Monday, March 31, 2008

"Mockingbirds and Tortoises"

Damn Darwin. Were it not for his meddling ways, I'd still be catching a daily nap just before--okay, more honestly, during--"Oprah."

But he just had to go to the Galapagos and stare at all sorts of birds and turtles. Then he wrote that thing.

And suddenly, everyone was in a tizzy, wanting to roar at each other over what are clearly apples-and-oranges issues. Religion shines best when there are no microscopes in the pulpit; science convinces better when amazing technicolor dreamcoats aren't hung in the lab.

Despite these truths, people started fighting, and they continue to this day.

Unfortunately, I'm just not very conflict oriented. I let pushy bastard-ass drivers on the highway ram through, a strategy that keeps it their problem, not mine. I smile as bossfolk shovel verbal compost and call it "a new initiative." Sometimes, in fact, I have been known to remain in relationships for, say, six years, simply to avoid a fight.

'Cause most fights require hot air and posturing, and doesn't that sound like a lot of work? Generally speaking, I've got better things to do.

Thus, I shouldn't have been so suprised eight years ago, that night I attended a Creation versus Evolution debate at the local high school. I never would have gone, except a colleague--a pal--had agreed to sit on the side of Evolution and use his philosophical skills to debate the visiting evangelical "I'll-Give-Y'all-God-In-This-Here-Slideshow-AND-Scorn-The-Empiricists-Whilst-I'm-At-It" preacher. My colleague was nervous. He needed clapping hands in the audience.

Given the right cause, my hands can be very clappish.

One time, back in '97, I even did a "woot-woot."

Some Chinese Acrobats had just spun plates with their feet. How could I not?

At any rate, Groom and I slogged our way into the auditorium that night and settled into the hard wooden seats. At halftime, I excused myself to "go shake hands with My Savior" in the restroom.

I sat on the toilet and started to muse. Why is it evangelical preachers always wear powder blue suits? Why is it their hair--


My musings were interrupted by an enormous eruption into the toilet. This eruption was so unusual, it was, like, NUMBER THREE, maybe even NUMBER FOUR, if NUMBER THREE was something just a little bit more impressive than poo but less impressive than what had just come out of me. Let's call NUMBER THREE cake batter.

So, yea, a volcanic thing had just exploded into the toilet water. Generally speaking, that can't be good. If it ever happens to you, make sure you mop up but good afterwards, Moby.

Especially when you're just starting Week 37 of your first pregnancy, and you're pretty sure you have, like, a month left to consider packing a bag for the hospital.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. The Creationists and the Evolutionists had to go all barky at each other up there on the stage that night, getting my knickers in a very particular bind, and before you know it, my anti-conflict membranes had reacted with a pre-term rupture.

I still don't know if it was an act of God or science that caused it. What I do know is that, eyeing the ensuing bloodletting, we hied it over to the hospital an hour later. To this day, I don't know who was right in that debate at the high school, but a part of me hopes God and Darwin fled the building and settled the argument afterwards by kickin' it on the curb and drinking a couple 40's of malt liquor.

Me? I pretty quickly had a monitor strapped around my belly. "Did you have any idea your contractions are three minutes apart?" the helpful nurse asked.

Contractions? Really? Three minutes apart?

This was starting to sound like the Big Show.

And no. I had no idea I was even having contractions, much less that I'd gotten them to repeat with the regularity of a Dick Wolf cop 'n lawyer show in which a corpse is discovered in the first thirty seconds by an early-morning jogger who stops to retie his trailing shoelace.

Crikey, if these were contractions, this childbearing gig was going to be a walk in the park (just not Central Park, where I'd undoubtedly be attacked by a group of wilding youth who could only be brought to justice through the power of Sam Waterston's homey-voiced closing statement).

A couple hours later, though, I had become one with the contractions. While Groom dozed, I stared at the clock during the peaks of pain and dozed through the valleys.

