Sunday, November 28, 2004


I've been losing myself in the following fiction for the last week or so:

Places to Look for a Mother - Finished last weekend.

Tomcat in Love - Finished earlier today.

Crossing to Safety - Just started it in the tub a short while ago.

About a Boy - Next up, if it can captivate me in spite of already having seen the film.

Breath, Eyes, Memory - for the Caribbean flavor...

All courtesy of our odd little library.

So, what have you got your nose buried in these days?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The shape of things to come...

Michele's 11/26 post about her Thanksgiving traditions with her family--and her mention of horrible childhood holidays--brought back memories for me.

At the beginning of my freshman year in high school, my mother left our home and moved to a town 80 miles south. My father did not exactly cope well with this development. Oddly, they dated for a year or two after she left, and got along much better when they didn't have to live together. But after a couple of years, they came to their senses and got divorced.

In the northwest corner of California where I grew up, many people went into the woods and cut down their own Christmas trees. I realize now that they were probably doing it on privately-owned or even park land. I'd never thought about that until now. So forgive the environmental incorrectness of this childhood event I'm about to tell you about. But first, some major digression...

My father was a member of the Elks Club. For all I know, he still is, although he probably hasn't been to a meeting in decades. Every year my parents would go to the big New Year's Eve party at the Elks lodge. Woohoo! High times, that! My mother, in her quest to be the best-dressed woman in the county (something she accomplished despite my father's unforgivably paltry schoolteacher's salary) would glide out into the living room on New Year's Eve dressed in some fancy number. It would be a 'cocktail dress' in avocado or bright orange chiffon or a snug beige lace sheath. The all-time best was the year she made a floor-length snug gown out of turquoise brocade, with a matching wrap...AND she covered her pumps in the material, too. She topped the whole thing off with elbow-length white gloves. My father would be wearing his (one) suit, with a painfully skinny tie. They were a handsome couple. Somewhere I have a tiny photo of them with my mother in her handmade gown--I'll have to see if I can find it.

My father would have arranged for some high school girl to babysit my little brother and me. I can't remember exactly how we entertained ourselves, but I'm sure popcorn was involved. Keep in mind that this was in the olden days--pre-cable, pre-computer, pre-internet. We're talkin' big ol' boxy TV with an antenna on the roof of the house, which brought us the sum total of two black and white. We would try desperately to stay awake until midnight. (I don't think even Dick Clark's ancient ass was on TV in those days.) If we made it to midnight, we'd walk out into the street in our jammies and bang spoons on the bottoms of pots and pans. Ah, those were the days...

My parents fought...a lot...pretty much all the time. When my mother first left, the first thing that struck me (aside from the empty living room) was the silence. It just seemed so...damn...quiet. It was such a relief. My father didn't really like to do much for the holidays after my mother left, so it was really up to me (since I was a teenager--my brother was five years younger) to try to salvage what I could. My Italian grandmother (my father's mother) gave us her Christmas ornaments, since she had stopped putting up even a table-top tree. They were antique and lovely...and I wish I had them now. We still had a couple of stockings, and I dutifully nailed them to the hideous wood paneling my mother had insisted be installed over the wonderful mantle we'd had.

My father was a not infrequent visitor to the bar at the Elks club after my mother left. One Christmas, the bartender there said he was going up into the woods to get a tree, and asked my Dad if he'd like him to get one for us, too. My Dad took him up on his offer and a couple of days later we had a gorgeous 12-foot tree drying in our garage. (Sorry, environment!) The problem was that our ceilings were only 10-feet high. My father, not being the handiest guy around, trimmed it down. Unfortunately, he trimmed it in half...and kept the BOTTOM HALF. Yes, my lovelies, that Christmas my brother and I could be seen having our pictures taken standing next to a six-foot tree...that was about three feet in diameter across the top. For years, I kept a photo of my Dad standing next to that blocky tree in my wallet. Unfortunately, it (the wallet) was stolen long ago when I had my purse snatched. But I kept the picture because no one ever believed me that someone's Dad would actually give his kids an almost square Christmas tree. Even worse, he made us dismantle it the morning of December 26th. Needless to say, we've never let him forget it.

