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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  • Sunday, December 31, 2006

    Happy New Year

    Love to you all. *smooch*

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    Dear Sophia, take me by the hand today and show me all I've missed.

    Now stop blogging and write, Dancehall! Finish it.

    Music: KT Tunstall, Suddenly I See

    Saturday, December 30, 2006

    Rumination, Flagellation

    I have a theory. Spam is written by frustrated Surrealist poets who can't make a living otherwise.

    Case in point, this gem, which I've stanza-ed for your reading pleasure:

    Rumination, Flagellation

    A cashier

    living with a skyscraper

    avoids contact with a class action suit:

    "You probably don't know

    what the police can do

    with just one piece of thread,

    or dirt

    under someone's fingernails,

    or even dust in a corpse's hair!”

    A chess board self-flagellates,

    because the cashier pours freezing cold water

    on a bartender.

    When the spider ruminates,

    the nearest lover beams with joy.

    A chess board


    because the cashier pours freezing cold water on

    a bartender.

    When the spider ruminates,

    the nearest lover


    with joy!

    Friday, December 29, 2006

    Suburbarians -- Or -- Yes, We Have No Bananas

    Get this: it's SNOWING in Colorado. COLORADO. Can you believe it?

    It's pretty. But it does lead to some disturbing sights.

    During the last storm, O braved the snow and roads (being cooped up with me for two days will do that to a person) and drove to the grocery store. He came back whey-faced and trembling. (Ok, he wasn't trembling, and will correct me on that, but you get the idea).*

    “I just saw the scariest thing,” he said, not-trembling.

    “Nasty accident? Cannibals? Abominable snowman?”

    “No. The store's produce section was decimated. There was nothing. I grabbed the last two lemons. All the tangerines, oranges, apples, gone. All the lettuce, gone. All the potatoes gone. All the bananas, gone. Just a few plantains left, because they're funny-looking and no one knows what to do with them.”

    “No one but me.”

    “No one but you. All the baking goods are low. No sugar, no flour, nothing you could use to make cookies.” (Here he did tremble a little bit. I make GOOD cookies).


    “Yeah. JIT inventory.”


    “JIT. Just In Time inventory. It's how this country is run. All supplies are 'just in time'. Your average grocery store has about two to three days' worth of inventory. Everything is trucked across country.”

    “So you're saying—”

    “We're fucked, is what I'm saying.”

    “Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today...” I sang.

    DID YOU KNOW that the late Anton LeVey, head of the Church of Satan, considered the aforementioned song, 'Satanic?' I'm not quite sure what he meant, but the spirit of shortage that this happy ditty illustrates does bring out the little devil in the Suburbarians living 'round these parts.

    After the last storm, my neighbor S. called to tell me about her husband. They had plans to go to Costco, toddler and baby twins in tow, but since he was already out he decided to go by himself.

    “And I'm glad he did,” S. told me. “They have police stationed at Costco.”

    Now, let me break in and tell you that this Costco is Upscale! with all that word implies. You want lobster, baked truffled brie in croute, kobe beef? Then this is Your Discount Warehouse.

    “You're kidding,” I replied.

    “Nope. People are getting into fistfights in the parking lot over parking spaces. They're fighting over food inside. He says it's scary and he's glad we didn't try to go with the twins.”


    “Merry Christmas, huh?”

    “No doubt. Peace on Earth, now gimmie that Gouda before I slug you.”

    The Lexus Tribe of Greenwood Village gets ugly when it runs out of caviar before the holidays.


    Me? I'm off to watch the fire and bake banana bread.

    *Technically, the empty grocery store gave him 'the ooogies'.

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    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Not That I'm Done with the Book, But...

    I think I just wrote the last scene in the last chapter.

    I feel like a goose-feathered angel just walked over my grave, whistling.

    That's my bird by the way; a Canadian Gander. A silly goose.

    De nada.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    And Finally

    The snow stopped. The last clouds have passed and the sky is brilliant and blue. The drifts are already starting to melt, packing down under their own watery blue weight.

    It was nice, this blizzard, this respite from the holidays. A shame when you need a break from Christmas, and it hasn't even arrived yet. What the hell has gone wrong?

    I sat by the fire almost non-stop, getting up only to cook, do a little laundry, put the boyos to bed. I read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. I read Winnie the Pooh to the boyos. I talked to O. I watched the wood burn. I warmed up. And somewhere in there, my brittle mood melted into buttery toffee.

    O has left for work, hitching a ride from a generous neighbor with a truck. Most of the roads have been plowed, but our neighborhood is hilly. Trying to get out is like a fly trying to escape a pitcher plant. There. O just called. The roads are still bad but passable with care.

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Blizzard, Continued

    Same view, today. That's a four and a half foot snowdrift in the front.

