Sunday, December 27, 2009

Okay, here's one more trek down memory lane. Don't worry, this trek is less treacly than the first two.

I don't remember her name, but if I were to give her one, it would be "Godzilla." I was a puny five-year old, and she was about eight or nine. She was huge and hard. Even the boys in the neighborhood gave her a wide berth.
One day, I was innocently playing in my front yard. I felt the ground shake and I looked up. It was Godzilla. She was carrying a 2" by 4". "I'm going to hit you with this," she announced, matter-of-factly.
I was filled with a sense of the unfairness of the situation. "But I don't have a weapon," I complained.
"Well, go get one! I'll wait."
I ran into the house. As an adult, looking back, I can't imagine why I didn't just stay in the house! Instead, I looked around hurriedly for something with which to defend myself. "What are you doing?" my mother asked.
"Nothing!" I replied, and ran back outside carrying a broom, the nearest thing to a weapon I could find. I confronted Godzilla. She laughed out loud and whacked me across the head with the 2" by 4".
The next thing I knew, I was lying on the couch, with my tearful mother bathing my face with a wet rag. "Who did this to you?" she sobbed.
"It was Godzilla."
"You mean that big girl with the long, black hair?"
"Do you know where she lives?"
"Well, you show me where her house is, and I'm going to talk to her parents. She's not going to get away with this."
I lifted my throbbing head from the pillow and stood up, pleased that justice was about to be served. Mommy held my hand as we marched down the street and around the corner to Godzilla's house. I could hardly contain my excitement. We walked up to the front door and Mommy knocked loudly. One thing I should mention here is that my mother stood about 5' 3" and had a small, dainty build. No one answered the door. Mommy knocked again, harder this time.
Suddenly, the door flew open and a woman at least the size of King Kong appeared. She had bristly, black hair that stood out every which way, and her face was contorted.
"What do you want" she bellowed.
My mother looked up at Kong, trembled slightly, and said, "Nothing!"
Gripping my hand tightly, she turned around quickly and walked us away from the ogre's den as fast as our short legs could go. I felt a crushing sense of disappointment.
"But Mommy," I cried. "You didn't tell Kong what Godzilla did to me."
I'm sorry, Zelda. Someday, you'll understand."
She was right.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well, the memoir idea went over like a lead balloon! Okay friends, no more treacly tales. Keep it light! That's my motto. How 'bout those 'sixers? Cold enough for ya? Merrrrrry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Okay, here's the second installment. Daddy left his job with the railroad and went to work in the shipyards, in Oakland. So, we moved from the boxcar to a ramshackle place near the bay.

In the Beginning
During my first sixteen months on earth, I was the apple of my parents' eyes. I was number one, the first-born, slightly defective, but still pretty cute, brown-eyed and blond. Then, along came Judy. Judy, with her dark curly hair, big blue eyes, dimples, perfect little mouth...pretty and cute. I was yesterday's news, old before my time, consigned to the sidelines. Judy was serene, happily accepting the parental devotion heaped upon her. Strangers stopped my mother on the street, just to exclaim over the perfection of the "little doll," while I hung onto mommy's skirt, twisting my tongue into a knot.
Still, I had it better than Marilyn, number three, the third girl born in two and a half years, when Daddy had wanted a boy, and Mommy had wanted to stop the baby parade after Judy was born. Mommy persuaded the doctor to remove her overly fruitful uterus, shortly after Marilyn's birth. There would be no additional pesky kids, robbing her of her youth and freedom. Not that Marilyn made many demands. She lay in her crib, smiling happily in response to any shred of attention paid her, requesting no more than Mom was willing to give, which was very little. Mom was very busy visiting with other young housewives in the neighborhood, drinking lots of coffee and discussing the inadequacies of her husband and her life in general. Then Daddy would come home from his job in the Oakland shipyard, find Marilyn lying in her crib, with an overflowing diaper, and yell at Mom for not taking care of the baby. I remember him holding the baby in the bathroom sink, rinsing her off under the faucet. Mom would yell back at him, asking him how he'd like it if he were stuck in the house all day with a bunch of kids and nothing to do except housework. Then he would say how it sure didn't look like she had been doing any housework, and just what did she do all day, anyway?
During one of these oft-repeated discussions, I saw little Judy heading for the open front door. Since the adults were not paying attention, I decided that I should administer some much-needed discipline. I grabbed a candlestick from its holder and proceeded to whack her on the head until she stopped walking and started crying. Those big, blue eyes were overflowing, by the time Mommy and Daddy heard the ruckus. And, in the first of many unjust reactions to my earnest attempts to improve my sister's behavior, I got a spanking, while the miscreant was comforted.
Housing in the Bay area was tight, and Dad decided to make a little extra money, by renting out our third bedroom. Marge and Elaine became part of our little family. At that point, two sailors became frequent visitors to our house. I thought they were very handsome, with their bell-bottomed trousers and white caps. They were Alf and Harold, Daddy's cousins, who were stationed in San Francisco. They quickly hooked up with Elaine and Marge, and romance was in the air. Mommy talked a lot with Elaine and Marge, and sometimes there were more than two sailors in the house, and sometimes Mommy went for drives with the sailors. Mommy and Daddy fought a lot, and Daddy said that if she could go for drives with sailors, maybe he should go for drives with Marge. I just wished they would stop fighting and that someone would change Marilyn's diaper, because she didn't smell so good.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Okay, ready or not, here's the first chapter of my memoir, entitled "Born in a Boxcar." I should explain that I wasn't actually born in a boxcar, but I was conceived in a boxcar and that same boxcar was my first home. But somehow, the titles "Conceived in a Boxcar" or "Lived in a Boxcar" didn't seem as catchy as "Born in a Boxcar," so there you have it. This first chapter should probably be called, "Born in the Hospital That Was Closest to the Boxcar at the Time."
It is the story of my birth, as told to me by my father.
Old Doc Sullivan didn't perform episiotomies. "If God had wanted a woman to have an extra slit down there he would have given her one," he explained to my father as Daddy stood awkwardly by, watching the painful labor. So, when my big head had stretched my teen-aged mother's vagina as far as it would go without help, Doc Sullivan inserted his gloved finger gently between my head and my mother's taut skin and slowly and carefully moved his finger around and around the perimeter, stretching the skin gradually as my exhausted mother pushed and heaved. Pop! The head was out, shoulders and torso followed easily.
My father gasped. "Oh my God, what's wrong with the baby's face?"
"Hold your horses, Ken, and let me take a look." The doctor gently wiped me off and examined my mouth. "Well, it looks like she has a cleft lip." He opened my mouth and looked at the palate. "Her palate's okay. Be grateful for that. Everything else is fine. She has all her fingers and toes. We'll get this lip stitched up and you can take her home in a couple of weeks."
"What's wrong? Let me see, " Mom asked.
"Just a minute, Evie," Doc Sullivan answered. "I'll cut the cord and you can hold her." He looked again at Daddy and added, "She'll have to have plastic surgery in about a year. That'll smooth out the scar a little."
Mom was crying as the doctor handed me to her. "Oh, my poor little baby. Don't cry. Mommy and Daddy love you, no matter what."
Daddy moved next to her and put his hand awkwardly on her shoulder. All he could think of was, How the hell am I going to pay for all this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Haiku For Now, Memoir Later
I've written a lot of memoir-type short (500 to 1000 words) stories, recalling my rather odd life. They sit mouldering away in my file cabinet, because I'm too lazy to ever try to do anything with them. It just occurred to me today that I could post one on my blog now and then. If I get even one comment encouraging me to do so, I will. Otherwise, I will continue to let them moulder, which is fine.
In the meantime, I entertained myself while at Starbucks today, writing some haiku. I like haiku, because it's effortless, both to write and to read. I even compose them at night sometimes, while lying in bed, unable to sleep. I don't remember them in the morning, which is just as well.
Sitting in Starbucks
Drinking my cappucino
Wanting more from life

