, for god's sake, don't open the door. Save yourself. Good night.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sweet potato hash

I'm brain-burnt crispy from rating creative writing audition stories while sitting in the stench of unrelenting dog farts with Chopin on Pandora and a fireplace burning on Netflix.

My attempt last night to raise a conversation about autocunnilingis raised instead the sound of crickets, as one loyal reader predicted it would. The one reader who responded has devoted her life to the female orgasm, so you should check out her website Sex, Science and the Ladies. I will be writing a review of her documentary by the same name one of these nights.

But tonight, I'm feeling neither angry nor clever nor particularly interested in sex. Simon, my imaginary boyfriend (more on him later this week), has gone to bed, and my muse Dolores fell asleep somewhere around the 17th audition story. So tonight you get a recipe for crack sweet potato hash.

I'm not sure where I first found this recipe, but it really doesn't matter because hash is hash is hash, and I've migrated so far from the original it's not even the same recipe now. I will warn you that this hash gets rave reviews even when I burn it. It's just that good. Try it.

Sweet Potato Hash


  • one large or a couple smaller sweet onions, halved and sliced thin
  • butter and or olive oil
  • 3-5 sweet potatoes, cubed (how hungry are you?)
  • a pound of sausage (I use sweet or mild Italian, but you can use hotter if you like. Or you can use a sagey country-style sausage. Whatever you like will work.)
  • garlic, chopped or mashed (choose how much you like)
  • rosemary, chopped fine (fresh is best, 4 sprigs; dried is OK in the winter, 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • salt and pepper
  • eggs

1. In a large skillet, saute the onion slices in olive oil and butter with a little salt over low heat for about half an hour. Yep, I said 30 minutes. They should be mushy and brown and caramely. Don't worry if they seem watery at first and don't rush them.

2. Chop up the sweet potatoes into half-inch or so cubes, put them in a big bowl and mix in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, rosemary, and some salt and pepper.

3. Brown and crumble the sausage in another skillet or pan until it's not quite cooked through. Stir it into the sweet potatoes.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

5. When the onions are caramelized, add them to the sweet potato mixture and spread it all out on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Stick it into the oven for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Stir a couple of times so the sausage doesn't burn. (I speak from experience.) Salt to taste after it comes out of the oven.

6. Just before the sweet potato mixture comes out of the oven, melt some butter in the skillet over medium heat. It's OK to use the dirty skillet from the onions. Once the butter is melted and just starting to brown, crack in a couple of eggs for each person you're feeding. Cook until they're either sunny-side up (you can cover the pan with foil for the last minute to cook the tops) or over-easy. They're best if they're runny.

7. Spoon some sweet potato mixture on a plate and top with a couple of eggs. I like to serve this with sliced oranges, buttered cranberry English muffins when they're in season, coffee, and cold glasses of whole raw milk. Some people might want to add hot sauce. Go ahead if you want to ruin it.

How good is this shit, you ask? Well, it has become my daughter-in-law's birthday request. And we've also eaten it for a couple of Christmas breakfasts. I served it for brunch after a slumber party with some girlfriends a couple of months ago, and they all ate way more than they wanted to. Everybody who's eaten it will vouch that this is some delicious shit. It takes an hour or so to make, but it's worth it.

Note: If you don't like sweet potatoes, you could use regular white potatoes instead. One of my slumber party guests doesn't like sweet potatoes, but she did like this, so don't assume anything. This isn't your mother's marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.

Let me know if you try it and what you think. Otherwise, you'll just have to get yourself invited to my house for brunch some day, because this will probably be on the menu.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

No, thanks. I'll just lick it myself.

(photo credit: Reticulated Writer)

Last night, for a reason that must be obvious, I posted the following status update on Facebook:

I can't lie. The sound of a dog licking his balls makes me gag. That's probably why men didn't evolve with that skill. Women refused to mate with the ones who could reach down there. If any men who read this can lick their own balls, just don't let me hear you. I'm serious.

Then during church I sneaked peeks on my phone at the conversation that followed. One obvious solution to my dog-ball-licking issue is to have said balls removed. I'm looking for a cost-effective way to do that procedure now.

Just as interesting is the men-licking-their-balls issue. A frequent reader here in Reticuland wins the prize for funniest comment. He wrote, "Evolution-wise, I don't think the women were refusing anything; it's more likely that the men with such abilities (I hesitate to use the term "skill") weren't paying any attention to any nearby women in the first place.

Plus, they probably died of exhaustion and starvation shortly after they discovered the ability."


I suspect almost every man I know has had a conversation about whether whether he can suck his own dick and/or if he would if he could blow himself or lick his balls. Anatomically speaking, I think if he could do the first, the latter wouldn't be much of a stretch.

And then as I sat in church I wondered, Why hasn't anybody ever asked me if I would lick my clit if I could? Why hasn't anybody ever asked me if I can lick my own clit?

