Monthly Archives: February 2013

I’ve foiled another murder attempt

It’s been snowy here lately which, technically, isn’t unusual because I live in the mountains and it’s winter. However, our winters have been stupidly mild the past few years. I think there were a few days when the temperature hit the 70’s this past January so it’s not surprising we’ve all been lulled into a false sense of Southern Arizonaness. Add to that that February is usually a non-snow month and one can understand how this sudden burst of arctic weather has caught us unawares. It’s the perfect time to plot a murder.

Yesterday, we were supposed to get this little snow squall. In a fickle, weather-like move, it came on early and turned out to be not as little as expected. Gabe started calling me at work, telling me to tell my boss that my mom was buried in snow and that I had to leave to dig her out. I’m not sure why anyone who knows me would buy that; they’d expect me to say that my mom is buried in snow and I need to buy a backhoe so I can pile more on top of her, but whatever. The point is, I didn’t do as Gabe requested and I stalwartly remained at work until 6:00 pm after which I closed down, locked up, bundled myself into warm outer wear and walked out into the night only to slip and slide the minute I hit the parking lot. Penguins were skating by and I think I saw a walrus lounging near a tree. It was freakin’ COLD! And the wind! It was pushing more snow onto my car than I was scraping off! I was already looking forward to a steaming bowl of hot soup and a nice warm fire on the other side of my drive home.

The road was fine as long as no one else was on it. All those other people were sliding and slipping around and that’s always a lot scarier to me than when I slide and slip. The oncoming snow plows making one-lane highways in the drifts were also alarming. And there was this hill that wouldn’t let me up it until I geared down to 2nd and took my foot off the gas. We (my car & I) crawled uphill, both ways…in the snow. But after almost an hour of putting along like a one-legged nonagenarian with a crooked cane, I made it home, ready to eat and cuddle up in my safe, warm abode.

I need to back up a second. We have a rule in our house, one that’s been very hard to put into effect because it is so complicated. The rule goes like this: If snow, then fire. It means that if it is snowing out, a fire must be built in the stove in order to keep the house warm. Granted, there are a few complex sub-rules such as: If cloudy all day for two or more consecutive days, then fire. That means that we have a lot of passive solar heating our house and after two days of no sun, it gets cold and in order to combat the dropping temperatures, one must make a fire. There’s also the If frigid arctic winds are rattling the windows for more than 90 minutes during waking hours, then fire. That means if it’s so cold outside that the cold comes inside, regardless of sun, then a fire must be roaring in the stove post haste. Those sub-rules are very hard for anyone but me to understand and I get that. I know I’m an obsessive control freak who has to have everything just so. That’s why I simplified the rule to: If snow, then fire. I thought that would cover at least one base.
As mentioned above, our winters have been mild. We haven’t needed many fires. Sometimes I build them just to use up the (poorly-stacked) wood. You know, so I can get new wood and stack it poorly, too. Regardless, I do not feel the IStF rule should be forgotten so easily.

I’ll bet you can see where I’m going with this.

I made it home, thanked my brave little trooper of a car (I love my car so much!) and walked through ten foot drifts (they really just came up above my ankles) to get to the front door, weeping because the freezingness was pulling the water out of my eyes. I got inside, took off my coat and realized IT WAS COLD INSIDE MY HOUSE!

The stress from driving bubbled forth and burst out as a loud yell, “IS THERE A FIRE GOING?” and Gabe, briefly looking up from his video game, said, “No. Why? I’m not cold.”

GABE! IF SNOW, THEN FIRE! THERE IS SNOW! WHERE IS THE DAMNED FIRE?

So I stabbed him in the face with an icicle that was conveniently hanging from the kitchen ceiling and my murderous rage is what kept me warm enough to not get hypothermia. Also, a bottle of hard liquor helped, too.

The moral of this story: I will kill you before you are able to kill me by freezing the blood in my veins, jerkface.

My cherry bush is being suffocated

Meet our drift. I had to walk through this to get to the front door. My life is very difficult.

Ok, maybe it's not so bad

I have to admit that while this road was horrifying last night, it sure was a beautiful drive this morning.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My Phenomenal Fake Life

My True Friends: a spoken-word poem in writing

Aw, crap. So, I had President’s Day off and I forgot I didn’t already have a post scheduled in the hopper and now it’s Tuesday evening and I need to have something brilliant for Wednesday (yes, I know what day of the week it is but pretend you’re feeling my panic on Tuesday evening, ok?) Sadly, there’s no brilliance to be had because everything I’m working on still needs a ton of editing.