Caffeine is a drug
A legal drug, thank goodness
Or I'd be in jail

Cool jazz overhead
Does that mean Starbucks is cool?
Or "cool" wannabe?
Now it's folk music
There's something for everyone
Except me, that is

Now Christmas music!
For Christ's sake, leave me alone!
I want peace on ears

Disclaimer: The photo posted above is not me, not even a reasonable facsimile. Starbucks paid me to insert it, so all the the multitudes of horny male readers of this blog will think they will find women who look like that, sipping their lattes and looking for love. Forget it, losers. It's not gonna happen.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A New Script for Johnny and Me
Zelda: But Johnny, I'm so much older than you, you can't really want me to go to bed with you, can you?
Johnny: Zelda, I have waited for you since I was Edward Scissorhands. I saw you in the audience and knew that you were the woman that could heal me. My soul was tortured. I was only half a man. But I could tell that you were not attracted to me then. Perhaps it was the hands that put you off. But when I made the movie "Chocolat," I thought of you again, and made sure that the movie would be shown in Lancaster, at a discount theater, so you would go see it. I watched you from the balcony as your eyes rolled back in your head during the love scenes.
Then I did some research on you and discovered that you have a secret fascination with pirates. So I persuaded the studio to make a quick movie based on the Disneyland feature, "Pirates of the Caribbean." There wasn't time to create a whole new story...after all, you were getting older by the minute. And I knew you'd love Jack Sparrow.
Zelda: Oh yes, Johnny! From the moment I saw Captain Jack, I knew I would walk the plank for him. He could harpoon me anytime. And when you, I mean Jack, kissed the leading lady - OMIGOD! It was so sensuous, so lascivious. I gave up my treasure right there in the theater!
Johnny: Ah-ha! My gamble paid off! And what did you think of the sequel, my dear?

Zelda: Well, Johnny, to tell you the truth, it was a bit tedious. And you weren't on the screen as much as that hideous octupus-thingy. So I had to go home afterwards and watch my taped version of "Chocolat" to re-kindle my Depp-lust. But now, you're here and...and...wait - I can't! I'm married, and're just saying all of this because you know I'm the president of your fan club, aren't you?
Johnny: What?? Of course not! I'm in love with you because you're one of the famous "Harbinger 33" authors. I've read your writing and am captivated by it. Also, I'm hoping you'll introduce me to Sugar. I hear you and she are always fighting over Harry, so I'll give him some competition.
Zelda: I don't know, Johnny. With my luck, you and Harry will be fighting over Sugar and I'll be deep-sixed. Though it breaks my heart, I must send you back to the video store. Arrrrrr...

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Good Old Days

Oh, for the good old days - when men were men and women were subjugated. There was no questioning authority back then. The rules were simple - Might is Right! But then civilization moved in and took its toll.
Birth control was discovered and women were relieved of the crushing burden of childbearing. Morning sickness is now a thing of the past. Now the only time we throw up is if we get some bad tamales at Chico's Cafe. And once we had tasted independence, we're all in men's faces, telling them they can't go out and hunt and fight; they've got to go out and get a real job in an office somewhere. Then they get all soft and flabby and don't turn us on anymore, so we have to watch football games, where those big hunky guys go running around in their tight pants and...wait a minute...I've lost my train of thought.
Oh yeah! Our poor men! All that testosterone and no place to go. They can't kill anything with a club anymore. If they try to hunt, it has to be with a rifle, which is no contest against the unarmed animals. So the men don't even need any muscles to do it. And they can't capture territory any more - how frustrating is that? If they want land, they have to deal with a real estate agent, and half the time the agent will be a female, which is even worse, because he'd rather fuck her than listen to her drone on and on about mortgage rates and property appreciation. And then his wife is nagging him about how she'd rather have a place with a skylight, and he's thinking, all I want is a goddamn cave, where I'll be the boss and if we're hungry I'll go out and club a bear and bring it home and you'll cook it and then I'll fuck your brains out whether you're in the mood or not. Then you'll start pumping out the babies and do some gathering of nuts and berries to supplement the bear meat. And then...huh? What? Okay, okay, we'll get a skylight.
And that, my friends, explains why modern men drive gigantic SUVs, mow their tiny lawns with large, noisy power mowers, and get into fights at hockey games.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Unanswered Questions About the Undead

So, what is a zombie, anyway?
Yeah, yeah, I know...He's one of the undead. But I'm undead, at least I was the last time I checked my pulse, but I'm not a zombie!

