Won’t you be my . . . Brit?

My husband and I spent a week in London not too long ago. We toured the city walking to different sites, mostly of my choosing. He reminded me to not walk ahead nor behind but right beside him so we wouldn’t lose each other in the crowds. I agreed.

We pull out from one of the many churches we were looking at that day and I turned to the left and began walking. I was feeling guilty that so much of the site seeing was for solely my benefit, so I linked my arm with my husband’s, leaned over and asked if he wanted to pop over to see that cool building across the street. I hear a British, “Excuse me??” I turned and with a scream realized I had linked with some random Brit who was roughly the same height, distinguished, and looking at me like I was quite daft — all the while still maintaining his stride away from me. I scanned the crowd for my real husband and see that he’s several feet behind me, his hands raised in the “just what the heck are you doing?”gesture.

“I thought we were supposed to stay side by side!” I huffed once we reunited.

“Well, at least if you are going to go home with a stranger you did pick a nice looking one.”

The Good Wife’s Guide

The good wife 2013_10_23_22_05_26.pdf000

Some of my favorite “guidelines” from 1955 . . .

“. . . catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.” Oh yeah. It provides something alright.

“Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.” Lucy, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

“Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night.” Oh, don’t worry. I won’t complain. He won’t hear it coming . . .

“. . . remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.” What if my topic of conversation begins with, honey . . . I’m a little gay . . .

“Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement . . . you have no right to question him.” You know, these are pretty good. Where can I get a wife?

Cure for empty nest syndrome


I’ve been reading a lot about how to cope with empty nest syndrome. I’ve read, and heard from friends in the past, about how the house seems so empty and quiet. People, especially women, speak of listening to the loud ticking of the clocks.

That sounds so depressing.

After hours and months of research I’ve come upon a brilliant plan to help me with empty nest syndrome.

I’m taking the batteries out of the frickin’ clocks.

Problem solved.

French kissing and the alcoholic cat

Domino after a cologne binge

I have a complaint about Hollywood. Actually, I have a lot of complaints about Hollywood, the least of how they glitz up things that have no right or business being glitzed up. I’m not just talking about the crime, adultery, and desperate singles looking for a mate. I’m talking about kissing. Not the cute peck on the cheek from your grandmother or godfather (not to be confused with the kiss of death bestowed upon a minion who has betrayed the family “business”.) I’m talking about the open-mouthed, organ-swapping activity that many of our spray-tanned, uber-sleeked, blinding-white smiled, 10-hour hair and makeup peeps we worship engage in on both the big screen and the little.

First of all, watching a pretty person kiss is so much different than watching a not-so-pretty-person kiss. But even if the latter happens to be close to screen worthy, the act of watching two people chewing on each other is enough to make even a person with the strongest of constitutions dry-heave.

Watching French kissing on the screen is a bit less nauseating when we have been programmed to suspend belief. It’s easy to do when the size of our entertainment (a 27 inch or 52 foot screen for instance) isn’t even in realistic dimensions. But in real life, like at a wedding after the minister announces that the couple are now man and wife, with no compunction, boundaries or filters grab each other like Frankenstein ready to rip off his new bride’s head, or going in for the bite like a Cullen ending a fast, you can almost hear the teeth clank like two wine glasses. It’s shark week all over again.

People, I know it’s your day. We get that. We’ve indulged you for most of your engagement period and we’ve made it this far; but this is where I draw the line.

Keep the mouth closed. Keep. It. Closed. Don’t make us feel like you’ve decided to start the honeymoon early. It’s awkward. It’s painful. And there is nowhere to look.  (Unfortunately, social conventions dictate we watch.) We are left with that plastic smile frozen on our lips, cooing “awwwwww” when we want to turn our heads and groan “ewwwww”. We’ve all brought you a gift; now give us one in return. You can keep the template thank you cards you will be sending out 6 months later. THIS will be our gift. Salvage your dignity and rescue our stomachs. You’re not on a big screen and it doesn’t look like it when we watch, and unlike Hollywood we don’t have the power or authority to yell CUT!

