Jan 27 2010

To all the boys I’ve loved before

OK, that’s possibly a little misleading. Possibly a little very misleading. I’m no Kenny Rodgers, if you know what I mean. There haven’t been that many who have travelled in and out my door, if you know what I mean. I’ve loved many boys (and still do), but I haven’t luuuuved many boys, if you know what I mean. Cough. Cough. Good Catholic girl, etcetera, etcetera. And yet, and yet . . .

A couple weeks ago, I went out and kicked up a little dust with my girls on a Thursday night and long story short, I ended up calling some old buddies at three o’clock in the morning. You know, just to shoot the shit. First I called The Fox, then I called Devious Knickers and then I called Tartare. By some miracle, none of them picked up, and I left them each long and ludicrous voicemails. I talked and talked and talked until each of their respective phones cut me off. What can I say? Doctor Dash was working an overnight shift and I was bouncing around the house, snarfing Dutch Crunch Mesquite BBQ Chips and feeling chatty. I was in a state of mind that called to mind my old good time friends. I could have kept dialing, but after Tartare a seed of good sense took root and I switched gears and listened to some loud music with my cushy head phones. Like I said, I was bouncin’.

The next morning, over a woozy and funny breakfast with some of the aforementioned crazy girls, I happened to mention that I had called my buds in the wee hours and Nanook’s eyes bugged out at me just a little: You went home and drunk dialed two GUYS? There was no judgment in her voice – just surprise. It hadn’t even occurred to me that my calls might be deemed inappropriate by oh, I don’t know, like, the whole world.

I started pondering, because that’s what I do. Was it inappropriate for me, a married lady, to call two married guys at three a.m? (By the way, Doctor Dash is also friends with them – he has a separate and distinct but equally as important friendship as mine – but I knew them first – they are mine). What’s the litmus test for inappropriateness? What my mother would think? What their wives would think? The purity of my intentions? What The Fox and Devious Knickers think? What Doctor Dash thinks? What is the test?

And more importantly, WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE A TEST? They are my friends. Some of the most hilarious, trippy adventures of my life have happened to me with one or both of them at my side. London, Chicago, Southbend, Detroit, New York, Seattle, Key West and God knows where else. We’ve wandered and imbibed and woven miles of floating tapestries with our serpentine conversations, our peculiar observations and our extravagant laughter.

They are two of my favorite people in the world. They just happen to be men.

By mid morning, I had heard back from both of them. The Fox and I chatted on the phone and Devious Knickers and I exchanged a flurry of emails. They were amused by my ramblings, sounded happy to hear from me, if a little surprised at the late hour. It was great to catch up.

Since he is ever willing to indulge me in my musings, to delve into the shadowy crevices of human nature, to poke holes in the smooth fabric of convention and peek his curious little eyeball through, I wrote to Devious Knickers about the issue I’d been noodling since breakfast – why did I feel like, suddenly, the friendship that I had with them was no longer legitimate? No longer sanctioned. Devious Knickers responded: “And to get back to the issue of calling boys that aren’t your husband at 3:30 a.m, yes, you are right that there aren’t too many people who would understand what was at play there.” But isn’t it enough that we all knew what was at play there? I knew I wasn’t being shady and he knew I wasn’t being shady, so isn’t it ipso facto NOT shady?

And to take it one step further, aren’t we allowed to do what we used to do ever again? Eat, drink and smoke everything in sight and go on a crazy adventure in some strange place? There are socially acceptable reasons to see my college girls, but them? It seems like it just can’t happen anymore – not without chaperones. They are lost to me and I to them. We joked of going to Cairo. Exotic cafes with hookahs and belly dancers, delicious lemony mezze, dusty labyrinthian streets, bustling markets with shady characters beckoning and yelling over tables of gold, silk, and fruit. Oh, to go to Cairo!

And to be fair, I got to marry one of my adventure boys. We do go on adventures – I have that in my life, but I still miss those boys, those adventures, that freedom, that youth.