How do I know?? Well Christ, I think I'd know if I were a zombie! There's got to be more to being a zombie than being undead. What are the other features?

Okay - that's good - a zombie was dead first, and now he's undead. But then, what about those emergency room cases, where a guy is brought in on a gurney and his heart has stopped, and the doctor puts one of those shocker things on his chest and the guy's heart starts beating again and he's okay. Is he going to be a zombie for the rest of his life?
No, of course not. I didn't think so either.
Ah - I get it!. He has to have been dead long enough that his flesh has started to rot and kind of hang in shreds off of his body. But then how is he going to be able to walk around? Don't you need intact muscles to propel yourself?

Oh...sorry, I guess I am being too technical. Okay - so a zombie was dead for quite a while, he's kinda half-rotten and nasty looking, but now he's sort of alive, but not really alive...he's just NOT DEAD, and he's walking around scaring the shit out of people. But what's the point? Whose idea was it to make the poor corpses have to get up out of their comfy graves and run around scaring people?

THE DEVIL?? C'mon, Jack! You're shittin' me! You believe in the DEVIL?

Why not? Because the devil is just a figment of people's imagination, that's why!
Yeah, I'm sure!

Hey...what's going on? Get away from me! What's that noise? Who are all those creepy guys with rotting flesh, coming across the yard? OMIFICTITIOUSGOD! I smell sulfur! And why are you laughing so fiendishly? And where'd you get that PITCHFORK?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't be afraid, dear readers. You don't really believe in vampires and werewolves, do you? Of course not! So how can an innocent little Halloween story hurt you? Hmmmm?

Rebel Without a Curse

"It's getting late, son. Drink your dinner."
"But Mom! I don't like blood!"

"What? That's blasphemy! Vlad! Did you hear what your son just said? I swear, this child will be the un-death of me!"

"I'm sorry, Mom. But really - it's so slimy and salty. And it stains my teeth red. All the other un-dead kids make fun of me. Even the werewolf pups! They're always saying things like, 'You suck!' And they show up every day with pieces of human flesh stuck in their teeth!"

"Oh, my poor baby! Young monsters can be so cruel. Next time, you just tell them that 'Stakes of wood can break my mood, but taunts can never kill me.' Or something like that. Improvise! You're 200 years old and those werewolves have only been around since the 1890's. And they only come out when there's a full moon, so they're loony! Ha-ha! Get it? Moon? Looney?"

"Mom, puh-leeze! But seriously, do you think we could vary the menu a little? Maybe add something to the blood to make it solid? I've heard of something the Krauts's called blood sausage. How about that?"

"Vlad! Get out of that coffin and help me talk some sense into our little batling."

"Okay! Okay! I'm coming. Hey...wait a minute...are you sure this kid is mine? I don't have a mustache! Or black hair! He looks just like...OH MY LUCIFER! It's SON OF GOMEZ!"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Okay, it's been 69 days since I posted anything on my poor little blog. And, as anyone who has read "101 Things You've Always Wanted to Know About Me" knows, 69 is my favorite number, so it's time to rev things up at bad ol' "get-your-zs."

Unfortunately, I'm tired and sleepy, so any revving up is going to have to wait until tomorrow. I've been having some sexy dreams lately, so maybe I'll get some material in my sleep tonight.

This post is all in black and white, so far. That's not very inspiring. Maybe this photo will color up my dreams.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Drink, Drank, Drunk

My husband is an alcoholic. He gets drunk almost every day, starting in the early afternoon. He's a sweetheart in the morning and an asshole (mean and argumentative) in the afternoon and evening. It is driving me crazy. Literally. Twice in the past few months I have been on the verge of suicide. Fortunately, I was able to pull myself out of the pit before actually hurting myself

I don't want to commit suicide, because I know from experience how horribly hurtful it is to the people who love you. My mother took pills to do the deed and, five years later to the day, my father blew his brains out. My sisters and I barely survived the trauma of our father's death. The guilt was so horrible, in both cases. If only we had been more attentive...if only I'd written more often, or called every weekend... or this...or that...or the other. I will not, as long as I have one shred of sanity left, ever do that to my children.
So...what do I do? Keep hoping he'll get sober? That's what I've been doing for 19 years and it hasn't happened yet. Leave him? Why should I have to leave my pleasant little home and live in some grungy apartment, when I'm not the one who's at fault (at least I don't think so)? Kick him out? No, no, no! I could never do that, because I do love him and don't ever want to hurt him. I know, I know...I sound like half the women at an Al-Anon meeting

I am considering a different plan. A couple days ago, we went out to eat. I almost never drink alcohol, but I was feeling "uptight" and the menu featured a cocktail called "Ruby Relaxer." I ordered it and enjoyed it thoroughly! It was delicious and I got relaxed as all get-out! Hubby was a bit apprehensive, as he does not like for me to get "smashed." On the other hand, he doesn't like it when I'm "nervous" either, so it turned out fine, and we had a pleasant dinner. So...last night I drank some wine when I was visiting some friends, and enjoyed the relaxation it afforded. (Hubby was not with me, since he goes to bed at 8:oo every night.)
So...what do you think? If you can't fight 'em, join 'em?? Give him a taste of his own medicine? Fight fire with fire? ______________________________ (Insert your own cliche here)

Hmmm...I'm getting thirsty...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Right Where I Left It, Wherever That Is
Don't ever ask me to watch your children, feed your dog while you're away, or hold your purse while you go to the bathroom. I can't be trusted. I have the attention span of a gnat and the short-term memory of a lump of clay. I would blame it on early senility, but I've been this way as long as I can remember (my long-term memory is okay, I think, but I'm not sure).

