I did it again.

I was terribly unkind and I can't fix it, but it was three months ago. Three. And now, it's come and bit me in the ass in a most undignified way. I feel terrible, almost victimized, but I created the whole situation myself; from my living room. The majority of my problem social interactions, occur when I am all alone. It is just me and my computer and a hundred or so of my nearest, dearest, cyber-friends. I relish the anonymity. It gives me a cloak of confidence I would never have face to face, where I tend to stutter and use 'um' a lot. It also enables me to feel righteous, self-important, and smarter than most (even though, as I realize now, learning how to write a paragraph in college may not qualify me for those accolades.)

Alone, in my living room, just me and my computer, I can be quite mean.

So here is what I did: Three months ago, I wrote a rude, snarky, letter to the editor of a magazine I hate. It was pretty inappropriate, and cutting in my disdain. The following day I received an email response saying, "Too funny!" That was it. I promptly forgot about the whole letter writing debacle until last week, the editor/publisher, sent me a reply. It was devastatingly weird, but in an unbelievable way. I couldn't stand keeping the letter to myself and irresponsibly sent it on to my internet friends at my favorite foodie blog. The letter was funny. No one was meant to get hurt. I imagined sharing in technological camaraderie with my fellow foodie friends; sitting on our weathered leather chairs, in our oldest jammies, sipping coffee and laughing at some other nameless person's wackiness. Mean-spirited, yes, life changing, no. Unless that is, someone isn't operating with the same jaded sense of incognito the rest of us are wallowing in.


Her heart was on her sleeve and I smashed it. By myself, in my living room, I smashed it. Most people blame the editor of the FOOD magazine. I don't. I blame myself. I stirred the pot and then left the room when I realized the soup was going to boil over. In my nameless bravado, I felt the need to be vindicated and demanded a cyber-reckoning...and got it.


Note To Self

In an effort to make friends and to lose my last 15 pounds of baby-weight, a few weeks ago I joined the YMCA. I am in the process of trying all the classes to find where I best fit in. My coordination is limited, at best, but I have always had really good stamina and flexibility. So today, I decided to take a ‘Low Impact Water Aerobics’ class.
Being February in the South, it is cold; fifty degrees or so. I packed my swimsuit into my gym bag and set off for the gym. Getting undressed in front of strangers is always a bit awkward, but I always muddle through by trying to decide whose boobs are ‘real’ and whose are ‘new.’ The ladies getting ready for this class seem very different from those I got naked with last week, before kickboxing. ALL of these ladies had ‘real’ boobs, whereas, the kick-boxers were more like, 50/50. One woman, actually, caught my eye and asked me if this was my first time in the water class. I admitted it was and shoved my stuff in a locker. She stood proudly in her bikini (with her real boobs) as I pulled out my sports-suit from my locker. She asked, rather intrusively (in my opinion), “What part of you are you working on?“ Since saying, “My soul," seemed a bit pretentious (and I do want to make friends), I pinched my bit of offending belly fat that was hanging over the waistband of my bike shorts. She said, “Me, too,” and grabbed her naked belly with both hands and gave it a good shake. It flapped up and smacked her in the face with a resounding, “Whump.” I turned around and quickly put on my swimming suit, giving her time to recover.
On my way to the pool, I met the instructor who said, “Most of the women in this class are more, shall we say, mature than you. But you should still find this class very rewarding.” She winked at me.

