Feb 20 2010

Hip Hop Lent

santiSaint James came home from school declaring that he was giving up hip hop for lent. Except for one song per day.


We are not raising good Catholics.

I must admit I felt a little better when he told me that Ava is giving up looking in the mirror.


Feb 19 2010


I opened up my comments today to find the following:

“I am very sorry I did not pay attention to you when I was in 5th grade. It only had to do with the fact that girls were not on my mind. I do miss Way School and the simpler times of life. I am glad that I could be of help with the frog.”

The comment is from none other than – are you ready for this? Jeff freaking Borglin!!! My fourth grade crush! I wrote about him in a post last year about falling in love with music and in my infinite naivete, it didn’t occur to me that this post could somehow land right in his lap. But it did. And he has reached across a span of thirty years to what, WHAT? Apologize for having ignored me when I was at dawn of my ugliest awkward stage and the high noon of my goofiest annoying stage? Who can blame the poor guy? Certainly not me.

Of course, I can think of no better surprise than to google my name (not that I’d ever do that) and discover a luscious little memoir piece written by some boy from my past, but he is not me. I cannot even begin to imagine what he thinks about all this business, let alone whether he even remembers me! His message is so terse and spare, he gives nothing away. Jeff freaking Borglin!!! JEFF FREAKING BORGLIN!!! (Notice I will hereinafter refer to him exclusively as “Jeff freaking Borglin” to thwart any further google searches. So crafty.) 

The more I think about it, the more humiliating this is. I could DIE! And by die, I mean in the fourth grade way, not the fast approaching middle age way. Incidentally, this is why I would never join Facebook. Obviously I’m not cut out for these kinds of blasts from the past. This is almost as embarrassing as the time I wiped out in front of his house whilst trying to do a dance routine on my bike to the song Electric Avenue. Almost

Ever the sceptic, Doctor Dash reminded me that it could be a trick. But there appears to be a legitimate email address and he used the proper appellation for our school. Moreover, who of my friends would go so far back into my archives? And wouldn’t said trickster have posted something a little, uh, juicier? Such as: I remember you, Peevish Mama, so many years ago, so beautiful in your powder blue moon boots that didn’t match your tan and navy ski jacket, which your mother told you, but you didn’t care about because you wanted those boots so bad. No, wait. Strike that. How about: I remember you, Peevish Mama, so many years ago, so lovely in your powder blue moon boots. It was only the paralyzing potion of love and fear that kept me from talking to you at the bus stop, but oh, how I wish I’d had the words to turn your sweet face in my direction. Every single day of my life, I regret not having beckoned you out of the bushes behind my house where you and your friend used to spy on me while I watched TV. And when you fell on your cool bike, it took all of my strength to stand on my lawn with my mouth agape and my football in my hand when all I wanted to do was to run to you, cradle you gently in my arms and croon the remaining verses of Electric Avenue in your ear.  Right? People, am I right? THAT might be suspicious.

I think it’s him. I do. 


Feb 15 2010

Hey, hey, hey! I got a gig!

baconfaceAnd by the way, that “hey, hey, hey” is pronounced à la Duane from the beloved late seventies sitcom, What’s Happening!!  Don’t ask questions. It just is. So, I’m just a smidge excited to share this news with you. I got my first “real” piece of writing published over at Simple Good and Tasty this morning and I’m all a’ dither. Simple Good and Tasty is an online foodie mag based in the Twin Cities dedicated to promoting local, sustainable and organic foods and the people who produce them. I know! LOVE! Of course, I dig their mission, but I also dig their approach. They don’t seem to take themselves too seriously and they obviously love food. Kinda like me!

I have Lady Shutterbug to thank for pointing me in the right direction when they were looking for writers. First I sent them links to a few of my posts from Vittles, which got me through the first hoop. They invited me to write a spec blog post for them and I hemmed and hawwed and almost didn’t do it because I just couldn’t bring myself to write a well researched “straight” piece. Finally, I just wrote what I wanted to write and lo and behold, they actually went for my particular flavor of crazy! Check it out here and feel free to leave lots of comments so they think they’ve hired someone really famous and special! Just kidding. No, not kidding, do it. Heh, just kidding. No I’m not. Yes I am. No.

