Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Atrial Fibrillation

I'm fibrillating like crazy. Resting heart rate of 157. This has been going on for months, maybe a year. This should give you some idea of how healthy I feel. Aside from the burning in my thighs when I take my dog for a little walk, I'm healthy as a horse--in the sick sense of no viruses, no bacterial infections, nothing that would make me feel "sick" enough to go to the doctor. So the fibrillating has gone undetected until I went in for a follow-up after getting an MRI and carotid ultrasound to get a baseline. I wanted these tests because I had a little episode that I thought might be a small stroke.

Every woman in my family has died of vascular dementia, and every man of massive cardiac events. I envy the men in my family. They all went along feeling fine, then, Wham, dead instantly. Lucky bastards. Not so, the women. All of them have died the long slow agony of a million little strokes, just enough each time to wipe out a little more of their brains, tiny bit by bit, until they start shitting their pants and forgetting who they are. Anyway, it was at the follow-up to the MRI and carotid ultrasound, during the normal taking of my blood pressure that they discovered an unusual rhythm. Then they did an EKG. Fibrillating like crazy. My doc ordered an echo-cardiogram. Fibrillating like crazy. Then, finally the follow-up with the cardiologist today. Another EKG, still fibrillating like crazy, with the resting heart rate of 157. So I am now on a blood thinner, something else to help stabilize rhythm, and some damn thing I have to inject subcutaneously twice a day. And except for the fatigued feeling in my thighs when I walk, I wouldn't have any idea anything was wrong with me. So, I could stroke out at any time, but I'm feeling fine. I wouldn't mind any of this except that I now have to go through a bunch of invasive tests and procedures that require a babysitter to take me to the hospital to have these outpatient procedures done, since they all require sedation or general anesthesia. Bummer.

All of this to say, I have not seen the news today, since I spent the whole late morning and early afternoon getting baddish news from my cardiologist. I will catch up and get back to you.

I have not written this for sympathy or condolences, since I'm really feeling fine. It's the scare factor more than anything that's getting to me. It's the prospect of multiple procedures that necessitate inconveniencing a friend that pisses me off. And unlike E, I'm not young, I have no children, and if I die now, my affairs are in order. No one will be the worse off for it, and a few friends will make out like bandits.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Speaks to the Reverend

I watched the Obama news conference today with relief. His pain at having to renounce his pastor was apparent on his face, in his careful choice of words. He answered questions with great candor. But the pain never left his face, was obvious in his tone, his careful, thoughtful answers.

His paster seems to have lost his mind. Reverend Wright's performance on Moyers was one thing, then to follow it up with the coup de gras at the Press Club, was like watching a train wreck-- a once proud man gone off the track, a bit crazy with his loss of power, his diminished position. Or worst, like watching a man in the public spotlight show the first signs of some sort of old aged dementia. I felt that way watching Ronald Reagan in his last year in office. Doddering, yet still full of ego.

As soon as the press conference was over, I went to the Obama site and contributed another $25.

Reverend Wright

Dear Reverend Wright,
Shut The Fuck Up!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Make My Day

I just completed my weekly outing. I am back from the grocery store, and have strawberries to put on my Cheerios, and today I was not the only person bitching about the cost of everything. I, who speak the worst spanish in the world, was able to help an old woman with a nina in tow, try to understand the questions the very unhelpful technician, about to withhold the prescription, was asking her in loud, slow English. Abuela gets the drugs! The Underdog strikes again!

Everywhere I went I found someone holding the thing they wanted or needed and shaking their heads about the cost. We discussed food shortages, and the fear we feel about this government. We talked about resistance and it's costs in this atmosphere. We talked about what we were going to do with our rebate--everyone says, pay back taxes or buy gas. Discontent is rampant. I'm not alone. And all this collective discontent cheered me up immensely. While I was in line waiting I looked at the covers of the tabloids and learned that Hillary has a hot young lesbian lover, lots of photos. Ummm!

I came home to find Chris Matthews trying his best to strangle Obama with his egomaniacal pastor who has gone before the Press Club to give another inflammatory interview. "He's an albatross! He'll kill Obama. Obama's toast now. He's unelectable." And once again I scream at Matthews, "Shut the fuck up you fat-headed asshole! You know jack-shit. You wish and think it makes it so. Childish prick, simpleton!"

I feel ever so much better. My psychologist called and said he'd talked to my vacationing psychiatrist and she'd given the green light to boost me back to my normal dose of antidepressant.

The Wound

I have a mother wound that will not heal
It hemorrhages loss and hope like a cracked pipe
A house haunted like the clean bones that I pull
One by one from the hole in my arm like
Blood from the veins I’ve tried to open
Like the jellyfish of a dream that empties
Me of bones and teeth and blood and anything
To say help me someone I die of starvation
For a little real something that feels like
Love might now slow the draining death
Of my mother’s need to be better than everyone
Include me, stinking, loud, sucking child of needs

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Award Goes To ...

To Stella at swiftspeech, my mentor and friend, who inspired me to go beyond my piddling skills and learn something new. Who keeps her eye on the news sources so she can keep us informed. Stella is smart, generous, and kind to new bloggers. She is warm and intelligent in her comments.

Today she has a post up quoting Tom Hayden, "Why Hillary Clinton makes my wife scream at the television." It is just the kind of news I want to hear--it makes me feel less alone in my screaming at Hillary on TV. And to top it off there is a gorgeous painting atop the post. Stella is a classy broad. This E is for you, Stella, excellent one.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BP D Continued

Junior high school was my training ground for looking like I had friends, while giving nothing away. I got good grades--always had, I skied well, dressed well, and hung with the edgy kids. I didn't ask questions and didn't answer them. At home I was sullen and angry all the time. I hated my parents and knew I had good reason. But I looked so normal. At night I would roam around throwing rocks at street lamps. I got pretty good with rock throwing, and hiding in the dark.

By now I knew my grandmother was an alcoholic and my grandfather was a pill popping hypocrite bastard. I refused to attend Sunday dinner at their house anymore. My father was a child molester and my mother was a cruel bitch. I could no long hold my hatred and contempt inside. I had been raised by the queen of the eviscerating tongue-lashing. I had mastered that art at her knee. Now I turned this hard won skill on my own family. I never called any of them out, but I could hold my own in any argument. It became the family pastime. At least once a day Maggy would say, "What did I do to deserve this?" And I would roll my eyes.

My third year of junior high, my parents decided I needed to see a psychologist. Who did they choose? A family friend, of course. Bob Johanson was a colleague of both my father and my grandfather. I knew his screwed up kids. I was by now an undeniable beauty, unsettlingly sexy. I used this power and my wit to seduce and play with Bob. Within several months, we were doing lunch instead of doing "therapy." You might think it was a gutsy move on my parents part to put me in therapy--a girl with such volatile family secrets, but actually it was a pretty safe bet. I knew my dad and grandfather had the power to have me locked up in some little private institution. I thought Bob would give them the ammunition they needed. So I got Bob on my side by intellectual sparing and flirting. It worked amazingly well. He told me I was brilliant.

To be continued...

And The Award Goes To ...

Anita at anitaxanax, who gives me poetry once a week when I always need it. How does she know just the right poem, just the right Poet? To Anita with the courage to play tag with strangers and trust us all. To Anita with a heart so big she can tell the truth, even when it hurts. Anita, this E's for you, soul sister.

Bipolar Disorder

I have had mental health problems since I was in my early teens. Any of you who have read a chapter or two of my book, Maggy, can probably figure out why. (And for any of you who haven't, it is now posted on it's own site called Maggy.)

At first my problems were attributed to adolescence. I was clumsy, moody, angry, and rebellious. When younger I had been an inquisitive child, talkative and curious. But at eleven I withdrew into my own private hell. I had learned that no adults were trustworthy. And because so much of my childhood was unmentionable, I could not reveal myself to other kids. I trusted no one. And it was during this early adolescence that I withdrew into the world of books.

It was also during this time that I began to disobey my parent's in every way I could. I had not been allowed to attend the Mormon Church. When younger I had occasionally spent a Saturday night at my friend Enid's house and the gone to church with her family on Sunday morning. I did not have to conceal this sneaky business to my parents, since they were never up early on Sunday morning. By the time I got back from church with the Olsons and changed back into my own casual clothes and gone home, my parents were just starting to fix breakfast, having just finished their first Bloody-Mary's. But now I went to the Mormon Church every chance I got--which was often. The Mormon's create a social life for their children that is quasi-religious. So, after listening to a small amount of readings from the Book of Mormon, the socializing begins. There were dances every week, and this became the part of my rebellion I lived for.

It was at one of these dances that I met my first boyfriend. His name was Larry. He was sixteen. I was twelve. This put me at odds with my friend Enid, because her older sister was friends with Susan Graham who had a crush on Larry. I didn't care. I was falling in love.

One night after a dance, Larry walked me home. We talked as we walked and Larry held my hand all the way home. It was dark and the gaslit lamp atop a pole in our lawn was the only light. We stood there by that lamp, talking softly. Then Larry bent down to my upturned face and kissed me on my lips. I did not kiss like a twelve year old. I returned that kiss with my own, lips parted, soft tongue exploring his surprised mouth. Then our door opened and my mother said, rather too loudly, "Get your ass in here, this instant."

The next morning at breakfast my parents started an inquisition that went on for hours. The only detail I remember from this "conversation" was my father's question, "Why do you think a boy sixteen would be interested in you?"
"Because I'm a good dancer. Because I'm smart and nice?"
"No! The only reason a boy his age would be interested in you would be to get in your pants!"
This conversation ended when I ran upstairs and slammed my door.

I kept seeing Larry, trying to prove my parents wrong, but in reality, despite the fact that Larry and I did talk about literature lots, did dance often, he really did want to get in my pants. But it wasn't exactly the getting in my pants that bothered me so much, since my daddy had been there for years. It was his wanting to touch my new breasts that bothered me the most. When Daddy was getting in my pants I had no breasts. So Larry's interest in my breasts seemed most to confirm my parents assessment of my worth. And then Larry got tired of my squeamishness and moved on to girls his age.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And The Award Goes To......

