Saturday, August 30, 2008

Plenty Of Fish

Thank G*d I'm getting hit on like crazy at Plenty of Fish. My photo rates "Good Catch" of 7.5 - 8 with the younger guys and 10 with my own age group. Even the women think I'm hot. Whew! And I've been propositioned already by a 33 year old hottie - if you believe what you see and hear on the internet and I don't. But still, it's nice to have someone pay attention to me since I've been sad and blue and thinking I'll never ever have another boyfriend. I'll try to banish the image of the pudgy middle aged married man sitting in front of a web cam in his bikini briefs hoping for cyber sex. And if you're out there HPF, I'm talking to you.

I have an eHarmonious Encounter next week with a handsome attorney who summers in Montauk. He lives out on Long Island, though. I was never optimistic, and now I'm afraid he's a Republican. They have Republicans out there. He doesn't mention an ex wife or kids. So either he's 51 and never married which is usually a bad sign. Or his Ex-wife is crazy as hell which might be interesting.

I like Plenty of Fish better than eHarmony and Perfectmatch because it's more casual. I wish they had a box to check for "smokes weed moderately" like they have for Drinks: No, Socially, Moderately, Frequently. All they have is, "Do you do drugs? Yes or No." I feel like Bill Clinton saying "that depends on what you mean by 'is'."

It's really not fair about weed.

I don't care what people say, I still love Bill Clinton. I've tried to expalin to a couple of guys that I wanted a monogamous relationship with Clinton Rules. Bill Clinton gave America a lot of wiggle room. As it happens, The Man from San Antone has a nodding acquaintance with Bill Clinton in Las Vegas. I'm sure we'll never know what that means, exactly - especially since he was acquainted with Charlie Wilson too. Now that is a date I'm eagerly anticipating. I hope his business in New York City isn't rescheduled.

Sunday Update
Hooray! I've caught a three hotties on Plenty of Fish. A Wall Streeter who looks like John John Kennedy, a 39 year old attorney, and a handsome marketing executive from a NJ suburb. Normally, I don't date guys from NJ, but Montclair and Upper Montclair are very nice and he's got silver hair and a killer smile. The 39 year old doesn't have kids, the older guy's kids are grown and John John's has a daughter the same age as my son (could be trouble in the sitcom of my life, folks).

I have to confess that while the idea of new men is intriguing, tears come when I consider the reality. I'm still missing that old boyfriend something fierce. In trying to reconcile the hurt and confusion, I'm thinking that I miss the man I wish he were, not the one who let me down. He couldn't help it, and I doubt he understands. In my secret heart, I'm still hoping it will all work out, and I doubt that too.

So I jump from the frying pan back into the fire, complete with my heart on my sleeve where it's always been. The good news is that I have a clearer picture of what I was so afraid of in the big wide world that I was willing to compromise my integrity as an individual in order to feel safe. I suspect that idea is making me cry as much as anything. The trauma thing is tricky especially since some of those wounds are old, deep and never really heal. As I struggle to remain a victor instead of a victim, it's nice to know thousands of women (and more than a few men) out there understand completely. Here's a high five to all of us.

Velvet is with Buzz Kill so I can celebrate the new lunar cycle in peace tonight. New moon was last night, so it's time to nurture growth.

Beer, Wine, Weed, etc.

Today I have to say that it is stupid that in the US, you can get your ass shot at in an unjust war, but you can't drink a beer.

I'm not much of a beer drinker myself because it shakes around uncomfortably in my tummy. Weed never gives me a stomach ache - or a hang over either, for that matter. And if those silly kids who left the drunk girl in my bathroom had not been shitfaced drunk, I'd have gotten a good night's sleep.

Last night Velvet and two buddies were hanging out in the living room, lap tops in hand, X-box on and talking about this girl from Georgia (in the former USSR not the American South) who actually told one of the boys that his parents were BAD for drinking wine in front of him. She also declared that the Jewish and Muslim religions were derivations of Christianity. Never mind that Jesus (who may well have been named Joshua) was a Jew himself and there was no Christianity at the time.