Afro-Cuban, baby!

Boyfriend is lying in bed watching this video. I just watched a few minutes with him and said, "These rhythms sound so complicated, but they're not." (Ignacio first plays the groove slowly and then plays it at normal speed with other musicians accompanying him.) Boyfriend agreed that that's the beauty of them--they sound like really complicated rhythms when played layer upon layer, but broken down they're actually quite simple. I dare any of you to sit still while listening to Afro-Cuban drumming--it's HOT! Best of all, I've got a man in my house who can play the shit out of this stuff. Now THAT'S hot! :)

The DVD/CD is what I sent to Erika for Gifty, Round 1. Posted by Hello


I've got a secret... Our dryer went on the fritz weeks ago and I still haven't told our landlords, even though they only live upstairs (although they appear to have been out of town for most of the last couple of weeks). It conked out...I don't know...last month? I keep meaning to call them to get it fixed, but then I put it off...because secretly I love line-dried laundry. That's right: given a choice, I'd choose a clothesline over a dryer any day. Granted, it can be a bit of an inconvenience sometimes, especially when you live in a condo that's situated on one of the signature holes on the golf course and you don't have a yard or a clothesline. :)

The stacked washer/dryer unit we currently have used to belong to the landlords. They bequeathed it to us when they bought a new one last year. The dryer on our previous unit conked out a couple of years ago--right about this time of year. It had a broken belt, and I suspect this one has one, too.

We had a clothesline left over from our previous house (where I'd string it up along the picket fence of the balcony), so last time we were without a dryer, the boyfriend rigged up the clothesline along our long front balcony. But we couldn't very well hang laundry during the day; the condo association would have our ass. So we waited until dark and then hung it up. That time, I reported the problem to the landlords right away, but it still took them six weeks to fix it. (He owns an air conditioning and refrigeration business--the last thing he feels like doing when he gets home is fixing another appliance.) Since we live in the tropics, it wasn't unusual to get an overnight shower, which meant we'd often wake to laundry that was just as wet 12 hours later. But I'd still have to bring it in anyway before the golfers showed up. Not to mention that my brother brought his family of five and my mother for Thanksgiving that year. Try having eight people in a teensy condo....with no dryer. :(

This time I decided to just use the shower rod. It's extra-long because there's a planter box next to the tub. You might be wondering how fresh our laundry could smell hanging in our bathroom, but we have large windows on one side of the tub and one of them is permanently open (as are all of our sliders and windows). We can get a nice, gentle breeze through there. And sheets and linens? You'd be surprised how quickly sheets dry when hung over the tub (as you can see, there's a shower rod against the window, too) and how inventive I can be rigging up drying surfaces for blankets. So even though November was once again our rainiest month, this has been a breeze. And it's not like we're constantly doing laundry--it's just the two of us. The odd thing is, I seem to be keeping more on top of the laundry than when the dryer was working. When convenience is at your fingertips, I suppose it's easy to wait until you have a shitload of it to do.

I'm the first to admit that I have a bit of a Luddite soul, but that's not the only reason I've gone bass-ackwards in this area. The real reason is that it reminds me of Nanny, my Italian grandmother. She never owned a dryer. Heck, when I was little, she still owned one of those old-fashioned wringer washing machines. Her towels always had that stiff line-dried feel to them, but even better, they had that fresh smell. No softener or dryer sheets can recreate that smell.

I have fond memories of being in my grandmother's backyard and helping her hang or take down her laundry. It used to be a treat to 'get to' hang up the laundry. Her clotheline was right next to her rose bushes. And after I'd help with the laundry, I'd take a leisurely stroll among the roses (all different varieties), lean in and inhale their fragrance and rub my grimy kid fingers over their tender, soft petals.