I have misplaced and/or lost countless items over the years. Purses and keys have been the victims in most of my mishaps. When I was a teenager, I once left my purse on the front bumper of my Dad's pickup, as we were preparing to drive into town. Miraculously, it was still there when we parked, seven miles later. I was not so lucky the time I left the same purse on the hood of a stranger's car in a school parking lot, while I chatted with a friend. I never saw the purse, the car, or my friend again.

I have absentmindedly abandoned my key ring in a breathtaking variety of inappropriate places. Perhaps the worst was HANGING IN THE CAR DOOR LOCK, while I toodled off to the pizza parlor for a couple of hours of eating, drinking and being merry. I didn't even realize they were missing until I was walking back to the car, looking frantically for them in my purse and pockets, wondering if I could break a window to get into the car. I was both relieved and chagrined to see them in the lock. I'm glad it was an old car, or I would have had to walk home, for sure. And then I'd have had to break the house window to get in.

I must admit that my sense of humor was not well enough developed back then to find these events amusing. Now I just say, "What the hell. You might as well laugh." So, just imagine the merriment that ensued yesterday, at the local farmers' market. I never carry a purse anymore, preferring to stow my wallet safely in my jeans' front, right pocket. So, after each purchase, I put my wallet back into my pocket, pick up my bag of produce and proceed to the next stand. I periodically pat my pocket to be sure the wallet is, indeed, in there. So, there I was, at the largest stand, surrounded by several impatient shoppers, all jockeying for position. I paid for my bags of brocolli, bananas and apples, arranged the bags on my left arm, and turned away from the stand. I patted my right pocket, checking for the wallet. It wasn't there! I tried to stay calm, checking all the other pockets. Nothing. I pushed my way back to the produce counter, and frantically looked through all the fruits and vegetables in the area I had been standing, all the while thinking that someone had stolen the damn thing and was at this very moment using my credit card to buy a new car. I called to the clerk and asked her if she had seen a small, brown wallet anywhere in the vicinity.

"You mean that one in your hand?"

There it was, in my LEFT hand, which I had thought was completely occupied by nothing but the plastic bags. Apparently, the look on my face was amusing, because the clerk started laughing. I was so relieved, that I started laughing too. And you know what? I'm laughing right now, just thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slow Down for Heaven's Sake!
I am beginning to be disillusioned with our fearless leader. Why on earth is he pushing for immediate passage of such a massive piece of legislation as this Health Care Bill? Isn't it something like 1,000 pages long? Shouldn't the legislators read it before voting on it? They have other things on their plates as well. Economic matters are certainly a distraction, among other subjects.
That Health Care Bill, if passed, will change our lives in unforeseen ways. It may be good or it may be bad. Who the hell knows? What I DO know is that it needs careful study and discussion before it's signed into law. Who wrote the thing, anyway? Shouldn't we, the people, know who's behind it? What their motives are? Couldn't we be treated to some calm debate before rushing in?
But no. President Obama just tells the legislators to pass the bill before they go on vacation next week, whether they've read the bill or not, and without careful consideration.
Bah! Humbug!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Okay, I'm determined to post something, ANYthing, even though I'm in on of my "Why am I alive, life sucks, the world's going to hell in a handbasket" moods. So, after staring at the blank screen for several minutes, inspiration struck! I'm going to think positive and come up with a list of ten GOOD things, if I have to sit here all night. Here we go...

Ten Good Things

1. Our yard looks really pretty, with lots of flowers blooming and my artful arrangements of pretty rocks around each flower bed. If I weren't so frigging lazy I'd take some photos of those flower beds and post them, so you'd believe me. Oops! Did I veer into negative territory with the "lazy" remark? Skip that part and just pretend there are some nice pictures inserted here:

2. As far as I know, everyone whom I love is healthy.

3. So far, July in Lancaster county has been pleasant, with temps in the mid-eighties and NOT HUMID! HALLALUJAH!

4. Rush Limbaugh will probably not live for more than 40 or 50 more years.

5. I can still picture that hunky waiter in Siracusa. just occurred to me that someone in our group may have taken a photo of him. If that happened, and it can be found, I will post it!

6. We have plenty of beautiful lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini (surprise!), tomatoes, bell peppers, swiss chard, parsley and carrots in the garden. Wow! That's eight "good things" right there!

7. Today I did the laundry AND the ironing in the same day! Usually the ironing sits around, getting more and more wrinkled for days, sometimes weeks, before I get it done.

8. Not all the glaciers have melted yet.

9. Sex between consenting adults is not illegal in most states, yet.

10. Sarah Palin is not Vice President. (Please note that I did not add the word "yet" to this sentence.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Was Where??

Six days ago I was still in Italy, but it feels like six months. My memories are fading fast, but I'll try to capture a few of them. More impressive than the Sistine Chapel, the Tower of Pisa or the ruins of Pompeii were the Italian men! Oh my! Those guys know how to dress, for one thing. No baggy pants or oversize tee shirts there. Tight pants and slick, stylish shirts were the rule. While I enjoyed the "eye candy" everywhere, my favorite fantasy-indulgence was inspired by our waiter at a restaurant in Siracusa. That man had me mesmerized from the moment he showed us to our table until we left, two hours later. He had what I regard as a perfect build - well muscled arms and shoulders, flat stomach, and shapely butt, nicely displayed in tight bluejeans. He paid lots of attention to our table, probably because of my attractive daughter and daughter-in-law, so I got to pay lots of attention to his lusciousness. I had sweet dreams that night.
Okay, enough about my dirty-old-ladyness. I won't talk about the famous sites we visited, because they are well documented in books, magazines and movies. I enjoyed seeing the various ruins, especially Pompeii. The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel were spectacular. But there were so many tourists that I often felt overwhelmed with people, people everywhere. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was seeing wildflowers growing out of cracks in the stones of the ruins. They were undaunted by the ages.
It was also interesting to see the mixture of old and new, primitive and modern, in everyday Italian life. For instance, the very old cities still have very narrow, cobblestone streets, designed for foot traffic and maybe horse-drawn carriages. But now those narrow streets must accommodate great numbers of automobiles. Some of the streets, especially in Sicily, were absolute chaos, at least to my untrained eye. There were almost no traffic lights anywhere, very few stop signs and the only rule I could discern was every man for himself. One narrow street might have cars parked on both sides, two lanes of traffic, pedestrians scurrying every which way, motorcycles weaving in and out and an occasional horse and buggy. Intersections were like a giant game of "Chicken." I gained great respect for my son's and son-in-law's driving skills, as well as their nerves-of-steel. I spent most of my car time curled into a ball in the back seat, trying not to scream.
There were other archaic things I noted, such as laundry hanging outside of windows and on porches (which I liked, since I like to line dry my laundry), and injunctions by hotel managers not to put toilet paper in the toilet. We were to drop the used tissue in a wastebasket placed next to the john. I did not like this, one little bit! Telephones were hard to use and public mailboxes were very few and far between. There were other things, but I don't want to dwell on negatives, when there were so many positives.
People were, by and large, friendly and appreciative of our efforts to speak Italian (it's amazing how far you can get with 20 words of Italian and 30+ words of Spanish). One especially fun exchange happened when we were in Sorrento. A young man approached us and asked if we were American. We said yes. He then grinned and shouted "Obama!" while giving a fist pump. The hospitality was great, everywhere we stayed. The food was delicious and interesting (especially interesting when the menu was all in Italian, the wait staff spoke no English and we decided to "wing it"). The wine was intoxicating! And did I mention the tight pants?
But now I'm back home in boring Lancaster, the memories fading fast and wondering if I'll ever travel abroad again. Probably not, but I may visit Cucamonga sometime.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Venice is Okay, But Pickpockets Suck