E at starspangledhaggis who wakes me up with such honesty and fierceness. Whose love and humor for her child’s safe and happy journey fills me with joy. Who faces adversity with funny wonder at the horrors of illness and it’s treatment. For all of this and more, I send you this award. All you have to do is carry it home.

Is This Thing Rigged?

Is it depression creeping up on me, or is it real?

My friend N, who is a retired history professor, and I went to see Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? Not a movie I’d recommend on many levels, but I’m no movie reviewer. It did succeed on this level—it made me scared. Scared on a cellular level. There were only three places in all of the greater Middle East that were closed, and unwilling to allow conversation to this crazy New Yorker and his small camera crew—Israel, in the more Hassidic areas, Saudi Arabia everywhere, and the mountainous area of Pakistan where Bin Laden might be living.

Only questions remain. They were posed at the beginning of the film, and it is these unanswered questions that now really scare me. They are all about why we back military dictatorships and/or governments we impose over popularly elected socialists wherever in the world we can. All this has been in the interest of the military industrial complex. Eisenhower warned us of this. And instead, we, since the mid-fifties, in the interest of privatizing everything and consolidating that economic power in the hands of as few as possible, have now turned our backs on our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and are about to give power completely to a couple of families and their cronies. They have their own mercenary army, their NSA. All Hail Skull and Bones.

N thinks McCain will probably win. It is in the interest of power and riches that he win. It is in the interest of ego and ambition that he win. I said, “What if Hillary wins?” He said, “Same foreign policy, same consolidation of power, better economic outcome for the middle class. Maybe.”
“What about Barack?” “I’m worried that both democrats health care plans are run by the insurance companies.”

Reality sucks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Worth These Days.

I'm worth a lot more than I thought. Maybe I can make a living. Apparently there is a market for geezer sex. I stole this from Every Thing I Love Causes Cancer. She stole it from someone else, and so it goes. Finally something edifying.
bedroom toys
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From Hope To Bitterness

I woke up yesterday with Hope. Big time Hope. Now I'm really bitter. Bitter and sinking into the mind killing part of depression. Depression turns your brain into damp cotton. The only thing that penetrates the cotton is rage. So stupid and full of rage. That sounds like a full on case of Bitterness to me. And now my hearts arterially fibrillating up a storm, I'm depressed and bitter, and I can't find old reruns of Lawn Order to put me to sleep. My appointment with the cardiologist isn't until next Wednesday. If I weren't so depressed I could take a book to bed, but you have to be just the right kind of depressed to read--it takes a little concentration to really read. But bitterness and depression makes me want to search out a gun show, so I could buy an illegal gun, go to church, and come home and blow myself away. Worry not. I hate going out so much, that even the desire to put a bullet threw (or is it through?) my brian will have to wait until I'm not so bitter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


God, I hate it when that happens. Vigilante was "kind" enough to point out that I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground. Now I could have said, my ass from a whole in the ground. Or I could say I'm dyslexic, which is almost true, but really I don't know how to spell. Also I don't know when and where to say bear or when to say bare. I'll have to thunk on this some more. I'm sure there are many more such confusions in my vocabulary. Vigilante, with your hep, I'll try to muddle on. In the meantime will you bare(sic) with me?

Depression and Change

I am in despair about the result of the Pennsylvania Primary. I am an old hand at depression and despair. I will survive.

In the meantime I am going to change my blogging life. When all else fails-- change something. So I am starting a blog for my fiction, and this will remain my blog for my political passions and pains. This will be the place I rant and rejoice. I will try to learn a few new tricks. For instance, I'm trying to learn how to do a Blog Roll. I have wanted to learn to link. So this old dog is going to learn some new tricks. It will take some time. Bare with me please.

At Last

I woke up early to catch all the day’s news—got my latte and took the dog out to pee. After we came back inside, I fed him his breakfast and turned on the boobtube to watch this day’s fascinating coverage of, “Pennsylvania finally votes!!!.” I was asleep within minutes.

I have rather scrubbed my concrete floors on my hands and knees, than pay attention to the parade of fools on TV. This is shocking news, since I took the “seven deadly sins test at the Iguana’s site. My only sin is sloth. I tried to read the NY Times. Not even the Times. There is weak sunshine outside, but this is important, damn it. And it’s the same BS everywhere I look for information. And I have been interested all my life. I started this journey toward the democratic nomination with Hope, god dammit. Now I’m bored. I think I’ll clean the toilet. Then Cyrus and I will go for a walk.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tag, You're It!

Even though I do not know the rules of internet tag, I'm going to try to wing it. As I understand it, I have to write six? was it six? random things about myself. Maybe these things are things I don't talk about much. Little secrets. Frieda Bee wrote six good memories from childhood. Do the things I reveal have to be positive, as in good memories, or just anything, from anytime? Help Frieda, help me now.

1. I have a semi-secret love of South Park. I love those foul-mouthed kids, they remind me of my childhood. The crazy parents, the cross-dressing teacher, the nasty sweetness gets me where I live.

2. When I was seven I charged kids at school five cents to tell them where babies came from. I knew this because my mother told me, in clinical, graphic detail, omitting all the boring "love between two grown-ups who love each other, bla, bla, bla....." So I knew the "He puts his penis in her vagina and stuff squirts out his......... You know the details. Needless to say I got in big trouble at school. My parents thought I was quite enterprising. I made some kids cry with this horrifying info. I bought kosher dill pickles with my sex ed. money from the little store across the street from school and ate them walking home, real happy with my windfall of nickels.

3. My dog eats his own shit. I realize this isn't exactly about me, but still......

4. I have the foulest mouth of any woman I have ever known. I learned all the nastiest words early and have always enjoyed the way they feel in my mouth. I can feign Tourettes Syndrome and scare off strange men who seem menacing to me.

5. Last time I was in New York late one night, I was walking along the street somewhere close to Grand Central Station, smoking a nicely rolled joint. I was wearing a black dress and high heeled boots, just minding my own business, when I dropped my joint. A nice looking young black man coming toward me, noticed that I was bending over feeling around on the sidewalk. He stopped and asked me if I'd dropped my contact lens. I told him I was looking for the joint I dropped, and he put his attache case down and helped me find it. When I picked it up it was out, so I whipped out my lighter, lit-up, and offered him a toke. We stood in the dark and finished the joint, then he said, "thanks, good night," and left. This has been pretty typical of the kindness of strangers. Strangers have never scared me. It was my family that scared me.

6. I used to hitch-hike.

my six taggees:
Phoebe Fay
e. @ StarSpangledHaggis

Friday, April 18, 2008

Feminism: Have We Come A Long Way, Baby?

I have been a feminist my entire adult life. My mother was one of Utah's pioneering feminists. In the sixties she started the Utah chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus. She was famous for organizing marches and demonstrations protesting the Mormon Church's treatment of women and it's strangle hold on the political life of Utah within the state and in the nations capitol, through it's elected representatives. Maggy won many awards for her work on behalf of women and for giving voice to women's issues. She was the legislative aid to Francis Farley, our first female Utah State Senator.

At one of the award celebrations, sometime in the 1980's, while all these powerhouse women were congratulating one another on the great strides they had made toward equality for woman, I stood and asked the only question of any real relevance regarding the progress that had been made for women--"Why is it that women are making less today in relation to men's pay than they did in the 1940's?" I was not real popular that day. It was not an issue anyone was willing to address when they were so happy to talk about Karen Shephard's election to the Untied States House of Representatives. She served one brilliant term, and then was replaced by the incredibly mediocre Enid Green, the Mormon republican who opposed her. A woman, yes. Progress, no.

So now here we are, almost thirty years later and nothing has changed. Women are still making sixty some odd cents to every man's rapidly shrinking dollar. And now while still making sixty some odd cents to a mans dollar, women have a new hoop to jump through in order to be hireable, and promotable. It is the Beauty Quotient. For an insight into how far we are going backwards, baby, read Naomi Wolf's book, The Beauty Myth.

One last point while we're on the subject--every young woman I meet and then get to know a little, when asked if she is a feminist, says, "No, I'm not a feminist, but I do believe in equal rights for women." Where is the progress in this fear of the label "feminist?"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Boys On Hardball

Chris Matthews, right now, is turning our presidential primary campaign into a boxing match. Every description of the most recent democratic debate is turned into some trivia drivel about boxing matches of all the late great match-ups from boxing's history. Apperantly if you don't know your boxing history you can't talk on Chris's show. Kind of leaves the female commentators knocked-out of the conversation. Kind of makes me want to say, "Screw You, Chris!" one more time. I have had a hate/hate relationship with Mr. Matthews for a long, long time.

He was on The Colbert Report the other night and nearly made my heart stop. Colbert asked him if the rumors were true about Matthews making a run for Arlen Spector's seat in the Senate. Chris got all moony and serious. His face softened like a young girls, his eyes glistened with such love, such deep adoration and reverence for......himself, I started dancing. This can only mean one thing. For at least as long as Chris is running for a Senate seat we'll will only have to endure him as a candidate. Hopefully Rachel Maddow on the new show in his time slot called Real Women, will treat him as he has treated guests past. She will ask him a question and just as he starts to speak, she will all but tell him to shut up! Then insist that he answer the question! He will open his mouth to suck in air to speak again, and she will cut him off and then ask Eugene what he thinks of Mr Matthew's inability to answer a simple, straight forward question truthfully, implying that Mr Matthews is indeed stupid and not qualified to be dog catcher.

Quaint Customs and Family Values

Utah is a strange place. And since the Pligs are making such great news and causing such controversy and consternation amongst the various cable news personalities, I thought this might be a good time to weight in with my unique perspective. I get to call my perspective unique because I actually have some first hand knowledge of some real Pligs.

