Monday, November 30, 2015

NaBloPoMo #30: Coralineisms #109

I made it! One post every day in November. I didn't even run out of material to write about, so I need to keep going in December. Not every day. Who's that fucking crazy? But 3-4 times a week. I can do that.

I'm going to end the month with some Coralineisms. I've almost depleted my stash, but she's a renewable resource. In no particular order, here we go.

Tell me you didn't expect a vagina joke

Coraline: Look what I did to my spider. (Holds up one of those stinky, sticky, icky spiders you get in gumball machines. The ones that leave a greasy spot on the wall.)
Me: What did you do to it?
Coraline: I made it into a girl spider.
Me: Was it a boy before?
Coraline: Yes. And I made it into a girl.
Me: What did you do?
Coraline: I gave it a ponytail.

Modern-day vampire slayer

Coraline: I'm not afraid of any vampires.
Me: You're not?
Coraline: No. If any vampire tries to get me, I'm going to take him down and beat his attitude.

Big sneeze ...

Me: Oh, thanks. You just blew snot all over my arm.
Coraline: (Because everything is an argument with this child.) No, 
Mamá. That's not snot. That's just sneeze juice.

A woman's work is never done

Coraline: Mamá, I killed all the zombies!
Me: Who's going to clean that mess up?
Coraline: (heavy sigh) I guess I am. I'm the hunter.
Me: So you're the hunter and the cleaner?
Coraline: Yep. .... Mamá, I need a towel with some water on it to clean up that zombie mess.


Coraline: Did you have a fun birthday party?
Me: It was pretty fun. Small, but fun. Except that Linda .... remember Linda whose swimming pool we go to sometimes? .... she fell on the front porch and broke her shoulder.
Coraline: Oh.
Me: You don't sound very concerned. It's a bad hurt.
Coraline: I know, but she'll be OK. She didn't actually break it off.
Me: I guess that's one way of looking at it.

She's going to hate me for this some day

Coraline: I need to itch my vagina.
Me: You don't need my permission. Go ahead and do it.
Coraline: I can't. My jeans are getting in the way.
Me: Just stick your hand down the front. Your jeans are big enough.
Coraline: Good idea, Mamá. That's what we call a short cut.

A big thank you to Coraline for basically writing 3 of my posts this month. I needed her help tonight after I spent close to 2 hours cutting up a pink banana squash the size of a 2-year-old. For perspective, Coraline is 45" tall -- evidence of Vikings on both sides of the family.

In any case, that squash would feed a small country for a month. I thought I'd never get it peeled and chopped. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought it other than that it was cheap and the bigger ones didn't cost more than the smaller ones. Well, bigger isn't always better when you have to wrestle the thing down and make it into something edible. Remember that.

Thanks for reading this month. I'll see you back here in a couple of days with some interesting news about vaginas. 

Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NaBloPoMo #29: Would you eat from that bread box?

If you and I were sharing a bottle of wine, I'd call it a damn miracle if you got more than one glass out of it. Let's share a box tonight, OK? To be fair, I've enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend that started with food, and had lots of good times with family and friends in the middle, and ended with playing music with a friend. Who could complain?

I could. I could complain about mice, because for the first time since I moved into this house almost 2 years ago, I have fucking mice coming inside my house. And don't say everybody gets a mouse in the house every now and then, because 1. Not me. I do not get mice in my house. And 2. I've killed 9 fucking mice in the past month. Nine. (To be fair, I killed 8 and Crow Cocker killed one while I was at church one day. My dog is part cat, which is probably why he's such an asshole.) I even had to buy some fancy traps from Amazon, so I could dump the carcass and reload quickly. They're so efficient, I don't even have to replenish the peanut butter. I highly recommend them.

I still can't figure out where the little bastards are getting in, so I might have to spread a fine layer of flour all over my house and try to find tiny footprints. I suspect the reason they're moving in on me is because the house next door to me has been empty for 6+ years, ever since the pedophile who lived there went to prison. This past fall the bank finally put it on the market, and to do so, they cut down all the brush and vegetation in the yard over there, and cleaned out all the shit that gets left behind in a house and a garage when the owner goes to prison. That's the only thing that's changed, so I'm blaming my problems on the ecosystem being disturbed over there. Ultimately, it's the pedophile's fault.

I hate them so much. Fucking mice. They make me feel dirty. I'm at war!

If you and I were sharing a box of wine, I would ask if you've ever heard of using vaginal yeast to make sourdough starter. Or maybe a better question is whether you'd eat bread made from sourdough starter that had vaginal yeast growing in it. Or I should say possibly had vaginal yeast added to it that didn't grow, because there's no way to know if the vaginal yeast survived. Anyway, would you? I ask because of a blogger named Stavvers, whose blog is titled "Another Angry Woman." When she realized she had a yeast infection blooming down under, she dipped into her bread box and collected said yeasty discharge on a dildo and made sourdough starter with it. I don't need to recap the entire experience. You can read it here.

I'm going to answer first and say I don't think I'd enjoy eating sourdough bread made from (possible) vaginal yeast. It's not because I think anything about the vagina is disgusting. I'm sure a number of you have dined with pleasure on such a delicacy before, and more than once. In other words, people eat pussy. I just can't let go of the connection between how a yeast infection feels so burny and itchy and the idea of putting that yeast infection in a loaf of bread and then eating it. That's why the other animals wouldn't help you make that fucking bread, Little Red Hen!

