Choose Wisely

Besides you know, politicians, choosing people to populate your life is a heady endeavor.

It is my belief that this should apply to bosses, landlords, car repair men, lovers, and Uber drivers.

And if they appear to be a lying, cowardly, foolish thief—I give you permission to cut and run.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
~Maya Angelou

PS. And don’t forget to vote.

Carry on,
xox


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A Rant About Tolerance Loaded With F-Bombs…And Queen

“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”
~ Bobby Kennedy

This morning dawned bright and cheery and I was in a good enough mood after my meditation to turn on the news.

Big mistake.

Dufus had just caved to the conservative religious right by Tweeting his most recent policy shift (you know like most Presidents do), banning transgender people from the military—yet another step in his never-ending quest to send us back into the dark ages.

As I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder what the fuck these old white guys are so afraid of?

Strong, opinionated women?
Transgender folks? (Listen, any trans person I’ve ever met just wants to pee in peace and be left the fuck alone.)
People of color?
Democrats?
The Media?
Educated Elite?
Sick people?
Poor people?

Then it dawned on me. It’s diversity. All of those groups are the ingredients that make up the soup that is America.
It’s what makes us great!
It always has you whiny, fearful sons-of-bitches!

Anyway, as I tried to get my head back in the game of life, I remembered this video of well over half a million people in London singing along—IN UNISON—With harmonies—to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. You guys, they even sang the guitar solo, duh.

Here it comes, a stream of consciousness…

So that got me to thinking about the fact that humanity can move me to tears with its inherent goodness, about how proud I felt to know that I could have stood in that crowd and sung every fucking word of that song at the top of my lungs—with a British accent, about music and what a unifying force it can be, about the potential of Kid Rock running for office, red states and blue states and the fact that we, as a nation, need to become more purple. More integrated. More unified. To feel proud of our diversity instead of afraid and then I remembered that purple is (among other things) not really My color, but it is the color that represents royalty and royalty brought me right back around to—you guessed it—Queen!

Is any of this making sense to you? It’s blowing MY fucking mind!

Then my sister sent me this:

And I knew the Universe (or Freddie Mercury) who I could feel in that gorgeous London sky, was trying to tell me something.

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me”

And suddenly, all was right with the world. Are you with me?

Carry on, you diverse ones you,
xox


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A Really Good, Very Bad, Really Good Monday and…Caddy Shack

Mondays are interesting around here. They can be mundane or they can make you wish you had a time machine and could transport yourself back to Friday so you could re-live the weekend. Yesterday was a doozy of a Monday by any estimation. Here’s a recap:

In case you were wondering how our skunk-a-thon was going I posted this over the weekend on social media.

Filed under the headings: In case you were wondering AND Count your blessings you’re not us-

Over here at the wildlife refuge the count so far (as of this morning) in “catch and release” is (drum roll)
4 skunks
1 raccoon 
And two house cats (who we released immediately in order to avoid messy feline litigation).

Not to mention the party platter of poison that’s starting to make a dent in our Bombay-esq rat population.
So, yeah.
#lifeintheburbs

The good news is, Ruby hasn’t been skunked in a while (knocking wood) although the odiferous smell of Pepe Le Pew wafted thought the bedroom recently at three am waking us both up and I had to race her to the doggie door (I am not fast on my feet at 3 am but thankfully, neither is she) so I could block her exit and save us (and her) another middle of the night Silkwood Skunk Shower.

The bad news is, the latest skunk was trapped sometime around dawn on Sunday (Ruby actually alerted me in a very Lassie Come Home kind of way, going out back and then sheepishly poking her head in the den, repeatedly interrupting my coffee with “Mom, Uh…I think you need to see this…”) so I finally did, and there it was, and the sad part is the exterminator doesn’t pick up critters on Sundays. (No worries, it has food and every time we checked on it, it was sleeping.)

“Monday,” they said when we called them at seven. “Just don’t agitate him and he’ll be fine. Nick will pick him up on Monday.”

Nick. Nick…how do I explain Nick?