One by one the women gingerly stepped into the pool, pulling on swimming caps and discussing bridge games in honeyed southern drawls. My bikini wearing friend (seemingly recovered from her smack-down), jolted me out of my happy reverie of deciding which animal each matron most resembled and advised piously, “Make sure you try to keep up.” The instructor yelled for our attention and amid a cloud of powdered, humid, humanity I found a place towards the back of the pool.
The workout was enjoyable enough, full of languid stretching and gleeful kicks (all the while being careful not to splash the heavily made-up women around me.) We swam and twirled. We lifted barbells with weights reminiscent of Styrofoam coolers. After a while my mind wandered, I started planning my next workout, as my heart rate was still somewhere between ‘sleeping’ and ‘before morning coffee.’ “Okay, ladies? ARE YOU READY?,” our leader trilled with great enthusiasm. Twenty-five of my new elder friends shrieked back happily, “Yes!!” Hmmmm. Now that caught my attention. “ Put your weights up and grab a noodle.” Along the wall, resembling colorful sea worms, were what were presumably the aforementioned, noodles. Being the youngest in the crowd apparently designated me the chief go-getter. All of the women looked at me, until I hopped out and grabbed a rainbow of noodles. The pool was a sea of white spongy bejeweled hands all clamoring for my colorful noodles. I felt rather important.
My job finished, I hopped back in the pool with my yellow noodle. I looked over at the woman next to me (who was still wearing her pearls like a good Southerner) and couldn't see her noodle. It was gone. I didn't have long to ponder this as the instructor loudly yelled, “Ladies! Giddy-up! Now get ready to ride the horse! Yeeee haaaaaw.” I must have seemed a tad bemused as the pearled woman said, “Put it between your legs and sit back on it, honey,” I tried this and my legs kept flying forward and the back of my head would dunk in the water. Finally, I got myself stabilized and tried to pick up on what I missed. The instructor kept yelling “Left! Right! Pump your legs! Giddy-up ladies!” The ladies all around me were riding their horses/noodles like the best jockeys at the Kentucky Derby.
The voices in my head started shrieking, “Who sat on this yellow noodle before you, Amy?” and “Uh, let’s not do this… oh, my God. What was that? STOP!” I gave in and set my noodle on the side of the pool. I decided to mimic the noodle-riders, but without a noodle. I figured, being my first class and all, this would be overlooked. I may not know much, but I know when to listen to my voices. The woman to my left, grabbed her pearls and closed her eyes and the woman to my right let out a slight moan. I was torn between wanting to cry, needing a shower and deciding on what type of etiquette the situation called for. Good manners won out (as they always should) and I hopped along sans horse, and prayed for a quick ending to the class.
Finally, the ladies seemed to tire and the instructor asked if, “The young'un would put up the noodles.” The ladies seemed to be lacking energy at this point and I had to swim around and collect the noodles. I took the noodle from the stomach-flapping, bikini-wearing, face-slapper who I had met ages ago in the locker room, and she whispered smugly to me, “I knew you couldn't keep up."

I smiled benignly and delicately held her noodle, wishing for surgical gloves.
As soon as politely possible, I got out of the pool and grabbed my towel, prepared to skip the showers and run for home. The instructor blocked my way. “Well, will we see you tomorrow, gal?”, she asked knowingly. I blushed. And thought, “No way in hell will you see me tomorrow. You are a bunch of dirty old women. You Noodle-riders are beyond creepy and I am going home to bathe in Lysol.” But instead, I stammered in my usual nonsensical way, “Well, um, you see…” I searched for any way to politely decline my attendance in tomorrow’s horse-riding, love-fest. What I said was, “Um, you see…I am a Christian…and I’m married…you know.” Luckily, she was called away by a woman who didn't have enough energy left to climb out of the pool.

I am currently rethinking tomorrow's Pump It Up class.


Christmas Shopping

Lately, I've heard that I am hard to buy for. I can't imagine this is the case as every time I step out the door, I somehow manage to spend a hundred dollars. But this started me thinking, of course. I too, know people that are very hard to buy for (not that I'm accepting ownership) and I started trying to decipher a red flag that may be a suitable harbinger of the difficult recipient (not me, of course). Being a poor recipient may be in the top ten of selfish acts; it denies the gift-giver the opportunity to bask in the glow of her altruism. Now, thwarting someones attempts at altruistic behavior is truly self-centered. You certainly wouldn't want to be THAT unpleasant person, would you? Me neither.

