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I Shut Down Fight Club ~ And I’m Talking About It

Get a house in the suburbs they said. An ivy-covered cottage with mature trees just north of the hills.
That way you’ll get to experience all of the flora and fauna the area has to offer, they said. So much better than the concrete jungle of mid-city they said.

So, we did.
We listened to “them”.

And for almost twenty years it’s been exactly as advertised—idyllic—(except for that July a few years back when the coyotes ate my two Siamese cats). I can honestly say that put quite a damper on my summer. Still, we have managed to co-exist with nature in a very cordial and symbiotic way.

I leave past-its-prime fruit out for the squirrels so they’ll leave my bird feeder alone; we tolerate the enormous spider webs that are mysteriously woven overnight in high traffic areas and happen to always be at face level. There’s nothing like walking outside in the early dawn hours with a cup of coffee and becoming entangled in a giant, sticky, web that entraps you like a mummy and leaves you batting at your hair—wondering where the damn spider went.

But like I said; we co-exist.

Well, except for the crows. My husband wants to shoot them because they’re colossal pains-in-the-asses whose poops are ruining the paint on our cars. I fight for their right to occupy our giant tree in the front but it pisses me off too. The sheer volume and size of their shit attacks are hard to fathom. I had one last week, the size of a serving platter, that blotted out the entire driver’s side of my windshield. And it was purple. Wtf?

Nevertheless, I won’t allow him to kill them although I’m pretty sure he’s already had target practice with a few.

But only the ones that laugh at him. Crows laugh you know.
At you.
At your dog.
At your poor choices in cargo shorts.
But you wouldn’t know that unless you live in the suburbs.

Aside from that; things have been quiet. That is, until this year, or as we like to call it: The Year The Wild Kingdom Took Over.

Lest you label me a complainer—I will first tell you some things I love about living amongst nature.

I love the squirrels, they’re chatty and cute and they hide peanuts in my flower pots… Yipppeeee.

I love the birds. They sing and crap joyfully while building their nests in the drawers of the outside potting table where I keep the clippers and the tiny garden spade—so I can’t get to them until the babies are hatched and raised and go off to college.

I love all the spiders and their cobwebs (which I learned recently are abandoned spider webs that have dust bunnies stuck to them) but I already said that.

I love the hummingbirds who actually come up to my face and make their cute little brrrrrrrrrr sound while I’m watering.

Ok. I’m done.

This year has been the year of the skunk and now, as of late, the year of the raccoon—and I don’t mean I’ve gone schizophrenic on the Chinese calendar.

We have captured and released three skunks after our beautiful but stupid boxer, Ruby, got skunked four times.
It has cost us the equivalent of a monthly car payment for an exterminator to wait them out and once caught, have them relocated to a more hospitable zip code.

But who needs money anyway?

Once those little rascals went bye-bye we mistakenly let down our guard thinking that the worst was over.

Until last week when twice Ruby and I were woken up by the smell of skunk. Again.

One of my friends joked that the skunks are hitchhiking back to our house because they miss us. I had her killed.

This week there hasn’t been any skunk stench. Nope. Just the terrifying screaming that accompanies Raccoon Fight Club which has started promptly at 2 am, two mornings in a row. The sound was so loud and horrific I’m certain that if he were anywhere in the vicinity the smell was scared right off the skunk.

“It’s just a cat”, my husband mumbled in his sleep the first night. “Yeah, if a cat was as big as a dog and screamed like someone was murdering its children”, I replied. To add to the ambiance this fight had a cheering crowd like it was a championship prizefight in Las Vegas. The rats who inhabit the fence that’s covered with Bougainvillea like it’s rent controlled apartments were squealing their little hearts out.

Oh, the rats? Haven’t I mentioned them yet? Oh, pardon me. Yeah. Our house is a veritable torture museum obstacle course of mouse traps that are set…everywhere. Apparently, all of Studio City is infested with rats.

They say it’s all the ivy and mature trees.

Anyway…After fifteen minutes of cowering in the corner with Ruby, it all finally stopped. The screaming, the squealing, and our whimpering.

Last night it started again only this time it was so loud and ferocious I could have sworn they were inside the house. Ruby and I jumped into each other’s arms, shaking like leaves. It even woke up my husband and forced him to put on pants. You don’t want to do that in the middle of the night. You don’t want to make my husband put on his pants because then he means business—and somebody’s gonna pay.

I heard him grab the giant industrial flashlight that occupies valuable real estate on his nightstand. I hate that thing, It’s ugly AF, weighs a ton, and you could perform surgery with the wattage that fucker gives off. The thing doubles as a weapon that instantly turns night—to day.