By morning, infuriatingly, the contractions had stopped all together. At that point, the midwife said we could either go home--and come back later when they started up again--or we could follow the momentum and make the birth happen.

Moment of character revelation: I discovered I don't go through twelve hours of contractions just to be sent home with a casual "catch ya on the rebound." So they rolled out the Pitocin and, as long as they were hooking me up, some penicillin to treat the Strep B that had built a vacation home in my downstairs lady flat.

We were in business. Over the course of the next ten hours or so, I started out determined and then got really tired and then cried and got emotional and then had my spine poked and for awhile there got really happy and chatty and then got all panicky and wild-eyed--the whole thing being kind of like a recap of the conception--and eventually I got really, really angry.

Second moment of character revelation: I hated the pushing. Holy watermelon through a bagel, but I hated the pushing. I was surrounded by medical staff, Me Man, and a crew of galpals. They were all being really good cheerleaders, assuring me, with each push, that I was almost done, that this was IT, that one more push would do it.

Sam Waterston should have prosecuted every last delusive one of them for perjury.

It was NOT the last push. It was never going to be the last push. I hated the push. The push was a pisser.

At one point, as I lay damp and panting in between pushes, the midwife announced, "I'm going to go make a pot of coffee."

She was so carefree, so breezy, I 'bout reared off the bed and severed the midwife's tail.

Turns out, the old Pot of Coffee Trick is well-known, in, um, druidic circles for jumpstarting a plateauing labor.

Midwife returned. Everyone told me--the lying sods--that it would be just one more push.

And then, twelve pushes later, it was. And it was a girl. It was the Girl.

I sobbed crazily, like a woman who had been through labor and a Creation vs. Evolution debate in the course of one 24-hour period.

Hot upon that catharsis, I realized that getting the babe out was just Step One. Step Two was expelling and massaging the mother******* placenta out. Where had that bit of information been, in all my pre-delivery reading? Huh? HUH?

But the Girl was good, and that was lucky, so I muddled through the placental hell; soldiered through the bloody, blistered and cracked nipples the next day; and eventually we all went home. For weeks, lovely friends came and went, urging me to "Enjoy every minute of it because it goes so fast!"

More with the lies. For a long time, every minute felt like three days. Nothing flew by. After a short battle with jaundice, we all were doing fine, but never, never did I end a day wondering where the time had gone. Time was sludge. The second hand had been attached to a glacier.

A few years later, we had Niblet--at which point every minute felt like five days.

In the last couple years.
Things have sped up.

Occasionally, a minute feels like a nanosecond. Occasionally, I start to consider the possibility that all my friends and family aren't just big whoreliars. Time sometimes gets pulled over and issued a speeding ticket.

That fact gives me profound joy, yet it simultaneously rents little fissures into my heart. This moment in my kids' lives is very, very good. It will change soon enough, though.

But what can you do? Just be.

Eight years later, we have gotten pretty good at be-ing with our Girl. She's made it easy.

Before, I had expectations of parenthood--about how challenging it would be, how rewarding, how much it would revolve around caretaking. However, I had no idea

that She would become my friend ("Can I braid your hair now?")

that She would teach me responsibility ("I need to put on my coat and hat by 8:00 and be on the corner by 8:03, or I'll miss the bus, Mom. I need to get ready now.)

that She would take care of us ("Ooh, Niblet, that runny nose needs a Kleenex! Let me get you one.")

that She would earn my respect ("I have some questions I want to ask a lot of people, like a survey. Then, when we get their answers, can I make some graphs of them?")

that She would inspire in me a keen admiration ("I want to run this 5K, and I'm going to beat you, Mom.")

that She would have an uncompromising purity of character ("I can't even breathe right when I think about people having to be slaves. It makes my heart inside of me hurt.")

that She would be unflappable (Of a neighbor boy, "He calls me an idiot all the time. It doesn't bother me because he's wrong.")

that She would illuminate how shy, quiet reserve is also gentle, poised confidence

that, by her 8th birthday (today!), She would be one of my best companions, the person with whom I'd most like to take a walk around the block at the end of the day--that She would be one of my calmest and most-insightful chums

that the promise of Her arrival the night of the debate would be fulfilled a hundredfold by 2nd grade

We created her. And what a delight is has been to watch her evolve.

