Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Precipice

I can't take it anymore.  I'm on the ledge and I'm ready to jump.  I should have done it a long time ago.  But now, I'm acutely aware that I can't avoid it any longer.


This ledge is much higher than it looks...
 and I have a fear of heights
It's not that I've circumvented it all these years.  In fact, I've often taken the hard treacherous route instead of the straight and narrow one.  But, I am by nature an extremely private person who shuns the limelight. And now I've written a memoir, it's edited and eventually, it will be published. Emphasis on will.  Which is both exciting as a writer and terrifying as the main character.  It's just that as usual, the path I thought I was on, which was the straight, narrow and flat one, for a change, got rocky.

When I sent off my manuscript to the editor, no one else had read it.  I was really unsure what she'd say.  I knew for sure, I have no idea how to write a book.  I've never had a creative writing class and I'm not a grammar nazi.  So, my expectations were low.  I sure didn't anticipate her urging me to get an agent to pursue a publisher because my book is what the market is looking for right now. Say what?  My plan all along was to self-publish.  And I still may.  

This was me researching agents at the orthodontist's office

I thought I was so close to being finished.  Not so.  Instead, the work has just begun. So,  I bought the latest edition of Writer's Market.  And now I'll be working my ass off sending a bizillion queries out to agents and publishers only to receive a bizillion rejection letters back.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They're not going to send me anything in return.

Unless one of them does.  But if I don't jump, I'll never know.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Death By Chocolate

It was over a week ago that our beautiful lab Bonnie scarfed down 10 chocolate croissants.  We feared the worst.  After several days of severe intestinal distress, the inevitable happened. Things took a turn for the worse.

No, she didn't die.  But, someone left the dishwasher door open and there was only disappointing drips of asparagus soup to lap up.  A fate worse than death for dog who just recently discovered how sublime chocolate is and is jonesing for another fix.  That she'll never get. No, her life from here on out will be a series of disappointments and humiliation.

Including being dressed up as a severely nearsighted magician and then having the evidence of it posted on the internet.  Then ridden around the house by an 80 pound child like a circus elephant.  And still, there is no chocolate reward.  It was a bitter grief, experiencing such cocoa bliss only once and then to lose it.  Forever.  On the other hand, we were just happy she survived her gluttonous accidental suicide attempt.

Life must go on.  And so, we went to happy hour at the pool to resume life as normal and left Bonnie and Clyde home alone together. (Which is how the pain au chocolat mishap occurred the first time.)  It was movie night.  Finding Nemo was playing.

Over some cheese and crackers and a couple of glasses of wine, it seemed like a good idea.  The life guards releasing goldfish into the pool for the kids to catch.  And take home.  Wait.  The water is chlorinated.  The fish don't even stand a chance.  Obviously no one there belonged to PETA.  That's how we came to have Finley.

Which was immediately renamed Pickles.  For obvious reasons.  Ok, I have no idea.  It's definitely not because someone spilled pickle juice in his bowl.  Yet.

So how long will Pickles survive?  And by the way, does anyone know if chocolate is toxic to fish?

Epilogue:  Soon after writing this Pickles started doing the dead mans float and had a burial at sea.

PICKLES (AKA: Finley)  FIP (Float in Peace)
6/20/13 - 6/24/13 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Help

I noticed it as soon as we were back Stateside.  Everyone wants to help you here.  It's simply what we do as a culture.  There's genuine help like volunteering at your kids school and donating to fire victims and everything in between. That's what makes America great.  But, that's not what I'm talking about.  

I'm talking about when you're in Target in the aisle with the anti fungal cream aisle (which is also home  the enemas and KY jelly, I think) and some guy wearing a red shirt asks you if you need help. Wait maybe he could look at the rash on my foot and help me decide if it's fungal or bacterial.  I could ask him where the enemas are while I nervously explain it's not for me, it's for one of my kids, but I won't.  Or maybe he could dig through my purse so I can find my reading glasses to find out if the KY is for his pleasure or her pleasure.  Really, the most helpful thing a clerk could do is try to convince my kids that they in fact don't need another set of markers, tube of lip gloss, nerf gun or stuffed animal.  Since you can't help me with any of these, I consider your "Can I help you?" an empty threat.  During the summer especially, my bi-weekly trip to Target may be the only semi-peace I have for 15 consecutive minutes.  So, intruding on my quiet solitude when I thought I was finally alone really pisses me off.