Bill Stankus commented on my last entry before I left for Italy, "Be sure to slug the first pickpocket you see in Venice."
Well, Bill, I would have been glad to slug the motherfucker if I had SEEN him. But I didn't! On our first day in Venice, I went toodling off by myself, assuring my traveling companions that I would be just fine and dandy. My wallet was securely esconced in a zippered pocket of my small handbag, which was securely looped across my shoulder and chest. But of course I got lost on my way back to the hotel and had to stop to ask directions several times. I managed to find my way after an hour of panicky wandering, but when I got back to my room, I discovered that I had NO WALLET! Some very skilled shithead had managed to unzip my purse, lift out the wallet, re-zip the pocket and escape, without me being aware of anything. So...I was left with no money, no credit card and no ATM card for the remaining 16 days of our trip. Fortunately, my kids were able to step into the breach and use their own cards to get the cash and credit we needed for the rest of the time.
In a way, the experience was liberating for me. I no longer had any financial responsibility and had, literally, nothing to lose. I didn't have to carry a purse. I still had pockets, but no contents to pick. So I got to be the "kid" in the family, just asking various adults for a few euros here and there, when I wanted to buy something. I'll settle up with the grown-ups when their bills come in.

Okay! That sums up Day 1. It did get much better on Day 2 and beyond, and I'll talk about it tomorrow. But now I have to finish unpacking and then go for a walk with my hubby, whom I missed SO MUCH while I was away. Absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Arrivederci Amici!
One week from today I will be on my way to Italy. I will be traveling with my daughter and her husband and three kids and my son and his wife. We will be gone from June 13 to July 1. I am excited and terrified. I am not packed, but I have been refining a list of stuff to pack. It must all fit in one bag (21 inch expandble upright) small enough to take on board and fit into the overhead compartment of the plane. I have been practicing rolling each item of clothing into a tight little ball. I can't imagine how I'm going to get everything into that teensy bag. I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter what I wear or how it looks, because no one will be looking at me anyway. I'll just be one old broad in a sea of tourists. One tiny speck in an infinite universe. Who the hell cares if my clothes are wrinkled and/or sweaty and dirty? There! I feel better already.
So! We'll fly into Venice, spend two days there and head for Florence. Two days there and down to Rome (after a stop in Pisa). Then two days in Sorrento and then it's a night on the ferry and finally arrive in Sicily on June 23, where we'll spend the next 7 days. Whoa! I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it!
I'm going to try to set up a "travel blog" to chronicle our adventures. Believe it or not, even though I'm the oldest of our band of vagabonds, I'm the only one who maintains a blog. So I was elected to be the official diarist. Now it remains to be seen if I actually get this done in time. Maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wichita Kansas - Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's few providers of late term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher. The slaying of the 67-year-old doctor is "an unspeakable tragedy," his widow, four children and 10 grandchildren said in a statement.
So much for the sanctity of life, gentle readers. A demented murderer took it upon himself to gun down in cold blood a living, breathing man, 67 years old, in order to protest abortion. I think it is probably safe to say that Dr. Tiller's murderer has never been pregnant with a child he felt incapable of bearing and rearing. I also doubt that he has devoted his life to adopting and rearing great numbers of unwanted babies. But he decided, as did various other murderers-of-doctors before him, that it is perfectly okay to kill a mature adult, but it's a heinous sin to comply with the request of a woman to abort her fetus.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're All Doomed, But It Doesn't Matter

Okay, I've moved on. I've made great progress since that last silly post about anxiety. I am now completely absorbed in the subjects of the futility of life and the insignificance of the human race in the vast scope of the boundless universe. How's that for progress?!?

As an example of futility, I just now attempted to insert a picture of a photo of "The Sombrero Galaxy" taken by the Hubble telescope. Do you see the photo? No? Neither do I. I did manage to copy the text under the photo, which reads as follows:

"The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted the best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across."

Just picture this really cool photo of a zillion stars pressed into a ring of exploding light.

Now think about the puny earth...just an insignificant speck out there in the Milky Way somewhere. The Milky Way is just one of zillions of galaxies floating around in infinite space. And yet! We think we are so important! And goddamn it, we are important! To ourselves, anyway...and what else matters to ourselves but ourselves?