Obviously one can tell by looking at me that I can't get my face between my legs. There's not enough yoga in the world. So let's set the question to rest just in case you were wondering, now that I brought it up. But I want to know why isn't the interest in autofellatio matched by an equal interest in autocunnilingis? Even the Wikipedia entry for autoeroticism only refers to men dick-licking. Nothing about women clit-licking. I call shenanigans.

I don't understand why we're left out of the conversation. First, because women are more flexible than men -- in general. (I know there's that one guy out there who is thinking Hey, I'm just as flexible as a woman. Good for you, buddy, but can you suck your dick? No? Shut up then.)

I know men like to see women suck their own nipples. But I guess if we could lick our own clits, that might be just a tiny bit more threatening. Because then we wouldn't need anybody else to lick our clits, and you add that to an expensive life-size dildo, and all we're missing is the wet spot on the bed.

So I was in church thinking about this, and then after church I had a conversation with my friend Martini about why women have fewer orgasms than men. If you're thinking it's because women's orgasms are harder to come by (pun intended), then you would be wrong. Our bits work just fine, thank you, but the relevant bits aren't found in our vaginas, so the penis isn't usually the right tool for the job. (I know there's that one woman -- the one the rest of us women all secretly hate -- who's thinking, I come with every penetration. I have an orgasm when I insert a tampon. Good for you, bitch. Now go sit in the corner. This conversation isn't for you.)

No, the reasons are many, and most of them boil down to men's orgasms being more important than women's.  I don't need to reinvent the wheel when this article by Stefani Ruper is out there. Everybody should read it. Go ahead. Do it now. I'll wait. Hand me that vibrator, please.

So when I told Martini that one reason women don't have as many orgasms as men is because single men, especially during a one-night stand, don't care if the woman has an orgasm, and even admit that they don't give a shit if the woman has an orgasm because they're never going to see her again ..... Oh, the look of astonishment on his face was priceless.

He was actually surprised. Because such a lack of chivalry has never crossed his mind. Because he's one of those men who finds a woman's orgasm almost as fulfilling as his own. Because it just wouldn't be good sex if she didn't have an orgasm.

He's that rare bird. Ruper quotes a study by Elizabeth Armstrong et al in which they claim that women in relationships have 7 times more orgasms (with male partners) than women who aren't. In other words, if it's a hookup, he's going to get his, but she's not.

And women know it. Don't we? Back me up here, single ladies. We know it. OK, I know it. And that's one reason I don't engage in hookups. I don't have issues of repression, and even my body issues (which are significant) wouldn't prevent me in engaging with sex with a nice stranger. But I'm not looking for selfish sex. I'm not a receptacle. It's mutual pleasure or nothing for me. And my expectation for a one-night event is that I'll be disappointed. Experience and scientific research back up my pessimism.

But more than that, I'll come clean and say it's also reason #284 why I don't pursue dating. Many men are only looking for a hookup, and I'm not only bored by the shallowness of their quest to fulfill their basest needs, I'm not interested in servicing them at the expense of my own pleasure. I do feel like a slut when a man doesn't care about my orgasm. (Caveat: I have also experienced men who just didn't  know what the fuck they were doing. I dated a man for months who claimed eating pussy was his favorite past-time, and yet he had fewer skills than the average 15-year-old. I kept thinking it was going to get better, but it never did. It was a lesson I took to heart. If he can't find the spot by the third time, he's not going to. Move on.)

I should add this second caveat: None of this pertains to lesbian sex. Lesbians have more orgasms than anybody.

Back to the original topic, which was .... OK, it was my dog licking his balls. Anyway, I don't think it's at all fair that women can't lick their own clits. There. I said it. And I will answer the question I've never been asked: Yes, if I could, I would certainly lick my own clit. Tongues are simply the best, in my opinion. Unfortunately, imagining contorting my body into a position that might facilitate my tongue coming into contact with my clit does not bring a feeling of warm, moist pleasure.

Since I answered the question, I'm going to ask my women readers. Would you pleasure yourself with your tongue if you could? Don't leave me hanging, ladies! I've had that happen way too often already.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Waiting on Elvis, 1956

April is National Poetry Month, and I haven't posted a poem yet. While I'd love to post a poem I've written, I don't really have one I want to post tonight. So I'll post one of my top 5 favorites, written by Joyce Carol Oates. The title is "Waiting on Elvis, 1956," and I like it because we hadn't loved that boy to death yet. Not yet. The poem speaks to a time that seems almost unbearably sweet .... and this weekend I've had some moments that seemed almost unbearable sweet myself.

Waiting On Elvis, 1956

This place up in Charlotte called Chuck's where I
used to waitress and who came in one night
but Elvis and some of his friends before his concert
at the Arena, I was twenty-six married but still
waiting tables and we got to joking around like you
do, and he was fingering the lace edge of my slip
where it showed below my hemline and I hadn't even
seen it and I slapped at him a little saying, You
sure are the one aren't you feeling my face burn but
he was the kind of boy even meanness turned sweet in
his mouth.