Yes, I'll eventually get around to telling the landlords to fix our dryer. But in the meantime, it'll be just me and my clothespins (even though they're not evident in this picture, I use them all the time). And I'm perfectly fine with that. And I'll keep imagining my little dream house...with a big yard...and plenty of room for a clothesline. And when I have my clothesline, I'll stand before it, pinning my laundry...and take a moment to lift a sheet over my head to look at the sun through bright cotton. And once again, I'll be back there in the yard behind that little house on J Street that my Portugese grandfather built. And all will be right in my world...again.

Thanks to Sunday School Rebel for inspiring this post. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

This Thanksgiving, I'm so very thankful and grateful for the wonderful connections I've made through this medium. Blogging has been a godsend to me at a time in my life where I desperately needed just that--connection. I know I should just be grateful to live in a place that's coveted by so many, but as you know, this has been a rather isolating place for me. The blogosphere is such an amazing place. We can peek into each other's lives with no expectation or obligation. Feel like commenting? Fine. Don't feel like responding to an email? That's okay, too. It's a forum where acceptance seems to be the password...and where the rules of friendship have been redefined.

I'm thankful to any and all who visit this site. But today I wanted to give a special shout out to some who have been beacons of friendship and support (in no particular order)...Tonya...Jen...
Daisy-Winifred...Kat...BP...Lynn. To Michele who always understands when the boyfriend is being so, well, pal Jo...fabulous Gifty maven Leslie...and Erika, my Gifty buddy. To Heather and Bethany whose comments helped so much last August when we were going through a rough time. To Andrea whose journal was the second blog I ever stumbled upon and whose life touches so many. To Violet whose blog always reminds me of the city I left behind. And lest you think I'm forgetting about the men, there's Mark.

So thank you to all of you and to all of the countless others whose sites I visit on a regular basis. Your words and photos inspire and delight and amaze and make me think and laugh and cry. May this day be full of all that brings you joy. If karma is indeed a boomerang, you've all got some seriously good stuff headed your way.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sex Cymbal

This didn't scan well. You can't even see the boyfriend's features (all the more mysterious) and the rest of it looks overexposed. The print is much nicer. But this photo came to mind this weekend because the boyfriend's been shopping online for cymbals. So I heard the sound of crashing cymbals emanating from the laptop until 2 am Saturday night (Sunday morning). It's a rather noisy (and expensive!) affair.

This was taken by the same actor friend who took the shadow photo I posted awhile back. Same time frame, too. This hot tub belonged to a big-time music producer in Malibu. Boyfriend and his bandmates (in a funk band) were staying there while the producer made an album with them. This is one of my favorite photos of him. Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Bad Spouse

We slept in this morning, and at one point I snuggled up to the boyfriend and apologized for being such a "bad" spouse. I rarely go to his gigs here. I reminded him this morning that it's just so different for me here. In the States I would often hear him play music that I really liked and enjoyed, and I also might see friends and/or acquaintances at gigs. Here he's most often playing music that leaves me uninspired--through no fault of his--but do I want to sit through it? Not necessarily. If it's a jazz gig, it's pleasant enough, but I miss hearing him really play--to hear him really swing hard and loud. It's all just too damn polite here. So going to a gig here means an evening spent sitting alone like some kind of loser with a fake smile pasted on my face.

But this morning I started feeling guilty. He never pushes. Occasionally he'll ask, "Are you going tonight?" Typically my only response is the look. And he knows that look means, "I'd sooner poke my eyes out with branding irons." And he laughs. But then there are the times, like today, when I tell him I'll go. But as the day wears on, I start to feel less and less enthusiastic about the idea. So I'll sidle up to him and suddenly get very affectionate, and he'll laugh (hard) and say, "That's cold-blooded. I knew you weren't going to go!" That's what I did today.

He's playing a jazz show on St. John tonight. The article in the paper listed dress for the event as "island fancy." If you figure out what that is, let me know. I only know that nothing in my wardrobe qualifies. So aside from having nothing to wear (or more appropriately, feeling like I'd be infinitely more comfortable in jeans, especially since it's on a beach where the mosquitoes will be out in force), I'd also be sitting by myself, since everyone I know there would be on stage. He's only playing a 1-hour set, so it's not like I've abandoned him for the entire evening--except that the promoter called earlier and asked if he could be on the 4:00 ferry and the show doesn't start until 8:00. So now I'm really glad I decided not to go!