Semi-incidentally, and if you have any more reading time, my post commemorating the Girl's birthday last year is perhaps my personal favorite...

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Next Up: A Horseless Carriage"

"Giddyup!" I hollered to my team after a long day of plowing furrows in the west field. They were whupped, but I had one more section to turn over before heading back into the cool of the soddy to soak up bacon grease with a hunk of hardtack.

Moments later, I slowed the mules and peered out from under my sun bonnet as I spied my two ragamuffins coming at me, hammer and tongs. What was that in their hands? They hadn't dipped into the last of the horehound candy from Christmas, now had they?

No. That wasn't it. What did they have there? Surely not one of those new-fangled, two-wheeled velocipedes?

Pshaw, but it was something much smaller. A new piece of calico? I had been reckoning I needed some new Sunday habiliments.

Gadzooks, but I'd never seen the like. They were holding something as small as the shrew that had bumfuzzled the cornpatch last summer. They'd best not have a shrew there, or I'd tan their hides and barter them for white sugar at the General Mercantile!

"What've you there, you rapscallions?" I asked, discommoded that I'd never get my churning set that night with such interruptions--and never a lick of help from their 'shine guzzling pa, neither, him always passed out in the lean-to.

"Make it quick now," I hawed. "Don't come showing me how your corn cob doll got scalped again when I've work to do. You know winter sets in fast and hard out here on the prairie, and there's no resting 'til the root cellar's full up."

"Um, Mom?" broke in my oldest, a girl.

"Jehosephat, Girl. Spit it out afore the shoats are ready for butchering. Enough of your palaver."

"Yea, so, Mom? It's, like, 2008 and all? Why are you so weird? We actually don't live on the prairie, and you just filled up the back of the mini-van yesterday with bags of groceries at the Cub Foods, so I'm not quite sure why you're out in the yard here, pretending to sow stuff. Plus, you just planted my soccer ball in the sand box."

"Don't bother your ma now, Half-Pint. I'm thinking that dark cloud above betokens a locust attack."

"Actually, Mom? We don't really call you 'Ma,' and that cloud is more like stink smoke from the refinery. Anyhow, Mom, if we can snap you back to reality for a minute here, we've got a birthday present for you."

"Shucks and bother, but birthdays are nothing but a vexation. I am graveled that you pay them any mind when you know full well tomorrow's washing day, and we're plumb out of lye." My mind, to tell you true, was cogitating on what a tight scratch it would be to hamper a new school marm into crossing the Mississippi and taking on that passle of ne'r-do-wells in the one-room schoolhouse.

"Get with it, Mom. We've all decided it's time for you to join the 21st Century. You refuse to carry a cell phone, but that doesn't mean you can't start enjoying an Ipod. So we got you one! Happy birthday! Now you don't have to go out running wearing those big old antennaed headphones like you do," Niblet and Girl went on at exceeding length.

"Eye pawed? What would I go and want something like that for?" I groused, mentally peppering some shot into the grouse that had just flushed out of the brush next to me.

"Cuz, Mom, it's okay if technology is your friend. Don't be afraid. We'll all be there with you. We'll show you how to download a Podcast, how to burn CD's, how to listen to your beloved Jayhawks as you sweat," they harrowed up.

"Hawk? Where? It'd better not be after the barn cats again!"

Sighing, the family reached out gently, unlaced my too-tight stays, and led me to the computer,

whereupon I uploaded, burned, downloaded, and playlisted.

And out in the fields the next day, as I put in an acre of peas, I rocked out, prim and proper-like, to Husker Du, Wilco, The Replacements, and the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Cats.

The day after that, I didn't put in any peas or even head to the fields. I just rocked out.