That brings me to another dilemma: alcoholic cats. We call ours “Alkie” for short. (That and Lil’ Hitler but that’s for another post.) Let me hasten to reiterate our Mormon lifestyle. We do not drink alcohol in any form (except Nyquil on occasion. Hmmmmm, does Nyquil still have alcohol?) Nor do we keep it in the house. So how does an Angolan cat get her hands on it?

Any way a druggie can.

She begins by stalking anyone in the house wearing even the tiniest spritz of perfume or cologne. There is no preference of taste or smell; it’s the booze in the bottle that’s been sprayed on the skin. Let that cat get near you and she’ll skin you alive with her sandpaper tongue trying to get every last drop even at a cellular level. She licks every plastic bag that crosses our threshold, hopping on forbidden tables to roll among the freshly placed new grocery bags from petro heaven. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of crinkly, tangy plastic waiting for a taste test.

We can accept the plastic bag fetish, it lasting only as long as it takes to unload the groceries. We turn a blind eye to the cologne sucking. A quick backhand and she is on the floor with that stupefied, slaphappy look of “it was worth it, man. It was worth it.” But we saw something the other day that couldn’t be unseen. It was a bridge too far, the line that was stepped over and now forever erased. We walked into the room to an unsuspecting cat – unaware and not caring who saw anyway – licking away, engorging herself on an opened, magazine perfume sample.

We could control it when the proverbial liquor cabinet was locked up and out of reach. But this – this was inexcusable. This was every pet owners’ nightmare. The outside world had encroached, the pushers infiltrating our haven, their tentacles slyly reaching into and stroking the dark corners of our cat’s psyche. Who would ever suspect an innocent, free perfume sample capable of enabling a cat junkie? We didn’t even consider moving the insert, or that after we had indulged our own nasal senses and casually flinging it on the table there would be enough to attract and entice a weak, foolish, and obtuse feline.

And, like Hollywood, you may think this scenario as glamorous, the image of a model in her penthouse sniffing her reward for landing that job as a centerfold model in a Lane Bryant catalogue. Well, it’s not, people! It’s not glamorous at all. Lives are altered forever. Once a cat has sampled magazine inserts she won’t stop there. Next she will be slinking onto the MW Cleaners truck looking to get hopped up on dry cleaning fluid.

We are taking this day by day, trying to be positive but not getting our hopes too high. Ha. {She chuckles wryly.} High. That’s exactly what we’re up against. A cat with no morals, trying to figure out how to get her next fix, lurking around bathrooms or pawing through the pantry looking for discarded, forgotten grocery bags.

We can keep the bags and magazine inserts out of a cat’s reach. That we have in our control. But the wedding kiss? Or the couple who forget they are in the midst of a crowd at the Renaissance Festival, making out like a monk forsaking his vows? We can only do so much in spreading the word. Blog by blog, subtle “raaaaallfffff” hints placed here and there . . . keeping the pet world drug free and the reality kissing at bay. It’s a lonely job, but someone’s got to do it.



Photograph by Ramona Siddoway

Mornings are not always my friend. At least, not when I first wake up. I can’t say with any accuracy that I’ve been much different for most of my life. That first time I open my eyes, the brief moment of disorientation – not entirely unpleasant, but a moment between the “then” of the night with its dreams and own experiences and the “now” that is about to happen. My dreams are rarely unpleasant or frightening, but I always wake up feeling like I’ve really had a workout. Maybe its my psyche working out all the details of the day before, maybe its my imagination and creativity finally getting a free reign without the internal and external editors that they are constantly butting up against in my waking life, or maybe its my subconscious gently but firmly reminding me of who I’m really supposed to be.

I remember talking to a friend about an upcoming camping trip we were all planning on. I had never personally camped in this particular area we were going to and was asking my friend for some details. He said that mornings are a bit chilly but once you get moving you get warmed up and things are good again. He talked about how he’s a little stiff when he first gets up in the tent, but he just moves forward, starts making the fire, and soon the cold and stiffness are gone.