As he was preparing to leave, he asked me to grab the cash in the pocket of the pants he'd had on earlier. Then he added, "I always keep it in the left pocket." I said, "I know that! I know that you always carry your cash in your left pocket because you're left-handed. Duh!" He kind of laughed and said, "But did you know that every morning when you fill my to-go mug of coffee that you snap the lid on as if a right-handed person was going to drink it?" Oh, shit. He's right, I do. So today I'm feeling very much like a "bad" spouse. (Although I do make him coffee every morning, but it's not like I'm not also making it for myself.)

I'll just have to be an extra-good spouse when he gets home tonight. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Thanks to RubborSol who created a cool, new gift exchange program she's calling "Gifty." The gift for my recipient is being mailed today. It was actually ready to be mailed on Monday, but when I went to type the address label I discovered I couldn't read my own writing! I finally remembered this morning to check the email that had the recipient's address in it.

I picked up the gift over the weekend, and the boyfriend started to use it! "Wait! That's not for us! That's for Gifty!" He rolled his eyes in that "you and your blogging" sort of way (but he smiles when he does it because he knows how much I love the blogosphere). He also shot me a look that said, "Why didn't you buy (one of these cool things) for us, too?" Mind reader that I am, I replied, "They only had one in stock." Hmmph.

"Round One" of Gifty is closed. But if you want to participate in Round Two, send an email to Leslie at RubberSol and she'll hook you up!

And if you miss getting snail mail, sign up for Hope's "Snail Mail Program." I did, and got an adorable card from her this week. Just don't forget to send one back... :)


We installed Firefox yesterday. Anybody else out there using it?

So far? Lovin' it! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Magic of Humility

Ever had one of those moments when you get a glimpse of an opportunity--a possibility, perhaps--as if a window has suddenly been pried open just a bit to shed a little light? Only to find it quickly followed by a fortuitous little event...a phone call or letter or email or casual encounter or introduction or...whatever? And it makes you smile, inwardly and outwardly, as if "the universe" (or fate or destiny or God or whatever it is at work) has just waved its wand over you and you wonder if, in fact, something good is about to happen?

I really do believe that "the universe" (or whatever it is) supports one's dreams--much more than we believe on a day-to-day basis. But even more specific (to my life anyway!), I believe that our decisiveness is supported. That if we simply make a decision--rather than hemming and hawing and straddling that goddamn fence--events will begin to fall into place. We could stand immobile at a crossroads for months, years....hell, decades. But once we choose a fork in the road--once we commit to heading in a specific direction--doors seem to open almost effortlessly.

The boyfriend and I had one of those moments yesterday. We had a conversation in the car late Sunday afternoon. It involved a decision, jointly reached and agreed to. It involved change. And once we made that decision--and felt good about it!--it seemed almost logical when the phone rang yesterday and handed him an opportunity for some nice short-term possibilities.

I know this is vague, and I apologize for that. But I need to be a little vague until we're ready to make public what our plans are. It's nothing earth-shattering, and yet it feels quite big in the moment because of the amount of change involved. It's one of those quirky things where the slightest shift in game plan can have large ramifications. One little ripple....


We saw "Ray" last night. We both loved it. I thought Jamie Foxx was astonishing. And I say that as someone who's almost always disappointed with everything in life. I know that sounds cynical, but it's not really. It's just that I learned decades ago that I tend to have sort of distorted expectations, so I'm often...well, not exactly disappointed...but sort of sad that things I expected to be blown away by turn out to just be, I don't know, nice instead. But this was one instance where in spite of all of the previews and reviews and interviews and hype, I wasn't disappointed. I didn't think it was necessarily an excellent film--good, but not excellent. But there were some fabulous performances and, for me, Jamie Foxxx inhabited that character in the best sense of the word.