Smiled at me and said, Yeah honey I guess I sure am.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stories come from stories

Tonight I am weary. I write, and if I am lucky and touch someone's experience, she or he will tell me a story. And sometimes the stories make me tired. Not tired in a way that makes me want to silence the stories. No, I want the stories. But weary that the stories don't change as quickly as I would like.

My baby sister wrote to me and told me her daughter, my niece, is upset because she wants her best friend's mom to be her softball coach. Her friend's mom played softball and she was really good, but she can't coach my niece or her own daughter. She was coaching the basketball team, but she was forced to step down. The problem isn't my niece's best friend's mother ... exactly. The problem is the other mother. The problem is that she's a lesbian in a committed relationship. Other parents don't want her around their children.

I'll let that sit. Other parents don't want her around their children because she loves another woman and they are in a committed, family-cemented relationship. A marriage.

I suspect the problem isn't that she's a lesbian, but that she dared to marry, which, by the way, is legal in Iowa. She's certainly not the first lesbian coach or gym teacher in that area. When I was in junior high school our gym teacher was a lesbian. Not an out lesbian, but we all knew. Some of the girls said they didn't want her to watch them take showers, but I don't think it was a problem for most of us. I didn't take showers because I didn't want the other girls to see me naked and possibly make a cruel remark. I was shy. I didn't care if our gym teacher was a lesbian though.

Our social studies teacher was what was back then called a spinster who lived with her mother. She was probably a lesbian too. Even from my perspective now, I'm certain they were both lesbians. And people knew, but it was OK. It was OK because they didn't act like they loved anybody.

But once they fell in love, which I believe they did, they moved to another town. Together. Because it was OK if everybody knew they were "like that," but it wasn't OK if they were in love. They could be "like that," but they couldn't be a normal committed couple. Nobody wants to see that.

If my niece's friend's mother were a single mother, nobody would ask. She could just coach and everybody would be happy.

My niece likes her friend's mom a lot and just wants her to coach their softball team. She doesn't care how many mommies her friend has. She would bake her a cake though. Parents could learn from kids. I hope our younger generations will put an end to the hate. God knows we should have done it long ago.


Today most of the juniors at the school where I teach were taking an ACT prep test, so I combined my 2 with the 2 from across the hall. The 2 boys went down to join a gym class, so I just sat and talked with the 2 girls.

One of them told us how her mom makes her read aloud a nasty passage from the Bible (book of Timothy, I think) about how being gay is wrong every time she does something "homosexual-like." I asked her to give me an example. She said she had a girlfriend, and when her Catholic family and her girlfriend's Mormon family found out shit hit the fan. Her relatives came from another state to join with her local family and pray over her. She's been told all her life she's going to hell, because her first crush on a girl happened when she was in preschool.

I will tell you that she's a talented poet and singer/songwriter. That she seems more mature than the other kids, but also less carefree. That she has her own style. Those things are the most important things about her, but the reason I ended up talking about her is because she's gay. From birth. Incorrigibly gay. It's really not our business, but here I am writing about it.

So I asked if they wanted me to read to them a blog post I'd written about my brother, and they said yes. She's never been in my class, so she's never read anything I've written. I read it. I'll admit it's a little hard for me to get through, reading it aloud.

And she sat there in silence for a while. I thought maybe it missed the mark with her, which happens sometimes with teenagers. But after a minute she said, "Wow. I've never read or heard anybody write anything with that much emotion in it. With that much caring. You must have been really feeling that when you wrote it. Thank you."

I realize her parents would probably pitch an enormous fit over what happened in my classroom during that hour. But I know the statistics for gay teenagers. I recently read that 40% of homeless teens are gay. One research center reports that gay teens are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than straight teens. Family rejection not only hurts, it kills.

If her parents won't bake her a cake, I will. Maybe I could get fired for it, but I will. I'd rather risk her parents' ire than know that she was one more percentage point in the statistics.

When is it going to stop? No, seriously. When is it going to stop so I can get back to writing about vaginas again? Please. Let's move on.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I have an early day tomorrow, because we're taking our seniors on an all-day field trip. It will be fun. We chartered a bus, and we're spending the day in another city going to a conservatory and an art museum and out for lunch. I'm glad we're getting them out of school and out of the city to do things they've never done before.

But I do have to be up earlier than usual, and it's already after midnight, so I'm not going to stay up writing until 3:00 am. Instead, I'm going to share this heart-wrenching, powerful poem with you.

(Warning: Button Poetry can be addictive.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It really is that simple

A little over a week ago, I wrote a post about my brother and my cousin that went viral. Viral for me. Of course, my viral is like the common cold compared to other bloggers, for example Bloggess, whose viral is ebola plus the stomach flu with some herpes thrown in. But still, satisfying. As I watched all the shares on Facebook accumulate and the views on my stat page rise, and as I cringed every time somebody tagged me and that nasty graphic showed up on my feed, I waited ...waited for an email or a call from the one person who really mattered when I wrote that post and published it at 4:00 am on a Monday morning: my brother.