However, yeast does grow in the vagina all the time. And other places in our bodies too. It's only a problem when it gets overgrown, and then we call that an infection.  So .... if I say I don't want to eat vaginal yeast bread, does that mean I need to work on my love of the vagina? Maybe it does. I don't know.

Your turn. Would you eat it? The bread, I mean. Please answer in the comments section.

If you and I were sharing a box of wine, I would complain that the final harbinger of winter has finally arrived. I tried, as I do every year, to pretend that winter simply wasn't going to happen, and the lovely fall weather would carry through until spring hit us with mud. This in spite of the fact that I had my furnace on early in October. And then there were all those leaves that fell off the trees and the garden dying back, the pumpkins on the porches and the taste of pumpkin pie spice in every damn thing. I had warning enough. But this morning, I had to give in, because this morning  .... This morning, damn it, I had to put lotion on my butt.

Winter is near, my friend. Let's pour another glass. We'll be switching to hot toddies soon enough.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

NaBloPoMo #28: Get your scare on

I want to share a short scary film with you tonight. It's not just any scary film, but one that a friend and former colleague from my university days co-stars in. I used to think Brady was pretty menacing when I'd see him stalk into his classroom the first day of school with a baseball bat slung over his shoulder. He's something like 8 feet tall, and I'm pretty sure nobody would have messed with him even if he didn't have a bat. I hear he stopped carrying it because somebody thought he was intimidating. What?

He's also a horror writer, which I suspect means whatever is inside his head is pretty scary too. (His book is Back Roads and Frontal Lobes. You should buy it.) However, in this film, which is based on an HP Lovecraft story, he's subtly terrifying. I wouldn't want to meet him in an abandoned house.

Now that you've watched the film, I'd also like to mention that I had not watched this movie before I wrote my post last night about looking up at the ceiling when a drop of blood fell on the counter. I felt an unpleasant shiver go through my entire body when I saw the end of the film, along with a slight sense of justification for having looked at the ceiling first.

Friday, November 27, 2015

NaBloPoMo #27: Not tonight, honey, I've got an aneurysm

I experimented last week with a thing other bloggers do called "If you and I were having a glass of wine...." One reader said he didn't like it, because it seemed too clunky or contrived. But I decided I do like it, because it makes me feel like I'm actually writing to someone and not sending my words out into the black void of space. So I'm going to use it sometimes. Like tonight.

If you and I were having a glass splitting a bottle of wine, I would tell you that I was going to go out tonight, but I had to stay home instead. I rarely get headaches, but tonight my head felt like it had an ax stuck in it. And as the night progressed, because I so rarely get headaches, I became convinced that I was just seconds away from dying of a brain aneurysm. And don't try to tell me the thought wouldn't have crossed your mind, because ..... well, we're all a little bit crazy. Right? Right?

I put 911 on speed dial just in case the aneurysm burst slowly.

I stayed home, and I took a long hot lavender- scented bubble bath, because what better place to die than in a big old claw-foot bathtub? I mean, yes, it would be embarrassing to be found naked in a tub of cold water tomorrow, but I'd be dead! I would not give one fuck about how fat my corpse looked or whether my house was clean enough or even whether my bed was made. (It was. Of course.)

As you've probably guessed, I didn't die in the tub. But I did get hungry, so after my bath I poured a glass of wine and opened the bag of lime tortilla chips, because if I was going to die, I could at least die with something delicious in my mouth. As I pulled the top of the bag apart with a pop, I saw something hit the countertop. I leaned over and looked. A drop of blood? Could that really be a drop of blood?

I looked up at the ceiling, because that seemed to be the most logical place it could have come from. Nope. The ceiling was pristine white. And then I remembered I might be dying of an aneurysm, so I felt under my nostrils. Nope. No blood there. Hmmm. If this were a movie, I would probably already be dead, and not of an aneurysm.

I couldn't think of any place else a drop of blood could have some from, so after I stared at it for a while, I decided to just leave the room. Always a good way to deal with a mysterious drop of blood. I grabbed a white paper napkin, picked up my bowl of chips, started to pick up my glass of wine and noticed more blood on the napkin. I looked left to right. Still all alone in the kitchen.

Finally I looked down at my hands and noticed more blood right where you'd expect to see blood. On the back of the index finger I'd cut open the day before while I was cutting up sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. The liquid bandage I'd brushed on earlier in the day had peeled off in the bath water, and it was bleeding. Not the ceiling. Not the aneurysm. Not even a ghost. A cut on my finger.

Didn't I feel foolish?

If we were sharing a bottle of wine, I'd tell you I can't drink another glass tonight, because I'm going to bed now. But I would be glad to finish this bottle and even open a second fresh one tomorrow night, because I do have several things I wanted to tell you, but later, when I don't have an ax in my head. (Which is how this would end if it were a movie.)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NaBloPoMo #26: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

There. Writing that took most of the energy I had left. I'm grateful for the day though. It was an unusual Thanksgiving here, partly because I didn't invite a houseful of people. In fact, for the first time in so many years I can't count, we only needed my dining room table, because it was just the kids and me. Six people. We had a wonderful dinner with lots of laughter, and the only spill was a glass of water and the blood from the 2 fingers I tried to chop off.