“Hey, How would you describe Nick? I asked my husband last night. “He feels a little like a cross between Forrest Gump and Rain Man. I’m not sure if he’s daft…or a savant.”

“He’s Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) in CaddyShack,” he replied without looking up from his Sudoku.

I just about peed my pants. “Oh, my, gawd! That is so accurate it’s scary!” I screamed with glee.

Nick IS Spackler. A know-it-all expert on all things extermination related. Same hat, same pants tucked into his boots, he carries on hour-long mumbly monologues if you dare ask him a question. Not only can you NOT get a word in edgewise, you can even step away to go to the bathroom or make yourself a sandwich and he’ll still be talking when you get back.

All of this to say: He is the perfect exterminator for me. My husband runs when he sees him—I follow him around like a gray haired, middle-aged puppy dog.

I’ve even caught him talking to the trapped critters! When I mentioned it he explained to me that he has to gain their trust so he can transport them to their release up in the hills above Mulholland with a minimum of fuss, anxiety, and pee-ew.

Now I know what you’re thinking (that he doesn’t release them—he kills them) and I did too at first, that is until he showed me the movies.

That’s right, Nick has made movies on his smart phone (with Bill Murray like narration, “She’s a little timid to come out of her cage, so we’ll just wait until Princess feels more comfortable.”) of each and every release he’s done. It’s freaking incredible (and a little bit scary) but I love him for it.

So, yeah, Nick is the Spackler of exterminators.

While I was waiting for Nick to come and pick up our latest “guest”, I went out front to cut and paint a few more of my magic wands. That’s when I noticed a card inside the container and it made my day (or at least my hour). I took a picture of it and texted it to Raphael. He sent back a nice reply.

What a lovely Monday you’re thinking. Right? Not so fast.

Little did I know that he and Ruby had just averted certain death.

Saturday, my husband took his work van to get the tires rotated.
I know that’s a thing, but it’s so inconsequential to me that I erased it from my internal hard drive in order to save bandwidth for more important things—like every phone number I’ve ever had—and song lyrics. Anyway, YOU need to remember this because it comes into play later. Ok, well, now.

Monday morning while he and Ruby were speeding their way to work (they were lucky if they were going 40 mph) the van started to shake. Badly. He looked down out of his driver’s side window and saw the left front tire wobbling wildly. After he unclenched his sphincter muscle and his balls came back down from up around his ears, he pulled over and checked the tire. It seems that the lug nut, thingamabobs were stripped so badly they became loose and the tire was literally about to fall off. ON the freeway. With my dog inside the car. Wasn’t that an episode of Sanford and Sons?

Well, I just about lost my shit!

He told me this after he limped the thing home, stopping several times along the way to tighten the metal thingies that keep the wheel on the car. In other words, he MacGyver’d it. With no help from the little brown dog, by the way.

“I was in the middle of texting you when you sent me the picture of the card about the magic wands”, he said. “So I thought, no, I’d better not tell her now, she’ll just lose her shit.”

I just stood there, gobsmacked. (BTW: The W, T and F keys are worn bare on my computer because of stuff like this!)
That’s one of those moments you realize that your life could change in an instant and that skunks would become the least of your problems. Maybe it was the magic wands that saved them?

Do you have emotional whiplash yet? I do!

Carry on,
xox

Magic wands(with help from Sue and Maddee)


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Drunk Old Ladies and Carguments

Once upon a time, there was a couple, a man and a woman of middle age who’d been together for close to two decades.

Now, truth be told they were generally delightful, sharing many things in common such as their love of dogs and their wiggle butts, foreign travel, and food. But alas, they also had their differences.

Besides politics—she was a life-long bleeding heart and well, his heart, although reduced to mush by babies, sappy songs, and car commercials had never shed any blood (politically speaking) so, besides that, driving together had begun to come between them.

In all fairness, the man’s job required him to traverse the city of freeways numerous times a day. Frustrated, he operated one notch below full-blown road rage as he shared the streets of LA with the other clueless, dumb-shits, commuters.

She, on the other hand, drove very little; and when she did, a book on tape, podcast or favorite music mix would delight her, making her commute almost…bearable.