Hmmm. Maybe there's something to this 21st Century after all.

Next year, I hope they get me one of them high-fallutin' gee-gaws called a "safety pin."

I've got a rip in my drawers that needs hitchin' up.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Unwrap This"

Roughly forty-one years ago, on March 25th, my mom didn't know what to get my dad for his birthday. Somehow "a child" seemed more creative than "a Mickey Mouse necktie."

So on my dad's 32nd birthday, my mom, spinal-blocked but fully conscious, pushed me out of her girl bits.

Half an hour later, she was snarfing down a ham sandwich.

This was an auspicious start.

Since then, it's become a point of pride that I've never been more than half an hour out from a ham sandwich.

And, except for twice in college, I've been fully-conscious each time I've eaten one.

About two years later, my poor parents had this on their hands.

Of course, Payback never misses an appointment. Right now, I have this on my hands:

And if your questions at this juncture are along the lines of "Is he really in nothing but his boy-panties, is that his sister's sweater he's wearing, and are those his mother's boots?" the answers are yes, yes and more yes, Sweet Ru Paul.

Instead of just wishing me a happy birthday--which you should do, you gauche clod--tell me something about the day you were born, woncha?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Twenty-Seventh Sign of an Impending Apocalypse:

Spontaneously and unthinkingly, I recently did finger guns at a colleague during an English Department meeting.

Should I ever attend a Liberal Arts & Sciences Advisory Board meeting and toss up some gesticular air quotes, that will be your final warning.

Grab canned foodstuffs and run for your bomb shelters.

I kind of hope your bomb shelter is actually a wine cellar. Start with the Rieslings and work your way to the Malbecs. Don't bother with a corkscrew; just crack open the neck of the bottle and start chugging. Kind of like I do most nights.

Oh, and the first twenty-six signs of an impending apocalypse all involve George W.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Preschooler Oysters"

You know how it's important for a parent to mess with her kid, just to make sure he's ready for the Whac-A-Mole game that is middle school?

I do; therefore, I view every day as a "mess-'em-up-early-and-hard" opportunity.

Case in point:

While the Wee Niblet still has affection for his Pokemon cards and is always game for a Yu-Gi-Oh duel, he's recently expanded his faux-manga-based-consumer-merchandising passions into Bakugan territory, as well.

Pretty much, Niblet is hot for Bakugan's balls.

Admit it. They're strangely attractive, weirdly soothing, these balls. You want to cradle them in your palm, don't you?

Don't be coy. One glimpse, and you can sense they give good hand.

If you don't believe your own impulses, you can believe Niblet. He's an expert in holding little balls, and he finds the Bakugan Battle Brawler balls very satisfying.

In fact, he is so enchanted with them that he keeps the Bakugan brawlers in his pockets, where he can massage them, roll them, and tweak them.

Even better, I like to get him talking about what he's doing: "Hey, kid, whatcha got there in your pocket?"

"My widdle balls."

"Yea? Whatcha doing with them, toots?"

"Feeling them. I like feeling my widdle balls."

Then I let about three minutes pass before asking, "So, buddy, you seem to be touching something in your pants there. What're you doing?"

"Mom, you know I wuv my widdle balls. I'm playing with my widdle balls."

Next mission: get him to explicate, with great volume ("EEEH? Cain't hear ya, kid. Speak up!"), at the mall, about what he's got in his pockets. I may enhance this activity by having him take along the Bakugan wrist-shooter, into which the brawler balls can be inserted and then ejected. There we'd be, in front of the Eddie Bauer store, me asking, "Whatcha doing now, poodle?"--and him answering, "Just making my widdle balls shoot out."

After the tortures of Mommy Boot Camp, middle school is, in comparison, going to feel like an easy stroke of the tool.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

my pimped pic!

In honor of my naturally-red Irish roots; the big drunk that is St. Paddy's Day; a lack of writing time; and a firmly-entrenched believe that recycling is always good, I'm re-running one of my earliest posts (it had all of three readers!). I wrote a series of tales about Jocelyn Set Loose in Ireland, and this was in the mix. I hope it makes some sense--or at least as much as my posts usually do.