When I'm at home, I seek asylum in the kitchen.  I love to cook and consider it mental health time because it relaxes me.  Unless one of the kids asks, "Can I help you?"  Dammit.  Because when one of them asks, inevitably another kid wants to help.  Then another, then another.  Then they fight over who got to crack the egg, who stirred more, who gets to lick the spoon and who did whatever the wrong way.  My kids are also the sloppiest cooks known to man.  And making them clean up the mess, also involves finger pointing and numerous arguments that sometimes go fist to cuff.    Especially since River recently bought new handcuffs with allowance money.    

So, can you help me?  You could.  But you probably don't want to.  Cause next time I just might leave my kids with the Target stock boy so I can go home and cook a gourmet dinner in peace.

(DISCLAIMER:  It's summer and I don't have time to re-read this post before I publish it.  It may make sense, it may not.  It definitely could be better.  Whatever, it's summer people!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daddy's Girl

The wildfire was still raging, but it was Father's Day weekend.  So, when my friend Lisa suggested we take our families backpack camping in the mountains to celebrate, it sounded perfect for our outdoorsy husbands.  One night in the mountains at about 10,000 feet.  Except, we have dogs.  Pampered dogs who have never been camping before.  Clyde barks at everything and Bonnie is scared of everything.  To bring them?  Or not to bring them?  Of course, we did.

Bifocal Clyde
Shy Bonnie
Backpacking means loading up absolutely everything you need into a backpack and hiking it up a mountain where it's freaking cold when the sun goes down and you can't have a campfire because of the fire ban.  Oh, and of course there's no port-a-potty.  That's what the shovel we packed is for. You bury that shit. Clyde loved the hike up and being surrounded by new smells.  Which is why he stopped to piss on every tree.  It's like stopping to carve "Clyde was here!", so every forest animal would know he's top dog in these here parts.  Of course he's cocky because he's never encountered a mountain lion before.   The lady on the way down the trail was concerned for our safety with the fires, bears and cougars.  "You've got a gun right?"  Nope.  

An extremely rare non-pissing photo
 We found a spot semi-sort-of-flatish for the tents.  And extremely, densely treed for the hammocks the boys were dead set on spending the night in.  We were sure the night wouldn't go by smoothly.  We were right.
River's hammock set up
 When camp was set up, it was time to relax before the sun went down.  

Yin and yang
Until it was time to eat.  We brought vintage 2003 military MRE's to eat.  So what if they had expired.  Or do they ever expire?  I don't think it matters.  They're still gross.  But we taste tasted sloppy joes, veggies with pasta, meatloaf and formed turkey breast.  But that's not even the best part.

Mmmmm...meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy.

The Stokes brought dessert.  Just add water for a natural high.  Ok, we live in Colorado.  Did these come from the medicinal store?  Is there a special brownie?

Apple non-crisp

While I do believe that these were void of hallucinogenics, the dehydrated food did have other special properties.  Flatulagenic ones.

Was I leaning in for the photo or was I farting?
 When the sun went down it was time to cozy into our sleeping bags and hammocks.  Bonnie and Clyde were sure to snuggle with the girls and help keep them warm.  Except one of the girls was ill in the middle of the night.  Bonnie.  You see, the night before we left when all of our camping stuff was strewn about the house, Bonnie and Clyde got into our camping breakfast.  They meticulously opened the sealed package and scarfed down 10 chocolate croissants while we were out of the house.  And now Bonnie had the worst case of dog diarrhea.  I will spare you the details.  The girls, Craig and I froze and got no sleep.  River boasted the next morning that he was in fact so hot in his burrito hammock he took his jacket off.  We were pissed.

Not on the face, I know where that tongue has been

Despite all this, Bonnie and Clyde were extremely happy.  They loved being outside and camping.

