Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    Status Report

    Wow. That last post was fun. I didn't expect such a turnout. Lesson learned? I need to keep working on my dialogue. And men are more romantic than I ever thought, and women more cynical.
    Or I'm just blog-friends with a bunch of liars.
    Naaahhhh....I love you all. I believe every word that comes out of your keyboards.
    So.
    O's dad is recovering, slowly but surely. He had an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta. A triple-A. I don't remember if I mentioned his malady or not. It is painful to see him. Such a fascinating man, with all his stories of New York City in the Fifties. He's met EVERYBODY, including Eleanor Roosevelt for heaven's sake. He's unable to speak right now, and with the drugs he doesn't understand why, or that it is a temporary condition.
    There isn't enough I can say about O right now. He's an amazing guy. I wouldn't be able to handle this situation if I were him.
    The boyos actually went to bed early the other night, so we talked uninterrupted for two hours, something we haven't been able to do for a long time. We talked about all the important stuff, like which authors from today would be studied and remembered in one hundred years. I argued that Stephen King would be among them, some of his short stories at least and he disagreed. O said that King is too timely, and I argued that the core of his short fiction is still about the human condition, and that never changes.
    "Wanna make a bet?" he said, reaching out his hand.
    "Sure," I answered, taking it. "But you're going to lose. In our next lives, you'll be on a college campus, and some crazy chick is going to run up to you with a lit textbook open to one of King's stories, shouting, 'I told you so!' 'I told you so!'
    "I don't care if I win or lose. If I get to see you again in a hundred years in another life, I win no matter what."
    That's real dialogue.

    ***

    Wish me luck. I'm flying with the boyos back to Illinois, alone, on Thursday. Any distractions or entertainment (or drugging) suggestions anyone has for two three-and-a-half-year-old boyos on the plane are greatly appreciated.
    We'll be there for two weeks. I'm dreading the plane ride, and seeing my grandmonster. But the rest will be filled with good food, plays, concerts, the symphony, a trip to Chicago, and friends as well as the family members I do love. I'll keep posting from Illinois, but it will be strange.
    See, my parents don't know about us, about this little blog-thing we have going. I feel like a little girl who's hiding her diary. A diary that fifty or so people read, but a private diary nonetheless...

    Friday, May 26, 2006

    In Your Opinion



    Marvin Hill - Twister

    The flower-fragrant breezes from the park today are stirring up tornadoes out east on the lone prarie.




    So I'm playing with dialogue. What do you think? Is this realistic:

    “What? What are you looking at?” she asked.
    “You. Waking up next to you. Watching you make coffee. I want to do this every morning. For the rest of my life.”
    He walked up behind her, then wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair.
    “Mmmm you smell so good.”
    She closed her eyes, took her hands off the grinder and placed them on his biceps. They stood like that for long minutes, not saying anything, swaying slightly. She felt him breathe into her hair.
    “I love that you’re wearing one of my shirts,” he whispered.
    “It’s my favorite one on you.”
    “Keep it. No, wait, don’t keep it. I want it back because you’ve been wearing it.”
    She laughed.


    Would a guy say that?

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Vanity Wins...

    Marvin Hill - Protector

    ...the post contest today. Yes, vanity sang her little heart out inside my head, drowning out the serious contenders.
    Righteous indignation tried with that same old down-tempo chorus, and failed to win a spot, though she is in contract negotiation with a major label.
    Mommy stories be-bopped her best, but no, we'’ve heard that one before, and from better singers.

    So. Vanity it is. Here we go.

    I'’m posting from a new body, one that has dropped another five pounds. That brings the total to twenty-five pounds lost. The size fours are starting to get baggy, like the sixes had been a couple of months ago.
    I'’ve got nothing that fits. Well, ok the shorts I just bought fit.
    Shorts. Yeah. They fall to mid-calf on me. My new capris.
    But I'’m not down to my college clothes yet. Probably won'’t be ever again. But one needs goals.