Plenty of people across America say just as many ridiculous things as that child from Georgia. They ignore obvious facts in order to support their own opinions and stuff like that.

Now, I must state once and for all that nobody needs to be driving under the influence of anything major since that's dangerous. But as long as you have a designated driver, or are hanging out at home, you should be able to do what ever the heck you want.

When we were in Texas looking at the convention on TV, Velvet saw someone with a big marijuana leaf banner that might have said Legalize It. Mother told Velvet marijuana would never be legalized because then you could buy it in the grocery store. Those folks must be talking about decriminalization, she said.

Now I ask you - what is so wrong about being able to buy good weed in the grocery store next to the beer? Why not have a variety of brands all adding money to a peaceful, green American economy?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid Does

My mother is convinced that the "hairy armpit feminists" aka PUMA who are still pouting about Hillary Clinton not being the candidate are so short sighted that McCain is going to be elected and not only overturn Roe v Wade but we'll also see the end of birth control as we know it. She blames the same bunch for causing trouble years ago when Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in the primary and the next thing you know we were stuck with Ronald Reagan. Handing the Republicans the White House out of spite and stupidity.

Stranger things have happened.

Mother watches the news a lot. MSNBC is on right now even though she's gone to the grocery store. The dog watches the news in this house. Fortunately, Sophie the dog is a Southern Feminist as opposed to a Yankee (or hairy armpit) Feminist so we're having no political argufying in the kitchen. Personally, I thought Hillary's speech last night made the case for party unity. She made an excellent point when she said that she didn't spend 35 years in the trenches fighting for health care, etc. just to see the Democrats lose this election.

According to that foolish man on Morning Joe, the Hillary delegates aren't buying it despite what Ann Lewis said to the contrary. Mother tolerates Ann Lewis even though she was part of the bunch that screwed Jimmy Carter - it's Eleanor Smeal she holds personally responsible for Clarence Thomas being on the Supreme Court. Mother will hold a grudge, but it's her view that Ann Lewis is pragmatic enough and not so tied to her own agenda to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I've been looking at the differences in between Southern and Yankee Feminists in terms of common sense, acknowledging and celebrating the differences between our genders and recognizing the patriarchy causes as much trouble for men as for women. I've begun to revise my thinking, though, because the differences aren't a result of Geography. Arm pits, maybe.

Actually, my favorite feminist - besides Ann Richards - is Marion Woodman. She's from California and is a Jungian who believes that Feminism and the Divine Feminine go hand in hand.

What I've noticed since I've lived in New York City for 20 years is that some "feminists" simply want to bitch at men and are generally petulant, negative and somewhat hostile in every situation. For example, I learned from a man I used to know that when he tried to carry a college girlfriend's suit case, she bitched him out for thinking she was too weak to carry her own bag. They nearly missed their plane as she struggled with said bag. These college students were at Cornell, which counts as Ivy League. You would think they weren't stupid.

Apparently an Ivy League education doesn't pull your head out from up your ass, and George W. Bush is not the only example of that phenomenon. Maybe the distinction is not between Feminists at all. Maybe it's like Forrest Gump says: Stupid is as stupid does.

We will see where all this political stuff leads. Once we get back to the city, I'll go back to my habit of never watching TV news. I'll read the NY Times, and I'll be getting the Austin American Statesman delivered so I can decide if I really want to move there.

I feel lost and alone and under attack in the city. Outnumbered and misunderstood, so I doubt I'll be staying. There are plenty of stupid people in Texas. One of my favorite stories told by Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler concerns her neighbor in Spring, Texas who was electrocuted on his driveway while attempting to install a TV antenna during a thunderstorm. Then there is my mother's neighbor, originally from Ohio, who sent her second grader to school with a copperhead for show and tell. Better still, another neighbor who gave his wife VD some years ago and tried to convince her to take antibiotics without telling her why - and she was an RN. Oy!