Remember April? Not the month, but the youngest child of a Plig family here in Zion. Trying to sort out the history of polygamist families is damn near impossible—everyone is related to everyone else, when you start looking into their past histories—so I’ll just stick to the current history of the members of this particular family. And “I know” means, have met, sat around a diner table with, and (in some cases) have been and (in some cases) am still friends with. If you think that last sentence is confusing and convoluted, you don’t know a Plig family or have Plig friends.

But before we get to April’s family, I’d like to go on record as being in favor of having all the 400 plus children from the Texas compound who have been placed in protective custody, kept in protective custody. None of those kid’s, if released back into their “families” custody, is going to be safe. Children serve several purposes in Plig society—they are potential breeders (that means when the girls start menstruating they are ready to be married off to some old coot with several other wives—since I started my period at eleven, if I had been a Plig child, I could have been married and cranking out babies at eleven). The boys and the girls not of breeding age are child laborers. They clean the houses, prepare the food, work in the fields, etc. Once boys get to the age when they are interested in girls and such, they are mostly expelled from the colony. These are called the Lost Boys. Salt Lake has lots of Lost Boys.

Now, if you have been watching any of the news coverage of this “situation” you might have seen the “mothers” pleading for the return of their children. “We love our children,” is the answer to any and all questions regarding the safety of these children. When pressed about the age at which it is appropriate for these children to start breeding, the “mothers” change the subject back to “We love our children.” And have you noticed the lack of affect in these “mothers?” They all look lobotomized to me.

I was going to tell you more of April's families history, but I’ve run out of steam. I was going to clean my house today, but that too shall have to wait. This fibrillation thingy is exhausting.

Today Is Starting Out To Be Excellent

Thank you, Liberality.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Pope is Ruining My News Day

Can anyone tell me why I have to watch an entire day of Pope stuff? I am not Catholic. Plenty of us are not Catholic. He may be a head of state in a very small way, after all the Vatican isn't really very big, so why does the Pope get to consume the entire prime-time news coverage? I will not go to church, yet I have had to listen to hours of a Catholic church service. I know, I could turn off the TV, but this is a presidential political season and it does interest me. But the Pope? Not so much. This just adds to my already growing bitterness. I knew I felt something really negative about what was going on in this country and finally it has been spoken of and identified, and it really resonates for me. I'm bitter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stormy Weather

Yesterday, the only day of half decent weather we've had this "Spring," I woke up early with vertigo. Had trouble working my way hand over hand to my espresso pot to make my morning bowl of latte. Shakily back to bed to take the small handful of pills that is my first part of the breakfast of champions in Savage land. One cigarette and a few sips of coffee and I did the hand over hand to take Cyrus out for his morning pee. If you are a new reader, please forgive me, Cyrus is my enormous dog, not my husband. No more husbands. Words to live by. Sorry if my anti-marriage sentiments offend anyone, but if you read my profile, you probably understand that I'm only speaking from my own experience and claim no universal truths are told here. I'm not even sure I believe in universal truths, but anyway.

So then I fed Cyrus, and took myself back to bed. A little morning news. Then up and at the computer. But my brain is not working particularly well, so I decide to quit will I'm slightly ahead.

I am still whirling a bit. This could be many things. Dehydration, low blood-pressure, high blood-pressure, allergies, ear problem. I drink a large glass of water, a small swig of olive oil (advise from two smart women) and a glass of orange juice. Back to bed to take my blood-pressure. I rest awhile, wanting to make sure the blood-pressure isn't artificially elevated. (Shut up about the damn cigarette and caffeine.) When I take the blood-pressure it's 190/93, pulse 140, resting. Damn.

I'm thinking, boy am I lucky. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow. We'll just see what the deal is tomorrow. Probably allergies. I take it easy the rest of the morning, reading papers and listening to news. I know, I should probably put music on and really chill, but old habits die hard. (No, no, do not give me any damn lectures).

When my blood-pressure got to be in the normal range, I ate a banana, brushed my teeth, and took Cyrus for a leisurely walk. But it was disconcertingly hot and windy. Since this is the first warm spring day, though it feels like early June, which is lovely in June. I really need to spend some time cleaning late leaves that had been lying under snow, now ringed around the ever hopeful tulips--these can't be raked. I notice that overnight the Chinese apricot has burst into bloom. That's a good sign. But the wind is blowing fiercely and hot. I can smell the leaf mold and little else. Tomorrow is garbage day, so I try to fill the brown can (used for garden waste--only that which can be turned into mulch or bark) then take all three cans to the curb. When I get in the house my eyes are tearing and my nose hurts. Mold and pollen.

The house is hot, even with the windows and door open. I turn on the ceiling fan, and get down to my tank top and yoga pants. And so it goes through the news night and posting a chapter of the book I've been writing and editing for twenty some years.

I had a lovely visit with my Administrator, purely social, no technical work. Then to bed and The Daily Show and Colbert Report. No trouble sleeping.

But this morning when I woke up, I felt awful. And it's cold today. My car won't start. Probably a loose battery wire. I want to work outside, but it's too cold, and windy again. Cyrus won't stay outside without me. And he is unusually watchful. Then it starts to rain. I have to arrange transportation to the doctor. My youngest friend insists. I say I'll take a cab home. No, no, she'll pick me up. She insists.

On the way to the doctor's office it starts to snow. SNOW! I see a female doctor who somehow never makes me wait. When I saw a male doctor, I always had to wait. What's up with that. So, I follow her back to the exam room, with only the unfortunate stop by the scale. I always want to strip at this point. Accuracy is important, don't you think? But I settle for dumping my purse and coat on a chair and the notice my boots, (yes Scarlet, my boots), then think, oh fuck it. Who cares. My clothes still fit. How bad could it be? Well, bad. Twenty pounds bad.

Then we get to the exam part. They always take my blood-pressure first because that's my main problem (all the women die of stroke, all the men, sudden cardiac failure). My oldest brother died at forty five of a massive coronary "event." Gramps, behind the wheel of his new Ford on the road home. Luckily he just slowed down and drove himself into a ditch. My Uncle Linton died in his sleep of heart failure--lucky man. The women have not fared so well in the death department. Strokes, not the big, kill-you-in-a-second kind, but the little ones that creep up on you till you're shitting yourself on a regular basis, and can't tell it's you that stinks.

Well, though my blood-pressure was normal, my heart beat was highly irregular. They insist on an EKG. They do this nearly every time I go in, about once every couple of years, usually for that irregular heart rhythm. And usually they don't show anything abnormal. But this time they do it twice, cause it looks a little hinky. Then my doctor comes in and sits down, she looks up at me and says, "You have an arterial fibrillation. This is the first time it's shown up on an EKG, but I think this has been going on for awhile. Where would you like to go for a cardiac ultra-sound?" So, tomorrow I get an expensive test I can't afford. Then I get to see a fancy shmantsy cardiologist for a consult. It'll be a damn long time before I can afford lemons again.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reality Again

A break for those of you flummoxed by my literary turn of mind. I need to bitch about the weather. It has been the longest winter in my memory. In all honesty that's not a terribly impressive statistic, since my memory only lasts from season to season, still, it's been horrible. Yesterday was chilly. Yes the sun did shine most of the day, but it's been down into the low thirty degrees most nights. Now today it's hot. Not Texas hot, but from fifty and breezy yesterday, to high seventies and hot today--well it's damn disconcerting. And it's supposed to be in the fifties tonight. Usually we have long slow springs, time to get the yard cleaned up, and a garden space of sorts ready for planting. Not this year. Fuck no. This year we go straight from hard, cold, snowy winter to summer, do not pass go, do not collect anything, not even winter-kill, not even late falling leaves left to rot beneath the snow. And tomorrow? Cold and rainy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Torture Anyone?

I guess I could talk about torture. That ought to make the men more comfortable. Having just written a little piece about when I was almost four and was raped by a 19 year old friend of my eldest brother's I seem to have scared off the men folk. Truth is this little foray into the heart of darkness of America post WWII, Salt Lake City, Utah--this tribute of mine to the greatest generation and it's family values has just begun, and the easiest part is in the past. It only gets worse from here. So buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Oh God, Where Is She Taking Us?

I have heard from a male reader that he is concerned that I am taking him on a trip he finds--how to say this delicately--inappropriate. I could change the subject, go back to writing about politics, or ignore his concern and carry on. But, the truth is, I don't want to lose my male readers. So, what to do? Really, until we move past Pennsylvania, there isn't a hell of a lot to focus on. Yeah, there was the theater of the Patraeus, Crocker show, but it was so predictable that I couldn't get too excited about saying much. Besides all the male bloggers are very focused on the General and the Ambassador. So what's a girl to do? My actual life is too damn uneventful to write about. And frankly I don't care much about China and the Olympics. Until we put our own house in order, what business is it of ours to chastise China for something they did in the 1950's? China is a bully? This is news? Give me a break. My only concern about the Olympics is that a friend of mine is working with one of the news organizations covering the Olympics--she does make-up for the on-camera personalities covering the games, and has had this gig for decades. It's been a fabulous travel opportunity for her. Have powder-puff, will travel. In this way she has made some big bucks and seen the world, racking up some impressive frequent flyer miles. So for her safety I am concerned. Other than that, not so much.

We never seem to care about the real atrocities happening in many parts of Africa. We have turned our backs on the Palestinians--their plight is not in our strategic interests. We have tied ourselves to Israel for better or worse. Nothing much to say about that. It is the third rail of our foreign policy. As one of native American descent, I see the Palestinians in much the same light as I do my own ancestors. But I'm not entirely stupid. It's not real smart to take on Israel.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Catch 22

It’s been a long time since I read Joseph Heller’s masterpiece. But it might be the perfect time to introduce it to a younger generation. After watching the Patraeus and Crocker testimony I keep thinking about Catch 22. We don’t know what victory means, but we’ll know it when we see it. In the meantime, we’ll just keep making the same deadly mistakes over and over in the same old way, and hope for a different outcome. Did you hear it differently? Immediately I thought, Catch 22. It must really exist somewhere in the military bureaucratic code book that is in charge of this SNAFU.


