21 April 2009


I am a sucker for titles. Book titles, sure. But also those catchy article titles on the front of magazines. You know the ones, they trick you into grabbing Iguana Lovers Weekly at the check out and tossing it atop your Twinkies and green tea. Even though you've never had a reptile, well except for your former spouse. Wow, where did that come from?


I am highly suggestible this way. I know this about myself. So, in an act of preventative self-defense, I learned to not look around during checkout. I try very hard and am almost always successful this way. My secret? Do not make eye contact. No matter who I think might be looking at me from the glossy front of that glossy GQ magazine. "Don't look!" Once I look, I'm done for. Although it's not the glossy boy with the glossy hairy chest that clinches the deal; it's the title teasers along the side:
  • "Seven Things Women Should Never Apologize For!" I definitely need to know what those are.
  • "Junk Food Diet To Melt The Pounds Away!" Hmmm, this information might come in handy.
  • "Periwinkle! The New Black." Well, duh.
  • "Two Hundred and Twelve Things Women Should Always Apologize For!" Pretty sure I already know these and am thinking "Just two hundred and twelve? That can't be right."
  • "Secrets to a beautiful, sexy, happy, quick, new, cheap, rich, organic, organized, orgasmic blah, blah, blah . . . ." I'll take it. If you really want to get my magazine buying attention, you'll use the word 'Secret' on the cover.

This 'Do Not make eye contact' thing worked very well for a long time. Until a few years ago, when my youngest child, my daughter, hit mid-puberty and became frighteningly interesting in celebrity gossip. (Don't worry she's clean and sober since the intervention.)

One day when she was fifteen or sixteen, we were standing in the grocery store check out line when she broadsided me. "Oh look, Britney shaved her head." I impulsively dropped my Snickers bar and pomegranates, stuck my fingers in my ears and started to hum "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" as loud as I could to block any further assault. It worked. Whew! I didn't hear anything more but I did notice that my daughter edged toward the woman standing behind us in line and said to her "Mom, is that woman up there okay or should we stand in a different line?" And I think she might also have been pointing at me.

After I finally talked my daughter out of that other woman's car and into our own, we had a little talk and came to an agreement about magazines at the check out. Since then, it hasn't been a problem.

Even when I started working for the library. I'm quite proud of myself, for the last four or so years, I scan the library bar code on the back and never even look at the front. Except today I had a little stroke and accidentally looked at the front of a women's magazine. Vogue, Glamour, Allure, you know, something along those lines. And the top teaser said "Men's New Sexual Needs." Arrgh, there are new ones? What? Crap. Not that I was all wrapped up in their old ones but still.

In the grand scheme of things, I'd say men's sexual needs are not exactly unknown nor neglected last time I checked. (1991) So why there needs to be a magazine article about them, I'm not so sure. But whatever. That's a completely different blog for another day. (Now you've got that to look forward to.)

Once I'd made the magazine-Barbie eye contact, there was no going back. I had to look at the new needs. Okay, well I didn't have to, but still. I scanned the article and I have to say just one thing. I'm all good.

No, nothing to do with the sexual needs list but with another aspect all together.

You see, typically, when I read something of this nature, in any format: book, magazine, blog, cereal box, I tend to be all or nothing.

Somewhere along the line a long time ago, I decided that I was either all in or all out. That it was hypocritical otherwise. I had to agree wholeheartedly, or disagree vehemently. So for instance, just speaking hypothetically, you know for example sake, let's say that I read this list of sexual needs and the third one makes me very, VERY happy to read. That it solidly confirms a long held (yet strictly hypothetical) need of my own, thank you very much. (I KNEW it!)

Then, continuing that hypothetical, just-for-argument-sake path, let's just say I read 'need' number seven and this need flies straight in the face of everything I hold dear. Of all things holy. Previously, I'd have had a serious dilemma on my hands. Do I wholeheartedly agree, or vehemently disagree? All of this article or none of this article? What's it gonna be? Pick. Pick!

Something in my head says "You can't have it both ways." Although I did just read in this article that men think they need it both ways.

But then I decide, I will embrace the part that makes my heart nod knowingly and say, "Yeah BABY!"

And that I will very happily disregard the part that makes me growl and snarl, "Oh my goodness! Seriously? Give me a break!"

I love this new, 'not all in and not all out' option I'm allowing myself. Why on earth would I think I have to be so hard on myself? Where did that strict nature come from? (Well, I actually know the answer to this question, but that too, is another blog. Lucky!)

I can totally, TOTALLY, just take the part that I want and recycle bin the rest. With this new and revolutionary way of thinking, my mind is wandering down all kinds of potential avenues of future possibilities. This should be fun.

And by the way, I'm all over needs one through six. But need number seven? Yeah, good luck with that! Let me know how that goes.

16 April 2009

The Way of the World

Do you ever have the feeling that everything is just a little bit off? Everything. Off. Like not one part of your life is in perfect synchronization with the universe? And that the tiniest little adjustment or tweak is all it would take to set things right? But you have no idea what that little tweak might be? And that in fact the 'off' feeling itself feels wrong?

You know firmly that there is nothing blatantly wrong: no debilitating physical condition, no diagnosable mental illness, no offspring directly in harm's way (as far as you know), you're safely employed and there seems to be enough money until the next paycheck, car runs relatively well for its considerable age.

But still everything is just off. Your work, rest, health, peace, the number on the scale. Off. The tiniest sliver.

Does this ever happen to you?