In fact, at one point Coraline led the entire table in a rousing rendition of "Rolling Down to Old Maui" (listen below), and I started to say to Montana that I wished I had a video of that to post in opposition to all the memes on Facebook about how awful Thanksgiving and families are ...  but then Elvira knocked over a glass of water and blamed it on Coraline, and I didn't get to even finish saying that until much later when it was no longer relevant.

We also ate several hours later than usual, because Montana and Drake had a wedding to go to. On Thanksgiving Day. The best holiday of the year. What? Who does that? But it was fine. We roll with shit like that here. For the first time ever I didn't have to clean my house or get up at the asscrack of dawn to put the turkey in the roaster and start the rolls. I cooked a lot of food, but I had all day .... OK, all week really. Because T-day dinner takes at least 4 days to prepare and about an hour to eat.

Monday was shopping day. I caught myself looking at the 22-pound turkeys and realized I didn't need to cook a bird the size of a 3-year-old this year. So I found one that was 13 pounds. Who knew they even grew turkeys that small? Practically an egg.

The grocery store was kind of a zoo, but I just kept smiling and eating free samples and reminding myself that the privilege of having access to all that food far outweighs the asshole who parks his cart sideways and then walks halfway down the aisle to look for Jello, or presses up against me from behind trying to get to the free samples, or says "excuse me" and tries to push my cart out of the way with his cart when I obviously can't go anywhere .... Oh, wait. That was only that one guy. Asshole.

Filling my tank for $135/gallon made it all worthwhile.

Tuesday I prepared the pumpkin. It took both the oven and my biggest pot to cook the whole thing, and it made close to 3 gallons of pumpkin puree. I could have made at least a dozen pies with all that, but it will freeze, and we'll have pumpkin pie in the summer too. And next Thanksgiving. And maybe the one after that. It might actually last that long .... and did I mention I have a few other pumpkins too. OK, I might have over-invested in pumpkins this year. I get excited about pie.

Oh, and I put the frozen solid rock of turkey ball in a salt brine in my roaster. I've never done that before, but I'm sold now. The turkey thawed in the brine on my counter, and it was the best turkey I've made .... maybe ever. Even the year I killed my own.

Wednesday and Thursday .... well, you know how it goes. Peeling, chopping, rinsing, mixing, sauteing, baking, roasting, making a dozen trips to the compost, and running and unloading the dishwasher over and over. This is the 5th Thanksgiving I've written about here. I don't know how much more I can say about the food. It's delicious. I ate way too much, and I have leftovers. The idea of them makes me sick, but I know that won't last. I'll be eating hearty again tomorrow.

How was your Thanksgiving? Any good stories come out of the day?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo #24: Distractions

"Tomorrow's full moon is a special one, called a Mourning Moon, fyi.
'According to Pagan traditions, the Mourning Moon is meant to signify a time of evolution. As this moon rises in the sky, it is recommended that we let go of the baggage we’ve been holding on to. We must cleanse ourselves as we reflect on this year’s happenings. Specifically, we must let go of anything that’s weighing us down before the new year begins.'"  ~~ Facebook post

Dog shaming
All writers complain about how hard it is to put their butts in the chair and write. Many writers complain about all the things they do to avoid putting their butts in the chair and writing. I suspect I may be the queen of procrastination though, and my muse Dolores will testify. She's about ready to fire my ass. So this is my post of shame. It's the reticulated version of dog shaming, only I'm not going to put a sign in front of a photo of myself, because last time I looked I am not a fucking dog, although for some reason I bought a dog a year ago tomorrow, and he's just one more distraction from writing.

Here, in no particular order, are the things I do when I should be writing.