I still remember the visual in my head of this Wyoming cowboy, crouching over the first struggling fire of the day, waiting for the stiffness in his fingers and the cold in his bones to dissipate. I like that image.

When I first wake up there’s often this mental, emotional, and psychological stiffness – a stiffness of the soul if you will. But once I’ve gotten up, gotten moving and on with my day that stiffness dissipates pretty quickly and I’m good for another twenty-four.

With this new, upcoming season in my life the mornings center around that echo in my heart; the one that reminds me that soon there will no longer be extra bodies in the beds above me (unless, of course, I put them there. Mwahahahaha!!! Ahem. Excuse me. I digress. Back to our regularly scheduled achefest . . . )

Soon there will no longer be breakfast mess waiting for me to clean. (It will now only be dinner mess that I refused to clean the night before.) Nor will I be flying to my cell phone to text the offending miscreant who didn’t do something they should have. Instead the only thing waiting for me in the kitchen will be the mouth-breathing, snarky, Angolan cat who will give me my 30 seconds of allotted affection for the day. Or Jack, our Frankenpuppy (an aging dog who, because of strange parentage, has an abnormally small head for his large body) who will eventually slink down the stairs after sleeping on a forbidden bed.

It’s in that quiet that often frightens me. I can’t exactly say why. It’s the quiet that seems to shout echoes of the past and threats of uncertain futures.

I realize I have to move forward each day with the faith that the stiffness won’t really stay but a minute. I have to remind myself that the emotional and psychological and spiritual manna will always be waiting for me as long as I have the courage to just get up and harvest it.

So once I’m up I usually make my way to our patio. I read some scriptures and meditate as the birds are waking up and just as the Texas sun makes its way over the fence.  I need to remember to take a deep breath and not let fear from allowing me to BE in the quiet, in those moments just after the “me” of the night gives way and melds with the “me” of the day.

In the end it’s all good – the night, the morning, and the quiet in between.

The fly

My new friend . . . or IS he??

I’m trying to get some real, soul searching, satisfying writing done but somewhere, someone unleashed a huge fly jacked up on caffeine. It is circling my head like it was in the Indie 500. Literally. Circling MY head over and over and over and over . . . ahhhhhhhh! I feel like I’m in a cartoon where the main character is either dead or has not bathed in a really long time. Well, I’m not dead.


Okay. Now it is resting on the corner of my laptop, its shiny green butt pointing right at me. I’d try to kill it but then knowing that I’m not the karate kid with lightening fast reflexes I’d merely get it flying around me in another frenzy.

Oops. It was merely resting for the next twenty-five laps.

The engines have stopped.

Where IS it?? I don’t know which sound is more frightening, the propellers of a huge Kafka-esk fly that could carry away my cat or the icy, Hitchcock-like stillness and quiet, waiting, wondering where it is, what it is thinking, the plots that are hatching behind those 5 billion eyes.

I’m. Going. To. Hold. Really. Really. Still.

No one. Move. Or. Breathe.

Call 911 if you don’t hear from me . . .

Fast and really, really angry . . .

We recently watched Fast and Furious 6. I’m not a F&F fan. Number 6 was the first one I’ve watched all the way through. Needless to say I didn’t know who the characters were, what the storyline was, or the back history. Because it was F&F  I didn’t need to know who the characters were, what the storyline was, or the back history.

The chick who died in some other movie but in #6 we all found out she was alive? What is with the chronic constipated look?


She looks like she’s trying to decide between Mirilax or ExLax.

“I don’t remember my life before the hospital . . . did I need this much fiber before?”

“That’s MY Metamucil Fiber Bar!”

I can see why the movie (and series of movies) they might be popular among people who are either not accustomed to thinking very hard or have day jobs that require excruciating thinking, logic, and reasoning skills and just really , really need a break from all of that. Besides, what other movie do you get to see people live out your fantasy of being a flying squirrel?

Acting: C

okay, maybe a c+

“It’s about family.” Riveting dialogue.

Perhaps The Rock can spend a bit more time taking acting lessons and less time working on his bra size.