Boyfriend's at a resort playing a gig tonight. So I put on my flannel jammies (even though it's still in the upper 70's...brrrrr), made a bowl of popcorn and sat down to watch "Oprah." Tonight's show was about a dream wedding she gave to a viewer couple. It was at the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A. and as the bride made her entrance, Chris Botti played the wedding march. I made a mental note to mention it to the boyfriend, a la "Oh, saw Chris Botti on Oprah's Dream Wedding show." But then they showed Oprah introducing Chris at the reception where his band played during dinner. And THEN, she closed the show by having him perform in the studio and raving how she'd just discovered him and ran out and bought all of his CD's.

When H. was here, we were in the car one day and I don't remember how we got to this, but I said to him from the backseat, "Your Dad doesn't care about being famous." H. was in the passenger seat and quickly turned to look at his Dad and asked sort of incredulously, "Dad, you don't? You don't care about being famous?" "No, son, I really don't. It (music) was never about that for me." Which means when he sees his old pals on Oprah or touring with Sting or Wynton Marsalis or directing an Oscar-nominated film or showing up unexpectedly on screen when we're in a movie theatre, well, he just smiles and says, "Cool." But honest to God, I don't think he ever thinks, "Why not me?" And that's one of the biggest reasons I love him the way I do.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Recovery Room

Boyfriend has just split for the ferry to take him to St. John where he'll be spending the rest of the day/evening/into the wee hours as bandleader for the wedding of a relief pitcher for the Yankees. I say that not to name-drop (because we'd never heard of the guy), but mention it because everyone's panties are in a twist over making sure this all goes extra smoothly.

By the time we packed the car (having obtained extra gear from the keyboard player earlier this morning), I felt like he was embarking on a week-long trip. Our little Honda Accord now contains:

a drum kit
a keyboard
a keyboard stand
a piano bench (yes, the old wooden kind)
a PA system (mixer, speakers, tripods for speakers)
a CD boombox + a bunch of CD's
two sets of gigs clothes (for him and the keyboardist)
a digital camera + attachments
binders full of music charts + assorted song lists, files, etc.
one of those big orange extension cords
his Dopp kit
several beach towels (to wrap around gear in case it's raining when they're loading in and moving gear between the ceremony and reception locations, because it's been raining off and on all week)

These types of gigs pay well (especially if you're the bandleader...yay!), but, he's spent a lot of time putting this together. The bride also requested a list of songs to be played during the ceremony. He's arranged for the keyboard player to do that solo, and thankfully the list got whittled down. (Her original list had like 15 songs!)

The couple originally wanted the band to play the reception from 6:30-9:30 pm. Then they added an extra hour. No biggie. But we arrived home at lunchtime yesterday (yesterday!) to a message on the answering machine from the resort's wedding planner telling him that the bride and groom had now requested that the band play until 2 am. Yes, that's right...they want the band to play for 7-1/2 hours. (Can you say "party animals," boys and girls?) Thankfully, the other guys were up for it (just more money for them, too). Three of the musicians are ferrying over from here. I honestly don't know what they'll do between 2 and 6 am, when the ferries start running again. And the hotel is booked up, so it's not like they even have rooms available for them if they wanted them. Guess they'll just hang out for a few hours.

So I'm batch'ing it for the night. When I was at the mall after work yesterday running errands, I slipped into the music store to scour the sale DVD racks. I found "About Schmidt" for $6.99 (and we never saw it). So that'll be my Saturday evening entertainment. As for the afternoon, I plan to just putz around and do whatever--just enjoy the peace and quiet of girlie time. Oh yeah, and eat. It wasn't until after he drove away that it occurred to me that we forgot to do that all morning. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Happy Birthday, C!

My youngest niece, C., turns seven today. This is one of my favorite photos of her. It was taken on our last camping trip; she was not yet two. What I love about it is that it was unposed. She simply loved old Stoops and thought he looked like a good place to lie down.