I waited through Monday, checking my email way more often than I usually do. Through Monday night when I wrote another post, but the post about him kept getting the views and the shares. I sent my son Drake a message and said I hoped I hadn't offended him.

Tuesday morning I got up, no email from my brother. I sent my daughter Elvira a message and asked her if she'd read it ... and if she thought I'd written anything that would have offended him. I told her I'd asked him  if I could tell the story before I wrote it. She said, no, nothing offensive. She thought it was powerful and he probably liked it.

Here's the thing about writing about someone else's story: it's awful if you I don't get it right. Especially a story like this that's outside of my experience. Not that I've never been offended, but I'm not a gay man, and although as a woman I do hear and see people talking about me like I'm less than human, I can't assume I understand his experience.

In a way, it's not my story to tell. And yet, if I don't tell it, how do I show I'm standing beside him in this ridiculous battle for his rights? Which, if you understand the concept of rights, can't be taken away, and yet here we are.

So I stewed. I checked my email again and again. After school I talked with Elvira. I told her I still hadn't heard from her uncle, and I was getting really worried. She said I should probably call him. Yes, I said. I'll call him this evening.

Drake called, and I had the same conversation with him. He said, "You should probably call him."

After we got off the phone, I clicked through my phone book and hit the call button. My brother's phone rang several times, and then he said, "Hey. What's up?"

I said, "Hey. Everything OK? Did you read what I wrote the other night?"

He said he had, and that he'd shared it (not on Facebook, of course) with some of his friends. And when they realized I was his sister and I was writing about him, they shared it with other friends. He said several people he hadn't been heard from in a while contacted him about it, and he was feeling really good about that.

"Oh," I said. "That's a relief to hear. I thought maybe you were mad at me. I thought maybe I'd fucked it up, the story. What I said. I was afraid you were offended."

"Oh, no!" he said. "I was going to call you. I was just trying to think of something better to say than 'thank you.' Those two words didn't seem like enough to express what I wanted to say. No, I'm not mad at all. I'm sorry you were worried."

I reassured him that he didn't need to be sorry. I just get paranoid sometimes. The problem with being a writer is that I send my words out into the world, and I don't get to see people's faces when they read them. So it's only my imagination sitting here beside me masturbating and making itself feel important. It's an insecure feeling sometimes.

We talked for a long time, about Indiana and how they fucked that up; about how good it had been to hear from people who wanted to support him; about how his friends wanted him to tell our cousin to fuck off, but we both agreed that wasn't going to be productive; about how I had unfriended our cousin after I gave her 12 hours to see the post on my Facebook; about how our youngest sister had unfriended her too.

Saturday night I talked to our mom, and she said she'd unfriended our cousin, her niece, too. (To be honest, she had my baby sister do it for her on her phone.) She said she didn't need to be friends with anybody who posted shit like that that hurt her son.

And herein lies the solution: We all have to take up the fight. We all have to say enough is enough. This isn't a gay problem or a lesbian problem or a transgender problem or a queer problem. This is a human rights problem. And it will take all of us to push back and fix it.

These are the last words I wrote in that post: "Your dehumanizing hatred is going to cause a backlash like you've never even imagined. A backlash of people loving and supporting and fighting for their gay relatives and friends, and yes, even strangers." The backlash might be something as simple as unfriending someone on Facebook. It might be as simple as telling the story of someone who was hurt by words. It might be as simple as baking a cake for someone, and not even asking whether they're gay or straight ... because it's not your business if they are. It might be as simple as treating everyone with the same respect you'd like to be treated with yourself.

And it really is that simple. Isn't it? It really is that simple. Who are you going to unfriend on Facebook today?

Monday, April 13, 2015

I guess I won't be having sex with a prostitute after all

(Photo from wikipedia)
I've decided not to apply to be a Moonlite Bunny Ranch bunny-tester. No, it's not because of the way they spelled "Moonlite," which is just wrong and doesn't even make sense. OK, it might be a tiny part of my decision .... But let me go back.

I don't remember where I saw it, but this article, "America's most famous brothel is hiring secret shoppers, but for sex," popped up on my computer screen the other day. I got excited! When I skimmed over it, all I saw were the first sentence, "The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada featured in the HBO series Cathouse, seeks to hire 'about a dozen' people to have sex with its prostitutes professionally," and this phrase, "then write about it."