When they rode together to dinner, the movies or to see friends all the way in San Diego, great caruments (car arguments) would ensue. There was yelling, tears and bad language and it all started to get in the way.

Feeling more and more like a Crash Test Dummy she may have used the words aggressive and dangerous when describing his driving, He preferred the words assertive and tactical.

When he drove, cars seemed to jump out of nowhere, threatening the poor sucker in the passenger seat (the woman), at an alarming rate. He was oblivious. He started to find her constant criticism more than mildly annoying. She found herself blaming him for her high anxiety and lack of fingernails.

All of this to say: When they drove together he was an assbite and she was fast becoming a wing nut.

On one such occasion, just the other night, the situation reached critical mass.

Winding their way home through the canyon after a delicious steak dinner and wine with friends, the woman noticed that he was driving uncharacteristically slow. Like pace car slow. Like “rush hour” slow. Like Asian tourist slow.

Curious as to the cause of this anomaly and sensitive to the fact that her nagging caused him to get defensive which never ended well, she delicately broached the subject.

“You’re drunk aren’t you?” she asked, “Otherwise why would you be driving like an old lady?”

He didn’t flinch. He didn’t adjust his speed or move his head. He just stared straight ahead, following the curves in the road at a glacial pace.

He must not have heard her she surmised, so she asked again, only this time louder.

“Is there a problem? Are you drunk? Why are you driving so damn slow?”

Undaunted, he stared straight into the night.

“Hey!”

“I hear you.” he finally replied never taking his eyes off the road. “I’m ignoring you.”

“Why?” she barely got the word out before he continued.

“You’re not happy when I drive fast and you complain when I drive slow”, he replied. “Besides, I’m a drunk old lady and I can only do one thing at a time.”

His response caught her so off guard that a giant force built inside her until her body could no longer contain it and out it burst. Big guffaws of laughter filled the car. It must have been contagious because his face broke into a Cheshire grin and slowly he started to laugh too. For ten minutes straight, they laughed and they laughed and before they knew it—they were home.

Where they continue to live happily ever after (unless they discuss Hillary, health care, or how to get anywhere fast on the 405.)

Carry on,
xox


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Perfectionism Is A Rat Bastard ~Throwback Thursday

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking to friends about perfectionism and what a soul suck it is. 

Recently, when I saw a friend spinning out of control, I sent her a “You’ve got this” text—which she promptly corrected for grammar and punctuation. So… I recognize it takes many decades and a ton of face falling before it REALLY sinks in.

Back in 2013 when I first started blogging I was too stupid to realize that anyone would ever read it, so I’d write my face off and press “Post”—spelling and grammar be damned. My compulsion to just get the words out overrode my shame.

So, I guess that was another time when I discovered that MY inner perfectionist had FINALLY left the building.

What about you? Do you freeze when faced with creating something that may not be “perfect?”

I say “Fuck it! Just do it!” (Sorry Nike.) Anyway…

Here’s an old post that explains my thought process on this very subject.
Carry on,
xox


Ah, perfectionism—you rat-bastard.

You are the behind the scenes ruin-er of every event.
You are the “I told you so” inside every mistake.
You are the “It could have been better, you should be thinner, I’m a freak, a fake and a fraud” whispered in my ear at the end of every day.

In short, you are the cause of so much grief.

I’m on to you, Perfection. Like a 22-inch waist, a man who asks for directions, and delicious vegan cheese—you are literally impossible—a myth and an illusion.

Perfectionism, you started for me in childhood.
The dolls lined up perfectly on the shelf, school papers stacked in neat piles, worn thin by rigorous erasing.

Perfectionism, you sabotaged my joy.
You’re a punk. You steal Joy’s lunch money and gives it a wedgie. I see you, Perfectionism, hanging out with those two thugs, anxiety and shame.

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Perfectionism, you stifled my creativity.
I know you two cannot possibly co-exist because creativity is messy, I don’t care what anyone says. When you’re in the flow, you can just throw perfect punctuation and grammar to the wind.