    Everything is closed. The snow is still falling. The wind has stopped, which makes driving safer, (for any fool who'd attempt it) but the still falling snow endangers trees, wires and houses. I think we'll be ok though. Not like '03 when the beam cracked in the old house and a line of ceiling plaster crumbled and fell.

    Squirrels, O said, Squirrels, as I pulled him from the office, which I was sure was gong to cave in. But didn't.

    Here's a cool one. This snow overhang is about two feet wide (that's about, um, about 8 kilometers for the metric folk).

    This morning I made cinnamon ginger blueberry pancakes. And Jack scared the hell out of us by falling off a stool. Poor kid's asleep in my lap, his chin swollen.

    I've declared today Easter.

    Yup. Snowed in, in Colorado. Best time to work on a novel. Where was I? Ah yes,

    “All work and no play makes Dancehall a Nancy boy.” “All work and no play makes Dancehall a Nancy boy.” “All work and no play makes Dancehall a Nancy boy.”

    Oh, and this made me laugh.

    Addendum: A Mememememe!!! From Irrelephant

    1. Three things that scare me:
    - Oblivion
    - Suffocation (of any sort)
    - Zombies (Of the brain-eating or fanatical variety)

    2. Three people who make me laugh:
    - Rowan Atkinson
    - Emo Phillips
    - O

    3. Three things I love:
    - My people
    - Quantum Mechanics
    - Rain

    4. Three things I hate:
    - Mustard and onions
    - Being made to feel incompetent
    - Drama Queens

    5. Three things I don't understand:
    - Life
    - Universe
    - Everything

    6. Three things on my desk (Desk? What's a desk?)
    - A Hula Dancer
    - A box of pecans, coffee and cotton
    - A Poppet

    7. Three things I'm doing right now:
    - Building up the fire
    - Marveling at how relaxing and emotionally healing a blizzard can be
    - Watching the sky turn blue in time for the sunset

    8. Three things I want to do before I die:
    - Publish a book
    - Come to terms with oblivion, preferably to stop believing in it.
    - teach my granddaughter how to quilt

    9. Three things I can do:
    - See music
    - Refute Aristotle's argument against the void
    - anything perfectly, once (beginner's luck)

    10. Three things I can't do:
    - Reach stuff in my kitchen without climbing on the counters
    - play the violin
    - refute a temporal vacuum

    11. Three things you should listen to:
    - the ones you love
    - live music
    - nature

    12. Three things you should never listen to:
    - stupid people, unless you want to laugh, or you're taking notes
    - your television
    - me

    13. Three things I'd like to learn:
    - Life
    - The Universe
    - Everything

    14. Three favorite foods:
    - dark chocolate anything
    - Good Italian anything
    - Homemade soup and bread

    15. Three beverages I drink regularly:
    - Tea
    - Chai
    - Coffee

    16. Three shows I watched as a kid
    - The Addams Family
    - The Adventures of Electro Woman and DynaGirl
    - Anything done by Rankin-Bass

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006


    A photo for Daffa. I hope her fiance made it to Australia before this storm.

    I went out for an emergency run to the store this morning. Ice wasn't a factor, but the snow on the roads was. It was like cross-country skiing for your car.

    Outside the wind is howling, the flights are all canceled, visibility is down to nil, O's home, I have a mason jar of homemade hot chocolate mix, a chicken for soup, and a roaring fire in the fireplace.

    This is going a long way to chase away the black edges that have surrounded my days for a week now. Christmas is looking bleak this year.

    So. I am declaring today Christmas. And Winter Solstice.* Forget the traditions, forget the laws of nature. I can overcome them all with the sheer force of my desire!

    But I can't seem to talk O into opening presents today.

    They've just announced two feet of snow on the way. On the radio Bono sings, “The snow's coming down...”

    Music: Sarah MacLaughlin's version of Joni Mitchell's River.

    *The Christians and the Pagans will just have to deal. Maybe it'll give them something to agree on.

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Tell Me Something Happy

    It's as simple as that.

    Get to it.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Two Strands of Black Pearls

    (Warning: Graphic material)

    So the other day I went to see the doc who got me pregnant (and he didn't even remember me, dammit! What's a poor girl to do?). Dr. S. wanted to examine me himself. Sometimes endometriosis shows up in ultrasounds when it's particularly advanced, or as he put it, “When it moves out from the cavities and eats into tissue or into the ovaries.”

    I'm an old pro at examining ultrasounds. I've had around 40. Watching the screen helps me forget what is happening to my body. That is always a good thing, when I can leave my body behind during these procedures. They aren't the noninvasive, roller-over-the-belly type, if you know what I mean gals.

    The tech started in, and the screen filled with black and white images. A dark patch, cottony and cinder-dark, let him know where to begin in surgery. Then:

    “Look at that,” said Dr. S. “Can we get a picture of that?” The tech zoomed in and clicked a button. “That is a textbook case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.”