  1. Watch Netflix. Currently mainlining The Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. Because I didn't get enough of that particular brand of hell the first time around. It's a lot more interesting for women who are rich, gorgeous, thin and sophisticated than it is for real people like me. So far the only parallel is that the sex is disappointing, even if the characters don't know it. PiV only, which we all know isn't going to get the job done.
  2. Read other people's books. And articles. And other people's blogs. I read a lot.
  3. Yoga.
  4. Drink wine and gobble self-hatred any food I've sworn not to eat: chocolate, potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, bread. 
  5. Scroll through Facesuck, rarely stopping to read anything. No offense. How much shit about Donald Trump can one person read, anyway? Shut the fuck up about him already.
  6. Message with friends ... on fucking Facesuck.
  7. Write clever status updates on Facebook, and then check every 30 seconds for comments. If you only knew me by my Facebook, you'd think my life was perfect. It's not. Today I opened my recycle dumpster and saw smelled that someone had not only dumped a bunch of beer cans and trash, he'd also thrown up in there. Thanks a lot, asshole.
  8. Sex. Think about sex.
  9. Take Crow Cocker to the dog park. In my defense, I do get some exercise there too. And exercise is supposed to stimulate creativity. I'm not sure if picking up 3 dog shits with a little plastic bag over my hand every time we go helps though.
  10. Clean the kitchen.
  11. Play my guitar.
  12. Play my piano. I should be a concert pianist by now.
  13. Play with my purple microphone.
  14. Karaoke.
  15. Go to open mics. Just to listen and drink pear sangria. Not to play. And not to pick up married men, although if I were so inclined, that too could be a distraction.
  16. Dote on my granddaughter. She's with me a lot, and honestly, it's hard to switch gears to writing about vaginas after I get her to bed at 10 or 10:30.
  17. Cook.
  18. Travel.
  19. Nap. I dearly love a power nap in the afternoon. I rarely get 8 hours of sleep, so I can justify naps on those days when I can catch one. Hell, I can justify a nap if I slept 9 hours. I'm a fucking adult. I do what I want.
  20. Parties, at my house or at other people's houses. I can't say no to a party.
  21. Cruise Amazon and put things on my wish list. Sometimes I even buy some shit, and then I'm excited when I get a package in the mail, because I've usually forgotten what I ordered. Like that zucchini spiralizer I so desperately wanted. Still haven't used that.
  22. Sit on the porch and rock and think about what I should be writing.
  23. Go out with friends and make notes on cocktail napkins about shit I could write about. I've got a stack big enough to be a fire hazard.
I could probably make this list longer, but I've made my point. Stephen King claims he writes 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Obviously he under-reports his hours. The man must have made a deal at the crossroads he's so prolific. I, on the other hand ..... I am not Stephen King. And so far, the devil is just as disinterested in me as I am in him.

I really love writing, so this list makes me kind of sad, because I really love doing most of the things I listed here too. What are your distractions? Do they prevent you from going after a big dream? Can I borrow a couple? I can always use one or two more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

NaBloPoMo #23: How do you draw a tube anyway? (NSFW)

I was digging through my possibilities file looking for something to write about tonight, and I ran across these videos of women drawing their perfect penises and men drawing vaginas. The first one is women drawing penises.

(Note: My kids should stop reading here. It's your own fault if you don't listen to your mother.)

Assuming you've watched the video, let me tell you a story that may or may not have happened. One night after Wednesday karaoke a friend an acquaintance walked out to the parking lot behind a sex shop with me. We noticed a neon sign that read "Peep show 25 cents," and we talked about it for a while. He wondered what went on during a peep show. I imparted what I knew of such things, which was not first-hand knowledge, and certainly could have been a lie told to me. As we walked up to my van, I jokingly said, "I'll give you a quarter for a peep show."

And just as if he were pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he did. He gave me a peep. Of course, there is, or there isn't, more to the story. And if there were, the story might or might not include a police car cruising by, which I found amusing, and then ..... well, none of that is really important to what I want to say about the video.

Later, I told the story to a couple of a few women friends (before you accuse me of kissing and telling, I must say that we did not kiss. Also, I'm single. I do what I want. But back to the penis ....), and every one of them said, "Was it a good one?" Meaning, of course, his penis. And I replied, "Yes, it was a pretty penis." The parking lot behind the sex shop is well lit, so I can say that with some authority. Then again, as my maternal grandmother used to say, "They all look alike." And before you go slut-shaming my grandma, you should know that she was a nurse, and that's why she saw a lot of penises and could make the judgement that they all looked alike.

Anyway, I've never had sex, or not had sex, based on what a guy's penis looked like. But that's not the first thing the women are asked for in the video. They are asked to draw the perfect size penis. They even have rulers so they can measure.

Compare that to the video of the men drawing vaginas (using the word "vagina" to mean all the lady bits).

Awww. Aren't those guys cute? I'm just going to note that it was OK to briefly show an older, and obviously experienced, woman about to draw a penis, but nobody wants to see an older guy drawing a vagina. Make of that what you will. It's not the topic.

The second video, the one of the guys drawing, made me think about my own view of my lady bits, and I have to say I never really wondered how they compared to any other woman's lady bits. It's the one part of my body I never worried about. I never once considered whether my vagina was pretty. Partly, I suppose, because it takes some effort to even look there so I don't very often, and also because women don't stand around in the bathroom sneaking glances to see if we live up to some standard. We are blessed by this one part of our anatomy that is hidden enough that we don't have to feel inferior. I have many body issues, but this was the one area I didn't have to worry about. I never once considered that a guy wouldn't want to have sex with me because of the appearance of my labia, my vulva, or my vagina. (Hair not withstanding.)

At least I didn't worry about it until the voices of the internet started telling me I really was worried about what my vagina looked like. I started seeing lots of articles about how women feel insecure about the size of their labia or the size of their vaginas (something about a hot dog and a hallway?), whether it's an innie or an outie. No, I thought, I really don't care what it looks like down there. It looks like what vaginas look like. And yet, Yes, the voices insisted. You do care. A man even made a big wall of plaster vaginas  so women everywhere would feel OK about their weird, but normal, vaginas. In other words, I didn't know my vagina might not be pretty until somebody else told me I thought it might not be pretty, and then I had to think about that shit.

And I guess a lot of women took that shit seriously, because they're letting plastic surgeons amputate parts of their lady bits (shudder). If you look at any contemporary nude photography or porn, you can see the evidence: all hair shaved, labia cut off. No wonder these poor guys didn't know what to draw.