Well, it’s true. Confession is good for the soul.

Thanks to those of you who read and have the courage and compassion to comment, I have received some excellent advise and consolation. I called my dear friend. We talked for over an hour and talked about my fear and cowardice, and her love and understanding. We talked about our other friends and we talked about politics. We talked about blogs and the joy I find in this interesting, intelligent community. Now I am relieved of the burden of self loathing and can pick up the pone any time and reach out. Once I get my car running again, I’ll go visit. Worse comes to worse I’ll call a cab. Worse comes to very worse, I’ll start walking her direction and do what I did when I was young and fearless, and stick out my thumb and hitch a ride.


My Administrator has returned. Thank God. Now that he’s back home I’ll probably soon be able to link those wonderful sites that inform and teach me, as well as the sites that make me laugh so hard I think I’m going to choke and die. But more important than the rest of you, I will be able to link Linda at Ramblings of an Ageless Hippie Chick. Linda is the source of the Rebel Grrrl Award. My first ever award.

So here’s my confession. While Phillip was over here tinkering around on my computer, I talked incessantly about my life, my prize, my libido, paying no attention to what he was actually doing, I blurted out, “Oh god Phillip, don’t die or anything, I couldn’t get along without you.” Phillip lives in San Francisco and has never met me, but we talk, often late at night. Today when Phillip initiated a “chat,” my neighbor’s dog was visiting, and the odd sound of a man’s voice inside my house must have made Roscoe think we had an intruder. He got into full guard dog stance, straining forward through his powerful shoulders, and barked ferociously at my computer. I had to send him home, so real was his perception that a strange man had entered without even a knock on the door. See how I keep drifting away from this confession? It’s hard to admit when you know you’re a selfish asshole.

I view the threatening mortality of my friends and loved ones as assaults on my own well being. How dare they! Now I’m starting to view my fellow bloggers the same way. E doesn’t know it, but if anything happened to her I’d be devastated. I’m afraid to read back through her past posts to discover the reason for her having to take cortisone. I vaguely remember something about her mentioning needing bone marrow. The possibilities terrify me.

And yet among my own very small circle of fashionista friends one has MS. She is the Devil Wears Prada of our set of retired models. She was our boss. The woman who auditioned us, determined what we wore, and how we moved on the runway during the biggest shows of the season. When we first met her she terrified us all. I worked more closely with her in the beginning and we got to be friends, got together for lunch, had a cocktail after work, and as I got over the initial fear, I never for a second, lost an ounce of respect and admiration for her. When I lived in Santa Barbara, she, of all my friends, was the only one to come and stay with us for a few days. We became the kind of friends who might work and live halfway across the country, but kept in touch.

And now she has MS. Not only that, but her only child, her grown son, was walking home from a restaurant one night this winter when some total stranger stabbed and killed him. I can’t say this without starting to cry. I can’t comfort myself. How could I begin to comfort her? She is getting close to needing a walker and then a wheelchair. And I am not helping her in any way. I rarely call, almost never. And I have only the rationalization that caring for my crazy mother for five years killed every bit of tender mercy I ever possessed. But there is no comparison. My mother who was always cruel to me lost her mind but her body keep going, long after there was anything of “it” left except the eating, excreting, and the flipping of the bird, the lunatic grin, the mean glittery eyes, and her final words, “fuck you.” The day she stopped saying “fuck you” was the day she stopped being able to chew or swallow, no more shuffling up and down the hall, trying to pinch or pull the hair of some unsuspecting passerby. True to her inner self until the end. Three days later she died. Christmas morning about the time Santa would be climbing down the chimney. Thank you Jesus. I felt her hatred from my birth till her death. But despite every therapists advise to turn my back and walk away from her, I just kept trying.

Now I’m so glad it’s over. My life has never been better.

But I’m not ready to face the loss of a woman I really do love. Smart, sardonic, acerbic, kind, generous, well read, funny. In her case it is the body that is dying, by inches, moment by moment. The mind is as brilliant as ever. And she is now isolated by the inability to hop in her car and take herself where ever she likes. Of all our friends, I’m the one with the freedom to visit often, run her errands, hang out. But I don’t call, don’t go. There is no excuse. Last time I saw her I said, “If there’s anything you need or want, just call.” Sometimes even I can hear the bullshit in my words.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thanks to All You Rebel Grrrls

Thank you for this honor. I might just have received the Pulitzer for the great delight I feel at having the coveted Rebel Grrrl Award. It took help from my fabulous Administrator, Phillip, to get it from there to here, but here it is. Now I have to go eat my spaghetti.

Still Life

My alarm wakes me up this morning with loud static instead of Morning Edition on NPR. It jolts me out of a dream of my own appalling ineptness as a parent. I go to the grocery store for the usual things: milk, eggs, toilet paper, nail polish. When I get to the grocery checker she says, “ We’re having a special on babies today, two for the price of one.”

I say, “Great, I’ll take two.”

Boys or girls?”

“Can I have one of each?”

“Sure,” she says and reaches for the phone, and I hear over the intercom, “One of each, check stand seven.” A bagger brings two plump, bald babies in disposable diapers, lays them one at a time on newspaper, and wraps them like flowers, heads emerging from the unfolded end, wobbly, like large blooms on slender stems. The two of them fit snugly in one paper grocery bag, and the bagger offers to help me to my car. I decline the help, like I always do, and head to my car, bag of babies grasped to my chest and plastic bag of other stuff hanging from my left arm, keys in that hand. I open the trunk of my car, sling the plastic bag in, and then very carefully set the paper bag of babies next to the tire well, so it won’t fall over. Then I slam the trunk shut just like I always do. When I get home, I unpack the babies and put them on the kitchen floor. Pour milk in one bowl and cat kibble in another, and then I go to work.

I come out of this dream relieved to be awake even with the static. I have a headache and I’m sweating. I’m sluggish and shaky.

I’m the new receptionist at a chic and busy, upscale beauty salon. I’ve been brainless and sullen all day. Slightly paranoid and lazy in a resentful sort of way. I even annoyed myself.

Halfway through my shift at the front desk of the salon today I get nauseated. It’s Friday. The last day of the first week at this new job. Part of my job is to look chic and upscale. Well-coiffed and well-dressed. Another part of my job is to clean up after everyone else, so I sweep hair in my Ellen Tracy silk suit and Donna Karan three inch heels. This is not where I thought I’d be at forty- eight. Living alone in a carriage house with two cats. My God, how pathetic.

Both phones are ringing, and a fiftyish blonde in a taupe silk skirt and T-shirt and lots of tasteful silver jewelry, sits in a chair, scowling at me across a too short distance from my face. Her stylist has kept her waiting for the past half hour. He seems to be having some trouble finishing the perm he started two hours ago. That doesn’t bode well for the tastefully aging blonde or the permee, I think to myself while flashing her a truly sympathetic smile. She makes eye contact and then stares unbelievingly at her watch. She seems to have transferred her annoyance from me to her offending watch.

I can’t get away from the phones long enough to check the supply of clean towels and capes. I notice, as I pass one of the many walls of mirrors, that my lipstick has faded to the bruised blue pink of my lips natural hue, matching in tone the deepening circles under my eyes. I need to make more coffee. I need a cigarette and a nap. The perky blonde shampoo girl is getting surly. She washes coffee cups, aggressively banging them around in the sink, so I’ll notice she’s doing my job. Torpor sets in. Deliveries of hair care products are made, but the manager left and forgot to leave checks. I want to sleep, dreamlessly.

Some pimply, pudgy, sweet faced high school boy comes in and asks for Miss Torkleson’s order. I know nothing about Miss Torkleson’s order. I try to ask the stylists closest to my desk if they know anything about her order, but no one can hear over the noise of hair-dryers and Light Jazz. Eventually I find out no one knows who she is, or what the hell she ordered, or where it might be. It takes me ten full minutes to cover the entire space of the salon looking for clues to the mysterious Miss Torkleson and her missing special order.

When I return to the front desk, the peach fuzzed boy stands to the left of my desk by the ringing phones, shuffling from foot to foot. Two teenage models enter the salon laughing companionable. They smile at me and say “Judith, Hi!” as they pass my desk, not even glancing at the boy turning pink beside me. I sit and look up at him trying to formulate the right question. I ask him if he can give me any more clues about her or what she ordered.

He says, “I think it ends in O and R.”

“What ends in O and R?”

“The name of the stuff she ordered.”

I think to myself, great, that’s a big help, since no product I can think of ends in O and half of them end in R as both phones light up and start bleating. While I’m trying to fit the two women on the phones into the packed schedules of the stylists they want, he stands there, beet red and rocking gently from side to side.

When I get off the phones I say to him, “Are you sure you have the right salon?”

“This is Milano’s isn’t it?”

I ask him if he works for Miss Torkleson, and he says, “No, I’m a student.” As if that isn’t perfectly obvious - - he’s only fifteen or sixteen, at the most.

“Where does Miss Torkleson work? Can you call her?”

“She’s my teacher at Ellsworth High School. Can I borrow a phone book to look up the number?”

My God! Who does this teacher think she is, the Queen of France? He finds the phone number, dials it, and asks for Miss Torkleson. They put him on hold. The color in his face deepens by the second as he stands there, phone clamped to his ear, knuckles whitening around the receiver. After three or four minutes he hangs up and looks up the phone number again.

I look at him and ask, “What happened?”

“They hung up on me.” He dials again. He seems to be trying to hide his irritation and discomfort, but his eyes roll up in an involuntary and universal expression of disgust. He’s starting to sweat. I smile. I hope I appear sympathetic.