I got so excited! Porn is not my thing, but ethnography is and I love to talk about sex, so yessiree! Sign me up. I've seen every episode of Cathouse, some more than twice. If you haven't, let me fill you in. It's a somewhat scripted, cheerful look at life on a ranch of prostitution in Nevada, where such things are legal. It's about hookers who all live together in a big building with rooms and a bar and an office and hot tubs and stuff. The show gives insight into a small, unique culture of happy-go-lucky prostitutes living under the kind, fatherly presence of Dennis (the pimp) ..... I guess you'd have to see it to appreciate it. 

Anyway, I saw those words, and I thought Dennis was going to hire me people to come there and have sex and then write about it. And I thought, Me! I'll do it! I'll do it for my art! I'll do it for my blog! I'll write an ethnographic book. I'll do it because somebody would fucking pay me to write!

But then I thought back on the episodes of Cathouse I've watched, and I started having second thoughts. Deal-breaking second thoughts. And I decided I really don't want to have sex with a prostitute, even one who seems to enjoy her job as much as the "girls" at the Bunny Ranch do.

I don't think the reason I backed away from the idea is because of the numbers of people they have sex with, although it's hard to separate that. I tried to be practical. I don't care how many customers the Kroger checker has checked out before me, do I? Nor do I care how many taxes my tax preparer has prepared, nor how many cars my mechanic has worked on. I'm not queasy about my doctor doing lots of surgeries before mine. In fact, I want him to practice on other people first. So, why should I care how many penises have been in my prostitute's vagina. Or so I told myself. (I'm still not sure.)

I did imagine what it would be like to walk in the door from the hot desert sun and cause all the girls (why are prostitutes always called "girls"?) to drop their vibrators so they could line up and pose in negligees and really tall shoes and hope to catch my attention. Yeah, that sounded a lot too awkward for me. Even though they do it many times a day, I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's feelings, even knowing they probably don't give a shit unless their rent is due. Knowing me, I'd probably choose the one I felt sorriest for though, and that's no fun. Or I'd feel guilty because I didn't choose the one I felt sorriest for. I'd probably stand there a long time and over-think that shit just like my mom always says I do. Maybe they would slowly drift away until I finally had to choose the only one left standing there.
(photo from Gawker)

Having watched all the shows, I know I could refuse to choose and instead go into the bar, buy some drinks, and let some of them try to woo me into the back where the bedrooms are. That could be fun for a while. But then, I'd still have to choose, and by then they probably would have shown me their boobs and I'd want them all --except the tragically enhanced ones. (Oh, admit it. You like boobs too. Everybody likes boobs.) Besides, I'll bet the drinks are expensive. I wonder if Dennis would pick up the tab though, since I'd be writing about it.

The thing that brought me to the biggest screeching halt though is that these women are too young for me to date outside of the Bunny Ranch. They're pretty and sexy in a mainstream way. But whether they're women or men, I don't want to date or have sex with people who are decades younger than I am, or who are younger than my oldest kid. So, I think I'd just feel like a dirty old woman, and who wants that shit? Not me. Well, sometimes ... but not in that context.

Of course, most of the men who come in are older than the women there. Hell, look at Dennis! And an older woman (late 60's) did come in and buy time with a girl in one episode, because her husband couldn't have sex with her or something. And I swear I didn't judge. But that's not me. I'd feel kind of pathetic.

Although there's Air Force Amy, who is older than I am, but also needs a lot of attention. And I wouldn't be there to take care of somebody's fucking ego.

I had to ask myself if I'd feel the same if they were men .... So I imagined a row of a dozen shirtless young men lined up and waiting for me to choose, and it took a lot of imagination, because men don't line up to be chosen like that, do they? But once I got the image going, I ran into the same problem. Too young. Too weird to point to one and be led back to a bedroom. Too awkward knowing they don't really want anything except my money.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have all that baggage about taking advantage of them and am I still a feminist and am I objectifying someone. It would just be a fuck.

So there's that.

It's not that there's anything wrong with paying for sex though. The laws against it cause more problems than legalizing it would. The bald fact of the matter is that some people can't get a hug, much less a fuck, and people need physical intimacy. Or sometimes they want something their partner isn't willing to do. So if they can't get it from people for free, why shouldn't they be able to pay a willing partner? I know it's trickier than that. Sex work is dangerous, and not because men need hugs. But a lot of the men on the show really just need some affection. And to get fucked by a pretty girl, of course.

And then there's the question of whether I, in this case, would be a prostitute too. Because I'd be getting a paycheck for having sex right? Only I'd be getting paid to get laid by a prostitute. How convoluted is that?

Surely, I told myself as I slowly lost my nerve .... surely doing it for the story would be different. Surely I could let loose and just have fun. Play the part. Fake it until I maked it. I mean, it might be nice to have sex with someone who was paid to pleasure me, to do whatever I wanted to do. That could be nice, right? All take, and no give unless I wanted to.

But, no. I'm really not looking for sexual relationships like that. Hell, I don't even accept one-night-stands with people I know and like. I sometimes wish I would just get over it, but I don't find sex without intimacy much fun, so it's not worth the possible complications.