    Jeebus, this is not at all what I want to write.
    What DO I want to write?
    I want to write about weeds.


    Dandelions

    Flowers the color of the sun, with a sweet, delicate perfume. They are one of the first to appear in spring, and one of the last to disappear in the fall. Useful plants; their leaves can be eaten or --– wonder of wonders -- dandelions can be turned into wine!
    Hardy plants, dandelions can grow almost anywhere, under all kinds of conditions.
    They thrived in the New World, and today they are reviled for thriving, for standing out in a field of uniform green, and attacked with every imaginable poison. Entire industries are built around the dandelion'’s destruction.
    Dandelion plants are the only green things in my lawn right now.


    Rabbits

    A bumper crop this year. They scamper across the road at twilight. Sometimes they make it. In our yard, we'’ve rescued two young ones. Rescue is not the correct term for the first. We postponed its demise.
    I have an agreement with the rabbits. They stay out of my garden, I let their young live. My romaine is untouched. They feast on dandelions instead.


    Stray Cats

    They roam every neighborhood, tormenting dogs, digging up plants, catching birds. Every cat we'’ve had'’s been a stray. The first was Poe, a black Siamese. The Cat. He kept us awake at night with his voice. I fed him out of a China bowl, and he wouldn'’t eat unless I brushed his sleek fur and talked to him.
    I broke his heart and he died.
    The current stray is a Maine Coon mix. She's big and lovely, friendly. A born hunter, she catches rabbits when we aren'’t looking. I can'’t make an agreement with this cat.

    We save the ones we can. That'’s the best we can do.

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Something I've Re-Worked from Something Older

    Marvin Hill - Fortunate Rain

    O's dad is recovering, slowly but surely. I'm swamped and sad, and confused about a few things, but I don't want to let the blog go, and I don't want to post something just to have fresh material.
    So, here's a poem. Not very original, but better than a test screen.

    29 Weeks of Sun

    Come to me
    clouds heavy with water
    old secret friends --
    Bring
    a drumming of rain
    Bold thunderbolt music
    fresh wind --
    fold after fold of clouds in the heavens

    I saw them rupture
    slate grey and granite
    I watched mountainous clouds
    erupt and throw down rain

    Sopping wet under the cedar
    I watch the clouds rupture
    Nothing can harm me --
    this passion has yet
    to be slacked

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Decisions

    Let's see...wrestle Declan out of his pjs and into clothing today, or French-kiss a Calcutta street dog?

    Yeah. Pucker up, pooch.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Oof-da! Scrapin' Bottom Here

    Addendum: Keep scrolling, New Addendums ALL DAY!


    No, I don't itch.


    Real post soon, I promise.


    Your Stress Level is: 81%

    Wow! Not only are you extremely prone to stress, you're a total ball of stress these days.

    And while times are certainly tough right now, being stressed out is not making it easier.

    Your stress is effecting your relationships, career, and most importantly, you health.

    If I'm at 81%, O's around 215%.

    You Are the Swedish Chef

    "Bork! Bork! Bork!"

    You're happy and energetic - with borderline manic tendencies.

    No one really gets you. And frankly, you don't even get you.

    But, you sure can whip up a great chocolate mousse

    The Muppet Personality Test

    That's pretty accurate. My answer to every problem is, "Quick! Cook something!"

    Addendum

    The more I think about it, the whole description is stunningly accurate.
    I think I'll just edit this post all day long. Quantity, not quality.

    Addendum
    So how the hell are you?