Anyway, the drawings of the penises all look pretty much the same. Or maybe I should say the differences are not enough to make a difference. Just as my grandma said. You probably won't see anybody making a wall of plaster penises to reassure men that their penises are all unusual, yet perfectly special, snowflakes.

Which is why asking a woman to draw her perfect penis is pretty easy. And asking a man to describe his ideal vagina is ludicrous. In my experience, availability and humidity seem to be the criteria for an ideal vagina, not what it looks like.

In the end, the perfect penis looks like every other penis, and the perfect vagina can't be drawn because what it looks like doesn't really matter. Which makes the penis and the vagina pretty much the same. In other words, nobody cares what your penis looks like and nobody cares what your vagina looks like. It doesn't fucking matter, because it's the fucking that matters.

Isn't that a relief?
Found on the internet and
stolen with little effort

I was going to draw my perfect  penis and vagina, and then challenge you to do the same and send me your drawings, but let's be honest. You'd think it might be fun, but you're busy, and Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, and anyway ..... what the hell would you draw? Would it look that different from the ones in the video? Or mine? Probably not. Not that I wouldn't be entertained if you did .... draw something and send it to me (no photos please), but I'm not going to beg.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I never did pay my quarter for the peep show in the parking lot behind the sex shop. Ooops! My bad! Better luck next time.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NaBloPoMo #22: Sunday meditation

Tis Sunday, faithful readers, and this writer is tired. I just need some oooommmm time. Don't you? A relaxing, centering meditation. A relevant meditation. A meditation for the day you're having.

Knowing most of you will see this Monday morning, I highly suggest that you place your feet flat on the floor, curl your index fingers and thumbs into the position, take a deep, cleansing breath and listen. You need this.

You may think I'm joking when I say this is my favorite medication meditation video, but I'm not. Some of us just om to a different hummer. Join me now .....

There now. Don't we all feel better. You're welcome. Namaste. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

NaBloPoMo #21: The weight of the world on the shoulders of little girls

I've got pumpkin bread and muffins in the oven tonight at 1:45 am, but I can't say I've got a blog post in my head. On day 21 of the challenge though, I'm not going to quit, so I'm just going to tell you what I'm thinking about.

When I was a little girl growing up in a small town in Iowa, I dreamed about the things I would do when I was old enough to get away and go to the big city. I have to admit, my dreams were vague, because I didn't even know anybody who had done those things I thought were out there, and what did I know of the world anyway except what I'd seen on TV and in the movies? I just knew there was something better, and I was going to experience it. Which means satisfying that little girl's dreams is more a matter of retrospective thinking than a fulfillment of any actual plan she had other than getting out and going .... somewhere.

This weekend -- and it's only half over -- has been one of those weekends when I can say to that now imaginary little girl, "Hey, I'm doing it. I'm doing those things you dreamed about doing. What do you think of us now?"

Maybe those things I offer her in retrospect aren't exactly what was on her mind. She wanted to go to college -- something that she was actively discouraged from doing -- and now she has a master's degree that isn't really worth much except the pride she takes in it. She was going to have a career, and so far .... well, she didn't really know what it would be like to be a military wife and mother, which is not considered a career, so that dream was deferred. But she knew there was music and theatre and food and people who loved books and music and theatre. And those things ..... we're doing pretty good with those things.

Last night I took Coraline to her first real, full-length play. We saw James and the Giant Peach at the school for the arts where I taught creative writing for a while. She loved it, especially when she got to meet some of the kids who were in the play out in the lobby afterwards. Then we came home, popped some popcorn and watched Monsters Inc. Hey, when I was a little girl we had 3 channels in black and white. Even watching a DVD is kind of cool to Little Reticula. Then this morning we got up and ate chocolate-banana pancakes with Elvira when she came to pick up Coraline.

The actual cast we saw
In the afternoon, I went with 3 girlfriends to see the touring show of Menopause, the Musical. It was hilarious, relevant (to many of us), uplifting, kind of depressing sometimes, but still uplifting -- if you think fucking hot flashes, night sweats, foggy brains, weight gain, and  all that other shit is funny, that is. We did. We laughed out loud for most of the performance, and then a couple of us even got on stage at the end. (Don't worry. We were invited.) Good times.

After the play, 3 of us went to a coffee shop to wait for the nearby Thai restaurant to open. The shop wasn't really open, but the owner let us come in while they were getting ready for a private party there later in the evening, and she made us hot chocolate and coffee.

Once we were seated at our little table on the balcony at the Thai restaurant, we ate coconut milk soup and spring rolls, tangy mango salad, warm, salty edamame, and sauteed vegetables with tofu. Zero heat, thank you. We drank hot sake and tea. We told stories, and laughed some more.

Finally, after a stop off at home to let my dog out and eat a couple of designer cupcakes, 2 of us went on to a local night market where we ate absinthe cotton candy, sampled Haitian chocolate, shared a piece of frozen banana chocolate pie, and visited with various friends who were there either shopping or selling.

In spite of the rain and plunging temperatures, it was a practically perfect day, and now I'm sitting in my kitchen surrounded by the smell of pumpkin bread, drinking a glass of chardonnay and writing my words that some people will even read. I'm a fucking writer, you guys! Little Reticula is thrilled. This! This is what she knew was out there in the world. Theatre, music, great friends, food adventures .... 