A couple of years ago, one of my two year old students' father was a professor of Journalism at Columbia University. He'd worked in network news for years and years before that. He told me that on days when nothing was going on in the country or the world, and the station needed a story, the reporters turned their attention to Texas and Florida. You could always count on something ridiculous happening in Texas and Florida. Bush governors in both states a coincidence? I think not.

I mention this tidbit to illustrate that I'm not saying Southerners are cognitively superior to Yankees. I do think, however, that we have a better sense of humor down here. For example, in the Sunday Houston Chronicle I read that the DA in Austin is trying to get a rule made that allows him to restrict his staff from bringing their concealed weapons into the court room even though they may have a Right to Carry. In New York City, almost everyone would think it was outrageous that anyone besides a police officer had a fire arm in the first place.

When I was in Austin with a New Yorker, he found it necessary to challenge the young clerk in an admission booth at Windy Point park to explain a sign reading:
Visible Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages is not Permitted
I don't disagree that on the surface the sign was ridiculous, but anyone who lives in Texas knows that the Baptists make such a big deal about drinking that it's easier to simply pour your beer in a cup. Hell, bring a canteen full of Margs if you want to - just don't get drunk and drive. But if the Baptists see you drinking they'll make a fuss and someone will have to do something about it. Very logical if you understand the culture. We have to institutionalize Denial so that opposing factions - drinkers and Baptist - can peacefully coexist.

As it happened, the young clerk at Windy Point looked at the New Yorker like he was just another Dumb Ass Yankee. He explained a couple of times what the sign meant to said New Yorker because the fellow thought the sign was so silly he had to rub it in.

As it also happened, I was once out with the same fellow on a beach in Brooklyn that was effectively privatized by lack of public transportation and parking. Good idea actually, and quite pleasant. That the beach was filled with lounging white people while the work on the dunes was being done by two black fellows supervised by a Latino in camo pants and shirt. American Flags flew in a line down the beach. I was reminded of the Randy Newman song Rednecks:
Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage in the South-Side of Chicago, the West-Side
And he's free to be put in a cage in Hough in Cleveland
And he's free to be put in a cage in East St. Louis
And he's free to be put in a cage in Fillmore in San Francisco
And he's free to be put in a cage in Roxbury in Boston
They're gatherin' 'em up from miles around
Keepin' the niggers down

I'm not sure anyone but me recognized we were watching the Randy Newman song in action that day on Rockaway Beach.

Clearly I have drifted away from the Hillary Delegates into examining heights of stupidity. The fact is that I just want to come home to Texas.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sleeping in Granny's Coffin

After my last trip to Texas, I told my psychiatrist Dr. Nir that at my parents' I sleep in the bed Granny the Ho slept in up until a few days before she died. This bed has always been my bed and it's in the room that has always been my room when I visit my parents. The hospice workers moved a hospital bed into the room near Granny's end - so she didn't die in the bed where I'm sleeping.

She slept there for some months, though. Dr. Nir said I might as well have crawled into her coffin. I'm in Texas again, and I maintain that sleeping in Granny's coffin is comforting and peaceful.

Some people may know I've been particularly heart broken this summer over three issues:
  1. Granny died. I still love it that the icing from my birthday cake was on her lips the night she passed - but she's graveyard dead and that is hard. Fortunately, my sister saved a quarter cup of her ashes for each of us. Sooner or later, I'll have my quarter cup of Granny. At the moment, the ashes are with KPP in Florida. Equally as fortunate, KPP lives far enough inland so that they only get buckets of rain from storms like Fay, ergo, Granny's remains remain safe. KPP, her son and my uncle scattered the rest of Granny to the winds in the mountains outside Tahoe.
  2. The longest separation I've ever experienced from Velvet. When Velvet was with the wealthy, type A California in-laws and then hiking and fly fishing in the Rockies for college credit I found myself completely at loose ends. That he's leaving for college next year only made it worse at the time. The minute he got back, I was cured of that sadness and loss. The drunk girl in the bathroom helped, for sure. Annoying and heart warming, that's my baby.
  3. A relationship tanked. I've struggled to understand all my mistakes, especially why I stayed in a relationship where I couldn't be myself. I had my reasons - mostly based on fears that are part of my personal history.
When I sleep in this bed - or crawl into the coffin, as it were, I can feel my heart resting just where Granny's lay when she slept. She had five husbands, you know, and it wasn't all pretty. There was violence and abuse. Grown ups will beat up on and molest kids. Shit trickles down hill - just like Reaganomincs. The women on both sides of my family have had our share of trouble. If you heard what my Uncle Jenifer has to say about my grandfather, you'd know this phenomenon isn't restricted to females.