I spoke to her earlier today. "You know that Pooh watch and those socks you sent me?" Yes. "I'm wearing the watch right now and I'm gonna put on a pair of the socks in a little while!" I said I was glad that she liked them. "It (the watch) fits perfectly! And I love Pooh!" Yes, sweetie, I've always loved Pooh.

We spent our last Christmas in the States with my brother's family. One of C.'s favorite gifts that year was a battery-operated Tigger that jumped up and down. She entertained herself for what seemed like hours that Christmas standing next to Tigger and matching him jump for jump. I can still see her jumping and giggling...

I asked her on the phone today if she feels seven. "Yes." Really? You feel older and different today? (emphatically)..."Yes." C. is smart and funny and feisty and independent and athletic and fearless about a lot of things. And I hope she always stays that way. Posted by Hello


You just have to read it for yourself.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Tax Code

Dooce has solved one of the mysteries that's plagued me for the last several years.

I once worked as Training Coordinator for a large utility company which had two headquarters, one in Portland and one in Salt Lake City. As a result, there were a lot of Mormons employed by the company. I was told when I assumed the position that whenever I scheduled a morning training session or meeting that I must have a supply of Coke and Diet Coke on hand for the Mormons. Because these same Mormons eschewed the coffee and tea on hand claiming they never let caffeine pass their lips. For years I've wondered, "What the hell?!..." Now I see...a biblical loophole...

It just hit me: The Bible - The Spiritual Tax Code.


Ashcroft resigned? Finally, some good news.

A Fine Romance

I promise to (eventually) stop talking about things I found while de-cluttering recently, but one of the best finds was a handful of emails from the boyfriend. He wrote them during his first month here. He'd come down two months ahead of me to get things set up and make sure he thought we could have some sort of life here before I up and moved 4,000 miles to this place sight unseen.

He's not a romantic man in the generic, traditional ways. Flowers, cards, love notes, gifts (just because)? Not gonna happen--it's not in his nature. But he does other things that feel romantic, that make me go, "Awwww..." So to suddenly begin receiving long, loving, sweet, tender, unbelievably romantic letters from him via email? I was on cloud nine! They were the first letters he'd ever written to me and we'd been together five years!

I squealed with delight when I spotted them among our long-buried papers: "Look what I found!" I passed them over to him. He gave them a quick glance and handed them back. His response? "I used to have a Hotmail account?"

Men. :(

Monday, November 08, 2004

Jesus and the FDA

Start with Heather's post, where she eloquently lays out the consequences should Bush appoint Dr. W. David Hager to lead the FDA's Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs. Then read the article from 10/5/02. Hager was appointed to the Committee on 12/27/02 and his term expires 6/30/05. Click on the PDF link by his name on the Committe page if you want to read his resume. Then please take action if you find this as scary as I do.

Little Thoughts

Among the items I unearthed in our clutter excavation the other day were three pages of little thoughts and slogans I'd written over a decade ago. I wrote them with the idea of using them to create a touchy-feely line of fortune cookies. I had a product name and a tagline. I had misplaced the list for a few years. I knew it was buried in here somewhere...I just didn't know where... :) There are about 75 of them. They're not heavy--just meant to be fun. Here's a sample I just flipped to and picked at random: "Life is a picnic and doubts are the ants."

But the more I look at the list, the more I think I'd like to do something else with them. Greeting cards? Bookmarks? Magnets? Mugs? I suppose the product possibilities are, well, endless. Now if I can just get my very creative boyfriend to do some illustrations...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Bush's Brain translated by Grimace.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


We’ve lived in our condo for almost four years. When we moved from our last place, it was a rather rushed affair (but that’s fodder for another post). We ended up shoving our “papers” willy-nilly into some boxes. Those three boxes were placed in the lone storage closet in our new place with the proviso that we’d soon go through them. Fast forward almost four years…

We made such great progress last weekend sorting, filing and organizing our household and business files that boyfriend got inspired to tackle those long-buried boxes in the closet. When I arrived home from work yesterday, he had unearthed them--no small feat since they formed the foundation for the clutter mountain we’ve built in that closet over the years. He had already started going through one of the boxes. I figured I might as well join him, since organizing is something he typically avoids like the plague.