And then I started thinking .... I grew up in a poor family (money-wise), in a relatively poor town, in the middle of corn country. I had no reason to believe I'd ever leave there. In fact, I was told I never would, and that I might as well stop acting like I was better than everybody else and find that farm boy I was going to marry, because that was my future. Well, I did marry a farm boy, but he didn't want to stay on the farm any more than I did. So there.

We have so many choices in this country even when it seems like we don't have any. If we can dream, we can choose where to live based on whether the temperature is hot or cold or a mixture; whether the climate is humid or dry; whether the population is dense or sparse, urban or suburban or rural; near the mountains, desert, valleys, oceans, farms, tundra, or rivers; near people of our own ideology -- liberal, conservative, hands-off. In my own family one sister lives in a college town and works as a manager of a plant that makes electronic components, one brother lives in Minneapolis and the other in Alaska, and my youngest sister stayed close to home. That's just my one little family. When you consider that 319 million people live in this country and they all have dreams and aspirations ..... The possibilities are staggering.

What a privilege. What a blessing. I'm ashamed I don't give thanks every day for all that I have. I take it for granted too often.

I can't imagine what it's like to be a child who lives here .... 

.... What does she dream of doing when she grows up? What does she even dream for the next day? The next hour?

I wish I had the one perfect right answer. I don't. I understand why people want to help. I understand why people are scared to help. Don't hate. I live in the gray areas where we're all in this fucking mess together. There are no easy answers in a world that has become so very small, with problems that are so overwhelmingly large.

When I was a little girl dreaming about the big world that was out there, I couldn't have known there was also .... this.

Friday, November 20, 2015

NaBloPoMo #20: Are those really my keywords?

Every once in a while I remember to look at my stats on Blogger and see what keywords people are using to get to my blog. A while ago Google stopped keeping track of keywords, which was a shame, because they were often hilarious -- although a few times I got keyword searches that were so disturbing I couldn't look again until they rolled off the list. One of the dangers of writing about sex plus a lot of other topics, I guess. Other search engines still show me how their searchers got to my blog though. Here's a list of some of the best from the past month, with my comments in parenthesis.

  • how do labia hold penis (I'm not sure how this one made it to the top of the list. Or I should say, I'm not sure why this search was done more than once and more than twice. I'm pretty sure I've never thought to actually define which one of the lady bits holds the penis. I do know if you're relying on the labia to hold the penis, you could easily end up online trying to figure out what the fuck went wrong. Labia just aren't that muscular.)
  • redhead vagina (You wouldn't believe how many times I've been asked that question.)
  • became friends (That's the guy who tried to get the labia to hold the penis.)
  • boys wearing panties (Not my business.)
  • car led smiley (?)
  • face off panties (I did post a photo of some face on panties, but "face off panties" sounds kind of creepy, like "Get your face off my panties.")
  • family nude suits (That's an old Wordless Wednesday photo of a family in weird pink naked costumes. How many people are looking for those suits? Why? For their Christmas card photos? The photo is kind of disturbing, and I almost didn't post it because the young daughter is playing with the dad's fake penis. I wasn't sure if it was funny or vile.)
  • fünflinge (I had to google the translation. It means quintuplets. I never would have guessed.)
  • labia slip out (Sounds painful. And impossible. Slip out of what ... Don't tell me. I don't want that stuck in my head.)
  • background powerpoint thank you bergerak (You're welcome.)
  • guinness world record fuck (I had to google this one too. I learned more about competitive sex than I really wanted to know. Like the record for a female gang bang is 919 men in 24 hours. There is a video, but I didn't look for it. I do have questions though. How the hell did she get 919 men to line up and fuck her? And did she use a record amount of lube? Condoms? What constituted a finished fuck? Did he have to come? Who fed that hoard? How would you explain to your grandchildren that your iron vagina was your only claim to fame? OH! But the longest actual fuck was 9 hours and 58 minutes, a record that disappointed people with OCD all over the world. He couldn't hold on 2 more seconds to make a nice round number? Sigh. And yet another woman is disappointed by a man who came too soon. I wonder who holds the record for that.)
  • mens c string (No. Just no. Boxers or briefs. No other choices.)
  • most beautiful vagina (Mine, of course. Guinness called me just yesterday.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaBloPoMo #19: If we were having a glass of wine ....

If we were having a glass of wine .... is a new feature here on Reticulated Writer. I didn't make it up. Lots of bloggers do it. Some drink imaginary coffee, but I don't drink caffeine, so we're going to drink wine. Because I said so.

If we were having a glass of wine, I would say, "That's enough about you. Let's talk about me. Did you know I won a prize -- $25 and a trophy! -- at my neighborhood chili cook-off?"

And you would say, "But you hate spicy food. One drop of hot sauce in a swimming pool of chili would make you whine unbearably for hours. How could you win a prize at a chili cook-off?"