"Not So Much My Saviour After All: The Pompous Lord"

I feel it. Pulsing towards me through cyberspace, I sense your desire to read more of my rambling adventures in other countries. Or maybe what I sense is just my computer trying to stream an episode of Ugly Betty to me, but I'm choosing instead to read this communication from as a psychic connection that you and I share. And either or someone else out there is telling me that more travel stories would be okay. Yes?

I'll take your silence as a hearty and resounding "yes!!!"

Now, I know you want to read about when I was 17 and attended a weekend biker ralley in Denmark (all the hardcore bikers from around Europe converged on a farm for the weekend), but since some of my unmentionables went missing that weekend and later showed up nailed to a clubhouse wall, I shan't relate that story, lest I blush and find myself unable to make eye contact with you in the future when we bump into each other near the holiday hams at Cub Foods.

And I could regale you with a story about camping around Iceland for ten days, my body sucking up around-the-clock arctic light; upon return to the States, my body's internal clock was so confused that I ended up with a surprise pregnancy--a daughter now nearly eight!--out of the deal. A quick summary of that part of my life goes: "Whee. Whoa. Wow. Whoops." But again, if you'd read a detailed account of such a happy, but personal, mistake, how could we chat superficially at the Cub Foods after running in to each other in the cereal aisle? We'd be fake-smiling, trying to come up with things to say, mindlessly loading our carts with heaps of unneeded Quaker Oats, while your brain would be spinning: "Oh, man, I know way too much about this lady to even pretend to care about the weather. But just keep smiling, Skeeter. Just keep smiling. And nodding. And making those affirmative noises in your throat."

Or I could tell you a story about being in the airport in Chisinau, Moldova, when I tried to crack a joke about how I was visiting the country with the intent of drinking lots of their famous wine and then standing on the corners to sell Levi jeans for a huge profit (the Iron Curtain had fallen, so I thought the place might have lightened up. Who knew 70 years of Soviet influence wouldn't just melt away into good humor and that I would be pulled out of the baggage area and made to stand aside and be scowled at while my passport was "taken to another room"?). But again, if I told you this story, there you and I would be, standing stiffly in the Cub Foods cookie aisle after we reached out simultaneously for a package of Keebler Merry Mints, taking turns retreating and saying, "No, really, you go first" and then lurching out again at the same time and clunking hands, making you think to yourself, "Honestly, I swear this woman is the type of annoying person who would think making jokes to uniformed officials in crumbling countries is appropriate. And she probably plans to serve these cookies at a neighborhood party, passing them off as homemade. 'Oooh, look at me: I worked for hours, trying to get the icing just so!'"

So I guess I'm left telling you another story about Ireland, where even poor behavior seems only "naughty" at worst, and it's the uniformed officials themselves who are cracking the jokes at the airport.

When last you left me in Ireland, I was cursing at a pony and muttering "Never again...Never again..." The good news is that I hitched up my chaps, tucked my spurs into my backpack, and got over my pony trauma before deciding the next thing to do was explore, on foot and by car, Co. Donegal--a remote place with sparse bus service, which left me asking my B & B hostess, "You're really sure it's safe for single women to hitch-hike around here?" Assured that hitch-hiking was common practice in the area, I began relying upon it to get me around the county.

After warming up my thumb the first day with an intricate exercise involving balancing jelly beans on my thumbnail and then flipping them into my mouth (repeatedly), I set off for the coastal mountain/hiking area of Slieve League, scoring four rides whilst to-ing and fro-ing.

The first guy was a handyman who hollered, "Ya don't mind sitting in back with the tools, do ya?" Not at all. I made off with his monkey wrench.

The next husband and wife were very prim, venturing so far as to ask me if, indeed, everyone in the United States carries a gun. Upon exiting the car, I blasted them with my Supersoaker.