Lo and behold, about 90 minutes later we’d gone through all three boxes and had filed, tossed or shredded almost every item. Yay!! Tackling that storage closet was one of the things I was dreading most about moving. But now that we’ve scaled halfway up that mountain of clutter, I feel much better.

When we prepared to move here, we went through a similar purge process. During that purge, there were a few items I simply couldn’t part with. Among those were some booklets and pamphlets I had culled from my mother’s stuff when I helped her go through all of her belongings more than a decade ago. These were items from the 60’s and I held onto them as reminders of how completely UNenlightened that era was.

“Get on the Beam” is a pamphlet filled with grooming tips. It begins, “As an alert young American, you’re giving some thought to getting along well with your friends and classmates. Well, what makes you click with the crowd? How do you start to increase your popularity? How can you avoid being ‘outside’ and looking in on the party?” The blurb on perspiration starts with: “Everyone perspires. The average person exudes from one to several quarts of perspiration every day.” It will come as no surprise that this was “Published in the interest of better grooming by the makers of Mum deodorant.”

It’s probably telling that my mother owned “Every Single Girl’s Drinking Diet” while she was married to my father. On the front cover: “Have parties made you pudgy? Get slim and trim for your special Him. Drink and eat your way to a smaller size.” Yeah, that works. The writer exults in the success of this diet as her social life picks up steam: “Guys are kissing me goodnight and wanting to go on from there.”

Then we have “Saucepans and the Single Girl.” The back cover says, “This cookbook is guaranteed to do more for the bachelor girl’s social life than long-lash mascara or a new discotheque dress.” A money-saving tip: “When it comes to glasses, don’t waste money on expensive ones--your inebriated guests will break them twice as quickly as early Woolworth stemware.”

The front cover of “How to Really Love Your Man” says that this is best accomplished “By being sexy and nice at the same time.” And that it’s important to know “When, why and how to surrender.” The photos are pretty steamy. Here’s a snippet of anatomical information: “Breasts aren’t just mammary glands, as we all know, because apes nurse babies fine without any. They’re pleasure-globes for both.”

But my absolute favorite is a little pink booklet entitled “How to Prepare Instant Air Force Wives - A Guide for the Wives of Junior Officers.” There’s an outline of a woman on the front cover with a wand being waved over her. The inside front cover features an illustration of a man in a suit stirring a large pot (the kind we associate with cartoon cannibals) with a huge open box next to it that says “Instant Air Force Wives - Just Add Seasoning.” Here’s a bit from Chapter III - Social Functions: “Formal Tea: Invitation is made on personal cards or semi-engraved cards. The formal tea is usually held in the late afternoon. There will probably be a receiving line. Wear a dressy afternoon dress with hat and gloves. Calling cards are not left at formal teas.” At the bottom of the page, there are some additional tips: “Calling cards! Do I need them? You’ve never mentioned them before. TURN to page 27.” -and- “I understand the clothing matters, but will this Air Force business turn me into an alcoholic?” Yes, my dear, it will.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Youth Vote?

Ohio is looking bleak for Kerry. I'm going to bed...since the alarm will go off in 4 hours.

Everything I'm reading indicates that young voters simply didn't turn out in the substantial numbers the Democrats had hoped for. If that turns out to be the case--and if Kerry loses (which is looking more and more likely)--I will find that very disheartening. If can only mean that young voters simply don't understand how much voting affects everything in their day-to-day lives. (sigh)

I hope the passion this election elicited in many people won't die...because if ever there was a time for passionate vigilance, it's now.

Monday, November 01, 2004

red beans and slot machines

It's growing late here in Atlantic Standard Time. We'll now spend the duration of our time in the islands being one hour ahead of the Eastern time zone. This means we have to get used to our favorite TV shows airing an hour later.