I haven’t said aloud any of the nasty things I’m thinking about his teacher, but I grow increasingly pissed off that some prissy bitch high school teacher would abuse her power and authority — would be such a perfect jerk as to send this poor, blushing, pimply, pubescent boy to Boy Hell to pick up some unknown beauty potion for her highness’s hair in the middle of a school day. What gall! I hope her damned hair falls out strand by stringy strand. My every gesture tortures him. Poor little shit — the whites of his eyes are beginning to show above his lower lids alarmingly. I write a brief note to his teacher suggesting that she call and tell us exactly what her order is, and when she’s coming in to pick it up. I give her the phone number and ask her to feel free to call. He leaves shaking his head in disbelief.

I stop at the Smith’s near the salon on my way home to pick-up cat food and coffee and a gallon of milk. It’s 2:15 when I leave the store. I’m trying to get my cats to give up baby-food lamb. Since we moved, traumatically, cross-country, a little over a month ago, I improved the quality of their diets to help them cope with the stress. Now I can’t get them to give up the Gerber’s Pureed Lamb. Fanny sniffs her bowl of cat food and slowly walks away. Phoebe stands there for a while shifting her dirty looks from her bowl to me before she covers the bowl with the dish towel I keep under their bowls, as if hers contains a stinking turd.

I’m puzzled when I unlock my door and Handsome greets me. He’s a large cream-colored tom with orange tipped ears, and blue eyes that cross when he gets close to Phoebe. He has orange freckles across the top of his cream colored, pink tipped nose. He spends a lot of time stalking Phoebe so he can jump on her back and bite her. If he can slip past me, he swaggers into the house like he owns the place. I kicked him out when I left for work. My two stayed in. At least that’s what I thought. Now Handsome is in, and the girls are out. What the hell! Is Handsome more talented than I thought?

Once he dashes out, I notice my backgammon set is open and the pieces strewn across the floor. And I think to myself, how the hell did that cat get the case open— it latches like an old Samsonite train case. My eyes drift up to the window above the kitchen sink, and I notice two small colored glass bottles lying on their sides at odd angles on the sill. A third and larger bottle is gone, presumably in the sink. The grey stone pestle hangs on the edge of the sill and looks like a wilting erection. I guess Handsome tried to get out the window. Poor guy. Trapped in the house.

And then the hair rises on my arms, and muscles tighten along the back of my neck. Something isn’t right here.

I find myself standing there, just inside the threshold of my house, tote and plastic grocery bag slung over my shoulder, keys in my hand, and my heart is pounding wildly. Nothing moves but my eyes. They drift from the windowsill to the antique hutch against the west wall of the kitchen. Two doors on the upper left side, above the flour bin, hang by one hinge each. The flour bin is all the way open. Wow, Handsome. You must have been really upset, I tell myself. It doesn’t work. I can’t quite buy it. I look back to the window, expecting to see the screen missing, but it’s not. Then I see the poker jar. The Ball jar I keep my poker change in is sitting in the center of the pie shelf. Last time I played poker, which was three weeks ago, I put it on the top shelf above the flour bin and closed the door, which at the time had two hinges. It’s not possible for a cat to get a quart jar off a shelf and move it to another shelf. He might have been able to push the doors off their hinges. He might have been able to push the jar and then have it fall to the floor, or into the open flour bin, but he couldn’t have set it on another shelf. I want to cut and run.

I force myself to turn my head toward the bed, which is partially screened from the rest of the living space by an old mammoth armoire. All the photographs and paintings are still on the wall behind my bed. The closet doors are open. And then in a panic my focus pulls back to the typing table, and I’m momentarily confused to see my computer still sitting there where it was this morning. Maybe it was just the cat.

I breathe and take a couple of steps into the room. Then I see the underwear. It’s all over the floor around the bed. Not the socks, they’re still in the bottom drawer of the little three-drawer chest beside the armoire. That drawer is pulled out about an inch and a half. The next drawer up contains cotton bikinis and tank tops. It’s halfway out and nothing seems to be wrong there. It’s just a tangle of faded cotton panties and T-shirts like always, but the top drawer is all the way open and empty, and all my silk bras, thongs, panties, tap-pants, teddies, slips and strapless bustiers are on the floor and spread all over. A small black velvet coin purse with a silver clasp is open and in the middle of the bed surrounded by my set of round Tarot cards, which were in a round basket with a lid at the back of my closet
The two drawers at the bottom of the armoire are open. They contain the prints from my photography classes. Almost exclusively figure study. Black-and-white nudes. All female.

One framed photo has been removed from the west wall above the window beside my bed and left in the deep sill of the window. It’s a female torso reclining on her side with her back to the camera. The knee of the top leg is bent and rolled forward in a stretch, which exposes the interior upper thigh of the other leg. It’s a high contrast print, very starkly black and white. Strong light from a window falls precisely on a barely visible tuft of pubic hair. My mother thinks this photograph is obscene.

I notice something else on the bed. The long flat pouch Charlie insisted I carry my passport and large bills in when we went to Costa Rica. I grab it and feel the passport without having to look inside. I clutch it to my stomach as I head for the phone. That’s when I dial 911.

The woman on the line says it might be quite a wait, since my situation isn’t life threatening, and the intruder is gone. She tells me not to clean up the mess until after the police look at it.

Fanny and Phoebe show up while I’m waiting for the police to arrive. They enter cautiously. They roam the house sniffing everything as if nothing were familiar. Eventually Fanny heads for the daybed and Phoebe perches on the bedroom windowsill. I pace for a while noticing more disturbance. My typing chair has been moved and there are huge shoe prints on it. Everything on top of the Armoire has been opened and dumped. I move from there to the solarium, take the two steps down and stand there in the warmth of late afternoon sun. The mattress on the daybed is slightly askew, but Fanny doesn’t seem to mind. She is snuggled into the pillows at the shady end by the west wall, which is redwood. I turn left into the bathroom and see that all the drawers have been opened and the boxes and cosmetics bags have been opened and emptied. Jewelry lies scattered on the top bookcase shelf between the toilet and the sink cabinet. There are two rings and an earring on the floor. I kneel down and start searching the floor. There is nothing else but hair, the odd bit of cat litter, and dust bunnies. I head for the closet to check for my camera.

It’s not where I left it, but it’s there, out of the case, lenses scattered on a bureau top. Film cans opened, but all the film seems to be there. I examine the camera carefully. I have a roll loaded with six shots left, so I start roaming around the house taking pictures. Load another roll of Kodak 35 millimeter, 24 exposures, 400 ASA, and start really looking at things one small frame at a time. There is dust on every surface. In the sink, along with a broken bottle, there are food scraps. Some toast crumbs and four sections of orange rind.

When Officer Crowley arrives the cats split, fast. One of the first things he does is tell me how traumatic a break-in is. He talks to me about the burglary being like rape, a violation. There will be emotional repercussions. Officer Crowley says to me, “Don’t let the man who broke into your house,”-- (and went through my underwear drawer, scattering flowered silk bras and panties like petals across the floor at the foot of my bed)---“make you change the way you live your life.”

We know it was a man because of the size of his footprints on that typing chair. He left handprints here and there on dusty surfaces. I wonder what Officer Crowley thinks of my housekeeping. Dusting is obviously not a high priority for me.

He asks me if I’ve only noticed what isn’t missing, and I’m so grateful for the fact that the burglar didn’t smash and destroy everything, didn’t shit in the middle of my bed, didn’t leave a threatening note, I can’t focus on what might be gone. He didn’t take my computer or TV, VCR, or camera. They seem obvious targets for theft. He even left credit cards. I keep telling myself how lucky I am. I keep trying to focus on the positive. I keep wanting this to be a victimless crime.

Officer Crowley is gentle and patient. He seems a very sensitive man. Not at all my stereotype of a cop. He has a round head with short blond hair, and a round gut. The rest of him is blunt and muscled--short, stocky, solid looking legs. But his voice is soft as if it rises from the great bulk of that belly. I like Officer Crowley. I don’t want him to leave.

He stays for about forty-five minutes. Says it looked to be a random break-in--someone looking for cash or drugs. He says I’ll probably never get robbed again. He says it convincingly, as though we all have our allotted burglaries assigned at birth, and now I’ve finally had mine. Whew! Then he tells me I should get a new door with better security locks and a dog wouldn’t be a bad idea either. He suggests bars for the windows. As he’s leaving, he says a photographer will be by later to take pictures of the gouge marks in the door where the burglar forced the deadbolt. I’m sorry to see him go.

Officer Crowley told me the cats might be traumatized and need tranquilizers. Hah! It’s getting dark now and my youngest cat, Phoebe, has brought into the house, proudly dangling from her jaws, a live moth the size of a healthy sparrow. She drops the stunned creature by my chair and smiles up at me. She’s carried it like a prize bird dog would — undamaged. It sits poised on the carpet, and then Phoebe reaches out one paw, claws retracted, and gives it a little tap. The moth rises and heads for the green gloaming of the solarium. Phoebe sits, still smiling, and watches its flight. It flies low like an overloaded B-52, clears the four-foot height of my yucca tree and crashes into the glass wall. I see a smudge of dust from where it hit the glass. Phoebe looks back at me and then trots off to the solarium to investigate. I know what her plan is. She’s slowly going to torment the moth, making it last as long as possible. When it seems finely lifeless she’ll walk away, disgusted and bored.

Fanny sleeps like a cat in a coma, curled into the pillows on the day bed. She doesn’t even look the second time Phoebe falls from the ceiling of the solarium. The first time she fell we both investigated, now we try to ignore her. Fanny naps and I pace. Phoebe climbs the redwood beams supporting the big glass panels of the solarium’s walls and ceiling. As she gets near the top of the beam she tries to reach the frantic moth with one extended paw, claws outstretched, taking swipes at it, as it hovers against the glass sky. Its wings beat fast; my heart seems to beat to the same frantic rhythm.