My solution: laziness. I’m just going to stick something here, something I wrote a year or two ago after talking to a friend who does powerful spoken-word stuff. She made me realize I do not have that kind of passion or pain and that I’m rather shallow and maybe even boring. Then I started thinking about what I would do if I had to do a reading.

If I were a spoken word poet, this would be my poem:

My friends and I agree
that the process of moving from youth to aged
is strange
our bodies again mysterious, delving into the unknown,
reminding us of the gifts given and taken by puberty
We are new at this because yesterday we were fresh from college
and today, our children are fresh in college
These new things must be explored because they are yet to be
understood.

My true friends, my close friends
the friends of my soul and of long nights with stars and of whispered childhood secrets
Those friends and I agree
That our changing bodies-
these globulin masses that contain the USness of us-
give us moments of fright
but also moments of wonder
and we find new magic in an old world

By and large, the favorite change
among the True Friends
is the one that turns us once again
or maybe for the first time
into coo-ing new parents
peering into an infant’s freshmade
dirty diaper
to see what small bodies evacuate, leave behind
to see the magical residue that quickly becomes a chore but is so shining and momentous at first

Only with us, with these friends, we stare not into a
tiny cloth or synthetic holding apparatus.
We stare into a porcelain tank
typically called The Toilet.
We stare in wonder at what we have made because
once again, it is a magical thing to be able to make
poop

Remember when we didn’t think about it? Remember when it was just something that needed to be done and just we did it?
No more!
Now it is Triumph! Now there is alchemy involved
concoctions of remembering to get it just right-
correct fiber placement and
plenty of hydration
and a little oil to get things moving slickly

My own poopery
not as prevalent as it once was
has become a source of curiosity
and sometimes pain
and often of a hard little belly bump like a perfectly round stone tucked away in a large pocket weighing down the garment of my guts
but it is also a wonder and a gift
because when I can stare into the watery depths
of the toilet bowl to see my creation
and I can think to myself
Another job well done, four days in a row
I know that I have succeeded in that age-old joke of
Staying Regular
and I know
that I am getting old.

And my true friends – they agree.

Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

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Filed under For my short story collection, My journey to writerhood, My Phenomenal Fake Life, Tales from Toiletopia

June Cleaver would be awfully disappointed

I am so terrible at ironing that it’s actually impressive. If there were an annual Bad Ironing event, I would win every year. It’s not that I don’t try; I do. I try very hard to iron things and yet, somehow, all my ironed materials wind up full of flat, well-pressed wrinkles. This is why I only iron twice a year. It’s too frustrating a task to take on more often than that.

I know people who are excellent at smooshing a hot device across fabric to make it wrinkle-free. I even know people who enjoy the task (yes, I am looking at you, RBW) and I can only assume it does not take these people 10 minutes to iron an Oxford shirt (and that’s when I’m going quickly) The first time I was married, my mother-in-law-at-the-time was appalled by my lack of homemaker abilities and tried to teach me the Way of Wrinkle-Free Clothing but I just could not understand the concept. Of course, I also didn’t understand why she ironed her family’s underwear. I don’t mean boxers, I mean white cotton briefs. Who the hell needs starched undies? Who cares if your panties are wrinkled? They stretch across the hips, the wrinkles can’t be seen. I guess it’s sort of obvious, in retrospect, why she wasn’t able to teach me how to iron.

Ironing, for me, is an exercise in not going on a killing spree. I start out with good intentions, my basket of wrinklies piled high beside me. I assure myself I’ll get it all done and I’ll feel proud of my accomplishment. I always start on the pants because they are easiest. By the third pair, though, I’m only ironing from the knees down, figuring I’ll just let my thighs get bigger and that will stretch out the wrinkles since that works for my underwear. Then I have to start on the shirts. Mostly, I wind up ironing new wrinkles in. I like to call them “creases” and I place them artistically all over the shirt, not just on the arms and down the sides. It’s awful. And it’s not like I don’t have the right tools – I have my iron and the ironing board. I even  used to have one of those little sleeve ironing boards. I have my squirt bottle and my starch but it’s all for naught. Before you fill the comments section with helpful advice (i.e. flat-out lies), let me share with you the answers to some of the most common “advice” I get on this subject.

Ok. I can do this. I'll show you that I can. Are we ready?

Ok. I can do this. I’ll show you that I can. Are we ready?

Iron them fresh from the washer while they’re still damp

Ok. I’ll try that.

It dried while I was ironing it. I'm trying to keep it moist with a little spray bottle. It's not working. OUT, DAMN WRINKLES! OUT!

It dried while I was ironing it. I’m trying to keep it moist with a little spray bottle. It’s not working. OUT, DAMN WRINKLES! OUT!