It's one big Southern Gothic jamboree. Dr. Nir says I don't have to read or watch Tennessee Williams because I lived Tennessee Williams. He's right of course. My family isn't so unusual, I'm sorry to say, which is why the book I'm supposed to be writing instead of fooling around on the blog has such a compelling story.

But back to the coffin.

It's like the sadness that has dominated this summer is pouring out of my heart straight into Granny's while I rest in that bed, and she understands. She strokes my hair and says it will be all right. There will be another man, even though he probably won't ever understand me either.

There was a book I used to love to read to my kids when I was working with two year olds called, How Are You Peeling: Foods with Moods

It ends with the line When how you feel is understood, you have a friend and that feels good.

My dear friends understand me - and I suspect more than a few people out there in blogland understand, too. There is one crucial individual, however, who has not indicated he understands and it's a struggle for me to accept and let go.

Granny understands that too. If she were here, I doubt we'd even talk about it since she was so dang deaf. Whether we talked about it or not, she'd tell me to quit crying because I shouldn't let that fool spoil my looks.

Once when she was mad as hell at one of her husbands, she waited until he was asleep and cut big old bald spots all over his head. She never told me what he'd done to piss her off. She fully believed that getting mad was a waste of time - getting even was worthwhile. Hence the bald spots.

My initial anger has faded. Neither one of us can help who we are, and I've been known to beat a square peg into a round hole before. For a couple of hours today, after sleeping heart to heart with Granny, I felt almost like my usual charming self. Then I got a headache from sulfites in the wine.

In the meantime, my mother has thrown herself into the project of finding me a home in Austin. She's digging the idea of me moving back to Texas for sure.

My New York friends can't imagine I'll ever leave, except for one who is moving home to the Bay Area in California as soon as her kids graduate from High School next year. Her life and mine have often paralleled. Our kids are the same age, we job shared for years teaching art to very young children, we got divorced at the same time. Our kids see the same therapist. And we're both moving back home as soon as we can because we never really liked New York or fit in even though we both made the best of it since we were stuck there.

Both she and I appreciate New York and are delighted our own children are New Yorkers; but being broke in the city is a drag when your heart and home is somewhere else. And besides, Tama Janowitz' New York is long gone. I think the only people who can live here anymore get paid in Euros. Maybe the trouble is that America itself has been so influenced by decades of Republican thinking that the human connection has been lost in the rat race for personal wealth and individual accomplishment. I'm not sure which came first: the rat race or the Republicans. I associate the phrase Rat Race with the Eisenhower Era, but that could be wrong. I'm not searching for its origins now, however. I'm going to float in the backyard pool then take Velvet down to look at Rice University.

I must digress a moment to be grateful for Farm & Wilderness, the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp in Vermont Velvet spent the last five summers. Quakers are all about community. As a matter of fact, so is the preschool where I teach. Those of us who care about that stuff are sadly outnumbered. I suspect it's a generational thing more than demographics or geography. The Rats are everywhere - and they're happy to be rats.

Velvet and I go back to the city - his home if not mine - in a few days. I'm hoping that spending more time in the coffin with Granny will be restorative. Meanwhile, I've completely given up on eHarmony. Much better to spend these last few months in the city without the distraction of a man. I've never done it before, so I think it's about time. I registered for Perfect Match in case I decide I need a boy toy. I wonder if that was Granny's idea . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Drunk Girl in the Bathroom

Velvet brought some friends over last night after they had allegedly been to the movies. I was glad because I like it when they hang out at our place, but I wish they wouldn't hot box the bathroom and leave weed on the coffee table. It's difficult to maintain an air of plausible deniability.