Doctor Dash, is an eminently fair guy, who understands my friendships and loyalties, the things that make me happy. He knows how I am about my guy friends because he was (and is) one of my guy friends. And he agrees that there is a double standard for old friendships based on gender. He agrees that it’s unfair. He agrees that it doesn’t make sense. But the standard is there nevertheless. We talked about the fact that he could jet off to meet up with them at any time, no questions asked. On the one hand I’d be happy that the boys I love are together, reenforcing and tending to old and valuable friendships. On the other hand, I would be bereft. I would feel so left out. So sad to be missing the fun.

To my surprise, he said: You could go to Cairo, but only if both of them went. Aha! Oho! I’ll take that! He is nothing if not fair, my Doctor Dash. Fox? Devious Knickers? What do you say? Cairo? Hulloooo? Hulloooloooloooo???

Just mulling anyway.

Just mulling – missing a vanished piece – wondering if it’s vanished forever.

Jan 24 2010

Boys on Ice

It all started out so innocuously. The time: after school. The scene: the minivan.

Saint James: Do we have anything going on tonight?

Me: Nope. We’re probably going to Punch Pizza later, but that’s it.

Saint James: Can I go down to the park to skate?

Me: Uhhhhhhhhh.

Saint James: I can go by myself. 

Me: Uhhhhhhhh.

Saint James: I can tie my own skates.

Me: Uhhhhhhhh. Uhhhhhhhh. OK. I guess. OK. You can tie your own skates?

And so, for the first time ever, I let my boy walk down to the park on his own. It’s not far. A couple blocks. But it’s out of eyeshot and as he smiled, proud as can be, and trudged off with his skates hooked on his hockey stick like a winter sports lovin’ hobo – I held my breath. And I went into full-on cartoon fantasy crazy head. I imagined slamming the door and running up the stairs to the second floor, then running up the stairs to the third floor, then opening a secret door and running up more and more and more stairs until I was in a super high teetering crows nest on top of our roof, from which I could see the park and my son’s little dark green jacket in the distance. I pictured scurrying back downstairs, opening the front door and pulling a telescope out of my pocket. With a shwooop sound it would extend down to the street, take a right and extend all the way to the park, my eyeball bulging out of the end of it, looking left and right, blinking. Ah, the modern conveniences of Looney Toons. How I wish.

The truth is, every fiber of my being (except for maybe one or two) knows that it’s absolutely OK for him to go the park to skate on his own. And not only is it OK, I think it’s good. For a couple seasons now, I’ve been loving the wilderness that is park pick-up hockey and all the lessons it has to teach.

Saint James is kind of shy, so the fact that he manages to nudge his way into games is surprising and makes me curious. Does he ask? Does he just sneak in and start playing? It’s all very mysterious to me.

He and Supergirl go down with Doctor Dash quite often, and sometimes Saint James comes back flushed and happy. Sometimes he comes back pouty and pissed off that the bigger kids weren’t passing to him. In a life of coached, closely supervised, highly taught, pre-packaged sports, he’s not used to being ignored. There’s always a coach with a whistle, making sure everyone gets a chance. Saint James doesn’t know his place in the pecking order. I don’t think he even knows that there is a pecking order. The way I see it, he should be happy to be on the ice with a bunch of older kids that don’t know him and his geeky snow pants from Adam. He just has to keep showing up and eventually he’ll break into this band of unruly ice rats who are too cool to wear jackets or helmets. Some of them don’t even wear gloves! Gasp! Where are their mothers?!

There’s the possibility that he’ll get roughed up, that some little punk a couple years older will say something mean and the thought of that just about slays me. There’s also the possibility that he’ll skate his face off, forgetting about school, piano and his mother. That the feral boy who’s in all our boys will get to come out and play. That his heart will pound and his lungs will ache and he will know no greater happiness than the present moment. I get that. I want that for him. So I let him go.

Jan 20 2010

Driven to Distraction by the Snack Action

616730_goldfish_crackerYesterday Nanook, Crackerjack and I headed downtown with our poor neglected, understimulated third born girls to MacPhail Center for Music for a Mom Culture event featuring Adam Levy. Adam Levy plays in a few bands around here, our favorite being Hookers and Blow. We had heard that he started a kid music band and thought it might be entertaining to see this guy do his thing for the kiddos. We’ve enjoyed some silly, dance-a-licious Hookers and Blow adventures and are trying to make up for the serious paucity of story times, music classes, and gymboree type shit that has been the fate of our thirds, so there we were.