Use special ironing fluid that comes in spray bottles

It’s called scented water. I don’t care if it’s rose or lavendar-scented, it doesn’t work any
differently than water. And water doesn’t help. Neither does starch. Well, ok, starch DOES help those wrinkles I iron in to stay well-pressed, actually.

Don’t buy clothes that need to be ironed

Even wrinkle-free garments are not wrinkle free and I’ve tried embracing the wrinkles but I can’t and I can’t wear jeans and t-shirts to work. SO. NOW what, huh?

Wear a dress, heels, pearls and lipstick! (That’s Gabe’s advice)

I couldn't wear the dress because it needs to be ironed and is really hard so it comes last, but I've got the pearls, lipstick and heels on and IT'S NOT HELPING!I hate you all! Haaaate!

I couldn’t wear the dress because it needs to be ironed but I’ve got the pearls, lipstick and heels on and IT’S NOT HELPING!
I hate you all! Haaaate!

Drink a lot of alcohol first

That leads to melted carpet.

Make more money so you can just take it all to the cleaners to have it pressed

I’m working on it. Feel free to donate to the cause.

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Filed under Adventures

My First Mammogram

I turned 40 at the beginning of this blog (making it sound like 40 is somehow the blog’s fault). Here in United StatesLand, women are supposed to get their first mammograms at 40 if they haven’t had one already. It used to be 35 and that was called your “base mammogram” but, apparently, too many breasts were still too full of breastliness and so medical professionals upped it to 40 when our breasts have really started to deteriorate. Or so I’m assuming.

Anyhow, like so many other women going in for their first mammograms, I was treated to a platter full of war stories. Several of my moms (I have many) told me that mammograms are almost as bad as giving birth in a Saharan dust storm with the assistance of hungry lions. At least, that’s what I thought I heard as I listened to their, “Oh, it hurts SO BADLY and I ALMOST DIED!” tales.

This is what I was hearing.

This is what I was hearing.

Thus, it was with some trepidation I entered the examining room and stood before the x-ray machine. Imagine my surprise when the whole procedure took all of two minutes and that included the moving and shifting and getting all four pictures. In fact, the actual squishing and photographing of my breasts took less than 30 seconds.

As soon as I was finished, I thought, “Huh. That wasn’t fun by any stretch. I don’t want to do it every day. But it also wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d been told. I’ve suffered much worse.” I had to tell Facebook about my experience ASAP.

I said: As far as Milestones of Womanhood go, the first mammogram is waaay easier than the first period and the first attempt at sex. It’s also less messy than the first kiss, though the fondling and squishing are about the same. The only thing for which I was not prepared was the odd positions I had to adopt to stand in front of the machine; I briefly regretted not taking Modern Dance in college.
So, old ladies? STOP telling horror stories about mammograms. It may have been torture back in the day and I’m sure it’s unpleasant if your boobs are on the small side but it is NOT the torture you people (MOM) made it out to be.

This is pretty much what I went through. Mostly.

This is pretty much what I went through. Mostly.

My status then started a conversation (Gabe and I are always amazed at which things we say online bring on the commentary) and while most women my age were “meh” about it  (it hurts but it’s such a short amount of time that who cares? or It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected) there were several who said it causes them great pain and trauma, or has had in the past.

So I thought about it. Did it really hurt me? No. It was an awfully irritating full-on pinch and had someone done that to me outside of a doctor’s office, I’d have screamed at that person and punched him/her. Probably him. But it didn’t leave me wanting to cry. But COULD it have hurt me? Why, yes, I imagine it could have. For instance, had I gone in too close to a period when my boobs were sore and aching, it would have been more than unpleasant. If my breasts were small, it would have hurt more because all that pulling to get one into the grips and then the smooshing to keep it in place and what with there being no fat for cushioning? Yeah, that would hurt. If I had a low tolerance for pain, I’d have left the place in tears. But none of those things were true for me, thus, the experience wasn’t bad.

If you’re going in for your first mammogram and you’re freaking out about it because everyone says it’s going to make you die, don’t worry. It won’t make you die. It might hurt. It might even be awful. But it’s super-fast. It may be embarrassing if you’re not comfortable showing bare breasts to lab technicians and equipment but it’s not going to be mortifying. They’ve seen this all before.

Kotex put together a quick little list of things to think about when going in for your first mammogram. I’d be interested to hear other people’s advice.
And horror stories. But they have to be true. You can’t make crap up to scare the incoming mammogram generation. This isn’t a hazing ritual, people.

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Filed under Adventures, In someone else's backyard, My Opinions on STUFF