The picture is from my bio for the website and if you’re wondering whether I ate that bacon, the answer is – of course.

Feb 14 2010

Les chemins du désir.

I am absolutely besotted with this concept. Coined by French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard, it loosely translates to pathways of desire. It’s the worn paths of hard packed dirt that naturally occur when people repeatedly find the most compelling (or shortest) way to get from point A to point B.

Do you remember? Do you remember all the paths of desire on your old schoolyard? The well loved artery from the merry-go-round, where you’d spin and spin until you felt sick, to the small clearing at the edge of the woods where you could lie in the leaves and squint through your lashes at sky and an impossible tangle of black branches? It’s the path a child is likely to take, or a dog.

Sometimes, the shortest, most logical route is stamped in concrete and we know nothing of a path of desire. And sometimes, the concrete does not suffice and our feet are impelled to cut through, veer off, bisect swaths of land, following an intangible rationale not accessible to city planners and engineers. It’s just so romantic. It’s the intersection of geometry and emotion – like frown lines, laugh lines.

Right now, with the snow covering all the sidewalks and paths, there are chemins du désir everywhere. Down by the creek in front of our house, the snow is padded down in patterns that don’t match up to the cement walks I know to be underneath. Come spring, we well-behaved Minnesotans will take to the pavement and forget all about the blanket of snow that innocently gave us the freedom to follow our heart’s desire.

For a poetic exploration of les chemins du désir in the beleaguered city of Detroit, check out this post over at Sweet Juniper.


Feb 13 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day

cupidIt may come as a surprise to you, but I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t consider it to be a Hallmark holiday construed to torture lonely hearts, purge the sappy and guilt ridden of their hard earned pennies and replenish the candy coffers of children. Instead I take Valentine’s Day to be a simple and pure celebration of love. What’s better than love? And if you are lucky enough to be in love, why not have a day where the red carpet is unfurled for all sorts of showy and not so showy demonstrations of that love? Why not wallow in cupids, hearts and flowers for just a day, without feeling sheepish, without feeling cynical? Why not be a little flamboyant? A little racy? A little cheesy? Why not?

Valentine’s Day happens to be a quasi anniversary for Doctor Dash and me. In February of 1992, after five months of friendship and on again off again more-than-friendship, I finally stopped my senseless running and over-thinking. I stopped being cavalier about my friend’s feelings. I stopped ignoring the fact that if there were a hundred people at the keg party, Dash was the one I always wanted to talk to. I stopped. With Dash. And I thank my lucky stars he stood still long enough for me to run around like the fool girl I was and then find my way back. 

♥ ♥ ♥

Last night, our sitter comes at 5:00 so we can go to the wake for Circus Lady’s dad. As I look at a beautiful board of old photos, her mom and dad so young, stylish and happy, I feel my heart contract. How can it be, that you can love someone almost your entire life only to have them ripped away from you? What is she going to do now? How will she live, with her other half, her life’s partner, gone? It’s too much, I wail to Doctor Dash in the car. What’s the point of this short wretched life? There is so much suffering, it’s over so fast, WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT? For twenty minutes we plunge in deep as we race to our next destination. We question the logic of despair and human suffering, the need for faith, our lack of faith, how the existence of an after-life seems like such an easy palliative, how incredible it is that as humans we still don’t know, we don’t really know what happens after we die or whether there is a God. In our car, hurtling through the dark, I feel like we’re careening into the yawning, impenetrable depths of life’s greatest mysteries. And then Dash says simply: I think the point is love.   