    Addendum
    Recipe of the Day: Lemonade Slushy

    Beat six lemons with a knife sharpener, one at a time.
    If you can beat all six at the same time, call me. I need you.
    Demonstrate technique for toddlers and threaten to do it to them if they THROW ONE MORE FUCKING SIPPY CUP AT YOUR HEAD!
    Cut lemons in half. Squeeze juice into a bowl and pick out seeds. Don't squeeze directly into blender, or you will spent inordinate amounts of time trying to fish them out, you dunderhead.
    Pour juice into blender. Add juice of one more lemon, you cheapskate.
    Add ice. Explain to toddler that yes, it does need ice, or it won't be a slushy. Yes, it does. It DOES!
    Grate lemon zest into blender. Microplaners are gifts sent by Santa to help you with this.
    Dump in organic evaporated cane sugar. Drown out voice in head calling you a food Nazi. Try not to think about your gestational diabetes, and that it leads to type 2.
    Blend on puree speed. Examine your blender more closely until you notice the 'crush ice' feature, you dunderhead.
    Add more ice, you cheapskate.
    Blend.
    Pour into little plastic cups for the kiddies. Ignore complaints.
    Pour remainder into a glass tumbler. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
    Optional: Add generous amount of rum, vodka or gin. Spend the rest of the day amusing yourself by saying, "Now hand Mommy her *snicker* lemonade!"
    Laugh uproariously when 'I Don't Care Anymore' comes on the radio.


    Disclaimer: No toddlers were hurt, nor mothers sloshed in the making of this post.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Made It

    He made it, and is stable. This is going to ba a long haul. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. O appreciates it, and so do I.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    And Again

    Please, send your prayers, good thoughts, wishes, whatever you believe. The man I love the most is at the hospital right now, hoping his dad makes it through the night.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Burning Away the Carbon





    (The first of three posts I'd intended, before Monday night.)


    Busy weekend, the kind of busy which leaves you feeling good.

    I’ve been knotted up, inside and out. My muscles tight and hard, my thoughts retracing the same dull paths, my soul or spirit or whatever you want to call it, crumpled up like a torn-out sheet of notebook paper.

    Saturday. I threw the boyos in the car and drove south to Pueblo. It’s a drive I love. In Denver, it’s easy to forget where you are. It’s a city like any other city, the suburbs abound with Targets and Wal-Marts and fast food and chain restaurants, the houses are either 70s-era duplexes or beige, nouveau-luxe crackerboxes. Mountains are grey things in the distance that you can see when the Brown Cloud isn’t too thick.

    But South of the Tech Center, you can remember where you are. The landscape shakes off sprawl (for a little ways). There are sienna plateaus, their sides bristling with dark green pine trees, feet tucked in charcoal-colored scrub oak. Patchy forests of the same. A sweeping sage valley stretching to the front range in shades of lavender and slate. Pike’s Peak’s snowy head holds up the blue sky over Colorado Springs.

    Driving this stretch, I remember I’m in the West, and what that is like. It’s dry, it’s hot, but it’s beautiful – its starkness and cruelty softened this time of year after meager rains turn the grass green and set the cactus to blooming.

    I put the only suitable music into the CD player. U2’s Joshua Tree, and Rattle and Hum. The boyos were talking to each other, which freed me up to sing Red Hill Mining Town, my favorite song. And I felt keen pleasure listening to the live version of Bullet the Blue Sky as I roared through the Springs. Preach it Bono. Though, Silver and Gold hits a little too close to home these days. We all have hypocritical moments.

    Past Colorado Springs, the landscape really dries out, and it feels more like the Old West. The Old West at 90 mph, but hey?

    I found my way to Mr. DeLaClowncar and Peewee’s house sans directions even though this was my first time driving the route. I’ve always been the passenger, and O and I have usually come down at night for the weekend.

    The boyos and girlios warmed up to each other pretty quickly, more quickly each time we get together. They played together all afternoon without a single fight, and the three of us talked on the porch, and later in the park. There are six people in the world to whom I can say anything, with whom I can share comfortable silences and understandings with just a look. They are two of those people.

    We wound up in an Irish bar and restaurant for dinner – a real stretch for three Micks and their kiddies. Excellent place; they brew their own beer and have plans to distill their own whiskey. So long as it’s whiskey and not potcheen, I’ll be back with my glass extended.