He opened the door to the backyard and the screaming didn’t even miss a beat. I wondered how any of our neighbors could sleep through this horror movie nightmare. They must be looking to us to end the madness.

After another ten minutes of relentless screaming from the raccoons with the rats cheering loudly in the background and —I’d had enough.

Someone had to do something! I left the safe embrace of my cowardly dog and barefooted my way out the door to the deck on the far side of the yard. I could see the glaring beam of light shining from the flashlight on the other side of the lawn where my husband was hiding standing.

It seems he had bestowed stadium lighting upon Raccoon Fight Club which caused the rats to cheer even louder!

“It’s two raccoons”, he whisper-yelled over in my direction. I could barely hear him over the commotion.

But I know they heard me, those two raccoons, yet, whatever they were fighting about overrode their fear of two humans.
And a dog.
As an aside: Were’s the memo that goes out to the wildlife in the neighborhood that lets them know that our house is probably not a good idea for staging Fight Club because —it has a DOG. A little brown dog that will…right.

Anyway, this next section sums up our marital partnership in five or six sentences. Maybe it will sound familiar to you?

“I’m hosing ‘um!”, I yelled over to my hero who was shining his beam of light right on them like it was the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the raccoons gave not one shit. They just kept on with the scream fighting. So I turned the hose on full strength and blasted them with everything I had.

I think for a minute they thought it was part of the half-time show. But Lord have mercy it shut them the hell up.

Blessed silence.

“They’re gone”, he informed me. “Good idea”, he added as he turned off the klieg light they can see from space.

”Uh, yeah, I know”, I muttered under my breath as I wound the hose back up—stood for a moment like Wonder Woman—and went back to bed.

Being the woo-woo, California knucklehead that I am, I saged the entire yard this morning concentrating on that corner, which I’m convinced is a portal to the mouth of hell.

Hmmmmm…I wonder… how much is it going to cost us to trap and relocate two raccoons? They are definitely meaner than the skunks. Hear that? I’m starting to miss the damn skunks!

I think I’ll start a Go Fund Me Page.

Carry on,
xox


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Condoms, Meat, Soap and Douche ~ Why I Curate My Shopping Cart.

I worked as a supermarket checker until I was thirty. It was mindless work, paid decent money, and had the flexible hours I needed for the other things I cared about; school and acting.

I was a damn fine checker. The best. Fast, nice, with a minimum of small talk. Standing and scanning groceries has a zen quality about it. The repetition can send you into a zone of complacency. If you’re lucky faces blur and time flies.

That was the case for me maybe 10% of the time. The other 90% of the time I was judging the contents of everyone’s carts, making up stories about what they were buying and why.

I know! Your worst nightmare, right?

I was the girl who stifled a giggle when the dude with the greasy hair and the porn mustache who was drowning in Brut came thru the express line EVERY Friday night with a case of Coors, a carton of Marlboro reds and Maxim condoms (whose tagline was printed on the box: For those who live large). His story was a no-brainer.

“For those who live large!” Can you stand it? I couldn’t. The minute he was ten paces out into the parking lot, racing toward his Trans Am—I’d burst out laughing. Nobody else in line was paying much attention so my outburst probably appeared a little manic.

Whatever.

There was Ms. Shaw, an ancient, (she was probably in her late forties at the time) spinster/cat lady who arranged her cat food in neat stacks by flavor in her cart. Anal-retentive doesn’t do her justice. She bagged every red delicious apple in a separate plastic bag and grouped all of the green vegetables together—away from the other colors. And none of the food could touch. (Is this making you a bit twitchy?) She also bought bourbon if I remember correctly, which seemed so out-of-character that I made up an imaginary life for her. In my imagination, she still lived at home with a boozy parent.

There was a woman who came in once a week and bought six bottles of Clairol #6 blonde hair dye. She had dark brown hair so I’m not sure what that was all about. Maybe she dyed her kid’s hair. Or her pubes. Who knows. Maybe she was a hairdresser who only likes to use that one color because she believed that blondes had more fun.

Whatever.

There were a lot of women back then that bought douche. Is douche still a thing? I read somewhere that it’s unhealthy for you since your vagina is self-cleaning, like an oven. Anyhow, if it went on sale there’d be a run on douche, these women would buy entire baskets of it. We often ran out and had to manually write up “rain-checks” for Summers Eve douche while they made the entire line wait so they could take advantage of the sale price another time. I had one woman who bought douche and two pints of rocky road ice cream EVERY DAY. Eventually, the store had to put a kibosh on the douche hoarding. They came up with a limit. No more than three at a time. When we tried to enforce that rule I thought there was going to be a riot! These women wanted their “fresh feeling!”

