Wednesday, August 31, 2011


In honor of my broken computer and the night before my birthday, I'm reposting my experience at the Spa.

I recently soaked myself in a giant swirling bath of mugworts tea with three Korean women and a 70-year-old granny. Does that sound weird? It was supposed to be cleansing. It made me a little dizzy, though I’m not sure if it was my toxins being released or the shame I felt trying not to stare at everyone’s privates. I closed my eyes but that only raised the volume of my interior narrator: Oh grow up, everyone’s nude, what’s the big deal, it’s a beautiful thing. We’re all the same, basically. No one has pubic hair though, so strange, do they wax or are they just hairless, maybe because they are Asian? or Californian? Maybe it’s the mugworts. Oh! I popped my eyes open and focused immediately on a woman across the room squatting openly (yes I said openly) like a Chinese farmer in a paddy field. Ok, time to get out! I raised myself from the bath and tried to walk up the stairs, clenching and sucking in. I almost fell forward reaching for my robe that was on the hook 5 feet away.

“Giselle?” I don’t know why I turned my head, they obviously weren’t talking to me, but I looked and was glad to see it wasn’t, you know, the real Giselle, but instead a 45-year-old with a tatooed arrow pointing down right above her ass-crack. Say no more. Over by the steam room there was a row of tables where women lay face down getting massages and scrubs, their bodies shellacked and glistening with oils. I suddenly felt like I was in a Texas whorehouse. In a good way. The masseuses (masseurs?) wore stylish black 2-piece bathing-suits and worked efficiently and silently. I watched Giselle shyly follow her girl to the tables with her head bowed and her hands clasped in front of her. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned, my girl, Michelle, smiled and beckoned me with her finger. Since I was getting a facial, we had to go in another room that was through the cafĂ© and upstairs. I held my robe closed tightly and followed. I have been to this spa a few times and it always struck me as a little odd that they serve Korean food only a few yards away from the steam rooms and well, vaginas but I’m getting more used to it. Upstairs I got dizzy again from the calming smell of eucalyptus and lavender and jasmine and chamomile; I felt relaxed just from breathing. I loved Michelle, I loved myself, I loved everyone.

Take off your robe, Michelle said. For a facial? I thought, but she patted the table that had 3 quilts folded back and it looked so enticing I did as I was told. Then Hannah came in with a big jar of almond butter, which might have been alarming except that I knew she was going to be using it for the foot massage. Yes I got the foot massage/facial combo, how amazing, and though I hadn’t realized they were going to do it at the same time I was back in love. Ahhhhhhhh. At that moment I became a dog; I had no thoughts except the present: smells good, mmmm, rubbing, patting, drumming fingers. In my head someone did stick their head in through a door to whisper, “you should do this every day”, but then they closed it back quietly.

All was going great until Michelle started up with the extractions, which is the sterilized term for squeezing the blackheads on your nose and chin. Jesus, Michelle, come on! I tried to concentrate on my feet but it was really difficult with Michelle thoroughly going at the little area between my nostrils with what felt like a mini pair of pliers. I felt like I was getting a blumpkin. Tears were pouring down the side of my face and I almost sat up and hugged her when she stopped. She put a cool and aromatic mask on my face and then massaged my head to the point where I began to hallucinate pinwheel stars falling out of the sky.

Finally it was over. I sat up and adjusted my eyes to the light and looked at my skin in the mirror, it was glowing. My face was completely relaxed and rosy and hydrated. I instantly had the thought that everyone, every man, woman and child, should have this experience once a month. It should be obligatory, like seatbelts, because the second thought I had as I looked at myself was: she looks great, I wish that was me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steve Jobs Syndrome

This morning I woke up and felt like doing a jig. Something's wrong with me. I'm not sure if it was the sudden cold air or my defense mechanisms kicking in. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with joy since yesterday my computer crashed. It's actually been crashing for a few weeks now, but yesterday I took it to the geniuses to be fixed. They won't know if I've lost all my data (I just said data) until Wednesday. Yeah, tomorrow. So until then everything is a slow motion, mood swinging, roller coaster ride complete with memories of ignored warning signals like the swirling rainbow circles of death and too hot to touch undersides, and flashbacks of children, myself included, eating toast, saltines and tortilla chips over the keyboard. All I can do is put my head down on my desk and wait.

And then I feel like singing.