    I drove back that evening and managed to miss a downpour in the Springs. I expected to be tired when I got home, but I wasn't. I can't remember when I've felt so relaxed and refreshed. Like a car, I think I need a long, fast road trip now and then to burn the carbon out of my soul.

    Update



    O's dad made it through the surgery. He had a ruptured abdominal aorta. It was the 'best sort' of rupture, and the doctors were able to repair it. He'll be in the hospital for 7-10 days, maybe more. Recovery will take months. The next danger is heart attack, but he's in the best place he can be.

    Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and words. This is a tough time for O, but he is shining through it, like I knew he would.

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Not sure what to say

    I'd started a post about a wonderful, relaxing weekend, thanks to Mr. Clowncar and Peewee. But now I've just learned that my father-in-law is going in to surgery right now, and has a 50-50 chance of coming out again.

    Someone, please tell me how to explain this to the boyos.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Babes In Boyland

    I've got another story up on What if?

    I'm really a friendly little love goddess -- a pocket Venus -- but my short-shorts would lead you to believe otherwise.
    Fiction, that is. Not what I'm wearing.
    Ok, yeah. I've got a pair of those too.

    So, I've been watching my boyos play the past couple of days. I try to do it quietly, unobtrusively, because I don't want to break the spells they weave.
    They've got a whole world between the two of them, populated with all sorts of characters. Mind you, some are pulled directly from Dr. Seuss and Disney, and those good, old laugh-a-minute Grimm Brothers, but they put a new spin on them. Pretty soon, The Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two are leading Pinnochio off to be punished by the Three Bears for 'deading' Simba's daddy.*

    It's a post-modern world, after all. Sing with me. It's a po-mo world.

    I'm very proud of them, for so many reasons. They drive me insane, especially when they do fight -- and then the hitee gets angry at me when I suggest a time-out for the hitter. (Don't ever let anyone tell you twins get along ALL THE TIME.) But hey, maybe they'll defend each other in school, too.



    *(Yeah. They know about death, thanks to our cat, the mighty bird and rabbit hunter. And they are fascinated with it, almost as much as getting away with saying 'poop.')

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Possibilities

    Des Moines Girl did a bit of research for me, and it looks like I might be suffering from a type of migraine. Weird, I always associated migraines with pain, and these episodes are not painful. They just leave me drained for a day or two (not to mention freaked out).

    Thanks for your concern, guys. I promise you a real post soon.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Just Tired

    It was a rough night. Jack was up three or four times, at one point wandering through the house – something he’s never done. I probably managed to get about four hours. I surrendered and got up two hours earlier than I usually do.
    I looked around. Everything was bright
    (oh no)
    and clear; sharp-edged, as if I could slice my hand open
    (no, not today)
    on the edge of a pillow.
    The colors were intense
    (I’m just tired)
    almost to the point of overwhelming me.
    O and I walked to the garden and I said ‘June’ when I meant ‘Illinois
    (it’s been months)
    and ‘diamond’ when I meant ‘dry patch’.
    Everything so bright, so clear, so there.
    It always goes this way, just before it goes away.
    As if to point out what I'm about to lose.
    It starts with a circle of radiating lines, like the end of a child’s bubble wand, right in the center of my vision. Then the circle goes grey. Straight ahead there is nothing. I can blot out your face, blot out the sun.
    Then it spreads. Sometimes evenly, sometimes in a chain, if that means anything.
    A road of grey, of nothing, winding through my field of vision, dividing it into pieces like a mosaic.
    Bright, bright pieces.
    Peek-a-boo.

    I told O, another ocular.
    Any pain?
    No. Not yet.
    G.’s meeting me at the warehouse…
    I’ll be fine.
    I’ll call you…you call me, I can come home after.
    No. It’ll be fine.
    Take aspirin.
    I think I’m just dehydrated.
    And stressed.
    No…
    Yes, you’re stressed.

    Take some aspirin.