So I talked myself out of it and stopped writing my application in my head, but I still went back and really read the article. And that's when I realized, Dennis is just looking for secret shoppers. He's not looking for an ethnographer at all. I wouldn't have gotten the gig anyway. After all that typical over-thinking, the offer to observe and write about and even fuck a bunny wasn't going to be extended to me.

Damn it! Now I want to fuck a bunny! I want to beg Dennis to please please please please please pay me to fuck a bunny. He wouldn't have to pay me to write about it. I'd do that for free, just like I always do.

Apparently Dennis has already been flooded with applications from all kinds of people. And, although he says he'd like to take a couple of women in the dozen secret shoppers he hires, I doubt he's looking for a middle-aged blogger who's somebody's grandma. So I'm not going to send him an email after all. My dreams of a Bunny Ranch ethnography are crushed, and I'll probably never get this chance again .... such that it was.

At this point I would normally ask what you would do. Trying, you know, to get a conversation going. But I suspect most of you wouldn't go to the Bunny Ranch and have sex (probably multiple times) with prostitutes. I'm probably alone in my purely academic fascination with the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Taking a break for station identification...

I'm working on a post tonight for my classroom blog, but never fear. Tomorrow night I'll return to Reticuland with the reasons why I've decided not to have sex with a hooker .... yet.

In the meantime, here's a funny for my karaoke friends, whether we've sung together or not.

Posting this made me wonder if anybody has ever undertaking a karaoke trip and written about it. I think I see my own HGTV show opening up right in front of me! Reticulated Karaoke on the Road. What do you think?

No, seriously! I'm looking for my next life right now. This could be it, right? Because otherwise, my next life might be sex with a hooker .... unless you guys come up with a better idea.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Coralineisms #008: Tooth fairies to stinky bananas

Sometimes I'll post conversations I have with my 3-year-old granddaughter Coraline that I call Coralineisms on Facebook. Some are sweet one-liners, like this one:

"Did you dream about me last night, Mamá?"

And this one:

"When I grow up, I'm going to be a tooth fairy!"

Most are conversations, like this one:

Me, singing beautifully: Let it go. Let it go. Can't hold it ...
Coraline: Stop! Stop singing my song. That song is MY song.
Me: I can sing that song if I want to.
Coraline: No, you can't. That's my song. You sing your own song.
Me: What's my song?
Coraline: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." That's your song. You sing that.
Me: Why do I have to have "Twinkle, Twinkle..." for my song? I don't want that song.
Coraline: That's a beautiful song. It's fine for you.
Me: No, I don't choose that song. (singing) Let it go ....
Coraline: Fine. We can share my song. I'll split it with you.
Me: That's so generous.
Coraline. I know. I know. I'll just cut it in half.
Me: Thank you.
Coraline: You can only sing your part in the winter.
Me: I hate winter.
Coraline: It's a winter song.

Or this one, which is a continuation of a conversation about the Frozen theme song you might remember from this post:

Coraline (singing): Ready go ... Ready go ....
Me (singing): Let it go .... Let it go ....
Coraline: It's "Ready go."
Me: No, I keep telling you, it's "Let it go."
Coraline: That's what I sing at Grandma's house and at Mommy's house. But here I sing "Ready go."
Me: What??? You sing "Let it go" at Grandma's house and Mommy's house, and you only sing "Ready go" here at my house?
Coraline: Yes. (singing) Ready go .... Ready go ...."
Me: You're a stinker.
Coraline: Ready go ....

And this one:

Coraline: I need a tissue! (Always a crisis.)
Me: OK. Here you go.
Coraline, after a big honking blow: That's the way my nose pees.

And another:

I'm using a tablespoon to clean out a jar I've just shaken up whipped cream in. As I'm licking the stem of the spoon ...
Coraline: Euww. Why are you licking that spoon's bottom?
Me: Spoons don't have bottoms.
Coraline: That one does, and you're licking its bottom. That's icky.

Bear with me:

Coraline: Be careful of your heart.
Me: Why? What's going on with my heart?
Coraline: Next week it's going to fall out. And you're going to have babies in your tummy.
Me: Can't wait.

Finally, for those of you who are Facebook friends and may have seen most of my Coralineisms, a new bathtub conversation from last Thursday:

Coraline: Mamá, I have a vagina.
Me: Yes, you do.
Coraline: And you have a vagina too.
Me: I do. It hasn't been excavated in a while, but I'm sure it's still there somewhere.
Coraline: And Mommy has a vagina too.
Me: Yes, Mommy has a vagina.
Coraline: Daddy doesn't have a vagina though.
Me: No, what does Daddy have?
Coraline: Daddy has a stinky banana!
Me (LOL):  A stinky banana? You mean a penis, right?
Coraline: Yes, a penis that's a stinky banana.
Me: OK. Close enough.
Coraline: What's a penis for?
Me: They have a couple of purposes. The only one you need to know about right now is that men pee out of them.
Coraline: Men pee out of bananas?
Me: Out of penises.
Coraline: Oh ..... Aunt Montana has a vagina.
Me: Yes.
Coraline: Uncle Drake has a stinky banana.
Me: I'm not going to win this one, am I?
Coraline: No. Carly has a vagina.
Me: Yes, she does.
Coraline:  Shaun has a stinky banana.
Me: [sigh] Yes, Shaun has a penis ...... (The list goes on.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Funnies: When Mary Poppins shows up, goats scramble