It's the strangest thing, this dichotomy. I feel the same way when I go into an apple store: all at once I am wide eyed and inspired, marveling at this, that, and the other, then I am ashamed and resentful, how is everyone so cool and nice and clean?? And the geniuses! Never condescending, always helpful and earnest. I'll never be any of those things. I read recently, I forget where of course, someone said whenever they go into an apple store they feel like shit-spraying the walls. I understand that. Shit spray is not a term to toss around gently, but it kind of balances out the apple majesty. I get it. I feel awe and all-mighty and then I feel overwhelmed and devastated.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Becoming More Than One Person

I'm almost finished this book but I've put it down for the day because I don't want to finish it just yet. It's been like a friend that I'm not ready to say goodbye to. I had tooth pain this weekend and it was a good distraction. There's a part where the two brothers come upon this guy at the edge of the woods who is talking to himself. One of the brothers says, "He has been in the wilderness so long, he has become two people". I love how he put that. I think probably if you do anything for a long time, you become two people. I have never actually had a full on conversation with myself, although I guess writing comes pretty close, but I have definitely noticed that some of my exclamations (No! or Would you look at that) are out of my mouth before I realized they were coming. Then, if I am alone, my voice sits in the air like a stranger. If my kids are in the room, the reaction could be anything from nervous laughter to Idiot! to That's a shame. Depending on how many kids you have, you can become as many people.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


One of my favorite blogs first posted this link after hearing about New Yorkers having to evacuate because of Irene. It reminded me that I miss this show.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things That Make Your Head Explode When Other People Do Them But Not When You Do Them

1. Write a blog.
2. Talk about your kids
3. Talk about celebrities.
4. Send an email asking for someone's address even though you asked for it last week but don't feel like scrolling back.
5. Talk about being sick.
6. Order food and tell the waitress exactly how it should be cooked.
7. Text while driving.
8. Don't let someone merge.
9. Beep and give the finger when they merge anyway.
10. Yell at your kids.
11. Chat with the bank teller/grocery store checkout person when there's a long line.
12. Put a glass down on a wood table without something underneath it.
13. Make a post on facebook about where you are or what you ate today. (or really just be on facebook period)
14. Explain your dog's behavior like you understand it.
15. Unwrap candy in the movie theater.
16. Forget to turn your phone off in the movie theater.
17. Make sounds while you are eating or drinking.
18. Fart in the car.
19. Leave your clothes on the floor.
20. Talk with the same accent as the person from another country that you're talking to.
21. Use the word rad.
22. Pick something out of your teeth (or any body part) and sniff it.
23. Clip your nails and let them fly off anywhere.
24. Leave dishes in the sink.
25. Act like you don't care.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't Try to Figure it Out # 1

It feels weird when a kid asks you a question and then walks away right as you are explaining. “Ok…well….we can talk later then”, I yell to their back as they walk away. I have to say I don’t really hate it. I'm not sure if this is because direct behavior is sometimes funny or if I'm relieved that I am suddenly saved from having to explain something. Either way, I'm afraid it doesn't say much about my parenting skills.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Me and Dr. Popov

I do not have a great relationship with my dentist. We hate each other. He thinks I'm an idiot and I resent him because of it. I make up for this by being overly friendly and desperate.

Hey Dr. Popov (nervous chuckle)
Sit down.
Did you get a new poster of a kitten hanging from a tree?
(silence while he puts on the paper bib and eases the chair back) I got it two years ago.
Oh I guess it's been, wow has it been--
Open your mouth.

It's like that. I apologize for my bad teeth and he yanks out the rotten ones with a pair of rusty pliers. Yesterday he gave me two shots of novacaine and I could actually hear my heart slamming into my chest.

Can you feel this? (he whacked my back tooth with the metal tool of torture.)
Fucksake Dr. Popov! (the tears start from the corners of my eyes)
I think you need another shot.
Can we just wait until--my hands are shaking though--

He puts his hand on my forehead to hold down my thrashing. In my head, I am swearing I will never eat australian red licorice bits again.

It's not a problem. Just relax.

I moan and clench my fists. While I am waiting for the novacaine to sink in, Dr. Popov's assistant comes in. She has perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect eyebrows and probably perfect teeth. She looks about 17 but could be 40. I love her.

My eyelid is twitching.
It is. Really. Twitch--
You can't talk about it. We have saying that your eye learns everything first. Maybe someone is sending you a message.
In morse code?
It could be a good sign.
I hope it's that I'm going to make it out of here alive. And that I never have to come back.

She shook her head at me and smiled with pity, "You will always have to come back".