After my muddy, awe-inspiring, 3-hour hike at Slieve League, I was picked up by Liam, who asked me to sit up front and cradle his Sunday paper on my lap. Sensing a fetishist, I obliged, but I managed to steal the crossword puzzle and leave him, undoubtedly, bereft of the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing which 1970's rock group performed "Mr. Blue Sky" and filling in the accompanying three-letter answer.

Finally, I hitched a ride with an enthusiastic 19-year-old who was incredibly happy to see me--or anyone else, for that matter. This lad never met anyone or anything he didn't like...especially MacGuyver, with whom he was obsessed. "Lawse, but that man can do anything! Give him a rubberband, a spatula, and some brown sugar, and he can make a bomb! And what about his hair? Isn't it cool? Didya notice my hair? I had it cut and bleached to look just like his--you know, that actor Richard Dean Anderson. Doncha think I look like him?" Not having the heart to tell him that highlighted mullets had gone out of style, well, before there ever was style, I remained mum. But I did show him how to make chewing gum out of tree sap, a match, and tire tread before he dropped me off.

Heady with the power of The Hitch, I set out again the next day, this time walking to the local strand (aka "beach"), where I intended to take artistic photos of fog and throw rocks at seagulls. On my way back to the B & B, as I walked the narrow road, I was almost body slammed by a careening Mercedes Benz, driven by a buck-toothed weasel named Justy, who looked and acted like Dr. Frankenstein's sidekick, Igor ("Yessssss, Master..."). Next to him, in the Seat of Command, was a 63-year-old florid man named...

"Lord Hamilton, my dear, and so nice to have you aboard. Do sit in the back, and I'll tell you about myself." This he proceeded to do for 20 minutes, detailing his family's pedigree, handing me a gold business card that had the weight and heft of a credit card, inviting me to stay at "the manor" next time I was visiting, and cautioning me off "the natives," saying, "They're animals and gypsies, every one of them." Speechless in the backseat, and not by choice but because I couldn't get a word in edgewise, I mentally reviewed the history of the Republic of Ireland: English landlords driving the native peasants to destitution and starvation...and there I was, sitting with one such modern "landlord" who'd not had the good sense to update his thinking or to really look at the substance of the native inhabitants of the town of Killybegs. Later, after he dropped me off with a shouted warning not to socialize with a soul in the town, I recounted his monologue to my B & B hostess, a native herself, who laughed herself silly and dismissed him with, "Ah, you were in a car with Himself! He's quite a toff, eh?"

I still have that gold business card, and I still think often of how Lord Hamilton prided himself on being above the reality of the people who surrounded him. His pomposity created in him a crisis of character, one of which he'd never be aware--such was the state of his arrogance.

Even now, ten years later, I feel confident that if I ever run into him in the coffee aisle at Cub Foods, I will crack open a bottle of Torani's Hazelnut syrup on his head and dump its contents into his declaiming maw, just to make him cease babbling about his importance. (You can hover down by the tea bags, gawking and assuring your fellow bystanders, "Trust me, I've read her blog, and I can tell you this is just like her.")

And I guess I won't be staying at the manor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Stockholm Syndrome for the Flabby"

My relationship with the airlines thrusts me into moral crisis. When I fly, they make me angry. They treat me condescendingly; they torment me with their itty seats; they feed me not; the handlers bark at me when I inconveniently have to use the bathroom during Beverage Service.

Of course, if the handlers could bother themselves to whip up a free screwdriver for me from that beverage cart, I'd be more than willing to draw upon a decade of Kegel exercises and apply it to achieving the urological wonder called "holding it." Indeed, Airlines, you should know that if I have a free drink in hand, my bladder becomes gloriously bathed in a numbing solution that allows it to exceed normal human limits. O Airlines, you parsimonious curs, if only you would ply me with vodka, I would stop trying to hurdle your beverage cart. I am eminently pliable. I'm so pliable that my gangsta tag is Triple-Ply.