There’s nowhere to go but down. The racket Phoebe makes when she lands on the tile floor amongst the dust pan, the half empty bag of kitty litter and the broom is alarming. There’s a momentary silence and then the broom falls over punctuating the quiet with a sound like a hard slap as the wooden handle hits the tile. Phoebe leaps straight up three feet. Then walks sedately on tippy-toes to the toilet for a drink.

When she begins her next assault I decide to intercede on the moth’s behalf. I stand on the daybed and try to capture it in my cupped hands, but I swear I hear a sound that could only be a moth screaming, and it dives for the glass wall that faces the garden and the fence along the alley.

I can still hear the moth bashing its wings against something hard. I can feel the tattering of wings, smell the dust. It lies still for a moment. The moon shines through the glass roof of the solarium creating pools of cold light. I think about light and the moth, the smudged window, the disheveled day-bed, Fanny is a pool of black in the corner, the apple tree a pale ghost in the moonlight through the glass. I look through the lens.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Just a Thought

Writing fiction always gets me to thinking about stuff. I’m listening to the news. I watched the hearings today, saw that spit flinging Chris and his Hardball. He wasn’t so bad today, mostly footage of the hearings because they really do speak for themselves. I would be an Olbermann stalker, but I’m phobic about flying. So, ya, I watched you Keith.

But, I wonder about how so little, really, seems to have changed for women. They might have even gotten worse. We seemed to be journeying toward some sort of shared……. No, never really shard, more fought for and earned equality. the ERA passed House and Senate, then went the round of the States for ratification. And damn if we didn’t get fucked out of that. Not only that, we started allowing the new rules of the Beauty Quotient to stand, unchallenged as a reason to promote women. So off we go to the plastic surgeon. Suck out that fat, give me the perfect chin, nose, eyes. Botox so no one can tell what the hell I’m thinking since no expression crosses my line-less face, otherwise my ass would get terminated. Just a thought.

Too Damn Big

Judith Blue stands out in the parking lot and watches as two women scream at each other out their car windows. “Jesus! Will you learn to drive that thang!”
“I was here first.”
“So the fuck what! You can’t drive worth shit!”

She turns and looks at the line of women that snakes out the door and down the sidewalk in front of the small specialty stores that share this rather large strip mall with The Beefeater, the restaurant, bar, and disco she manages for Chuck. Women are beginning to push each other in front of Yin Lee’s.

“Oh god, what am I going to do now?” She thinks this aloud and the sound of her own voice startles her. A very pregnant woman gives a mighty shove at the woman in front of her, who goes down, hits the pavement on her knees, and as her hands come down on the concrete she screams, “What the…….” Judith turns toward the restaurant and starts moving as fast as she can, considering her high heels and the slope of the parking lot. She keeps thinking, ‘I didn’t know this many women lived in Springfield. Oh god, what am I going to do?’ When she gets to the doors she slips past a trio of women waiting to get past the two men stationed at the door. One of the guys guarding the door whispers in her ear as she squeezes through, “We need more wait staff.” It’s 5PM of a Tuesday night. The show doesn’t start for two hours and the place is packed already and the only men inside the place work there. Them and the cops guarding the stage in the disco.

A month ago she took this job as a lark. She needed a distraction from the faculty wives parties. When they first arrived she’d amiably gone along with the suggestions that she “participate.” The first abomination was a tea for faculty wives. Full dress regalia, it looked for all the world like the Junior League and the DAR all wrapped into one. Then there was the Gourmet Club. What a fucking joke that was. Someone actually brought a green bean casserole, with canned green beans and Campbell’s mushroom condensed soup. Gawd, it was so funny and so sad all at the same time. After that she knew she had to get a job.

During her interview with Chuck she asked all the questions while Chuck’s girlfriend/accountant gave her the skunk-eye. Both Chuck and his girlfriend came from Paducha where Chuck’s daddy owns the Caddy dealership. Must be a lot of pimps in Paducha. Chuck and his accountant are in their late twenties and have no idea what they hell they’re doing. She must be his first interview. When she’s through asking him questions, she asks one more. “Do you want to ask me any questions?” He stands up and giving her his most charming look, which is an Elvis lip curl, sticks out his hand and says, “Welcome aboard.” She shakes his hand and asks one last question. “What do you plan to pay me to make this into a profitable venture?” His left eyelid flutters a little and he says, “$800. 00 a month” and beams. She says without batting an eye, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and turns toward the door. He says, “Whoa, not so fast, that’s just base salary. If you can turn a profit, I’ll give you 2% and of course, you eat and drink for free.” She pauses for a couple of seconds and says, “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”


“Make it 5%, and and don’t hassle me about the changes I want to make. By the way, what’s your advertising budget?” She looks at the accountant who looks at Chuck who says, “Let me know what you need to spend, and we’ll pay the bills.”

“On time?”

He looks at her sideways and says, “Sure. Is that it?”

“No, I need to spend a week or so assessing staffing. Supplies, talent. Any changes I want to make, You’ll OK?”

“You’re the boss.”

“If I find that you have not paid staff, or vendors, or advertisers on time and in full, I’ll quit. Are we clear on all of that?”

“Yes mam.”

Walking to her car she knew she had just made a huge mistake, not asked for enough, got nothing in writing, but what the hell, she could always quit.

When she got home Henry was there, smoking, drinking straight lukewarm vodka in a half full ice tea glass, reading student papers. If you were a lucky student, he got to your paper just before that ice tea glass was empty. By then he didn’t even bother to read them. He just gave these last four or five A’s and left it at that.

“I got a job.”


“Have you eaten?”

“NO.” He says this rather too loud for her taste, and she wants to say, “Henry, go fuck yourself,” but refrains for once because she really doesn’t give a shit if Henry’s eaten or not, she’s not cooking for him, so, why engage?

She heads for the shower. An hour later, after the shower, drying her hair, and getting dolled up a little, she grabs her handbag and starts toward the living room. Henry says in his whiniest voice, “Aren’t you going to fix dinner?”

“How astute, Henry. Was it the click click of my high heels?”


“Want to have a conversation, Henry?”

“NO. Are you going out?”



“I got a job, Henry. I told you, but it didn’t seem to register. I thought maybe you’d nodded off. I’d take you to dinner, but I doubt you could walk, and really, I want to see what the dining experience is like for a woman alone.”


“Henry? Are you in there? Why, to what? Are you so obtuse in class?

“A restaurant? Really? Will you bring me something back?”

“Probably no, since you’ll be asleep before I get back. Stay sober and I’ll buy you dinner tomorrow night. Good night Henry.”

As she drove to Beefeaters, Judith thought about the possibilities. The place was huge. Restaurant seated two hundred. The bar was another hundred and fifty. Fire code said the disco could hold a maximum of five hundred. She did not know the population of Springfield, but thought keeping this place busy was really going to be a challenge. It was Thursday evening, just past 6 Pm when she pulled into the parking lot. Stores were still open, but even so, the lot was almost empty. Oh God,

That first week she felt she had located all the major staffing changes she would need to make. She spent most early afternoons meeting with the back of the house— mostly the three cooks, one of whom had Culinary Institute training. They revamped the menu with specials that would not necessitate reprinting menus. Added dessert specials, everything was made in- house, bread, desserts. They worked on a new wine list. Not necessarily more expensive, but better. Printing costs would be small. She got rid of the English serving girl dresses with all the cleavage exposed, and the long skirts that were a tripping hazard, and put everybody in black pants and white shirts.

She spent her evenings in the bar. They had a cowboy quartet that started playing at six. She gave them two weeks notice and put up posters at the University’s music department and an ad in the classifieds of the News-Leader asking for jazz musicians. On a Wednesday afternoon she auditioned three groups. Hired a band called Entropy. Judith thought the bands name was pretentious and not apt, since they played quite swinging or soulful Jazz standards but decided it wasn’t worth arguing about, since very few bar patrons would have the slightest idea what the fuck it meant. She hired a great looking female bartender and kept the one male bartender who didn’t hit on her right off. She asked everyone to put out the word that she’d be looking for another bartender. She had three cocktail waitresses to start with. She’d add them as she needed.

Judith Blue was now on mission to poach talent from restaurants and bars in the surrounding counties, since she’d stolen all the good ones in Springfield. She’d left Horton’s alone because it was her only refuge from the Beefeater, so Larry and his staff were safe for now. Henry was too deep in his cups to really notice her absence.

Now she was concentrating on the disco. It’s days as a disco were numbered. Donna Summers was sort of old hat now, and it was time to transition to another incarnation. And what the fuck would that be? The place had a stage and dance floor and was too big by half. One morning in Fayetteville she stopped for breakfast at a coffee shop near the the UAF campus, and while reading the paper, noticed a small piece on page four about a club in Kansas City that sparked her interest. This little club, the Plug Nickel, had made news by offering the ladies a male strip show. The reason it made any news at all was the huge crowd it drew—all women. Fancy that. She finished her coffee, put out her smoke, and tucked the paper under her arm and headed for the parking lot. She climbed into her Grand Torino and lit another cigarette before she turned toward Springfield. It’s a beautiful drive once you get past the strip malls that blight the landscape around Fayetteville, Benton, Rodgers, then she’s off the beaten track and on to Cassville, then Monett. Gorgeous farmland, no strip malls here. And she’s thinking all the way home.

She spreads the word among her staff of mostly S.M.S.U. students, that she’s looking for male dancers, real dancers, for an all female audience. Within a week she has fifty eight names on an audition list. And Beefeaters is buzzing. Business is picking up at a steady rate. Sometimes on Friday and Saturday nights there is a waiting list for dinner and the overflow is enjoying the jazz in the bar. Everybody’s making money and bickering and backstabbing is at a minimum. Even Chuck and the accountant are pleased.