I’m curious—Is douching addictive? Does your va-jay-jay forget how to self-clean?

Speaking of fresh, I had a man who used to bag his meat and Irish Spring soap together and when I’d try to separate them he’d grab them away from me and reunite them. Finally, I asked him why. “I like the way it tastes”, he replied.
My intuition told me he lived alone. One evening the assistant manager was helping out, bagging groceries for me and when he saw me throw the soap in with the meat he just about lost it. “It’s okay”, I assured him, “he likes the way it makes the steak taste.” He looked back at the customer who was nodding enthusiastically. The guy swore by it.

I never had the courage to try it. It reminded me of menthol cigarettes. Bleck.

I’m going to say this—I can’t help it. The buying habits of the general public are weird. There were people who lived on TV dinners, people who, in my humble opinion drank WAAAAYYY too much diet coke, people who spent all their money on junk food and cigarettes, and the young anorexic girl who only and ever bought celery.

You can tell a lot about a person by what’s in their grocery cart. It’s a snapshot into a life—a peek into some of our most private habits—eating and personal hygiene.

So, I curate my cart when I go to the store. The implication of shame keeps me honest. Lots of fruit and kale, no candy or donuts. I know that no matter how disinterested they look the checker is making up stories about me so when I buy anything remotely embarrassing (like Monistat, lubricant, four boxes of Triscuit, or the second bottle in a month of the sour mix for my whiskey sours) I go thru the self-check-out line because I’m a damn fine checker. The best. Fast, nice, with a minimum of small talk—and mot of all—discreet—not at all judgy.

Carry on,
xox


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Throwback Thursday ~ In Defense of Lost Hope

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“What is with all those people who are shouting their shitty statistics at us? Stop it! Stop trying to convince me that the world is a horribly dangerous and massively disappointing and unfulfilling shit-show!”
~Me

The doctor stands there with his hands together, fingers interlaced, the corners of his mouth downturned into a solemn expression.
“I’m afraid your prognosis is grim”, he delivers the news in an equally grim monotone.

Then it starts.

“The odds are against you. Only sixteen percent of people with this thing you have live past a year. Eighty-five percent survive the chemo and radiation only to expire after ninety days.”

Blah, blah, yadda, yadda.

I know you’re just doing your job but I can assure you, nobody heard a thing after the word grim.

I know some really amazing doctors who have saved a ton of lives but why do they insist on immediately covering us with a sauce that smells like death?

Because they don’t want to give anyone FALSE HOPE.

False Hope
To look forward to something that has a strong chance of not happening—that you may or may not know.

Yeah, that would be awful. By all means don’t look forward to anything that might not happen.

Wait. Most things in life have a strong chance of going down the drain. We have no idea how they will play out. That’s why it’s called hope. We hope for the best. Otherwise, it would be called certainty, or ForSuresville.

I remember being a single forty-year-old when I was told that I was more likely to die at the hands of a terrorist than to get married.

What?

A very successful and famous writer, who an entire room of us not so famous and successful writers had gathered in order to hang on her every word, ended a really sweet and uplifting day with this nugget.
“You can’t call yourself a writer unless you’ve been rejected many, many times.”
That was the “let’s get real” portion of her talk. It was supposed to be motivating but for me, it was mildly nauseating because if you know her story that was not necessarily the case for her and I think, like the gloomy-Gus guy in the white coat—she doesn’t want to prescribe any FALSE HOPE.

If you beat the odds you’re lucky. I suppose I agree. Or tenacious, delusional, persistent and optimist.

Here’s the thing, this is not a one size fits all world. If it were we would all be the same color, height, and weight. We would all look like Cindy Crawford or Bradley Cooper. Then and only then could anyone tell you EXACTLY how something was going to go down.

There are as many different possible scenarios as there are individual souls in this world. So, at last count just over seven billion.

I don’t care how many people survived six months. If you tell me that, I just may believe you because you’re a doctor—and then I’m fucked. I can’t have my own journey. I won’t make my own miracles.

I don’t care how hard it is to get a movie made in Hollywood. Four or five come out every week, so I know some bozo beat the odds.

I don’t care if ninety percent of writers fail at the premise. Ninety percent of screenplays and eighty percent of novels are rejected because of poor structure.

Dan Brown’s three novels before The Da Vinci Code all had printings of less than 10,000 copies.
Other rejection counts: Gone With the Wind, 38 times; Dune, 20 times; A Wrinkle in Time, 29 times; Lord of the Flies, 20 times; Kon-Tiki, 20 times; Watership Down, 17 times; Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, 18 times; Chicken Soup for the Soul, 33 times; James Joyce’s The Dubliners, 22 times; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, more than 100 times; MASH, 21 times.