Before he came on, there was a music class led by a hefty lady with a guitar. Seriously, is this an archetype for music teachers? The girls were not interested in her operatic crooning of Wheels on the Bus and within minutes I found myself outside of the auditorium digging through my purse for one of the three bags of Cheez Its I had brought with me. As I sat in a corner, I watched some well-scrubbed mommies packing up their elaborate snacks into little glass and stainless steel containers. As my daughter licked cheese dust off her fingers, the well-scrubbed mommies offered their toddlers another bit of edamame, a little more red pepper, just one more cube of tofu. Good God, I thought to myself peevishly. There was a time when I would have felt a tinge of inferiority at such a display of peripatetic culinary organization and motivation, but I have completely retrained my thinking and in a masterful feat of mind judo, I turn the tables and manage to feel superior. While they were chopping tofu into perfect little cubes, I had time to peruse all the dresses from the Golden Globes on line. Who’s the sucker? And then Nanook comes out in her sexy brown thigh high boots and tosses a package of fruit snacks on the table for her daughter and I realize that this right here is one of the reasons why we’re friends. (The fruit snacks, not the boots. Well, maybe the boots too.) Maybe the well-scrubbed mommies will become as lazy as we are someday. Maybe not. The point is, after all the switcheroonies took place, we shared a chuckle about the lovely cheese and fruit snack we had conjured out of our bags and went back to enjoy the show.

But I’m not always this blasé about snacks. In fact, I’m about to lose my shit over this whole snack business because Devil Baby is a relentless snacker. As someone who tends to eat in more of the boa constrictor mode – gigantic meals that leave you so stuffed you can’t even think about food until all of the sudden you are starving and ready for the next gigantic meal – I abhore being asked for food every twenty minutes. It just doesn’t seem to be a healthy habit to be thinking about food, much less eating food, with such frequency. I understand little kids need snacks, so I’ve gotten sucked in to the whole thing – especially since my particular little kid will NOT take “no” for an answer. I dole out snacks for peace. If I cut up an apple, she’ll stop asking for food, at least for a few minutes. If I say no, I will find her hooking up her carabiners and scaling the pantry shelves to help herself to some Oreos. So I give her a snack because at least that way, I get to pick what it is and I don’t find myself prying something unhealthy out of her death grip, or more often, just letting her have it.

Every night she sits with us at dinner, not touching a thing on her plate, and Doctor Dash listens patiently while I bitch: Uh, it’s obscene! She doesn’t eat a bit of protein! She eats crap and carbs all day long, she’s a dough girl, this is horrible! She’s not touching her food! Look how she’s not touching her food. It’s terrible! This has GOT to stop. I can’t stand it. She doesn’t eat a speck of meat! What the hell is wrong with her? Here, Devil Baby, one bite, here it’s dipped in mayonnaise, one bite. Arrrgh. Sweet mother of God I’m so sick of this! etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. This morning Doctor Dash sent me this article from the New York Times before he went to work and I devoured it with my coffee, muttering like a mad woman Yes, yes, yes!

The point of the article is that snacks are ubiquitious these days and heavens knows, no one is in danger of starving. At first when Saint James started playing soccer, I didn’t really care about the snack. It was our only activity and a rice krispy treat or a Kudos once a week seemed like no big deal. In fact, the first time some parents banned the snacks and juice I thought they were total buzz kills. This is childhood! Where’s the sugar? Where’s the sweetness for our perfect little angels? Well, people, I’ve come around. And then some. Those parents probably had older kids and had had their fill of watching their kids’ bulging-eyed fish faces as they frantically sucked down Capri Suns after every single game and every single of their siblings’ games. Obviously the kids are thirsty after a game, so those juice boxes are drained in an instant. That’s kind of gross. What’s wrong with the water bottle we dutifully schlep every time?