    So I did. And four cups of coffee. Caffeine, the substance that holds me together.
    The boyos were understanding. Jack curled up with me, unusually affectionate. And Declan, bless him, actually unloaded the dishwasher by himself, leaving the glasses because they are breakable. He did this on his own. And then he carried three potted Gerber daisies I’d bought the day before out to the garden.
    Amazing kids. They’re three and a half.

    It passed without much pain, except for the reminder that my brain is just a piece of malfunctioning meat that I’m going to have to deal with before much longer. Though I can keep telling myself that it’s only sleep-deprivation, only dehydration, only stress, and that the episodes come and go, come and go, always go, always.

    Congrats...

    ...go to Dantares for being my 2,000th visitor!

    No free ipod awarded though, sorry.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Crash into Me

    I was out with the boyos, to deposit a check. I pulled up in the lane behind a red Neon. The driver, for reasons known only to him, decided to throw the car in reverse. I’m so sleep-deprived that all I could do was watch the lit-up taillights come closer while thinking, ‘A car is about to hit mine while the boyos are in the back seat. I need to do something. How does my horn work? Ooops, too late.’

    Crunch.

    I watched the driver jump, then slump. There was that inevitable pause, while I’m sure he debated getting out of the car. But he did, all six and a half feet of him, at least. I wondered how he managed to squeeze himself into that itty-bitty Neon. It must have been a clowncar.

    His pants added to that clownish perception. They were the most amazing plaid. Busy little lines crossed and re-crossed his eight-foot-long legs like city blocks. This guy must have gone waaaaay out of his way to find these things. The only reason I was able to tear my eyes away from his pants was because he was bald and wearing horn-rimmed glasses, and I am such a sucker for that. I couldn’t tell if he was the nerdiest guy I’d ever seen or the hippest.

    But I could tell he was one of the saddest. His face was pure tragedy. A big, tall twenty-something Emmet Kelley, he waved his hands in the air.

    “Oh my gosh…oh my gosh, I’m sooooo sorry!” he said, his eyes actually tearing up.
    “It’s ok,” I said in my most soothing voice, the one I use on little injured animals. “Here, let’s take a look, ok? I’m sure everything is fine.”
    Our cars were locked together, front bumper to back.
    “Oooohhh…..” he said.
    “It’s oooookaaaayyy,” I said. “Just get in your car and pull a little forward.”
    “Ok.” He stood there, staring.
    “Go ahead.” I smiled until he turned around, got in his car and pulled forward. As soon as he did, I could see that nothing was damaged, since both our cars are made out of that dent-proof, metal/plastic/chewing gum alloy stuff.

    He got back out of the car and walked slowly back toward me, head hunched between his shoulders, blue eyes shining behind those horn-rims, and I realized something.
    I had this guy completely at my mercy.

    “See? No damage,” I said. “Everything is fine.”
    “Are you sure?”
    “Yes.”
    “I’m sooooo sorry!” He bobbed back and forth from one foot to the other.
    “It’s ok. Now I want you to take a deep breath, ok?”
    “Ok.”
    “Breathe.”
    He obliged.
    “Now. This is the worst thing that will happen to you today, and it’s not bad at all is it?”
    “No it’s not. Bad. Not bad.”
    He smiled. I watched the tension ease out of his body. I expected to see it rise off him like heat waves.
    “Thank you,” he said, over and over.
    “Ok. No problem. Take care then.” And we got in our cars.

    As I watched him drive away, I wondered how something so small could make him that upset. I thought how sad or frustrating or lonely his life must be, and I wished I could have talked to him longer.

    I also wondered at the power I felt, at what a rush it was to soothe him, to assure him that everything was all right, that he was fine, that I could send him back to his life without the added frustration of a ticket for a fender bender.

    *******

    And, I’d like to draw your attention to a new comic site I’ve found. Step on over to the left and clicky-click on “Pinch of the Glass”, (or even click right here, if you're too lazy) by a fellow named Andy. He’s funny and twisted and brilliant and a Brit – everything I love in a man!

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Bathroom Re-do


    Fiction's up, over on What if?