I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care!

I believe in FALSE HOPE. I love FALSE HOPE. I spread FALSE HOPE on crackers and eat it.

All of those people had hope, false or not, that they would succeed—or they would have given up. The same goes for those who survive past their expiration date. They didn’t listen to the statistics and I can guarantee you they mainlined FALSE HOPE.

I for one, think we all should all believe in FALSE HOPE. About everything. All of the time.

I shudder at the alternative.

Carry on,
xox

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When I Forget To Enchant — I PUSH

Hey you guys, 

Have you ever pushed a button for an elevator or started the bar-b-que and then stepped away thinking that something was in progress? Yeah, me neither. I’m a watcher. I watch for signs of progress. 

If you have profound trust issues like I do, then you push the button to call the elevator like a junkie with a self-administered morphine drip. I know that the more I push it—the faster it will come.

Can I get an AMEN?!

But have you ever been distracted enough by let’s say Snapchat, or a CNN news alert about the latest asinine Trump tweet, that you missed the fact that you pushed—and nothing happened?

That’s the feeling I’ve been having lately. Like I pushed the Easy button and looked down at my phone for a minute and everything got hard. Harder. Hardest.

So what does this self-confessed lover of all things easy do in a situation such as this?

Well, I push harder. Duh! Don’t you?

My neurosis looks like this: I make a phone call to clear up some bureaucratic snafu and it goes straight to voicemail (which you have to admit is SO un-gratifying!) so what should I do? I think the answer is clear: I wait an appropriate amount of time for a reply (one hour) and then I call back obsessively and leave another seventy-hundred messages that start off nice and polite—and slowly devolve into a monologue that sounds like it’s taken from the pages of an old Andrew Dice Clay stand-up act circa 1980.

I push harder.

I sent important emails last week and haven’t received any responses. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Do dah.
Well, that’s just bad manners Fancy East Coast Magazine. At least send a confirmation that you received my submission and let me live in peace. Instead, I’m two whiskey sours away from risking looking like the insecure, over-zealous, micro-managing, control-freak that I am by re-sending it when you’ve specifically asked writers not to. You obviously know my type and want to save yourselves from four million re-submissions of the same essay.

They say on the submissions page, “We’ll get back to you in 90 days.”
Sadists.

That just makes me want to push harder. I could be dead in 90 days, killed by a horde of marauding middle-aged midgets who’ve been sent by my husband to put me out of my misery.

I suppose this will be a good lesson in “trusting the fucking process” (I added the fucking for emphasis. Pushing it?). But ninety days is an eternity when you’re waiting!

I have five articles out in the world right now with various publications, waiting for the green light.

I continue to push the Easy Button. Hard. And often.

I’m fifty-nine. When does this striving thing go away? Sixty? Seventy? Never?

Oh…wait…I forgot to say please.
And abracadabra.

I forgot to use magic! Shit. (Forehead slap) I do that all the time!

Sorry, gotta go.

Carry on,
xox


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An Open Letter to the Lady With the Swing Set

Dear swing set lady,

Hello, I am the pre-school aged escape artist who lived in your neighborhood back in the 1960’s, you know, the one with the raging case of swing set envy.

Apparently, on afternoon walks with my mom I had spied what I determined to be the top of a beautiful red metal swing set in your backyard. Please forgive me, but I couldn’t wait the six months for Christmas when I had been promised to receive my very own swing set straight from the North Pole.

I was obsessed! I had even marked the page in the Sears catalog.

But sometimes a girl’s just gotta swing and I could get to yours without crossing any streets so…

Now, don’t feel sorry for me I got plenty of swinging done on our family excursions to Petit Park, but when you factor in my fearlessness, my ability to wander off and my insatiable need to swing—well, I just couldn’t be stopped.

Or at least that’s what I’ve heard over the years.

People discover their wanderlust in many different ways. Most of my friends found theirs in the gap year between high school and college. You have to understand wanderlust. It is fueled by curiosity and funded by courage. You could say mine followed the same path. It started with curiosity but since I’m pretty sure four-year-olds don’t possess courage per say, mine was fueled by envy.

And an insatiable need to swing.

Also, my profound lack of understanding of and general disdain for delayed gratification —an affliction which haunts me to this day!

So you can look at it this way swing set lady, my wanderlust kicked in when I decided to embark on my solitary field trip to your backyard.