About 12:15, Velvet and his buddies went over to somebody else's place. No problem since he was going to be back by curfew at 2:00. No problem except for somebody forgot there was a drunk girl in the bathroom. Frankly, I'd have preferred them smoking in there to finding a girl wandering through my dark apartment after all the kids had left, calling "Topher? Topher?"

I put the girl in Velvet's bed for 10 minutes because she was dizzy and nauseous. When I asked her if the room was spinning, she moaned an affirmative. I quickly recommended that she hang on to the wall to keep it from getting away - that always helps me. She said she hadn't been drinking, but she smelled like tequila if you ask me. That'll make you a little green around the gills for sure.

I called Velvet and told him to get his ass home instantaneously. He's here now playing Grand Theft Auto. The female, who I'm sorry to say has to remain nameless since Velvet doesn't know her name although I know she's been over here before, has been put in a taxi by yours truly who also gave her 10 bucks.

He checked both bathrooms to make sure she hadn't hurled all over the place while she was here. Thank Goodness the toilets and rugs are clean. But the question remains: How the heck did a drunk girl land in the bathroom without anyone noticing she was here? The apartment is only 1,000 square feet.

The boys say that she came along with two other girls. Apparently, she didn't say hello when she walked in the door, going straight to sleep in my bathroom instead. The guys must have used Austin's bathroom. Or maybe she fell asleep in Austin's bathroom, and everyone else used mine. How the hell do I know?

When I was getting my first masters, I learned in Adolescent Psychology that there are no people on this planet more stupid than teenaged boys. Today we confirm that observation.Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I'm fairly certain that the young lady wasn't the brightest bulb in the box either, and I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the other girls were drunk too. The guys had just been getting so high it was a crying shame (Muddy Waters, Champagne and Reefer) out on the terrace.

Some people think it's inconsistent that I don't have a problem with Velvet smoking weed as long as his grades are good, but I really have an issue with teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) getting stinking drunk. God knows we all need the occasional bender. But drinking makes you lose your judgement in much more extreme ways than weed.

It's like they say: A drunk will run a red light; a stoner will sit through a green one.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Velvet is AWOL

Velvet is on his way home from Wyoming. When he called from Munger, all was well. Then he called from Denver wanting me to tell him what gate he was supposed to go to.
"WTF is this about, Velvet?" I asked. "Don't you have a plane ticket in your hand?"

As it happened, Buzz Kill chose that moment to call Velvet, so Velvet went to pick up that call. For reasons that remain unknown, Velvet never spoke with his father. About an hour later, Buzz Kill called me wanting to know if I'd talked to Velvet. Again I ask, "WTF" Naturally Buzz Kill sprang instantly into action, but by that time, Velvet's phone was going straight into voice mail.

The theory that Buzz Kill and I are working under is that Velvet got on an earlier flight with his buddies who were also en route from Munger, Wyoming to LaGuardia. He may be coming in for a landing at LaGuardia this very minute for all I know.

Of course, he might be coming in around 11:00 like he's supposed to but his phone is going into voicemail because it has run out of power from playing Tetris and making plans with his friends to go see Star Wars tomorrow. Either way, who the hell knows where that dang kid is. Not even home yet and I'm ready to knock him on the head with an empty seltzer bottle again. A plastic bottle, friends, not one of the antique glass ones with the metal spouts. That would hurt Velvet and make a mess. When I'm triple angry I don't care if I break things to make a point. I haven't done that in years and years - basically since I started therapy when Velvet was two and my mother's words had been coming out my mouth consistently for a year. Nothing worse than turning in to the worst parts of your mother.

No matter how pissed off I am, however, I would never bust something valuable. I'd look for something cheap and bust that. Actually, these days, I much prefer to get the person's photograph and burn it to ashes, then let the ashes fly away on the breeze.

Ah yes, there's a that lunar eclipse tonight. Very powerful juju at work during eclipses.