So I realize I’m veering around like a drunken old lady with my flower hat all akilter. On the one hand I scoff at the mommies with the super healthy snacks in pcb-free bento boxes. On the other hand, I would be happy if snacks and juice were banned from all sporting events from here on in. I just think we don’t need to be EATING all the time. It’s about DELAYED GRATIFICATION. The reason I bring snacks around now to a much greater degree than I did with Saint James and Supergirl is because, unlike my other kids, Devil Baby will kick my ass all over the soccer field if I don’t have something for her to graze on while the others play. I didn’t used to be this way. I’m not a Boy Scout by nature. I don’t like to plan ahead. That’s why I nursed my kids – zero prep, zero planning, just a little exhibitionism – that much I can handle. If we really find ourselves starving out in the world, we can always drive somewhere and get a bite, right? If I had packed snacks for the park every single time, how many ravenous hair raising drives to Galoonies for steak and cheese subs would we have missed out on? Practically all of them! And now that Galoonies is gone, I’m so glad we weren’t sitting in the sand eating carrot sticks all those times.

Today I was visiting a potential pre-school for Devil Baby for next year and the tour guide was describing snack time; she said they provide Club Crackers, Ritz Crackers, gold fish and the like and one of the other mothers raised her hand and asked: Are the snacks just crackers or do you include vegetables and protein? I couldn’t help myself. I had to turn around and take a look. And guess what!!! Sister didn’t look so svelte. Maybe she’s a music teacher. Or maybe someone should tell her that if her snack features all the basic food groups, it’s not a snack – IT’S A MEAL!!! 

Maybe that’s why my on-the-go snacks are so half-assed. I don’t really want to admit that I’m planning ahead – I want to pretend we are unfettered by and independent of the tyranny of food. If we happen to squeak by a morning without digging into the celophane, so much the better, no big deal, no harm – no foul, I can save it for the next time. But you better believe if I had boiled edamame or cubed tofu, I’d be busting that out before the first stomach rumble.

Food for thought.

Jan 17 2010

Chimichurri Rojo: A Sauce for Men.

sauceLast week I got an email from Chief Big Voice letting me know that he and Saucilicious made the short ribs and that they were WONDERFUL, that they are his new fave! Oh, joy! I simply cannot convey how much that warms the cockles of my heart. I know Chief Big Voice was more likely than the average bear to make the short ribs since he had eaten THE ORIGINAL SHORT RIBS that fateful night when he, Dash and I were all blown away by the mysterious alchemy of beef, savory liquids, time, heat and love. The fact remains, however, that so many lovely things needed to happen for me to get that email, to wit:

First of all, he had to go to the store, buy all his ingredients, come home, pull up my post, click on the link to the recipe and get down to the business of cooking. If I know Chief Big Voice, he didn’t follow the recipe exactly because he’s a little peevish about recipes too. He chopped and seared and made a gigantic mess of his kitchen and let the whole meaty business braise for hours upon hours, filling his house with delicious vapors. He let it cool over night, scraped off the layer of fat, re-warmed the ribs, made some sides, and Oh, Lordy, I could swoon, sat down to a beautiful and delicious meal with Saucilicious on a cold winter’s night in Pennsylvania. This is seriously almost, ALMOST as good as having sat down at the table with them and this vicarious pleasure is really what I have to settle for when my food peeps are spread all around the country. 

Second and more germanely, he had to read this blog. And this, my friends, is not something I can take for granted. The fact that anybody reads this blog is a source of wonder for me, but infinitely more so if you happen to own a penoose. I sort of understand why my lady friends might like to read, written out loud, what we’re all thinking and feeling. But the guys? I don’t know – it’s hugely gratifying to know that this place hasn’t become a parlour of motherhood, vaginas and sparkly things. Of pms, bitching and boots. Of poopy diapers, faux fur jackets and cookie recipes. Where am I going with this? Oh ya, I guess I am pleased I didn’t scare away any penooses. I guess I’m pleased to be more than a mommy blog, a lady blog. Maybe that’s peevish of me, but it’s true. 

So, thank you for reading, my brothers. It means the world to me. 

And as a token of my appreciation, I hereby bestow upon you my new obsession: red chimichurri sauce. It’s pungent and tangy and smoky and spicy and, dare I say it? MANLY. It’s meant for grilled meat, but let this lurk in your fridge long enough and you will discover what I did: it goes with anything meaty, cheesy, eggy, or fatty. In fact, right before I took this picture, I put a little in my bowl of chicken mushroom soup and it made it sooooo much better. The vinegariness just cuts through the fat and makes your plate sing and dance – it’s the Michael Jackson of sauces, only Thriller Michael, not pajamas and blazer Michael. This recipe is adapted from New World Kitchen by Norman Van Aken, which I’m told is a great cook book, but I wouldn’t know because this is the only thing I’ve made from it and probably the only thing I will make, which is fine because this sauce is more than well worth the price of the book.