Five Fab Friday – (5 things I’m grateful for)


  1. That nobody really cares that its not Friday
  2. Elmer’s glue. This puddle of white goo gave me endless hours as a child. Although I never stepped out of my comfort zone to actually eat it as some of my contemporaries were fond of doing at the time I did love lathering it on the palm of my hand, waiting for it to dry, and then peeling it off like an extra layer of skin. We use to collect these pre-body-snatcher creations in our pencil boxes. And yes, as an adult in retrospect I do find this gross. But at the time . . . J
  3. Silly putty and Sunday comics. Pressing down that pink creation and pulling up a mirror image of Garfield. Good times. Good times.
  4. Red toenail polish. This was an acquired taste I must admit. I’ve always grossed out by toes in general (in my opinion they are hideous add-ons). To date I’m slightly queasy but I can walk beside a friend or neighbor in sandals and resist the urge to find a fireman’s axe to remedy the creation.
  5. Bling-bling. I love my bling-bling and living in Houston Texas allows me to fit right in. We love our bling from rhinestones on flip-flops to shiny dresses at a Jeans and Jewels gala event.
  6. I love being able to do whatever I want as an adult, including ignoring the “five” rule in my own title.

Blue Flames


Before you read any further you need to understand a few things about me.

1) I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy.

2) I was raised with 4 brothers and despite their belief that they had nothing to do with the way I turned out they had substantial influence over me — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

3) I love Clint Eastwood and grew up on his westerns. He was Mr. blue-eyed-craggly-face long before Daniel Craig.

4) Number three has nothing to do with this post except that writing the phrase “the good the bad and the ugly” reminded me of watching Clint on our little rabbit-eared TV growing up.

5) I can neither confirm nor deny if I have ADD

6) Rats. I think I already spilled that mess of beans on earlier posts

I’m sitting here in the grocery store parking lot staring at a sign for Blue Rhino, the propane tank exchange company. I asked myself, where did they come up with the logo or name of blue rhino for a propane gas tank company? And then that little 12-year-old boy in me started to giggle.

Please re-read the disclaimers above. Producing blue flamers is a process of lighting flatulent gases on fire – or the gas of someone you are very comfortable with. This game is not for the timid as several factors have to be in play for a successful blue flame:

* Range: an extensive gas range is needed in the carrier. Without the proper propulsion, expulsion, volume and force the risk is only a disappointing flame but the probability of catching he carrier’s pants on fire increases exponentially (not to be confused with the sentencing of a liar . . . you know  . . . liar liar pants on fire . . .)

* Health risks: for the lighting assistant there is a high risk of noxious fumes, and while being so close to the source — while not necessarily toxic or fatal — can create feelings of disorientation and false impending death. This is not a risk for the carrier as it is a well-known fact that a carrier cannot sense the rancid, putrefying stench of his/her own gas. A carrier has — what is known in most blue faming circles as — immunity.

* Expectations: there can be a risk of disappointment, not only in the size of explosion but in the color, for although the “product” is labeled as a blue flamer the lit flatulent gas does not actually appear as the color blue. Historical records indicate that the name is derived from the natural gas that a carrier produces.

* Supply depletion: no gas from a chosen carrier. I believe producing the correct amount of gas as well as the speed necessary for a successful launch is as much an art form as it is a skill. While most human bodies will produce (and expel) a reasonable amount of gas in a given lifetime not all gas and gas carriers are created equal. Some must intake specific types of fuel in order for effective processing. Others are simply gifted with a faulty processing system that allows for a natural greenhouse effect to take place.

*Pyroflatulance, otherwise known as “blue darts” or “blue angels” are possible because of the methane, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen present when one breaks wind. Caution must be exercised or sensitive tissues can be singed, seared, or over cooked.

While I have never personally experienced nor witnessed the ignition of a blue flame I can thus neither confirm nor deny the existence of such activities. I can only attest to the attempt by my older brothers. (Lighting flatulent gases has been a novelty practice among the male species of our culture for decades and with the statistical current rate of human evolvement this practice will continue for many, many more.) Disclaimer: no squirrels, chipmunks or creepy clowns were harmed during the creation of this blog post

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