Have you ever seen a painter’s studio when they are creating? It is a catastrophe! There is shit everywhere – Empty coffee cups, brushes and tubes of paint in heaps, tarps, stacks of ideas, even some paint on the ceiling (?).

I know you Perfectionism. You would never be caught dead in the swirling vortex of creativity—it might mess up your perfect hair!

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When I take perfectionism to a meeting well, yeah, things don’t go well.
It is the bully in the room, taunting me with thoughts of inferiority, constantly assuring me that I’m not good enough (as if I needed the reminder.)
Work harder, be better, PROVE YOUR WORTH, it sneers.

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It is my belief that perfectionism is complicit in every nervous breakdown. Most especially, the ones suffered during the holidays.

Listen, I can speak to this with authority.

I am a semi-retired perfectionist.
It started to wane when I got married again. Perfectionism doesn’t compromise, and compromise is to relationships what singing is to musicals. Imperative.

My perfectionism’s exact time of death occurred when we decided to live in our house during a remodel.
Any last vestiges that remained died, (along with the tiny bit of modesty I possessed.)
Residing in so much chaos, dirt, and destruction; I can remember wiping 4-5 inches of plaster and drywall dust off random surfaces in order to sit and drink the coffee we made in the bathroom. For long stretches, the refrigerator was in the dining room and we were sleeping in the garage.

It got so bad I actually started to throw random trash (gum wrappers, receipts) on the floor, fuck it, what’s the use, it’s a disaster, I’d tell myself. The upside was that I’d never in my life felt so FREE! So I ran with it, and I haven’t looked back!

Living in a construction zone is like aversion therapy for perfectionists.

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Take off that twenty-ton shield and fly! Or at least trot toward your goals.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely void of my perfectionist tendencies. They torture me now when I walk down the street. No longer can I just stroll along haplessly enjoying my surroundings like I did before I turned fifty.

Nope. I worry about my gut. Is it sucked in all the way? Are my thighs going to start a small friction fire inside my jeans? What the hell are my boobs doing and are my shoulders up around my ears causing me to look like I’m doing a Quasimodo impression?

Oh well, old habits die hard.

Maybe you want to talk about how you kicked perfectionism’s ass, or how you’re still struggling? Either way, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Don’t be shy. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 😉

Xox


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Solar Eclipses, Spikey Energy, Bad Hair and Baby Goats

“Now everyone of us was made to suffer
Everyone of us was made to weep
We’ve been hurting one another
Now the pain has cut too deep.

So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don’t let me keep on walking
I can’t keep on walking, keep on walking on broken glass…

Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass.”

Written by Annie Lennox • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

The energy was spiky this weekend, could you feel it? It felt crunchy, sharp and toxic, kinda like my hair back in the 80’s.

For me, it started with the middle-aged madman calling me a dumb bitch on Friday and it continued to amp up all the way through Sunday.

“They” say it’s the lead up into the full solar eclipse that’s happening next month. If I had a dollar for every time I blame bad shit or wonky energy on solar eclipses —well—I’d have tens of bucks.

Maybe it was the ungodly heat that was making everything feel like a life or death, big hairy deal. I don’t know about you but you can’t trust a word out of my mouth when I’m dehydrated.

And traffic. Traffic in the summer or any season for that matter is the ultimate barometer of humanity’s angst.
You want to know how the world is feeling about its current state of affairs? Hop on the 101 or the 405 freeways. There is rage. There is drama. There are motorcycles splitting lanes! If you make it home without killing anyone—that was a good day. Or the world ended and you’re the only person left on earth.

Even my even-tempered husband was edgy. Moody. PMS-ing. He kept on cruising’ to pick a fight. By Sunday I was exhausted from deflecting his barbs with my Wonder Woman bracelets. Running away from home occurred to me, and I would have except for the fact that after sixteen years I have him honed, groomed and trained exactly the way I want him.

Plus, he has this endearing and completely irreplaceable habit of not minding my snoring and appreciating my bed head in the morning.

He gets up before I do so by the time I wander into his office to signal the fact that I’m ready for my coffee, he’ll take one look at me, “Oh, yeah”, he’ll say, “That is some particularly epic bed head this morning,” and he’ll come in for a pity hug.