An excellent indicator that you may be difficult to buy for, and thus a poor gift recipient, is receiving food as a gift. If you find yourself inundated with logs of meat from Hickory Farms every season, you may need to spend some time cultivating yourself. Yes, cheese dipped in some funky mustard may be delicious, but what is the gift-giver SAYING about you? She's saying, "You have no interests, no real talents and I am confident that nothing I buy you will change that...so eat up, Simpleton." Even receiving liquor is not so demoralizing as receiving the edible. At least with a bottle of scotch, or even a forty from some low-rent neighborhood, you can be assured you are viewed as a person with a pastime, a hobby if you will.

Although, I think, in most respects, I am a good recipient, (I do have impeccable manners), it does seem to be getting more and more difficult for my family to find the perfect gift for me. I came to a realization the other day, when my mom and I were browsing through a cute, little boutique and I overheard a woman say, "We have to get this for Mary, you know how she just LOVES snowmen! She must have a hundred in her cabinet." A few minutes later, "Oh, look at this one! It has a detachable carrot for it's nose and a piece of coal to shove up it's butt! She'll love it!" Hmmmmm... I was instantly struck by this unknown Mary's perceptiveness. She may have hit the jackpot on avoiding the edible; create passion for some type of inanimate object.

Later in the day, in a whimsical shop nearly identical to the one hundred we visited prior to it, we came across a penguin. It was charming in it's own way, with it's little, china scarf waving jauntily in the faux breeze. Mom said to me, "Hey, look at this." I looked at it and sifted through memories to see what was important about the little guy. Finally, I remembered and asked her if Sis was still into penguins. She looked horrified and said, "I certainly hope not." Well, as I pondered this statement, we saw a chicken on the shelf. "Now, that looks just like your sister!", Mom pronounced. I was appalled, as in no way did it resemble my dear sister, until I realized what my mother was saying; Sara collects chickens. Porcelain, painted and undeniably collectible. My sister, in her infinite wisdom of being two years my elder, has it figured out. No wonder she always gets so much loot for Christmas. I was learning. She is a good recipient. Penguins are too difficult of an item to collect, if you want to be a good recipient. My collectible items need to be readily available, not like penguin figurines which are few and far between. As we strolled on, I was struck by the many items I could collect to better position myself for gift receiving; Precious Moments, snow globes, seasonal socks, salt shakers, marbles... I do collect cookbooks, but not all cookbooks, which makes it a difficult item for others to buy. It can be hard for the uninitiated to differentiate between the kitch-y, truly rare and collectible, and the crap (no wonder my Christmas pile is often lacking!). We passed an adult-only store and I deliberated choosing an item from there as my new favorite, self-definitive item. I imagined my mom passing a policeman and saying, "Oh, look at his handcuffs. They look just like Amy! I wonder where he got them? Let's ask!" After a few moments in deep thought, I decided adult-toys may not be the most practical of collections. I mean, where would I display them? I think I need to settle on something easy to find, cute to display, and definitive of my lifestyle.

I can see it now; a collection of summer sausage from around the world. And little, tiny, colorful bottles of liquor to wash it all down. Now, that's me. Cheers.


“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

-Winnie the Pooh.