    “Let me see.” I said.

    “There, see that? The cysts line up around the perimeter of the ovary. It's sometimes called a strand of pearls. And you have them in both ovaries. I've never seen such a textbook case,” he said, a look of near-rapture on his face. “You could be a model, do you know that?”

    “Why, thank you!”

    He laughed, and that's a sight worth seeing under any circumstances (back me up on this, Schmoop).

    “And we got you pregnant?” he asked.

    “Yes. Twin boys.”

    “How did we do that?”


    He shook his head.

    “I can tell you this now, since you were successful. I don't know how it happened. Not with what I'm seeing.”

    “A miracle?”

    He nodded, still staring at the dark pearls. “That's fair.”

    So a handsome doctor thinks I'm model-beautiful on the inside, I'm the proud possessor of two strands of black pearls, and I'm a worker of miracles. What else could I possibly need for Christmas?*

    Surgery's set for 7:30, January 8th. Positive thoughts,wishes, prayers, vibes, fantasies, delusions, love and lust sent my way all gratefully accepted.

    Oh, yes, and for the perverts in my life, I give you...a pair of boobies!

    Hey, I told you they wouldn't be mine.

    *Why, one of these Poppets, of course! Just got mine in the mail today. Very happy.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Bear with me.

    I've been negligent. I've procrastinated, and only now have I pulled the amaryllis bulbs out of the basement. Their translucent green leaves might just as well be ghosts. Perhaps sunlight will strengthen them, and maybe they will be strong enough to flower by Valentine's Day.


    I'm usually not at a loss for words. A blank page or screen has never intimidated me. They are tilled garden beds waiting to be planted.

    But right now, I can't seem to fill them.

    So, I'll type until I have something.

    It's when I stop and look at life, at death, the way they balance, the way death winds through a tunnel and comes out as life, the way life turns and eats its own tail. I don't have the words. I don't.

    The more I write, the more I realize that it is just my way of coming to terms with oblivion. If I make some of you laugh or cry or actually think along the way, it is a happy side-effect.

    And all I can tell you is that the best, most important thing you can do is to fall in love. With someone, with something, anything. Let go and fall.

    Flying's just falling with faith.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Hating Blogger

    Who's with me?

    Ever since switiching over to Beta, I haven't been able to leave comments, and I keep getting logged out. Ga!

    Maybe Blogger just hates me.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    My Thoughts Today

    Are with my friends who are enduring the loss of their little one.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    It is unfair that the sky is so blue in wintertime

    I don't know why. It just is.

    Ok, inventory:

    7 computers
    146 cookbooks
    1 stale snickerdoodle (eaten)
    369 finished pages
    70-odd unfinished pages
    1 Dr's appointment tomorrow
    4 hours of sleep last night
    3 words from a Tom Waits song stuck in my head (dig dig dig)
    1 giggle

    Blend well and pour into a coffee mug. Sprinkle with cocoa and cayenne. Drink while hot.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Here Comes That Career Thing Again

    I hate that old cliché, but I need to learn that whenever I let go of something, that's when it comes back.

    Got a call last night from printshop owner C., asking if I was free between Christmas and New Year's. I'd given up on getting any substantial work out of C., since he'd absorbed yet another printshop, and had more or less taken on the graphic designer there as Freelancer #1.

    Buuuut, it looks like he needs a warm body in the shop over the holidays, and he's willing to cover my daycare costs.

    To which I say, Woot!

    Now, to avoid getting 'used' by his main salesman, who seems to think I'm only fit for running copies. It's like using a blowtorch to light a birthday cake.

    Not that I'm above running copies, but I get screwed out of my time, and as we all know, time is money. I charge by the job, and it is nearly impossible to keep track of how much time I waste setting up a copy job while I've got three other (real) projects going at the same time. Perhaps I shall have to charge by the hour this time and see what happens.

    Thanks, all, for your comments on my story things. I think I will go ahead and write the whole 'Avocados, Artichokes,' story, since it seems to have gotten people's attention. I'm going to send a couple of you an essay to read, based on Kay and Blue-Eyed Bike-Angels. I'm sending that puppy off to The Sun in January, but, I'd like to get some final feedback (as usual). Anybody else want to play, shoot me your email at nancy_dancehall at yahoo.

    (And for you folks already playing along at home reading JALL, I'm still chiseling away. Just cutting through some angsty scenes. After this the action picks up again with the return of the Hounds for one of those 'final showdown' thingys. And then...heh...some of you aren't going to like me very much...)

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    When the Food Nazi Says, “Let's go for ice cream instead!” Run the Other Way

    While I type, I'm staying out of the way of my boyos, who are reenacting yesterday's big event, a trip to the pediatrician.

    They've elaborated. The trip did not include an accident with a double-decker bus. I don't remember there being a surgery, or a feeding tube. And no one died, or came back from the dead, as I recall. But sometimes I miss things.