I've been thinking about renting a goat. I know I've talked in the past about getting a boyfriend, but I've got a bunch of English ivy in my front yard that I'd like to replace with perennial flowers. I can either break my back pulling it up every two weeks for the rest of my life, or I can get a goat. I'm leaning toward the goat. One that's recently weaned a kid and can still be milked would be even better. Feta!

I see no downside other than that I'll have poop from one more animal to clean up.

Anybody ever rented a goat? What was your experience? Anybody have a small, lactating urban goat I can rent?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

That's not exactly what I meant by a boob job, honey

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. (I have to write that so nobody thinks I'm being paid to try to talk you into buying the products mentioned in this post. So buy them or don't, because I don't realize income from this blog ever. But if you do buy anything you see here, please send photos and an entertaining story.)

I was reading Dan Savage's advice column the other day. Savage, if you haven't heard of him, gives advice on all things sexual, and even lots of things I wouldn't consider sexy, but somebody does. It's not for the naive. Or maybe it is if you need to get up to speed. I don't read Savage Love to get ideas -- who would I use them with anyway? -- but because it's entertaining and often makes me glad I'm single.

So a woman wrote to complain about her fiance, who refused to have sex with her nearly as often as she'd like. He would, in fact, turn her down and then go beat off in another room while he watched porn. Apparently one of his kinks is super-enhanced breasts, and she doesn't have "got their own zip code" boobs, so he'd rather have sex with his computer screen. There was more to her story, but this is the part that interested me. One thing Savage advised to turn the fiance's head toward a flesh-and-blood woman is this costume that would supposedly satisfy his boob kink and entice him to release the death grip he's got on his own penis.

(Photo credit:

And I thought Spanx™ were uncomfortable.

I couldn't help imagining how this might play out. She gets her normal woman body all dolled up in some sexy lingerie and stretches out on the bed in a seductive pose. He walks into the bedroom and says, "Oh, I see you're ready for bed. Go ahead and go to sleep. I've got myself some stuff to do on my computer."

Fine, she thinks. I'm going to take Dan Savage's advice and give him what he wants. So she  dons her red rubber cat suit with inflatable breasts and pumps those puppies up as high as they'll go with a bicycle pump.

She squeaks her way into the other room where he's pumping himself and fantasizing about rubbing his wiener between something that looks like this.

And his poor fiance, zipped up  head to toe in a giant red balloon, offers him something that looks like this.

I mean, holy watermelons, Batman! What man in his right mind wouldn't turn the computer off immediately and take her right there on the spot? I'm feeling a little flushed myownself just looking at those hot pink globes of wonder.

J.K., Dear Readers. I love boobs -- who doesn't? But those aren't boobs. They're literally flotation devices.

This is probably why I'm single, and for two-fold reasons. One, because lots of single men would rather fantasy-fuck the perfect, probably much younger, woman of their imaginations on their computers than have to look at the horrifying bodies of a real women their own age. Women who look like them, only ... you know, female.

And the second reason is that I'm not even willing to squeeze into a pair of Spanx™ to impress a man. I'm sure as hell not going to shoe-horn my entire body into a cat suit with beach-ball boobs. Honestly, if a guy couldn't get off to my luscious real breasts (because my boobs are great, just not weirdly enormous) .... if he had to look at breasts that are surgically enhanced distorted to the point that they don't look like human body parts ... well, then he really does need to go fuck himself.

And a lot of guys do just that, which is going to keep the vibrator companies in business for a very long time, because women aren't sitting around pining for the penises that will never emerge from the dim porn portals of the internet.

I'm not going off on a rant about porn, because it's here to stay. But I will say I know women in real life who struggle with this very same issue. Their husbands are cheating on them with their laptops -- and I do call it cheating if his primary sexual relationship is with the electronic images of other women. It's not just men who get turned down for sex, and I think it's happening to women more and more these days. And women are being advised by gay sex columnists to do whatever they have to do to keep up with the porn industry.

However, I'm not going to judge if you look at that stunning red cat suit and you think, Damn. I would look FINE in that shiny latex skin, and I would love to bounce those pumped up ta ta's with my guy (or gal). You should absolutely go for it. And send pics, which I will post, no questions asked.