Socially Unfit

Sometimes, I really misjudge a social situation. Like today, at a neighbor child's birthday party. Amid Barbie cakes and cheap decor, I decided to make friends. I took a deep breath and avoided the mom who bore a striking resemblance to a stripper I knew in Houston. And stayed away from the mother of one of Nicholas' friends, who is such a 'low talker' all I can do is smile-and nod-and-hope she isn't uttering something of great importance regarding national security or the secret to potty training. I finally found my quarry. My backyard neighbor. I had wanted to befriend her for months; so, I jumped right in. There had never been a better moment to make a new friend. I settled right next to her on the couch, leaned in and told her what I'd been wanting to share for months...how delighted I am she doesn't close her blinds. "Because my husband is usually gone,"I explained, "And I don't feel so alone when I see you puttering about at night." Now, I meant this as a bonding moment, I feel like I know her quite well, having seen her wash dishes every night for the past year; even though we've only met face to face once. "I feel like I REALLY know you," I told her conspiratorially. I thought with such an astute observation and soul searing honesty, she would feel mutually comfortable with me. We'd be instant friends. Maybe we'd devise hand signals to keep each other informed of our evenings; a non-verbal give and take of high-fives and secret sign language, while doing our evening domestic rituals. We could wave back and forth and occasionally hold our wine glasses up in the air as a salute of sorts, so neither of us ever had to drink alone (not that I'm judging her.) After sharing my confidences, I waited expectantly for her outpouring of emotion. She muttered something under her breath that ended in, "....so sweet."
I'm not sure if I explained myself well enough, because tonight, for the first time, ever, she closed her blinds. Hmmmm. Even though I'm sad to be mopping the kitchen floor alone tonight, I am thankful I have learned not share everything upfront. This suburbia-friendship-thing is hard, but I'm catching on. Just imagine if I had told her I made up names for each of her family members and occasionally talk to them, too. That might seem creepy.


New Playdate (or why I have a hard time making friends)

New Meet-up Event!! George the Train!!! http://www.gcrd.org/georgethetrain.html
Where:The Pavilion
I am choosing to have it at 2:00 because it is a good time for me. I know a lot of your children will be napping, but I personally chose this time for that reason (if they are still napping, they won't appreciate it anyway and you should save your money.) It's $2 a rider, now. They do not take credit at the station, but I believe you can buy tickets in the Pavilion if you can't plan ahead and go to an ATM. No, taxes are not applicable. We will play on the little ghetto playground for a while afterwards, and yes, your child will get dirty and there is nothing for babies to do. Oh, and there is no shade; so do me a favor and watch The Weather Channel in the morning, and dress accordingly. If it is hot out, you should, maybe...wear shorts. If it is cold, hmmmm...wear a jacket and put little SheNayNay Margaret in shoes. I'll be waiting at the picnic table under the little shelter, to the right of the train, wearing a sign that says, "I am the Dumb*ss Hostessing This Event For You Ungrateful A*sholes.". I may have a bow in my hair to match. I will personally seek out all new members and chat with them a bit, so they feel very welcomed. I may ask personal and inappropriate questions to amuse myself, and because I would like for you to be even more uncomfortable than I am. No offense is meant. It is a short ride on the train and is a bit expensive, so if anyone is planning on being unhappy about honoring their RSVP and rating the event anything less than a perfect '5,' please do me a favor and RSVP 'no.' If you are planning on RSVP'ing 'yes' and don't show up, I will personally drive over to your home to check on your inconsiderate self, and let you borrow my copy of Emily Post in which I've highlighted pertinent etiquette.

Can't wait to meet you all!
Watch the calendar for more fun events!


Walking to the Beat of My Own Drummer

I had one of those days. This poem kept popping into my head at the most inappropriate times. It was a poem we studied in high school and it has stayed with me through the years, like a comfortable pair of shoes, that can be worn with numerous outfits.
My lack of attention only gave credence to those around me who already feel I'm a bit fey. I had to make inane observations to fool my companions into believing I was aware of my surroundings. I'm sure the randomness of my observations didn't exactly inspire their confidence either; but it was better than stating this poem solemnly while eating my lunch at Panera. Actually, it was a bit of a relief for me to have this poem in my head as it seemed to silence my 'internal 'tourettes' for a time. You know how Ally McBeal used to walk around with a theme song playing in her head? Well, what I hear is far less noble. Lately, I've had a running litany of profanity streaming through my consciousness. My footsteps are often accompanied by the staccatoed rhythm of, "Dumb ass, dumb ass, dumb ass...", or far worse.

And yes, I'm praying about it.

Stephen Crane
In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."