These profound thoughts have occurred to me not only while looking at photos of outer space, but while looking at my kitchen counter. Okay, you're thinking, Madam Z has officially gone off her wobbly rocker. Wait! I'll explain! You see, my kitchen counter is besieged by ants. Small, brown ants that persist in monitering my kitchen, watching for interesting bits of food that would go unnoticed by humans but are, evidently, highly desirable to my six-legged nemeses. Several times each day, I swoop down on the indefatigable critters, wiping them up with a wet sponge and washing them down the drain. When I do this, I feel guilty. I anthropomorphise them. The poor little things try to defend themselves. They run, panicky, this way and that, as the sponge approaches. Some of them rear up on their tiny hind legs, in a defensive posture. Every darned one of them wants to go on living! Just as humans would, if they were being rounded up by a giant, sponge-wielding Martian on the streets of New York City.

I've forgotten just what my point was, but I think it had something to do with Dr. Hubble inventing galaxies. Or maybe I was wondering whether ants on Mars would rather eat bread crumbs or space dust. Or was it this revelation?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

To Med or Not to Med

Three months ago, I stopped taking anti-depressants. (I had been taking various SSRIs for the past eight years.) After a couple weeks of diciness, I settled down and thought, hey! I've got it licked! I'm just fine-and-dandy-peachy-keen! I don't need no stinking drugs. But now I'm having doubts. Over the past week or so, I have been feeling increasingly anxious and demoralized. All day today I have been on edge, feeling as though something dreadful is going to happen, any minute. What tiny bit of rationality I have left is telling me that is nonsense. There is nothing any scarier happening today than there is on any other day, at least not that I know of. So why this nameless dread? Am I insane? Or is it physical...a mere chemical imbalance in my fevered brain? If it's a chemical imbalance, maybe I should go back on medication. Okay, the SSRI's crushed my libido, which is the main reason I decided to stop taking them. But anxiety is not exactly a big turn-on, either. If I don't feel better by Monday, I will call my doctor.

There! I said it! It's in writing! I will not renege.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I was walking in the woods today, all by myself, and started thinking about questions with no answers. Here are some of them that occurred to me.

If I fall in the forest and no one hears my screams, does it matter what language I scream in?

Does it matter what gender or color I am?

If a hungry black bear finds me, in spite of not having heard my screams, will he eat me, regardless of my color and gender?

What if a hungry white bear finds me?

Will he be more discriminating?

If I climb a tree to escape the bear, will the tree fall, even if I make no sound?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Okay, I'm getting r-e-a-l-l-y irritated here. In a futile attempt to make my minimalist blog seem a little more sophisticated, I tried to add a "gadget" to the poor thing. I really, really want to have a "My Blog List" on the sidebar. So I started clicking here and there, on this and that, and found a page entitled, "Add and Arrange Page Elements." Then I clicked on "Add a Gadget," which presented me with a list that included something called "Blog List," and I thought, AH-HA! After a great deal of teeth-gritting and sweating, I finally managed to add 18 blog titles to the thing. I clicked on "Save" and thought, naively, that my list would magically appear on my blog.

YEAH-FUCKING-RIGHT! GRRRRRRRRRR! For once in my life, I allowed myself to be a teensy bit optimistic, and what do I get? Crushed like a goddamned bug!

Excuse me while I go sulk.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Ben commented on my last post, with this powerful rebuttal:

"Different names for different ceremonies sets a very dangerous precedent for inequality. As children we're exposed to all sorts of stories, fairy tales and promises that one day we will fall in love and get married. To then discover that you will never get married, just 'civilly partnered' or 'unioned', just because you are incapable of being attracted to a certain type of person, already makes you feel as if you're not quite part of the human race. A rose by any other name, on this occasion, smells a little token.

I think the real crux is that it really doesn't affect anyone other than the people getting married/partnered/unioned - whatever the name or euphemism. I think that's why the placard-waving masses voting for Prop 8 come across as so unpleasant. What right do such people have to dictate how other people should love each other, and what therefore constitutes a valid expression of that bond?

The most offensive suggestion of all remains that gay men and women should be happy they can "marry" at all now, and thus by extension near-servile for no longer being imprisoned, beaten and murdered. In many parts of the world, they still are

I have to admit, he has succeeded in making me change my mind. This sentence is particularly moving: "To then discover that you will never get married, just 'civilly partnered' or 'unioned', just because you are incapable of being attracted to a certain type of person, already makes you feel as if you're not quite part of the human race."

Okay guys, get married. As Ben, Lisa, Bill, and DistributorCap all said, it doesn't affect the rest of us, so what's the big deal? And as for a same-sex marriage not fitting the dictionary definition of "marriage," definitions change with time. After all, the word "gay" used to mean "filled with or inspiring mirth..."

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name Still Could Be Legally Binding

While I am a registered Independent, I do tend to be liberal on most social issues. I'm pro-choice, pro-birth-control and pro-sex-ed in the schools. I favor legalization of marijuana. I'm anti-attempts-to-shove-religion-down-my-throat, but the Golden Rule rocks. I'm comfortable with people of other races. I have no problem with gays, lesbians and trans-gender people. "Live and let live" is my motto.

But...and y'all knew there was going to be a "but" in here...I simply cannot understand the fanatical drive by many gays and liberals to try to legalize gay "marriage!" I can understand and am supportive of the wish of same-sex couples to legalize their unions. It is desirable, spiritually and legally, to have their relationship officially recognized. But why insist on calling the union a "marriage?" My Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary defines marriage as "a compact entered into by a man and a woman, based on mutual regard, to live together as husband and wife until separated by death." That's the definition, like it or not! I can call my shoes "gloves," but they're not going to fit on my hands. I can call a red light "green," but if I try to drive through it, I'll have problems. So why not compromise and call the union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman something else? What's wrong with the term, "civil union?" Why insist on using the word "marriage?" I believe that much of the general public's opposition would fade away, if we could compromise on that one point. If you don't like "civil union," think of something else. Invent a new word! New words are added to our lexicon all the time. Call it a "garriage" for gay men and a "larriage" for lesbian women. I'm being silly with those suggestions, of course. But I'm not kidding about the idea of creating a new term for same-sex unions.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

If Only...
I'm feeling regretful tonight. I keep thinking of all the things I did that I shouldn't have done and all the things I didn't do that I should have. There is no bigger waste of time and energy than dwelling on the past, yet I can't seem to let it go. My son told me recently that I talk more about the past than anyone he knows. I think (hope) that I don't carry on about my sundry regrets when I'm talking to my kids. I think (hope) that I just tell them stories about my childhood and young adulthood, some of which are amusing, and some are depressing, but interesting (I think and hope). I also enjoy relating anecdotes about their childhoods, which I find amusing, but are met with grim expressions, eye-rolling, and "Please, Mom, not again!"