He thinks it’s adorable. My best look. He has since day one.

I play along, hardly able to contain my excitement on the really bad days. Like when I’m sick, or hung over, hot flashing, or
all of the above. With a pigtail sticking straight out from the side of my head and the rest of my hair arranged into a something resembling a sweaty beaver’s den, I’ll run to his office looking like a cyclone victim—barely able keep a straight face. Standing on the stair I’ll strike a pose, waiting for my score like a beauty pageant contestant during the swimsuit competition

“There she is,” he’ll say, slowly getting up from his chair nodding with appreciation, stifling a laugh, “A great natural beauty. How do you manage it?”

These are some of our best laughs. They’re always at my expense because he’s bald, so there’s that… but I know for a fact that I could never find anyone who could muster that level of genuine appreciation for such a hot mess—so I’m staying. Fight picking or not.

All of this to is warn you of the impending eggshells shards of broken glass you may find yourself walking in the next few weeks or so until the moon covers the sun and all the animals go to bed and darkness inhabits the Earth for like a minute and then it’s over and we can all get back to our regular scheduled programming.

Like loving baby goat videos, avoiding those who view parking as a combat sport, catching a cool breeze, and hating Trump.

Stay strong & Carry on,
xox


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Telling People To Go Fuck Themselves ~ And Other Great Acts of Self Care

I told a man to go fuck himself today, and I’m not even going to apologize for it. That’s because he deserved it—and I don’t feel bad. At all.

Now, let me begin by saying, He started it! This will infuriate my mother. Maybe not. She was known to throw out an occasional, well-deserved f-bomb in her day.

Anyway, this guy. This guy who looked to be someone’s husband. Someone’s good ol’ dad. Their Pop.
Without even knowing me, he judged my parking. Actually, he said, and I quote: You can’t park there  You. Dumb. Bitch!

Okay. Now, in an act of full disclosure, I will admit that as far as parking goes—he’s warm. I can be a parking challenged. Even though I could win a parallel parking contest any day of the week, sometimes I am guilty of squeezing my station wagon into a “compact” space, creating a space where there might not be one, and taking ten tries to get into an awkwardly angled spot.

But who hasn’t?

Just to be clear, HIS outburst was not provoked by ANY of those things. My parking was flawless.

Flagged into a rare metered spot in front of my favorite cafe by the valet himself, I was just running in for two seconds (five minutes, maybe ten) to pick up take-out salads for my sister and me. As is our unspoken custom, the lovely man gestured for me to take the space. Listen, it was his space to give, but apparently, the judgy guy’s car was sniffing my car’s butt—because he was thisclosetome—convinced that meter had his name on it.

Unsuspecting, I cheerily jumped out of my car salivating for my favorite Chinese chicken salad which is like crack, or bacon, or bacon crack, or chocolate covered bacon crack to me.

In any case, that’s when the bad man pulled up next to me, rolled down his window and called me a dumb bitch.

“Excuse me, what did you say?” I asked, dumb (bitch) founded.

“You heard me,” he snarled.

“Did you call me a dumb bitch?”

“Well,” he sneered, “If the shoe fits.”

After that, I’m not exactly sure what happened. Everything went into slow motion. My saliva dried up, birds fell out of the sky, music played backwards, and before I even had time to form a thought—my mouth did the talking.

I wasn’t mad. Not really. I bent over, a big smile on my face, leaned into his passenger side window, gave him an unintentional cleavage shot (you’re welcome old man)—told him to go fuck himself with a little hand gesture and everything. Then I strolled away like a boss.

I could smell the burning rubber as he screeched away.

I can’t explain it—but you guys, it felt FANTASTIC!

Like empowered, hands on both hips, Wonder Woman fan-fucking-tastic!

I don’t ever do stuff like that! I’m polite. I’m nice. Too nice. I apologize for stuff that’s not even my fault.

Maybe it was the addition of the phrase “dumb bitch.” I can’t be sure.

Anyway, you guys, I’m not advocating telling strangers to go fuck themselves. Or maybe I am.

Bottom line: Don’t take anybody’s shit.