I don’t know what got into me that day. Maybe we couldn’t go to the park, or I was shown on a calendar that Christmas was a shit-ton of days away but as the story goes: one minute I was there, the next I was not. Apparently, I was one of those shape shifting little kids and my thirty-pound, white haired self could disappear as quickly as a puff of smoke.

Now don’t think for one second that it was my mother’s fault. I hate it when you get judgy.

You know how it is! You must have been a mother, you had a freakin’ swing set in your backyard!
Raise your hand if you haven’t turned your head for one second to see if you have a chive in your teeth and the baby rolled off the changing table—or the couch—or the bed. Or your toddler wandered into the abyss that is Nordstroms.

I thought so.

Anyway, you have to admit, the fact that I knew my name and phone number at that age was impressive (EM 363-6932), and if you’d asked me I would have read you Green Eggs and Ham and any other Dr. Seuss book you owned. You have to admit—that’s some damn fine parenting.

Anyway, back to you. You were very nice to me while we waited for my mom to stop vomiting and come and pick me up. I remember she wasn’t mad at all! She was crying she was so happy to see me! I almost expected a parade on our walk home.

I guess I want to thank you, swing set lady; for being my childhood neighbor. Your kindness (I remember you giving me a cookie), and your ability to keep your wits about you and not freak out when you looked out your kitchen window one morning to see a strange little girl swinging, made me feel safe in my lust to wander and THAT has been an invaluable gift to me.

And thank you for talking to my mom because I never had to wait until December—I got a brand new swing set of my very own like, the next day.

xoxJanet


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“Oh My God! You EAT!” ~ A Tale of Pasta, Swooning and Middle Aged Dating

This is the dating “us” circa 2001.

I met my husband through the most old-fashioned of means—the blind date.
I know in this time of hooking up via the worldwide web this sounds as antiquated as sidling up to a bar and ordering absinthe. Oh, wait, that’s a thing again, isn’t it?

Anyway, here is how it worked—friends fixed us up.
My friend Sharon was dating his friend Bert, and when she met Raphael she thought of me. Nice, right?

I’ve often wondered about that though. How much thought is put into a friend’s fix-up?

I wondered if it was pondered thoughtfully, carefully… like a wine pairing? Or was it knee-jerk, impulsive like, “You read books and John mentioned that he read a book once, so…”

In our case, my friend knew I liked European men and his friend knew he liked big boobs, so, yeah, what our fix-up lacked in depth and substance it made up for in that personal touch—two people who actually knew us thinking that we would make a good match.

Bert was a serial fixer-upper and at the time that ours was suggested Raphael had a serious case of blind date fatigue. Nevertheless, when Bert uttered the code words, big boobs, it triggered a deeply embedded Pavlovian response in Raphael which overrode all of his reservations and prompted him to ask for my number and give me a call.

Now on dating websites, I’ve heard that hours of very careful consideration are given to filling out the personal profile. I’ve known people who’ve hired a ghostwriter in order to convey just the perfect blend of desperation and disinterest.

As far as the photo goes, I have friends who have been known to enlist the services of a professional photographer. As I understand it, lighting is a life or death proposition. There is one guy in town who has a waiting list as long as one of Donald Trump’s ties because he manages to give everyone that “bewitching hour” glow.

You know, the kind that renders you unrecognizable even to your own mother.

Giving our friend’s good judgment the benefit of the doubt, without the ability to Google each other, or the benefits of viewing each other’s carefully crafted social media narrative in advance, (because neither of those things existed), we agreed to meet at a bar in Brentwood. Here is a frame of reference for you: Brentwood happy-hour was used as the basis for the movie The Hunger Games. It is savage. It is every man for himself. You try to escape with your soul intact—and nobody eats.

That is except for me.

I was the new improved, fully revised, 2.0 version of blind-dating Janet, which meant that after surviving nearly twenty years of this contact sport I had decided to reinvent. To adopt a new and audacious persona. I had decided to just be myself.

So, after nursing a glass of wine while we exchanged pleasantries, I determined that I liked this Frenchman enough to sneak out and let the valet know he didn’t need to keep the car running—and because I was STARVING I also agreed to have dinner.

This sent a shockwave throughout all of Brentwood and any “wood” within a twenty-five-mile radius. You see, as I would come to find out, women in the metropolitan Los Angeles area do very little eating on first dates. And if by some magical twist of fate you DO find yourself seated across from a man by the dinner portion of the evening—you do the sane thing—you order a salad.

Leafy greens.

Never carbs. Carbs are strictly forbidden. They are horrible and terrifying, and they scare women to death.
You may as well just order a bowl of live snakes.

I could tell I’d broken a cardinal-dating rule by the puzzled look on Raphael’s face as I dug into my pasta entrée with gusto.