As for the regrets, I am playing with the idea of developing some sort of ritual that will help me purge myself of them, once and for all. Maybe I could write them down on post-it notes, one per page, and then ball up the page, one at a time, and burn them. Or flush them down the toilet, one whole flush for each note. I'll need a mental acknowledgement and reinforcement of the act. Perhaps a spoken affirmation of the purge and the resulting freedom from guilt - a little mantra I can recite with each flush or flame.
Okay, I'm going to work on it now. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, April 02, 2009


It was just Wham-Bam
You did not say "Thank-you-ma'am"
You have no manners

I try to play fair
But I always come in last
Only cheaters win

Give me those flowers
I will crush them underfoot
I will break your heart

What? I can't hear you
Are you begging for mercy
Ha! Don't make me laugh

Okay, I give up
I can't make myself hate you
I love you too much
Let's try it again
This time let me be on top
Ah...that's much better

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Growing Pains
Today I took a break from playing with myself and worked in the garden. I spaded a 6' x 8' area. I spread composted manure. I raked it all smooth. I planted five 6' rows of seeds, one each of Simpson lettuce, some kind of exotic lettuce mixture, peas, carrots and Swiss chard. Then I came back into the house, took a double dose of ibuprofin, and curled up on the bed, moaning (with pain, not pleasure). Tomorrow I will attempt to duplicate that performance and add another six feet to the length of the five rows. But if my latent masochism will not rise to the challenge...well, at least I have those first seeds launched. And I should be recovered enough by Saturday to resume the project.

Gardening is probably the only domestic chore that I enjoy. My father was an avid gardener and when I was a little girl I was happy to help him, however I could. I have fond memories of Daddy showing me how to prepare the soil and plant the seeds. Then, when they sprouted and reached a certain height, he showed me how to thin the plants. He was a big, strong hard-working man, with big, rough hands. But when he was thinning the carrots or lettuce, he was amazingly precise and almost gentle. Though he's been gone for twenty-two years, I think of him every single time I work in
the garden, and even though I'm a die-hard atheist and don't believe in an afterlife, I can feel him looking over my shoulder, smiling his approval.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Do It Yourself !

Can someone please explain to me why we are taught that masturbation is "wrong?" It feels good. It doesn't hurt anyone. You can't get pregnant doing it. You can't get venereal disease from doing it. You don't have to take a shower first, if you don't want to. No one has to be "in the mood" but you. What's not to like?

But no! We are made to feel guilty and ashamed of doing it. When I was a child, I "knew" that I was a verrrrry bad girl for "playing with myself." I don't remember now how this knowledge was imparted to me, but it was intense. I continued to think this as I grew older. When I started dating, the "dates" always ended up with a wild necking session in the back seat of the boyfriend's car. For the first couple of years, I managed to avoid "going all the way," but the necking always got me so hot and bothered that when I got home and went to bed I could not sleep until Mr. Hand did his dirty work. Then I would be flooded with guilt and promise myself I would never do it again. But then, Saturday night, the drive-in movie, and my resolve would go up in smoke. When I got married the first time, my husband had no clue (and very little interest) how to satisfy me, so I was still on my own. But again...shame followed every episode of self gratification.

Fortunately, I finally outgrew that curse. Renouncing religion helped a lot. Embracing logic helped even more. I remember asking myself, "What on earth is wrong with it? Who does it hurt? How can it be bad to make yourself feel good?" And then it occurred to me that there may be some evolutionary reason for the human arm to be just the right length to easily place one's hand on one's genitals! Ahhhhhhh...!
And oh, how I would like to place my hand on this cowboy's genitals...

Mind you, I'm not recommending "rubbin' the nubbin" or "rockin' the cock" in public! And I have a long way to go before I'd be able to write a post like Captain Smack's "Interesting things I have done to my penis" or write a story like Phillip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint," where he describes in excruciating detail what he did with some raw calf liver, but this post is a start.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Big "O"
My first "real" job (9 to 5, weekly paycheck, dictatorial boss) was at a K-Mart in Salt Lake City, back in the '70s. The bosses were all male and the underlings all female. I was full of feminist ideals that had no chance of being realized, and was always boiling with unexpressed rebellion. Since I was married at that time to the king of MCPs (that's Male Chauvinist Pigs, for all you ignorant youngun's out there), I had a double whammy of sexist suppression. My co-workers were an interesting mix of up-tight Mormons and would-be hippies. Even some of the Mormon ladies were longing to be free. I think I was the only California transplant in our little crowd, and my relatively liberal talk and mannerisms aroused suspicion in some and admiration in others. After a few months of employment, I had become friendly with 4 or 5 women and we would have lunch together almost every day.

We had a good time discussing how we detested our jobs, how frustrated we were with our lives guessed it...our sex lives. One day, the subject concerned the female orgasm, or lack thereof. Jill said, "I've never had an orgasm with my husband. If I don't do it myself, it just doesn't happen." Jan claimed that, "Oh, my husband is a wonderful lover. I come every time." We all looked at her, in surprise. I said, "Really?" She blushed. "Well, almost every time." Julie said, "Well, your husband probably knows something about foreplay. My husband's idea of foreplay is to let me look at his boner for a few seconds before jumping me." We all laughed. Then, sweet, slow, little Jeannie, who had been quiet until then, chimed in. "Some women don't even know what an organism is!" Somehow, we all managed to stifle our giggles and I resisted the urge to say something like, "I think most of us know that 'an organism' is a living being..." Instead, we all muttered things like, "Yeah, that's right, poor dears," and then it was time to go back to work.