Carry on,
xox


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The Stowaway, The Blacksheep, And A Family Wedding

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Remember this old Huffington Post piece? I didn’t either. Ha! Here it is again on this Throwback Thursday.
Carry on,


So, we’re at a family wedding.

Not immediate family. Extended family.  The worst kind. The judgiest ones in the bunch. The one’s who keep inviting you as an afterthought, because, well, you never come anyway, so when your husband convinces you that it’s an afternoon of cake and dancing, you RSVP Yes + 1—and blow their judgy little minds.

I’m the black sheep of our family, one of several, and so they’ve seated us at the “loser’s” table. I actually overheard someone at the wedding call it that.

It really is the loser’s table.
It’s the absolute worst table in the room. It’s all the way in the back next to the kitchen, so far away from the action that the music takes a minute or two to reach us. It’s so bad that the band’s lips are out of sync, like an old Charlie Chan movie. They run out of food by the time it’s our turn to hit the buffet. And cake. My hubby and I share the last sliver of cake.

We are seated with two non-recovered alcoholics who are shit-faced and speaking what sounds like pig-latin to each other, what looks to be someone’s fourteen-year-old pregnant niece, an old hippie who took way too much LSD in the’60’s—and a convicted felon.

In stark contrast, the horrible bitch-faced woman who was married to my dad and quite literally drove him to his grave, is smiling sweetly at my husband from the bride and groom’s table (I can see her with my binoculars)—because she knows how to write epic thank you notes—and she plays the game.

I can remember looking at pictures of myself as a baby and wondering if I’d been a stowaway on a ship from some far-off galaxy that was looking for signs of intelligent life and when they realized this was an okay place to leave me—they did just that—in Santa Monica California—so, not too shabby.

With my thick white hair and tanned skin, I didn’t resemble my pale, dark haired, freckle-faced siblings in the least.

I also arrived with the most vivid imagination, a song in my heart and a skip in my step. And it saved me.

Rickets skinny with large buck teeth, I forged my way through childhood wondering if my people were ever going to swing back by this way and pick me up. That had never been their promise but still, I held out hope.

I’ve always been different. I can’t explain how or why and at times it caused me a world of hurt.
As much as I loved Catholic school, (especially the uniform. See, I told you, weirdo), the dogma never made sense to me.

The wrath of God? A punishing God?
Whose God were they referring to anyway? Mine told me knock-knock jokes and led me to the fields with the most lady bugs to catch. Mine wasn’t hanging over my head bleeding on a cross, mine lived happily, laughing and loving in my heart.

This caused me to question things. Mostly authority. I could never do or believe something just because someone older told me to. And I just could NOT bring myself to “play the game.”

That spells trouble for a kid. Trouble, with a capital T.
And not the obvious punky trouble. Rather, the kind that challenges parents and teachers with all of its “Why’s”.

I will ALWAYS pledge allegiance to the wild side, and by wild I mean overgrown. The unbeaten path.

I remember asking my fifth-grade teacher what I was actually promising by pledging my allegiance to the flag. It opened an hour- long conversation about Patriotism and love of country and she seemed genuinely happy to be asked something she’d ‘never before given any thought to.’

I broke some of our unspoken family rules as a teen by addressing the elephants that had taken up residence in pretty much every corner of our house. It sounded like sass, back-talking, and disrespecting authority and it was resoundingly underappreciated. But because I kept my 4.0 GPA and honor roll status, it saved me from long weekends grounded in my room.

I was an anomaly at the time. Not a paint-by-numbers slacker and not your typical hippie-druggie—just a high performing, insufferable, pain-in-the-ass.

Black sheep.

I think my dad first labeled me. He could never figure me out. That day it had something to do with the fact that I got an A in Science Class without ever buying a book, yet, I wanted the teacher fired for being a dumb-ass.

Black sheep. I’m guessing most of you were black sheep too.