Yet DeltaWestAmerinental gives me nothing, save a leg cramp, a ripped suitcase, and a false "buh-bye" at the door upon my limping exit.

Strangely, though, despite this torment, I keep going back. I hate them, but they have made me feel I need them. They have created in me an uneasy reliance. I am loathe to question the power dynamic between us; rather, I would prefer to cloud my vision by peering through my single Ziploc bag full of 3 ounce bottles and blindly do as they say. If they look askance at me, I will apologize for my cosmetics. I give them money, and I am their client, yet, queerly, they own me.

Such is the case, as well, with the fitness instructor at the local Y, a Gym Nazi with AK-47's for arms and Jaivana cannons for legs. GymNastika makes me whimper, but I love her**.

In particular, I am obsessed with--yet hide in the back during--GymNastika's weekly Pilates Fusion class, in which my well-padded abdominals search for life and sunlight while being throttled by a series of exercises involving one of those big balance balls.

Some of you crunchy types are probably sitting on one right now, in front of your computer screen, with some misguided idea that the give and malleability of it will save your spine. If you are one of those people, give me a call, as I have a really amazing complementary ergonomic elbow saver--it looks a lot like a felt-covered plank on top of some sawhorses, but trust me, it'll revolutionize your posture (and I'm the only licensed dealer in the Lower 48).

So if you're sitting on a balance ball right now, you're either My Kind of Sucker, or your contractions are about three minutes apart; either way, stop your whining, stand up, and look at that thing. It's big. It's fun. It has just the right plasticy bounce. It's the happy-clown-pinwheel of desk-sitting, baby-catching, and exercise equipment, ja?

Not in the hands of the GymNastika. For her, it is the instrument of a very specific torture. You wouldn't believe what she gets a gym full of spray-tanned-women-swathed-in-gold-jewelry, four men, and me to do with that thing.

Check it, Moondoggie:

Now do each of these things fifty-ninety times, and that'll be your warm-up. Sure, as I am stretched on the Rack of Balance Ball, I find solace and motivation in the driving beat of Bananarama singing "She's got it/Yea, baby, she's got it." What fool wouldn't?

But mostly I groan and sweat and pray to Saint Brucejenner while I rub his gold medal (and stroke his waxy facelift). Every now and then, when my oxygen stores are depleted from doing a shaky one-footed side plank...

...I fade off into my own reverie about H.R. Pufnstuf and how I wish I had a talking flute that could bolster my spirits when Witchiepoo (or GymNastika) tried to freak my shit right off the Living Island.

(extra-credit homework: compare Witchiepoo and Bruce Jenner, and write a paragraph making a case that one is distinctly more horrifying than the other)

Eventually, though, Bananarama stops singing, Bruce Jenner's face melts into magma, I tuck away my magic flute, and all that's left on the floor of the gym are my screaming abs and tattered self-esteem.

As I roll up my mat, delirious with the promise of escape-at-hand, I am, simultaneously, grateful to my captor and tormenter, the GymNastika. I have been through agonies at her hands; I will be back. I am a heteroclite.

Which does not mean I only like clitorises of the opposite sex. You. Depraved. Pree-vert.

Perhaps strangest of all is the fact that the escapees, in both a soaring Pilates class and on an overseas airline flight, burst into spontaneous applause at the moment of release.

The bastards had us in their grip. We hated the experience; we loved it. But as we dash off into the fresh air, we are happy. And we know it. So we clap our hands.

**If you want to see the GymNastika in person, you can watch a video of her from the local news . Just keep in mind she's playing nice in this clip; try imagining her wielding barbells and yelling at you that every bite of pizza contains 500 calories.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Another Wasted TV Hour"

There I was, a plate of hash brownies on the tv tray, a bouquet of tulips nestled to my not-inconsiderable bosom, clogs shodding my feet, and damned if I wasn't disappointed.

Turns out that show New Amsterdam isn't about dykes at all.