    Grrrr…I hate being a vendor. Just emailed in a mess of invoices, and got back:

    ‘I wish you’d sent these a few days ago when I was cutting checks.’

    Grrrr…I’m not psychic (well not that flavor of psychic anyway).

    So I’m just pacing around the blogosphere today, like a tiger in a cage. I should be outside in the garden, but I’ve already weeded everything and it’s that awkward weather time -- past planting spring crops, too early for the heat-lovers. My garden is an awkward tweenager.

    Maybe I’ll just go sit and think. Stare at the Existential Fence and put myself on the other side of it.



    I keep forgetting to do this.

    Before (Taken a couple of years ago):








    70 labor-intensive hours later:

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    All You Need Is Love

    Now that they’re all in bed…

    …I can write. To you.

    I’m coming down from a fantastic weekend, one I didn’t expect to enjoy.

    I’ve been feeling a little Eleanor Rigbyish since Easter.

    Or maybe just isolated on a desert island, the desert being Colorado. Self-imposed isolation. It’s not like I can’t throw the boyos in the car and go somewhere. But there’s been...no where I’ve wanted to go. I’m just not a shopper, and going to a park alone with the boyos right now is a job for Wonder Woman, and she doesn’t live here.

    O’s been working long hours with no days off, and Easter as well as the repercussions after sort of drove home the point that I’m really not welcome here anymore.


    So, I’ve kind of holed up the past few weeks(yikes, is it weeks?). It didn’t help that the boyos had spirited away the nail clippers, and my nails were looking a bit end-days-Howard-Hughesy.


    (Hmmm. Looks like I haven’t been myself for a while.)


    Anyway, let’s skip over the pity party and get to the FUN party.

    O’s class reunion.

    I know what you’re thinking. Ugh. A chance for all the guys to flop their dicks out on the table and compare sizes, and all the chicks to size EVERYthing up.

    Add to that the fact that it wasn’t a high school reunion but a middle school reunion. Weird, huh?

    They had one last year which we attended. I knew one wife there, a friend of mine. She was going through some problems, so we ended up off in a corner of the bar talking instead of mingling. She and her husband opted out this year. Hearing that, I didn’t really want to go. Talk to people? Strangers? One of whom my husband was going to marry? Eleanor Rigby, anyone?

    But O begged me to come. He even called the babysitter himself.

    About thirty seconds after we got to the bar, O turned to me and said, “You're driving home.” So, in my funkish state, I felt like, ‘Oh thanks, you didn't want me to come to have fun, you just wanted a designated driver.’

    But thirty seconds after THAT, a woman, R., said something so foul and funny it just about had me on the floor, and thirty seconds after THAT, I said something so funny and foul it almost had her on the floor, and then we split a pack of cigarettes because my husband was too cheap to hand over $4.25 for the vending machine, and then R. and I bonded on a bathroom break, and then harassed (in a nice way) a pretty woman and her handsome date, and then I met R.’s husband, and he was funny, and then I met B., who, along with O was picked on in school (O was the fat kid, B. was the pip squeak) and B. loved me because I reminded him of his sister, and he thought O and I looked like soulmates from the minute we walked in the door, and B. is gay and short and kept hugging me, so if I closed my eyes it was like hugging Elijah Wood (shut up, Clowncar) and I met the woman O was going to marry, and she was a blast, and I would have married her too, and I met another woman who had me laughing as well, and and and...

    By the time I left I had the undying love of about five people, and I was madly in love with them, and it was exactly what I needed after the crappy treatment I received from my in-laws at Easter.

    There.

    Breath.

    And even though we were two hours late getting home, the babysitter said, “Call me the next time you need me.” Yay!

    ****

    P.S. I loved everybody’s response to the meme. Feel free to keep posting them; I get y’all’s comments by email. Heck, go back and comment on any posting, and I’ll see it. Nancy Dancehall sees all. Nancy Dancehall refers to herself in the third person. It’s time for Nancy Dancehall to haul her Nancy-ass to bed.