I've got C-Span on as they await Kerry and the Boss in Cleveland. I think Kerry's going to win...and by a wider margin than most people expect. Maybe I just choose to have faith that those who desperately want Bush out want that more than those who want to re-elect him. To all of my friends on the mainland: please, please, please vote tomorrow.

This is the most interest I've taken in a campaign in a long time. I know one thing: I'll feel a whole lot better about moving back to the mainland if Bush (and the Prince of Darkness) are out of office.

I've never volunteered on a presidential campaign. But I did get to ask a question of Clinton and Gore on live TV during the '92 campaign. I was housesitting my friend's place in Portland (I lived in the Bay Area at the time) while he and his band were on a 6-week summer tour opening for Steve Miller. One morning I was lying in bed in Portland and saw that "CBS This Morning" (or whatever it was called in those days) was going to host a town hall-type forum for Clinton and Gore. They asked viewers to send in questions. Well, I had plenty of time on my hands, so I fired off a question...and promptly forgot about it.

A few weeks later I got a call from a woman who was a producer for the show asking if I'd be willing to ask my question on-air. I said, "Um...I guess?..." So she told me to go to Powell's Books at an ungodly early hour on a specified date. They had a live studio audience and four or five cities hooked up via satellite, with a handful of questioners in each city. There were four of us in Portland: a minister, a member of the school board, a real estate magnet (I later learned...I thought he was just a sweet little Japanese man who happened to be sitting next to me) and me...the flaky one.

My question was about equal pay for equal work (an issue that still hasn't been corrected), but someone in the studio audience asked that question early on. During the second break in the show, the producer asked if any of us had an environmental question for Gore. I said that I did. (They had asked us to submit an alternate question.) It was entertaining to watch the behind-the-scenes action as the producers in various cities lobbied for "their" people to get on air. So they gave me an earpiece and the control room in N.Y. asked if I could hear them okay. They told me not to look at the monitor, but straight at the camera. (I had worked in television, so I wasn't completely retarded about what to do.) And then about 35 minutes into the show, I heard Paula Zahn say, "Well, the sun may not be up in Portland, Oregon, but Marilyn has a question for Senator Gore." And I stated/asked my question. The studio audience laughed--I'd thrown in a dig at Quayle's intelligence for good measure. I later saw Clinton on tape lean over toward Gore and ask, "What'd she say? I missed it." Gore just diplomatically smiled, and launched into an overly-earnest "Earth in the Balance" answer...


Boyfriend has dozed off on the couch. He's had a rather stressful evening. We spent about half an hour finishing his part of the filing--a project that we jointly tackled yesterday for a few hours. Then he went to work making phone calls and lining up song lists and musicians for a wedding he's scheduled to play on the 13th. He's stressed about it because he's covering for a friend whose gig it was (someone who's in rehab now), so he hasn't had a lot of prep time. And the bride has picked out 15 songs she wants played...during the ceremony! (That's not even taking into account playing for a few hours at the reception!) He came to the conclusion this evening that he may have to sing a few of the songs himself. He sings--he just hasn't in awhile, so he's feeling a bit rusty.

After we finished filing, I decided to tackle the cluttered mess that was atop our dresser. (I'm suddenly an organizing demon!) As I was preparing to do that, I saw him setting up the keyboard. I don't think he's touched it in at least a year. So there I was back in the bedroom de-cluttering and dusting and Windexing and feeling lulled by the lovely little ballad he was singing. I didn't recognize the song...but then realized it was because he was singing the same line of lyrics over and over, "If I have to sing...I will do it...." :)

Page Crawl v. 1.3

In honor of those tackling NaNoWriMo beginning today, a 'page crawl' this morning. If you're unfamiliar, it's where I pull a phrase or sentence from the same page of an assortment of books. This morning's is pulled from page 49:

Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know / the scent of one particular human being / take in every detail, asking for names…to link into elaborate genealogies / so this will be a happy story / her old life was behind her, as cleanly cut off as if she had taken a knife to it / it is good to be a little dumb when you want to write / hidden in us a dormant poet / how odd a blend of illusion and reality it all is / as big as life, then / a task undertaken only by gods and poets.