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things You Do at A Live Music Show

1. Never call it a live music show in front of your kids.
2. When you get to said show, stand with a group of people you've never met before but now have this experience in common with.
3. Put your purse over your shoulder and your hands in your back pockets.
4. Sway a little.
5. Pull your hands out of your pockets and start drumming the beat on the sides of your legs even though it makes you feel like a middle aged dentist.
6. Get into it.
7. Yell Wooooo.
8. Clap along with the guy on the stage but then stop after 30 seconds because the song still has another verse and you can't clap the whole goddam time.
9. Cross your arms and giggle thinking about your three children watching you on a secretly installed mom-cam.
10. Yell woooo and whistle with your fingers just for their sake.
11. Wipe the spit off your chin.
12. Look around and make sure no one saw you.
13. Love so much your friends that you came with, especially when you can hear them singing quietly to the chorus verse.
14. Clap with your hands over your head and yell wooo when the song is over.
15. Yell Yeah when they start playing the beginning of the next song, which you heard only once before on youtube but know it's a popular one.
16. Have fun.
17. Hope your kids are still watching the mom-cam.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Song, age 8

This used to be one of my favorite songs when I was little. I remember listening and holding the album cover on my lap, staring at the spaghetti hair. It made me sad and slightly uncomfortable but I loved it. I remember going to a friend's house once, a girl named Lele Heron, she was the kind of kid who'd take three gulps of milk, sit down and play a song on the piano in 12 seconds with one leg straddling the side of the bench, and then run up the stairs like she was being chased.
She played Eleanor Rigby and then Martha My Dear back to back, with awkward speed like a runner pulling little show ponies around a ring; and I remember thinking, even then: she doesn't get it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saved By Wikipedia

I just wanted to post a photo of the guy my son wants me to marry.
He says it at least once a day like he's just thought of it.
I think you should marry Shawn Michaels.
Really? I like the Rock though.
He doesn't fight anymore.
Even better!
But I think Shawn is more your type.
He's older.
But he spells his name wrong.
Sean is not meant to be spelled with an H-A-W in the middle.
Oh --Mom! It doesn't matter.
I think it does. I think it pretty much explains why I could never marry him.
Mom! Who cares?
You think I'm being snooty?
Well, he's also a born again Christian.
He really is.
Ugh! Come on!
Read it on Wikipedia.
I don't care about stupid wikipedia.
And he's married.
No he's not.
With two kids.
You know nothing.
I'm sorry Bubby, it's true. Plus he's too loud.
Ok How about Triple H?
I'll have to think about it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank You Neighbor

Dear Little Boy who plays the Tuba on his porch across the street,

I love that the scales you play sound like a grumpy old man being startled awake. I love that you practice at 3 when it won’t really bother anyone. I love that you practice period. You inspire me and remind me that there’s no way you can’t get better at something if you do it every day. I will look for you in the marching band.

Your Neighbor at 831

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I realized recently that my first adventures in doing no less than 5 things at a time, came during school when I had to learn how to read, how to count, how to concentrate and cooperate, how to have manners and follow a schedule. Once I got that going, then more was added to the mix, art, science, history, sports, friendship, rules, navigating past mean people and first love, parents, divorce, death, necessary lies, unavoidable truth. It’s amazing we make it through kindergarten.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Oldie

I wrote this for Soul Pancake a while ago and can't remember if I posted it. If you've seen it already, sorry about that. If not, cheers big ears.

Deep Throat vs. Deep Thought

I want to talk about porn. I wonder about it. I mean on the one hand I get it: sex, boobies, wiggling body parts, sweating, moaning: all good. But isn’t there something inherently sad and lonely about the person who watches it? “I am sad and lonely so I want to watch other people simulating a pleasant experience so that I can possibly feel a physical sensation that will ultimately only remind me of how alone I am.”

I’m realizing this is not a typically male point of view.

Come on, my guy friends say. Would you stop with the sad and lonely? That has nothing to do with it. It fulfills a need. It requires no commitment or emotion. It relieves stress. It makes me forget I have troubles. It makes me feel good. It’s fun. I need it to sleep. I need it. I don’t need it. I just like it. It’s my exercise.

Seriously? Wouldn’t you rather “exercise” with another human being?


Don’t you think if you truly had something in your life that you were passionate about –your career, travels, great relationships, music, helping others, that you wouldn’t need to watch a naked woman with her legs wrapped around a pole?

You’re going down the wrong road with that question, Deirdre. Porn does not replace any of those things. It enhances them. It adds a little flavor. Don’t you have something you like to do that makes you feel good? That sheds a little light onto your dark days or takes you away from them? Something that doesn’t have anything to do with your career or helping others or any of that other crap?

Well. I like to watch youtube videos of cute animals.

That’s good.

And I like to watch shows about spas in exotic places.

Uh huh.

And sometimes I like to read People magazine.

That’s right baby. And you watched Balloon Boy didn’t you?


Come on Naughty, you know you did.