So, as promised, Chief Big Voice, here it is. And for my brothers Golden and Maestro de Bife – this is going to kick your ass, hermanos, mark my words. Salt and Pepper Polymath, you will love and adore this and it just may send you bushwacking across the creek to give me a hug. Gear Daddy, Renaissance Man, Ivory Tickler, Ten Gallon and Pipes – you’ve had it, you’ve loved it, here’s the recipe, you’re welcome. Soul Daddy, this is right up your alley. Meester Panqueques, Tartare will fleeeep over this. San Flan, The Fox, Devious Knickers, Patriouk, Magnificent Bastard, Rip Van Techno, Irish Laddie and any other boys who may tune in from time to time, this one’s for you. Enjoy, fellas. I know you will.

Chimichurri Rojo Argentino

1/2 cup Spanish sherry vinegar

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1.5 tablespoons hot paprika (I used regular Hungarian paprika, mixed with Spanish pimentón and a little extra cayenne, but if you can find the hot, go for it)

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 bay leaf, broken in half

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

xo peevish mama

Jan 13 2010

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

alienWe’re having some veracity issues in our house. And I’ll give you a hint as to the crux of the problem: she made the alien finger puppet pictured above. Doesn’t he just look as guilty as sin? He’s currently residing in one of the plants on the kitchen window sill and more than once, as I ponder the sticky wicket of a fibbing child, my eyes meet his eye and he seems to know something I don’t.

It all started at the old house when I found a teeny tiny little bunny rabbit scrawled on the wall next to the stairs. Oh how I wish I had taken a picture. Devil Baby was far too young to have drawn it. Saint James seemed far too old to have taken a pen to the wall, so of course I suspected Supergirl. Keep in mind that this was a couple years ago, way before she became the girl graffiti artist she is today – although arguably the rabbit was the beginning of it all. I pointed at the rabbit and asked her if she had done it and her reaction surprised me. She denied it. But her denial was served up with gusto: two scoops of vehemence, topped with whipped sincerity and a sprinkling of indignation. I was instantly convinced by her wide-eyed reaction and stormed off to chew out Saint James. He in turn was so befuddled, so confused, so clueless that it became clear to me that I had been duped. I realized with a start that I had a little liar on my hands. It takes one to know one and I knew in that moment that she was a dangerous and formidable foe.

I shook my head in disbelief. It took me years and years of built up good will in the form of straight A’s, peppiness, responsible behavior, industriousness and all around goofiness to get my parents to the point where they would believe pretty much anything I said. And I didn’t really cash in until COLLEGE! And even then, I never actually lied to them, I just failed to mention certain things. Like taking their car to Mardi Gras. Um. Twice. And then there was that time that I went to Greece for a week by myself. I did send them a post card letting them know my whereabouts. I just waited until it was too late for them to object. And it’s not like they asked me if I took their car to New Orleans and I looked at them with giant shining unblinking eyes and slid a big fib sundae over to them which they gobbled up in an instant. No. My specialty was the omission. And I subspecialized in the overly complicated and farfetched white lie to protect someone’s feelings. But a bald faced cover your ass lie? ‘Fraid not. Four years old seemed so young to be so smooth. Danger Danger. It wasn’t that she lied. It was that she lied so well. We were going to have to be super crafty with this little one or she would be running circles around us by the time she was thirteen.

Fast forward to last week. Doctor Dash came up from the basement griping about finding the hand mirror and a tube of Cortaid with the top off on the basement rug. In most families you could probably narrow it down based on the Cortaid, but unfortunately, every one is kind of rashy right now and so it was anybody’s guess. Of course they all denied it, big to little. I’m ruling out Saint James because when questioned directly he crumbles like a house of cards. He’s no liar, my boy. Instead, he dips his head and confesses with such meek, hangdogness, such sincere regret that it takes all the wind out of your sails and you find yourself hugging him even though he just told you he broke the window. It’s an effective strategy, no doubt. Devil Baby could have tried to sooth an itch with the Cortaid, but I just can’t see her having had the forethought to take a mirror, all the better to see that hard to reach itchy spot. So that left Supergirl, but she wasn’t giving up the goods. 

