Friday, April 29, 2011

hip hip hooray for w and k


Historically Donald will be remembered, if he's remembered, as a low-class douchebag with a tumbleweed comb-over and a mouth like an anus, a circus barker/wheeler and dealer. But he obviously doesn't pay much attention to history. Baratunde Thurston puts it into perspective.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

African Dance Parade for Girls

For Morgan and Darla and for Brandy, Amy and Erin and all their girls,
This song makes me want to have an African Dance Parade.

Harry and Sallys

We got a new pet. Well, two new pets. I was hassled and bothered and I finally broke down. What is it with Harry and reptiles? Are all boys like this? It started off with him wanting a snake. Believe it or not his begging lasted almost a year when my saying, “I will never have a snake inside my house” for the 600,000th time finally sunk in. He was wearing me down a little with his argument that he was born the year of the snake and therefore had to have one. “People born during the year of the snake are deep. They say little and possess great wisdom. They never have to worry about money. They are determined in whatever they do and hate to fail. They are intense and passionate”. Hmmmm, but then I thought that snakes have to eat live animals and I snapped out of it.
We did have turtles: Terts, Studs and Forehead (the last named after Mo’s old fish) and they survived for 3 years despite my miserable complaining about cleaning their stinky tank every other week (ok every month). Then we let them go in Echo Park lake in a sad but hopeful ceremony. Yes I cleaned the tank, just like I walk the dogs (mostly) and feed them and wash them and call for the cat from the porch in my pajamas at 11pm every night.
Then Harry wanted a tarantula (not a reptile but in the same section of the pet store) then a chameleon, then a dragon lizard, then a gekko (I actually made him sign an agreement for that one “I will not say the word gekko in this house, ask Mom for one, or use the word in an abstract way for 4 entire months in a row and Deirdre will agree to buy one for my birthday”. That didn’t happen.
Then we took a visit to the pet store down the street in our neighborhood. They sell mostly fish, but every once in a while they have a cage filled with bunnies (No!) and greasy green birds that sit on a branch (uh-uh). But about a month ago we found some salamanders. And they weren’t bad! They live on land and water! They didn’t smell! They have a great name that’s fun to say! So I said if you earn the money, and pay for them entirely on your own, and sign a contract to feed them and clean the tank no exceptions, then we will get them.
He cleaned Josh’s entire yard, washed Victoria’s car, cleaned out Leslie’s refrigerator and helped Dallas load up his car with music equipment ($5 tip!) and he even walked the dogs and made his bed every day for a week.
And here they are: Paul and Steve. Steve looks pissed in that photo because it was before we found out he was a she. Now she's called Stevie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Immature Impulses

I don’t know how or why this has started happening but lately every time I talk to a woman, be it my sister, best friend, nurse or random lady in the post office, I stare at their boobs. What the hell is going on? I can start off ok, but within seconds my eyes start to wander downwards, I can feel it as it’s happening and I have no control over it whatsoever. It’s like there is a 13-year-old boy inside my head whispering: boobs, boobies, big breasts, titties, and I have to look. It’s gotten so bad that I anticipate it during a conversation and try to compensate by staring directly into their eyes like I’m hypnotized, and then the angel and devil pull up chairs by the ringside and start in:

“Go on kid, have a look.

Don’t do it, Deird, it makes you seem really immature and well, weird.

They’re just boobs, kid, go on they’re meant to be looked at.

It sends the wrong message, don’t do it.

Just check em out, you know you want to.”

My eyes just shake downward once, and the devil jumps up, arms raised: Yes!

Alarms go off, confetti falls.

I don’t know what to do about this. It has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with my own awkward and juvenile tics. It’s like I’m sabotaging myself in social situations. And yet I do it even with my own sister, a person I don’t ever feel self-conscious around. I think it may have started after my father went into the hospital, I’ve recently had to see him naked on an almost daily basis and maybe in order to deal with that horrifying fact in a dignified way, I had to hip check my immature impulse into another arena.

I have to talk to women, I have meetings and exchanges where I want to appear sane and in control of myself. Should I just make a statement about my tic? Get it out in the open? Or do I pretend it's not happening? I think I'm doomed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

But Still

Yesterday I was walking through the parking lot at the grocery store, really I was staggering I was so tired, and it was already 6:30 pm and when I got home I still had to walk the dogs, make dinner, help with homework and help Darla with an audition. I hadn’t gotten much writing done and had been with my father all afternoon, I just found out my bank account was in the double digits and there was a Dodgers game going on which meant I had to sit in traffic. I was thinking about how I had to figure out how to reschedule my jury duty which I had just skipped, twice, and also decide if I was going to do community service to pay a traffic ticket fine or figure out a way to come up with $650. As I headed back to my car where Darla and Harry were still battling because Darla was practicing her song/audition and Harry was begging her to stop(ie telling her she sucks), some lady with brown hair and sunglasses cruised by me in a new black BMW and said Hi and then kept going. I looked for a second, long enough to realize I had no idea who she was, and as she passed I noticed she had Pennsylvania tags, which is where I’m from, as I turned to look again she put the car in reverse (actually she was in the passenger seat, some guy with a baseball cap was driving) and said Hi! Hey, yes hi, I’m a psychic and I see a lot going on around you, do you have a minute to talk.