And I would tell you about how I didn't want to go to the chili thing, but my neighbor and president of the neighborhood and one of my co-stars in All the Sex Monologues insisted I had to. I said, "I'm not coming. I don't like chili. I don't like spicy food. That's why I didn't come last year."
He tried to look patient. "You can bring your own chili then. Whatever you like. It doesn't have to be spicy. Just eat your own."
"But I won't win if I bring my chili," I said. "If I come, I want to win."
"You never know. You might win," he said.
"I did win a chili cook-off at my church," I said. "But I think my daughter and her friends stuffed the ballot box. I don't want to come."
"OK, then, come for the beer. We'll have beer," he said.
"I don't like beer," I said. "Beer is yucky."
"You don't like beer. Fine. Bring some wine, then. You can drink wine, can't you?" He wasn't so patient now, but he was still trying, because he also wanted me to commit to raking leaves at 9:00 am the morning after I was having a party. It wasn't going to happen, because I like letting my leaves rot where they land. Also, my parties go late late late.
"OK, fine. I'll come. I'll bring my mild Iowa chili, which nobody will want to eat. But I'll come."
"Good! And you'll rake leaves too? We want our street to look nice." He's persistent.
"Sure," I said. But my fingers were crossed behind my back.

So 5 hours after my last guests left Saturday morning, I was up making a big fucking pot of chili, because I don't know how to make a small batch of chili. I also stirred up a pan of cornbread, because chili has to have cornbread. As I pulled my cornbread recipe, written in my mom's hand decades ago, out of my old recipe box, a wave of nostalgia hit me. First, because my mom had a stroke 16 years ago, and she prints with her left hand now. Her familiar handwriting is only found on historical documents, like my cornbread recipe.

But also because I remember coming home from school on afternoons when I had a basketball game and smelling the crockpot of chili my mom would have waiting for me. If I had an away game, I'd eat it fast with a piece of cornbread slathered with butter and honey, gulp down some black coffee, grab my uniform, which she'd washed for me, and head back out the door to catch the team bus. Everybody else would eat later, and then come to watch me play. My chili is pretty close to what my mom made: more like soup with tomato juice, ground beef, beans, onion, and a little chili pepper. I add a couple of secret ingredients to mine, but it's still similar.

Many years ago when I was an 18-year-old bride I asked my mom to copy some of her recipes for me, and the cornbread recipe was one of those. My grandma gave me a recipe box she wasn't using, and I started my collection with recipes from my mom and both of my grandmas. It grew with recipes from friends over the years .... until it didn't any more. These days, other than those old recipes, I keep my recipes on my computer or on Pinterest. If I need a hard copy, I print it out. If one of my kids needs a recipe, I email it. But for some old standards, like cowboy cookies, pumpkin pie, and cornbread, I get out my old recipe box.

Back to the chili cook-off. Twelve people brought entries, and most of them were spicy. I tasted 2 or 3 of them, and then filled my bowl with my own. It was delicious -- to me. Just like Mom made.

Eventually it was time to vote. Voting was done on a sheet of paper with hash marks. I cast my vote for the chili that had the most votes already. Mine, I noticed, didn't have any votes. I was probably the only one who ate any. Like I gave a fuck. I didn't even see the sheet for voting on the cornbread.

Imagine my surprise when Jason announced that cornbread #4 had won the cornbread contest! I had to run to the kitchen and make sure that was really my number. It was! $25 cash and a trophy for my mom's cornbread.

As for the chili that won, the woman who made it said she'd followed the guy who won 2 years ago outside and sat on him until he told her his secret ingredient, which was ..... are you ready for it? Velveeta. Velfuckingveeta cheese won the chili cook-off. It's not even food! Whatever though. I was happy with my little trophy and $25 cash in my hand.

I called my mom in Iowa and told her we'd won.

If we were having a glass of wine, I'd tell you I went with a friend to an audition Tuesday. She'd never auditioned before, so I went to give her moral support. I know the director, and I knew she wouldn't mind if I just watched. I wasn't auditioning myself because I thought I was much too old for the parts. Imagine my surprise when 3 of my friends and a couple of acquaintances showed up. Apparently the director was looking for older women for this play, and had sent them emails asking them to come. They talked me into auditioning too.

Now, I do love auditioning, but I felt a little silly, because I was too old for this play by at least 20 10 years. And there were lots of young -- I mean young -- women there. The friend I went with is barely over 30. But it didn't matter. Experience showed with the older actors. It was interesting to watch the difference.

I didn't get a part. I didn't expect to. But my 3 friends and 2 acquaintances did get the 5 parts .... and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I felt a tiny bit left out. Not that I imagined myself getting a role as a bride's maid, but .... it would have been fun to work with my friends.

If we were having a glass of wine, I'd say, speaking of plays, All the Sex Monologues made over $2000 for Planned Parenthood, and that's after expenses. It's not a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.5 million the fucking Ohio Senate and House just stripped from PP though. I'm proud of what we did. I'm worried sick about all the women who have lost their health care.  I'm worried sick about my vagina and all the fucking Republicans who keep poking their heads up in there like rude tourists. Women are going to have to stand up and get loud.

If we were having a glass of wine, you'd probably think I was doing all the talking. And maybe you'd offer me some chocolate, knowing I dearly love me some dark chocolate with my wine. But I'd decline because I'm on some fucking sugar fast, and I can't eat chocolate or anything good. It hasn't really been that hard, and I've given myself 3 cheat days. And Thanksgiving is coming up and that entire weekend is a cheat weekend.