And then a few days later someone took the cap off of my new nail polish and left it open. Prime suspect: Supergirl. Saint James was sleeping. Devil Baby couldn’t reach. Again, the big eyes. The look of shock. The swearing and heart crossing and inscrutable face. I gave her my good cop bad cop routine, switching back and forth like Sybil, trying to knock her off balance, but she’s nimble as a cat. And she seems to know that as parents, we have an absolute horror of a false accusation. So in that sliver of a doubt she finds her foothold – her safe spot. As long as I can’t prove anything and as long as she doesn’t crack, we are stuck in an uneasy stalemate. 

As if coming full circle with the residential graffiti, a couple days ago we found Devil Baby’s name written backwards on the bathroom blinds. Devil Baby can write most of the letters in her name, but certainly not backwards. Obviously it was the work of the Mad Scribbler, but we can’t prove it. I even tried the whole freaky witchy I can tell when you’re lying, I can see it, I can sense it! But obviously it only takes one successful lie to sink that claim. I also tried some good old fashion Catholic guilt – lying is a sin, right? I can’t remember. Nada. She’s a tough nut to crack. But crack her we will. And if we can’t crack her, we’ll just keep reminding her we are totally wise to her ways. Ya, that’s good. We’re onto you, Supergirl. We can’t do anything about it, but we’re onto you.

By the way, this penchant or skill or foible or whatever you want to call it comes from my brother, Golden – a master whopper teller and ass coverer. A master. Man oh man, are we in for it.

Jan 11 2010

Night stretches.

enchanted-forest-img_3617a-webEver have one of those mornings when your kids look perceptibly bigger? Like they yawned and stretched and grew in the night? But why? Did they travel to exotic lands in their dreams? Haggle with heathens? Ride magic carpets? Stumble over sand dunes, flushed and breathless? Did they sail over treacherous seas, fending off pirates and sea creatures and ravenous sharks? Did they swing on vines, outrun avalanches, leap over volcanos, their limbs pounding and reaching, strong and long? Or did they sleep the sleep of mummies, of poisoned beauties – immobile, deep and impossibly dark? Footie pajamas are so telling. One minute they’re baggy. The next – taut at a drum. They must grow every night. Every hour. Every minute. But some nights, I swear, they grow more.

Jan 9 2010

Janelle Monae – my kind of freaky girl.

janelle monaeDo you guys know her? She first appeared on my radar screen last year when I was reading some stuff about South by Southwest, but digging deeper in the last weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that she is totally swoonworthy. In fact, I think I may have a bit of a girl crush. She’s amazing. Take a look here. Credited with inventing cybersoul, she really is a futuristic diva.  At the same time, she’s sort of retro. She reminds me of Santigold but where Santi steps back to the eighties, Janelle Monae is all about the fifties – she takes me back to an era of buttoned up glamour and supper clubs. She’s a little Eartha Kitt, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, Lauren Hill, Grace Jones and Jane Jetson. Totally original. She’s androgynous, freaky and robotic, yet manages to be sultry, feminine and completely badass. She’s been signed by Puffy on his Bad Boy label, so you know she’s going places. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Jan 8 2010

Doctor Dash goes nocturnal.

Bush_Baby_fsAnd I’m afraid he’s going to start looking like this before too long. Actually, he already does kind of look like this. As of last night, he has started working a 10 pm to 7 am shift. He should have more time off and it’s only for a year, so we’ll see how it goes. We’ll have to work extra hard to stay in sync, since we won’t even have our circadian rhythms to take for granted. In that spirit, we got a sitter and are heading to a 4:45 yoga class. Nearly the end of my day and nearly the beginning of his. My wine will be his coffee. My coffee will be his sleepy time tea. Last night I watched him shave at 8:30 pm, my heart in a small knot. Yep, we’ll see how this goes.

Jan 7 2010

Hitching a ride out of Funky Town.