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Pecking at the Picketing PETA Pipers"

Keith Richards was named this week as the new face of Louis Vuitton (headed by Marc Jacobs).

Shortly after the contracts were signed, Jacobs seized Keith's face in a firm embrace, skinned it, and used the leather to make a suitcase.

Keith staggered home, enjoying the aftereffects of the anesthesia, eager to answer his family's questions about his wildass experience at the Designer Shoppe. Sadly, since his look had only veered from "pretty damn skeletal" to "truly skeletal," nobody noticed the change. Later, processing his day solitarily, Keith felt it ironically appropriate to visit Facebook, where he friended master prop comic Gallagher before logging off to snort his father's remaining ashes.

Next week, to "support" Louis Vuitton's new line of hobo purses and matching wallets, Marc Jacobs hopes to sign Nick Nolte and Mickey Rourke.

Monday, March 03, 2008


After a particularly hardcore session of Webkinz, during which he mined for precious gems, tackled fairies in the Charm Forest, and added a new trellis to his platypus' yard, Wee Niblet stood up and staggered away from the computer.

Leaning uncomfortably against the bed, he groused, "My legs fell asleep."

"Eep opp ork ahah, scoobie-shoo-doo, boopity ba-ba-ba," I hummed in response as I folded the laundry, unable to find a caring bone in me. Rather, deeply immersed in my non-mommy headspace, I considered the possibility that my life, even though I'm 40, might not yet be completely set. If I could toss out scat like that with no rehearsal to speak of, the distinct possibility existed that I might be featured as JocelyNummy on Fergilicious' next album.

"No, rewwy, Mommy. My feet have all prickles in them. It's like I'm getting my shots for my five-year-old check-up again, all at once, 'cept only in my feet, a million times over. I need for it to stop now."

"Well, keep on keepin' on, kid--try kickin' it Pre School, for reals--and it'll go away," I counseled, folding another towel.

"It's so bad, though, I won't ever be able to sleep because it won't ever go away," Niblet moaned, launching the Increased Desperation Triggers Sympathy strategy.

"Dude, you have a computer to play games on and a bunch of Webkinz and a new trellis, and your platypus ate a big plate of noodles tonight and stuff. I don't really feel for you here. Take your pain and your pout and stomp them around the room a little bit; that'll get the blood flowing again," I recommended, wondering if Craig Ferguson would wear a blue or a yellow tie during his monologue that night and if he might ever need me to come on to work the audience into a frenzy with my scatting virtuosity.

"But Mommy, it's so bad. You need to feel my feet. They are so prickly you will shriek when you touch them because it will hurt you too. You should feel them to see how much they hurt."

So I did. I bent down and touched his paws. And those prickles of his felt like rays of burning sunlight had been taken and jammed into shards of ice which were then packaged inside diamonds and scratched along a blackboard covered with jalapeno juice that squirted into an eyeball that was being held open with toothpicks coated in barbed wire that had been heated in molten lava for six minutes. Jehosephat, but Whinebot was right. How he managed to contemplate which jammies to wear at the same time that kind of torment was roiling around inside his body--well, I'd never admired him more. Letting go of his feet, I fell to the ground, paralyzed.

"Um, Mommy?"

Croaking from the floor, weakly, whimpering, I whispered a, "Booooy? Get your father. That's right. Get Daddy. Mommy's dying from touching your prickles. She may need a lemontini to restore a regular heartbeat."

"Hey, Mommy. Get up now. I have to use the potty and am going to need a wiper-suhviper. You can do your scat thing while I do mine."

Despite my willingness to mess with his head and play along, I'm pretty sure Niblet will soon outgrow his certainty that interior pain can be felt by those outside of his body.

Until his first acid trip in college, of course. Then I'll have to be all "Wow, babes, but the walls ARE melting. Yea, your hand is totally bigger than that chair. Ooh, yea, that scab on your leg is on fire."


Like I'm not going to be there?

What else I got to do? Wait for Fergie and Craig Ferguson to call?