Arriving just a little bit late, no matter where you go or how early you left? You turn on the radio just in time to catch the very end of your favorite song? You are two exits away from the drive up window you just left before you realize that they gave you Diet Coke instead of the real thing? Or they forgot the chicken part of your chicken sandwich? The weekend plans you were really looking forward to were cancelled because your friend can't make it, her cat has come down with bird flu?

Was there some unseen wrinkle in the fabric of time and you got caught on the wrong side of the crease and are now half a step behind the rest of creation?

Nothing earth shattering or space altering. Just a little something is off. And if you weren't blessed with such a keen sense of blasted self-awareness you probably wouldn't even notice?

Do you ever have the intuitive sense that on this particular day or during this entire moon cycle it would be a foolish thing to buy lottery tickets or take up base jumping?

Like no matter how much time you take or to what drastic measures you resort, your hair still looks just like you woke up from a long coma?

Is it simply a matter of stopping to breathe deeply for a few moments? Or that you just need to take a spare minute and play with a small child? Do you only need to go outside and lay in the rain? Wash away someone's sins? Could it be as basic as moving to another country, having a sex change operation and stealing someone's identity?

Do you sit wondering which goddess you pissed off, that she would knock you off your point of contact with the present moment?

Nothing sounds good: reading, eating, sleeping, freebasing? Does it seem confusing that you could to be apathetic and desperate at the same time?

Do you? Do you ever feel this way?

*sigh* Yeah, me either.

15 April 2009

Spring Fling

Today, while sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to change, I saw a car with a light dusting of fresh, white snow.

Next to it was a car with a light dusting of delicate pink petals fallen from a flowering cherry tree somewhere near by.

It's amazing what there is to see while waiting for the light to change.

14 April 2009

A Giant Leap For Mankind

Today I saw balloons crossing the street.

On my way to work, I sat at an intersection in a busy retail traffic area. Starbucks, Borders, Taco Del Mar and all other such mall satellite type stores surrounding me. Lost in thoughts of nothing important and waiting for my left lane arrow to turn green, bobbing color caught the edge of my eye.

On the sidewalk at the corner, near the little button to push when you want to cross the street, was a cluster of balloons. Floating and bobbing in place. Unmanned, unfettered, ungoverned.

All the fundamental colors: red, blue, green, yellow, orange. I didn’t count but it looked like eighteen or twenty balloon. Half of which looked a little sad, as balloons go. Maybe a few days past their prime. On the downhill side of full inflation. They dangled along the bottom of the balloon bunch. Grazing the ground occasionally. The other ten or so were clearly as healthy and lively as balloons get. The colorful cluster swayed playfully in their spot for a few seconds then began to cross the street. With the light.

Laughter took my breath. Audible joy echoed inside my car. Within the frame work of the crosswalk, the cluster of mysteriously liberated balloons began their trek across the intersection ahead of me, just like they knew what they were doing.

The lazier, helium-anemic balloons dragged along the ground lightly, giving the appearance of a slow, tumbling gait along the painted crosswalk. The sturdier, robust, helium-rich balloons buoyed and lifted the entire troupe, drawing them on and toward the opposite corner.

Unlike human crosswalk crossers, these balloons meandered and strolled across the street with the blasé sniff of nonchalance that only balloons can pull off. As if they were not late for a hot latex date, nor escaping a relentless balloon cluster stalker. As if time and destination were immaterial. Like an astronaut bouncing over the surface of the moon, gravity was of no consequence to this cheerful and happy-go-lucky clique of color.

What was the explanation behind these renegade balloons? Had they become disconnected from their small child's wrist? Had they escaped the vehicle that would transport them to a sixtieth birthday party? Disillusioned with the housing market, had they broken away in protest from a real estate open house sign they were assigned to proclaim?

The group hesitated mid-cross, seemed to look around at the view and then continued along their way. It was the happiest gaggle of balloons I have ever seen. Eventually they made it to the other side of the street, just as my arrow turned green. I've never been so disappointed to see my light change.

Today I saw balloons crossing the street.

13 April 2009

Barbie: The Blog Camel

According to bigsiteofamazingfacts.com, "Camels on the Sahara Desert can go all winter without water, and will even refuse to drink if water is given to them!"

Sadly, I can relate.

I'm telling you right up front, that I cannot vouch for the content nor quality of these following few words.

It has just been so long since my last sip of 'water' in the blog sense of the word, that the self-inflicted, internal pressure has become intense. And more than I can bear. Therefore...... I'm settling.

So much time had passed since I've last written here, that I began to raise the bar for my next but long overdue post. And with each passing day that I didn't write here that bar crept higher and higher until it now blends with the gray of the Puget Sound clouds and I really can't see it from way, way down here any more.

The pole I would need to clear this great height does not exist. So I'm cashing in my 'Get out of jail free' card. I've held it squirrelled away since fifth grade when I had hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place and owned all four railroads, which eventually sent my sister crying to her room.

In my defense, I feel compelled to say that it isn't as if I haven't had things to say. Things to share, to write here about. I have. I do. I will. It's just that I've had so much to write about. Whenever I'd start to cook up a little pot of blog post in my head early in a day, before noon it would overflow from sweltering and scorched emotion and opinion. It became too much and it was overwhelming to consider condensing such temper or passion into reader-friendly form and so I've fail to write entirely. At least here in my blog. In truth, this is no defense but I feel better having said it.

I appreciate the chance to get this ridiculous form of literary self-mutilation out of my system. I am grateful for your patience and your kind, listening ear.