With all of this churning in my chest, we grab our mats and walk into the yoga studio for Crackerjack’s special Valentine’s class and there she is in her red shirt, with her arms open for a hug. She’s got wine chilling and a table set up for appetizers for after class. She’s greeting people, making sure everything is just so, fluttering around with that anticipatory energy that is so uniquely her. Renaissance Man is helping her, quietly lighting votives all around the studio, being the man behind the woman (and if I’m not mistaken, having a pre-yoga glass of wine, but I can’t be sure). All of this I take in as a sensation, through tear blurred eyes. Mindfully, excitedly, and with open hearts they are preparing something special, for others. And boy does that class lift my spirits and settle my angst. By the time Doctor Dash is able to peel me away from my friends and the wine, I’m feeling positively bouyant, peaceful. And a little drunk. 

It’s ten o’clock so we rush over to Barbette, one of our fave haunts. I watch Doctor Dash get out of the car and check the meter. He’s the details guy, the responsible one. When I’m with him I’m free to not pay attention to where we’re going, not carry money or keys, chatter aimlessly, make silly observations, daydream. I stand on the chilly sidewalk, dusted white with salt and frost, and wait for my friend, my love, of eighteen years.

Love is the point.

Feb 12 2010

Cruel world just keeps on spinning.

In the last twenty or so hours:

I find my thoughts hovering around my friend, Circus Lady, who is grieving for her dad. I made her soup. What else can I do?

I hear of Alexander McQueen’s death. A fashion designer I have only admired from afar, way out of my reach in every way, but he was only 40.

I spend the darkest hours of the night awake, reading by the light of my phone. The last time I checked the time it was nearly four o’clock a.m.

My youngest daughter pushes me to the brink, no, beyond the brink on the way to school. I yell and say things I regret. I am left feeling like a rung out dishrag, ashamed at myself for my rage and lack of self control.

My cleaning lady tells me she’s pregnant. She is one day older than me and is giddy and scared as any woman pushing forty would be at such unexpected news. It’s all right there, written on her face. I notice we are both standing with our hands clasped in front of our hearts. A gesture of joy? Surprise? Supplication?

I try and fail to find a red fez for Supergirl and I am disproportionately sad about it.

I am too tired for this day.

Feb 11 2010

Seriously, y’all.

I did it again. I frickin’ frackin’ did it again. I wedged my minivan in a mesa of snow right in my Goddamn driveway. Does this sound vaguely familiar? Hmmm? That would be because I have done this before. TWICE. You might have read about it here. But this time, I am really truly disgusted with myself. This time, I am really truly having serious doubts about my intelligence level. Serious, serious, doubts.

We’ve gotten a bit of snow over the last few days. Nothing crazy. Yesterday the plows went through, leaving a pile of snow about two feet wide and one foot high across the driveway. As I approached, I somehow forgot that my minivan is basically the basset hound of cars, and when it snows it’s like a basset hound on roller skates. It’s amazing how many thoughts can flash through one’s mind in the split second it takes to make a really bad decision. So many thoughts, so little help: I never got stuck in the driveway last winter, surely I won’t get stuck now. Actually, better not try this, I might get stuck. But the snow is super powdery. I’ll bust right through like a car commercial. Or maybe I should park in the street. I might get stuck. But what a pain to carry the groceries an extra thirty feet. I’m going for it.


. . .


What made me think I could Dukes of Hazzard it across that snow, I have no idea. But I gunned it. All the better to lodge my van in real good. Like Boss Hogg’s fat knuckles stuck in an olive jar. And so there I was. Stuck. Again. I took Devil Baby inside, set her up with some cartoons and came back out cursing a blue streak with a hockey stick in one hand and a shovel in the other. I peered under the car and it was as I suspected. I had no choice but to loosen and push away the snow trapping my chassis. And there’s that word again. Chassis. I haven’t even thought of the word since the last time my chassis was impaled on an iceberg in front of Blooma Yoga. Incidentally, a hockey stick is the tool of choice for this particular type of excavation. A shovel is useless for getting under the car. Being an experienced chassis dislodger, I pulled out a floor mat so my knees wouldn’t freeze, but I eventually ended up completely prostrate, digging on my stomach, and finally my back. I dug for a good hour, making my way around the car, shedding layers and huffing and puffing as I went. My arms felt like feeble noodles and I was sweating buckets when I collapsed onto my back for a moment’s rest, squinting through my sunglasses at the clear blue sky. It was warm and quiet – I could almost make myself believe I was lying on a beach in Florida, except that, in actuality, I was lying in the street in the sludge next to my minivan in Minnesota. Fuuuuuuck, I wailed, cursing myself for the thousandth time. Fuuuuuuuuck! I heard a polite throat clearing and a little Are you stuck? I leapt up to see an older couple standing on the sidewalk with their dog. I dusted the snow off my shoulders, put on my best neighborly smile and assured them that I would be ok. What the hell were they going to do, anyway? At that moment Big Red (she is not big, but her son calls her Big Red, so who am I to pass up such a great nickname?) ran out of her house. She made the Popeye arms at me and insisted on giving me a push, so I relented and got in the van, careful to put it in reverse. And wouldn’t you know it, Big Red and the old man got me out. Goddamn if they didn’t get me out.