I've probably reduced my daily calorie intake by about 4000 chocolate and wine calories a day this month and I've lost ..... drum roll please! Half a pound. And that's probably because I peed before I weighed myself.

It would be a lot easier to resist that bag of frozen chocolate chips if I had realized one single fucking benefit in the past almost 3 weeks. But it doesn't matter. I've been doing the research, reading the studies, and sugar has zero benefits either. Other than its addictive taste, it's nothing but bad news. Kind of like any guy I ever dated ever.

And speaking of dating .....

If we were having a glass of wine, I guarantee you the subject of dating would come up, and 
you would say, "Whatever happened to those 10 men you were going to date?" And I would say, "They don't exist." And you would say, "Oh, c'mon now. I don't want to hear that. There's someone for everyone. When you're ready the right person will be there. Because you're too fabulous to be alone for the rest of your life. You have to be open to him when he comes along though. Or she. Why don't you try to find a woman?" And you would raise your eyebrows as if to tell me you know I'm just not open enough or we wouldn't be having this conversation, because otherwise? Otherwise I would be way too busy fucking my brains out with my brand new boyfriend or girlfriend, who adores me and cooks for me and fixes my computer problems and cuddles with me on the couch while we watch Netflix, eat buttered popcorn and drink chardonnay.

My faithful friend, I love your optimism, but you're full of shit. First, because there are too many single women out there for you to still believe there's someone for everyone. And second, surely you can't believe lesbians are more plentiful than men. Seriously? And finally here's where I'm at on the topic of dating .... which doesn't mean I won't write about that shit whenever I want to because I do what I want, but you are still full of shit so full of crap.

But I do love you, and since you want me to find someone so bad, I'm going to introduce you to my imaginary boyfriend Simon soon. He's cute and funny and he adores me. You'll like him. I promise.

I'm glad we could share these glasses of wine together, but holy insomnia do you see what time it is? I've gone on and on .... But don't leave yet. What about you? What's going on in your life? Pour another glass and tell me. I've got all night to listen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NaBloPoMo #17: Coralineisms #103

And now for another installment of I'm a doting grandmother Coralineisms: adorable and/or crazy shit my granddaughter said.

Worst bad guy ever

Coraline: I'm going to gun you!
Me: You're going to what?
Coraline: Gun you. I'm going to gun you.
Me: That sounds unpleasant.
Coraline: (pointing at me with a knot I've tied in a curtain to get it out of the way) I'm gunning you with flowers. Now you're covered with flowers!
Me: That's certainly much better than I expected.

Worst vampire ever

Coraline: I’m a vampire.
Me: Do you know what vampires drink?
Coraline: Yes, but I don't drink blood. I drink the smell of roses.

Where does she get her way with words?

We're at United Dairy Farmers buying peach ice cream for the second time that week.  We might have had a bit of an addiction for a short while, but we're working our program this month. The clerk holds out the receipt.

Me: You can have that, Coraline. I'll take the ice cream.
Coraline: OK. I need it anyway.
Me: What are you going to do with it?
Coraline: Sit on it?
Me: Sit on it? Huh?
Coraline: Sit on it. It is a receipt.
(If you don't get it, leave me a comment.)

They don't serve ice cream in jail

Me: After we go to the dog park if we see a place we'll stop for ice cream.
Coraline: And steal it.
Me: Steal the ice cream?
Coraline: Yes, steal the ice cream.
Me: Why would we steal it? We don't need to ...
Coraline: I didn't say steal all the ice cream. Just one big can of ice cream.
Me: That's generous.
Coraline: I know.

Sometimes I don't know what to say

Last month I drove to Asheville, NC, for a few days to visit a friend. I happened to go during the 6-month anniversary of her 18-year-old son’s suicide. When I got home, Coraline and I talked about my trip.

Coraline: Does your friend have a daughter?
Me: She has 2 daughters. I met one of them. You would have liked her. She’s sweet and pretty and she works in an ice cream shop.
Coraline: Did you meet her son?
Me: No, I didn’t get to meet her son.
Coraline: Why not?
Me: Her son died a few months ago.
Coraline: Why did he die?
Me: (Long pause. Coraline has talked quite a bit about death lately, and how afraid she is that I will die, and she’ll miss me too much. I just didn’t think she was ready for the concept of suicide, so I did something I rarely do. I lied equivocated.) Her son fell off a bridge.
Coraline: And he died?
Me: Yes, he died.
Coraline: And then did his mommy pick him up in her arms and carry him?
Me: No, not this time. She couldn’t do that this time.
Coraline: Who carried him?
Me: This time a paramedic took care of him. Someone like Aunt Montana. You remember she’s a paramedic? She took care of him, and then he rode in an ambulance ….
Coraline: Was his mommy sad?
Me: Yes, very sad.
Coraline: I think she wanted to pick him up and carry him.
Me: She would have if she could. She will always carry him in her heart though. That’s just a different way of carrying him.
Coraline: She will always love him.
Me: Yes, she will always love him. Come here and give me a hug. I love you. (I give her a big hug and get a big one in return.)
Coraline: I love you the most.
Me: Oh, you ... you win again.