Daddy's girl 
Both Bonnie and Clyde were rescue dogs and we figure Bonnie was a puppy mill dog.  And we think Craig reminds her of someone from her past because she barks at him.  No one else, but him.  But, today, perhaps because it's Father's Day, she looks at him adoringly.  Or maybe because he was the one who got up to let her out to hershey squirt in the middle of the night.

Colorado style blunt rolling

I tried to give Craig a special gift for Father's Day.  No, not a brownie.  But, dismantling it and packing it while he and Kris took a morning hike with the boys.  So, I didn't roll it tight enough.  I'm not your typical Coloradan.

Oh well, I tried.

Addendum: When we got home Bonnie was so exhausted she laid in the car too exhausted to get out. Bonnie still is working the chocolate croissants out of her system and crapped all over the slate floor.  I cleaned it up prior to writing this post.  Getting diarrhea off a slate floor sucks. Don't get a slate floor with dogs or children or vomitous cats.  Bonnie has also resumed barking at Craig.  But, for one exhausted day, she was Daddy's girl.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I have so many stories to tell and just not enough time to tell them.  So, in this post, I'm providing you with the pictures and you get to make up the story that goes with them.  Feel free to leave your story in  comments.  I can't wait to hear what you come up with!  (Also, I have encyclopedias from 1968.  They are vintage!  Any takers?)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paint it Black

Photo courtesy of Victoria Young
My kids have been talking about it as the anniversary of the Waldo Canyon fire approaches, the possibility of it happening again.  Of course it wouldn't happen in the same place again, because there isn't much fuel in the burn scar.  But, in the Black Forest approximately 8 miles from my house there is.      That's also where the home of the Jones' is, the people who took us in during last years fire live.  And though I offered them a place to stay, I haven't heard from them or about the fate of their home.

It's all so familiar, the smell of smoke, the worry and the depression.  Because it's not just the fire,  it's so many other things that concern me. When I look at my kids I wonder what kind of a world they'll grow up to live in.  We've got the effects of global warming and the fires, hurricanes and tornadoes that go with it.  One in which teenagers have a cyber social life interrupted by the newsflashes of yet another tragic school shooting.  Next year I'm sending my oldest to heroin high school.  I hope he can make it through without succumbing to temptation because he's going to need a doctorate in fast food to get employed in the economy awaiting him when he's done with school.

We're leaving our kids a world that's hot and broken.   And right about now,  I want to paint it black. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


First of all, I know better than to walk into a bookstore with a credit card.  But, once again I did.  Only because Ember had a gift card burning a hole through her pocket.  So, I acquiesced.  I actually did pretty well containing my book obsession, but only because I had just ordered books on days before.  And because I recently fostered a magazine obsession.  Consisting of Psychology Today and anything fitness related.  And now this...

Jeff Buckley's photo from the cover of his cd Grace
Jeff Buckley on the cover of Uncut magazine.  I'd never even heard of this particular publication before and I wouldn't have paid attention because it sounds like it's either about crafting or cigars, neither of which I'm interested in. But, Jeff Buckley?  One of the most talented musicians of our time who died tragically before his time?  I'll read anything and everything about him.  Especially if it comes with a free cd.  Of other musicians that don't sound anything like Jeff Buckley and will likely end up on the shelf at Goodwill very soon.  Or shoved under a seat in my car where it will reside for years covered in cracker crumbs glued to a juice box straw.

So, as I sat staring at the cover for an inappropriately long time, I thought about what we're drawn to in a face of the opposite sex.  Studies show that we enamoured with features that are very similar to our own.  Ever seen those couples that look like brother and sister, but they're not?  For breeding purposes, the more your mate looks like you, the greater chances your offspring will too and will carry on your genes.  It's creepy weird to think we'd be sexually attracted to someone who looks like us.  But, we are a generation of narcissists after all.  So, it's a great way to ensure our love of ourselves lives on by popping out a mini-me.

Studying his long face, fluffy mullet exposing his receding hairline, brooding eyes framed with thick caterpillar eyebrows and pouty lips I saw it.  Me.  Circa 1988, pre-eyebrow plucking obsession.