I quit college to act.
I retired from Catholicism.
I prefer the cookie dough to the baked cookies. Always have.
I didn’t want to work the “family business”.
I believe in energy and the power of thought.
I was divorced by twenty-six.
I decided NOT to have kids.
I’m unafraid of confrontation.
Until I went gray, I couldn’t have told you what color my hair REALLY was I dyed it so many different colors.
I don’t like ambrosia salad.
I hate green jello, bridal showers and babies breath in flower arraignments.
I love to sing and dance. Anytime, anywhere.

And that vivid imagination that led me to believe that there was something greater out there for me. I know many of you feel the pull as well.

I’m back at the wedding, with all of its criticisms hidden in polite discourse.
“So, I guess no children for you, Janet?”
“No Aunt Barbara, You do realize I’m over fifty now.”
“Huh. And you’ve finally married. A Frenchman. American men aren’t good enough for you?”

I decided right then and there, in the midst of this family of strangers, to declare my status.

“I guess not. You know, I’m a black sheep.”

The old woman looked up at me with something…recognition?…as I gently guided her back to the “winners table”.

Carry on,
xox

Got any good “black sheep” stories?


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Hope, Prayers, Miracles and Hamilton

 

 

Hamilton
Orpheum Theatre

There really is a God.

I know this for a fact because she’s answered my prayers. Or at least two so far.

1.) She gave me boobies back when I was thirteen and prayed every night for them. I prayed and prayed like a nun in a whore house—so how could she say no.

2.) I got Hamilton tickets. Two of them. For $89 bucks each.

Now, this may feel like a waste of a prayer to those of you who live on planet Earth where shitty stuff happens. But believe me, I pray for world peace, I have since I was little and I’m still waiting to see an improvement.

I pray for children to go to sleep at night with bellies as full as my dog’s, cancer to be eradicated, aging to be reversed and a cure for shortness. I’ve done the legwork and I haven’t seen great results so I don’t feel like a jackass throwing in the nightly ask for a lottery win aka Hamilton tickets.

Now, I know my limits. I’m not gutsy enough to pray for Hamilton tickets on BROADWAY. I have it on good authority that Jesus Christ himself walked on water all the way to NY and even HE couldn’t get tickets when Lin-Manuel Miranda was the star so…I waited until I heard the touring company was going to be in LA before I ramped up the BIG ASK. Every night before I went to sleep I’d just say in very conversational tone so as not to seem too desperate, “Gee, (Gee is a great prayer opener. It makes it seem like it’s God’s idea. She likes that) Gee, wouldn’t it be great if I got some Hamilton tickets?”

See how open-ended that prayer is? It allows God to come up with a myriad of ways to make that happen.
I wasn’t specific about how many, when or the price.

The price. Good Lord, the price. I say, good Lord because he had nothing whatsoever to do with keeping the prices of tickets down where someone without a trust fund or a hedge fund or any other type of fund had a rat’s ass of a chance.

I saw tickets on certain third-party sites going for as much as $12,000 a seat!

Listen, I love Musical Theatre as much as well, more than the next guy (unless the next guy is Nathan Lane) but I like to eat too. And have a roof over my head. So as much as I wanted tickets my fiscal sobriety kept me from overpaying.

Last Thursday my sister Sue and I walked up to the theater box office with great confidence and fanfare. Not really, we were sufficiently terrified. We’d heard an Urban Myth that claimed that tickets for Hamilton could be purchased—at the box office—for (wait for it) FACE VALUE! In other words, a mere $175!

Hazah!

The dude at the window was a millennial hipster. One with a particularly epic eye-roll. I know this because he rolled it in our direction several dozen times.

“We’re here for Hamilton tickets!” I announced.
He rolled his eyes pushing the seating chart toward us.

“We have these,” he said pointing to the middle Orchestra section, “For $650 a seat.”

My sister and I looked at each other and gulped. That’s a lot of Botox, we, I thought.

This time he looked bored while he rolled his eyes.

“You got anything up your sleeve?” my sister asked good-naturedly. He twisted his face like a baby tasting a lemon for the first time or a guy with a wooden arm at a poker game.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha,” I laughed my big, fake snort-laugh. “Like nobody ever asks you that!” I think I slapped Sue’s back.