    No, there was no accident, no heroic measures, no death, no rebirth.

    So why do I feel like I've been through all that?

    Let me back up. Declan took a nap yesterday, which is way out of the norm, and awoke fevered and complaining of an upset stomach, a sore throat and sensitive eyes. The first word to go off sizzling in my brain pan was 'strep', so I called the doctor and got an appointment. The minute he heard 'doctor' Declan decided he felt fine. I spent the next five minutes getting kicked in the face as I tried to apply socks to the boy. With 20 minutes until the appointment, a fifteen minute drive, and a hysterical boyo I wasn't sure what to do.

    So what pops out of my mouth but, “Let's go for ice cream instead!”

    Now, I know my boyos are smarter than that. They aren't two, for heaven's sakes, they're four. But I was desperate. The next five minutes turned into the toddler-edition of Law and Order:

    Jack: Will we go to the doctor first?

    Dancehall: We'll get ice cream! Get in the car.

    Declan: *sniff* At the Doctor's?

    Dancehall: Of course not. The doctor doesn't have ice cream. Get in the car.

    Jack: Will we go to a restaurant for the ice cream?

    Dancehall: Yes, we will. Get in the car.

    Jack: Will it be a drive-thru?

    Dancehall: Yes. Get in the car.

    Declan: Then we'll go to's?

    Dancehall: Um. Do you want chocolate or vanilla?

    Declan: Answer me. *sniff*

    Dancehall: Get in the car. Now. Ice cream.

    Jack: So we are going to the doctor's AREN'T we?

    Dancehall: Um...

    Declan: NO!

    As you can see, I'm not that great with kids. I don't understand how they work. I'm trying to raise little adults here. Jack knows the difference between Bach and Mozart, Declan can tell you that a Madeline is a cookie, a mandolin is a bluegrass instrument, and a mandoline is very sharp. But they are toddlers, and I don't know what to do with toddlers. Especially when they act like toddlers.

    So that's why the next part is so disturbing.

    As I closed the car door, something came over me, something completely foreign. I had an idea of how I might get them to the doctor's without all the screaming and wailing and gnashing of baby teeth.

    Dancehall: You know, Mommy doesn't feel good.

    Declan: You don't?

    Dancehall: No. My tummy hurts, and so does my throat.

    Jack: You should go to the doctor.

    Dancehall: Really? Do you think so?

    Declan: Yes.

    Dancehall: Well. If you're sure. I guess I should go to the doctor.

    Declan: But ice cream first?

    Aw crap...wait...

    ...another totally foreign transmission entered my brain...

    Dancehall: Well, you know, let's swing by the doctor's first and see if he's still open.

    Jack: Oh! Yes! He might be closed.
    Dancehall: Yes! Exactly! I'd hate to miss him if he closes early.

    So I drove to the doc's without another complaint. And as we drove, it just kept going, this foreign line of thinking:

    Dancehall: You know, Mommy has no idea how this doctor-visit-thing works.

    Declan: Well, they take your shoes off, and they look in your ears–

    Jack: And they listen to your heart–

    Declan: And you gotta open your mouth, like this–

    Dancehall: Oh. Really? I still don't get it. Will you show me when we get there?

    Boyos: Yes!

    So, I was driving along, thinking that when we got to the office I'd give everybody there a big wink, and tell them I was sick, and could they look at me for strep? And I imagined them all winking back, playing along, something they did everyday. And then Declan would 'demonstrate' for his sick mommy how to get his mouth swabbed, and he wouldn't throw a tantrum.

    And by God, if that isn't how it all went down.

    And by God, if I didn't feel like I'd infiltrated the Mommy Skull and Crossbones Fraternity. Like I'd found a scrap of paper with all the secret codes and handshakes of Good Motherhood and executed them perfectly.

    And by God, if I didn't feel like a complete phony. Like Morticia in pink pumps and pearls.

    I even figured out how to get the boyos some ice cream afterwards while avoiding rush hour traffic as well as a melty mess.

    And I had this weird, dual-feeling in my chest. One feeling of having bested some sort of ordeal, and the other of a panicked, what-the-hell-has-invaded-my-head-and-why-is-it-a-


    Plus, the trip proved to be unnecessary. Which is, I suppose, a good thing, considering the alternative was strep throat. He's got a virus, nothing more. If I hadn't overreacted, I could have saved $27.14, and never known this weird, Dr. Doris Day/Ms. Morticia Addams duality I seem to possess.

    I'm just a great big faker. And I have no clue as to what I'm doing as a mother.

    So now the three of us are sitting here in the basement watching old 80s and 90s music videos on the computer and eating popcorn. And I just realized we've all been eating out of the same bowl.

    I feel stupid, and contagious.

    Oh, denial.