As soon as the shock of this spectacle wore off enough for him to speak, he educated me on the dating habits of the West Los Angeles female in the 20th century. It started off with this pronouncement: “Oh my God! You EAT!”

He continued, “I am SO SICK of watching a woman push a piece of salad around a plate. Honestly! There is so much incredible food out in the world to share!” He shook his head, bewildered, as he tore off a piece of the warm focaccia and dredged it through the pungent, green, extra-virgin olive oil.

I nodded enthusiastically while at the same time sucking a stray piece of linguine drenched in the most delicious clam sauce through my puckered lips.

Sensing he was in the presence of a fellow foodie he went further. “Or… they order the most expensive thing on the menu, poke at it and take it home. What is with that?” His lightly accented voice was filled with genuine curiosity.

I couldn’t answer because well, my mouth was full.

“You eat with appetite”, he declared, a huge smile hijacking his entire face. “I like that!” Then he said something so perverse I almost dropped my fork. “I like women to look like women”, he said, “To have a little meat on their bones. None of those skinny-waif, teenage boy looking women for me.”

Had I heard him correctly?

Well, you’re in luck mister because I am none of those things…except the meaty woman part… I thought as I smiled back broadly, daintily dabbing at my lips with the cloth napkin. Damn. Who knew this being myself stuff would pay off so well?

Then I swooned. Or at least I think I did. Having never really swooned before I did my best impression of a swoon. It probably looked like I had gas.

Undeterred, he continued, “We share a passion for food, that’s obvious.” His swoon-inducing sweet-talk continued while he deftly reached for the bottle of wine. “I’ve always felt that passion translates into every aspect of life. Work…play…even sex.” His eyes sparkled as he re-filled our glasses with the hearty Cabernet.

“Cheers!” I toasted in agreement as our crystal glasses clinked together melodically. “Salute” he replied, locking eyes with me in a charmingly wicked way.

We have been savoring life together ever since.

The moral of this tale? Ladies, order the damn pasta!

Carry on,
xox


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55 Rules of Love ~ Reprise

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*This is a from a list written by Alex Sandra Myles published in the Elephant Journal back in 2015- it’s about love— You’ll have to excuse me but I just got back from a matinee of Wonder Woman and you guys, without spoiling the plot—it’s only and ever about LOVE…Oh, and a magical island of Amazonian warrior women…and Chris Pine…and love.

Plus, I think I look a little bit like the actress who played Wonder Woman if I just close my eyes and never look into a mirror for the rest of my life.

Anyhow, back to the love list. I know this refers to couples but I think it works for all relationships, don’t you?
Do you have anything to add?

Love you Xox


  1. When it arrives, cherish it.

  2. Whatever you accept, you will get.

  3. Understand that love is a mirror—it will show us who we are if we allow it to.

  4. Only we can make ourselves happy, it is not the other person’s responsibility.

  5. Don’t say words with the intent to hurt.

  6. Accept and forgive easily.

  7. Don’t be scared to disagree, it is healthy.

  8. Never be too busy for each other.

  9. Do not punish.

  10. Accept honest criticism, it is good for us.

  11. Admit when you are wrong, quickly.

  12. Support each other when the going gets tough.

  13. Live in the moment—be present.

  14. Leave the past where it belongs.

  15. Leave drama out of it.

  16. Don’t try to control.

  17. Allow a small amount of jealousy.

  18. Don’t use comparisons.

  19. Celebrate differences.

  20. Communicate openly and honestly.

  21. Listen very carefully.

  22. Don’t judge.

  23. Don’t manipulate to get results.

  24. Learn and grow.

  25. Don’t try to change each other.

  26. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends.

  27. Lines, flaws, and imperfections are beautiful.

  28. Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid.

  29. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either.

  30. Instead of power, aim for balance.

  31. Space is needed to breathe and to grow.

  32. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.

  33. Have fun, laugh and play—a lot.

  34. Be each other’s best friend.

  35. Don’t play mind games.

  36. Do not carelessly throw away love.

  37. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.

  38. Compliment often.

  39. Discover each other.

  40. Be attentive and understand what’s not said.

  41. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day.

  42. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.

  43. Don’t just speak about it, show love.

  44. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together.

  45. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender.

  46. Be loyal and faithful.

  47. Trust.

  48. Be grateful.

  49. Fluidity is good, accept change.

  50. Don’t sleep on a fight.

  51. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go.

  52. Discover what turns you both on and explore it.

  53. Make love, but also f*ck (regularly).

  54. Give and receive without measure.

  55. Never gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.

Xox


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When I’m Feeling Fancy I Wear A Squirrel As A Hat

I startled a squirrel in my backyard Saturday morning and in its attempt to make a hasty retreat it ran up my back – rearranged my hair – and then jumped onto a tree branch where it sat, out of breath giving ME stink-eye.