Ungraceful me with Jeff Buckley hair and eyebrows
I'm thinking if this writing thing doesn't work out, maybe I could re-mullet my hair and become a Jeff Buckley impersonator who doesn't and shouldn't ever sing.  Except maybe I'm the only person who'd hire myself and that would be really, really creepy weird and narcissistic.

For now I think I'll keep my hair uncut.  (Maybe I could be a Sebastian Bach impersonator.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Years ago, I had a brief stint in acupuncture school balancing qi by sticking people with needles.  My practice pin cushion was me.  I spent hours trying to perfect my technique.  Spinning the needle between my fingertips to get just the right torque for a painless entry into hegu, a point near the thumb crotch in my hand.  Not that I had constipation or any of the other ailments, like lockjaw, it relieves.  It was simply the most convenient place to stab myself with a 34 gauge needle.   With my eyes closed.  Cause it's hard to stab yourself with your eyes wide open.  It's also hard to feel healthy and harmonious when you're torturing yourself.

Though I gave up my short-lived dream of becoming an acupuncturist, I'm committed to living a healthy lifestyle.  Which means, I am up for trying almost any new "it" food at least once.  So since chia seeds are the new flax, it was inevitable that at some point I would give it a shot.  I bought smallest and therefore, most expensive, package of anything at Costco.  Qi'a breakfast cereal containing chia seeds. 

We all need some good qi.
I know what you're thinking, "I've heard of chia seeds, what are they good for?"  I had no idea at the time.  But, I ate it and it was good.
Definitely greater than the sum of its parts
At the grocery store an hour or so later I was looking for a tasty drink to take to the pool with me.  Cherry kombutcha with floating chia seeds congealed for even seed distribution without shaking?  Oh, hell yes!  That's exactly it. So I went to the pool, belly full of Qi'a, with a salad, komutcha and the seasons first fresh picked cherries.  Probably freshly picked in Mexico by someone with hepatitis covered in pesticides, but whatever.  I can only do so much people.

What now?  Would I grow chia pet hair?  As chia seeds really are chia pet seeds.  Also, who the hell buys chia pets anymore?  Because 500,000 are still sold yearly!  Unfortunately, I didn't end up with a chia pet fro.  Cause that would have been kinda fun.  I could have sculpted it into all different shapes like the bushes at Disneyworld.

This is the Britney sex doll chia pet.
Instead, it turns out, chia seeds have an effect on my much like hegu.  My poor family had to endure gaseous smells and maintain a clear path to the toilet.  So, if you are someone who suffers from constipation, I have two natural miracle cures for you.  Stab your thumb crotch with a needle or lick that chia pet you got for Christmas from your aunt last year.

You're welcome.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Mole

I spent years hating it.  Hours of focused disgust and hostility.    I tried lemon juice and fade creams.  If I had a scalpel, I probably would have cut it out.  My cheeks were fuller when I was a teenager and I could see it from every angle anytime I looked at myself in the mirror.  My mole.

I used to scrutinize the photo album of my parents wedding.  My mother looked like Jackie Kennedy with her short curly dark hair, large hazel eyes, square face and thin lips.  She was gorgeous, as her mother was before her. I didn't look anything like her, none of the six of her kids do.  We look like my dad.    

When I was a teenager I had a lot of time to devote to self hatred, so I did.  Just like every other adolescent. I didn't want to be me.   But, when I grew up and moved away from home, that started to change.  My parents followed me.  All I had to do was look in the mirror.  Not only did I have my dad's long face, I also had his stubbornness.  And while I didn't think I looked anything like my mom, I have her nose, her soft curls and her inhibited goofiness.

When I adopted my kids, I was thankful not to pass on my acne and moles.  They would simply be whoever they are without my blemishes tarnishing them. That is left in the hands of a stranger they'll probably never meet. Somewhere in the world is the woman they don't know with the eyes just like theirs.  Or the man with a thick head of hair and hearty laugh.

While I had the privilege to come to terms with who I am and where I came from, my kids have a hole.  One that I can never fill.  


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...