You can tell where I stand. I'm flexible to an extent, but I would laugh so hard at even the suggestion that I put that thing on .... Ummmm ..... no and hell, no. But I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't have a relationship to save. What do you think? Would you do whatever you could to compete with the fantasy on the screen? Or would you draw the line at faking what's already a fake body part?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: We all know chickens should not smoke

(Wordless Wednesday: The night when Reticula goes to karaoke and listens to her friends sing, and although she comes home with some really good stories, the combination of too much wine and too many hours makes her lazy tired and word-resistant. And so she posts some crazy, random photo that doesn't require a comment, although many could be made. In that vein, if you feel a comment coming on, please feel free to write one below. Wordless Wednesday only applies to Reticula. You may add as many words as you feel compelled to write in the comments below. PS, children should not smoke.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Get some plastic surgery already!

I just finished watching Boyhood. It was OK. Kind of like watching somebody's home movies. Totally character-driven. I couldn't discern a plot. In the past week I've also watched Gone Girl and Whiplash. For me, the Oscar goes to Whiplash, but that's not the one I'm going to talk about.

When I watch the Academy Awards, I usually haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees. Or maybe I've seen one. So what I remember is the hype about each film. And what I remember most about Boyhood is the comments about how brave Patricia Arquette was, how utterly devoted to her art, because 1. her weight fluctuated during those 11 years  the movie was being made and 2. she didn't have any work done during the time it took to film the movie. I'm a little ashamed to admit, I was curious to see how radically this woman must have changed during those 11 years. How hideous she must have become that people praised her for being courageous and committed enough to forego plastic surgery.

Here's her hideous face, in case you haven't seen the movie. And get ready for it, because I am not fucking kidding you, when I googled images of her, I could choose from a few select packages of images of her: movies, teeth, 2014, Boardwalk Empire, Boyhood, Oscars and age. That's right. Teeth. Seems to me only a monster would get an entire category for her teeth, especially given the elevated status of those other selections.

Here we go. Ready or not. Just peek if you're afraid.

AAAAHHHH! (That was a scream.) Please forgive me. Look at her workless face. How could she bear even going to the grocery store. I hope the production company found ways to keep her hidden away until the movie had been made. Surely no woman should have to bear the burden of keeping her original face for 11 fucking years! Now that I've watched the movie, I can certainly understand all the concern. She really did give up the best years of her career, and she did it without a plastic surgeon.

I had to wonder though, was anybody concerned about whether Ethan Hawke had to forego cosmetic surgery? Because, while he's certainly a talented actor, he's not what I would call traditionally handsome. In fact, his charm comes more from the characters he plays than from his good looks. And, not to be critical, but his teeth don't look like his parents mortgaged their house for orthodontia. I could be wrong though, because Google isn't given me an option to select only teeth photos for him. In fact, the choices for him are all about his work except for one about Uma Thurman. (I don't know her plastic surgery status, but I'm sure Google does.)

I have no desire to trash Hawke, because I think he's a talented guy, and he even looks like he laughs a lot. He's probably of fun to hang around with. I'm certainly not going to suggest he needs plastic surgery more than Arquette does.

But isn't it a bunch of horse shit that people were so concerned that she went 11 years without anybody cutting on her face, and he can look as craggy and  rustic as any other 45-year-old guy.

Here they are together. If you were going to give a free gift card to a plastic surgeon, which one of them would you choose to send under the scalpel?

Neither, you say? Yeah, me either. Fuck that. I like real people better. I'm sick of impassive plastic faces and over-inflated boobs and amputated labias.

I realize  Boyhood is old news. Most movies I watch are old news. But what's not old news, because that shit won't go away, is that women aren't supposed to be human. If we want to have any cred at all in the world, we're not supposed to age or gain weight or have a gap in our teeth, although a gap between our thighs is fan-fucking-tastic. (I'm not actually sure what the story is with Arquette's teeth. I refuse to click on that.) And it's hard enough to just be a normal women, but to watch a beautiful, talented woman's performance come down to stories about how she turned into a toad right in front of our eyes because she couldn't have a face-lift .... 

I wish I hadn't been looking for that when I watched the movie. I wouldn't even have thought about her aging, because it really is just the way life works. We age, especially mothers. My experience was polluted by the bullshit expectations of the media.

And probably too by the news of Dr. Fredric Brandt's suicide this week. I will admit, initially it was hard to sympathize with him. He was one of the most famous plastic surgeons in the world, and he's responsible for creating many of those plastic faces we see on TV and in movies. But his death highlighted so clearly this hypocritical, conflicted culture where the people who entertain us, especially women, are supposed to try to look as young as is surgically possible for as long as they can, and then we mock them or parody them for doing it or for not doing it well enough.

It's hard enough being a human being without all that. I hope Patricia Arquette never lets a plastic surgeon near her body. But if she does, who could blame her? Aging on purpose to entertain us in an Oscar-nominated movie is one thing. Doing it just because that's what all organisms do is not acceptable.

Bleh. I need to stop being so damn serious this week. I feel a post about vaginas coming on ...