I may have peed a little.

At the time I was not strolling peacefully through the patio, nor was I happily gardening.  Nope. I was wrangling a wind chime that is taller than I am. With its five-foot long baritone chimes bonging away with each step I took as I walked out to the courtyard to look for a place to hang it, I was struck by its weight. That sucker was heavy as I held it up over my head in an awkward attempt to keep it from tripping me.

Let me just mention that my boxer, Ruby, was also underfoot freaking out at the bongity-bong absurdity of it all.

Bong, bong, bong…half way across the courtyard it happened.

Apparently, the squirrel had a weekend appointment at the spa that is the fountain outside my patio door. It was never expecting a five-foot tall walking wind chime to interrupt its Saturday solitude. Scared shitless, it leaped off the fountain and in mid-air is probably when it saw the dog.

I’m feeling sorry for the squirrel now, aren’t you?

Anyway, I’m assuming that’s when said squirrel used me as its own personal stairway to freedom. I’m sure I wasn’t its first choice—just the best choice since I was between the dog and the tree.

As it reached my hair I realized what was happening and that is when the screaming began. Screaming for me is rare, but when I do scream you can smell buttered popcorn because it is a full-throated, bloodcurdling, horror movie scream that comes from my big toe.

It is a scream that chills hearts and strikes fear in everyone who hears it. Dogs bark, glass shatters, horses buck their riders, jump their enclosures and run for open ground.

My husband and Maria (our blind cleaning lady), both came running outside. She was carrying the vacuum cleaner as a weapon. He came loaded with a smirk. He thinks it’s hilarious when I scream.

Whatever.

I blame the screaming for the peeing. It is literally impossible to scream that loud and NOT pee. Swear to God. I think there have been studies. 

As the scream echoed through the courtyard, our neighbors called over the fence “OMG! Are you guys okay over there?”

“Yeah, she’s fine”, he answered.

He shook his head, grabbed the giant, 5000-ton wind chime from me, and carried it effortlessly on one finger, like a feather, over to the table.

That’s when it hit me, you guys! Even with a squirrel crawling up my back and doing the Macarena in my hair—I did not drop the wind chimes!

Please, you gotta give me this one thing.

Carry on,
xox


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Divide and Covfefe ~ A Twitter Strategy

 

I don’t know if you saw the movie Arrival earlier this year. But I did. Four times.

That’s because it had so many of the elements that interest the super geek in me. Science fiction, time anomalies, aliens, language and Jeremy Renner.

The premise is this: 12 alien vessels simultaneously land at various points on the globe. They are still and silent which of course scares the bejesus out of all of the military types in charge of figuring out what they want. America decides to send a scientist and a world-class linguist along with several CIA goons into the ship in Montana (at the invitation of the aliens), to figure out how to communicate.

Hilarity ensues.
Not really. But needless to say, this is when the movie really gets interesting.

Language is a sophisticated skill-set developed over time by a species in order to communicate complex thoughts, emotions, and ideas. One wrong word can start a war—wiping out mankind. Such a calamity takes place in the movie when the linguist mistakenly translates weapon instead of tool. As you can imagine, the guy from the CIA blows a gasket and the entire project goes off the rails.

(Cue the dire music.)

That’s a HUGE oversimplification of a very complicated plot and I won’t blow the ending for you but let’s just say the whip-smart woman with all the right words keeps a cool head and saves a planet (or two).
Again.

All of this to say, I believe words have energy. A power beyond their meaning in the dictionary. They should be chosen carefully especially if you’re, I don’t know, someone whose words can influence worldwide financial markets—and launch missiles.

Saying that a ridiculous, nonsensical word has hidden meaning to a chosen few instead of admitting the fact that you were tantrum-texting in the middle of the night is an insult to those of us who possess a working brain, treasure words, and to those people who take the time to pick just the right ones. Like journalists and diplomats to name a few.

It is also terrifying for all the reasons that need no explanation. I know how this movie can end.

Let’s not get distracted by the absurdity that surrounds us these days. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Well, I’m hurting. Are you? 

Carry on,
xox


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The Weekend Went South…So I Drowned The Brownies

I know this looks like a waste of perfectly good food, but someone had to drown—and better the brownies, than me.

Let me explain.

This was a long three-day weekend and seeing that my husband went on his annual Memorial Day motorcycle ride through the Sierras, I was left to my own devices—along with my bitchy malcontent of a dog whose every thought causes her to whine miserably.