Comfortably Numb

Well, hmmmm... I just called my mom and dad. There was some weird vacuum kind of sound, and no one answered, so I said, "Hello...hello?". No one responded, but I heard myself asking, 'Hello?' with about a one second delay. I occasionally have a bit of paranoia that my phone is being tapped (not sure why anyone would do it, but it makes me feel very mysterious and important), but this time, there was just no one there. I assumed one of the other phones was off the hook, compliments of Maxwell's new phone fetish. Anyway, I sounded super cool (I'm one of the few who actually likes to hear herself talk) and the boys were outside with Chris, so I proceeded to entertain myself by asking, with my best Pink Floyd imitation, "Is their anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is their anyone home?" I paused significantly between each question, really enjoying the creepy sound my voice was making . I continued, advising myself to "Relax, relax it's just a little pin......prick...they'll be no more ahhhhhhh...ah...ah...but you may feel a little sick." I laughed uproariously (heck, I think I'm really funny sometimes) did some noisy breathing and and then feeling a tad self-conscious, I hung up.

One second later my mom called and said, "What the hell was that all about? Have you been drinking again?"


Searching For Answers When I Don't Know the Questions

There are a couple of things that have really interested me lately. I love learning new stuff, and these ideas are highly intriguing to me. It takes a lot to surprise me, but this certainly does.

Who wouldn't want to build an ecologically friendly town in the middle of the desert every summer? Even I do...and I'm a Republican (I think it's the juxtaposition of all the excess that interests me.)


I am absolutely entranced by Cargo Cults; creating a new religion.




Heart aches

Do you ever have times where the things that you see are so painful and poignant, you ache all over? My girlfriend, Amy, and I were talking about this after she described an awful/beautiful moment in her church the other day. An old man was helping his wife get up to use the restroom in the middle of the service. The woman fell and the man was too frail to help her up. He looked around helplessly and the congregation all stood up at once to help. The minister said simply, "Let's pray."

The humanity makes my heart ache.

There are a some everyday occurrences that hit me hard this week. It could be just killer PMS or it could be that I'm just too damn sensitive. Anywho, my mind keeps flashing back to these three events unbidden...like when I'm drifting off to sleep.

...the middle aged man wearing jeans and a t-shirt kneeling at a gravestone not ten feet from Woodruff Road. He sobs uncontrollably and can't seem to catch his breath. There is a look of pure despair on his face. I sit, next to him (in a way), drinking my Starbucks, listening to Indigo Girls, stuck in endless bumper to bumper traffic. His private grief is so public, that I'm embarrassed. Next to the black asphalt of the road, on one of the hottest days of the summer, this man's loved one's body is buried. And he mourns her while I watch.

...an old woman wearing a Bi-Lo uniform putting her tired toaster oven (which heated her lunches for years) and a round hemorrhoid pillow in an old rusted Taurus. She carries colorful balloons jauntily proclaiming, "Happy Retirement!" and "We'll Miss You!" I remember her as the grumpy lady asking about my desired thickness of luncheon meat (a little thinner, please!). I imagine for her, a retirement out of physical necessity, as she struggles to put the oven in her trunk, while holding back tears. I debate offering to help her. My kids are in the car and my food will defrost. I decide against it.

...the homeless person who held the door open for me at the doctor's office the other day. He proudly says, "A lady shouldn't have to open a door." I smile back at him, thankful that I could help him feel a bit successful. I watch as he shakily fills out his paperwork and then sits down with a sigh. He laughs at something Nicholas does and chats with him in a jovial way, then goes up to the window when his name is called to present his Medicaid card. When he sits back down, the green army bag that holds all of his earthly possessions, tips over and a loud, shattering sound reverberates around the room. He looks in devastation at the brown, paper bag that falls out. The yeasty smell of beer surrounds the room and is unmistakable. In the quiet aftermath, Nicholas asks, "What's that smell, Mama?" I shush him as the man's name is called. His shoulders are stooped very low as he walks to the nurse and he keeps his head down. Nicholas yells, "Bye Mister!" and the man never looks up.