Well only for a minute.

And you liked it didn’t you?

I was curious about it being a set up.

Yeah you were.

And I felt bad that the little boy threw up on Larry King.

Not bad enough to stop.

I couldn’t stop.

Don’t stop!

I can’t stop. I can’t… OK now I feel creepy and weird.

No you don’t.

Well I feel like I should.

But you don’t.

And those other things aren’t really pornographic.

Not in the literal definition.

The thing is, I do wonder what it means that pornography is such a huge industry, that it has been with us throughout history, that it has influenced technology and that it is, as Larry Flynt says, vital to our freedom. Maybe it’s good for us.

Now you’re talking.

But all I can think about is a doughy older man with a greasy comb-over sitting all alone in front of a TV with a beta max and a roll of paper towels.

So what’s the problem?

It’s gross. It’s joyless.

Don’t judge baby.

I just think it’s strange that so many people can get so worked up about something they are not really involved in.

Oh I’m involved.

I don’t mean just physically. I mean if you’re devoting so much time to something, don’t you want more of a pay off?

The money shot.

A money shot for your soul.

You’re losing me.

Why are we are spending so much time and billions of dollars on something that is empty, hollow and lifeless?

Your lips are moving but there’s no sound coming out.

What about its effect on your spirit?

Relax baby, you’re not thinking straight. You’re confused. You’re getting carried away. Ssshhhh. Come on baby, come on now.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Speed Reading

I can remember having a lot of reading to do in high school and then later in college, sometimes as much as 50 pages a night in 3 different subjects. Is that even possible? At one point, I looked into speed-reading courses. I did. “ Did you know that you can read 500 pages of Moby Dick in 4 minutes and have complete comprehension?” Sign me up!

I am by nature an optimist (some use the word delusional) but I decided not to give it a go. From the way I understood it, the technique involved skipping words, which didn’t seem to simplify things for me, but rather the exact opposite. The last thing I wanted to do was to have to concentrate more. Even though it would supposedly take less time, I now had to not only read, but also put the words together like a puzzle? No thanks. I did, however, try another technique and I realize I should be more embarrassed to tell you this, but you never know, I put my books (and sometimes if I was studying for a test: my notes) under my pillow at night. I can’t say that it helped but I also can’t say that it hurt. And it didn’t cost me a dime

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Like This and Like That

I have always liked the circus and though I never tried to join one, I did study clowning for a while. It sounds weird to say I "studied" it, but I did. The first teacher I had barely spoke any english except to give directions like "it's like zis but no... zen it's like zat", or "it is everysing and zen it is nozing". For weeks sometimes this was all he would say, and then "don't sink about it". Every day we would have to stand up in front of everyone and all he would say was, "be funny". Most of us would make faces, or do a silly dance or make fart noises with a hand in our armpit and the teacher would sit there with a stone face and say "nozing", then we'd give up and walk off the stage and he'd sadly shake his head and give a big doleful sigh. Finally, he gave an example and walked out on the stage all cocky and pompous and confident, he just walked back and forth, totally proud of himself,
all Mick Jagger and General George Patton,and then he fully screamed like a girl and jumped crouching onto a chair, trembling and whimpering and pointing to an imaginary mouse. See? Like zis but no, zen like zat.
I was remembering this because I read about this new street circus this morning. I like acrobats, all they have to do is be physically perfect. (Watch the whole thing, it gets better and better as it goes on).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


An English guy is moving into Heathrow Airport to hang out with people for a month and write a collection of short stories. I think this sounds like a great idea. The details of airports and flying have changed so much since I was a kid, people used to smoke on the plane and your Mom used to be able to come put you into your seat and say goodbye, and flight attendants wore hats and gloves and were friendly, but the idea of a traveler has been the same forever, always containing an element of fear, excitement and longing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Agoura Hum

I have been staying at a friend’s house out in the country, which means I can see mountains out the window from my bed and stars in the sky at night. It also means I can hear the hum. In LA, although there are moments of silence, it never really lasts more than 10-15 minute intervals between 2:30-4:30am. Even then I can hear the highway, or the wheels of a shopping cart against the pavement or a helicopter.

I know some of the hum is from electrical things, the computer, the refridge, lights, but I like to think of the mountains humming, kind of like some Chinese monks trying to connect with something more powerful.


I haven’t been able to find my glasses since last night and I can’t see what I’m writing. When did this happen? Supposedly you can exercise your eyes back into shape by placing one hand over one eye and focusing on an object in the distance and then on one right in front of you. It’s not really doing it for me, although I think this practice, of focusing on something with different perspectives, is a good way to solve other kinds of problems.