She is the furry, four-legged embodiment of that friend we’ve all stopped seeing. The one who drove us nuts with her complaining. My dog suffers from the same affliction. She whines when I walk her because she finds the scenery uninteresting. She whines when she’s hungry (which she may have learned from me), and she whines when I feed her because I’m not moving fast enough. She whines when she’s in the back of the car and when she’s not—on the way to and from doggie daycare—and while falling asleep.

I can only assume that must be because her bed is too soft, the blankets smell too fresh, and yet her dreams are not exactly what she had hoped. Gahhhhh…

Anyway, I tell you this so that you can understand why I was sucking down the whiskey sours with my girlfriends all weekend. I was so grateful to have someone to talk to who wasn’t complaining about my shortcomings as a mother.

During the days I worked in the garden, wrote a little, took turns reading the three books I’m in the middle of, and by Monday night I forbid myself to make a whiskey sour on account of the fact that I would be drinking hard liquor alone.

I wish that bitch of a dog of mine drank—it could improve her disposition.

Since alcohol was out of the question, 6 pm found me rummaging through the pantry looking for something sweet. That’s when I discovered the box of brownie mix left over from the holidays. Maybe not the 2016 holidays, but I can safely say it was bought this decade. Right then I could hear my sister screaming at me, “Throw it away! That shit goes bad!”

She and I have agreed to disagree on this topic.

Processed food, in my opinion, will outlive us all.

Post-apocalyptic cockroaches, zombies, and astronauts from the future would be thrilled to stumble upon my brownie mix, so I figure if it’s good enough for them—it’s good enough for moi.

And just like that, I found myself pre-heating the oven, cracking the eggs, and adding the melted butter to the powdered chocolatey mix. I waited for that familiar tap on the shoulder from the part of my brain that rules common sense and good judgment. It needed to remind me of a thing called moderation and the fact that while I was home alone a batch of hot brownies was not only a terrible idea—it was about to be like crack to an addict.

I could feel the shaky anticipation as the house started to smell like Christmas. I savored every drop of raw batter as I licked the beaters. (My sister just hurled reading that.)

Only two things trigger me this way, brownies, and pie. I felt like I imagine a junky feels waiting for a fix.

I waited a whole five minutes for them to cool off before slicing them into neat little squares. Because my old O’Keefe and Merrit has a mind of its own, they were crisp on the edges and seemed a little dry but I didn’t care. I ate three in quick succession standing at the counter without taking a breath, while my dog whined about a long-lost morsel of kibble she had spotted under the stove.

I finally forced myself to walk away—but I could hear them over the constant whining; calling me from the kitchen. Brownies are cruel that way. “Janet, (they know your name), we’re here. Just a few feet away. Happiness disguised as chocolate gooeyness.” 

And so the battle began. The douchebag brownie’s siren song versus my willpower (and the fact that I was full), telling me to forget about them.

But I couldn’t.

I lasted about one hour. That’s when I found myself back in the kitchen, staring into the pan, seriously scoping out the best section to get the maximum chocolate return. The middle pieces, of course!

As I reached for the knife the part of my brain that had forsaken me suddenly kicked in “What the fuck are you doing?” it asked in a decidedly judgy tone, “This has officially turned into a binge. Stop a minute and think. What’s going on with you?”

It barely took an instant before I heard “I’m lonely”, come out of my own mouth.

Before I could process this sudden wave of vulnerability my hand took control. In order to save me from myself, it grabbed the pan and in one giant sweeping motion threw it into the sink, turned the faucet on full force, and drowned the brownies!

I was stunned.

I hate wasting food and chocolate food even more than most. But sometimes extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. Thank God a teeny-tiny part of me knows that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a perfect person who always saves herself from disaster; far from it.
I am someone who, for the last decade has had a stubborn five (x4) pounds to lose yet I have secretly gorged myself on entire bags of Ranch Doritos, eaten entire half gallons of ice cream at a single sitting, and scarfed a second Thanksgiving dinner an hour after everyone has left while I clean the kitchen.

I’m not a serial binger but I know a binge even when its disguised as real hunger.

These days I’m just really working on being more conscious about everything I do and it sucks. You have to feel stuff. Like loneliness and the fact that after three days of whining you want to throw your dog in a blender.

The feels aren’t pretty and if you stop and acknowledge them they tend to circumvent instant gratification and who wants that? 

But they saved me the shame of an additional five pounds tomorrow so I’m grateful. Not really, but I’m working on it.

Carry on,
xox

 

 And when she’s not whining I get this: Silent. Judgy. Side-eye.


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My version of life. My stories. Told in my own words.

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