Feb 5 2010

Supergirl wants a red fez.

I’m not sure why, but I know she wants one. She’s been googling the shit out of it for weeks and now this:

fezShe sure looks happy with that red fez on her head. Almost bewildered, like she can’t believe her luck. I’ll admit, it’s an effective strategy. But do I want my daughter running around in a red fez? I mean, she’s already kind of monkey-like. What next, a pint size Sgt. Pepper suit? A tiny organ? I’ll pretend to ponder the notion while I search high and low for a child-size red fez, because, now I can think of no better Valentines gift.

Feb 1 2010

The Sensual Dough Man

I know it’s not cool to judge anyone in yoga. It’s not even cool to look at anyone in yoga, but you know what? The Sensual Dough Man was asking for it. Last week I went with Lady Roller Girl aka Lady Tabouli and we made the mistake of putting our mats next to the most undulating man I’ve ever seen in my life. As we waited for class to begin, he took himself through the most dramatic porno-esque cat and cow series I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously, that kind of spinal curvature is best saved for the boudoir. His shirtless, clammy, pasty white bod just wouldn’t quit writhing in my peripheral vision and try as I might to ignore him, I couldn’t. I was relieved when Lady Rollergirl came back from the bathroom and blocked him from my view a bit. Lest any of you guys start to feel sheepish about your yoga warm ups, do NOT worry. There is no way you could do this if you tried. And yesterday I went to yoga at a different studio, hoping to sweat out some of the alcohol from the dance party and some of the nitrates from my morning bacon binge and who was there in all his fleshy glory? Yep. Fool me once . . . I put my mat as far from him as possible. There was no way I was going to get sucked into his business again. But I did. Oh, did I. And this time I had to peer around twenty people to catch a glimpse. How annoying.

Normally I don’t have any problem tuning people out at yoga. I don’t look at anyone. I certainly don’t judge anyone. If I ever go with Doctor Dash or run into a friend I have a certain warm awareness that they are there, but that’s it. Once I saw a mole on the sole of a woman’s foot and I was half tempted to tell her to get it checked out, but I didn’t because she was kind of bitchy and also had the look of someone who is no stranger to the dermatologist, if you know what I mean. Plus, what do I know? Right? I shouldn’t have said anything, right? Ug. Now I wonder.

In any event, it’s such a funny thing to come across a character who jars you right out of your sweaty zen moment, right out of adulthood for that matter, and takes you back to feeling like a jeering middle schooler. The Sensual Dough Man makes me feel wicked and twelve. What is wrong with me? What is this sick fascination? It’s like he needs his own soundtrack. Dare I admit that I am secretly loving being grossed out by him? I thought I was finished being the bitchy youngster. Apparently not.

I’m really going to have to grow up and get over this because apparently, he likes yoga as much as I do. Ommmmmmmm.

Feb 1 2010

Oh my.

ballApparently, in order to find the dancers, the people who just can’t help themselves, you simply have to throw a dance party.

At one point, I opened my eyes and saw a bunch of people dancing with their eyes closed. And with sooooooo many witnesses.

It was truly unfettered. Un. Fettered. UNFREAKINGFETTERED.

Is there anything more satisfying than just dancing your balls off? With your eyes closed?

Didn’t think so.

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