Yuk, yuk, yuk. We waited. There it was. The eye roll of all eye rolls. I’m surprised the momentum didn’t flip him over.

Remember trying to get into those exclusive clubs and restaurants back in the day when you cared about stuff like that and you had to work the guy at the door? Yeah, me neither, I used to just flash my boobs (thanks again, God). But anyway it felt like that seemed.

We had devolved into a female version of Bevis and Butthead and I’m pretty sure he took pity on us. Or it was getting close to break-time. Nevertheless, he pushed the seating chart forward again.
“We have these over here” he was pointing to a little section of about six seats on the side. “This is usually for wheelchairs but we’re putting folding chairs there…”

“How much?! I interrupted.

“Eighty-nine dollars a seat.”

“Can you see the stage? Is there a pillar in the way? Is the sound obstructed? Is that the night all the understudies go on? Is there an orchestra? Is it sock puppet show? What the fuck is wrong with these tickets?!!!” I was getting slightly hysterical at the prospect of actually seeing the show.

It was not how I expected this to go.

“Nope.” he said with a minimum eye roll, “Just folding chairs.”

My sister looked at me gobsmacked “Those are actually decent seats.”
“I love a good folding chair,” was my reply.

“We’ll take three!” we sang out in unison.

And the heavens opened and the choir of angels sang (Something from the soundtrack) and we walked away with cheap-ass folding chair seats to Hamilton.

So, clearly you guys, there is a God.

The End. And Carry on,
xox

 


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Boundary? Ultimatum? Do I Even Know The Difference? ~ Reprise

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Hey there, tribe,
I was talking to a friend earlier this week about setting boundaries (good) and delivering ultimatums (bad).

For years I didn’t know the difference—do you? Then I remembered this essay from days of yore. 
Take a look and see what you think.

Carry on
xox


ul·ti·ma·tum
ˌəltəˈmādəm/
noun: ultimatum; plural noun: ultimata; plural noun: ultimatums
1. a final demand or statement of terms, the rejection of which will result in retaliation or a breakdown in relation — final offer, final demand, take-it-or-leave-it deal; threat

Recently, I was asked to write some real life examples for the Huffington Post on a story they were doing on ultimatums.

Oh, that’s an easy one, I thought, I’m the Queen of Ultimatums! But upon reflection I realize I was the Queen-of-Setting-Boundaries, not delivering ultimatums. Big diffrenece—and one that took me years to learn.

Boundaries define your borders. Ultimatums are final. They have lasting consequences.

In my world, communication begins when you cross my imaginary line in the sand. When my boundary is breeched—that’s when détente begins.

For example, when my husband is out on a motorcycle without me, he is required as set by the mutually agreed upon rules of our marriage and basic common decency, to let me know when he’s off the bike for the day. Even though I’m not a big worrier, that is the moment I can take a deep breath and relax knowing he’s safe and sound. It is also the moment I can take off my bra, put on my pajamas, and open the wine because I know I won’t be getting a call from the hospital.

Although recently, when I hadn’t heard from him due to a text malfunction—he had some splainin’ to do.

Communication starts when a boundary is crossed.

Ultimatums, on the other hand, are where the talking stops.

Men love that. “I love a good ultimatum”, said NO man—EVER.

Or woman for that matter.

It smells like take-it-or-leave-it. I hate choices like that. Don’t you?

That being said…there was one ultimatum I did level at my husband right after we got engaged and here’s why.
Soon after we met we decided on full disclosure, you know, who had the higher FICO score, how our astrological charts lined up, showing each other old passport photos and admitting that we had each maintained a platonic friendship with a significant other. Once it was out in the open it was no big, hairy, deal and neither of us felt the least bit threatened, but when my husband went to tell his ex of our engagement, he chickened out.
“It was gonna get emotional”, he explained.
“Tough shit” I replied. “And if you care more about hurting her feelings than you do mine—you guys aren’t over each other yet and this engagement is off.”

He immediately picked up the phone, arranged another meeting and told her the next day.

Did that sound like a threat? You bet your ass it was.

…And that concludes today’s clarification on the difference between a boundary and an ultimatum. 😉

Carry on,
xox


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