The Truth is Out There...

...and so are my parents. My sister just called to tell me that Mom and Dad are going to drive their 'tin can on wheels,' 12,000 feet (is that right, sis?) through the mountains of New Mexico to visit Roswell, New Mexico. They will park their RV there. I don't know how we came to this point. We come from simple, farming people on my dad's side (my mom's side is a bit of a different story.) My dad's father was an Evangelical minister who did tent revivals throughout Missouri and farmed on the side. My grandmother was a teacher in a one room school house, which my dad attended with 3 other pupils. Throughout my childhood Dad had a number of careers (usually simultaneously.) He was the senior product engineer for a major company, architect in the evening, and he owned an apartment complex and several restaurants. He mowed the lawn twice a week and often would sit outside and watch the grass grow. Mom stayed home with us and sold real estate on the side, never missing any event. Dinner was on the table every night at 6pm. The height of excitement in our family was barbecuing with friends who observed the grass with Dad while enjoying a couple of martini's, while we kids played badminton or roller skated in our basement.

They have changed.

Dad started smoking when he turned 65. He seems to really enjoy it. When I quit smoking, adding to my mother's disappointments; she felt I failed her. Luckily, Dad picked up the slack for me and by some accounts, smokes all of the time, much to Mom's relief. They love the casinos and often go to Mexico for various medical treatments. This always makes me nervous. Mom says not to worry as "all of the illegals" are so nice. Their dentist even offered to pick them up at the border one time if dad couldn't walk that far. She said the only time she felt a "little apprehensive," was when she was smoking in an alley behind the doctor's office and several gentleman wanted to borrow a cigarette. Uh, yeah. Always the lady, my mother gave one to everyone (cigarettes are cheap in Mexico) and she always has an extra carton or two, under the rifle and hatchet in their trunk.

This may came as no surprise to those who have known us for years, who may have seen it coming on. I'm guessing the change was so gradual, that's why I can't put my finger on the pivotal point we turned into actual circus people. For my children this is normal, but it is so different from what I imagined. I imagined my parents growing old gracefully, sipping drinks on the porch,and my children running through the same soft, grass that I ran across; every one's future defined. Neat, tidy, roles we would play. Now, the truth is so out there, I am confused. My role has changed because their role has. Sometimes it's hard to keep up (I do like a good script to know what will come next. ) Maybe this is what my parents are defying. They don't want to know what will come next. That would mean they were done. So maybe in an effort to prolong their destiny, they have decided to change it.

So, Roswell, here they come. There is some comfort for me in knowing, to the aliens of Roswell, should they encounter any, Mom and Dad's behavior will set the standard. They will be the baseline against which other humans can be judged. We will again be normal. I can't wait to hear what happens when Mom offers the aliens a smoke.


Birthday Girl

Ew. I'm having another birthday. I know the alternative is worse, but for some reason this one is kicking me in the butt. I have that yucky, heavy, sadness clinging to my skin. My kids are sooo excited and Nicholas is ready to burst with joy and song. They are my heart and I feel guilty. It seems to me that instead of making New Year's resolutions, I make birthday resolutions, and this year I didn't succeed. I don't even know if I truly enjoyed this last year or if I just let it slip by in a tangled mess of dirty clothes and playdates.

Looking at it through Nicholas' eyes, I need to appreciate the day as a single entity. To him it sparkles. It's a day of non-stop cake and ice cream and toy after toy parading through his hands. It isn't a day of evaluation and remorse. Maybe, just maybe, I need to redefine my definition of success and re-evaluate my plans for next year. I have made some wonderful friends this year (the kind you just know are kindred spirits and that don't judge your craziness) and my children have thrived. Is it enough? It should be... I think I'll reserve today for bellying up to the cake and enjoying each and every moment of my children and friends and let tomorrow come as it will. Tomorrow I can make my lists and come up with a new year's game plan and start over. Maybe I can reinvent myself and erase what I don't like and begin again. But for today, can I actually live in the moment? I don't know. Today will be a test of sorts; an impromptu evaluation of my capacity for joy. Hopefully, after another cup of coffee, my joy will become clearer, more sparkly (just like my children's)... before I begin muddling it with an evening of birthday wine. Cheers.