This is the part in the movie where the frame freezes and the narrator, who may or may not be the main character, tells you that the tired woman carrying a grocery bag with 2 cans of cat food is a sucker for magicians, psychics and coincidences and not only believes in their power, but depends on them to help her in times of trouble, even though the odds are almost entirely against this ever happening. Already, the narrator continues, two seconds in to this exchange, this woman with the cat food is thinking:oh my god something horrible is going to happen, IhavepreviouslybeentoldI’msurroundedbyablackcloud. Whatnow? AmIgoingtojail? AmIdying?

I say to the BMW lady: I really don’t have time right now but yes I would like to talk. Do you have a card?

No, I don’t (and I have to add that she shook her head sadly in a “It’s now or never babe” sort of way)

Well I have to say no then, my kids are in the car right now.

And she just pulled away slowly like she was in a funeral procession.

I wanted to run after her but I was terrified. In rapid succession, I had the following thoughts: what the hell am I carrying around. You know, my mouth turns down, especially when I’m tired or thinking, and people who don’t know me always think I’m sad or burdened, but I’m not, oh my God, it’s just my mouth. What’s wrong with me? Something horrible is about to happen. Just the appearance out of the blue!...she approached me! And on and on in the period of 10 seconds until finally I heard something sensible: how hard could it be to find a person who looks like she has “a lot going on” in a supermarket parking lot at 6:30 on a weekday night?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friendly Skies

I flew by myself for the first time in 8 years this past weekend. It felt both weird and completely normal. I knew I had fewer people and bags to manage, but I didn’t spend time thinking about why or how it was strange. I was completely in the present. At first. I got in one line after the next basically like a person without a fully functioning brain or heart: line, moving, license, shoes off, grey box, computer out, xray, walk, boxes, rolling, grab. Then I look up, see Starbucks and it starts all over.

On the plane I sat in between two people: fat lady window, skinny man aisle. Both of them had their heads turned, eyes closed. I suspected they were faking but I scooted by the man and tucked myself in to the seat. About three hours in to the flight, the fat lady says “Donny, get me some water” and Donny gets up and does as he is told. Married! They didn’t say another word the entire flight. I turned my head and stared: first at one, then at the other. All the thoughts and opinions that I had so neatly closed away in my head for the purpose of traveling came thunking and clattering out: what is going on here, people? Is it really that bad? Why don’t you sit in different rows? Why don’t you sit next to each other? You might die!?

Suddenly I was traveling with a crowd again. Only they were all inside my head.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tiny Little Person

My Dad has not been sleeping at night lately so usually when I come visit in the morning he is passed out. He’ll open one eye, say hiya, and then go back to what looks like a sound deep sleep, his chest rising and falling, his mouth open, a little snore. I stare at him, at the tiny veins in his nose and the lines in his neck, the unshaved cheeks and the wide puffy fingers, and I’m reminded of staring at my children the same exact way when they were first born. What a wonder they were, perfect and beautiful, sweet and soft, tiny little people. I remember catching myself and asking, how long have I been sitting here staring?

Of course it’s different with my Dad, my mind goes backwards not still or forward, and he’s no where near as smooth and sweet-smelling, but there is the same wonder: who is inside of that body and what will it do next.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Happens When I Try To Follow A List

(the screen is supposed to be black so just listen while you read)

Last night my Dad and I were talking about the paths your mind starts to take when you have so much time on your hands. It's not a good thing, especially if you're in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. We laughed about this. Nervously. I told him that he needs to make a list and check off each thing as he does it so that he doesn't stray into dark territory. My sister Brandy is a master of this, she writes a list every day and follows it. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you make a plan. I know that sounds so obvious and yet it's one of the hardest things for me to do.

This song starts with the same sound as the chime of a grandfather clock that my grandparents used to have in their living-room. (It went off at every quarter hour. I can remember being sick in bed, hearing the clock and thinking it's only been 15 minutes???) Then there is the brief gogo crazy musical intro, and then the quick zag into...RIDICULOUS(and by that I mean, FANTASTIC) SINGING! It seems like the perfect soundtrack to what happens when I try to organize my day. I can only have a plan, for so long before I start to veer off it.