So far the disco is a cavern still mostly empty, despite the sound of Donna Summer, Grace Jones, Gloria Gaynor, and Chic blaring from the huge speakers, and the glittery disco ball still twirling in the darkly lit space. She has banned the Bee Gees from the playlist, but there is always a small crowd late at night around the long bar, and a few diehard dancers still making the most of the big dance floor. But the times, they are about to be changing.

For three mornings she held auditions in the empty disco. There were the dancers, the cocktail waiters, and the female DJ’s all in separate lines. Judith stood on the bar platform and told them her plan. DJ’s had always been guys, but that was going to change on Tuesday nights. The women auditioning for DJ headed to the booth. Dancers were limbering up down by the stage. And the first players in this performance were the cocktail waiters. Sixteen guys begging for ten spots. Mostly college athletes and frat boys, thinking this was going to be easy. They had to audition just like the dancers. She was going to turn the night-life gender roles upside down and see what fell out just one night a week for a month. She told everyone exactly what her intentions were and what she expected of them. She would be the choreographer, and majordoma of this whole shebang. An experienced cocktail waitress from the bar gave lessons to the waiters auditioning. They had to be able to carry a heavily loaded tray high above their heads, arm fully extended, weaving their way through closely placed tables, with a certain grace and agility without spilling a drop. Almost every guy failed his first try. Our regular DJ was demonstrating in a showoffy way the inner workings of the booth. Music would get going and then stop abruptly. She left the bar tournament to the cocktail waitress and female bartender who would now make Tuesday night a regular part of her schedule. She was filling fake orders and loading those trays for those desperate waiter wannabes. Judith headed for the dancers.

This was going to be the tricky part of the whole deal. So they need to have a little sit down. “Hi, I’m Judith Blue." She notices a couple of guys give knowing looks at one another. "Nice of you boys to show up, but this might not be exactly what you understood from the ad and posters. We are going to put on two shows a night one night a week for an all female audience. Women only. And you guys will be the entertainment.” There is a slight rise in the energy level of this group of attentive young men. They look at one another and smile. “I want to incorporate several elements to this performance, but I know this is a highly religious community, so to be fair to all of you, I must tell you first off, that there will be a little stripping involved. Anybody object to taking off you clothes while dancing and ending up nearly naked ought to leave now. We’re not doing anything illegal, but…” She shrugs, and sits at a table looking at the handsome, eager faces arrayed before her, spread out in repose on the dance floor, languid and muscled young men. Not a sound. No one moves to leave or even shifts his weight. “Is there a choreographer among you?” Three hands shoot up. She motions them over. They take chairs flanking her. “Will the remaining fifty or so of you break into groups of ten or eleven”? She waves her arm in the direction of the DJ booth. “Keep the volume low for awhile. We need to be able to talk in a normal tone, OK?”

There is a low murmur taking place in every part of the room now, then a large crash as one of the loaded trays hits the concrete floor. Dead silence for just a long moment, then the murmur starts again.

She has a powwow with her three choreographers and sketches out what she wants to see tomorrow, same time same place with some rough costuming. Is this possible? Yes, it turns out, it is.

Everywhere she goes she tells the women, in hushed and whispered tones that they might want to come for a special night just for women at the disco. At the bank, the grocery store, the doctors office, and throughout her strolls through the halls of academe.

By the following Monday morning they are ready for a dress rehearsal. She has ten well-trained waiters in short, tight, black shorts and white wife-beater t-shirts., that are wearing white tennis shoes on their feet. She was tempted to make them wear high heels, just for the object lesson, but decided against it in the end. Her DJ is not only a hot babe, she has great taste and timing. Judith’s strippers are dressed up and ready to go. The only thing missing is the audience, but it all works flawlessly in practice.

By six, the restaurant is full and the bar is overflowing. Women all over the place, and the excitement of anticipation is palpable. Conversation is decidedly more animated this evening. Judith surmises that without the sobering influence of the menfolk, the women are a little more uninhibited. She opens the disco doors and there is a near stampede from the bar. Women are running for the tables up front. Oh my god. Judith has the first of what will be many moments of dismay this evening. She stands inside the huge room and watches it fill in minutes. Her waiters are in full swing fast. She slips into the stock room behind the disco bar and uses the wall-phone to tell the boys bar-tending in the bar to come into the disco and assist the waiters at either end of the bar. This frees the two women bar-tending to mix drinks for the female customers three deep the length of the disco bar. Oh shit, this is not going to work as planned, there are just too many of them. Not one single ad and this is what has happened? There is a half hour to go and she already senses the chaos that might ensue if the bar fills with men waiting for the end of the shows and the emerging women. She checks with the wait staff in the restaurant. All the waiters agree that they will help out in the bar or disco when their tables empty. The waitresses express their displeasure at being left-out. Judith says, “Check your pockets at the end of the night and then tell me how left-out you feel.”

The show is perfection. But it is not the show that concerns Judith, it is the audience. This is like a fucking rock concert. Women are screaming and jumping up and down, throwing their panties. Waiters have come to her saying women are pulling their shorts down when they bend to take an order. These guy are getting groped. What the hell’s going on here? She gets goose bumps on the back of her neck. But gives a quick demonstration on how to squat at a table to take an order so as not to get ones shorts pulled down. This does not however solve the groping behavior. These guy are going to get groped. Nothing she can do about it now.

There are obviously kinks to be worked out, but there is no denying Judith is on to something here. Just what, she is not sure. She decides right then and there to do a fashion show on Wednesday night. She wanders into the bar and sees a milling mob of men. They are waiting almost patiently.

After a month of strip shows with an ever growing mob of women and the men who follow them, she has received television news coverage as far away as Kansas City. Now she gets a visit every Tuesday evening from the fire marshal to make sure they do not exceed capacity. Two burly cops flank the stage. Boys are coming out of the woodwork begging to cocktail for free, claiming all kinds of experience. But the crowd of screaming women of all ages and in all kinds of conditions, like hugely pregnant, or swooning and falling from the arms of their chairs where they stand to get a better view? This she cannot deal with. So, once the first show starts, she heads for Horton’s for a drink and a quiet dinner.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Strange Woman

"I was born with a flair for the dramatic but it was ridiculed out of me young. Not eradicated entirely, just driven under the bone, deep into the heart and spleen.” She pauses as if that’s all there is, finishes her Old Fashioned, plucks the cherry out with two long, slender, well- manicured fingers, tilts her elegant head back exposing a long supple neck and plops the glistening cherry in her open mouth. After she chews her cherry she continues, staring into her empty highball glass. “As I grew teeth, I ground them into cracked and splintered nubs. I eventually made tourniquets of the muscles surrounding my head, which I’m sure must feel like the binding of Chinese women’s feet in the old days. I only got to perform when I was assured of privacy. And there was precious little of that. Not that we were a big family. No, there were only the three of us. But there was only room for one performer in that small audience.”

She says this with a straight face and in a fairly convincing southern accent. Her voice is husky and deep, a whisky voice with that rough edge of a smoker. The whole thing sounds like something from a play. She’s addressing this load of crap to some big old John Wayne clone who’s muscled himself into the narrow space next to her at the bar. She’s responding to something he whispered into her right ear. He looks frankly bewildered, furtively glancing around for less complicated prey.

You can tell by the way she looks that what she says just might be true, but she tells it like a bald-faced lie. She’s a head-turner. Not flashy-dramatic, but eye-catching. Classy, chiseled face. Even if she isn’t terribly thin or young, she’s got great bones. Her clothes are expensive—quality, well-tailored, good fabrics. Her dark brown hair is cut about shoulder length and it gleams. It sways when she turns her head. Everything about her is striking, but quietly so. She’s the sort of woman everyone will turn to look at, but won’t approach. She looks self-contained and needing no one. Part of it’s her age. She’s not young enough to hustle. Not old enough to con. And despite that line of bullshit, and her age, she’s sexy.

The man who sits next to her at the bar wears a huge silver and turquoise watch and matching belt buckle. He’s tall, balding, and beer-bellied. She isn’t wearing any jewelry, no ear rings, no wedding band, no watch. They don’t even come from the same planet.

A tall, slender man in his thirties sits at the far end of the bar where it curves around and ends in the wall--something to lean on if need be. It’s the opposite end from where the bartender takes orders from the cocktail waitresses. It’s a good place to watch the waitresses and the rest of the bar clientele. He watches one of the cocktail waitresses for a few minutes. She smiles at the bartender as she rattles off the list of drinks she needs, and the second he turns away and starts working on her order, her face is a total blank, completely losing it’s warmth, as if a light went off. And just then she catches the slender man watching her. Her eyes lock on his, and he finds it impossible to look away from that completely expressionless stare, as if it were a dare. When she finally turns away from the bar with her two vodka tonics and three 7&7s loaded on that tiny tray, he looks down the bar at the dark-haired, older woman who is watching him with a bemused expression on her very interesting face.

She raises one eyebrow and lifts her highball glass in a salute. He lifts his drink to salute her back and feels his face flush. He signals the bartender, and when he looks back up at her, she’s looking in the mirror behind the bar bottles. At first he thinks she’s looking at herself, but her face is completely unstudied, and it occurs to him she’s watching the table behind her. She has the rapt expression of a voyeur. When the bartender takes his order, the slender man also order’s one for “the great broad drinking the Old Fashioned,” he nods in her direction.

A small, aged, black man at the piano finishes “‘Round Midnight.” The slender man at the bar pays for both drinks as the bartender sets his in front of him, and leaves his stool to walk over and put a dollar in the pianists tip jar.

When he passes the back of the aging beauty’s barstool, she’s still watching the table behind her in the mirror. She sees him pass in front of them. When he walks back, after delivering his compliments to the pianist whose name turns out to be Bill Bailey, she turns her head and flashes him a high voltage smile. He smiles back. She says, “Hard to beat ‘Round Midnight' isn’t it?”

“It’s one of my favorites.”

“Thanks for the drink. Care to join me?”