Ten years later, I fell under the spell of Pan-man. His exquisite lovemaking made me realize that, until then, *I* had not known what an orgasm could be. He was an organism like no other.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Company's Coming!

So...I had to tidy up. First...I hung my shell art that I made a couple of years ago. These two pieces have been moldering away in the basement, but now they are prominently displayed. I think they are pretty. I can't draw or paint, but boy can I glue!

Then....I dusted! You should have seen my dust cloth when I was done. No, you shouldn't have. No one but I, the negligent perpetrator, should be subjected to that disgusting sight.
First, I dusted the desk, and all the tschochkes on it.

Then, the shadow box in the kitchen. It took almost a half-hour, by the time I finished fussing with them. Everything had to be just right!

Finally, the window sill in the living room. Isn't it exotic looking? I just love all the little doo-dads I have all over the house. The only drawback is that it takes forever to dust all of them.

Well, that was boring, wasn't it? Next time I'll talk about sex. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Talk Radio Blows

According to certain blowhards who spew their nonsense over the radio waves for three hours a day (that's three hours for each blowhard, one after another, from noon until midnight), five days a week, our feckless country is heading, full-tilt, toward SOCIALISM, maybe even FASCISM! These dire predictions are based on the actions of the evil BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA in his first six weeks in the hot seat. (The fattest of the blowhards has taken to including President Obama's middle name in his references to him, as though Obama had chosen that name himself.)

Apparently, neither of the afternoon blowhards has access to a dictionary, or they might not be so cavalier in their accusations. I, however, have my trusty 1947 Funk and Wagnalls New College Standard Dictionary (inherited from my father) by my side, and I will share with you the official definitions of "socialism" and "fascism."

Socialism: A theory of political and economic organization advocating public collective ownership of the means of production, public collective management of all industries, and production for need and use instead of profit.

Fascism: Any authoritarian, anti-democratic, anti-socialistic (emphasis is mine) system of government in which economic control by the state, militaristic nationalism, propaganda, and the crushing of opposition by means of secret police emphasize the supremacy of the state over the individual.

Okay, let's start with socialism. Call me naive, but I'm pretty darned sure that Obama has no ideological fantasies of the government owning and managing all production and industries. I think he's just trying to shovel cash their (banks and auto manufacturers) way, hoping to shore them up until they can dig themselves out of the hole they're in. And to keep it from looking like an out-and-out handout (like the crazyass TARP fiasco, which OBAMA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH), the government is taking part ownership in the businesses. I'm not sure this is all a great idea, but my thirty-year-old Bachelor's Degree in Economics does not qualify me to second-guess the "experts."
Now, fascism. The blowhard who throws this term around sounds as though he thinks fascism is an extreme form of socialism! I believe that Communism is the more appropriate term for an extreme form of socialism and I would like to remind him that in WWII the Communist Russians were fighting, tooth and nail, against the Fascist Nazis! And that is the least of the problem with using that vile word in connection with Obama's fledgling government. Look at the definition again, Mr. Big Fat Idiot, and tell me what part of it you can honestly say you believe applies to our democratically elected, knocking-himself-out-trying-to-unify-us President.

Unlike some blowhards, I don't want President Obama to fail. I want him to succeed, because if he succeeds, we all succeed. Even if I don't agree with everything he's doing, I respect him and his team and am willing to concede that they know more than I do about the dire straits we seem to be in. To those who oppose the actions of the administration, I say fine! We're a democracy. Let's hear your plan! Don't just stir the pot of discontent and rebellion if you don't have any ideas of your own, other than constantly invoking the memory of that senile old fart, Ronald Reagan.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Madam Z," I tell myself, from time to time, "you must learn to acknowledge your mistakes and move on."
But, I don't listen to myself. I try to salvage the unsalvagable. "But I spent so much time - money - effort on it! I can't let it go to waste!"
"Foolish woman! It's better to let it go; forget about it - put it in the garbage and try again another day. If you're going to eat/do something that's not good for you, at least be damned sure it tastes/feels good."
The most recent battle is still being waged. The subject of the dispute is a batch of truffles. Why, you may ask, would someone try to make her own truffles, when she could get a perfectly good bag of ready-made truffles at the corner store for 3 or 4 bucks? That is a legitimate and worthy question. Why indeed? Temporary insanity cannot be ruled out.
It gets worse. I had a perfectly good bag of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips in the cupboard, that I have been chipping away at for several days, a tiny handful now and then, when I must have something sweet. They are heavenly. I also had a couple ounces of dark chocolate which isn't anywhere near as good, but is purportedly "good for you." THEN! I bought a can of sweetened condensed milk, for some goddamned reason, which I don't even remember, and it had a recipe on the label for homemade truffles. I was electrified by this! I didn't even know ordinary people could make truffles! They seem too exotic to be made at home, at least at my home. The recipe was deceptively simple: 1 can condensed milk, 18 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Put milk in saucepan, add chips, heat till chocolate is melted, add vanilla, and refrigerate till firm. Roll into balls and cover with some kind of coating. (I completely ignored this last step, since it's the inside that I was interested in.)
Okay. I didn't have 18 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I had those milk chocolate chips and a couple oz of that dark chocolate, so that should work, shouldn't it? SHOULDN'T IT? In case you're wondering, the answer is NO. Well, maybe it SHOULD'VE worked, but it DIDN'T. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good. It wasn't anywhere near as good as the plain goddamned chocolate chips were! And I used up about $6 worth of ingredients making the stupid stuff! So I stuck it back in the refrigerator, hoping it would taste better the next day.
It didn't. My self told myself to just throw the shit away. I certainly don't need the calories, anyway. But NO! I had a new plan! Melt the ill-fated concoction again and add a bunch of peanut butter to it! That'll show my smartass Self!

Oh man!!! It is now resting peacefully in the compost heap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question: Was he GREAT, or was he GREAT?
He was calm, confident, self-assured and gave one hell of a speech. Plenty of lofty goals. Plenty of inspiring acknowledgements. Never flubbed a line. Promised something for everyone. I loved what he said. But I do have a question for him:
Um...President Obama, sir...How are we going to PAY for all these worthy goals?