Let’s not mince words. I’m in funk. A thoroughly funkified funkmaster funkty dumpty funkalicious funkafreaky funk. I feel like I’m looking at the world through the musty living room curtain of a nonagenarian smoker, my thoughts veering wildly from: mother fucking mother fucker it’s colder than a mother fucker in this mother fucking god forsaken ice hole of a bung hole of a place, to the decidedly more upbeat and pithy: What’s the point of anything? To make matters worse, it also seems I can’t write my way out of a paper bag. In a classic chicken and the egg quandry, I don’t know if I can’t write because of the funk, or if I’m in the funk because I’m not writing. As frivolous and silly as this blog may be, I must admit that it does bring me some pleasure and even a measure of peace from time to time, so the yawning silence of my keyboard has got me down. In the dumps. In the dumptastic, dumpgusting, dumptopia, dumptragic, dumpster diddy dumps. Speaking of dumps, that last post, the one about winter, I felt like a constipated old woman (yes, the one with the dirty sheer curtains) hell bent on taking a huge dump only to squeeze out one unsatisfying, measly, rock hard pellet. I know that’s gross. Sooooo gross. So so so gross.

But look, can’t you tell I’m feeling better already? 

Actually, the reason I’m feeling better is that yesterday I got to take in a double feature of girl love. First there was a tasty riotous lunch at Blackbird Cafe with Nanook, Birdie and Pretty Young Thing for a belated celebration of Crackerjack’s birthday. Two bottles of wine would barely begin to wet the whistles of this crew after sundown, but tucked into a cozy table in the middle of the day with no kids, it felt deliciously decadent and before long we were shrieking and chattering like a tree full of crazed baboons. It was lovely. A total breath of fresh air. Happy Birthday CJ!

And then last night as a few of us were lingering at Lady Biker Babe’s house after book club, my funk was detected. They are nothing if not astute, this bunch. They are nothing if not fixers, this bunch. They can sniff out and snuff out a funk a mile away. I mentioned my writer’s block and the fact that I can’t seem write my way out of a paper bag. Actually, I don’t think I used the words “paper bag” at all, but bear with me, I’m trying my hardest to stay away from the dump metaphor. Instead of poopooing the paper bag, they saw the paper bag. They nodded, quietly acknowledging the paper bag and then without a lot of fanfare, Lady Shutterbug handed me some pinking shears. Then Lady Homeslice used her socked foot to slide a nail file in my direction over the couch cushions. On her way out the door, Lady Doctah Poodle wrapped my fingers around some knitting needles. Lady Tabouli (whom I’m temped to rechristen Lady Rollergirl after a story I heard last night – she gets to pick) palmed me a tiny switchblade and Lady Biker Babe tossed a lighter in my lap. I don’t remember anything specific that anyone said, I just know that in their own way they were helping me fight the funk. They were helping me fight my way out of the paper bag.

So, what else can I do but just try, right? What else can any of us do? But. Just. Try.

Jan 5 2010

Winter:1, Us:0

For now, anyway. We’re in a bone deep freeze here in Minnesota, and have been for over a week now. It’s the kind of cold that seriously roughs you up when you dare step outside. It smacks your cheeks, takes a punch at your chest, and then frisks your entire body with icy fingers – a cheeky bully trying to find a way in, past the layers of goose down, fleece and wool. The only good thing I can say about this kind of sustained cold is that when it finally breaks, ten degrees, twenty degrees suddenly feels like open coat weather. As the days grow longer by barely perceptible increments, scarves will hang loosely around impervious necks, gloves will be stuffed into coat pockets, and jackets will litter the edges of outdoor ice rinks as we go about our business in the kind of weather that would keep most reasonable people inside clutching mugs of tea. We may cringe and scurry now, but our blood thickens, our flesh adjusts, we set our jaws until we’re able to take a swipe back at old man winter – beating the dirty bastard at his own game with the fire in our bellies. We are warriors and we know our time is nigh. Bam. Pow. Thwack. Aaarghhh. 

Of course the SIX gallons of WHOLE milk that I bought by accident (don’t ask) should help matters. Have you had whole milk on your cereal lately? It’s freakin’ delicioso. Bring on the winter blubber. KAPOW!

And Happy Birthday to my dad, Lelo, who today is 65 and fabulous! How many guys do you know who can do this – at any age?lelo

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