“Sure, for a minute.”

Still smiling she says “My name’s Judith,” and extends her hand. She has long slender fingers. Her hand is soft but looks like it’s done some work in it’s day. There’s a small round scar just above her little finger. She has what’s called a French manicure.

He turns to her and says, “Would you like to share an order of escargot?”

“I’d love to.” Her lips are red and shiny. Her teeth are white and even. He asks her if she minds if he smokes.

“No, not at all, I used to smoke and I’ll enjoy yours vicariously. It’s one of the reasons I still come here. Most places are so sanitized these days. Lord I love Larry Horton for keeping his bar properly smoke-filled.” Again the almost southern accent.

“You know the owner?”

“It’s a small town. Everybody knows everybody else and their business. So, since I don’t recognize you, you must be new in town or passing through. There are few strangers at this restaurant, since it’s small and far off the interstate. How did you find our little treasure?”

“I spent the day at Dillard’s today and asked the manager where to eat. She recommended Horton’s, so here I am. Sorry I’m so rude. My name is Martin. Martin Laterite”

“How very French.”

“The name, yes. I’m named after a great-grandfather.” He waves the bartender back and ask for the escargot. He says it will take about fifteen or twenty minutes.

“I noticed that you’re wearing a wedding ring. I find that so touchingly sweet in a man. Were you shopping for your wife?”

“No, I was selling. It’s what I do for a living. I sell women’s designer sportswear.”

“God! What a hellish job for a man.”

“Most women think it would be a great job.”

“Well, unlike most women, I hate stores and shopping. Did you like Lilly?”

“Lilith Jacobson? The store manager?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Yeah, I do. She’s a strait shooter. I like her directness. And I’m grateful to her that I’m not eating at Howard Johnson’s or the golden arches.”

“I play bridge with her once a month. And she does my shopping. God bless her for that. She’s a terrific friend.”

“And a wonderful job she does if the outfit your wearing is her handiwork. It’s Ann Klein Couture and they don’t carry the couture line in-store. So you must be a very special customer.”

“Just a picky friend. Besides, I only buy a few pieces each year. It’s not that much more work to buy special things for me. She knows my wardrobe and only adds what’s missing. I’ll bet she’d be here with you if it weren’t for her husbands business party.”

“Why aren’t you at her party?”

“Because I’m here having a drink with you Martin.” she raises her glass and sips her drink.
Bill Bailey starts “Straight No Chaser”, and the bartender heads toward them with a plate of escargot. When they’re finished with their appetizer, the hostess comes over and tells him his table is ready whenever he is. He asks Judith to join him for dinner and to his surprise, she accepts. This scares him a little.

They are escorted by the hostess in her long black dress to a table by the only bank of windows in the crowded room. As the two women lead the way he watches them whispering to each other. They bump hips and he notices Judith’s ass. The bias cut of her silk-jersey skirt pulls slightly as she moves from foot to foot and her hips rock from side to side. Martin balls his dangling hand into a soft fist.

They don’t talk much during dinner, but he does find out that she’s married to a college professor at Southwest Missouri State who doesn’t have time to go out, so she goes out by herself. He notices she doesn’t wear a wedding ring and says, “Women who don’t wear wedding rings scare me.”

“They ought to scare you. You are married to a woman I presume. What’s she doing while you’re on the road?”

“Staying home with the kids, I hope.” When she laughs he notices her neck is long and white. She eats with relish and makes slightly sexual noises with her first few spoons full of lobster bisque. It is a soft moaning noise deep in her throat. He wonder’s why she and her husband aren’t at Lilly’s party. “Do You work?”

“You mean, do I work outside the home, honey? Yes I do. I’m the wife of a poor college professor, remember? I have to work so I can buy my Ann Klein Couture.” She throws back her head and laughs. Martin thinks about his penis.

After dinner he asks for the check and the waiter says the check has been taken care of. He says, “No, I’ll get the check! Judith, I travel on an expense account. Please let me get the check.”

She says, “I have nothing to do with this. It’s probably Larry or the guys in the kitchen.”

“Who was it? I’d like to thank him if it was the owner. And I’d want to thank the kitchen anyway for a great meal.”

The waiter says. “I’ve been asked not to say. I’m sorry.”

Martin pulls a twenty out of his wallet and leaves it on the table. He says, “Judith, would you like to have a cognac in the bar and maybe some dessert?”

“Yes, thank you. I will join you for an after dinner drink.”

The waiter, still hovering, pulls her chair out just as Martin reaches for it.

When they head back into the bar, the pianist is playing “For All We Know.”

They order cognac and sip it warmed. The crowd in the bar is thinning. Soon the kitchen crew starts coming in through the restaurant. It’s almost eleven. Before he gets a chance to invite her to his room, Judith stands up, nods to the two tall very-young men from the kitchen, and says to Martin, “My dates for the rest of the evening are off-duty and ready to escort me to my job.”
One of the two young men looks like Mick Jagger when he was twenty-something. The other looks like Jim Morrison alive. They hover a discreet distance from the drinking couple.

Judith leans over and whispers in Martin’s ear, “Our meal was comped by one of those two characters. They’re the chefs, and we’re going to the club I run for this rich boy who lives in Paducah. These guys want to go for the last strip show of the evening. They’d be very cross if I invited you. But I had a lovely evening with you Martin. Maybe next time you’re in town we can do it again.”


Some of you might think I've lost my marbles, but you would be wrong. I have them in a bowl on the kitchen windowsill. I am just too tired of the crap that's coming out of the Clinton campaign to even comment. A toast to judgement anyone? So I have taken to entertaining myself, and in the process, perhaps a few of you. Before I became a blogger who stuck to politics and almost never swore on line, thanks to my administrator Phillip, I was a fiction writer, amassing thousands of pages of unpublished poetry, short stories and a big fat autobiographical novel. So I just might dip into the golden oldies of my prior incarnation. For those of you political purists, sorry. When Pennsylvania is over, I'll probably start writing about politics again. Or until Hillary does something I just can't take without a comment.

Love Comes Late To Some

Oh my god, I’ve fallen in love with a female blogger. I’m going to offer to sell my house and take her and her two Jedi to Mexico. She yearns for a warmer climate. Me, I’d rather go to Canada, because I heard they give health care to anybody who needs It, and god knows I need it. But if it’s a warm climate she wants, OK.

I kind of think that between Scarlet and me, we could probably even squeeze out a living writing snarky shit for fun. She has two Masters Degrees. I’m so dumb I’m not sure whether you have to capitalize Master’s Degrees or not, but I’m so impressed. One question, Scarlet. Why not just one Master’s Degree and then get a PhD. ? It’s like, every time I hear a perfectly smart woman say she’s going to get a Nursing Degree I want to ask, “Why not the MD?” Oh, who cares. Scarlet, start packing.

Dcup, darlin’ want to come?

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Pligs are in the news again! “Pligs” is kind of like the word “blog.” It’s Utah slang, and is short for polygamists. We practice Big Love in Utah. And the Plig Prophet, Warren Jepps running from the FBI took a band of Pligs to Texas where odd ball religious practices and patriarchy find rich and welcome soil. That’s where the news was yesterday and today. Little Plig girls were rescued and placed in protective custody and the rat bastard daddy/husband/brother/grandfather patriarch of this little band of fertile girls was arrested for having sexual relations with kids—who knows, maybe his own. It’s such a common story here that it surprises me it’s received front page coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune for two days. Top of the fold!

I grew up an outsider in Utah, and so will always have the outsiders curiosity and morbid fascination of the things I shouldn’t know about the strange practices of Mormons and religious wierdos of every stripe.

One of my friends when I came back to Salt Lake after my first foray abroad at the ripe old age of twenty one, told me about the young woman who married the worst schmuck from my high school. He was the son of a high-up, muckety-muck Mormon historian and professor at the University of Utah. And this insufferable dick’s mother was some paragon of Mormon womanhood with a title like Relief Society President, but really President in this context means Princess. The son of these two elevated and cultured Mo’s, as we called them (that we would be me and my atheist parents), was a truly creepy pedant, Philosopher king in his own mind, and nasty teasing prick. Because I was a loner, and pretty, in an odd sort of way, and because I smoked and hung out with his best friend, Lyndon (who was a great guy, artistic and mechanical, who taught me to drive his Austin Healey Sprite the right way, accelerating into and drifting corners on the narrow, steep winding roads of the many canyons on the outskirts of downtown Salt Lake) I ended up having to suffer the company of Lyndon’s friend, that rat bastard Bob.

So I come back from Italy to find that Bob has taken a wife. Not just any wife, but a sweet young thing, April, barely of age, youngest child of a Plig family. Lyndon and I had started hanging out again. This most likely is where I got the low-down on Bob’s young wife. Philosopher Kings do not do well with equals, they need student’s who worship them. A Philosopher King will never marry an equal, he also needs a servant. And isn’t this the very definition of a wife?

So, the story goes in April’s family, that the first time we met, I just showed up and knocked on their door. She answered, of course, (Philosopher Kings do not answer doors— that’s what servants do) and the first thing out of my mouth was, “I just wanted to meet the woman who was stupid enough to marry Bob Jacobson.”

I have no recollection of this supposed first meeting. It may not have happened at all, but the story has gone round so many times in exactly the same way for forty two years it has come to stand for fact. Sounds implausible to me for so many reasons, not least among them, the fact that I would not have wanted to risk having to spend even a second in that prick Bob’s presence, so unless I was positive he wasn’t there, it’s unlikely I’d just drop by. And that I could say such a nasty thing to a sweet young woman I’d never met before, is too horrible to contemplate. But it has come to stand for the kind of take-no-prisoners bitch I am, or was, or might have been, and when you’ve got a bad reputation, if you just can’t shake it, I say, run with it. In the final analysis, it explains a lot about how certain people react to me. So as you might guess, a lot of people claim to know me well, but I don’t really have a lot of close friends.