Help Wanted: Voyeurism Required

I know you. I know you lost a baby last fall, due to a vitamin deficiency. I found out your husband has a prescription drug addition (that he can't kick) and likes gay porn. I know you knit scary scarves, that look like snakes, and give them as hostess gifts. You have a fetish for Ming Dynasty antiques and are trying to put the 'spark' back in your marriage. You love miniature, iced, cupcakes, with pretty pink sprinkles.

I don't want to watch you, but I do; I can't help myself.

You see, one night a week, I sell books. That's it. Simple enough. People come up to me, tell me what they need, and I find them a book. Not actually simple at all, for me, it seems. I over-analyze. Do I make eye contact? Comment on the timelessness of the author? Or naively hand them the book and walk quickly away? My over-thinking-self has to wonder at their motives... Do they want acknowledgement of their interest or are they hoping to remain anonymous? Truly, I have to believe, they are exhibitionists of the written word or they would order online, safe in the confines of their dysfunctional homes. Otherwise, what type of woman sits with her shoes off, next to a stranger reading, "Men Who Cheat and the Women Who Love Them", unless she wants to share? She seems vulnerable, yet full of bravado, non verbally communicating her lovelorn predicament. Part of me wants to pull up a chair, grab a coffee, and chat with her to find out how she came to this point in her life-and if I can help (I am my mother's daughter after all). The other part of me looks away in shame, as she bares her soul to strangers. The indignity frightens me.

Have you come to a point where you are so self-indulgent and isolated that you put a book in front of you, as a testament to your complex character? Or are you holding it as a talisman against prying eyes? Or, even more banal, are you proclaiming unity with a larger cause? Or the most heartbreaking (for me anyway); are you blissfully ignorant of the statement you are making, and just want to read... a book?

Even knowing all that I do about you, I am afraid to ask.

I don't even know your name.


my babies


So, I got my feelings hurt today, again.... After a long conversation with a friend about how a guy I work with told me I look like a 'lesbo,' I sent her the picture from my myspace page with my new haircut. I guess, as I've known her for 32 years, I expected a unified outcry of, "How dare he! You look fabulous!" I should have known better. Our relationship is deep, tangled and full of years of comparisons, separations and soul-baring analysis. In a nutshell, she knows how to wound to kill. She said, "Well, you just look a lot less... fancy." There, that was it. I look a lot less fancy. Ouch. So I pondered. I stewed. I fretted. I've come to realize that I don't mind the lesbian analogy, it's the lack of fanciness that I am mourning. I think life has taken a toll on me the past 5 years. My fancy patina is getting worn. I am no longer one of those shiny people that always looks perfect and smells even better. Life has changed. I am a middle aged, suburban house wife, that has grown a bit jaded and tired. Who cares if I wear cargo pants and a wife-beater every day? I started thinking of all of the parts of me that have changed recently. It's as if the joy, loss, and heartbreak of the past few years have tarnished me in some imperceptible (I thought) way.

Am I going to let that one comment define me? No, but as sensitive as I am, it will shadow me. I will remember the source and the complex layers of our relationship. And how in times of powerlessness we tend to peel back the layers to expose a bit of rawness and shake the salt. No, it's not about her, but a little bit of her does seep in. Not being fancy is the one thing that would cut me to the quick, and she knew it. Looking gay I'm okay with; being common I'm not.

Now, as I get ready for the day, I am full of self-doubt but am resolute. I am going to curl my eyelashes and put on a sundress. I am going to give my old fanciness my un-manicured finger and move on.

Fancy is what fancy does.